SJ is six years old. And he doesn’t hate me. However, he does have a limited need for me. This is not paranoia, woe is me sort of stuff either.
Have you ever heard of the Oedipus Complex? Well, according to Encyclopedia Britannica (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/425451/Oedipus-complex),
Oedipus Complex is a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process.
The definition goes on to note that the complex takes place in children ages 3-5.
I get this. And not just because I spent a couple of semesters majoring in Psychology. It makes sense. Children look up to their parents, and they may be especially intrigued by the parent of the opposite sex.
In addition, most kids go through a phase where they are closer with their mother. However, I repeat, SJ is six years old. He should be beyond this stuff. He should judge my wife and me on our own merits. I am not asking, nor do I want, him to pick me as his favorite. I want him and BR to feel comfortable, at ease, and loved in all ways with and by my wife and me.
Sure, moms tend to be more sensitive and understanding. Children recognize at an early age that moms are communicative, softer, gentler, and loving. Men tend to be more physical, rough and tumble, and playful. These are the stereotypes at least.
In many ways, the stereotypes ring true in our home. My wife is the one who will get the boys to talk. I don’t have the patience for this and figure they will tell me when they are ready. On the other hand, my wife is not at all the rough and tumble type. “Spin me! Throw me!” are the most consistent things my children say to me. They love when I throw them around, and I love to hear them laugh like only children can laugh. It makes me smile just writing that.
However, unlike the stereotype, I offer my children a great deal of affection. I hug them, kiss them, and say “I love you,” all the time.
SJ LIKES ME TOO?
Yet, SJ has limited use for me. He will choose his mother nine times out of ten. He instructs BR, “You go with daddy and I’ll go with mommy.” In fact on our hike the other day (https://larrydbernstein.com/a-family-hike/), he directed me to go ahead and catch up to BR and he and mommy would walk together.
When SJ is upset, he goes to his room, shuts the door, and pulls the blanket over his head and cries louder than a 9-month-old who is teething. When I go to comfort him, he informs me, “I want mommy.” I try to reason with him but it rarely works.
So, my 6-year-old SJ is a momma’s boy. He loves his mom. That’s cool. I just wish he would give his affection to his dad too. I could use more than a begrudgingly, “love you, too.”