Need advice on getting my husband to stop screaming and yelling at our son - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Its everyday that my recent turned three year old did or said something that some how disrespect his father (my husband) to where my husband screams, yells, shouts so loud at our son that it always makes cry out of being scared.... My husband will demand that our son say something but the yelling has our son so terrified that he just says "I don't know??" And then starts to cry.... I try to explain to my husband that our son is a child and yelling is extremely damaging to his growth.... Then I get yelled.... "My dad had our respect" is what he would yell at me... My husband has a no tolerance and no patience something that I hope he will gain as our marriage grows.... I can't tell our close circle of friends I am too embarrassed to let them know that we are this dysfunctional behind close doors.... I love having my friends drop off their kids every now and then for a play-date but I am scared if they know about my husbands screaming habits that may be the end of our play-dates... I tried to talk to my husband about parenting classes and he refuses saying "Its all my fault our son is so disrespectful" I don't know where to turn to at this point??? I wish someone could talk to him because I think he would listen to someone else.... Can anyone offer him advice???
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#2 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by momomama View Post
"My dad had our respect"
I think he needs to re-evaluate the definition of respect. For me, I do not equate fear with respect at all. A child should never fear their parent(s). Their parents are the ones that they can turn to, who will protect them, when they are afraid of something else.

How does he feel when his child cries? What is his reaction?

If he thinks this is healthy or normal, I would seek help right away. This is not okay and someone needs to protect your son.

Good luck.

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#3 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 12:12 PM
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Your husband needs to start seeing your son as a real person with feelings. In our day to day lives and interactions, most of us don't go around yelling at people like that and demanding respect from them (because they would tell us where to shove it), so why should it be any different with our kids? I can only imagine how it upsets your toddler , because he can't stand up for himself and say that it is unacceptable as a human being, to be treated that way. He needs to be protected. I think the respect needs to be mutual between parent and kids. And like SAHDS said fear doesn't equal respect.


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#4 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 12:18 PM
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I think first you need to help him know what's appropriate to expect from a three year old. In my family, I'm the one who does all the reading on that kind of thing and my husband just had NO IDEA what he could reasonably expect from our daughter at various ages and stages.

Second, you probably want to stress to your husband that HE is your child's biggest influence and as he acts, so will your son.

Good luck. If he's generally a nice guy who is just totally frustrated with having a small child, if he just doesn't KNOW what to expect or how to work with a toddler, then I think you can bring him around. There are lots of books on being a dad, raising a son, childhood development, etc. If he won't read them, YOU read them and when it's not in the heat of the moment, maybe the two of you can discuss some of what you read.
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#5 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 01:47 PM
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Moving to Parenting.

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#6 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 03:15 PM
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I recommend counseling. For you, for your husband.

Does your dh yell when other children are present? If he does, your home is not safe for your friends' children.
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#7 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 03:56 PM
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Welcome to MDC, mama. I hope you find lots of good information and support here - it's a good place to be.

and good luck with your dh. My husband isn't a screamer, but he had zero idea what to expect at each developmental stage (i.e., sleeping issues, tantrums, whining, etc.) and he has been completely frustrated at times with no real solutions as to what to do when confronted with very normal behavior from our kids, now ages 3 and 2. I find that lecturing him about behavior really put him on the defensive but when I would offhandedly talk about the normal things that kids do during some of our time together - or discuss how friends with kids the same ages were going through some of the same things, etc., it really helped change his perspective.

When I first returned to work, it was very stressful for me since my dh had never truly been 1:1 with our kids -- he reported yelling at the kids/tantrums and the like -- he has never hit them, and wouldn't, but hearing about how stressful it was really made me question my decision to return to work.

Now, the kids have actually *asked* me to go to work so that they can spend 1:1 time with Daddy, who is apparently Much More Fun Than Mama -- something I wouldn't have imagined six months ago. It makes me happy, but he had to hear a lot about "normal" or "typical" behaviors from me *and* I had to supply very definite coping strategies and very concrete examples about what a good GD response is. "Hey, it sounds like A was really a terror last night. I've found that when I start bedtime routine stuff around 7pm, he's ready to go by 8 - any longer, and he's too tired to 'behave'. I'm sorry you guys had such a rough time last night!"

It has taken time, but now I think he is the preferred parent some of the time. Someone has to roughhouse the kids, right?

I don't mean to make light of your situation, and I think all of the previous posters are right - you've gotten good advice here, and only you know whether he is *safe* around your son, etc., or if it is simply situational yelling when he doesn't know how to deal with a certain behavior.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#8 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you to all for your support and advice~ I would like to have more books on child development and read some of the milestones of behavior stages to my husband.... He does listen to other people... I know this b/c he came home one day explaining what a friend told him about the frustrations of language barrier.... I would love more people input like that since my husband thinks my ideas of parenting are wrong.... I know I am not the first person to say that children do behave differently for each parent.... My son is a bit more whiner around me for I am his comfort and the foremost nurturing parent and for daddy he seems to always be on his best behavior..... But I am trying to remind my husband the writing on the walls to the accidents on the carpet are all part of the growing process and yelling at him for it in my book is going to leave a forever emotional scar.... Thanks again for all your positive feedback~
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#9 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 05:45 PM
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Counseling. Parenting classes. Put the shoe on the other foot. How would he like it if you responded to things he did wrong by screaming at him? What if you were three times his size to boot, and he had no one else to turn to, was dependent upon you for his every need? Now how would he like it if you responded to things he did wrong with rational discourse?
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#10 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 06:08 PM
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I guess I would start a conversation (when all is calm) by asking your husband how he feels about people screaming and yelling at him. I can tell you that respect is not the word that comes to my mind. I grew up with a yeller and I can tell you it is not cool at all. Would he put up with someone yelling at him? Doubt it. My dad is still a yeller. I think he is immature and has rage issues (still in his late 60's!). He grew up in a home with a lot of yelling (and worse). I don't look back on my childhood thinking "that man had my respect." Sure I was pretty compliant but I remember being fearful of making him mad and embarrassed by his outbursts. I don't think there is a childrearing theory out there that would support yelling, so even though he thinks your methods are wrong, he would be unable to justify his position as reasonable based on experts I imagine.

My husband and I have different approaches somewhat but when he is using a technique I don't agree with, generally I approach him by pointing out what might be more logical. I might point out that your DH cannot control himself if he is yelling, so how on earth can he expect a 3 year old to do so? And also, modeling is so important with kids. That's how they learn. Sure DS is not likely to yell back at his scary father now but he might be doing it to all the kids at school.

Expecting "respect" from a 3 year old is pretty unreasonable. Scribbling on the walls would drive me bonkers but yelling is not going to magically get the 3 year old to be able to control his impulses. And really fear does not equal respect. Does he want blind compliance out of fear? Because that is what he will get and it will be very damaging to their future relationship.

Do you have any couple friends he respects? If so maybe you could approach the woman to get her husband to try and educate him somewhat. Sounds like DH won't be receptive to anything you suggest he read bc he thinks you are just wrong. It is also a problem that he doesn't respect you and perhaps some counseling for you would help you deal with that since he won't go for it. DH thinks some of my ideas are wonky but he respects and trusts me and sees them working so has to come to my way of thinking on a lot of things. But if he feels strongly about something, he is welcome to show me some research or discuss his reasoning about it and make his case. Is your husband willing to do that at all?

You are right about the damage yelling can do. I think you should consider counseling for yourself to help you deal with DH. You need follow your intuition on this and do whatever you can to make it stop. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
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#11 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 06:12 PM
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He is three...... it's not even possible for your child to have the mental capabilities that your husband is demanding.

Blessed with two BEAUTIFUL little girls: Kylie (09/06) and Maggie (4/09) :
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#12 of 12 Old 03-06-2009, 11:15 PM
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My husband's parenting in my DS's early years was not good. He took a very hard approach. I tried to get books for him to read. I finally found a website ( ) that sent daily tidbits that he actually reads. It is all about controlling yourself in parenting. Amazingly, once my DH changed his behaviors my DS also improved.
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