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Husband too hard on our son!

(16 Posts)
Mamamoose1 Tue 03-Nov-15 20:58:11

Basically my husband is hard on our 9 year old son, he goes berserk if he picks at his food,(our son does use his knife and fork, but sometimes picks the odd chip up with his other hand and eats it and cheese of pizza, etc) my husband sends him out of the room for doing so and will send him to bed early if he tried to explain himself, as my husband sees it as answering back and our son is now getting paranoid, whilst eating. He also came into his room tonight and I had originally told our son, he needs to tidy his room and take the iPad downstairs by 7.30, to which our son agreed with me, my husband goes into his room, demands he takes it down stairs right away, counts to three and he hasn't taken it downstairs, so takes away his game time privilege and bed time tomorrow night, which in my opinion is very unfair, as I had agreed something different with my son. Is my husband being unfair? I honestly feel upset and feel he's picking on our son!

usual Tue 03-Nov-15 21:03:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rach2713 Tue 03-Nov-15 21:16:50

He has totally undermined what you have said to your son. My son who will be 9 in Feb is the same will sometimes pick at his food or eat a pizza with his hands. Sometimes I think my husband is a bit hard on him and im sure there is times im hard on him but we both parent differently but most off the time we will talk about how to be on the same page so we ain't confusing him

usual Tue 03-Nov-15 21:19:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mamamoose1 Tue 03-Nov-15 22:07:04

No I didn't tell my husband what we agreed on, I was putting our daughter to bed, he came to me and told me he had removed all of his privileges because he didn't take the iPad downstairs. My son didn't tell him what we agreed on either. It's really upsetting me, as a result we argued and my son asked why we were arguing sad He has army background, so is very regimental with him.

PrimalLass Tue 03-Nov-15 22:22:31

He is being horrible. Is he very doting with your daughter by any chance?

FarticCircle Tue 03-Nov-15 22:24:39

He sounds monstrous. He is a child, not a squaddie.

Mamamoose1 Tue 03-Nov-15 22:30:50

He's great with our younger son and our daughter is a baby, he dotes on them, but they are much younger.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 04-Nov-15 10:52:56

I think you need to address this with DH now. Talk to him out of the DCs' earshot. Why the sudden rigidity, why is it all directed at the eldest? Is this how his dad treated him? He may defend himself by saying it's not physical, so not damaging, but a 9yo boy doesn't want his dad on his case all the time.

In a way he is also having a pop at you. By 'taking charge' of table manners to the point he disrupts the meal and gets DS banished, he is suggesting that you don't have a grip on the situation and aren't in a position to decide what's acceptable or not.

I would definitely mention that if you have already talked to DS about something, it undermines your authority and confuses DS if DH then barks out contradictory orders.

BertieBotts Wed 04-Nov-15 10:55:15

Is he not your older son's father?

VocationalGoat Wed 04-Nov-15 11:01:40

I was going to ask the same BertieBotts. I have the same exact issue, but DH is stepfather to our eldest (13, but stepdad has raised him with me since age 6- bio dad is a background dad, lives in Thailand).
I find it utterly hopeless at times and I think it will end our marriage, which is otherwise OK.
These guys are bullies. I am married to one. They don't see reason and they don't change.

BertieBotts Wed 04-Nov-15 12:28:59

It is damaging sad

Mamamoose1 Wed 04-Nov-15 12:30:44

Yes all of my children are from the same father. He has a slightly different bond with oldest son though. He's a good dad, plays game with them, reads to them etc. In my opinion, he has a very authoritative way of parenting, which is not necessary a bad thing, but I don't choose to pick my battles, I choose to correct the things, that need correcting. He can also be quite critical, which I know can affect young boys. He tells me that I'm too protective with the children and tells me I should leave him to parent, how he chooses too, which I can understand, but I feel sometimes I have to step in, as I see unfairness, our son is such a pleasant, sensitive, kind boy too. In honesty we are completely different people, I'm very empathetic and sensitive to feelings, but he's pretty much the opposite. I know that of we don't come to some agreement, it will not only affect our marriage, but also our children. He was hit by his dad as a child and his dad is very quiet, almost mute, so I wonder if this has anything to do with my husbands approach to things.

TheBakeryQueen Wed 04-Nov-15 13:02:17

I feel really sorry for your son. What a horrible way to be treated. It's abusive and by not intervening you're condoning it really.

You need to make it stop. Your son deserves better. I can't imagine anyone treating my child like that and getting away with it.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 04-Nov-15 13:19:43

If his dad dotes on the younger family members of course DS will see this. He will wonder why his dad picks on him.

BertieBotts Wed 04-Nov-15 13:37:39

It's difficult - because I think in your situation he is actually going too far over the line. He's not just being hard on him, he's behaving as Goat says, like a bully. And that's not on. It's damaging and it's affecting your son's self esteem. You said in your post that he's already feeling nervous and anxious over eating. That's not fair - imagine how it would feel to be so anxious over something which is actually necessary and should be enjoyable?

You basically have four options, ranging from soft to hard:

1. Ignore/accept that this is just the way he is and it's a valid way of parenting. I think that you can't really do this when it's actually so extreme. You have a duty to protect your child even from his own parent.

2. Try to reach towards meeting him in the middle with the intent that you understand his parenting style better, and also allow him to relax a little bit, because when you have opposite parenting styles, it can be the case that you both feel anxious, the more authoritarian parent is anxious that the children are getting too wild and need reining in and the softer parent is anxious that the children aren't hearing enough love/affirmation so ramps that up. And you both (unintentionally) make the split wider as you're always trying to compensate for what you feel the other parent is lacking.

So in this situation, you become more authoritative and ask him and be open to learning about authoritative parenting and see what the rationale is behind the decisions he makes - because he will feel as though he is doing the right thing. Opening up those lines of communication should - in a good, respectful relationship where communication is decent but sometimes needs a kick start - make him feel more appreciated, less anxious, allow him to relax and since you're open to his input he might also start looking for yours, so it's a mass win for everybody.

BUT - you must be careful to use this when it's appropriate. In all honesty, I don't know that it IS appropriate here. It's difficult to tell from your posts exactly how far over the line he is going. If it's only just over AND you know that at some point he was more balanced or he does have good intentions and doesn't have totally skewed morals or expectations, and you have a respectful relationship where you both admire each other generally, then it's worth a go, but if he is abusive (including verbally), OR he doesn't respect your opinions or worth as a person, OR he has totally skewed ideas and expectations about how a 9 year old should behave or how discipline looks in a healthy family, then it won't work and might well make the problem WORSE, because you're effectively validating his way of thinking and enabling it.

3. Tell him what's wrong with what he's doing and give him some alternate strategies/ground rules/an ultimatum. Again, tricky, because it's easy to come across as patronising or naggy when you effectively tell another adult (even one you live with) how to parent their own child, even when it's your child too. If you are too patronising or prescriptive, then he's likely to completely ignore or dismiss, or agree verbally but then not actually see it through. It's better if you can open a general discussion about parenting and where (both of) your limits are with regard to what you're happy/unhappy about the other doing, if he's open to that. Or open it up as a relationship issue, rather than a parenting issue, and agree to set ground rules so that you're not contradicting each other, or a set system of family rules so that everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. If you don't agree with set rules and think it's more appropriate to deal with every situation individually then this will be difficult unless you're creative enough to build in (easily memorable) flexibility to such a system. You have the preteen years hovering with your oldest, and it's important that you and your DH sort out these issues BEFORE that happens, or it's just going to exacerbate hugely. If your DS perceives a difference in how his younger siblings are managed and related to then it's going to cause resentment as well.

4. Remove DS from the situation by leaving. Obviously, an extreme response but if it is merited and/or there are other problems within the marriage it might be worth considering.

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