My Son Doesn’t Hate Me

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 (,

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.


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 (, 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.”


Father and son on the beach.courtesy of

Father and son on the beach.
courtesy of


31 thoughts on “My Son Doesn’t Hate Me

  1. I once read in a book about parenting boys that up to the age of 6 boys are generally momma’s boys and then they start reaching for their dad…Yiannis is still pretty much glued to me (maybe because I am the stay at home parent as well) but he started enjoying his father as well (he will be 6 in August). N. is also very tender to this kids, he hugs and kisses and says I love you just like you. I think that’s awesome!

  2. huh. That’s interesting. I wasn’t aware of all of that going on in a kids head when they are that young. Of course, I never went through any of that since Mr. T doesn’t have a father – so that’s interesting about the different dynamic that occurs. I’m sure since he’s the baby of the family that he will take longer to go through the phases. I have no logic to support that, I’m just sure of it! Good luck, and just know that he really does love you, it might just take him longer to show you the affection you so totally deserve.

    • It’s cool. I kind of meant for this to be funny. Maybe, it did not come off as such.
      Either way, he is enamored with his mom and happy with me.

      • It was funny… but it also got me thinking! LOL. I hate when that happens! Not having ever gone through that, it was an interesting topic to read about!

        • Well, I am glad it was interesting. I don’t mind making you think at all. In fact, one of my favorite comments from my students came when a girl said – after we had been having a class discussion – Mr. Bernstein you make my head hurt.” Make ’em think!

  3. I have found that my kids actually get sick of me! The youngest requests to be washed up after a meal by Dad and other various things. The older kids want help with homework from him sometimes and bypass me all together. I think because they don’t see him as much so they clamor for any attention they can get!!

    • Are you saying I am a slacker and don’t work enough? Hmmph! Who do you think you are?
      Seriously, one of the nice things about my job is I get home early and get to spend a lot of time with my children.

  4. I’m pretty stoked that I’m a mama, and a stay-at-home one at that – I’m kind of guaranteed to have a mama’s boy. I rub it in to hubby in the nicest way possible regularly. Then he rubs it in that Doodle gets super stoked when Daddy comes home, way more exciting than seeing lame ol’ Mommy all diggity day long, and then we’re even. 🙂 Family dynamics are a wonderful thing, and there’s always going to be something that is all yours with your kids. I love that.

    • Yeah, I am okay with being second choice – normally. We have plenty together and I wrote this post, at least partially, in jest. It’s perfectly fine/normal to have different roles.

  5. My experience is that Elisabeth wants mummy when she’s got daddy and daddy when she’s got mummy. Nice post, made me smile.

    • Glad it made you smile – especially with what is going on with you days.
      My son can be content with me – depends on his needs. There are some times where only mommy will do. That’s okay.

  6. This is great to read, Larry. Even more since I realize how sensitive you are and how open with your feelings! I’d like to ask you something and this is serious curiosity: Are most men like this or is it “just” you? I’m talking about the last couple sentences in your blog:
    “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.”
    This to me seems something any woman could easily have said… But I wouldn’t expect it from a man. And this is not “fun or irony or sarcasm”… it’s just a very nice and loveable feeling of yours I would say is quite encouraged to write in public.

    • I am probably more sensitive than most. However, there are plenty of people who know me and would not necessarily know that. I let different thing out on the blog, Know what I mean?
      Anyway, I meant what I said on the post. I am the second choice. However, I am pretty sure he loves me and it is really fine. I was hoping people would see some humor in this. I normally am striving for laughs in my posts even when there is a serious bent.

  7. Hi,
    This is heavy. It sounds like you are going through some adjustments phases, but I don’t think it has anything to do with SJ’s love for his mother. I have come upon phases in my own life where I thought I was not receiving the love from my husband or a friend that I should be receiving, and I experienced deep pain because of what I thought. I noticed also that what I was thinking made me shut myself away and build a wall around myself. I became demanding, because I didn’t think they were reciprocating the love they had for me. In other words, their way of showing love for me was not meeting my expectations.
    But later I learned that the deficiency, the lack that I was feeling was coming from within myself. The problem was not that another person or others were not loving me, it was that I was unable to receive the love they were offering. I was placing my expectations of how they should love me in the forefront without allowing them to love me back differently.
    I will stop here but again let me say this is heavy. I say heavy, because I believe many people go through these phases and are afraid to face them. Thank you for being courageous.
    Sending good thoughts your way.

  8. You need to stuff your pockets with more ice cream. That will solve your problems pretty dang quick.

    But seriously, I understand on some level. My daughter and my husband are very close. Their personalities just mesh better. I feel bad that I can’t connect with her like he does, but I know that forcing it won’t work. I hope you and your son find a good balance soon!

    • Sounds messy. Also, would you believe he does not like ice cream?
      In reality, we have a nice balance but he feels a certain comfort with his mom. And that’s fine.

  9. It’s funny but my son seems to prefer giving all his attention to his dad! 🙁 I’m the one who spends all day with him, teaches him everything but as soon as his dad is home from work; I’m “invisible”, well, an “invisible/slave”! While he plays with my husband, Nate sends me to grab his toys, food, bottle, orders me to change his diaper, meanwhile, hubby only gets hugs and smiles. But, as soon as he is in pain, or hurts himself, or gets mad at daddy he only wants me! ??? I find it weird! when I reading your post, I realize each boy is different! I think because he’s with me all day, he’s super happy as soon as dad comes over and he knows it’s time to play rough (like you with yours!)

    • That’s cool as it sounds like you are ok with it (as am I).
      Anyway, I definitely get attention from my son. However, when push comes to shove – he wants his mom.

  10. One of my daughters, when she was three, totally went through the “No, I want Dad!” phase. It was really annoying. Although, it did have its perks, like when she needed to be put to bed. “Sorry, Honey. She only wants you. My hands are tied!”

    • Good one. I use that occasionally too. I would get up but he really wants you anyway. Oh well, I’ll just keep eating.

        • I didn’t really mean the post as seriously as some have taken it. I don’t feel rejected necessarily. I am pretty much fine with the situation as is.

  11. Damn, I knew I should have had boys. My youngest is right on target preferring her dad to me. Sometimes it hurts. And I’m grateful she has such a loving, connected relationship with her dad. Both things are true. Thanks for such an honest post.

    • You know I think this came off more serious than I meant it. I have a good relationship with my son. However, when push comes to shove, he will choose his mom. I am okay with that.

  12. I’ve always heard that boys AND girls will feel this way towards their mothers way past that specific age of 3 – 5. We represent the main person who cares for them, knows where the stuff is and generally takes care of the house. It’s hard for me to say how this works personally as I’m divorced and I’m the only one in the house for Jake to look for when he’s upset. But I do know that my relationship with him is stronger than his dad’s but I wouldn’t say its because of the same stuff you’re going through. Gotta give it some time and find something that just you two can do together.

    • The truth is our relationship is good. I did not mean this as seriously as some took it. Anyway, he is closer to his mom in many ways. That’s okay.

  13. Ouch – I know how this feels. On occasion, both of my children can be this way too. You just keep trying, and eventually they let you in.

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