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AIBU? thinking DH needs a few lessons in parenting?

44 replies

Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:07

To be brief..or as brief as I can be, DS2 (aged 4) was told this morning he had to go out with DH to get some oil for the car (I actually was under the impression it was to be both small boys going, but no!) DS didn't want to go, but DH insisted, DS gets upsets, starts wailing, DH threatens to put him on the stairs if he doesn't stop and put his shoes on, DS wails more. DH puts DS on stairs, DS wails more. DH starts to put said shoes on, DS loses it completely, DH shouts throws him into his bedroom (well, not exactly throws but you know what I mean) and comes into see me (I have kept out of it as DH would say I was undermining him had I become involved) I say, just leave him for a few minutes to calm down and then he will be fine. DH goes in after a minute, DS still losing it. DH shouts, says he will take beloved bear away (I don't agree with this at all) DS screams some more. DH threatens to put toys in the bin, DS screams some more. DH eventually gets shoes on DS, and they go out.

Now, my way of dealing with DS outbursts is to give him a warning, and then sit him on the stairs ALONE for 4 minutes, after which time he has calmed down, had a think and is ready to co-operate. DH knows this so WHY CAN'T HE DO IT MY WAY????? Because it's my way maybe??

DS is a wilful one, but not that much. I think DH compares him far too much with DS1 (13) who was really an angelic child....but DS2 is a different child!!!

Also DS2 has just started school, a week after recovering from severe tonsillitis so is absolutely shattered, hence the unreasonable behaviour. I have tried to explain theis to DH who seems to listen and take it in, but obviously he hasn't.

I know DH didn't want to give in to DS, but I just feel he could handle everything sooooo much better.

He is away Monday to Friday most weeks, so the parenting is up to me, so am I unreasonable in thinking that we should really do it mostly my way (seeing as it works and DS doesn't scream at me that much at all) I'm not a soft touch, but can also see why children behave in certain ways at certain times.

DS isn't a bad child, he is really lovely with a stubborn streak in him.

Dh isn't a bad dad, he is a very loving and fun one but he can't seem to get on their level and just understand.


I just feel really horrible now

Rant over

OP posts:

starrynight · 09/09/2007 11:09

Nice if you can get him to go to parenting classes.

I have just started going to relate with my DH to discuss lots of things including parenting problems.

I have found that the more he works and is away from the children the less patience and tolerance he has with them.


policywonk · 09/09/2007 11:13

You could be describing my house - DP does exactly this with our sons. That is, when he's not over-indulging them in ways I would never contemplate. I think it's hard for the partner who spends less time with the children - it's as though they come home from work and have to fit in to someone else's rules and timetable. My DP also has an occcasional fit in which he decides that he ought to behave like the head of the household , which always results in him yelling at the kids, or having unrealistic expectations of their behaviour. Don't know what to suggest really - except that he obviously loves his boys, and it will probably all come out in the wash! Well, that's what I tell myself. (If he really did confiscate a beloved toy, though, I might leave it for half an hour and then step in when things have calmed down a bit.)


OberonKenobi · 09/09/2007 11:15

I think we all have times when we don't deal with our children in a text-book manner.

If this is a one-off, then let it go.

If he is forever shouting at your son, and physically moving him about, then you need to sit down and discuss parenting strategies.

Discuss it in terms of needing to be consistent with how you both deal with your children, and less in terms of telling your DH what to do.

And perhaps encourage your DH and DS to spend lots of fun time together, so they each understand where the other one is coming from a bit better.


Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:15

Yes, get him to some parenting/counselling sessions. He's probably very tired after working away all week and doesn't think about his actions at all - you need to take some time together to discuss how he might approach the children more calmly.


Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:18

policywonk, that is exactly what Dh is like, loves to have fun with the boys, but does seem to need to exert his authority as 'Head of the Household' at times! It's just not going to happen!!!

He does love them so much and he won't be happy with the way he dealt with the situation but it doesn't mean he will change the way he deals with them!

Daft thing is, DS3 would happily have gone with him...but he is here with me!!

OP posts:

Chattyhan · 09/09/2007 11:21

I have simular parenting issues with DP. He says things like he'll take his comforter toy away which i completely disagree with and doesn't give warnings, often just goes to extreme punishment or makes stupid threats. I really have to fight to not lose it and rather than intervene and confuse DS even more i tend to let DP deal with it then i go and speak to DS about what he did wrong and why daddy got angry. Which DP often neglects to explain. I don't know if there is a way to broach this without a row? If someone knows then please tell me. I'm thankful that i'm the main disciplinarian and can do it my way most of the time!

When we do discuss parenting styles DP tells me i'm being OTT and that i'm free to do it my way but he'll do it his way i often feel bad for DS (2.9) when he gets an unfair punishment or just doesn't understand what he did wrong and daddy starts yelling!

You're not alone


Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:22

I think that the "head of household" authority thing arises when men feel that they have lost all control of their family lives.... which of course is their own fault if they over-indulge, then try to get the children to obey orders and fail.

So basically they need to stop the over-indulging in the first place.


bubblagirl · 09/09/2007 11:26

my dp also works extremely long hours or away so parenting is down to me he also feels he has no role in the house and tries to deal with things in his own way and if i try to tell him how we do it he also says that i'm underminin g him whats the point in being here

but i dont like to see my ds destressed when i know he doesn't have to be just so my dp can get his macho ego in the house after alot of long discussions and tears we have now cleared up the fact its not me undermining him but as i'm left doing the parenting and a routine has been set he should respect that and follow it through he has now witnessed it does work but i make sure i say he handled it well to boost his ego so he feels he plays a part in the family and thank him for helping as i do understand he must feel he is on the outside but alos he has to respect my hard work


Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:26

He is tired (he has had a particularly difficult week) but this happens every now and then. He isn't as bad as he was this morning very often, but he can be sometimes. The thing is, the children aren't responsible for his tiredness and I do all I can to enable him to relax at the weekend, so I don't really think he has much of an excuse.

I do try to explain how I do it, but he really has this thing about deciding how WE should do it. How I deal with the children really works for me, so while I can take on board some of his suggestions, I won't be changing the way I do things too much as I am with them for the majority of the time.

If I suggested parenting lesson he would be quite offended! Best not do that!

Hopefully he will realise hwo badly he dealt with DS when he comes back and they will be friends again. I just wish that instead of nagging them (DS1) or trying to be oh so controlling, he would sit back and enjoy them and see just how utterly wonderful they are...because they are (most of the time )

He does normally have a great relationship with all 3 boys, but if he keeps being like this he will spoil that!

OP posts:

policywonk · 09/09/2007 11:27

Oh, I agree with that Anna8888. It's getting DP to see it (or even getting him to recognise that he indulges them in the first place) that's difficult.

I do look on parenting as being like any other skill - the more you do it, the better you get. I do it all day every day, and so am consequently no longer entirely incompetent at it (on a good day). Comparatively, by DP is still a rookie, and still makes rookie mistakes. So long as he's not doing anything that I think it really outrageous, I tend to leave him to get on with it - that's the best way to learn, after all. I wouldn't let him do anything that I thought would cause real harm, but God knows I've made plenty of parenting mistakes over the years, and it would have wound me up something rotten if DP had been constantly standing over me telling me that I was doing it wrong, or suggesting parenting classes - I'd have been in tears.

If he ever does anything right, Squirdle, could you make a big deal out of acknowledging it (without seeming to take the piss)? 'Oh, you dealt with that really well, don't know whether I would have been able to handle it so calmly' (of course you would, but he doesn't need to know this!). This approach works well with my DP sometimes, and makes him feel a bit less of a prat on the home front.


bubblagirl · 09/09/2007 11:30

the other way i got around it was by pretending hv had told me how to deal with certain situations with our ds and we both had to stick to it and she was going to check on progress in few weeks

he listened and agreed probably because he thought it was someone elses good plan not mine but still lol it worked


Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:30

Maybe that is what it is. He feels like he has to play the authoritarian part because he is away so much. I actually controlled myself well this morning and did stay calm with Dh, even though I was seething inside. I just feel if he did it the way the children are used to, there would be more consistency and better behaviour (from everyone!!!)

OP posts:

Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:32

Yes, I agree that they have a hard time not over-indulging .

My partner does this really annoying thing of taking the boys (my stepsons) to restaurants at lunchtime and then thinking that I should only make really healthy (diet) meals at home. I have tried explaining that if I don't cook proper food, my daughter and I will go hungry... it's beginning to sink in...


McEdam · 09/09/2007 11:34

I think this is a common problem and I think the posters who have suggested lack of time with the children/male ego as reasons are right.

Have had this with dh occasionally. But I try to remember that I am not perfect either. And keep out of the way unless it is really unfair and distressing. If it is, I intervene but try to make it a helpful 'you look really stressed, why don't you have a breather and I'll take over for a few minutes'. And then have a gentle conversation about it later, suggesting how it could have been done differently in a gentle, not-blaming way, if that makes sense.

Could you talk to dh about any incidents later when he's calm in a non-accusatory way? 'Gosh, that was a really tough moment, are you feeling OK?' And then subtly suggest how things could have gone differently while agreeing noone is perfect and you've f*cked up too on occasions?


Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:36

I agree with you all, but most of this I do. I do say when he does things well (in a non patronising way) and I do tell him he is a great dad, because he is! But I don't seem to be able to tell him if I don't agree with something he does.

You rae right in saying he has had less experience than me, and he does need to learn, I just hope he learns when things go wrong.

OP posts:

bubblagirl · 09/09/2007 11:39

yes i've done that with my dp you handled that so well but just a little tip if you do such and such next time might not be so stressful it took me along time to work that out so just thought id help you as you done so well and dont want you getting to stressed then change of subject

they still have the sense of i did good i'll say i'm proud of you and i've noticed he does the same back with me now so it does work you have to catch them at right time though

many many rows were had before i managed to perfect my approach with him but it worked thank goodness although do still have to on the odd accasion remind him to pick his fights or he could spend all day stressing about everything


Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:40

If I need to tell my partner that he has handled something badly, I always make sure I do it well after the event when everyone has calmed down, the children are out of the way and I have had time to analyse it and can explain exactly what he could have done better. I don't think telling anyone they have done something badly is justifiable if you cannot explain how they could do it better next time.


Squirdle · 09/09/2007 11:43

Anna...DH is the same, although it's normally because he eats out a lot with work and so wants 'healthy' when he gets home! I have explained that the boys and I rarely eat out and almost never have junk food!

McEdam, you are totally right. I am not perfect and sometimes do say to myself 'I got that totally wrong there!!'

I am going to try to support DH on this one, but also gently suggest ways of handling it all better.

He's lucky I have you all to talk to as I would probably still be seething when he gets home instead of trying to see why he handles things the way he does.

While we are at it, any hints on how to build up DS's energy as the tiredness is totally why he lost it this morning?

OP posts:

Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:53

Squirdle - yes, I have that one too . He started paying attention when my clothes started falling off because I'd got so thin.


Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 11:54

Cuddle DS on the sofa while he watches a favourite DVD?


Judy1234 · 09/09/2007 12:52

Makes you see the advantages of being a single parent sometimes. Perhaps it's better for children.


Anna8888 · 09/09/2007 13:07

I think it's better for children if parents learn to work out their differences


lucyellensmum · 09/09/2007 14:00

i could keel over with exasperation re DPs parenting skills, or lack of them. Well actually, only in my opinion. He is a FANTASTIC father, wonderful, loving, caring, ADORES his dd. The trouble is, he is too bloody soft with her, and dither? oh my can that man dither, so if he gets her ready to go out, there she will be, all ready, then he dithers, so shes bored and climbing on this that and the other, i mean, it took him over an hour to get himself sorted this morning, ten minutes of that DD was sat in push chair waiting patiently for him. BUT i am not complaining, he was taking DD out because i have a tummy bug and feel like shit, he has washed up this morning, taken dd out, changed her bum n amount of times as she has remnants of bug too, he has occupied her all morning, so he does things differently to me, so what?

How the hell would i be better off as single parent??


Amethyst8 · 09/09/2007 14:43

Did DS really need to go with DH to get oil for the car? Sounds like it could have been avoided. If DS does not want to go somewhere then DH and I stand around talking about what fun it will be and what we are looking forward to when we get there and what a shame that DS will miss it. Works a treat every time.

Don t think you are wrong in thinking that your ways should stand if DH is not there as much as you are and they are effective. DH and I are pretty together on parenting and he does tend to do things my way EXCEPT when we go to his parents house and for some reason he feels the need to come down on DS like a ton of bricks in front of them. Almost like he's showing off that he is the man of the house etc. Things that would be laughed at or paid no attention to at home are met with a really stern face and voice, which is NOT the way we have ever done things at home and as a result DS is a lovely kid. DH parents were super strict when he was a kid and he hated it. Really really irritates me. Have tackled him over it and he flared up but only because he felt silly I think and he has been more himself the last couple of times we have been there. This is not to say I am perfect of course. It is always easy to see what other people are doing wrong. Because I am full time carer and DH works long hours I don t generally get pulled up for my mistakes except by myself.


EscapeFrom · 09/09/2007 14:57

Try making a recording of him dealing with your ds, and playing it back to him. I'm sure he doesn't mean to be a bully, and is just scared of having no author4ity, but if you play back to him how bullying he is being with such a small child, he should hopefully feel ashamed enough to stop.

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