Feb. 8, 2023

When Our Kids Have Different Relationships with Our Parenting Partners

Are you adrift in the "Only Mommy" or "Only Daddy" doldrums of parenting? Here's when to accept the biological imperative of preferring one parent over the other, and when to push back on the behavior.

Do you feel like the odd parent out in your house? Or do your kids want only you to do everything with them all the time? A listener in our Facebook group asked:

"Is there an episode about one parent having a very different relationship with a child than the other parent? My 12yo and I seem to have a pretty functional (not perfect) relationship, but he and my hubs seem to end up arguing constantly. Thought at first it was a phase, but if it is, it’s a LOOOOONG one. Would love some perspective on this!"

Margaret and Amy discuss:

  • How preferential treatment plays out in younger vs. older kids
  • Why kids save their worst behavior for their primary caregiver
  • Which one of them is conflict-averse and who's conflict-attracted (one guess which is which)

Preferring one parent over the other can be developmentally appropriate, but there are times when ganging up on one parent can become too much and needs some course correction.


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