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To ask if anyone has successfully negotiated different parenting styles to their DH?

(17 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Thu 14-Jan-16 08:41:01

I could have put a much more contentious title but am trying to be positive here!

Posting in frustration at yet another morning in which friction has arisen at our opposing approaches to our 3.5 yo.

DH works full time and runs his own business, I'm p/t and freelance (usually 3 days a week, occasionally more) and just about to stop work for may leave with no.2.

DH does very little hands on parenting - tbf he works long hours but even when he's in he isn't proactive - he will literally never get up and take DS downstairs in the morning for example unless I've specifically asked for a lie in.

The stuff that annoys me is he just does the absolute bare minimum of effort and interaction - he doesn't ever really even talk to DS or say good morning to him! If it's his 'turn' to get him ready for nursery (rare but I went out early this morning) he just puts the TV on and wrestles him into clothes in front of it - at 3.5 he is entirely capable of dressing himself but it obviously takes time and patience, which DH can't be bothered with. He also often forgets to brush his teeth.

We're going through a difficult patch with getting DS out the house at the moment - he will try to resist going to nursery for example, which is tough I know, but DH just always resorts to bribing him with chocolate instead of encouraging him to do as he's told for no other reason than he has to!

I just feel like I do all the hard work and DH takes the easy road. It's not even about him getting the 'fun' parts - I get those as I play with him and DH doesn't! At the weekend he'll just watch tv or play on the iPad unless I actually suggest something for us to do. I just want to feel like a team.

So do I have a point or do I sound like I want everything done my way? That's what DH would say if I ever comment on his decisions.

StayGoldPonyBoy Thu 14-Jan-16 08:47:23

That doesn't sound like a parenting style to me, it sounds like not parenting!

DH and I have different ways of doing things, but we both actually DO things for the DC. Not saying good morning etc is really weird to me and I can't imagine he has a lovely bond with your DS like you will have. DH works long hours but makes lots of time for our DDs when he's here.

There isn't really much excuse for being distant and lazy with your child. If your DH doesn't interact with his son, your DS will just grow further apart from him the older he gets when it starts to look from his end like his dad isn't bothered about him sad

Katenka Thu 14-Jan-16 08:51:10

The way he dresses him wouldn't bother me.

The occasional forgetting of teeth being brushed wouldn't stress me out of it was occasional. Or does he forget every time he does the nursery run?

The general not chatting to him or getting up with him would bother me as would the not doing anything with him.

Compromise, when having different parenting styles, is needed.

The not letting you sleep in isn't a different parenting style is inconsiderate and needs tackling.

Tbh I usually have to make dh get up with ds. But I naturally wake up at around 5.30-6am. So dh has just got used to me being up already. On the rare occasion I sleep in, he will get up if he hears him first (and realised I am still in bed) or when I give him a nudge. It doesn't bother me, but it bothers you.

You need to sit down and talk about what's bothering you. But pick your battles. Compromise is the way forward.

If you feel you really can't compromise on any of this then I am not sure what can you do.

HPsauciness Thu 14-Jan-16 08:56:31

I have a friend whose differing parenting styles nearly broke them as a family, he was incredibly laid-back but very lazy (sounds like your husband to be honest) and the child needed structure as having issues, so she was doing all the hard graft of setting boundaries, being firm and calm and it was just as you say- she had all the shit, he had all the lolling about.

I do think over time this can even out and different styles can work, but the more worrying thing here is the lack of engagement with your husband/son. He's 3.5 now and he's going to wonder why his dad never speaks to him, takes him anywhere or shows any interest. Being laid-back is fine if you lie on the sofa and genuinely interact and connect, but that is missing here. I would have a talk with him. I would also shove him out the door with a packed lunch and your son and make him start doing some sole care and forge a bond with him, otherwise this lack of interest in being in the family will start to become more problematic- and it will end up with you three (with new baby) as the family, and him as the outsider/hanger on, very divisive.

Katenka Thu 14-Jan-16 09:07:04

Sorry, I have read my post back and think it might sound like I am saying Yabu.

I am not, I think Yanbu. But some of what you put is just doing things different some is poor parenting on his behalf.

The poor parenting needs tackling but don't sweat the small stuff.

Not interacting with his son is not the small stuff, neither is the never getting up or never doing anything.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 14-Jan-16 09:13:35

I really, really try to grit my teeth and not say anything over the cosmonaut resorting to telly thing - it isn't my style but am trying to be more relaxed about it - I'm aware that I may need to resort to that more myself once I've got the new one to feed etc - but I just can't ignore the instinct that the reason behind it is so DH doesn't have to make any effort.

He finds playing with him boring I think, which i do understand to a certain extent - I don't exactly find playing with the Thomas trains as fascinating as DS does obviously - but if you get into something you usually end up having a laugh with them. We're at the point now where DS won't play with DH even when he tries - the other day he heard him say 'no I'm supposed to play with mummy'. 😓

HPsauciness Thu 14-Jan-16 09:23:39

I never played on the floor with my children, I'm not interested in faking enthusiasm for pretend games and one great thing about two children is they can do this together!

But his lack of engagement seems to go deeper than not just playing Thomas the Tank Engine. You are becoming the main/default parent, not just on your non-working days but all the time, weekends, early mornings. This has to be nipped in the bud now otherwise you will be parenting more or less alone, with him in the house. I would take some time to yourself, leave them to it, if they just sit together and watch telly, so be it, your husband will still have to cope when your son is tired/bored/hungry and get up and do something. Can you even go away for a weekend for a rest/see a friend and leave them to it?

OTheHugeManatee Thu 14-Jan-16 09:28:05

Is it possible your DH just doesn't know what to do? If he is at work most of the time he might feel awkward or unsure how to be around your DS at home. Or he might just be a lazy twat. But if I were broaching something like this with DH I'd take that avenue first.

justmyview Thu 14-Jan-16 09:34:22

I'll go against the grain here and say that perhaps YABitU

From the the title of the thread, I thought this was going to be about different approaches to time out, table manners, bed time routines etc

A few points leapt out at me -

"he will literally never get up and take DS downstairs in the morning for example unless I've specifically asked for a lie in" - so, maybe you should ask more often, if that's what you want. Be direct and specific. I usually get up earlier than DH, as I prefer to get up as soon as I wake up. It doesn't have to be split equally

"If it's his turn to get him ready for nursery ........ he just puts the TV on and wrestles him into clothes in front of it - at 3.5 he is entirely capable of dressing himself but it obviously takes time and patience" - you encourage DS to dress himself, your DH prefers to help him, in front of the TV. Playing devil's advocate, but who's to say that your approach is better than his? The priority is to get the child out of the house dressed and out of the house on time. If you had posted that you felt it was better to dress child in front of TV, but your DH insisted you stay in the bedroom, I'm sure people would say that your DH was controlling & he should respect your autonomy

"At the weekend he'll just watch tv or play on the iPad unless I actually suggest something for us to do. I just want to feel like a team" - so, he's open to suggestions of what to do, where to go, but otherwise has the TV on? That doesn't sound too bad. At least he's not out all weekend pursuing his own interests, hobbies & expecting you to do everything. Suggest you make a few suggestions & get him involved in choosing what to do

"DS won't play with DH even when he tries - the other day he heard him say 'no I'm supposed to play with mummy'. " - that's sad, if it's really how DS feels, but children come out with all sorts of stuff. Perhaps best not to read too much into one off comments. Children often say they want one parent, not the other. Just depends how they feel at that moment

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Thu 14-Jan-16 09:40:07

I've never played on the floor with the dcs either and neither does dh really but we do interact with them and we do go out together.
Dh will take the dcs to the park, kick a football and take them on bike rides now they're older. He's also involved in their football now.
He bought them a scalextric (sp?) as it was fun for him too!
Dh also takes the easy way out but if I explain why it's better to do something a certain way, he will usually back me up.

I agree that you need to leave them to it but probably not at home as that would just mean the TV goes on or something. I think your dh needs to get to know his child.
What does your dh like to do? Get them to go out to the park together or swimming or whatever. Just the two of them.

Katenka Thu 14-Jan-16 09:46:58

I don't exactly find playing with the Thomas trains as fascinating as DS does obviously - but if you get into something you usually end up having a laugh with them.

Does he realise this?

Not making excuses for him, because common sense says he should realise it.

But my sil said 'see I don't enjoy playing with my kids like you do' I don't particularly enjoy it. I do enjoy spending time with them. But she somehow thought I was gagging to play with the Ninky Nonk myself.hmm

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 14-Jan-16 10:01:37

Hmm, maybe you could let some little things go - like how DS gets ready for nursery. So long as he leaves the house suitably dressed, clean & fed it doesn't really matter too much what methods DH has used.

The not engaging with DS much needs to change though. OK, he works long hours, fair enough. It doesn't sound as though you are asking or expecting him to do all that much. Things like saying good morning to his son, having a little chat or a little play should all be routine for a parent surely? Not something you have to make an effort to do and, IMO, not optional!

It might be a good idea to have a friendly chat about things before DC2 arrives. You being expected to get up early with DS every morning, for example, may become more of an issue if you are also the one doing the night waking with baby.

biboergosum Thu 14-Jan-16 10:49:04

Agree with pps it sounds like parenting (you) and not parenting (dh) rather than different styles. For the mornings, I'd let go IF he consistently manages to feed and dress ds and brush hiss teeth.

He must start interacting with ds unless he wants to be the paymaster only. I know someone like that, his kids are grown up and he has no relationship with them. He is really upset they call his wife rather than him and ask to be put through if he answers. He talks about having never changed a nappy, done times tables homework or played Lego and in the same breath is amazed these adult strangers take his wife's but not his advice.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 14-Jan-16 17:54:00

Hmmm thanks for all the thoughts... What DH usually will say to me is that I'm too much of a perfectionist (for playing with him a lot of doing home cooked meals, or encouraging dressing for example) and possibly he has a point but if you NEVER do those things then it isn't really raising a child, is it? It's our job to teach them to get themselves dressed jn time for starting school and to obey instructions without being rewarded!

To those who said they don't play on the floor with their kids, what happens then? Don't they ask you to? Do they really just entertain themselves at home, particularly if they're an only?? I can't imagine that, but perhaps I have created our situation by agreeing to.

I agree I am the 'default' parent absolutely. I was at home with him for a long time which I think makes it more likely but I've been back at work over a year now and have proved that you can do childcare tasks and work on the same day, as I'm sure everyone on MN is aware.

DH will always give work as an excuse, but if I can get him ready without bribery and still get to work on time why can't he???!

PenelopeChipShop Thu 14-Jan-16 17:57:57

Biboergosom that is what I'm worried about really, their relationship. It's not that I especially mind that I do most stuff - I do a bit, obviously, and am worried about coping with the new baby too! - but I worry that already they aren't as close as they could be.

DS has a better relationship with his grandparents who look after him weekly while I work. Although n theory DH spends two days a week with him rather than one, he isn't 'switched on' if you know what I mean - always on his phone, or watching telly, just doing his own thing... Not taking advantage of his time with him. I know that probably sounds judgemental. But I just can't stop thinking he could try more.

Katenka Thu 14-Jan-16 20:03:40

It sounds like you are poles apart.

You do a lot he does nothing.

It's hard to say wether you do too much. It is possible for some people to do too much. I had a friend who was always on the go with her ds and he couldn't entertain himself at all can't even now at 8.

You are right, it is parents job to teach them things. But dh dressing him occasionally is going to unteach him it.

You need to sort out the big issues. The lack of interaction and go from there. Tackle the main points.

murmuration Thu 14-Jan-16 21:26:16

I was an 'accident' and my Dad didn't really want kids. He did very little with me until, suddenly, around age 10-11, he suddenly decided he liked kids. It was too late. (Plus, he tried to treat me like a little kid, which didn't work well.) I'm now an adult, and have gone years without talking to my father. I talked to my mother on the phone every week, and she would relate things he was doing and I presume the reverse to him. I now interact with him again as he loves Skyping with my daughter (3yo), but in fact he talks to her and not me! I still don't really have much to do with him. If your DH is waiting for him to 'grow up' and become 'more interesting', it may be too late. He has to form a relationship eariier.

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