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Toddler only wants her mom

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Needing some help. New to this forum, and from what I’ve read you all are very sharing which i appreciate. Got a 3 year old daughter, on the autism spectrum at the low end. Absolute love of my life, love her to pieces. In the last year or so she is sooooo attached to mom. Won’t let me even pick her up in screaming tantrums, won’t let me comfort her. Basically if my wife and i are with my daughter, she only wants her. And it’s really starting to hurt my feelings. I have a great relationship with her, we do daddy daughter Saturday mornings, I’m involved in bed bath dinner routines, work at the home so i see her regularly. I do drop offs at school, picks up, not as though I’m out all week sort of thing. I’m there, all the time.

Recently connected with a doctor who gave us some advice, if mommy leaves and kid has a breakdown, yay, mommy is out but daddy is here. Nothing works. We go to a restaurant with her family, she only wants her, to hold her to sit with her, i can’t get a look in.

clearly affecting the marriage too, as my wife just doesn’t get it. Tried sending her articles like this,


doesn’t help. Wife keeps telling me dont take it personally, but its very hard not to. Tells me to get over my feelings, or i need to get over my **** feelings. Help is needed please!

Topic starter Posted : 21/04/2022 10:00 pm
Illustrious Member


I think if your wife lets you spend more time, just child and you, it may help. I have a 3 year old who throws crazy tantrums about anything. we are separated parents. she is fine and is very clingy with me.

Posted : 22/04/2022 2:50 pm
Honorable Member

Welcome to the forum.  Children go through phases as they grow up.  It sounds as though you could do with some independent advice.  Perhaps you could talk to the NHS good to talk helpline or similar 

Posted : 23/04/2022 12:37 pm
Estimable Member Registered

Hello Banterarmy,

Sorry to read that you are going through a challenging season with your three year old. As previous people have commented, children do go through periods of time when they can be more clingy to one parent than the other. 

Well done for all the things you are doing currently with your daughter to enhance bonding with her - especially  the 1-1 dad and daughter time and being part of the bedtime/bath time routine - that's great so keep it up. You are doing a lot of the right things, and I feel that from reading what you have shared perhaps you and your wife need to have some quality time alone to talk through how you are both feeling about the situation. I agree that it is not the most helpful phrase telling someone to "get over your feelings", but people do say things in the heat of the moment when they may already be tired and feeling the pressure of having a clingy three year old with them. You and your wife are a team, and it is important to keep encouraging and being there for one another where children are involved. 

You mention that your daughter is "on the autism spectrum at the low end". Have you received any help or support or an official diagnosis? I only ask because that maybe a reason why your daughter is particularly focused on one parent at a time. I don't know  - just a thought. 

I would suggest keeping doing all the things you are currently doing with and for your daughter, but perhaps also plan ahead and use a visual timetable for your daughter so she can see what is going to happen at each stage of the day, using pictures. There is a good website called which has these kinds of resources you can print off and use. Perhaps Mum can go out for an hour leaving you at home with your daughter, and hopefully over time, and with a planned activity your daughter will still enjoy this, even with mum not there.

Use the ABC with each other (you and your wife) when you feel stressed: A  - acknowledge how you are feeling and accept it. B  - breathe deeply and count up to 10  C - choose how you are going to respond. (taken from 

Be consistent in how you respond and act around your daughter.

Find a new activity that only you and your daughter can do, and encourage your wife to have a break. 

Are you able to leave your daughter with a trusted family member or friend so that both of you receive a break and in turn it will help your daughter to build her confidence with others. 

I understand it must be hard for you when your daughter always wants her Mum, but it won't last forever. Please keep praising your daughter, encouraging her when she does something new, smile, laugh with her and keep telling her you love her  -  as has already come across from your post.


Wishing you all the best,

Fegans Parent Support.

Posted : 28/04/2022 2:26 pm

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