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Arguing with DH - not sure how to resolve things

(20 Posts)
BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 20:57:09

DH and I seem to be arguing more and more - often small stuff but sometimes big 'general' stuff. It's leaving me feeling very sad and it's affecting our overall relationship.

Like yesterday - my godson's Christening, DH got furious with me for telling him to give DD the cake she wanted, instead of wrapping it up (DD - 2.2 - was having a minor meltdown due to over-tiredness and over-excitedness). He said I do this sort of thing 'all the time' - undermine him, tell him what to do, don't listen to his opinion. (I don't believe I'm guilty of this by the way)

I tried to explain my take on it:
a) I pick my battles (I don't think letting DD hold some cake is a battle worthy of fighting)
b) I'm with the DC all day at home (we have 5mo DS too) - so naturally spending more time with them means I have built up a better idea of how they react in such situations, and what works to diffuse them

This last argument has left me feeling very sad about our relationship, as I always thought we were on the same page, parenting in a similar way, complementing each other.

We are supposed to be having a 'talk' tomorrow, but I don't really know where to start with it all. I can't get my head round what he's complaining about, as to me it's him blowing things up out of proportion and not seeing the bigger picture. I think sometimes he wants me to let him deal with a situation just for the sake of principal (letting DD carry on screaming while he told her to stop crying and be a 'big girl'... hmm)

I have also read quite a lot of MN books about child development so know that sometimes trying to reason with a screaming toddler is not going to work. He was very sarcastic when I mentioned this yesterday, as if he thinks reading up on stuff is a waste of time. I see it as part of my job as a SAHM to learn about my DC and the role I play; him dismissing this left me feeling resentful towards him of all the time & effort I put in to this family.

Sorry it's so long.

Can anyone give some advice as to how we can talk through these issues?

N0tinmylife Mon 15-Oct-12 21:04:15

It does sound a bit like you think you know best. I am not saying he was right, but maybe that is a place to start? His opinions may not be wrong, if he had dealt with the situation his way what is the worst that would have happened?

maybenow Mon 15-Oct-12 21:07:28

It sounds to me like you don't understand how your behaviour can make him feel?

I am not saying he's right, but can you imagine how belittling it could be to be overruled and told basically that you dont' know your own children... if you can go into the discussion with a bit of real empathy and understanding of how he might feel you can hopefully explain your position without contributing to the belittling.

good luck

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 21:08:54

Well I suppose if he'd carried on yesterday trying to get DD to stop crying she would've carried on screaming hysterically in front of all the guests. I don't want that to happen, more for the sake of DD than for the guests though.

If it sounds like I am coming across badly, how do I take steps to help matters without situations getting to screaming point?

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 21:13:05

Also sometimes when he's struggling to get DD to cooperate, he will look at me in exasperation and say I should be helping him.
I don't know when to offer suggestions or not. confused

N0tinmylife Mon 15-Oct-12 21:20:04

She is his daughter too. Maybe sometimes just letting him get on with it would be the way forward? He would undoubtedly do it wrong at times, but then I'm guessing you did too at times before you learned what would work? I have possibly had wine so feel free to ignore me

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 21:24:26

Ok. So even when I know that what he's doing/saying will lead to distress, I should keep my mouth shut?

Genuine question btw.

N0tinmylife Mon 15-Oct-12 21:27:06

If you think it will be short term, minor distress, and not anything major, and he will learn from it then yes. Have you honestly never made the wrong decision and thought afterwards you could have done things different?

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 21:30:22

Of course I've made mistakes, I guess I just try to stop DH making the same ones. But you're right, he needs to go through it himself.

Do DC suffer if the parents have different 'parenting styles'? Does it not get confusing for them?

BlingLoving Mon 15-Oct-12 21:31:23

I think you need to get a better balance. Right now you could say the simplest thing and he'd probably get upset. Similarly, you are probably very quick to criticise. It sounds like a bit of a negative spiral.

I think when you talk you have to agree some boundaries. Eg, if he is responsible for dd at any particular point, you agree to let him get on with it. On the other hand, he should accept that you have experience and can warn him of pitfalls ahead of time.

Certainly, there have been many. Times where I have had to bite my tongue with dh. But how can he learn if I always interfere. And truthfully, I didn't always bite my tongue enough and he didn't always respect my opinion enough. But we both tried and that was the important thing I think.

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 21:36:30

Thanks, this the outside opinion I needed smile
It's cos we care so much <vom> wink

Ummofumbridge Mon 15-Oct-12 21:58:37

Op I do this blush
I have 5 dc and 2 toddlers and definitely choose my battles. DH is pretty strict with them sometimes but I've learned to bite my tongue and 'discuss' it with him later. You both want what's best but you're going about it in different ways. You need to have a chat and both learn to compromise.
How would you feel if you said no then he went over your head?

It's not an unusual problem and I know I'm 'the soft one' they come to if they want something but they also love their Dad and tbf he can be a softy too at times.

ILoveSparklers Mon 15-Oct-12 22:01:18

You undermined him, he's pissed off. You need to talk more about how to deal with such situations not make him look like an idiot in front of his children.

thixotropic Mon 15-Oct-12 22:08:50

Agree with the above posters.

We have a 2.5 yo, and we frequently alternate between who is good cop and who is bad cop in terms strictness in a situation.

We find that if one parent is trying to impose discipline in a situation, and the good cop disagrees, the good cop backs off, let's bad cop handle it then discusses a joint strategy ' for next time.'

I think you need to keep working at respecting the others opinions, not easy and I frequently grit my teeth, as does dh. But gets easier with practice.

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 22:14:08

See I don't see it as Good Cop Bad Cop, I see it as What Works & What Doesn't Work.

I think we're both quite stubborn, so frequently arguments boil down to 'I'm right!' wink

Scarynuff Mon 15-Oct-12 22:37:42

Why not agree a set of 'code' words. Like, if he is not handling the situation well, you could ask, 'would a bit of advice help'. Or he could say 'I could do with a hand here'. OK not really code, but pre-agreed so that you both understand the spirit that is intended and don't take offence at treading on each others toes.

Also, on his day off, go out for the day and leave him to get on with it. Don't tell him what to do, what he needs, what to expect, just let him learn for himself. And it won't bother you because you will be off enjoying yourself for a few hours.

You dd will not suffer. As long as she is safe, she will benefit from the closer relationship she will build with her dad. Life is a tapestry of experiences and we all have something valuable to offer. He will have different strengths to you and you probably do complement each other, if you can just work out what they are grin

BobbysBeardOfWonder Mon 15-Oct-12 22:42:35

Good idea re code words thanks. DH and DD have a great relationship already smile but when one or both of them are tired it gets a bit tricky.

blackcurrants Mon 15-Oct-12 23:00:32

Bobbys another option is to find a 'method' that you both think will work, and that you can agree on. We have found 1-2-3 magic of great help with our 2 1/2 year old. It's certainly a tricky age!

wanderingalbatross Mon 15-Oct-12 23:04:23

Maybe you also need a code phrase that means 'i think this is going to lead to a tantrum' smile I'd have thought at 2.2 your DD is likely to pick up on things, so a united front is important?

DH gets frustrated that I know how best how DD is going to react to something, but if I offer advice in the heat of the minute he can take it as telling him he's doing it wrong. So I try and tell him things either ahead of time or after the event, and I normally say something like "I've often noticed X leads to Y so I'm trying Z to see if that helps" or "A happened today and I've been reading that often B is a good thing to do". Which means I'm not telling him what to do, just what works for me or what I'm going to try.

tallwivglasses Mon 15-Oct-12 23:11:17

I think some people are being a bit mean to you Bobby - and you're being very gracious about it.

The fact that you read up on parenting is met with sarcasm and derision. That's not on! And being told it's all a waste of time would upset me greatly.

Has he never read a car manual or phone instructions for example? Or was he born a world expert? confused

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