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am I too soft and/or is dh too tough?

(15 Posts)
tracyk Wed 28-Feb-07 10:27:51

Dh and I are going through major battles in how to deal with ds at the mo.
I really, really hate to see me ds (genuinely) upset but dh is of the opinion that sometimes ds just needs to do what he's told and not cajoled, bargained with etc. It usually ends up with ds in hysterics and me very tense and pissed off.
for example - went out for a long walk, lunch and a quick walk, ds had eaten chocolate during his long walk in the morning and therefore didn't eat any lunch. So he was hungry and probably tired by 1.30pm. He had a tantrum trying to get him back to the car to come home. I was trying to jolly him along, walking on walls and being silly etc. Wasn't working so dh said he had had enough, picked ds up and manhandled him back along to the car and forced him into his car seat. ds was in hysterics.
Another example is in the mornings - dh wants ds to get dressed but ds isn't having it - don't want that tshirt, don't want those pants etc. I would try to cajole him into choosing 1 out of 2 choices and if he didn't choose, then I would carry on getting myself ready and tell ds that I wasn't talking or playing with him till he got dressed. He would eventually come round and get dressed. dh however gets pissed off with ds 'manipulating us' and forces his clothes on him. Again ds in hysterics.
Any tips/advice on how to handle ds/dh?

dejags Wed 28-Feb-07 10:33:25

My advice would be to let your DH develop his own way of doing things with your DS.

You don't mention your DS's age and what his general behaviour is like, so it's difficult to say exactly how I'd react.

FWIW - I'd probably take a hard line with my DS. So there'd be no chocolate before lunch and I'd certainly expect him to get to the car within a reasonable amount of time.

As for dressing in the morning - well this can be enough to stress the most sane person out. And again, I'd leave my DH to develop his own way of doing it.

eefs Wed 28-Feb-07 10:35:45

Hard to judge on two examples but I would react to tantrums more like your DH than you. I do not entertain my DS's when they kick off like that, having said that I do try to avoid situations where they will be tired/hungry and more likely to have a tantrum.

wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe Wed 28-Feb-07 10:36:12

how old is your ds?

tbh I think children do need to learn boundaries and I think that sometimes it is necessary to dispense with the softly softly approach and to take further action. if that had been my ds and he'd refused to go to the car despite encouragement, I too would have picked him up and carried him there.

when you say your dh is "manhandling" him, is he actually being very rough? or is he just picking him up and being assertive which sounds like something to don't approve of anyway?

eefs Wed 28-Feb-07 10:37:07

agree with Dejags - the worst thing you could do is start to undermine/interfere with your DH's method of dealing with these situations in front of your DS.
Perhaps a calm discussion over a glass of wine some evening where you can both suggest united ways of dealing with you son would be helpful.

fireflyfairy2 Wed 28-Feb-07 10:38:15

Mine wouldn't have had the chocolate, would have eaten lunch, therefore no tantrum due to hunger when getting in car. I always deal with tantrums the same way you dh does.

Morning times are hard enough. I lay our one change of clothes, tell dd to put them on [she's 5] & that's it. If she's not ready I tell her she goes to school in her PJ's. This happened once when she was at playgroup. It has never happened again

tracyk Wed 28-Feb-07 10:38:55

sorry - ds is 3 and is very well behaved normally, except when hungry/tired.
He got chocolate as he had walked into town with dh (a mile or so) and wanted to buy something from the shop with his 'pennies'. He doesn't normally have lunch with us when we go out - as he has his later in the afternoon - so I wasn't fussed about that. More the fact that his hunger later contributed to his tantrum.
I think as a child I saw my dad berate my little brother constantly into doing things 'his' way and may make me more sensitive to not doing it 'this' way. iykwim?

tracyk Wed 28-Feb-07 10:43:44

sorry - manhandling was maybe too strong a word. Picked up ds and put him under his arm trying to pin his arms by his side as he was punching and kicking etc.

dejags Wed 28-Feb-07 10:46:33

I think there is a fine line there though Tracy.

Over-negotiation with a toddler is bound to end up causing problems.

Toddlers are not equipped to make decisions for themselves, giving them too many options just leaves them confused.

I do what Fairyfly does i.e lay clothes out (i.e. no choice) and in the event of a tantrum I just don't tolerate it (while discipline by distraction is always preferable, sometimes things get beyond this and in this case I do discipline my DS's with timeout).

snowleopard Wed 28-Feb-07 10:46:39

I think there are two issues here - the need to be firm, consistent and have boundaries, and the issue of being kind and respectful. It's important to be firm and have rules and routines that allow children to know where they stand - for example we have routine snack times and mealtimes so that DS is hungry when it's time for lunch (usually!) and if he had a tantrum about getting in his car seat I would be firm and make him get in. But though firm, I always try to be kind and show some respect for his feelings - I don't think it's good to shout, be physically rough or be nasty to the child (eg criticising or undermining them). So it depends what kind of "tough" your DH is being. If he's shouting and being frightening he needs to tone it down. But I think he's along the right lines with the firmness. It sounds as if you both have positive things to offer DS - maybe you just need to discuss it and agree oin a compromise approach, instead of having two different approaches running in parallel IYSWIM.

tracyk Wed 28-Feb-07 10:57:21

ds has more rigid routines during the week regarding snacks/meals - but on a Sat/Sun - things change all the time. Sometimes we all lie in bed watching movies till 10am and have picnic breakfasts, or sometimes we are up and at swimming at 9.30am, or we walk into town for coffee and rolls and bacon.
We are living and sleeping in our bedrooms at the mo with a microwave for meals as we are having major renovation works done to our living/kitchen space.
I don't spose all that helps??

snowleopard Wed 28-Feb-07 10:59:43

What you describe would definitely make my DS (nearly 2) more insecure and likely to lose it - but that's short-term, so you can get back on track eventually.

It can't be easy for you either!

tracyk Wed 28-Feb-07 11:01:21

I'm hoping they will have finished in 2 weeks or so. Relying on microwave meals (yuk) or visiting mum or pil - scrounging a hot meal!

colditz Wed 28-Feb-07 11:07:29

I agree with your dh, sometimes kids need to know who is in charge, and that they cannot argue and whine their way out of everything.

RachelG Wed 28-Feb-07 12:05:59

I'm no expert, but I'd have thought a compromise between the 2 methods would be best. Having said that, I think it's impossible to go against your instincts. And if you instinctively take a more gentle approach, then fighting that will be pointless.

For what it's worth, the majority of experts (whose books I've read) would recommend your way, not DH's.

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