My 2 y.o. DD is the sweetest kid in the world most of the time - quiet, polite, and frankly kinda timid. She is generally really easy to control (knock on wood), doesn't throw tantrums much, and is pretty chill. I work part time, and so two days a week DH looks after her.
She's usually pretty good with DH, but when she decides to act out, he doesn't seem to be able to do a thing about it! He lets her walk all over him, and, as a result, she really does not respect his authority at all. It doesn't even occur to her to do what he asks. He can't get her to nap, eat, or use the potty. We've had potty accidents all over the house on his days, but she won't wear a diaper for him either - she just takes it off. All these things are NO ISSUE with me, my parents, and the babysitter.
She's also really mean to him a lot of the rest of the time. She won't let him carry her or help her with anything. It always has to be mommy (or granddad, or some random visitor... anyone but daddy). She throws a screaming fit if she's made to do anything with him. He's pretty sensitive, and takes this really personally. I've always told him she'll "grow out of it"... but she's 2 now. When will this end?
He does love her - sometimes they have a lot of fun together, tickling and laughing and playing. But this is always when I'm around, and when she's in a perfect mood. Ideal circumstances, in other words.
I've explained to him that he needs to be firm, but it's almost too little, too late. His "firm" and "angry" attitude seems more like whining, and she just laughs it off. When he does decide to really put his foot down and insist, it's over the stupidest things and she just winds up having a total screaming meltdown. Suffice to say, he has the parenting instincts of a boulder. None of this comes naturally to him AT ALL. But he has to look after her those two days a week, and we need some solutions for him.
He is definitely a timid kind of guy. I wear the pants in the house, and DD definitely accepts me as the authoritarian. So getting him to change his behavior towards her is hard - he just can't seem to wield power, ykwim? Is there some other way we can address the issue? I've tried telling DD before I go to work that she has to listen to him, but she actually just looks at him and says "no". And what then? If I insist, she's just bowing to *my* authority and it all vaporizes as soon as I'm out of the house.
Any help or advice is appreciated. Among other things, DH is getting really depressed about the whole thing. I want more kids and he's giving me a lot of resistance because he is discovering he "doesn't like being a father". Ouch. I worry about how this relationship will develop as DD gets older too.
Charlotte, mommy to Maggie (July 15th 2008) and Una (July 19th 2011)!