This episode began out of a query that I see repeated endlessly in online parenting groups: “My child has a really strong preference for me. They get on great with the other parent (usually the father, in a heterosexual relationship) when I’m not around, but when I’m there it’s all “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” This is destroying my partner; how can we get through this stage?”
So that’s where I began the research on this question, and it led me down quite a rabbit hole – I’d never thought too much about whether mothers and fathers fulfill unique roles in a child’s development and while it isn’t necessarily as prescriptive as “the mother provides… and the father provides… ,” in many families these roles do occur and this helps to explain why children prefer one parent over another. (we also touch on how this plays out in families where both parents are of the same gender).
My guest for this episode is Dr. Diana Coyl-Shepheard, Professor at California State University Chico, whose research focuses on children’s social and emotional development and relationships with their fathers.
And on the other items that are discussed in this episode:
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