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What should I do when my child prefers a grandparent over me?

My toddler is so attached to his grandmother that he'll usually turn to her before me. This breaks my heart and makes me feel guilty about going to work. What can I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

It's very painful when your own child prefers someone else over you. Your son's time with his nana may have forged a strong bond between them, but that's rarely enough to produce this kind of preference. Even a grandparent's habit of spoiling a child usually has only a slight influence on his basic preference for his mother. The most likely problem is a mismatch in style between the you and your kid. For example, if your son is very quiet, he might find an active, demanding pace from you upsetting. Being so laid-back can be hard for working parents who want to make the most of their time with their children, but do your best. Your instinct to be concerned is a good one. You may want to see a children's behavior specialist if this doesn't work. In a few weeks, a child will almost always come around to preferring his parents again.

Originally published in Child magazine, October 2006.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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