Seeking advice: Mama’s boy

2 Jul

I titled this post “Seeking advice” because people love to dispense wisdom, and I am in the market for wisdom with my precious Seabass.

Since the very beginning, Seabass has been a mama’s boy.  He only wants Mama to hold him.  He only wants Mama to change his diaper.  He only wants Mama to put him in the carseat.  He only wants to see Mama first thing after he wakes up.  That last one is the biggie.

Because he is amazing and has unrelenting compassion on me, Jake goes in to Seabass first thing in the morning and puts him to bed at night.  The little guppy has mostly grown accustomed to this, with few exceptions.  But if I go in to get him after his nap and Jake is around (say, on a weekend) Jake can’t be anywhere nearby without getting a face-melting glare, a “NO DADDY!!!” or even a slap from Seabass.  It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Now, I know that in a year or so, Seabass will want nothing to do with me.  It will be all Daddy, all the time.  But for now, I’m struggling with how to approach his blatant disrespect for Jake.  It happens all the time, not just when he’s waking up.  We’re tired of tip-toeing around Seabass’ frivolous whims from one moment to the next.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Did anything help?


Victim of an Ill-Tempered Seabass

14 Responses to “Seeking advice: Mama’s boy”

  1. Anonymous July 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Well, if he were a puppy, the other puppies would turn their backs and leave him alone…

  2. Linda Z July 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    If it makes Jake feel any better, Josh used to throw trains at my head at that age… as in hard, wooden Thomas the Tank engines. I used to get so mad and give him time outs. I prayed about it, and God made me realize I had completely lost my sense of humor in the area of child rearing. So the next time he did it I ducked and said, “Wow, you have a really good arm. Do you want to play some baseball?” He got really angry, stomped his foot and said, “You suppose to be mad.” Anyway, it diffused him and he didn’t throw trains anymore, cause he couldn’t get a rise out of me. Not that I condone bad behavior, but sometimes, I think you have to redirect or give a quick “no” and move on. Otherwise, they just know they are annoying you and they’ll keep at it. There are creative ways to get your control and respect back without losing your mind. That doesn’t mean you stop giving them boundaries and disciplining them, but toddlers need a lot of humor and games to learn, too. Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

    I used to play “peek-a-boo” with Josh when I went to get him from a nap… he thought that was hilarious and it put him in a good mood. 🙂 Hope you can figure something out. Like what if Jake put a puppet on his hand and made a silly voice, putting his hand around the door. Maybe Seabass would look forward to a new “visitor” and then associate that with daddy.

  3. Anonymous July 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    if you have been tip-toeing around his frivolous whims then this is likely the result of that – I like the idea of a humor- Jake could respond with a ‘yes seabass’ in response with even more of an intense dramatic maybe funny face glare- take it from there

    • Tio July 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      Ah, hi there Anonymous. Have you ever met a toddler? They act kinda monstrously at times, regarless of how well they are parented. And if you’ve ever spent any extended length of time with a toddler and not tip-toed around them at some point, you’re either (1) a glutton for punishment, (2) a saint, or (3) an idiot.

      • Jaime July 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

        Wait, me too me too. Anonymous, are you a Nazi? Or perhaps just loosely associated with the armed forces? Or try this: have you ever had kids? Just wondering.

      • Anonymous July 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

        Pardon my delayed reply. Sorry if my response wasn’t clear. I was responding to this sentence- “We’re tired of tip-toeing around Seabass’ frivolous whims from one moment to the next.” We have all been there (yes I’ve raised kids and taught kids so I am coming at this from hindsight). I think all parents learn at some point in the process of a baby growing into a child (toddler stage) that what is happening is that some of this is about them testing us to see where the boundaries are. Boundaries make them feel safe. Hope this is now clearer- as mud?

  4. Robin Lee July 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Because, as a general rule, I think Mamas are rightfully preferred because we are so wonderful, I went to great effort to try to avoid what you are experiencing.

    Some may called it a bribe.

    I call it effective.

    In my house, when my daughter was that age and her daddy was working all the time, I saved ice-cream as a daddy-only thing…it would go something like this, “If you are a good girl for daddy when you wake up, you two may have some ice cream.”

    That was the only time (for a while) she had ice cream. I saved one special thing to fill in the time gap that would always land in my favor. Any rudeness was met with the ever-consistent, “That is not how we behave.” Any politeness was met with the treat.

    It didn’t take many “ice cream dates” before our struggles were a thing of the past.

  5. Kristin July 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Benny is in a MAJOR mama phase right now. And I think that’s just what it is, a phase. Sure, we mamas are wonderful and loving and who wouldn’t want to be cuddled, tickled, and nurtured by us 24-7, but in a few years (like you predicted) I’m sure our boys will prefer hanging with their manly dads. I think you guys are doing great. I love Robin’s response and idea of saving a special treat for just daddy time. One of Benny’s favorite weekend activities is walking to Miner’s, getting popcorn, and strolling the tools and nursery; generally an activity reserved for Daddy and Son. I would say the “slap” you mentioned would be going over the line and would warrant some sort of consequence/time-out. I’m trying to give Benny what he needs while involving Eric as much as possible. We call him on the phone at work after nap time and talk about him throughout the day and sometimes have lunch dates together. Those little things help keep us connected.

    • Kelly July 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      I forgot to write in my original comment, about the idea of punishment for the slap. Glad I read this, and it reminded me: Kids have no impulse control. So imho, punishing a child for slapping or pushing you away is like punishing them for being a kid. Instead, why not avoid the situation in the first place. If you know he is likely to slap/swat, take a step back, and use your words. “I can tell you are mad and want to slap me. Slapping isn’t kind, Seabass. We should always be kind to others. How about we hug instead?” If he says no to the hug, then walk away. He never swatted, so no “punishment” would be needed.

      • Jaime July 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

        I appreciate the thought put into this comment, however, I take issue with the statement that “kids have no impulse control.” Does that mean kids can’t stop themselves from following their impulses? Because if so, I happen to know that’s untrue. I could cite dozens of examples, but the main one is that we have areas of the house where Seabass is not allowed to touch things. We swatted his hand twice for getting into it when he was much younger and now, whenever he’s tempted to touch something there, he walks away. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And while I’m down with avoiding difficult situations, I don’t believe mere avoidance is a strong enough tactic for raising children in the long run.

        Oh, and as for your other comment about calling Seabass’ slapping disrespect toward his daddy, it totally IS disrespect and it IS intentional and he DOES have empathy. (He cries if he sees me cry, and the same goes for how he reacts toward his friends.) If it isn’t intentional, why does he do it over and over if we ignore him?

  6. Kelly July 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    I don’t think you should look at it as “disrespect.” I feel like that word implies intention of some kind. Toddlers do not have impulse control, and they do not have empathy. These things need to be taught, and imo, kids learn best by example. Continue, both you AND Jake, to recognize his feelings. Give him the vocabulary for the things he is feeling. “I know you would rather mommy buckle you, but let’s give daddy a turn, while mommy finishes loading the groceries into the trunk.” Or similar. I hope that makes sense.

  7. Marta July 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I think you need to just spend less time with him. I know that sounds like the most absolutely ridiculous suggestion, but if you’re always there than he will always want you. He needs to get used to Daddy being the one who does things like get him up and put him to bed, etc and mommy not being always there otherwise he has no incentive at all. Especially with new baby coming, he may not want to share you and that won’t be good.

    • Anonymous July 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      That sounds really frustrating. Aleah has gone through different Mommy or Daddy stages too. There have been some good suggestions, but these are the two things that have helped us most: 1) Back each other up in front of the child. “That’s not how we talk to Daddy here.” And vice versa. Present a united front… Stick up for each other. 2) Speaking from the experience of the rejected parent, Jake should be careful not to show it bothers him. It gives the child “power” to see their parent sad or react somehow. Going back to #1, stick up for each other instead of Jake for himself. Perhaps you’ve tried this… It’s made a positive difference for us. You are both good parents… It may hurt now but is only a phase… I pray a short one. 🙂

  8. Anonymous July 6, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    When I was having very similar struggles, my friend who has a five year old told me that for her son’s first few years she and her husband alternated who was the primary care giver and who was working outside the home several times. She told me that who ever was home more was the preferred parent, by far. I’ve noticed since then that the more time my husband spends with our little guy the less dramatic he is about wanting mommy. It’s still there, but not as much and not as bad. They make pancakes together on weekends, my husband puts him to bed way more often than I do, etc. That’s all I know.

    I do think you might be setting yourself up for frustration if not failure when you accuse your toddler of being disrespectful. Sure it feels like disrespect to you, but I’m not sure he actually disrespects his dad so much as intensely wants his mom and only knows one way to express it. Toddlers love and want passionately. They sometimes obey or learn consequences. None of that is the same as respect. He will learn how to control his emotions and speak politely, and then when he does things like that it will be disrespect for sure. Not to say you shouldn’t start teaching respect especially by example and expecting manners when possible…

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