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If our 2-year-old insists that only Daddy can put him to bed, should we give in?

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If our 2-year-old insists that only Daddy can put him to bed, should we give in?


It's perfectly normal for a toddler or preschooler to go through phases in which he seems to prefer one parent to another. When this happens, try to keep several things in mind:

  1. It's not a reflection of your child's love for either of you. He doesn't love one parent more than the other. Rather, it's a way for him to experiment with power — an important and recurring issue for toddlers and preschoolers.
  2. It's not a comment on the skills of either of you as parents. It doesn't mean that he's decided that one of you is a "good" parent while the other one is "bad."
  3. His preference will change. In a few weeks he'll probably insist that Mommy is the only one who can do something else with him.
Meanwhile, the best thing is to go with the flow and avoid a power struggle over something that's relatively trivial. It's not worth the battle. Have his father put him to bed for the time being. But if he tries to expand his demands unreasonably, set some limits. ("I know you want Daddy to feed you, but today I'm the one with the food. Daddy can put you to bed later on.")  

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