July 02, 2015

Q: Why do 3 & 5 year old girls cling to their mothers and have nothing to do with their dads?

A: Children go through a period of identification with their same-sex parent starting at about 3, and this appears off and on through childhood. The other parent should try hard not to take it personally, as the tables often turn suddenly! All 4 of my children have gone through this. Encouraging the child to spend time with the other parent -- but not getting upset if they don't want to -- is the way to go. Dads can tempt their child with silly games and fun activities that are reserved just for him.

Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg