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What do you do when you disagree over discipline issues? What if you are seriously worried?

(5 Posts)
BertieBotts Thu 20-Aug-09 13:04:33

DP and I do not agree on discipline at all. We have totally different ideas and unfortunately both feel strongly!

I lean more towards UP (not completely) and feel the most important thing for children to learn is why what they are doing isn't allowed. I do understand that up to a certain age they don't understand reason though. Also I think you have to be really careful to be age-appropriate.

DP thinks I am "soft" and thinks that smacking is the answer to everything. This worries me, because although I accept there will have to be some compromising, he doesn't seem to be able to do compromise.

At the moment DS is 10 months, so has been exploring a lot etc. Since I am at home all day with him I am doing most of the interacting with him. My main strategy if he is doing something he is not allowed is redirection and distraction. I also use verbal commands like a general "No", "Leave it", "Gently" etc as well as just moving things out of his reach and praise when he touches the cat gently, also things like if he bites me or goes to bite me I will offer a teething ring or some hard food to chew instead.

This is all fine and DP doesn't have a problem with any of that. But here is an example: If DP is on his laptop and ignoring DS hmm he will come up and keep putting his hand on the keys, DP moves it off and says "No", this goes on for a while, DS thinks it is a game of course. Now at this point I would either move the laptop so that I could use it out of his reach or put it down and actually do something with him. (The fact this is a regular occurance between DP and DS I think is sad anyway - he doesn't want to interact with him after work because he is "too tired" and thinks DS should be in bed) DP's reaction after a few times is to get annoyed and be rougher with the moving away of his hand and the tone of voice he uses to say "No". Eventually it ends in tears and I end up rescuing him - which probably doesn't help, but he looks so bewildered I can't help it

A few weeks ago DS was crawling on DP in bed and when he crawls, he tends to pinch as he is gripping if he is on an uneven surface like a person. DP smacked his hand I was really upset by this and basically said so, and he agreed he would not use smacking again without discussing it first but I think he genuinely thinks I am making a fuss over nothing - I just think it's completely unnacceptable and poor DS couldn't possibly even have made the connection, so uneffective as well!

I think part of the problem is he has the kind of face which makes him look older - I regularly get comments that he looks about 18 months old apart from his size - but he's still a baby and he can't understand as much as DP seems to think. The thing which is really worrying/disturbing me is DP's comments and the language he uses towards DS. If I am struggling to get him to sleep he will look at him and say "You are NAUGHTY" which I don't like (and again have tried to explain) - anyway how is not being tired "naughty"?? And comments like "If DS does X when he is older, he'll get a smack, won't you mate?" And "Bite me and I'll bite you back" (He hasn't and I have made it very clear he is not to, but he still says it) or "He wouldn't do X for Daddy 'cos he knows what he gets" (again it's all words because he knows what I think of it, but it worries me that he says these things still)

I have tried to discuss it. He is not an easy person to discuss things with, and his argument is "It never did me any harm" which is exactly my argument against it - he is not a shining example of a well-brought up man! He is angry a lot and a bit of a bully and violence solves everything (but is mostly all talk) - he has no respect for authority, for example, an actual quote "You don't need to do 30 in a residential area when it's dark" shock this was minutes after I'd got in from posting a letter with DS in tow, crossing a busyish 30 road, in the dark.

In contrast, I was smacked as a child as well and I actually don't think it did do any harm but I think if there is an alternative, which there are plenty, why would you choose to hurt your child??

I have made him sound horrible now. I think that mainly he has good intentions, but he is so stuck in one way of thinking over this discipline issue it's really worrying me. Our relationship is not very good at the moment anyway, and I am thinking about leaving, but that brings up a whole new world of worry about having to leave DS with him alone and what he would be like if I wasn't there to step in, I am aware that toddlers in particular are very good at pushing buttons and winding up parents

Sorry such a mammoth post, any advice??

Chaotica Thu 20-Aug-09 16:27:00

I'm sorry to have to post this - but you have made him sound horrible (DP, not DS) while you sound really lovely and like you're trying your best. WTF does smacking a 10m old do? It is completely out of order. And the way that he speaks to his son is unacceptable. Personally, I would probably threaten to kill anyone who treated my baby like that (and I'm not the calmest of parents).

It will only get worse as your ds gets older - toddlers are sent to try even the calmest people.

I hope someone comes along with a more constructive post, because all I can think of is telling you to leave him. Or telling him that he has to totally change the way he deals with DS or you'll go.

Sorry you're having to go through this.

elmofan Thu 20-Aug-09 16:30:00

oh bertiebotts sad I'm sorry but i agree with you that it is absolutely out of order to smack a 10 month old baby , at that age he has no concept of right & wrong , he is a baby , it is very worrying that your DP feels that is an acceptable punishment for a baby , also when your baby gets older will he smack him harder ?
MY dh came from very strict parents & getting punched was an every day event in his childhood & i suppose that has had a effect on him to a degree but when we had our dc's we really try to work together and agree on punishments that don't involve smacking , but our dc's are 10 & 3 so old enough to understand they are doing wrong . i really do hope things work out for you , & i am sorry you feel that your ds would not be in safe hands around your dp alone .

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Thu 20-Aug-09 17:35:55

Ok i'm not going to stick up for your dh but I have kinda been there with my ex. When dd was born we went through similar things he never smacked her but only because he knew better he probably would have done similar if he didn't have my wrath to face. He would never have seriously hurt her or anything but he just didn't get it.
His problem was that he knew nothing about kids and he couldn't for whatever reason, as he is a very intelligent man, grasp the fact that she was a baby and she had no idea what naughty was or that what she was doing was not intentional in any way.

I'll be honest I never really completely got through to him it just took time really, I was at home all day and so always the one that devised the discipline strategies that worked so it kind of forced his hand in that respect he had no option but to do it my way because it worked. He did try shouting and blustering a bit for a while but did eventually learn that it had no effect other than to upset everyone himself included.

We aren't together now but he has learnt that we need to be on the same page and I have worked hard with the dc's to give them good manners, good behaviour when we are out/in company etc etc. and he tries to do it my way more and more.

Parenting never came naturally to my ex and I know to some it may seem like a lame excuse but believe me I am the last person in this world that would ever stick up for him. He really really struggled with everything to do with having babies stemming from his own crap parents and never having had any contact with babies until we had ours.
You really need to make him try and see that you need to work together and that this level of punishemt isnt't good especially on such a small baby.

Ivarsmum Thu 20-Aug-09 17:56:44

Not trying to justify anyone - but men generally seem to need more reminding that babies are just babies and what they [babies] do is not because they are being deliberately naughty or trying to get their way etc. etc. Frequent gentle reminding and conversations about child dfevelopment stages might help to alleviate the situation somehow...

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