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Frustrated at DH's parenting

(23 Posts)
verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 11:56:14

DS is 4 and a bit.

He is a lot of a whinger and TBH can be very wearing. He not always as bad when it is just the two of us.

It's a different story when DH is around. When DS is behaving DH is happy and enjoys him but as soon as he starts moaning or has a tantrum over something, DH doesn't seem to be able to cope.

He smacks him sometimes (which he knows I don't agree with and threatens him with ridicolous things such as taking away his toys if he won't eat his breakfast. He has grabbed him by the arm (not usually hard) and spoken to him through gritted teeth.

He sometimes picks up things and and holds them behind him as if he is going to swat him (which he would never do either).
He also says things like "you are a pain" and "you and me are going to fall out" or "I will hit you in a minute".

We often end up arguing in front of DS as I don't like how DH is with him. It's damaging for DS as well as our relationship as we end up feeling resentful towards each other.

I am at my wits end with all of it. I often feel as if I have two children instead of one. I have to referee sometimes and now DS is starting to play us off against one another.

DH loves DS to bits but I feel that their relationship is going to be damaged by the way DH parents him. I have spoken to him so many times about it and tried to explain about three strikes and naughty step etc. but he never seems to follow it through and ends up shouting.

DS knows that there is no set pattern to DH's disciplining and uses this to his advantage by messing about at bedtime/teatime/getting dressed etc. A lot of the time it ends in shouting which I have to go and sort out.

I am feeling so tense already and frustrated and angry at DH (which does not make for a happy and joyous Christmas!) and DH is at home for two weeks over Christmas!

I am seriously considering looking at some parenting courses. Does anyone know of any or have any tips/solutions/been through this

BTW, I am not perfect myself(!) but never use threats of physical violence or talk through gritted teeth etc.

pantomimEDAMe Sun 21-Dec-08 11:58:40

I am not surprised you feel tense, frustrated and angry. Does dh have any insight into his behaviour or recognise that it is wrong or at least not constructive?

Agree that parenting classes are a good idea.

Libraloveschristmas1975 Sun 21-Dec-08 12:02:11

Saying "I will hit you in a minute" is not on (and having been occasionally smacked as a child I have no problem with smacking as a form of discipline very very ocassionaly).

I think parenting classes sound like a great idea but don't have any experiences of them. Hope someone comes along soon with good advice.

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 12:02:12

Think he knows he is not parenting in a constructive, consistent way but always says"I knew I wouldn't be doing it right" when I try to talk to him.

I think he feels that he is totally justified in his actions though and that DS is being "a pain".

I have told him he is expecting too much from DS. He is only four and can't be perfect all the time.

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 12:10:32

Also, this is how his dad parented-so learned behaviour.

Is it possible to change someone who was brought up in this way themselves and sees nothing wrong with it?

pantomimEDAMe Sun 21-Dec-08 12:11:27

Possible if he can be brought to recognise this is not good.

NutterlyUts Sun 21-Dec-08 12:23:06

what about you all sitting down (inc DS) to make a list of house rules and sanctions you all agree on - like "in the evening, after [insert part of routine] DS will brush his teeth and get into pjs. If this doesn't happen, he will lose 5mins of story time" or something, so you all will be on the same page.

It might help to get a framework for DH to follow that DS knows to try to avoid conflict?

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 15:44:49

Yes, good idea nutterly.

I have written down rules before but usually for DH on how to discipline.

Maybe I need to have a rethink and draw up some family rules (like Supernanny!)

Am bit dubious as to whether DH would stick to it. He's not that good at sticking to things that take a bit of work (in the home, not in his careerangry.

TBH, I think he just considers me a bit of a nag but I feel as if he doesn't show me any respect by listening to what I am saying and trying to put it into action.

Oh dear, this is beginning to sound like a "My husband is rubbish" thread!

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 18:49:41

bump <hopeful>

LittleJingleBellas Sun 21-Dec-08 18:54:09

I think you need to have a really serious talk with him about how unhappy you are with his parenting. Acknowledge you're not perfect, but he sounds shite tbh - inconsistent and unable to understand developmentally appropriate behaviour and how to deal with it. Tell him that it is affecting the way you feel about him, it is having a detrimental effect on your relationship and long term, it will have a bad effect on the relationship with his DS. And tell him you don't just wnat him to pay lipservice to any agreements you make, you want him to follow through and prove his commitment to being a good husband and father. Parenting classes together is a really good idea.

Acinonyx Sun 21-Dec-08 19:03:16

Would he go to parenting classes? A third party to say this to him would carry more wieght.

I'm also fond of Dr Phil's retort which is: And how is that working for you? - i.e. how good can the method be if it's not working anyway.

pluckyyuletideducky Sun 21-Dec-08 21:21:00

Verrily, I don't have any advice but am watching the thread with great interest. I could have written your post; your dh sounds exactly the same as mine and I'm at the end of my tether with our situation.

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 21:59:06

hi plucky!

It's hard isn't it? I just get so frustrated I could cry. This isn't the way I thought we would be bringing up our DS. I feel that he is beginning to be affected by it.

I find it hard not to step in and challenge my DH if I feel he isn't dealing with a situation properly. I KNOW it's hard and kids can drive you up the wall. I've often thought to myself "just leave it, talk to DH later" but I just can't help it if he is talking aggressively or threatening to smack him etc.

It is a major source of tension in our relationship.

I hope this thread can help you too-I hope sosmile.

dustyteddy Sun 21-Dec-08 22:07:40

I am so with you, on the frustration at dh 's parenting. It seems he is just following the old methods and won't listen to my method for parenting at all. Am looking at parenting courses for us both, before I turn into a total nag grin

verrilyonhigh Sun 21-Dec-08 22:24:53

Hello dusty!

Good (or maybe not so good sad) to know that I am not alone.

Where are you looking for parenting courses? Searching on internet or talking to HV? I'm not sure where to start.

ClementFreudsGreatestAdmirer Sun 21-Dec-08 23:34:53

i'm in same boat exactly. the worst part is when i'm stressed i behave just as badly as him so it's pot kettle black. i can see from his parents' behaviour where dh gets it from, and i know my dad was very hot-tempered and occasionally violent. i'm so sad to admit this but today my dd was being shouted at by dh and i was trying to work and she got so angry she screamed in my face (my ears were ringing, it hurt so much) and then punched me in the face with a fist. i was so shocked that without thinking (and there i see my mistake, i know) i swiped back with my hand and hit her cheekbone. i'm totally horrified. obviously i'll never ever ever do this again but i can't believe i got so out of control - i would never have thought i'd do it before this morning either. i tried to talk to my dh about his parenting this morning and he was really unresponsive, which is partly why i was so stressed. oh help.

verrilyonhigh Mon 22-Dec-08 00:01:43

Hi Clement. So sorry to hear about your bad day.

My DH and I are both a bit stressy and it makes life a PITA sometimes-out of the both of us, I would be more willing to laugh at a situation but after years of living with my DH I just feel ground down by his "coiled spring" persona and general seriousness about everything.

Was this a one off situation your DD screaming?

My DS sometimes shouts to very loudly and suddenly, sort of like a violent outburst. I'm sure he is copying our behavioursad.

Lets stick together and see if we can come up with some sort of solution or find a good parenting course.

I think I am going to draw up a set of rules and the consequences of breaking them. (Imagining DH and DS on naughty step togethergrin).

Not sure if I will be able to post much over christmas period due to family descending (DH away tonight) tomorrow but would like to continue the thread if everyone else would.

Will let you know what I come up with but might be after Christmas when life gets back to normal-can't wait-bah humbug!

ClementFreudsGreatestAdmirer Mon 22-Dec-08 00:28:59

oh thank you lovely verrily for being sympathetic and not judgemental. i have been pooping myself since i posted that. we're usually fine, very respectable parents! but dh is more grrrrr than i'd like him to be. and i am.. i just feel as though i'm always trying different approaches but i can't get away from the fact that we are who we are and habits are so difficult to break. there was the classic RedMist post from a few months ago which has really addressed all this but i wasn't personally involved. have a good Christmas anyway.

pluckyyuletideducky Mon 22-Dec-08 10:58:08

Hi again Verrily (and others!). I couldn't write too much last night as dh was over my shoulder and I didn't want him to see.

Our situation is so similar to yours, and the others described here. Our ds has recently turned 3, and is remarkably very well behaved. Dh is so proud of him and always saying what a great boy he is, but he has really limited patience when it comes to what I would describe as 'normal' three year old behaviour. He's done the arm-pulling, but I've addressed that so many times that I think he's finally taken heed as I haven't seen him do it for a long time.

Dh's first reaction to anything is anger. Yesterday ds opened the kitchen door a bit too boisterously and banged it against the wall. Straight away I heard 'OI! DON'T DO THAT!', whereas a calm 'please try not to bang that door, ds' would have done, as it was a simple mistake and not done with any malice whatsoever. He snaps before thinking, always assuming the worst. Even if ds hurts himself dh's initial reaction is to say, 'well that was silly, wasn't it?', rather than simply offering comfort.

Like you, I approach dh about his parenting in front of ds which I am aware is not helpful, but I just can't stand by while ds is treated unfairly.

Dh also does the speaking through gritted teeth thing, which I commented on as being quite scary. His response was 'I want him to be a bit scared. He needs to have respect'. I tried to explain that fear does not breed respect, and to show respect to someone is the way to get it back.

When I speak to dh calmly about our parenting he says he does agree with me and he is trying, but he finds it so hard to be calm so that's what we need to work on.

Like you, I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I've had awful shouty episodes at the end of a long day, but if I ever should unnecessarily I always apologise to ds and attempt to explain why I shouted.

I'm ashamed to say that I compare my dh to other fathers who seem so gentle and patient.

We also have a 5 month old dd and I've already seen dh's frustrations. When she's happy and smiling he's the doting father, but as soon as she gets tired or grumpy he loses patience saying he 'can't be doing with her'. He even told me at the height of her colic days that he wished we'd never had her sad

It's so difficult when parenting ideas are so different. I'm reassured to know that I'm not alone, although I'm sorry that you've found yourself to be in a similar situation as it's not a nice place to be.

Phew! Sorry for the long one!

verrilyonhigh Mon 22-Dec-08 13:44:33

Hi Clement and plucky!

Plucky, your DH sounds spookily similar to mine-especially the bit about "wanting to scare him" which my DH says-have we married the same man?!!

Clement, I remember the redmist threat. I think being a parent is a really hard job and we are all just doing the best we can.

I've had times when I have smacked DS (even though I don't agree with ithmm). They do test you to limit sometimes. I have screamed and shouted as well but do apologise and explain why I did it.

My DH loves spending time with DS and adores him and they do get on well most of the time. I just get so sad, stressed and angry at DH for undoing all the positive stuff.

Plucky, not sure our relationship would survive another babysad, that one of the reasons we haven't had another.

This will probably be my last post as DH due back any minute!

Have a good, calm [hopeful emoticon] Christmas everyone!

verrilyonhigh Mon 22-Dec-08 13:45:24

redmist thread

LittleJingleBellas Mon 22-Dec-08 14:01:30

I think it's useful to discuss with co-carers why their first response to developmentally appropriate behaviour is anger.

The messages we got from our own parents really do come home to roost when we have children of our own and rooting out those negative responses, so that we can "re-wire" ourselves, is really important imo.

LittleJingleBellas Mon 22-Dec-08 14:03:24

redmist's thread

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