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DH has much less patience

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
My DH is. Good guy but as the working parent he's simply not with his kids as much as me. Makes sense. However it bugs me that when things get tough or the kids are having a meltdown or tantrum I'm the one that has to quell it unless I want to listen to DH yell at them. I know everyone has different ways of parenting, and I've shared all the tips and tricks I use to avoid yelling, but it's like DH hears me but then never takes the advice! I don't know if he's unwilling or unable. DH was trying to get our son to get in his seat and bucke up last night after leaving Grammys house at 9. DS is usually asleep by 8:45 and had been up since 7:30 that morning. He played hard all day and was tired. DS tried to crawl over into our DDs seat and tell daddy something(while crying) and all DH did was say, "no, get in Your seat... No! Now!" Over and over. As if yelling and demanding something of him somehow will make him snap at the command and do what he's told. This scenario happens more often than I'd like. It's like, if he's ready to go then by god, everyone must be ready too. DS got in his seat but was crying the whole time. DH was tired too after a long day bent over a car (he is a mechanic). Helll, I understand being tired. Being home all day with two young kids is tiring but if I yelled and snapped at my kids all day, it would be a sad existence. I've learned better ways to deal with it to make everyone's day better and try and share those things with him but he just acts like I'm crazy. I lose my cool sometimes and yell but not nearly as much as he does. Do you think this is something I should try and change in DH or just accept that I'm the more gentle parent and he's the more demanding one? I've tried to talk to him about this before and he just doesn't get it. I feel like if I can accept that DH just is the way he is then I can move on and not expect so much out of him. Also, DH is on adhd medication and I think that effects his behavior and mood sometimes. He's also just a loud person. He talks loud, he plays loud and he yells loud. Lots louder than me. Thoughts?
post #2 of 42

Sorry about your situation. That sounds very exhausting and frustrating for everyone in your family.


I basically raised my child alone because after several years it became obvious to me that none of the men in our lives were up to the task.


From my perspective, giving your child the healthiest most promising childhood is the #1 goal, even if you have to do it yourself. If you have to coach and ride your partner, creating friction in the home and wasting your energy, then I think it's better to just do it yourself. There can be other ways that your husband can provide the father role as he is willing and able.


It's harder to get beyond resenting the less capable partner than to actually just do the parenting yourself.


What you are describing is extraordinarily common and this is one reason that I feel that marriage and family life should be redefined.

post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input. I also have a hard time not being jealous of my friends whose husbands seem much more able to parent and discipline without yelling, however some of my friends spank too and we don't even though DH doesn't agree. If I felt like my husband was doing serious harm by yelling at them then I probably wouldn't stick around but it would take more than that for me to leave him. I think the kids are better off being I'm a two parent home with parents tha love them and have one parent yell more than the other than to just say, "you don't parent like me,so I'm leaving." I think parenting peacefully along with bringing home the bacon just is more than he can handle sometimes. I have a hard time blaming him, I just wish he would try. Little harder. Any ideas on how to talk to him about this without attacking his character? I want it to be constructive, not attacking.
post #4 of 42
My boyfriend's the exact same way. I feelfor you.
post #5 of 42

Hi MrsBone,


If it was me I wouldn't talk to your husband about it. I would just do what needs to be done. So if the kids need to go into the car, I would just do it myself. If the father starts yelling at them, I would just say "I'll take care of it, just go count the clouds or something, it will only be a minute" or something good-humored. If your husband hasn't been able to address his temper, develop his understanding of himself as a parent, have empathy for his children, or if he has some kind of personality issue that prevents him from being a better parent, then talking to him will not accomplish anything. Talking it out is for people who are all trying to reach a resolution or develop/create a better situation through cooperation. This is not (it sounds) that your husband's perception of himself is as evidenced by his behavior.


One of the problems in marriage, I think, is that there is the idea that the parents are a single unit rather than two people in tandem. Any group of people (including a partnership in the home) who truly function as a unit are very rare. I also don't think that this is an ideal that makes sense for humanity in general, especially since individualism, equality, and autonomy are the prevalent emerging values (and I think that's a good thing). I think it works better if people realize that each of them has to do 100%, not each one doing 50%. If this was understood, I think that exploitation would decrease because people wouldn't be constantly stuck in a power struggle with their partner - and many dysfunctional partnerships would not be formed in the first place.


So my advice is that you have to see yourself and your husband more realistically and then just do what needs to be done with as much humor and grace as possible. You will build your dignity and self-esteem in doing so. In my case, when I changed my expectations and perceptions in this regard I became much more effective and happy in my life. It is up to each adult to change/grow by and for themselves, if they want to; to me that is the very definition of adulthood. If there is an element of codependency in a relationship, then the adults are reacting against one another ("I will demonstrate my frustration to send a message that I don't want to do this," "I have to tell him how to behave because he is part of me, depends on me, it's my duty" etc) and each one is resentful to give more than 50%; then neither is fully free to create/grow personally. I can't affect my spouse, I can only affect myself. This I have had to accept: not to change him, but to enable myself and achieve what I intend in my life.


I hope this helps.


Best wishes


post #6 of 42

I suppose the first step is to try to find out whether he's doing this because he thinks it's a good idea or because he can't help it. Of course, if he's the sort to try to convince himself something is a good idea because he can't help doing it, that could be a hard thing to determine...


Is this happening almost entirely late in the day and very early in the morning? It could be that his ADHD meds are wearing off (or haven't kicked in yet, if it's morning). How is he on the weekend in the middle of the day? If this is the problem, it could be fixed by medication changes (extended release? higher dose? booster pill? taking it later in the morning?), possibly therapy, or just knowing his limits and trying to stay out of the way.


On the other hand, I have noticed a running theme on mommy forums (and with my ex) that it seems common for men to want to just parent however their parents did it, even if it makes everyone unhappy in the short term and they don't want their kids turning out like their siblings anyhow.... I don't really know the solution.

post #7 of 42

So basically your husband has little "adult tantrums". If he can't control himself, he should be gently disciplined like any of your children would be. So if you're around, you can do any of the following to manage his temper tantrum:


1) Remove the object of the tantrum (the child)

2) Redirect! Distract him by changing the subject ("Settle down back there! Are you excited to go home to do X?")

3) Kindly but firmly state that kind of behaviour is not acceptable ("Now, now, I'm sure we can all be kind to each other even when we're a bit grumpy. What seems to be the trouble here? Can I help?")

post #8 of 42
Thread Starter 
Wow this is enlightening and frustrating. I have these visions of him learning to be a more patient parent. After all, I certainly have become one! Certainly he can too! But I'm now wondering if he has limitations that cannot be changed. Sort of makes me sad.
post #9 of 42

MrsBone, the biggest issue facing you at the moment, it seems to me, is how enabling you wish to to your husband. In other words, do you wish to discipline and guide him as your "other child" as a PP stated, or do you wish to give him the respect and freedom to either assume or refuse self-responsibility?


I chose the latter route for the reasons I explained.


Some people think that I don't love or respect my husband, but I do. I accept him and respect him to be the mater of his own destiny. I appreciate him and don't criticize him or hold him to expectations beyond the basic bonds of the marriage. I allow him the freedom to shape his own role as a father. (All of this is within the bounds of decency, such as non-violence and fidelity.)


You are certainly not alone in this challenge and you are not obligated to do anything beyond raising your children and being a good person who seeks personal fulfillment in life.


Best wishes to you


post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
I did talk to DH about his temper this morning, and all he can say is that he's trying to do things my way, but that he can't always keep his cool. Sometimes I know this is because we haven't had sex in awhile and that relieves stress for him, sometimes he's just tired from working all day, etc. and told him that I yell sometimes too but it's a usually from being tired and that I dealt with them all day. I was trying to understand how he could have so little patience with them when he hasn't even been with them all day. He told me that he's tired at the end of the day too, so why is it okay when I can't contain it anymore and yell but not him? I have to keep myself from yelling all day long. What's a couple hours? I don't get it. It may be something neither one of us ever understands and I guess I may have to accept that. I did tell him that if he's dealing with them that if he feels like he's going to yell, instead of yelling, walk away and come get me or just take a breather for a minute. He agreed, but reluctantly. Urgh
post #11 of 42

Mrs Bone, I'm very sorry to hear that your husband responded the way he did.


There are several things about your post that caught my eye: that you having sex with him is helpful for him to be a better parent, that he sees being a parent as "doing things 'your way,'" and that he (and you) are comparing one another's ability to exercise self-control based on what you each did during the day rather than on having internally held values.


Best wishes


post #12 of 42

These are really interesting observations, Puma. It puts into words part of what I think about my relationship with my dh.  I think ideally each adult should act according to an internal moral compass, and I do try to see the big picture in what example I am setting and how I want them to act and grow up (hint: I go on the assumption that it will probably be a lot like us).  MrsBone, I'm dealing with the same issue with my dh.  (Only he's not even as receptive as your dh seems to be, when I talk to him about it.)  I have my moments of losing it, but I know what I am striving for and I think overall I do very well these days. It's very frustrating to deal with a partner that doesn't seem to have the same value of basic respect that I have.   Sadly, we have fallen into a pattern where he just stays out of a lot of everyday things.  And it's by his choice, or rather *his* frustration over me "taking over" when he's trying to "discipline" (he does not spank, but he kind of seems to think we should sometimes - so he ends up with a mean yell).  I guess I would rather him just leave it to me, at this point (even though that drives a further wedge between us probably), but I wish it was without the resentments around it.  I actually think it's encouraging your dh said he'd try, even if it was reluctantly.



Originally Posted by PumaBearclan View Post

Mrs Bone, I'm very sorry to hear that your husband responded the way he did.


There are several things about your post that caught my eye: that you having sex with him is helpful for him to be a better parent, that he sees being a parent as "doing things 'your way,'" and that he (and you) are comparing one another's ability to exercise self-control based on what you each did during the day rather than on having internally held values.


Best wishes


post #13 of 42

MrsBone-- I could have written your posts! In fact I logged on today to write a similar plea for advice. All I can offer is commiseration. DH really struggles with his temper. When he's frustrated or stressed, he has very little patience and he loses it very easily-- by yelling, or saying mean things, or being completely dismissive and patronizing. 


DH has gotten better over the years--when he's relaxed and happy, he's a wonderful guy and a great dad. But life is full of stress! I find myself trying to minimize and diffuse it-- trying to keep DS quiet and well behaved and putting undo pressure and expectations on him in order to avoid one of DH's outbursts. 


Puma-- I like what you said about dropping the expectations and accepting our partners for who they are, but I really really struggle with it in practice. I try to diffuse situations that I know DH will get triggered by, but part of being parents is teaching our kids how to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like frustration and impatience. And a lot of the time, DH acts exactly like our 3 year old! 

MrsBone-- I don't know how many times I've had that same thought, "I control my anger all day long, why is it ok for you not to?!" 


DH comes from an abusive (physically and emotionally) background, so I try to be considerate and understanding of that. But I also worry about being too lenient. Where does it cross over from being just a hot temper to being abuse?? 


The brutal conclusion that I've come to is that I can't change DH (easy to say, hard to swallow.) So I can either choose to parent with a partner who, on occasion, is impatient and downright mean. Or I can choose not to (which would mean divorce.) 


Sorry for the ramble-- we've had a rough weekend and this issue is on the front of my brain right now....

post #14 of 42
Thread Starter 
I guess I also have an issue with thinking about when our children are grown and having to learn to be just a couple again with grown children. After years of "let me handle it, dear.. Since you can't," after all the hard work is done, how am I going to feel about spending the rest of my life with this person? I told him that tonight... Can't say how he took it because he hardly said a word in response to my plea. I think he thinks he's trying but doesn't k ow what I want from him. This is why I think counseling would help. Maybe it would help us communicate better. Anyone had success from this?
post #15 of 42

If your husband has been a good friend to you, then just stick with that. I think that traditional marriage is an inaccurate description of a partnership relationship - meaning that two people will be friends, lovers, co-parents, "business" partners in the home economy, etc. - and do it fully and well, and be satisfied from this arrangement.


I stay with my husband because I love him and I prefer his friendship to being without it. I try to live without expectations of other people (not just him). Easier to do with practice, I've been working on it for about 15 years. I don't want to feel the pain of resentment so I try to let it go. I used to feel that I was some sort of moral police officer and that by giving acceptance to someone who disappointed me I was condoning the behavior. I learned from mothering that real love is unconditional acceptance and compassion. Learning that was one of the greatest rewards of mothering for me. So I try to just love my husband - and myself - as well as I can.


My daughter is grown and my marriage is much easier now. I think that having (often grudgingly) abandoned my dysfunctional expectations over the years has made our relationship better. I'm a happier person and don't need him to stoke that all the time, I make myself happy. Our relationship isn't the same as when we were young and neither am I, so it's a new chapter for us.


Very good conversation here, I'm happy to see the support and insights that are being contributed!

post #16 of 42

Puma- I agree that the traditional marriage ideal puts too much pressure on everyone. I think we all need outside support from friends, family, and community to meet some of our needs-- rather than expecting that our partner can be our everything. I see myself making this mistake-- DH and I spend so much of our free time together that I just end up relying on him in ways I probably shouldn't-- and vice versa. He doesn't have any close friends here (we moved to my home town four years ago) so he doesn't have the male support system that I think he needs.


For me the yelling and temper are more than just a minor inconvenience. And I do feel like it's ok to have certain base line expectations--- Puma you mentioned fidelity and non-violence, but I would add no verbal violence as well.  It hurts when someone yells at you and puts you down-- I know, because DH often does it to me. The rest of the time he is wonderful-- he is affectionate and caring and funny and tells me that he loves me and values me and the work I do..... But when he loses it and says something to cut me down, it makes me question if it's worth it. The same goes for parenting. DH is great with DS most of the time-- he spends lots of time playing with him and is usually pretty patient and relaxed. But then he gets triggered or stressed and yells at DS or 


I know that DH does want to change this behavior-- he sees the pain it causes and feels remorseful after he's had an outburst or said something painful. I'm grateful that he's willing to talk about it with me and that he sincerely seems invested in changing. But how long do you give someone to change?! Obviously there's no mathematical equation for this (it would be so much easier if there was!!) 

post #17 of 42

From what I've read and seen in relation to family culture and family law in the US, the ideology that a child is best served by having two equally involved parents (nuclear family) is the standard, despite a good body of evidence that indicates that the mother is actually more important to a child's well-being especially if the father is not very nurturing in his parenting (this includes "traditional" fathers who are emotionally removed, authoritarian, or with poor impulse control who themselves require "mothering" within the family unit).


I include verbal violence in my categorization of violence.


(EDIT: Impatience and irritability, including yelling, are different, to me, than verbal abuse, which aims to demean, intimidate, and control. The irritable spouse I may tolerate but he abuser I would not. Of course, I'm only speaking from my own personal point of view.) 


Unfortunately, each adult will have to address his or her own behavior individually. The state or a counselor or a spouse may attempt to rehabilitate a parent's destructive behavior, but it's up to the person to change. Also unfortunately, a child with a parent who is underdeveloped and immature or who has personality deficiencies or mental health issues is pretty much stuck with that parent even if the parents divorce or contact is limited. Since the standard to which the family in crisis will be held is to integrate both parents into the child's life, often, I feel, to the detriment of the child and the primary caregiver, it's less likely that a child can be very free from the destructive effects of a deficient parent. Verbal, psychological, and emotional abuse is poorly understood and poorly addressed in society. Since the assumption is made that each parent has an "equal right" (both in the minds of society at large and in the eye of the law), an abusive person has ample opportunity to channel their anger through the courts, counseling, and through parental alienation. So in some sense, this problem simply doesn't go away in the current paradigm: once a family unit has been created, that is the standard to which parenting relationships will be held for the duration. This is an area that I feel needs very prompt and sweeping reform.


On the other hand, it's worth fighting for freedom from abuse for oneself and the children no matter how difficult it seems.


These are very personal choices.

Edited by PumaBearclan - 4/15/13 at 8:18am
post #18 of 42
Originally Posted by PumaBearclan View Post


(EDIT: Impatience and irritability, including yelling, are different, to me, than verbal abuse, which aims to demean, intimidate, and control. The irritable spouse I may tolerate but he abuser I would not. Of course, I'm only speaking from my own personal point of view.) 




I guess this is where I struggle the most. Impatience and irritability I will tolerate-- no one is perfect, I myself have many moments where I am irritable and less gentle in my approach than I'd like. But the line to me is so thin. In his moments of anger and frustration, I believe DH's intention is to control-- and sometimes to demean. An example from this morning, DS was whining about wanting a cookie. I calmly explained that we don't eat cookies for breakfast, but that he could have one later. I tried to redirect/distract him by asking him to help me feed the cat. The whining continued and escalated. I could feel DH getting irritated, but I was not about to give DS a cookie just to put an end to the whining, nor could I remove DS (we live in a tiny loft apartment.) So DH finally loses it and yells "Shut up!!" Of course, this only makes DS whine/cry more, so DH storms upstairs and slams the door. It just seems so juvenile and unnecessary to me....


When he is centered, calm, and cheerful, DH would never say or do anything to hurt, demean, belittle or control me or DS.  But he has a really hard time staying calm in the face of stress-- and babies and toddlers come with lots of stress! 


Puma- you make a very valid point about both parents having equal rights, and I guess that's what absolutely crushes me. I know that I can't protect DS from his dad's temper. Even if we were to separate, DH would probably get joint custody-- and part of me supports that-- I want DS to have his dad in his life. So whether we're together or separate, DS will have to endure the yelling and irritability, to some extent. And as divorced co-parents, I imagine I would be on the receiving end of even more anger and meanness. 


I feel so stuck sometimes. I can't change DH, I can't wave a magic wand and make his anger issues disappear. And now that we're parents, I can't cut him out of my life completely either (even if I wanted to, which I'm not saying I do....)

post #19 of 42

Oh dear, this sounds very upsetting. Very sorry that you and your son are going through this :(


I don't think that parents should have equal rights. That is the standard of society. I think that there will most often be a primary caregiver, and that role is often unsupported or in conflict with the marriage partnership. This to me is the secret reality that is masked behind the societal ideology of the family. I was able to live within the paradigm, largely by ignoring it; the more responsibility I took on, the less the men tried to be fathers (biological father and step-father). They only created problems (anger in the first case and ineptitude in the second) when I involved them and expected them to parent.


It seems your husband is being very obvious that he doesn't want to have his son around unless he is well-behaved. In the "traditional" marriage, it's the wife-mother's role to groom the children for the time they spend with their father; men with AS tend to expect this too because they can't relate to children and find the stimulation of a child's behavior to be upsetting, therefore they perceive that the child is "out of control" because THEY are experiencing the situation as "out of control."


I really hope that you are able to work something out for the benefit of your parenting and for your son. Perhaps you could live separately for a portion of the year or set up your household so that your husband has more privacy away from you and your son (or that you have more privacy, however you want to look at it). You may have to think creatively to work out a solution that suits you.


Of course, if you are seeing that your husband is so immature and marginally abusive that you are getting an inner revulsion, then maybe there is a hard decision on the horizon for you. You will spend probably 40 years minimum with your spouse and half or less of that time will be spent parenting. So as a woman, is this someone you want to love?


It's possible that counseling can help, it would be up to your husband as to how effective it would be (both his willingness and his capacity).


Best wishes


post #20 of 42

Thank you so much for your insight Puma-- you really have a wonderful, unique perspective to offer. I feel like our society is very wacky in that nuclear families are the norm. I think that many of my issues with DH would be relieved if we were living in a more communal setting-- I can see myself happily parenting with a group of women, "coupling" with DH for a certain part of the day, and DH getting support/stress relief from a group of male friends, allowing him to parent DS more patiently. We live for part of the year in Peru (DH's home country) and I notice that these issues more or less diminish when we're there because our living situation is much more communal. DH spends time with his friends, I get support from his mom and female friends, and the tension doesn't build. The plan is to move back to Peru permanently (not just because of this issue, but that plays into it) although financially we seem a long way from making that happen. 


I actually signed back on to apologize to MrsBone for completely high-jacking this thread :/. Sorry!! Your post just hit so close to home, and it's such a relief to have people to talk about this with. Thank you for allowing me that space! <3 

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