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DS now does not do anything I tell him to when DH around...

(14 Posts)
AliGrylls Tue 16-Aug-11 18:00:00

DH and I are in the middle of an argument which has been brewing on and off for months. Basically, DS1 is going through a petulent phase in his life (he is 2 yrs and 2 months), and the only person he ever listens to when we are both around is DH.

My basic view of all bad behaviour is to ignore it as much as possible - particularly when it comes to tea- time tantrums. My tactics always work when DH is not around. Anyway, whenever I try to deal with things in my way and DH is there he will continually reward DS1's behaviour with attention, asking questions like, "what's the matter?", "why aren't you eating?". This sometimes goes on for ages.

Recently mealtimes have become a bit of a joke because whenever we sit down DS refuses to eat. He starts to cry and then says "daddy help me" until DH finally caves and offers to help him (it always works), and then he will eventually calm down and eat or not depending on how he is feeling.

Today, DH cooking dinner for us, I am feeding DS2, DS1 starts his usual pushing food away, refusing to eat. After I finish feeding DS2 I say to DS1 "let mummy help you". He throws his fork at me and says "no, daddy help me". I explain "no daddy is doing something else" and he bursts into tears. Finally, I crack and say "okay, you have finished then. No dinner". DH then comes and says "I will help you", and I am left thinking - I can't even discipline him anymore.

I am starting to feel like DS1 never does anything I tell him / want him to do because he knows he will always get it from DH.

I guess I need to know if my behaviour is reasonable. How do other people manage to resolve disputes like this (where you basically have different views on how to do things)? I am finding it really frustrating, particularly when I know that when DH is not around DS is really responsive to the way I discipline and relate to him. Should I continue this argument or for the sake of marital harmony just let DH have his way?

AIBU for thinking DH should back me up a bit and not interfere with

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 16-Aug-11 18:12:23

You and DH have to find a way you agree on, you absolutely must present a united front.

I think your approach is better, although I wouldn't say "No dinner", I would explain to DS1 that he eats what is in front of him, or there will be nothing else. Say no more, leave him sitting there.

Cocoflower Tue 16-Aug-11 18:16:31

I think if your method of ignoring the bad behaviour has been proven to work then it is not fair for DH undermines this.

It does seem a bit "good cop" "bad cop" with Dh casting himself in the good cop role.

Your DH Is causing a lot of friction.

Who is the main caregiver? Are you a SAHM?

SenoritaViva Tue 16-Aug-11 18:17:14

You need to find a compromise or agree a strategy. It's really important your DH sees that he has a say in parenting 'style' although yours sounds better suited for this particular situation.

In the end your DH will get fed up with always being needed, he's making a rod for his own back to be honest.

stripeywoollenhat Tue 16-Aug-11 18:17:31

euphemia is right - the effect of your dh's relenting is to undermine your authority, even though i'm sure that's not his intention.

LadyThumb Tue 16-Aug-11 18:18:23

He's learned to 'divide & conquer' !! I think you must have a stern word with DH and agree on a strategy or else you are in for a fun few years.

AliGrylls Tue 16-Aug-11 18:28:45

I am the main caregiver and SAHM. However, DH works from home and helps quite a lot. We have all most of our meals together which makes it harder. I am feeling a bit sad that the one thing I thought I was really good at doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment. DS1 is just all over daddy. I have tried to talk to DH about it but he just keeps on saying it is a phase DS1 is going through. I am not sure if I have said to him that it becomes more of a phase if we play along with him.

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 16-Aug-11 18:36:35

Phase, schmase, it's learned behaviour and it's inappropriate. And DH should absolutely not undermine you in front of the kids!

DH and I have an agreement that if one of us says something or agrees to something with DD that we find odd or disagree with, the time to question it is when DD is not there.

shewhowines Tue 16-Aug-11 19:03:32

Agree who is in charge of each meal and take it in turns backing each other up. You can see then which strategies are most effective and then agree a permanent strategy.

canyou Tue 16-Aug-11 19:12:07

How old is DC2? It could be DS way of dealing with a new baby esp if you are bf and holding the new baby a lot, ie you have dc2 Mummy so I get Daddy,
But you both need to establish some ground rules and expectations of what is acceptable at the meal table.

squeakytoy Tue 16-Aug-11 19:18:20

He is at the age when he has learnt it is possible to play you off against each other.. he is also probably a little jealous of the attention a younger sibling is getting..

choclatelickurs Tue 16-Aug-11 19:20:22

i would never ignore bad behaviour - else how will the kid be made aware its unacceptable?

sounds like kid1 is trying to get the attention you are giving to kid2, poor thing.

AliGrylls Tue 16-Aug-11 19:27:25

ds2 is 9 months. He is good with ds2. Not sure if he is particularly jealous, although maybe he is a little.

choc, I work on the basis that if a child is seeking attention by behaving badly and you give it to them they won't stop behaving badly, but if you don't give them attention they will get bored. Conversely, I always try and reward good behaviour.

squeakytoy Tue 16-Aug-11 19:37:39

I would disagree there, if a child is seeking attention by behaving badly, I believe in giving them the sort of attention they DONT like.. ie a punishment. They then know that there are consequences for bad behaviour.

Normal "good" behaviour needs no reward.

But then I am an old fashioned horrible woman!! wink

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