Mothering Forum banner

Consistency and GD: Dh NOT on board

661 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  peilover010202
I'm getting REALLY irritated with my dh. We have a very spirited 2 year old, and I've found that GD is the best way to handle most of his challenging behavior. Dh disagrees with my approach (even though it works much better than his) and yells at ds and threatens him (as an example: yesterday ds was playing with the freezer, opening it and closing it. No big deal to me. Dh tells him, "stop that or I'm going to hit you!" Insert sad smilie here).

The result is that we end up arguing about his nonGD tactics in front of ds. I feel like it's my responsibility as ds' mother to protect him from being yelled at and threatened, and to see that I will protect him from being yelled at and threatened. But at the same time, I feel like it's not a good thing to be arguing about what's worthy of discipline and discipline tactics in front of ds (plus dh feels I'm undermining his authority). It also doesn't help that dh and I work separate shifts (we're both home together for about 2-3 hours most weekdays), so there's a completely different set of expectations depending on who is ds' primary caregiver at the time. What can I do? Ideally, I'd like to convince dh that even though GD is more time consuming, requires more patience, and requires you to get up off your butt once in awhile, it works better in the long run, but I'm not very hopeful.

Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
I am right there with you except my kids are 5 and 8. Not saying that I am perfect myself, far from it! I yell sometimes too.

Dh is very mainstream w/ regards to his discipline.
First, I do not think you need to worry about the consistency issue.

It's amazing how fast kids learn: "With mama I can open and close the freezer all I want, but if I try that with daddy I am going to get yelled at and threatned."

I would also see if your dh will read "The Secret of Parenting" by Anthony Wolf. The reason is that it is a GD book but it is not about consensual parenting at all. Its subtitle is "How to be in charge of kids today"

Many men, who are not cofortable with the leniency they see in much of GD parenting are VERY comfortable with this "tough" approach to GD.

For example the book's methods for the freezer thing would be to say to the child in a quiet but serious voice: "Stop opening that freezer right now" but would not involve any threat of hitting or any other consequences. It would involve some butt getting off of. But it explains that once you do this a few times, even that often becomes unnecessary.

And more consensual moms are comfortable with their DH"s using this approach because it takes a STRONG stand against any type of corporal punishment (spanking etc..) and explains why. AND it explains why punishment of any kind is not necessary.
See less See more
In addition to the "strict side of gd" books for your dh, I'd also suggest reading something about developmentally appropriate behavior in toddlers. If he'll read it, great. If not, then you read it, and tell him some of the more thought provoking ideas. If you don't turn it into a "my way is better than yours" argument, I'm sure some of it will sink in.
One I like is "becoming the parent you want to be" It's a gd book, that goes into WHY young kids do what they do, and gives ways to deal with developmentally appropriate behavior.
Even *I* was surprised at some of the stuff that it says is dev. app. I mean, once I read it, it made perfect sense. But I wouldn't have come up with it on my own, kwim? Knowing that something is age appropriate (like repeatedly opening and closing a fridge door lol) really helps with dealing with it gently.
My DH and I disagree on some things... but honestly, he's changing bit by bit. My DH doesn't have time to read a book... and should know all about the developmental milestones, but doesn't (he's a physician). What I recently found at our library was a video called "1-2-3 Magic." Basically, it's a 3-strikes, no emotion, type plan... when you hit three, some sort of consequence entails... be it removing the toy... physically moving your son away from the freezer...whatever. Getting my DH to watch a video (i think it's like under an hour) is a lot easier than having him read a book. It's not completely GD, but better than threats.

I'll also say that my 2 year old son totally knows that he can get "away with" a lot more with Mom-Mom (his name for me) vs. Baba (Daddy). My husband can just give him a look, and he'll stop. With me, it's a totally different story.
Thanks for the suggestions! I actually have Wolf's book, and it made a lot of sense to me (I'm actually less "consensual" than a lot of parents here). I know dh won't read it, but maybe I'll start telling him what it says. I'll check out 1-2-3 Magic and Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.

The real problem is getting dh to get off his butt! He'd much rather sit and yell.
I am in the same boat. DH hasn't ever threatened to hit, but he threatens other things (stop crying or we are going inside). he also thinks ds (17 months) should listen and obey immediately, no matter what he is demanding.

when we discuss things he thinks i am being critical. so we just go round and round.

i am reading the book a pp suggested 'how to be the parent you want to be'. i will have to check out that other one listed.

the hitting part of your post is the most worrisome to me. i would try to get dh on board with never hitting then tackle the rest of it.

Originally Posted by mom2owen1
the hitting part of your post is the most worrisome to me. i would try to get dh on board with never hitting then tackle the rest of it.
I agree, but have no idea how. Any suggestions? Dh has slapped ds' hands when ds hits him, or when he tells ds to stop doing something and ds continues to do it. I point out to dh how ridiculous it is to tell ds "don't hit" as he hits ds. I also point out that ds hits dh much more than he hits me, which just shows hitting ds doesn't work. I point out that it's not reasonable to expect a 2 year old to stop doing something because you tell him to stop. I'm open to any suggestions.
My DH and I took a parenting class together and that helped a lot. It gave us a context to discuss "theoretical" situations in, so that took the emotion out of it. It also gave us a sort of code language that we could use to remind each other of something that we had said was important without totally undermining each other in front of the kids. Research the teachers philosophy carefully before signing up though, you don't want to get somewhere and discover they are into physical discipline or something!

Another book suggestion would be "Kid Cooperation" by Elizabeth Pantley. Again, on the "tougher" side of GD but very practical, easy to read, and short.

Can you agree on a code word that you can say to him that means "Please stop and lets talk later" so that you aren't "correcting" him in front of your children? That might make him feel more cooperative and like you aren't undercutting him.

Finally, can you come up with some compromises that you can both live with about household rules and consequences. I agree that expecting a 17 mo. old to respond to "voice direction" is unrealistic. Can you agree that you BOTH do one voice direction and then remove your child from the situation? Something that he can execute without too much "hassle" (from his point of view), that you can live with, even if it doesn't meet with your ideal?
See less See more
Research the teachers philosophy carefully before signing up though, you don't want to get somewhere and discover they are into physical discipline or something!
Ditto. We took a parenting class through the health dept. and the teacher advocated spanking! I never went back after that (and after I told her she was full of shit) but DH had to go back (long story). Now he thinks spanking is "ok" because that's what was said in the parenting class. He also thought hitting with a freaking belt was ok until I caught him trying to do it to our son--I took it away and hit HIM with it so he'd see how much it hurt. Probably not the best way to handle it, but I was pissed. Honestly, if he doesn't stop trying to use physical discipline I'm filing for divorce--he does seem to be getting a little better. My children are more important to me than being married.
I just wanted to say that I posted a similar question a few months ago and found it pretty helpful.

I model how I want dh to handle certain situations in hopes that he'll *see* how well things turned out and will opt for that way the next time. It's been a super slow transition, but the # of timeouts has decreased rapidly, and the amount of reasoning he does with ds has increased a huge amount.

In the beginning, I brought up what dh did wrong in each situation (after it was over) and told him how I would have handled it. That just got him on the defense and he didn't listen at all to what I said. Then, I completely backed out of the equation and watched while he disciplined ds, and I saw him giving ds FAR too many timeouts, threatening something (stop crying or we're not going to the park) and I decided I needed to get involved sometimes to just SHOW dh the difference. I politely intervene with, "oh, let me handle this" and for some reason, that doesn't offend dh - but he's still within eye and ear shot to see what happens.

Dh is on the more strict side too, for instance the freezer door thing wouldn't bother me (what's it hurting?) But, it would annoy the heck out of dh and he'd demand it be stopped - which would lead to ds crying, etc. And, during those times, I say "dh what's it hurting if he's opening the freezer door? I mean in the long run, is it going to cause problems." And, then dh usually backs away and realizes it's not worth the fight when ds will stop in less than 5 minutes anyway.

And, one last point (sorry this turned into a novel) - your dc will form different relationships with you and your dh based on the way you each parent them and they will adjust accordingly, so I wouldn't worry about inconsistency from you to dh, as long as you are consistant in your way and dh is consistant in his way - your dc will learn that.
See less See more
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.