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Oh boy! My almost 3 yo dd and her daddy are butting heads in a really unproductive and upsetting (for everyone) way. She is very headstrong... he, I think, is sometimes kindof immature about the whole thing. ARGH. Do I interfere? Do I help? If I say anything I usually become the target of dh anger and make the situation worse.
Here's what happened:
We are at a plant nursery looking at plants. I have ds in a sling, dd is running around, very excited, touching things. We tell her to stay close and that she can gently touch the plants but not to pick them. Dh is kindof jumping on her case if you ask me. Anytime she does anything he's correcting her with that kinda abrupt, dad voice. "dd! don't spin around that pole!" Well, her response is always "why?" because, you know, she's almost 3.
He doesn't have tolerance for this the way I do and hasn't learned that the best way to deal with it is to give a plausible answer. I see that they are headed for trouble so I tell dd to stay with me. The baby is fussy though so I'm having a hard time. Finally, we've found everything we need and are on our way to the car. This nursery has peacocks, which we looked at on our way in. Dd now wants to look at them again. Dh has had it and tells her no, we're going to the car. He's holding onto her hand going throught he parking lot. She is now tired and has also had it and trouble begins. She pulls her hand away from him, he gets angrier, picks her up. She starts crying and yelling "I want my mama!" but I can't hold her because I have the baby. Dh puts her in the car and she's screaming mad. Dh yells at her to be quiet. Yells! I put ds in the car and take a deep breath before I get in. Dd is begging me to "carry her" which means she needs me to hold her. I'm afraid to say anything because dh is visibly clenching his jaw. We start driving and baby starts crying as well. I tell dh to pull over so that I can feed him and that a**hole refuses. Tells me he's driving home. I turn around in the car and the baby settles so I don't push it although I'm fuming. I say quietly "don't take this out on ds!" and dh glares at me. The baby starts crying again... dd has been crying the whole time... and I jump in the back seat and get ready to try and nurse ds in his carseat as we drive. Dh finally pulls over. I am FURIOUS! I think he acted like such a child. He has no "finesse" when it comes to handling a 3 yo. Plus, he can't get a grip on his own anger.
Okay, but dd wasn't acting very nicely there at the end. I can't argue with that. I just feel like his whole attitude towards her precipitated it all. How do I support his parenting and yet offer suggestions to better it when I'm afraid he's going to bite my head off. I don't want dd to think she can "divide and conquer" but I also don't want him to treat her that way or for her to think it's okay. I did a lot of talking in the car, telling dd that she was okay, daddy still loves her even when he's angry. I said that daddy didn't really like the way she'd been acting and so he got frustrated but that he wouldn't be mad forever, etc. etc.
I should also say that dh is not a violent person. He has never hit either of our kids but he does have a temper and did yell.
3 yo get overwhelmed with the intensity of feelings I think and dd was just beside herself.
Help. I need suggestions on how to handle this.

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I dont really have any suggestions on how to deal with this, but a lot of this is very familiar to me. I find that when ds is misbehaving, H can sometimes turn into turd of the year and starts being very unkind, yelling and saying really stupid things.

I too find that if I intervene, I get the anger directed at me and ds, so I try to stay out of a point.

I find it is easier to approach him after he has calmed down a bit and let him know that wasn't on. He does respond better when its all blown over.
I've just been reading MayMays thread on abuse, I found a lot in there too.

My son told me to stop being such a b*&ch the other day. H had said that to me weeks ago. It was like someone kicked me in the guts it hurt so much. I then decided not to make a huge deal out of it, I know he loves me... BUT he's copying daddy. I did let H know, he was upset and felt like an idiot.

I just hope all these temper tantrums from our husbands/partners don't affect our kids too much!


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kelly, i don't really have any advice either but wanted to offer a hug. i have the same disagreement with my dh. i am nervous about saying anything now because he commented the other night that i am constantly challenging his choices as a parent. you know what, though? it's true. i think dh can be a control freak and make situations worse where some love and patience might short circuit a total freak out.

anyway, the only suggestion i have is like lisa's - maybe you can talk to him when he is calmer and suggest that next time blah blah blah.

good luck!
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