or is DH re: disciplining our 4yr old DS??

(30 Posts)
limetictacs Tue 09-Apr-13 13:53:11

So my DH comes home from work at lunchtimes, by which point I've been dealing with our almost 4 yr old all morning. I am heavily pregnant and suffering badly with SPD so that's hard enough, but DS is going through a difficult stage at the moment and is being very difficult and whiny.

Today DH came home as usual and DS had been refusing to eat his lunch; DH immediately started acting exasperated (as if he'd been dealing with DS all day). He threatened DS with not being allowed to go round to his grandparents this afternoon if he didn't eat his lunch.
I'd already been saying to DS that he wouldn't been allowed a jelly if he didn't eat lunch but DH goes straight in there not considering that DS going to grandparents is the only rest I would have had and if he didn't eat his lunch (as he often doesn't anyway) I would end up having to carry through the threat. When I pointed this out DH got pissed off with me and says I'm always undermining him or words to that effect. However he often threatens with big things first (e.g. not going to grandparents) which tend to make life difficult whereas I will threaten something smaller (not getting a jelly) that has the same effect without making our lives difficult as well.

Anyway he's now gone back to work after making lunchtime very stressful and DS has not eaten his lunch as I knew would happen. AIBU here or is DH?? I do expect DH to come back from work and help me out, I also understand that DS is being especially difficult, but acting fed up immediately as if he's dealt with it all day pisses me off. Sorry for the long rant if you've managed to read this far.

limetictacs Tue 09-Apr-13 16:26:46

Thanks everyone. MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel yes I did have a moan when he got home and I know he was trying to help but it just didn't. DS has always been fairly fussy when it comes to food. I'm pretty lenient with him but I stick to no desserts until he's eaten the healthy stuff which is why he wasn't getting his jelly. I think DH thought I was getting annoyed that DS wasn't eating his lunch but the issue was that he had been moaning because he wanted a jelly first (hence why I threatened no jelly rather than no going to grandparents house-ugh!).
shewhowines might have to try your idea then we can avoid the specific threats, although DS doesn't know what consequence means yet so may have to explain that first.

I'm gonna sit down with DH tonight to discuss it but he has said he thinks I'm to lenient which I'm really not. If I say no I mean no and if I threaten something I follow it through which is why it's frustrating when DH threatens bigger things or things that will affect us as well. I also know, however, when to let little things slide for an easy life or when to be a bit softer on DS. I.e. last night DS wanted DH to carry him to the bathroom to get his teeth brushed. He'd been poorly for a couple of days and was running a slight temperature so on that occasion I would have just given in but DH didn't and it ended up with a massive tantrum that could've otherwise been avoided. I do try not to say if I disagree with DH in front of DS as then he would play us off against each other but sometimes you can't help but let it be known you don't agree. It's usually these times that cause arguments and DH thinks I'm undermining him.

Really I guess I just expect him to be a bit more patient considering he's been out of the house all day and also to think before he threatens something. He is not a bad dad and I don't mean to make him sound that way- it's just he's not quite on the same page as me regarding the discipline situation at the moment. Also I think he gets stressed seeing me getting stressed but at the end of the day that doesn't really help. sad Hopefully we'll sort something tonight. Thanks everyone.

SybilRamkin Tue 09-Apr-13 17:15:29

"I do try not to say if I disagree with DH in front of DS as then he would play us off against each other but sometimes you can't help but let it be known you don't agree"

I'm not surprised this leads to arguments - surely anyone would be able to avoid showing a 4-year-old DS that they disagree with his father in front of him. Whether or not you agree with his parenting, or indeed he with yours, is a matter for you to discuss privately. One parent should never undermine the other in front of the child, and you need to have a serious discussion with your DH rather than passively-aggressively showing that you disagree with him in front of your DS. Don't let your marital arguments spill over to affect your DS.

limetictacs Tue 09-Apr-13 17:28:31

SybilRamkin I'm not sure if you meant that to be helpful but you come across quite condescending and it seems you have leapt to a lot of conclusions. Perhaps it is just your style of writing which seems quite blunt and derisive, regardless, I do not undermine DH in front of DS.

We never discuss issues regarding DS in front of him, however I do believe children pick up on certain things. At the end of the day we are all human and there are occasions where a child will see their parents disagree (I would like to stress we do not raise our voices or swear) or experience negative emotions. Far from being a bad thing I think this is healthy and actually allows children to experience and understand relationships.

Unfortunately DH and I haven't been on the same page regarding this area however we generally agree on most things and fundamentally we agree on this issue re discipline however we need to discuss ways to implement it properly.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 18:59:21

Maybe when you have your chat you could suggest that you let your DH know before be gets in, or as soon as he gets in, if there heave been any problems that day.

So if you have already got to the stage by lunchtime that you have had to threaten no jelly, then it is also your part of the deal to make sure that your DH knows that before he has time with ds. Then his part of the deal could be that he will always back you up on whatever you have said (even if he disagrees - that can be discussed later) so that you are providing a united front, which in turn helps your ds to feel more secure because he will know where he stands.

Hopasholic Tue 09-Apr-13 20:35:01

The book 'toddler taming' was invaluable to me when mine were little. Get your DH to read it!

My DS was also a nightmare re food, at that age the reverse psychology approach worked a treat. 'I bet you can't eat that sandwich all up'

(I know you didn't ask for advice about your son and his eating habits! but I kinda used these techniques to teach my DH how to deal with DS without DH realising it grin)

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