AIBU to be annoyed with dh for instigating a punishment & leaving me to deal with the fallout?

(39 Posts)
Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 15:59:59

Bit of background:

Dh & I, although supportive of each other in front of the dds (aged 16 & 14) don't always agree on how to deal with them. He gets massively wound up about "mess & laziness" & is also a bit of a sulker who can be petty (eg dd left the breadboard out this morning, is going to a concert tonight so won't be back tonight until late, but he refused to move it as "she got it out she should put it away"). He has this attitude a lot & if he's annoyed with one of us he's "off" with all of us.

In his defence, I am probably too soft on the dds sometimes, clearing things up myself because it's easier than nagging etc, but I prefer to save battles for the big stuff.

So, over the past couple of days dh has been asking dd2 to clear up the playroom, finally giving her a specific list of things to do and a specific time by which to do it. He made it clear that if she didn't do it there would be consequences. So far, so normal. She hasn't done what he's asked & he has therefore confiscated her laptop.

However, she will only find out about this when she gets home from school and there is only me here to tell her what's happened (dh taking dd1 to the concert mentioned above & won't be back till late). I know how she will react to this & I will bear the brunt of her moaning, stropping and tantrums. I have been ill for the past few days (which is why I'm here not at work) & am annoyed that I've been left to deal with this when I'm not 100% & just want some peace to feel grotty...

I will back him up & will try to ignore her strop, but AIBU to be pissed off at him for putting me in this position & not perhaps deferring the punishment until tomorrow when he can explain it to her & deal with the fallout.

Floggingmolly Tue 19-Mar-13 16:12:24

He's being ridiculous. Maybe you should just give up on the idea of a playroom for teenagers, if he's gong to care how tidy they keep it.
What's in there?

fluckered Tue 19-Mar-13 16:13:11

yab a bit u. if you are both not seen as a team they take the piss. and at their age tbh if it were me, i would threaten further punishment if she were to act stroppy over it. old enough to know consequences - follow through. or else tell her if she is going to act like that please do so in her room.

Pandemoniaa Tue 19-Mar-13 16:19:10

I don't think it is fair to threaten vague consequences in the first place. Your dh should have made it clear to your dd that her failure to clear up the playroom would result in the laptop being confiscated - and confiscated for a realistic and specific time, not just taken away without her knowing when it will return or how she can help towards its return - by clearing up the playroom tonight, for instance. That way, your dd knows what to expect if she doesn't do as asked and hasn't really got any grounds for a strop.

However, if this is a course of action decided by your dh then yes, I think he could carry it out and do so when she is present.

Andro Tue 19-Mar-13 16:22:14

Did he tell her exactly what the consequence would be? If not, then HIBVU - if he did then YAB a bit U (maybe) but I don't like consequences being imposed behind the person's back (and the person imposing the punishment should explain it, the other person then just has to maintain it).

MaryRobinson Tue 19-Mar-13 16:29:13

Your husband sounds like a buffoon, nay, a Buff-ooon.

I guarantee you this is something your adult children will remember and go what on earth were you thinking - or worse.

The "off with one/off with all" is the Mark of a Twat (in short)

I'm sorry that this appears so unsupportive but he needs a serious confrontation about that behaviour.

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 16:32:31

Ok, firstly, I have said I will back him up & wouldn't undermine the punishment, so as far as she's aware we are acting as a team.

Secondly I'm not sure if he was clear on the punishment or not ie whether he said "if you don't do it you will get your laptop taken off you" or whether he said "if you don't do it there will be consequences" - as I've been ill. I've been "absent" so not heard the conversations. And he has told her how she can get it back - by clearing up (with a specific list of what that involves).

She's now home from school & already knew as he had texted her, she has cleared up (with the help of her friend) & has asked for the laptop back. I've told her to talk to her dad as a) I don't know where it is and b) he told me that he wanted to see the room for himself before he would give it back. That didn't go down well, but she hasn't as yet stropped or tantrummed.

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 16:36:04

Thanks Mary, I'm glad it's not just me who feels,like that about his sulking. It does drive me mad. He had an argument with both dds last night, or, in other words lost his temper because they were being annoying / stroppy & has been generally off with me as well today which really pisses me off.

He is incapable of not sweating the small stuff. And as he's not a shouty kind if man, he just sulks instead.

fluckered Tue 19-Mar-13 16:37:12

so thread kinda pointless then?

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 16:39:49

Oh, sorry missed the question about the "playroom" - we call it that because that's what it was when the dds were little. It's more of a teenage sitting room now, with sofas, TV, DVD, etc.

Dd2 does tend to hog it and make it messy so dd1 doesn't like going in there (& they don't have a great relationship at the moment) so it is a bit of a bone of contention in the house.

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 16:41:34

Well what I thought would happen hasn't, but the general question still stands - should a parent instigate a punishment that they won't be there to enforce / deal with the fallout?

squeakytoy Tue 19-Mar-13 16:42:31

If she has tidied it up, text him, tell him, and then ask him where her laptop is. It sounds quite simple to me.

squeakytoy Tue 19-Mar-13 16:44:02

"should a parent instigate a punishment that they won't be there to enforce / deal with the fallout?"

If they live as a couple in the same house, and are both supposedly parenting the child of course they should!

If teens know that they can play one off against the other, then they will take full advantage of it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 19-Mar-13 16:47:44

I think is's mildly annoying to have to do so, butit strikes me that you are more worried about upsetting her than perhaps you should be.

maddening Tue 19-Mar-13 16:48:03

I think you need to be firm with messy dd - as she is getting the teen room all to herself by being messy which isn't fair.

fluckered Tue 19-Mar-13 16:48:05

exactly what squeaktoy said.

TheCraicDealer Tue 19-Mar-13 16:52:08

This sounds very like my own family, and (I never thought I'd say this) but I feel sorry for your DH. Living with a family of women can be hard, especially when it feels like they're ganging up on you. My Dad calls my mum, sister and I, "The Coven" when he feels like that's happening not always without foundation. I get where you're coming from with the pettiness though, I wish my mum would crack down on that.

Anyway. Your DD needs to learn that she has to treat all the rooms in your house, especially those which are communal, with respect. If she shares it with her sister and her hogging/messing it up is contributing to them not getting along, then it's a battle worth having in my view.

Lueji Tue 19-Mar-13 16:53:46

a) I don't know where it is and b) he told me that he wanted to see the room for himself before he would give it back.

That's not really a team, is it?

I'd be very cross with him and would refuse to play along next time. Unless a) I knew where the confiscated item was and I had the authority to both apply and remove the punishment.
Otherwise, he's undermining your authority.

GreatUncleEddie Tue 19-Mar-13 16:55:21

I don't think he is out of line on this one. The punishment was due when it was due, he didn't choose to be out deliberately. So yes, you had to cop for it.

Sounds like the real issue is his overreaction and "sweating the small stuff". DH used to be like this when our kids were small. He is miles better now he is on anti-depressants. I had no idea back then that he was depressed, thought he was just grumpy and stressed. Now I'm sure he was actually depressed.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 19-Mar-13 16:57:20


My dad's depression started like that, too.

cory Tue 19-Mar-13 17:10:20

"I've told her to talk to her dad as a) I don't know where it is and b) he told me that he wanted to see the room for himself before he would give it back."

That is very disrespectful of you: "your mother isn't capable of making a parenting decision so you will have to wait until I, the capable one, come home".

Otoh your dd needs to be firmly disciplined for stropping.

Otoh the "I won't put the breadboard away because somebody else got it out" models a dreadful attitude of unhelpfulness and surliness. If she copies that and takes it out into RL, it will hamper her terribly in the workplace.

Your dh needs to reflect that he is not only the dealer out of discipline: his most important job is as a model of pleasant and attractive manners. If she doesn't see both her parents modelling those she is unlikely to pick them up.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 19-Mar-13 17:14:55


Yes, actually you are right about b) - that is excessively authoritarian

cory Tue 19-Mar-13 17:21:57

It's not just authoritarian; the breadboard thing is petty and ungenerous and everything you don't want your teenager to grow up into. Imagine if she mimics that attitude in a work placement in a few years time and tells the boss she won't sort out the paperwork/tidy up the office/carry the files because it wasn't her who got them out in the first place: she's never going to get a job offer, is she?

Otoh, nothing wrong with firm discipline for disobedience and failing to respect other people's living space- she deserved picking up on that.

bangwhizz Tue 19-Mar-13 17:56:37

I think its fair enough to be honest.He gave her fair warning of what she had to do and she didn't do it.
Are you frightened of disciplining your kids?

maddening Tue 19-Mar-13 18:10:57

You should have told her that it was both of you confiscating it and that she had to tidy the room straight away.

maddening Tue 19-Mar-13 18:13:16

Sorry meant to add once she has done it he should tell you where it is - you have the same authority - agree with the pps on that.

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 18:14:52

Well, I've found the laptop & given it back to her, after checking she'd tidied the room. Dh is now uncontactable, so I made the decision that as he'd told her she could have the laptop back when she'd tidied the room (he said this in a text and didnt say anything about him having to inspect it) then she had kept her side of the deal.

No doubt I will be "punished" for this when dh finds out, by him sulking with me. I do really worry about him alienating himself from the dd's with his behaviour, but he can't seem to get past his annoyance at them being lazy and messy and thoughtless. Which they are, but no more than other teens IMO.

Floralnomad Tue 19-Mar-13 18:16:20

TBH if you're a team then you should be able to check that the room is tidy and then give the laptop back if it is . I would think ,particularly with daughters that you will give them the impression that the man is in charge ,IMO not a positive image to present.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 19-Mar-13 18:24:08

"should a parent instigate a punishment that they won't be there to enforce / deal with the fallout? "

Yes. Cos it doesn't matter which one of you dishes out the punishment, it is from both of you and so either of you can oversee it.

if one of you was always giving out punishments with the intention of not being there, because they want to make the other parent the bad guy and avoid dealing with discipline, that's a problem. But it doesn't sound like that's what's going on here.

re the sulking - that would piss me right off. I HATE sulkers. It's such manipulative behaviour.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 19-Mar-13 18:25:38


fair enough. She met the criteria for getting the laptop back and so she got it back.

His sulking is another issue altogether. Bloody childish sod. I have bugger all respect for sulkers. I feel my lip curling as I look at them.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 19-Mar-13 18:29:11


It's worrying that such a small thing should leave you feeling you have to check with him, at risk of him sulking. How long has he been like this?

mynewpassion Tue 19-Mar-13 18:36:00

The sulking is a problem.

However, I don't see any problems with teaching children and especially teenagers cleanliness and giving them chores to do and if they don't do them, there will be consequences. Its getting them ready for the "adult world".

You tidying up after them is not good either. They will eventually live on their own and have a family. You can't always be there to clean after them.

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 19:18:47

I definitely don't think it's wrong to expect children and teens to clean up after themselves and do have that expectation of the dds. However, I also don't think it's worth "falling out" with someone over a glass left in a room.

I have talked to dh about this and asked him to not get so wound up about these minor things. The result is that he doesn't get wound up as often, but he just ignores things that he hasn't left out / on etc. For example, dd2 often leaves the light on in the playroom when she leaves it to go to bed. She shouldn't and should remember to turn it off I do agree. However, dh's response is to leave it on all night, even if he has been the last person to go to bed. When I asked him about this he said "well you told me not to go on about it to her, so I don't. But I didn't turn it on, so why should I turn it off?"

My attitude in the house is to just tidy things up if they're not in the right place (within reason), but dh seems to have taken the general stance of "I didn't put it there so I'm not moving it"

So now I have 3 people ignoring things in the house confused

Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 19:20:10

To be fair to dh he is concerned that they will grow up selfish & incapable of looking after themselves & this is his way of dealing with it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 19-Mar-13 19:25:43

He should be more concerned that they'll grow up to be sulkers, like him, because he shows them its a way to get what you want! grin

Lueji Tue 19-Mar-13 19:27:55

Tbh, I think you both need to agree on strategy regarding your dc.
You can easily decide what kind of punishments to give and what rules you both expect to be followed.
And tell the dc too!

I suspect it will be easier for everyone.

And agree will ALL that sulking is not on. wink

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 19-Mar-13 19:35:06

I wouldnt wait two days for my toddler to tidy up, so i certainly would not tolerate a teenager not bothering.

United front is something we fail at in this house where i am the resident bad cop, it fucking hurts. You need to be on the same page as if not, the soft one isnt respected and the strict one isnt liked. sad

mathanxiety Tue 19-Mar-13 19:39:20

Your H is behaving like a petulant pre-teen child.

The two of you need to sit down and talk about your parenting approach. If he won't do this at home in a reasonable way then you should go to Relate and hammer out an agreement there.

This is an important issue. The problem is him thinking Me is We and the lack of communication that goes with taking someone else for granted.

One day soon there will only be you and H left facing each other across the kitchen table and you will need to like each other when that time comes.

mathanxiety Tue 19-Mar-13 19:40:43

The sulking is the thing that will leave you not really liking him very much. He needs to stop that.

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