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I think the only thing we row about is our kids.....:-(

(5 Posts)
TheGoddessBlossom Sat 18-Jun-11 09:11:10

We rub along pretty well DH and I, we do love each other very much, lots in common, still fancy each other, 10 years married, 2 DSs.

They are 6 and 4 now, and life is getting much easier in lots of respects, but discipline is the one thing that seems to cause catastophic rows.

I do baby them, but I think (and am told by my friends) that I am quite strict with them, insist on good manners, behaviour etc, don't always get there but you know.

DH's default setting wtih them is grumpy. He is a great dad in many ways but it seems to have to be on his terms. Can't stand noise in the morning, can't stand them fighting and rough and tumbling all the time. I recently told him to look at them like puppies, that like to roll around and scuffle etc, and he said that has helped him relax about it all a bit. But if, for example like this morning, they fight, he puts them in their respective rooms, then DS2 opened his door, but stayed in his room - DH flips, rushes in there, uses a terrifying growl voice WHY IS YOUR DOOR OPEN?, grabs DSs arm, scares the absolute fucking shit out of him. He is capable of reducing them both to tears in seconds, and I think he is too heavy handed and I have told him so.

He thinks I undermine him - I try not to do it, and try not to undermine him in front of the boys but I can't help myself step in sometimes. They love their Dad dearly, but they are frightened of him - I get much more love and affection from them than him; they ask me to read their story, they ask me to take them places rather than him, and I just worry that they are going to grow up resenting him for using these tactics. Fear of him I think will turn to anger.

Don't be wrong - he is not a bully. I just think he deploys bullying tactics to hold the upper hand sometimes and I don't think it is necessary or appropriate. I don't have a problem with sons being mindful of incurring their Dad's wrath, but I think it should be used as a last ditch approach.

How do you get a happy medium here?

barbiegrows Sat 18-Jun-11 09:32:21

Hmm - has he read any parenting books? Steve Biddulph is good for Dads and boys.

Men are often like that, they treat their children a bit like out of control dogs. But Cesar Milan has even turned that one on its head to show that even dogs need 'leadership', not control.

I pick up that he thinks you are undermining him when you defend the dcs. I suggest that you try and reach them first next time there's a crisis. Be firm but fair, I think you know exactly the right thing to do - trust your instincts and lead by example

In addition to that, try and find out why they are fighting - there's only so much rough and tumble that is healthy - do they play together for instance? Do they take turns in games?

purepurple Sat 18-Jun-11 09:38:14

OP, you have just described me and DH!
He says I'm too soft. He is too strict and scary. He has a grumpy default too. The only way we have found to compromise is to talk and try to find a middle ground. We have real serious issues with DD 14 and he has mellowed because he has had to. He seems to have developed skills of listening, empathy and his relationship with DD is so much better for it. Like barbiegrows says, lead by example. It's taken him a while, but he has realised that my methods work better than his.

barbiegrows Sat 18-Jun-11 09:43:07

Also, you need to assert yourself regarding how far you are prepared to let him go with it. I have a friend whose OH is like that and nothing has ever changed because she just huffed and puffed about it but never really did the 'I am the mother of these children and I will NOT stand for them being shouted at / treated like dogs' speech. Her DH is still like that - the disciplinary freak - it's not good.

TheGoddessBlossom Sat 18-Jun-11 10:28:18

Pure Purple - I do worry about when they get to teen years, cos let's face it it's going to be much worse then when they are answering back, and really pushing him, I can see it coming to blows - which he will sincerely and genuinely regret after the fact but it will be too late by then.

They are typical boys - they play, they share, they argue, they fight. Nothing out of the ordinary IMO.

Barbie grows - he would never read a book about parenting - he just wouldn't. I would and have. I have really held back from doing the "these are my kids and I won't let you treat them like this" as once that is said you can't take it back - his response would be "they are my kids too".

I am a bit more annoyed now, as have just seen DS1 at swimming that his Dad takes him to while I take other one to a later lesson, and DS1 has just told me DH has said he doesn't want to go anywhere with me. So while I am explaining to DS2 that all grownups argue and it doesn't mean they don't love each other etc, he is busy slagging me off to our other son. angry how fucking mature is that? Men are twats.

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