Ask AF: Attachment to One Parent

What should you do when your child has a strong preference for one parent? The AF expert explains.

Q: The two-year-old we’ve adopted lived with her birth mother, and had never been around men before. She wants nothing to do with my husband, which hurts him greatly. It has been seven weeks now, and her strong aversion has been hard on everyone in the family. What do you suggest?

A: Seven weeks is a very short time for a child experiencing such a major transition. She is undoubtedly overwhelmed and scared after losing her birth mother. Instead of taking her attachment to one parent personally, become detectives. What overwhelms your daughter? What triggers her fear? Do less of that. What makes her respond positively? Do more of that. Relax and give it time. You may also want to consult a professional experienced in loss and trauma to help all of you adjust.

Author Shelly Roy with her adult son, 19 years after adoption

“On Parenting from Afar”