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V Long. Going through rough patch(19 Posts)
my partner and I have known each other for 12 years, we began as friends and over a course of a couple of years we became "serious", we bought a flat together 8 years ago. We have a beautiful dd who is 4. In the early days our relationship was what I would call passionate, unpredicable and sometimes turbulent. I am glad those days are behind us although I miss the sexual excitement. We have our ups and downs but we have settled into what would be considered a normal stable relationship. He works full time, I am a SAHM by choice. He is a great dad and we rub along nicely most of the time.
Over the past couple of years we have had a few upsets - 2 x miscarriages, money issues, family problems (mine), health issues (current and his) and we have had our moments of not getting on during which times I have wondered if things might be better if we were apart (I doubt it and I have kept this to myself) but have stuck with it because I want our family to stay together, because you can't go running off at the slightest bit of trouble and because from past experience I know that these are just hiccups that all relationships go through and besides when each incident is over I generally feel happy with my lot.
I have been contemplating marriage, thinking that perhaps it is time, that I am "ready", that I'm going nowhere so why not? But. Over the past week or so I find myself in a very unhappy place and I'm asking myself what the hell am I thinking? Our dd has recently displayed some very bad behaviour - up to this point talking things through and using the naughty step on the odd occasion seems to have been enough. On a recent trip out dd was absolutely vile - rude to me and others in our group, shouty, refused to join in, running off, telling me for the first time that she "didn't love me at all" I was very upset and admit I didn't handle the situation very well. On returning home and expecting some tea and sympathy from dp he gave me a right dressing down, told me it was all my fault, that I could have resolved the situation from the off rather than letting it drag on for hours, that dd was obviously upset from the moment we stepped out the door and I shouldn't have let the situation esculate - fair enough I guess but easy to say from up there in the pulpit. It then somehow degenerated into a general appraisal of how shit I am when it comes to dealing with her in these situations and that I need to sort myself out. This was said at me all the while through me crying my eyes out (it didn't help that I had pmt). Anyhow, I went to bed feeling very sorry for myself but had to put a brave face on things the next day because partner had family coming - we all had a great day and things "got back to normal" except of course they didn't really.
Later in the week after another bout of bad behaviour and me not handling it particularly well partner and I were talking about it, started off as a reasonable conversation and ended up being something that made my blood run cold. He said that it was my job to take care of dd and that included dealing with bad behaviour and that it needed to be nipped in the bud, that my previous "woolly liberal" tactic of talking it through wasn't working (agreed) and that is was time to get a bit tougher (agreed) I kept asking for advice to which he kept repeating that it wasn't him having these conversations with dd/wasn't him involved in the incidents so how could he possibly say and that this was my job (I wanted to bounce ideas, no tv, no playdates etc but I guess that's
parenting liberal woollyness) He then went on to say that he didn't want her growing up to be badly behaved (neither do I) and that he didn't want to have to resort to hitting her because I had allowed her to get out of control. We then went on to have a horrible discussion where I reiterated something that we say "there's no hitting in this family" to which he replied "hitting is not the same as corporeal punishment" and that this is acceptable when all other things have failed, it is the final thing that will get results. I feel utterly sick by this attitude and don't know where to take things from here. I'm not sure if he was saying this to me to "win" an argument and make me feel bad or what. I feel horrified that he would think this is acceptable for our dd - oh and that if it got to that point it would be my fault for not sorting it out before it got to that level.
This was a few days ago and I cannot get it out of my head. Any views welcome.
too long to read or just too boring to comment on?!
Of course hitting her is never going to be the answer, and nor is his denial that it isn't his responsibility to support you in handling her. You need to do more talking about this when everyone is calm.
What has changed recently? It sounds like her behavioural problems are a recent thing. Does she talk to you about things she worries about? Do you always carry out threats of reasonable sanctions for inappropriate behaviours after a warning has been given? Do you invest the time and energy to remove her from situations where she isn't behaving until she understands how she needs to behave and apologises?
A VERY long post with a very short point! Also very confusing in places!
Your DP was not right to suggest that "hitting" is the last solution to your DD's naughtiness and is also not right to suggest that it is ALL your fault. Is your DD naughty when she is with your partner and you? What does he/would he do in that situation? Have you asked him?
I think you need a time when you are both calm to discuss this properly and work out some solutions that do not involve "hitting"!!
Also, I do not understand why you and you alone would contemplate marriage. Has he proposed lately or is it something you feel you should be doing?
First of all, stop thinking about marriage. This needs sorting out beforehand.
I think you need to explain to him that hitting a child in any form is the same as hurting them and does not provide a good example and that it is something that you are simply not prepared to do or allow him to do.
Are you able to talk to a health visitor about dd's behaviour or read some books that might be helpful? Do you have a friend who has older children?
It could have been that your DD was very hot or overtired or about to be ill with something on that particular day. All these can make behaviour extra bad. Does he never have "a bad day" then? We all do.
thanks both for taking the time to read and comment.
I think changes in behaviour may be down to the fact that she has now left nursery and will be starting school in sept, she is very excited but also misses her nursery friends and of course it is a big change so perhaps she is anxious. We are talking about school and have got books from the library, we've also had some playdates with children from nursery, not sure what else I can do to amke the transition less anxious. There is a little girl downstairs (house is divided into 2 flats) of same age who will be going to same school and in same class - they see each other a fair amount but dd has issues I think - feels anxious at sharing toys/me etc. This bad behaviour has only really been with me.
I do usually carry out threats of reasonable sanctions but "that" initial day of bad behaviour I guess I didn't - I told her we would have to leave and go home if her behaviour continued but we stayed and I tried to talk it through/give her time and we did go on to have a great few hours eventually but then it kicked off again on the way home.
In regards to marriage I think it is the elephant in the room - I have never been keen on the idea per se, never had a dream dress/venue in mind like a lot of girls do. We last "discussed it" about 6 years ago when we'd been through (another) rough patch and he said "well, we'll have to think about marriage at some point" to which I tartly replied "this is not the time or place". It has never really been mentioned since.
I have already told him that this is not acceptable. He begs to differ, hence my dilemma. I am shocked at his attitude, we have never thought it ok to hit, ever. He is projecting into the future and sees an unruly child who needs to be "taken in hand" because I have failed as a mother
She is a lovely girl, we both absolutely adore her, bad behaviour is going to happen now and again as she develops and yes of course it must be nipped in the bud and it will be but why would he even say those things to me?
If marriage has never been mentioned since the last conversation six years ago then why are you thinking about it now? If you have never been keen on the idea and you are going through a rough patch what is making you think about it?
Well, it's not the time or place now either until you have agreed on how to handle DD and he has shown that he loves and trusts you, and promised that he won't hit his little girl.
And stick to what you say when you warn her of sanctions. One warning, then sanction, seek an apology and move on. Stay calm! She needs you to be consistent and fair especially when things have been difficult for you as a family. You're in danger of letting this undermine your ability to parent perfectly effectively and in a loving way.
why marriage now? I have thought about it on and off since dd was born, we are a family and plan to stay together. I suppose I also wonder why he hasn't bought it up!
Hi MWW. I just wrote a bloody long post and MN lost it somewhere!! Probably your good fortune!
Anyway, it asked some of the questions others have asked but it also boiled down to this business of threatening to hit your dd and blaming you for it-if my P said that to me in all seriousness, I would tell him in no uncertain terms that if he hit her it would be the last thing he ever did. Can you take this stance with your P? (The general discipline of dd I am not commenting on at the mo).
Your post comes over as if you're a bit wary of him tbh. Is that right?
tbh I don't think he would be able to do this, he is talking about this as being the very last bastion i.e. we've tried all other methods over a period of time and behaviour is still bad. I don't think it would ever get to that point because essentially she is a good girl who responds well to the sanctions we give.
my dilemma is what to say to him next ... I've told him it's unacceptable and he disagrees and that's where we left it but it's still there hanging in the air. my thoughts are "you ever lay a finger on her and this relationship is over" but wary of saying this
"hitting is not the same as corporeal punishment"
Actually I thought it was the definition of corporal punishment.
Well, I think this business of laying all failure squarely at your door needs to be addressed. Just because you are with her more doesn't absolve him of responsibility when it comes to parenting including discipline. I also think you do need to sort out his attitude to "the final straw" etc, -if he doesn't mean it then he shouldn't say at as look what it has put between you-you now feel this barrier between you.
And if he does really think it's acceptable to hit a little child well, that's wrong on many levels.
It seems to me that the way he is saying it-as if it's a thought-out and accepted part of his beliefs re parenting- is different from the parent who doesn't generally agree with smacking but who might smack once in a blue moon through loss of control etc(I'm talking mild here, and I'm not saying that's right either).
He does sound a bit controlling on this tbh. Why are you wary of saying it? (ie your last para)
Why wary of saying it? Conscious you wouldn't follow through or afraid he'll kick off?
One thing is that she is likely more difficult with you because you are her main carer, which means you're her safety net, her constant, and the person she tests boundaries with - it is not because you're a crap parent. This would bear pointing out to your bloke.
Obviously you do need to make sure you're consistent with your rules and that you follow through with discipline if needs be. But a few incidents don't mean a horrible child on her way to being feral .
Your dp's attitude seems very odd, and raking you down as he did is not acceptable. If he treats you like a naughty child, I'd definitely be reassessing the relationship, and not with marriage in mind.
this is what I can't work out - we've both always agreed that hitting is not the way to go so why has he suddenly come out with this? wary because he may turn round and say well then the relationship is over. Oh I don't know, I'm just upset that he's said this he's an idiot
I have to get dd's dinner
Your dd is only 4, she is most certainly going to be "naughty" many times in the future through no fault of yours. At what point will he decide to smack her? How naughty is to naughty for your DP? When she is in her teens, she will probably give you both grey hairs (as a lot of teens do). Do you want him blaming you or smacking her?
I do feel he is putting pressure on you that you dont need. This is your first child and you will learn how to deal with the situation better. Quite honestly, the fact that she is 4 and only being naughty (or a typical 4 year old that needs reigning in) now is a huge feather in your cap.
I also think you need to set your DP straight right now about co-parenting. If he feels this is only your responsibility - he has another thing coming and its up to you to make that crystal clear. SAHM or not - you are both her parents! If you worked as well then who would be responsible when she plays up? The childminder? Thats just silly, you are BOTH her parents.
Quick update just to say that this is all sorted - phew. We had a chat and as I thought his dd is the apple of his eye and there is no way that he would be administering any form of cp. So why say it? Seems his health issues are giving him more cause for concern than he's been making out and he's in much more pain than I thought (he is awaiting a very serious operation) and it's making him feel very miserable and incredibly grumpy and on that day in particular it was just all getting on top of him and he sort of blew a verbal gasket. He's apologised and I feel reassured that what he says is genuine. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my somewhat garbled OP and who offered support.
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