Why does my Toddler Hate Me?

Jealousy: resentment against a rival (ahem, husband) who enjoys success (ahem, our toddler’s favoriteagainst another’s success (or lack thereof.  The boy always picks his Daddy).

My 18-month old son is starting to give me a complex, people.  A genuine complex.

I’ve been waiting for this whole “Daddy” phase to become just that – a phase – but it’s been months now, with no end in sight.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I love that my husband and youngest son have this amazing bond.  It’s sweet.  It’s adorable.


Does the child have to blatantly show his distaste for me?

Think I’m exaggerating?  Allow me to prove myself with a few poignant examples:

Daddy has to leave to run some errands.  Little C is so distraught Daddy has left, he flings himself upon the floor and will not let me console him.  He cries for upwards of 20 minutes.  He is struggling so hard to get away from my clutches, I nearly drop him on more one occasion.

Daddy isn’t home from work yet, so Little C is actually giving me the time of a day with a big ol’ bear hug. Cue Daddy’s entrance.  Little C leaps out of my arms so quickly you’d think I pinched him.  Sayonara Mommy.  Daddy’s home.

The whole family is relaxing on the floor playing with Mega Bloks.  I scooch over beside Little C to help him with the tower he’s building.  He stops what he’s doing.  He makes an angry scowl directed at me, picks up his tower, and promptly plops down beside Daddy.  I swear to God he smirks.

I’m in the kitchen.  Little C is playing with a toy car a few feet away.  Daddy is in the living room, out of sight, out of mind.  Little C suddenly slips and falls, banging his head on the floor.  I immediately drop what I’m doing, rushing to his aid.  As I begin to hold him in my arms, he looks at me – there’s that scowl again – then runs across the house to Daddy’s arms.

I notice Little C perusing the bookshelf.  I sit beside him and ask him if he’d like me to read him a story.  He gives me that telltale scowl, then saunters over to Daddy.  Once he’s in Daddy’s lap, he looks at me, eyebrows narrowed, then hugs Daddy.


Don’t get me wrong.  At times, it’s kind of convenient that the little guy wants Daddy.  Considering we have two attention-seeking boys, this often makes life easier, and even occasionally allows me five minutes of “me time,” (which we all know just means doing the dishes in peace or making lunches without a little munchkin clinging to my legs.  Am I right, ladies?).

If I’m being perfectly honest though, the Mommy pride is a little hurt.  Sometimes, it’s a lot hurt.

Am I the only mother experiencing this?

Don’t leave me hangin,’ Mamas!

Valocity Studios / Foter / CC BY-SA



Published by Miranda Keskes

I am a freelance writer, editor, and tutor with fifteen years of high school teaching experience. Helping young adults craft their unique writer's voice is one of my passions. As the mother of a child with autism, I also feel compelled to share our story, connect with fellow parents, and raise awareness for a diagnosis that is still quite misunderstood. Learn more at my business site, KeskesInk.com, and my personal blog, MommyCatharsis.com.

6 thoughts on “Why does my Toddler Hate Me?

    1. Now that I hear you’re experiencing it too, I wonder! Maybe the second boy figures he better latch on to Daddy before the older one does? Big C is attached to both of us, but he’ll typically choose me when given the option. Little C is securing his position in the household maybe. 🙂

      I wonder what it will be like with a third little guy in the mix?


  1. Two of the kids in my daughters class have little brothers, both 2 years old, both 3rd and smallest kids, both have the same childminder who picks them up from the playground after their siblings have been dropped off. Some days both of them are in childcare, some days just one. The childminder is really nice and I’ve seen either or both of them out and about with her having fun.

    One of the toddlers hates leaving his mum. He fuses and cries and clings on and she frets and worries and tries to distract him. Five minutes after she’s gone he’s fine. On the one day a week his dad drops him off he doesn’t appear to notice him go, let alone fuss.

    The other toddler on the other hand, does not want to stay with his mum. Today he was straining to go off with the childminder and crying at his mum who was having to forcibly strap him in the pushchair in order to take him home with her. Last week she told me that he’d been singing his childminders name over and over again on the way to school. She’s also told me that at home he prefers dad, even taking a book of her mid story at bedtime which he’d been happily listening too, because Dad had walked into the room and he would much rather he read it.

    So no, you’re not alone.


    1. Bless you for sharing this story of the unfortunate mum! Misery does love company. 🙂

      On a complete side note, I love the term, “childminder.” I don’t know why, but it sounds so much more disciplinary than “care giver” or “care provider.” Love it!


  2. Haha! I mean, sorry. 😉
    My daughter who is eight could care less about me when Papa’s around. One time not as long ago as you might think she was having a tantrum in Grand Central train station over being denied some treat and Papa came back from the bathroom and started comforting her, thinking she’d been hurt. She asked him, “Can you poop on mama’s head?”


    1. “Can you POOP on mama’s head?” Ba ha ha! That is priceless! Your daughter sounds hilarious. I’m sure you were annoyed at the time, while also laughing inwardly.

      Thank you for sharing. I really needed a “laugh out loud” moment, and this was it.


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