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My daughter does not feel close to her father, what do I do?

Q: I have a 3 years 3 months old daughter. I have recently shifted to Bahrain to join my husband. My husband is a very reserved person and does not know how to be playful with kids. For the first 1.5 years, my daughter hardly went to him. Even my husband didn't make much effort to be any close to her. I took it as normal. Since I was feeding my daughter and taking care of all her things, I assumed she would be closer to me than her father. When she was 1.5, he took up a job in Bahrain and I stayed in Bangalore. She is now very active and loves to play, talk and loves going to school. Even without my putting in much effort, she herself will take books and practice writing alphabets and numbers. When she had a Tamilian maid, she used to speak Tamil and when she got a Kannada maid, she started speaking Kannada. She is fluent in English and Malayalam (our native language). In short, I have never had problems with her. She has been very stubborn sometimes, but that I take it as usual, the way kids are stubborn for few things. My only area of concern was her health during all this while. She has atopic dermatits and also had allergy in Bangalore. I have pampered her enough and assume to have managed the dual role of father and mother. At the same time I have tried to bridge the gap between the father and daughter while he was away. I used to get her gifts saying her father has send it so much so that she started looking forward to his calls and meeting him. Now we are all together but I find that she keeps clinging on to me for everything. She wants me to do everything for her. While she is doing her potty, also I should be there with her. She wants me only to read bedtime stories and creates a ruckus if my husband tries to get her from the bed in the morning. I am not able to understand what is wrong? Is she feeling insecure? She was very close to my sister, nephew, brother-in-law etc. is she missing them? Or is she uncomfortable with me giving time to my husband also other than her, which she is not used to. How do I help my daughter to cope with these changes?

A:Even in the way you have worded your questions, it is clear that you can guess the likely answers. I think your daughter must be missing the extended family and you are the only familiar person from her earlier environment. She will gradually get over not having members of your family. Her father should take an interest in her and befriend her, being gentle in the steps that he takes. In our culture, some men are brought up to think that child rearing is a woman's job and they miss out on all the joy of parenting. When you go out and meet other families you will see that both parents can have an active role in bringing up their children. Your daughter seems to be doing well. Continue to support her self confidence in every way. Coping with change will happen when she is sure of the affection of her parents.


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