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My Wife seems to hate our Daughter....

(13 Posts)
HughReid Wed 14-Dec-16 09:38:03

My wife has never really bonded with our daughter, 12, and says as much. She has always struggled to find common ground but recently the situation has worsened and there are daily arguments and shouting and my daughter is now of an age where she is beginning to hate her mother back. I am looking for some advice on the topic.

By way of background... We are comfortably middle class with a big house etc, but we don't spend money on luxuries instead choosing to spend it on holidays. We lived for a few years in Singapore and are now back in the UK. My wife is central European and is very black and white on all issues, so there is a right way to do things and a wrong way and she wants it done the right way. This fixed attitude extends to childcare and when I suggest we go and see a counsellor or similar that option is always dismissed. In fact any criticism of parenting or suggestions usually meet with a stock response, to whit, it's because we don't agree on how to raise kids which is a euphemism for "you are not strict enough".
For my part I am fairly relaxed, and I always hoped that saturating my daughter with tales of good children and good role models would result in her adopting these ideologies with having to be so dictatorial.

By way of examples. My Daughter has chores to do every day, tidy her bedroom, put away the dishes, rinse her swimming stuff. If she doesn't do these my wife will get annoyed and it rapidly escalates to shouting and screaming. If my daughter makes a mess leaves stuff lying about or whatever similar actions occur. My daughter lately seems to be performing these type of actions more and more often as if to 'poke the tiger' so to speak and increasingly pushes boundaries like bedtimes and the like.

As conversations with my wife have the same result I have talked directly to my daughter explaining that her mum expects these behaviours and that the simplest way to proceed is to complete them as a matter of course and avoid conflict. She seems on occasion to take this advise for a few days but mentions that she doesn't like her mum, who she things is unreasonable and has no affection for her. I support my wife's side but with a portion of resignation.

When the two of them do something together such as my daughter helping my wife to do craft stuff (paint eggs, decorate biscuits or whatever) it starts well but my daughter seems to tire of it quickly and my wife gets frustrated that my daughter isn't doing it 'right' and that she doesn't want to learn to do it 'right'.

However, there at occasions when they seem to get on okay. They have driven to see my wife's parents in Europe a couple of times and on those trips they get on well. I wonder if the reason why they get on well is because I am not present and so my wife is freed of some burden.

Okay that is a fairly expensive background smile

What I am looking for is advice. Is it normal for a woman to dislike her child? Are these sorts of arguments on a daily basis normal? If not normal then acceptable? What coping strategies can I implement that might ease the issues? IS it partly my fault? Should I restrain my more liberal leanings and adopt my wife's more draconian rules?
My main fear is that the situation will become untenable for my daughter and she will be off as soon as legally allowed to do so.

ElspethFlashman Wed 14-Dec-16 09:43:08

Do you Honestly think it would be more beneficial for your daughter to have TWO draconian parents?

I truly hope your daughter is at least getting some affection from you if she's not getting it from her mother.

Parenting is meant to be nurturing as well as teaching. You both have a duty to teach her how to love as well as how to do chores. Sounds like your wife is failing miserably in that area and after 12 years I doubt she'll be interested in trying. Are you?

Lorelei76 Wed 14-Dec-16 09:46:00

I know the type of parenting you mean
I don't think there's any link between nationality or male or female
But it is awful behaviour and yes it will drive your daughter away.

Sometimes parents need to realise that they are driving their kids away. Sometimes they never learn. Your daughter is also reacting against this "avoid conflict" thing, probably thinking, I'll paint the egg how I fucking want, and I don't blame her.

PoldarksBreeches Wed 14-Dec-16 09:50:59

The best thing for your daughter would probably be for you to separate and for her to live with you.
It's hardly surprising she's pushing boundaries with her mum, she doesn't like her and your daughter knows that. That's a huge burden to carry for a child.

ElspethFlashman Wed 14-Dec-16 09:54:13

I would also query if your wife would even mind if your daughter fucked off as soon as possible. It doesn't sound like it.

PaulineFowlersGrowler Wed 14-Dec-16 10:11:49

I don't think I could be in a relationship with somebody who was so cold and unfeeling towards their own child. Towards MY child. The teenage years are approaching and it's more important than ever for you daughter to feel loved and supported unconditionally.

buzzlightyearsdinosaur Wed 14-Dec-16 13:05:16

Has your wife actually said that she doesn't like your daughter? or that she hates her?

If your wife had certain expectations of how she thought parenting would be then perhaps she is really struggling with the fact that your daughter won't do as she is told...I had a really very strict upbringing, on the one hand it was hard because we were expected to do as we were told, on the other hand a lot of the time life was very orderly and organised for my parents and we benefited from that. I now struggle massively because it seems the norm to answer back or or by comparison do as your want if you are a child, all a far cry from what I was expecting.

buzzlightyearsdinosaur Wed 14-Dec-16 13:09:48

...and are the things that your wife is asking your daughter to do unreasonable, you say that you have said to your daughter that the simplest thing to do would be to follow her mothers instructions in order to avoid conflict. Actually the 'old fashioned' tone would be to back your wife up and let your daughter know that the that she needs to do what her mother has asked because it is the right thing to do, not just do them to placate your wife and to avoid conflict.

Phoebeby Wed 14-Dec-16 13:19:17

Seems unlikely they get on well on trips because you are not there hmm
More likely because theyre in a different environment for a bit and your wife is away from the daily grind.
I don't know how people keep up this level of strict parenting it must be exhausting

missyB1 Wed 14-Dec-16 13:21:29

Well as regards the chores it's perfectly reasonable to expect your daughter to do those at her age.

To me it sounds as though your wife is a perfectionist and can't cope if her standards aren't met. Have you talked calmly to her about why she feels the need for everything to be done her way? There will be some underlying issues I suspect. Also the quick temper is something she needs to address. I would tell her how much all of this worries you BUT without sounding like you are calling her a terrible mum. I'm sure she loves her daughter, but struggles to show it.

To be quite honest a bit of family counselling wouldn't go amiss.

Andro Thu 15-Dec-16 09:07:56

Preteens push boundaries, it's part of them growing up. The question is whether your dd is just being a normal preteen, or whether she is trying to prove one way or the other her suspicion that her mother has no affection/love for her.

A completely inflexible 'my way or the highway' attitude will only alienate your dd, but equally it is reasonable that she have responsibilities as part of family life. The danger is that without a bedrock of affection and mutual respect you dd will increasingly rebel - it can happen without the issues you describe, never mind when a child is already emotionally isolated from a parent.

I grew up with a mother who didn't have any affection for me, it was painful! I have a brilliant relationship with my father but I have no relationship with my mother, I also don't trust her with my children - the net result is that they've never stayed with my parents without me or my dh being there.

Your dd needs someone she can talk to without fear of recrimination, your wife needs to recognise that there is a problem and work on it. If she doesn't see her lack of a bond with her dd as an issue, the future looks pretty bleak in terms of their relationship.

scaryclown Thu 15-Dec-16 09:23:57

Well for me, the egg thing would do my head in. You learn by guidance and 'making mistakes' either way from perfect until you get a technique that works. not doing things perfectly the first time isn't grounds for being told off.

The 'only punishment, no reward' model also doesnt work for me. If i have a manager who rails against me for every negative, and is silent about 'good' behaviour, i am soon thinking 'fuck it then, i only get negatives anyway so why bother'

Also by stipulating behaviour in detail to a growing child you aren't really allowing or encouraging trust of self-correction of behaviour. If someone is allowed to be messy then go 'oh ots messy' and clean up, then get praise, they are responsible and proud. if they are told off at the first hint of untidiness, they absolve decision making to whoever tells them off which leads to 'well you didnt say to do it'

mind you i get soul-scrapingly deenergised by the same shit every day, some people love it. I suspect your wife is 'routine is king' and your daughter is 'difference is king' and they might never meet!

corythatwas Fri 16-Dec-16 08:25:24

If your wife's nationality is at all relevant, it would be in the context of her feeling stressed bringing up a young woman in what is to her an alien environment. Sometimes we notice those things more as our children grow up.

But other than that, nationality no excuse- there are plenty of warm parents in central Europe.

MissyB gives excellent advice; perfectionism is likely to be the problem.

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