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Leaving an emotionally abusive marriage and struggling with child discipline. Help needed please

(8 Posts)
bountyicecream Sun 21-Apr-13 22:00:46

I am currently on my way out of an emotionally abusive relationship and have endured being told that I am 'pathetic', 'weak', 'a pushover' etc on a daily basis by my husband.

He has totally undermined my confidence and does not back me up. He is very heavy handed when discipling our DD and I am regularly accused of not backing him up when I do not agree with what I am doing.

I generally find DD (who is 2) much easier to handle when I am on my own. She is a typical 2 year old but also IMO generally well behaved and polite, especially in public.

I am just not sure whether my discipline is appropriate or not, and I want to try and get this clear in my mind before DD and I start afresh in a new home, when I think it would be less confusing for DD for 'new house new rules'.

I have had some success with a naughty step. I have seen her putting her dolls on the naughty step when they are 'naughty' so I think she understands the concept. However I have not used it so much recently as H does not support the naughty step so will laugh at me or tell her that it's fun to be on the naughty step.

When she is doing something low grade naughtiness or threatening a little wobble then I will often distract her by finding something else to look out. H says I shouldn't use distraction but should 'control her with my voice' ie get her to stop doing whatever it is by shouting at her.

If she has done something a bit more naughty such as throwing a toy or something dangerous like trying to touch a hot saucepan then I will tell her no and then explain why what she has done wrong. Once she acknowledge it or says sorry then I will hug her and move onto something else. H says this is wrong as I am 'rewarding her' with the hug.

He will shout at her or if it is dangerous physically move her away from the area and then she always cries. He will then tell her to stop being a baby and not to cry. He will then not speak to her until she stops crying which can be 15 - 20 mins. Eventually he will speak to her again and everything will be ok. These are the times that he accuses me of undermining him. She will come to me. I will calmly explain what she did wrong and then get her to say sorry or tidy up the mess she has made etc and then hug and continue with something different.

These are all for minor naughtiness such as throwing a toy, not hanging up her coat, persisting to touch something she has been told not to etc. Not more serious things like drwaing on walls, wilfully breaking something, hitting etc.

Sorry for the length. Thanks for getting this far. I feel like my opinion has been stamped out of me and I don't know what is sensible and what isn't. I know there is no one way to parent but could really do with a few pointers.

bountyicecream Sun 21-Apr-13 22:02:03

* oops 2nd paragraph: I am regularly accused of not backing him up when I do not agree with what he is doing.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 21-Apr-13 22:03:16

I think you've got it just right Bounty. So no words of wisdom

Is he gone?

BasilBabyEater Sun 21-Apr-13 22:08:14

His parenting techniques are crap.

Your's aren't.

Trust your instincts. This bastard has ground you down and made you doubt yourself, but you don't have to accept his version of the world.

Can you get on a parenting course for free? I did and it was very useful and gave me the confidence to ignore all the people around me who in retrospect I realise were telling me that my parenting should be all about showing them that I was in control of my children, rather than actually parenting my children.

Also, there are a few books you can read which are helpful: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen is a good one.

bountyicecream Sun 21-Apr-13 22:12:29

No he's not gone yet. It's a little complicated (it always is isn't it), but I have just gone PT so need to have this in place for a month or so according to the solicitor before leaving otherwise there is a chance that he might be able to claim to be the resident parent. I'm one week in so 3 to go! But I want to try to get some ideas straight in my head before I leave so I can start as I mean to go on.

Thanks for the book advice. And for suggesting I'm not too bad. These men mess with your head so much you find you cannot trust your own judgement.

But I do think when it is just me and DD that life is generally so much easier including discipline. My parents say I'm doing fine and that DD is well behaved etc but i think they may be a bit biased

Kleinzeit Mon 22-Apr-13 08:35:24

If your discipline works when you are alone with DD, that sounds like it’s the right thing to do smile And the techniques you’re using are right for her age. Distraction is great for a two year old. Naughty step is also good so long as you don’t over-use it – save it for the worst. Saying no, explaining and hugging is great too.

Your DH is turning discipline into a power struggle. That is poor parenting. Whereas you are being sensible as a parent, and about a million well-respected books on childraising – try “Toddler Taming” if you’re not sure! - will say the same.

LittleBearPad Mon 22-Apr-13 08:55:24

Your approach sounds good to me. Best of luck over the next few weeks.

MaryRobinson Mon 22-Apr-13 09:59:02

You sound normal, and so does your parenting. His however does not.

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