The kids' relationship with the other parent? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at home with my kids all day. I homeschool my 6 year old and also have an almost 3 year old. I have gotten close to my kids and they really tend to listen to me. Most of the time a conversation is all it takes for them to see things my way or for me to atleast understand where they are coming from.

For dh (their Daddy) on the other hand....they are not so kind and reasonable. They do not listen to him when he speaks. They behave horribly for him and I feel bad for him (and a little for me when I need him to watch them!).

How do you directly or indirectly encourage your kids to listen to the parent who is not at home all day?
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#2 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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Well, your children are a little older than my child, but I have been a SAHP, and have AP'd.

My little one is definitely closer to me than to DH. My little one prefers me, if there is a choice.

I've tried hard to foster the relationship between DH and our child, and to provide them opportunities to interact together...prompting DH and suggesting things.

DH sometimes expresses disappointment that our child always prefers me, or mostly prefers me, but I think it's natural for young children to gravitate more towards their mother.

I do think being at home with a child all day contributes. Oh, how do I directly or indirectly encourage kids to listen the WOHP? I leave the room, so that they interact together alone, with me within earshot. Also, I tell my little one to listen to daddy.

We are in a situation where our child has gotten the idea that if Dad says something that our child doesn't like or agree with that mom can arbitrate. I'm working to break that cycle.
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#3 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 11:53 AM
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I think it will vary by family dynamics. I'm the working parents and dh is the SAHP. The kids actually take much more advantage of him and frustrate him a lot more than me. My personality is more no-nonsense, boundary-setting.

Parents should support and help each other with children.

For OP: what are your husband's expectations for the behavior of the children? Does he think they are disrespectful? Ultimately he's got to be the one to forge his own relationship with the kids. If you try to manage it, it won't be genuine for any of them... just the same as SAHPs don't want the WOHP to tell them how to run the house.
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#4 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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: my kids have a great relationship with their dad. We both try our hardest to back each other up. There is no going to ask the other parent if one says no. They know we are on the same 'team' ya know?

Kelly,newly single mom of four wonderful children.

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#5 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the responses. Any suggestions welcome. A little more information.

- I've only been a WAHM for 4 months but I can do it without outside childcare.
-Prior to my being at home Dh was at home with them up to 3 hours a day more than I was so they used to listen to him much better.
-My children LOVE their Daddy very much. They always want to spend time with him. Especially when he is leaving the house or going outside

We have huge differences in parenting styles and I wonder if that is a problem.

- He is a spanker. I've always been anti spanking but during his "reign" I had to cave because they expected it and really wouldn't listen without it. I felt if I didn't do it when they covered their but that I wasn't backing him:

- DH sits in front of the TV the whole time he is at home and yells from his chair without taking his eyes off the TV and then spanks when they don't do what he says :

-However, when they are in public (of course) he tries harder and yesterday he came home irritated when they wouldn't listen to him at the library.

- I have gradually been able to stop spanking them and now they listen much better to reason than they do to a spanking. They don't listen to dh's spankings any more at all. They just don't do any good. I don't want him to spank. I want him to see that reason is good but they just don't listen to that from him either.

-Even though I work from home, if I am needed, I drop the work immediately and attend to their needs at the time.

So I do wonder if it is the difference in parenting but....also maybe that they just trust me more and feel more comfortable around me because I am at home all day?
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#6 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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My DH helps out a lot, and we are both disciplinarians, BUT my kids are more, "scared" of my DH than I am. I think that it's b/c he has a louder voice and is a bigger person than I am and he does occasionally spank. However, for the most part we are on the same page regarding parenting. I don't do the, "wait until your father gets home" threats, b/c I have a friend who does this and her kids are terrified of her DH. I think that for the most part, my DH is supportive of me and when he sees the kids are not listening to me he will say, "listen to what your mother is saying." That will get their attention. Since I am the one who spends more time with my kids, I think that they get used to me and probably see me as a nag. My DH, although he spends probably more time with our kids than other fathers, due to his work schedule (has a lot of hrs, but his on call hrs can be done from home), the kids see it as a treat to spend time with him. He gets the big welcome when he comes home from work that I don't get (b/c the kids see me all of the time) and he is also, the, "fun" parent. I think that the situation where kids take the dad more seriously when it comes to listening and/or think that dad is more, "fun" to be around is not an uncommon theme among sahm. I have a lot of friends who have the same issue. As a child, my mom was a sahm, my siblings and I were much more comfortable with her and knew she was much more of a pushover. My dad, where were scared to death of him, not only b/c he spent so much time at work, we barely knew him, but he was always just not a warm and fuzzy type of person.
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#7 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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How do you directly or indirectly encourage your kids to listen to the parent who is not at home all day?
Firstly, I encourage the children themselves to connect with thier dad, even if they have to work at it. He is by nature not a very "connectable" person.

I do understand that it's hard, especially with dh's who have certain personality traits. There came a point that I realized we were going to need to actively work on this, and dh realized he was soon going to lose his children's hearts if things didn't change. Since my dh is not abusive, and doesn't actually require anything outrageous or impossible from the children (even though I tend to be "softer" and more lenient than he), I back him up 100%. I have also explained some of dh's quirks (moody, depressed, and his very high expectations) to the children and taught them the best way to respond when dh is down in the dumps. I've had to work hardest with our oldest child, as he and dh didn't get off to a very good start.

An example--today I needed to stay home from church with the baby, we two being sick. Dh was glad to take the older two boys with him. I knew that our oldest (5) would whine and fuss about missing me etc, even though he wanted to go to church, and I knew that would annoy dh and put a wedge in their relationship, and that the two of them would just feed of each other's irritation the whole day. So I first talked with ds about his attitude, reminded him about how miserable everyone gets when one person starts whining and crying, and asked if he had any particular concerns about going with dh (He did--he was worried that dh would forget to take him to Sunday school!). I then presented ds's concern to my husband at breakfast in a non-accusatory way, explained ds's fear of trying to find his way around church himself, and dh said it would be just fine if ds reminded him when it was time to go to Sunday school, and he would take the boys himself. Barring some unforseen circumstance, I expect that we have headed off any possible head-butting between dh and the older boys at church, and hope to greet them with the door and see their smiles very soon.

My playing the mediator is fairly common and works for us. Also, no matter what we're doing or how much it would screw up our schedule, any time dh volunteers for time with the kids, I go for it. I also try to make sure we eat meals together as much as possible, and that we are home when he is home, so we all have as much exposure to each other as possible.
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#8 of 15 Old 10-26-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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My kids have a really great relationship with their dad. As far as discipline, we're pretty much on the same boat. I do sometimes actually feel the opposite of the OP though. I often feel like they take me for granted since I'm the one home all day with them. When dad comes home they are like :! But I have to admit, on the couple of days that I do work they : when I get home too. Dh said that while they are in the parkinglot waiting for me to get out of work, my youngest always makes up a different "mama" song that involved how he loves me and is so glad I'm coming home.

I think I encouraged a very close relationship between my boys and their dad at a very early age. When they were babies, I'd nurse them and if they didn't fall asleep right away, dh would rock them to bed. When it came to night weening, dh became the nighttime parent, etc, etc.. Now that they are older, we always back each other up, especially in front of the children. We don't allow the "well, I'll just ask mommy then" sort of thing. If we have disagreements about things to do with them, we don't argue in front of them.

We also have a reward system that helps too, because they know that whoever is there, that they get a sticker for picking up without arguing, getting ready for bed, behaving or doing little kind things for each other. Those stickers add up to computer time, 5 stickers=15 minutes computer time. I really think the best thing you can do to have your kids listen to the parent who isn't home all the time is to have a continuity of discipline between the two of you. It's also a lot easier for a child to understand when there is just one set of rules and expectations and rewards.

 
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#9 of 15 Old 10-28-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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Our son is 15 months old, and has a good relationship with his dad. They do spend "alone" time in the mornings before he goes to work. When we are all togather we do things togather and encourage a bond between all 3 of us.
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#10 of 15 Old 10-28-2008, 03:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by camprunner View Post
How do you directly or indirectly encourage your kids to listen to the parent who is not at home all day?
I don't, and for some reason the thought of thinking others have to makes me sad. My DH's relationship with his children is his responsibility, not mine. I shouldn't have to talk them into listening to him or respecting him or wanting to be around him. If I felt I did, I would have the talk with DH and not with the kids. Thankfully, they've always been close to him, probably not as much as they are to me, but only because they are more accustomed to me being there for them.

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#11 of 15 Old 10-28-2008, 06:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SAHDS View Post
I don't, and for some reason the thought of thinking others have to makes me sad. My DH's relationship with his children is his responsibility, not mine. I shouldn't have to talk them into listening to him or respecting him or wanting to be around him. If I felt I did, I would have the talk with DH and not with the kids. Thankfully, they've always been close to him, probably not as much as they are to me, but only because they are more accustomed to me being there for them.
I totally agree with that. I need to start doing that myself. Now that I think of that, it would only strengthen the bond if they (father and children) can figure out the issues themselves. It's more about the process, not the end point.
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#12 of 15 Old 10-28-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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DD is only 21 months old so shes not good at listening to anyone! She adores DH though and loves to be around him. He adores her as well

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#13 of 15 Old 10-28-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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My DH has a great relationship w/ DS1 and is forging another great relationship w/ DS2. Like SAHDS wrote, it's that way because DH works at it. When DS2 was born DH took 3 weeks off and spent tons of time w/ DS1. I had to kind of push DS b/c he was so attached, but DH made all the effort in spending time, playing and having fun, etc. Our children have always been a priority for him.

As far as discipline, DS1 listens (or doesn't!) like any 3 y.o., I wouldn't say he listens to one of us over the other. We back each other up if necessary. We all try to treat each other respectfully, but we're the parents, y/k? We've never spanked and won't b/c neither of us think it's an effective method. We're all part of the team over here.
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#14 of 15 Old 10-30-2008, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies. Don't get me wrong. They love their daddy and love spending time with him and most of the time he loves spending time with them. The problem truly is a respect issue. He has backed off a little and I'm afraid he won't want to do anything with him if they keep treating him like the "fun parent" and won't respect him.
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#15 of 15 Old 10-30-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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I am the "other parent," LOL. DH is the SAHP. I work from home, so I do see my kids a lot, but some days they are gone all or most of the day doing things, or i can't take that much time out to see them during the day.

You could suggest that your DH try to get one-on-one time with each child. Our kids also are 6 (well, next month) and 3. The 6-year-old and I go out together almost every weekend, just us. Hiking or ice skating or just lunch out. The 3-year-old still nurses and cosleeps, but i try to spend other time with her as well - bathtime or playing with dolls or something.

I would not say I'm the "fun parent" ... if your DH feels that way, does that mean he is trying a bit too hard to be "fun" and not to do the tough stuff too (brushing teeth, enforcing rules the kids might not like, saying no when necessary, etc)? It can be tough when you are not with the kids much - you want to have good times with them.

A writer/runner/thinker/wife with two daughters (11/02 and 8/05), one dog, three cats, seven fish, and a partridge in a pear tree... in Vermont.
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