A mom is concerned that her young son wants to be his DAD most of the time. Show Notes

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Dear Dr. Bill,

I have a five-year old son named Brandon.  Lately he has become my husband’s “shadow.”  He follows him everywhere, and wants to help him with every household project.  Lately he’s even been imitating my husband’s mannerisms and the way he laughs.  We think this is adorable, but I’ve been feeling a little sad that my relationship with Brandon seems to have changed.  I miss the special closeness we had when he was younger.  

--Melanie

Dear Melanie,

Brandon is accomplishing a very important developmental task.  Boys his age go through a normal period of separating a bit from mom and attaching to dad.

As we raise our kids, it’s important for us to understand that moms and dads each play unique and vital roles in the lives their children. Men and women each have a distinct style of communication and interaction with kids. In fact, by eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between a male or female interacting with them.

David Popenoe, a sociologist at Rutgers University, has found that in their care-taking roles, mothers tend to stress emotional security, safety and comfort, while fathers often stress competition, challenge, risk-taking, and independence.  

Moms and dads also discipline differently, with moms providing flexibility and sympathy and dads providing predictability and consistency.  

Children thrive best when they grow up in an environment that provides a healthy balance of these different parenting qualities.

So even though Brandon seems to want to spend every waking moment with his dad right now, don’t despair—it’s is a good thing.  And the next time he gets a boo-boo, guess who he’ll come running to?

Thanks for writing Melanie.  I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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