Did I make a mistake? What would have been better.
Today I am struggling with a parenting decision I made. My partner feels like my actions were inappropriate, and whilst I understand their perspective I am struggling to agree with it. I feel like I made the correct decision as a parent, but maybe not as a partner. I am however open to opinion and advice regarding this.
We have 1 child, they are 3 1/2. They are extremely headstrong and independent, and we have raised them in a "gentle parenting style". They are very capable of discussing how they feel, but can be situationally poor at empathy and respecting boundries. Despite the fact we are trying very hard to verbalise, they seem to have developed selective hearing, and will often choose to completely ignore us. Recently I have been having success with balanced and fair consequence. They seem to be responding and understanding a little better to demonstrations. For a little background, both my partner and I grew up in abusive households, theirs moreso than mine, but it is a motivating factor in how we choose to parent.
Today our child decided to smash some vinyl records we have hung on the wall with a small toy wooden sword. This is not the first time they have deliberately broken things to illicit a reaction. I'm assuming they are doing so for attention, which is normal and understandable, if not a little frustrating as we have repetitively verbalised that if they feel they need someone to interact with, then they just need to say that they need/want someone to play with.
I came into the room and asked what they had done. They tried hiding behind the door, so I calmly sat on the floor and carried on talking to them. They said they had smashed the records. I asked if they knew how that would make us feel, and they responded with "sad", I asked if it made them feel to make other people feel "sad" and they told me that "they like to". I asked how it would feel if I broke one of their toys, and they responded by saying that "it would be fine". I asked how it would make them feel if broke their sword and they said "you can do it and I won't care". I asked them if they were sure they wouldn't feel sad to have their toy/belongings broken, and they said "you can break my sword, It's fine."
So I snapped it.
Cue 2 mins of crying, a hug, and then a chat about how that made them feel (sad), I explained that I also felt sad that I broke it, because I knew it would make them feel sad, but that I did it so they would understand how it feels when someone breaks one of your belongings. They said they understand, that they were sorry for breaking the records. I offered to replace the sword because I didn't want them to have a broken sword and I could see they were sad, and have ordered an exact replacement. They said thankyou and asked if they could buy some replacement vinyl, to which I explained that they didn't need to do that, they just needed to think about how it feels to have something you like broken before they break something deliberately again.
We then had a cuddle and watched cartoons.
Now my opinion of this is that was fairly balanced, fair, rational and ticked all my mental boxes for not causing harm to my child, and caring for and explaining feelings caused.
My partner feels like I commited an act of violence in front of our child, and that my behavior was unacceptable. They are unwilling to listen to the full series of events or the context, and are only aware of "child broke vinyl, you broke sword"
I don't want people to validate either of us as such, I'm seeking genuine opinion on what I could have done better, or if my response was reasonable.
Last edited by AdviceAppreciated; 05-07-2019 at 11:52 AM.