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Am I being unreasonable?

(31 Posts)
emkana Sat 20-Aug-05 20:15:08

Dh, dd1 (4), dd2 (2) and me spend pretty much every weekend together, from morning to night. We often go out for day trips somewhere - about every other weekend. We also go swimming together once or twice a month. On a Sunday afternoon we visit the in laws for Sunday dinner. Whatever we do is generally together. Dh is great with the kids in the sense that he is very patient with them, is very good at talking to them at their level, being understanding with them - much better than I am. What we don't agree on, however, is how much undivided attention he should give the girls, eg playing with them with their toys etc. When we are at home, dh will read the paper or be on the computer or sometimes do stuff in the garden, and he'll respond to the girls if they come up to them with something, or he'll talk to them while doing gardening, but he never sits down with them just to play with them. I really think he should, but he thinks as long as they're happy playing by themselves and him (and me) being around, that's enough. What do you think?

emkana Sat 20-Aug-05 20:15:53

come up to him

flashingnose Sat 20-Aug-05 20:24:00

I think it comes down to different parenting styles - neither of you are right as there is no "right and wrong". It's what works for each of you that counts. It sounds very much like your DDs get plenty of attention and I think it's a very good thing that they also learn to amuse themselves. FWIW, I very rarely sit down and play with my kids with their toys - I might set things up for them or give them ideas, but will then leave them to it. However, they do "help" both me and DH around the house with cooking, gardening etc which, to me, is just as valuable .

flashingnose Sat 20-Aug-05 20:24:51

I meant valuable in terms of attention, rather than child labour !

emkana Sat 20-Aug-05 20:30:47


We had a huge row about this today, need to make up my mind if I apologize to him or make him apologize to me!

aloha Sat 20-Aug-05 20:36:09

I don't think either of you are 'right' and neither of you are 'wrong' - you are just different. There is no right or wrong, just a difference of approach, surely? Your children are happy and feel loved, he responds when they want him to and he's not hurting or abusing or even ignoring them. Tbh I think I fall rather more into your dh's camp than yours, and my kids still love me!

Passionflower Sat 20-Aug-05 20:42:54

I'm with flashingnose, just different parenting styles.

Why not just say that you're sorry that you had the argument. Chances are that your DH regrets the row too.

Hope you make it up!

emkana Sat 20-Aug-05 21:02:49

Thanks for your answers!

Any more?

WideWebWitch Sat 20-Aug-05 21:05:52

Well, I give my children a bit of undivided attention when we're all here, so I'll read a couple of books here and there (to the littlest,nearly 2) or play snakes and ladders with ds, who is nearly 8 but tbh they don't get that much undivided attention from either of us. Today we've all got up, went shopping for some boring stuff for me and then some nice stuff for them (yu gi oh cards/Barbie) and then we all 4 went to Pizza Express for lunch after which dd and I slept for a couple of hours while ds played Playstation and dp did ? dunno, something on the computer. Then we had supper and all went for a walk in the woods, followed by me and 2 kids in the bath, followed by bed for thme and now I'm here, although shortly to watch something with dp. So we've all been together all day but doing various things and it's been lovely but I haven't been on the floor playign as such, and wouldn't be, generally. So I'd say if your girls are happy pottering and playing then fine, you and dh don't need to do more. So I think I'm probably on his side. Sorry!

DelGirl Sat 20-Aug-05 21:06:09

fwiw I agree with Aloha.

edam Sat 20-Aug-05 21:25:53

It would be nice if he spent some one to one time with them - reading a story, whatever. It's not the end of the world if he's just there and talks to them when they approach him, but I think they'd really appreciate having his undivided attention at some point in the day. Especially at weekends when he has more time. Does he ever do bath time, for instance?

I do take Aloha's point, but my sisters and I suffered from having a dad who hid behind his paper. He did spend time with us but only when he was doing his stuff and took us along for the ride - or played What's the Time Mr Wolf at our birthday parties. In fact that one game is the only time I can remember him playing with us. I wish he'd actually given us more of his attention - and it certainly has had an effect on my sister's adult relationships.

emkana Sat 20-Aug-05 22:17:58

He does do bathtimes, or we do it together, but again he lets them play together while he sits next to the bath reading. But we get the girls changed etc. together every night, and he always reads dd1 a bedtime story (dd2 not that bothered yet, but she will hopefully join in soon).

edam Sat 20-Aug-05 23:10:22

Hmmm sorry don't like the letting them play together while he reads. I can see the temptation - I'd love ds to have a brother or sister to play with so I could read a book while he's around - but he's not actually interacting with them while he's reading, is he?

Bedtime story is good. Why is dd2 not able to join in?

emkana Sun 21-Aug-05 10:50:21

No, he isn't interacting, that's what annoys me.
Dd2 won't sit through a bedtime story yet, so I look at a book with her while dh reads with dd1, until she's older and has more "staying power".

We went swimming this morning first thing, so now I think dh feels he has done enough for the day.

edam Sun 21-Aug-05 11:45:52

So your kids have, effectively, 1 and 1/4 parents? If taking them swimming as a family is 'his bit for the day'?
I do think he needs a kick up the behind and to take a more active role in his dd's lives. Sorry.

robinia Sun 21-Aug-05 12:01:43

emkana - I think your dh is typical of many fathers. My dh is exactly the same - feels he needs some brownie points if he does anything specifically with them. We don't do nearly as much with them as you and your dh do and tbh I don't think they miss out or are disadvantaged. Often they'll be entertaining themselves while dh plays his computer games and I read or come here . And I very rarely play with them either - I'm more of a facilitator iyswim. I do think it's good that they learn to play by themselves and I wouldn't personally worry so much about dh playing with them as long as he takes a reasonable share in looking after them.

emkana Sun 21-Aug-05 13:08:02

Totally unsure what to think now...

Twiglett Sun 21-Aug-05 13:12:37

I think kids who are left alone to play without parental guidance develop strong and vivid imaginations

I don't think your DH is doing anything wrong at all

yes I think you're being unreasonable because you're wanting him to parent by your rules

hunkermunker Sun 21-Aug-05 13:13:44

Agree with Twiglett. I'd not have liked it if my parents had played with me the whole time either.

emkana Sun 21-Aug-05 13:14:52

Oh dear Twiglett

That's exactly what he said. Will I have to eat humble pie?

snafu Sun 21-Aug-05 13:21:10

For some reason, the only thing I think sounds off about his behaviour is the part about sitting next to the bath reading - that does seem particularly uninvolved, imo. But the rest of what you've said doesn't sound that big a deal really and I quite agree that kids need to play alone to develop their imaginations etc etc. It sounds as if he's good at interacting with them on a less 'formal' level, iyswim.

Sooo, I'm sitting on the fence but with my legs dangling over the 'you're being rather unreasonable' side Sorry!

Twiglett Sun 21-Aug-05 13:21:17

no, no never apologise you'll just let make him feel all-powerful

jabberwocky Sun 21-Aug-05 13:45:15

I have to admit to being caught sitting by ds's bath with a book But, he takes really loooong baths so I tend to interact more in the first 10 minutes or so and then let him play more or less on his own after that. Of course, we are talking back and forth still, etc. I have heard that it is good to let your children see you reading as it encourages them in their own reading (see how i can justify this? )

I also have to agree with other posters that it does come down to different parenting styles probably for the most part and I would weigh heavily on whether the dd's seem satisfied with it or not. My dh has a saying that he gives ds "quantity time" instead of "quality time" LOL. But I think that children do gain a lot just from the satisfaction of knowing a parent is there if they need him/her and then having the confidence to play more or less independently IYKWIM.

emkana Sun 21-Aug-05 15:00:06

The dd's are very happy really, but sometimes I think that is because they don't know what they are missing?

hunkermunker Sun 21-Aug-05 15:02:52

What do you think he should be doing with them? You say in your first post playing with them with their toys? What kind of games do they play? What do you do with them?

DH plays with DS more than I do - but I have a limited attention span

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