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Not on the same page as DH wrt DD

(37 Posts)
chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 15:24:53

Dh and I have disagreed lately when it comes to handling our toddler.
Today in the car DD got all whiney asking for her dummy. We have agreed she can only have it at sleep time now which she understands but sometimes she gets bored and gets the idea in her head and that's it. She then upped the anti. I suggested DH and I ignore it after initial attempts to explain/console resulted in howling. DH continued to bark 'stop crying! that's enough!' 3 times he told her to 'stop being naughty!'
And made a loud clapping noise with his hands (grrr!!angry)
When i suggested this he said (in an aggressive way) 'i am dealing with it!' I explained why i ignore it (because i recognise the cry and it is usually just tiredness and she will forget why she is crying and give up in a minute, but if he tells her to stop like that this will upset her and we will get round 2)...which is exactly what happened...and round 3, and 4 complete with hyperventilating cry...
I couldn't even take her out of her carseat to give her a cuddle as we were driving sad
He made out all defensively that I was being unfair that i was not allowing him to discipline his own daughter. I said that's not true, I am just discussing a solution with you as her parents and making suggestions based on what i have experienced in hope that we can come to a mutual agreement. I was hoping for a discussion, not a knee jerk reaction and aggressive/defensive response. I wish he would respect that as her mother who spends all day every day with her, I know a thing or two about her personality and I might have some valuable insight. Instead he just immediately shuts me down if i even suggest that perhaps he tried a different tact with DD- such as instead of saying 'don't be naughty!' maybe 'that behaviour is naughty' would be more enabling for her to change that behaviour (big difference in my opinion). Labelling a child as naughty IMO just suggests that is who they are and that can have a profound affect on their self worth. He wouldn't even let me explain my reasons for this. Just cut me off and rolled his eyes.
I have learnt to be really diplomatic when approaching any topic. I don't put him down or tell him he's wrong. I usually start by saying 'hey honey, did you notice that when you reacted like that her crying got louder? I think maybe it might be worth trying x,y and z what don't you think?'
This is usually followed by either complete silence or 'are you serious? Just shush!' Or 'enough Chatty, i think i know what i'm doing here!' (total shut down).

Does anyone else hit these brick walls when it comes to co-parenting? How do you get your point to be heard let alone respected? DH is so defensive about his parenting skills, but he is just so strict! He hasn't ever smacked DD. he adores her but he isn't very gracious or sensitive towards how she might be feeling or the reasons for her behaviour. Makes me sad for DD.
He is also strict with our dogs and i do not agree with how he disciplines them but if i say anything he explodes.
Sorry long post- any suggestions (besides telling me DH is an asshole) welcome. grin

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 15:27:43

Have you discussed all this at times other than when it is happening?

He does sound like he has unrealistic expectations - toddlers cry and it is not out of 'naughtiness'!

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 15:30:04

Hey swish. Yes sometimes when we have put Dd to bed or out having. Coffee i will say 'hey i was reading this article about how children react to x,y and z, and it was suggested that this is the reason and maybe we could approach it like this' and he will go...'why? What we are doing works' (delusional)

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 28-Apr-13 15:31:53

He could probably benefit from a parenting course. You could suggest it for both of you so it's not aimed at him alone.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 15:34:33

Oh bunch that is an awesome idea! have been wanting to do something like that myself. Not sure where i can find one though!
Would think parenting books might also work but in the 7 years we have been together i have never seen DH finish a book let alone a parenting one grin

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 15:36:01

Maybe you are being too 'nicey nicey' - what would happen if you said 'you are being really shitty to dd, she is a great kid but you are way too strict and you are making it not fun for anyone. I want to agree how we parent'?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 28-Apr-13 15:40:59

I've done one, twice (cos I enjoyed it). It was Triple P, and these courses are being pushed a lot where I am. You could ask HV for suggestions, check local library listings, see if nursery have anything (assuming your DC goes). I've heard of 123 Magic as well, you can get their books online and there's an app too.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 15:42:32

Swish- i don't like to fight fire with fire iyswim. I have tried that tactic before but it escalates really quickly. Like when he said she was being a little shit once... I know... Horrible confused
I said 'that wasn't necessary' and if he says 'yeah but...blah blah' i will say 'no, not but! That was really mean. Just because you are stressed out no need to take it out on DD' this resulted in him saying 'OH FOR FUCKS SAKE! CALM DOWN CALM DOWN!' (In a very non calm manner- because i'm obviously the one who needs to calm down? blush)

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 15:44:12

In that case, I think you have a bigger issue, because he is a bit scary when you raise issues with him sad.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 15:49:36

Yes. We've had relationship counselling as we had huge problems communicating. He blamed me for not being honest and open because i was scared to open my mouth and life was easier to just be complacent and not give a hoot He finally accepted he was not very approachable and too hard on me. That was last year. He was very humble for a while. He seems to have conveniently forgotten thousands of pounds worth of fixing!!
When i try to remind him i suppose it's not so convenient.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 16:03:51

Bunch, i can see triple P are only in Glasgow or Ireland over here...and 1,2,3 magic only run seminars in Chicago but will keep looking into it. Thanks for the info xx

Mumsyblouse Sun 28-Apr-13 16:10:03

chatty you seem to be having to spend a lot of time and money trying to fix your husband into being a different kind of a person. You say he was too hard on you, and is too hard on the dogs, and is too hard on your DD. Can you see the pattern there? I think you have to realise that your DH is not really deep down going to change (and is going to continue to be quite aggressive and bullying, your remark about disciplining the dogs also makes me think this is more than the odd harsh word but really that he jumps on everything)- because if he had therapy with you that told him to be nice, he still can't remember, how will a parenting course be any different.

Only you know what he is really like, I do know lovely dads who are a little harsher sometimes than the mums in their handling of the children, but nothing where I would say the children or the mum were scared or intimidated whatsoever. So- is your dd scared to do stuff in case her dad shouts or not? Are you?

It is irritating when someone keeps making 'helpful' suggestions all the time when you are parenting (your examples would irritate me if i was on the receiving end of them) but on the other hand, I am not scaring my children at all.

Usually I would be all for encouraging you to support your husband, parenting goes better if you don't undermine each other, but in this case, I think you know he's actually quite horrid and are trying (by your rather passive remarks) to remind him to be nice, which is failing. Sorry if I have read this wrong.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 16:33:53

No mumsyblouse- you have a point. I suppose he can be a little bit if a bully. And equally i suppose maybe some of my suggestions would be deemed irritating especially to someone who didn't agree but i think they are justified considering DD's behaviour not responding well to shouting or hasty discipline (eg naughty step without sufficient warning or explanation).
but if you can suggest a more constructive way for me to get my point across without being irritating then by all means- i am willing to try anything.

Probably spending a fortune on therapy but not to try to change who DH is. Just to bring out the best in who I know he can be and of course to bring out the best in myself so we can work together more harmoniously. i think when you meet you don't get the full picture. add marriage, dogs, children, a house, a business, mutual friends and life events and you have to learn to adapt to make things work. We are all a work in progress so trying to accept that we don't always get it right the first time (or indeed 2nd or 3rd!) and i feel that as long as he shows some willingness as he has in the past it's worth continuing to try to resolve.

I wouldn't say DD is scared of doing something wrong because of how he reacts. She's a pretty stubborn strong willed little thing. Usually does the opposite of what either of us try to get her to do without batting an eyelid. Although she does do some things knowing she'll get in trouble- just adapts her technique to be more stealth! LOL. I just think DH is equally as strong willed and can't see when his own tactics are not working. He is soooo stubborn and yes, controlling and closed minded. He doesn't empathise just thinks- obey!
he's always talking about reading body language and how he is 2 steps ahead of most people (cocky much?!) so has the upper hand and how life is like a 'game of chess'. Pft! Most of it is bravado and sometimes i wonder how he makes friends. I guess he's like marmite!
He lets his own defensiveness cloud his judgement instead of accepting from the person he chose to share his life with, an ounce of advice. That's where i feel disrespected and that's what's really bothering me.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 16:39:48

I don't think this is about how you get your point across.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 16:44:28

What do you mean swish?

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 16:49:07

I don't think our relationship is too dissimilar from others (or is it?!)
I think there may be a bit of a power struggle going on...
I would just like to know how other people communicate effectively with stubborn people. How do i make him OBEY OBEY OBEY! listen wink

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 28-Apr-13 17:07:44

What I mean is, it isn't about how you tell him, if he doesn't want to listen he wont.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 17:24:52

Yes... Can lead a stubborn mule horse to water but can't make them drink.
Well... If we all took that mantra when it comes to making a marriage work we would all be divorced. Lol
Sometimes i feel like i am trying more- i'm sure he feels the same though so, trying another angle until i have run out of ideas. Two sides to every story i suppose.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sun 28-Apr-13 20:19:10

How much effort would you say your DH is putting into making your marriage work...?

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 21:02:07

Actually a lot... But in other ways. He organises spontaneous and thoughtful surprises. He let's me have a lay in every second day and shares a lot of the housework/cooking (i'm a SAHM) he is a hard working business owner and has really adapted to lifestyle changes of having a family by being less selfish when it comes to social life, pitching in etc...he is more of a romantic than I am. He might be moody/reactive but he is a good man deep down.

Your DH sounds lovely.

Be specific - none of this "I was reading an article x/y/z" roundabout stuff.

Tell him when he didn't ignore dd, she got more upset. If he'd ignored her, she would have been fine. Keep it specific. TBH I think you have to spell it out clearly. Tell him how it affects your dd, tell him how it affects you.

As for calling her a little shit. Words fail me.

You're making excuses for him.

chattychattyboomba Sun 28-Apr-13 21:14:29

Yes creature... It was horrible. But i make no excuses. I told him it was wrong and (this will sound like an excuse) but he didn't say it to her- more to me about her...
Anyway wrt being direct that's exactly what i did, i just didn't want to drip feed too much hence the x,y,z abbreviation on here. I said specifically 'did you see how she got louder when you told her off?'

pointythings Sun 28-Apr-13 22:25:09

It's really difficult. My DH was brought up in a very 1950s American disciplinarian style. I was brought up strictly by modern standards, but much more relaxed. Conflict started when we had DD2 - DH couldn't see that DD1 needed moreof him rather than less of him and was raelly harsh with DD1. It nearly broke us up.

What worked for him was him deciding he was going to leave the disciplining to me (and he did it in a pretty damn sulky way too!) but then he saw that my way actually worked. I'm strict about boundaries, but I don' shout, I don't snap, I don't get in their faces. Calm mummy, calm children. When he saw it worked, he really worked hard to adapt his own style.

For my part, I made a real effort not to criticise his parenting in the heat of the moment but to raise it afterwards (this is HARD!). Discussing events afterwards and agreeing on a strategy really helped. These days there are times when I'm on the verge of losing it and am unreasonable with the girls (teenage daughter plus perimenopause not helping) and he is the one who cools it down. He sounds like he's worth hanging on to. I hope you can make it work between you.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sun 28-Apr-13 22:57:18

Totally agree that you should leave it in heat of moment, also he sounds like a black and white sort of guy who you need to be direct with, not give examples of articles you have read as he will prob react better to the truth. Toddlers are tough egocentric beings - two styles of parenting will be confusing, i may point out that as she gets older his style may make her feel insecure... Have a wilful 5 yo girl who after recent calm discipline told me she agreed with me that she didnt deserve treat. Takes monumental effort to ignore the wailing though, i understand how he gets irritated!

bountyicecream Sun 28-Apr-13 23:03:55

chatty I'm sorry but I have to say that sounds like a classic exchange between me and my H. His discipline was always correct, if I disagreed with him then I was undermining him. So basically it was his way or the high way. When I looked at it our relationship was totally wrong (thanks MN for showing me that) and I can now see that he is emotionally abusive to me and also to our DD occasionally. For example she is 'not allowed' to cry (it is 'babyish' she's 2 hmm ) and is 'naughty' for having a tantrum (again - she's 2). In other words she is not allowed to express herself in a way that he does not approve of.

I am in the process of leaving him. Our parenting styles are too different. I cannot sit and watch him discipline her his way, and he will never, ever change to become more like my way, or even meet in the middle. Every day is a constant battle.

Oh and he is over-harsh with our dog too.

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