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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.

TreeLuLa Tue 09-Apr-13 13:54:59

DH is.

Hope this afternoon improves.

thegreylady Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:15

Dh is-no jelly and off to granparents with ds and off to bed/sofa for you.

shewhowines Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:34

Take him to grandparents telling him it's not fair to disappoint them, rather than allowing him to think you've backed down because of him.

Nancy66 Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:46

your DH is.

Very common for younger children to start acting up when a new baby is born/imminent.

Booyhoo Tue 09-Apr-13 13:58:06

he is BU.

does he not cope well with your son? why does he go in with the big guns so early?

firawla Tue 09-Apr-13 14:02:03

He is BU, you were already dealing with it. Very annoying behaviour from your dh

coppertop Tue 09-Apr-13 14:04:45

The problem is that he isn't actually "disciplining" ds at all, is he? He's just swanning in, making big threats that he personally isn't going to be following through on, and then clearing off and leaving you to deal with the aftermath.

And then when you point this out to him you get the 'woe is me' act.

Helping you out means doing things that make your life a bit easier. Instead he's actually leaving you feeling even more stressed and with no way to resolve it without risking accusations of how you are supposedly undermining him.

ENSMUM Tue 09-Apr-13 14:05:35

Sounds like it is him undermining you rather than the other way around! yANBU

mrsjay Tue 09-Apr-13 14:10:26

he sounds very over the top some parents are they like to discipline with huge gestures what punishment is not going to grandparents a 4yr old will forget in a second after lunch the little things are instant like no jelly or whatever , you dh is undermining you not the other way around, he is being U and really bossy tbh ,my DH used to try and do this when DDs were small he usually got a look they can't just swan in and take over with these imo daft punishments totally OTT

likesnowflakesinanocean Tue 09-Apr-13 14:12:38

yanbu, ds is 5 and going through a whiny argumentative stage so I feel your pain. pm if you ever want a small child rant! dp is a lot like your dh, if they argue he will say right we were going such a place we are not now. I end up in a mood because being out is the only change of scenery I get. its v frustrating

WestieMamma Tue 09-Apr-13 14:15:50


Parenting 101: never threaten a child with something which punishes you (or others) more than it punishes them.

Spero Tue 09-Apr-13 14:16:30

Agree with coppertop. You need to make him understand he can't bring out the big guns unless you are both on board. Otherwise you may not be able to follow through and the whole attempt at discipline is lost.

He is being unreasonable and unhelpful and needs to take a step back. But sympathy to you both as nothing pushes my buttons worse than a small child in a strop.

mrsjay Tue 09-Apr-13 14:17:57

Parenting 101: never threaten a child with something which punishes you (or others) more than it punishes them.

^ ^ that I learned that when I grounded 1 of the DDs for a fortnight what was I thinking grin It was so long ago I can't remember what she did but i have memories of the moping and sighing because she couldnt go out OH AND IT WAS THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS eejit

shewhowines Tue 09-Apr-13 14:18:30

I always used to say there would be a consequence if they didn't do as they were told. As they didn't know what the consequence would be, they couldn't "choose" whether it was worth conforming or not.

I could also than, sometimes, use made up consequences such as " well we were going to the park but now we're not" - even if i never had any intention of going. Painless consequences for me but it did the trick. They would really think they had received a consequence.

Birdsgottafly Tue 09-Apr-13 14:19:07

Your DH handled it wrongly. But is your DS just bored? On top of the new baby coming? Is he in Nursery? And more importantly what happens if he doesn't eat his lunch? Are you picking your battles and if he isn't a good eater, leave out afters and let him graze, we don't all follow the same eating pattern.

tethersend Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:52

Parenting's not a battle.

It's a war.

Lose battles, but win the war.

Think of some task you are sure DS will do to 'earn back' going to see the GPs, have a rest and very clearly state to your DP that both of you only deliver consequences to the kids which you will see through, ie don't leave to for the other one to carry out.

And have a kip on the sofa grin

MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel Tue 09-Apr-13 14:40:30

YANBU but I wouldn't say he is being unreasonable either really, it sounds like a misguided attempt to help.

You say you expect him to come home and help you, that your ds is playing up a bit atm so I assume (if you are anything like me) then you will have a moan at your dh about it because you are stressed, and you also say you had already been saying to your ds that he wouldn't get a jelly if he didn't eat lunch.

Maybe he saw his heavily pregnant wife stressing out, he only had a limited time to 'fix' it and thought that would work? It is annoying for you though.

I also agree with Birds if your ds regularly doesn't eat lunch then maybe he just isn't a 'lunchy' person (thats the actual technical name grin) two of my children eat lunch just fine, two of them prefer to have a plate of fruit and breadsticks and snack on those for a couple of hours, they will not sit and eat lunch, maybe your ds is the same?.

mumofweeboys Tue 09-Apr-13 14:57:30

I think we have matching oh's. Mine home at weekends and does exactly the same with our whiney 4 yr old. He honestly doesnt think and threatens things that which make life harder.

We had to sit down and agree on punishments as oh gets exasperated very quickly as I save the bigger stuff for when he is really pushing.

mumofweeboys Tue 09-Apr-13 14:59:19

Oh and I get told all the time that Im too soft and let them do as they like

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 09-Apr-13 15:01:10

Second rule of team parenting
Don't make a grandiose threat without consulting your partner and then swan off leaving them to carry out the punishment.

If you want to set a punishment make sure you are the one who follows it through, don't make commitments on other peoples' behalf.

(Yes - my DH has done this and I said the above to him)

sandyballs Tue 09-Apr-13 15:04:38

Sounds like my DH, he once told our DD that she wouldn't be coming on holiday with us! What he intended to actually do with her I don't know!

Softlysoftly Tue 09-Apr-13 15:40:34

Yanbu dh is wonderful but does this all the time. "Get dressed or no Preschool softlydd1!"

Erm so that will be you explaining to preschool and missing your 2.5hr break then dh? No thought not hmm

FrenchJunebug Tue 09-Apr-13 16:14:40

does it matter that much if your DS doesn't eat his lunch? He might not be that hungry. I was one of those kids that was forced to finish their lunch and made to stay at the table for hours on end. Cue very difficult relationship with food.

and btw YANU!

MummytoMog Tue 09-Apr-13 16:21:56

Your OH is being unhelpful, but not unreasonable. Mine does the same thing, and the same 'exasperated' tone, which winds my three year old up no end.

You sound knackered. I wouldn't worry about DS not finishing lunch, just make sure he gets no jelly/snacks and if he's hungry, he'll eat his dinner. DD goes through non-eating days and I try not to worry about it, she just has a variable appetite. Often, I just make myself and DS something and then let her have some if she shows an interest.

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