Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Toddler Rejection During Bed Rest


My 2-year old has always had a connection with his father since he was born. However, "parent favoring" wasn't that big of a problem since we equally took on parenting tasks (e.g., bathing, feeding, picking him up from day care, etc). In the past month things have turned a bit upside down.  I was put on modified bed rest for complications with my current pregnancy which means I can't pick up our son, hang out with him on the floor, lift him into his high chair, give him his bottle, bath him, and so on. My husband became the sole caregiver before and after daycare. More recently, I've tried to do some of the activities like giving him the bottle in the morning or giving him breakfast, but our son screams for his father. I open the door to his room and he says "Daddy Daddy Daddy come." Later it is followed by "Shoo mommy shoo." To add to the change of new baby and mommy on bed rest, we recently bought a house and will be moving soon.  So, there are moving boxes around the house. This past week our son has thrown major tantrums when I've tried to do anything with him. This morning he screamed and cried when my husband went to take a shower and he was playing with his toys (WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM). I've read most things online that note this is a phase.  But, it really? I've looked at my behavior, my husband's, etc to see if there is anything we are doing to feed into the pull/'s just that so much is changing and I imagine our little one doesn't know how to express his concern. Of course a  part of me wishes we didn't impose so much change all at once, but life happens.

I've taken steps of getting him his own baby doll, books about moving/new school, we go to the new house on the weekends so he can run around and get familiar, we are going to transition him into the new school a few hours at a time, etc. I know it's a lot of change.

Any guidance will be appreciated! I feel super defeated and helpless.

Hello DS,
I'm sure you've done nothing wrong. This might have happened anyway. It frequently happens in intact families when there is a two-year-old.
While feeling rejected or shunned by your child doesn't feel very good, it is just a phase and all of you will get through it. The important thing is to avoid taking it personally. It's just that toddlers reject a lot of things -- rules, commands, even their favorite foods at times.
The stress of several transitions going on in his life at the same time will be difficult for him. So, expect to see more tantrums and reactions because the world is unpredictable and upside down for him. I like your plan to let him gradually adjust to some of the changes. That will help, but still he will have reactions that will manifest themselves in less-than-wonderful behavior.
Hopefully in a year things will be settled into a nice, predictable routine again.
James Windell  


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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