Are you a father struggling to get your young son to connect with you? Well, let's talk about
that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations,
the group Private Practice Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child
and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday, I answer your
parenting questions on Facebook Live at noon, and today is no different. Let's jump into today's
question. I'm a dad with two daughters, age 11 and eight, and a son, age four. I've always felt
really close with my daughters, and I've never had any problem feeling like I had a connection
with them. My son, however, is a different story. He's an all -mommy, all -the -time kind of kid.
I've tried to bond and connect with him, but it feels like I never get anywhere. Whenever he needs
comfort, it's straight to mom. He won't
even let me put him to bed anymore. Not surprisingly, I guess, I get no cooperation from him when
I try to get him to do stuff like brush his teeth, et cetera. It makes me really sad to think that
I may never have a connection with him. Sometimes, I worry that it's always going to be like this.
Do you have any advice for me on how I can make him see dad? Yes, I do. Thank you for your question.
It's actually a very common phenomenon that's been talked about for over a hundred years. Sigmund
Freud was the first person to catch this. He called it the Oedipus Complex. I don't see it exactly
the way he did it. I see it a little differently, but I understand the concept he was trying to
explain. And where do you have this phenomenon of small children, little boys, age three to
six, roughly, who are really bonded with their mom, and they kind of just, yeah, whatever, dad.
And it hurts. I have gone through this myself with my boys. And I didn't have the same issue with
my daughter, interestingly
enough. So what's important to recognize is he's not trying to rebuff you or reject you. He's
just, in his developmental space, trying to figure out what he needs from what parent. He needs
something from mom, and he may need something different from you. He may not be needing the soft,
cuddly, warm, warmth from you. He may need the more fun, rough and tumble energy that maybe he
doesn't get from mom. For example, you know, are you the guy who's more likely to wrestle or throw
a ball or play hide and seek with him? And does he love that attention from you? It's not the same
as stumbling on the couch with your daughters, and I get that, but stay with me, it gets better.
Because the more you have that kind of connection with him, where he's feeling like he can battle,
and it's a safe place to test his merits, his skills, his abilities. Obviously, you gotta let
him win sometimes because you're gonna win every time if you don't. If you wrestle, let him win
sometimes. If he's playing hide and
seek, let him have the hiding space for a little bit longer. Let him think he's really tricked
you. Those kind of things. It's fun, it's exciting. And as he gets to six, seven, eight, he starts
turning that attention and identifying more with you, wanting to hang out with you, wanting
to go to the store with you, wanting, you know, and you may find that he's more responsive to you
than to mom at times, depending on what the relationships are in the house. But please be patient.
This does get better. You probably didn't experience this with your daughters because it's
a different dynamic because of gender roles and gender identities and all that kind of stuff.
But yeah, and you may find that sometimes daughters have this reaction to their mothers, where
they're connecting more with dad than mom sometimes. These things can happen. But rest assured
if you are staying connected. For example, I talked to one person about this a long time ago.
He had a four -year -old son and his four -year -old
son would run through the house as fast as he could and slam into it as far as he can. Just boom.
And that's the connection he had. I'm like, what is this? I'm like, that's your son telling you
that he's connecting with you and bonding with you. And that's that he's needing to have an exciting,
adventurous, you know, kind of pseudo competition with you. And again, it's not that he's trying
to overwhelm you or conquer you. He's just trying to test his skills and see what he can do. And
if you're the safe place where he can do that with, all the better. And then you create that safety
for him for his whole life of being able to connect with you. It takes time. And it does sting a
little bit. When you're playing, having a good time, mommy comes home from wherever she's been
and he just drops you like a sack of potatoes and runs up, mommy, you're here finally. And you
feel like the JV squad, right? You're not. Just take the patience and time to recognize that
he can't be responsible for your
feelings on this. He doesn't have the capability. He doesn't even understand that it's affecting
you this way. And he can't at four or five or six. Just trust me, it will get better as long as you
keep being present with him and keep connecting with him and bonding with him. Don't give up
hope. And also, he will see how affectionate you are with your daughters and how you comfort
them. And he'll eventually start putting the two and two together. Like, oh, I can go to dad for
the hug. Okay, dad can put me to bed too. Okay. It will take some time, but he will get there. I really
believe that. Anyways, that is our question for today. Thank you for your questions. If you
have a parenting question you'd like me to answer, please email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com or direct message us right here on Facebook or on Instagram, YouTube, however you want
to email us, whatever. We'd love your comments. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed
marriage and family therapist. And
I'll see you next Wednesday at noon here on Facebook Live. Thanks guys. Bye -bye.
Is your kid extremely bonded with one parent and not the other? And if you’re not the “parent of choice,” are you worried about never having a connection with your kid?
“I’m a dad with two daughters, ages 11 and 8, and a son age 4. I’ve always felt really close with my daughters, and I’ve never had any problem feeling like I had a connection with them. My son however is a different story. He’s an ‘all mommy, all the time’ kind of kid. I’ve tried to bond and connect with him, but it feels like I never get anywhere. Whenever he needs comfort, it’s straight to Mom. He won’t even let me put him to bed any more. Not surprisingly I guess, I get no cooperation from him when I try to get him to do stuff like brush his teeth, etc. It makes me really sad to think that I may never have a connection with him. Sometimes I worry that it’s always going to be like this. Do you have any advice for me on how I can make him ‘see dad.’”
Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.