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Why is my child not so attached to me?

Q: My daughter who is 2.3 years old does not feel attached to me at all. I started working when she was 1.5 years old. Even though she meets my in-laws or my parents after a long time she gets attached to them but this rarely happens in my case. She never seems to miss me. This used to happen even when I was not working. I am not very strict with her but I am firm and make sure that she has some good habits like brushing her teeth and washing her hands before meals, etc. But once my in-laws come she does not even want me to touch her and just ignores me completely. I am very stressed with this behaviour of hers. Where am I going wrong in dealing with her?

A:Attachment is a two way process. If you express your affection, your child will reciprocate, under normal circumstances. In your situation, you have been working for long hours and away from home, when your child has been with other caregivers. It is natural for the child to get fond of whoever gives her nurturance and time. As a working mother, you are probably even more anxious that the child should do all the right things, like brushing her teeth on time, etc. Perhaps, you should spend the time you have talking to her, listening to her and playing with her. Use a light touch in all your dealings with your child. Make a game of something and laugh it off when an expected task is not done. She is only 2 years old, not 20. Children often love to be with their grandparents, who may indulge her. Don't feel that you have to compete with them. Be glad that your child has so many people with whom she can form attachments. If you put more enjoyment into your interactions with her, you will find it more rewarding for yourself and the child. Hug and cuddle your child and relax the rules of being a dutiful mother. Tenderness gives much better results than toughness in all matters of child rearing especially in the early years.

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