Why Does My Kid Hate Me?

I know that this title is pretty clickbaity – for that, I apologise. The truth is that Toddler L doesn’t hate me, of course she doesn’t. I’d even wager a reasonable amount of money that she actually loves me.

So what’s with the title? What are you banging on about now, Dave?

Well, I’ll admit that sometimes it *feels* like she hates me. OK, maybe not “hate” as that’s a pretty strong word – more of an indifference.

At times, it seems like she would prefer to be around anybody but me. I’m firmly relegated to the back of her popularity queue. I’m the loser kid at school, failing time and time again to join the in crowd. I’m left to watch on from the sidelines as she shows interest, affection and a preference for everyone else.

This isn’t all of the time though. It only happens when someone else is around. As a stay-at-home dad, when it’s just me and her – like it is for roughly 12 hours a day, 5 days a week – things are good. She relies on me, she wants me to play, she hugs me, she sits on my lap to watch TV etc. She appears to like me.

However, Toddler L is a fickle kid. As soon as the missus walks through the door at 6.15pm, things change. I’ve gone from the favourite to the bookie’s 10,000/1 outsider. Considering that I provided 50% of my genes to make her, I barely get 1% attention, let alone the 50% my ‘deposit’ justifies.

She only wants to be held by the missus, she only wants to cuddle her, she only wants to play with her and she only wants to be with her. In fact, I may as well not even be around as I just make things worse. If I try to interact or get involved, my advances are met with a firm “no”, a push away or a whinge of objection. Rejected.

The same goes for when we see friends or family – I’m forgotten about until she needs something. Hell, she even prefers to ditch me in order to hang out with the instructors at both Water Babies and Little Kickers. I ask her to do something at one of these classes – kick a ball or hold on to the side – and she ignores me. The instructor asks the same thing and she only bloody does it.

Now I know I probably sound jealous, too sensitive and a bit stupid. However, in my defence, there’s only so many times you can be treated as an outcast before you start taking it personally. Particularly when you’re the main carer and provider for the person who’s doing the ostracising.

toddler punching - why does my kid hate me

The parenting guilt kicks in. Does she hate me because of something I’ve done? Or not done? Am I too harsh on her? Do I shout too much? Am I not fun enough? Do I ignore her too often? Do I smell? Did she see me sneakily eat chocolate in the kitchen and now holds a grudge? All of the above?

The likelihood though is that she’s probably just used to me. I’m not a novelty. I’m the consistency in her hour, day, week and month. Whether I like it or not, she’s learnt that I’m the one thing that won’t change. I’m there when she wakes up, when she goes to bed, when she needs food, when she wants CBeebies on, when we go to a toddler class, when we take the dog for a walk, when a crappy nappy needs changing.

Other people come and go, including the missus. Everyone else is of more interest to her because they aren’t around all of the time. Despite being just 23 months old, Toddler L is already guilty of something most adults are also guilty of – taking things for granted.

Does your kid(s) have a favourite? Do they act differently with you compared to your partner / friends / family? Does your kid ‘hate’ you? How do you cope with feelings of rejection? Let me know below!

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