'My wife is jealous of my teen daughter'


A father wrote to Slate’s Dear Prudence that his wife, who works outside the home, is ‘upset and constantly sad’ of the strong bond he has formed with their 20-month-old son. The man who works from home, spends more time with child and inevitably the child prefers him. His efforts of taking over most of the household chores to give mother and son time to bond have not yielded positive results-leaving the mother frustrated.

For a long time new fathers were accused of being jealous when the mother’s attention shifted from them to the new baby. Put in a similar position women are not immune to feelings of jealousy.

One mother of a 15-year-old daughter wrote to SteadyHealth: “I am jealous of my daughter and my husband’s relationship. They do everything together. I feel isolated and don`t know what to do.”

The Mirror reports that in one extreme case a mother was so jealousy of the affection her husband showed her daughter that she contemplated committing suicide.

Zoe Richards had this to say about these feelings: “Like any mum, I was ¬overwhelmed with love for Ellie when she was born but just two years later I had become insanely jealous of her. Rob, my husband, had fallen in love with our ¬daughter. It sounds crazy, I know, but to me it seemed just as if they were having an ¬affair. It was difficult to acknowledge but I hated Ellie. I was so depressed that I felt as if she, my own flesh and blood, was another female competing for Rob’s affection.”

Zoe Richards suicidal thoughts were triggered when depressed, she saw Rob and Ellie, then five, playing with toys. Fortunately, after almost two decades of jealousy towards her daughter Zoe was able to put things into perspective and mended her relationship with her daughter. She started the website makealemonadelife.com

But then, why are a number of mothers possessed with such debilitating feelings of jealousy when their child bonds with the father? An article in CNN, gives the following reasons:

  1. Although women appreciate that more men are getting involved in child-rearing they do not want fathers to take over. Women do not want “to be pushed off that throne of being Mommy.”
  2. Although times have changed women are bombarded with the message that mothers should do most of the childcare-which most take to heart.
  3. Women assume that they are caretakers and feel guilty for the time they spend away from their children and are jealous when the fathers becomes central to the babies’ life as mothers are.
  4. A mother may feel hurt when a father is ‘daddy worshipped” by a child and may conclude that the father is loved more.
  5. A stay-at-home mum may feel ‘outshined’ when a husband who is doing well at work and who does well with the kids too.

The article offers the following advice to those mothers consumed by jealous

  1. Back off and stop being judgmental of your mate otherwise he or she will shy away from helping.
  2. Let go, trust your mate is a good parent.
  3. Take turns in doing fun stuff with the kids.
  4. Appreciate your mate’s good abilities as a parent.

In my humble opinion if you are jealousy of the wonderful relationship your partner has with your child it is you who has a problem and not your partner or child. It may be time to take a step back and do a thorough self-examination to try to pinpoint what triggered that way of thinking. Understand the parenting dynamics at play. Fix what needs to be fixed, get rid of the jealousy and enjoy co-parenting your child.

Have you ever felt jealous of your partner's relationship with your child? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your story. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.

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