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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My idea of discipline is very gentle. Sitting down with my children and explaining why they can't do XYZ and really stressing emotions ("That really hurts mommy when you hit me, we need to use gentle hands" that sort of thing). DH is the type that is like "I am the adult, you respect my authority". He yells, has spanked before, and honestly scares ME when he gets in one of those "moods".<br><br>
A couple of days ago my boys (2 and 4) brought at LEAST 30 toys out and scattered them all over the kitchen and dining room. I asked them to please clean up the toys before dinner. It was a few minutes before dinner and DH came home. I was sitting on the floor talking to the boys. I had brought out a laundry hamper and I was going to help them pick up the toys. DH snapped and started yelling at the kids to clean up the toys. He got up into their faces and was yelling so I told him to knock it off. Of course it ended up with a lot of shed tears and obviously no toys got picked up. DH yelled "No dinner for them unless they clean up!". I told him that I absolutely REFUSE to withhold food from my children. I refuse! He got really angry and ended up picking up all of the toys, putting them into the toy room, then put a babygate up in the playroom doorway so the kids couldn't get in there. Dinner time came along and DH tried again to tell the kids they were not eating because they did not clean up the toys, so once again, I had to intervene and say that I would NOT withhold food from the children. He got really upset because he said that I always side with the kids. I HAVE to though. Their voice doesn't get heard because he doesn't listen, so someone has to speak up for them right.<br><br>
DH was raised the same way by his father. His dad has on more than one occasion tried to discipline my children the same way and I had to put my foot down.<br><br>
I will admit that the kids DO listen to DH more than they listen to me, maybe because I am too soft on them, but I find that I am the one they come to when they are upset or want to snuggle or whatever.<br><br>
I hate that DH and I fight so much about discipline, but I refuse to change what I feel is right. He refuses to change what he feels is right. I don't believe in spanking. I don't believe in yelling. I don't believe in using scare tactics or threats.<br><br>
So what do you do when there are two drastically different parenting techniques and neither parent is willing to change?
 

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Wow, I'm sorry that you have to deal with this issue. It's really hard to parent when your partner feels more like they are playing for an entirely different team.<br><br>
My advice would be this: if you want your marriage to survive you're both going to have to reach a compromise. Although <b>I am in no way saying you should start screaming, spanking and witholding food!</b> Firm boundaries can be put in place without acting in that manner toward your children. At 2 and 4 it is time they learned things like we put toys away. I would never withold food (if you don't do this you don't eat....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> but I would say in a gentle but firm voice that it was time to clean up because playtime is over and it's time to eat. No discussion needed, it's a rule and children do need rules and boundaries in their life, what they don't need is screaming/unneccessary anger or hitting.<br><br>
Good luck, I hope that helps a little!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Breeder</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9905325"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Wow, I'm sorry that you have to deal with this issue. It's really hard to parent when your partner feels more like they are playing for an entirely different team.<br><br>
My advice would be this: if you want your marriage to survive you're both going to have to reach a compromise. Although <b>I am in no way saying you should start screaming, spanking and witholding food!</b> Firm boundaries can be put in place without acting in that manner toward your children. At 2 and 4 it is time they learned things like we put toys away. I would never withold food (if you don't do this you don't eat....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> but I would say in a gentle but firm voice that it was time to clean up because playtime is over and it's time to eat. No discussion needed, it's a rule and children do need rules and boundaries in their life, what they don't need is screaming/unneccessary anger or hitting.<br><br>
Good luck, I hope that helps a little!</div>
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We've tried this many many many times. They just refuse. They will sit in the living room with no tv, no music, no stimulation (I'm cooking dinner). Just will NOT clean up. And they tell me too!
 

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I think it rarely works with children this age to say "clean up!"...they don't want to and it's an overwhelming task. I think a playful approach might work really well - it's time for dinner, let's clean up together! You can race to see who can put stuff away the quickest. Or you can sing a clean up song or put on some rockin' tunes while you do it. I think few people respond well to commands...I know I don't and my kids don't either.<br><br>
The other day, my 4.5yo, my 18mo and I did a clean sweep of their room in about 2 minutes while singing "sing a song" (the sesame street song) but changing the words and taking turns singing - "the blocks go in here, the cars go in there, la la la la la la laaaaaaa". It was so neat to seem them enjoy it...it really does work!<br><br>
Maybe just showing your dh by example that there are other ways to get things done than using force and power. It's a process but I think rather than getting into a power struggle with your dh you should just try modeling these techniques and he'll see how well it works.
 

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The best thing that my DH and I did when DS was little was take a parenting class together. This let us talk about various options outside of the 'heat of the moment" and without anyone getting defensive. Of course you would want to carefully research any suggestion because you don't want a class that will reinforce his ideas!<br><br>
I also agree with PP that some type of compromise will probaby be needed -- maybe timeouts? I know they aren't popular here but they are better than what your DH is advocating. I know my DH had an absolute need to "do something" when DS hurt someone and this was our compromise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Evan&Anna's_Mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9907753"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The best thing that my DH and I did when DS was little was take a parenting class together. This let us talk about various options outside of the 'heat of the moment" and without anyone getting defensive. Of course you would want to carefully research any suggestion because you don't want a class that will reinforce his ideas!<br><br>
I also agree with PP that some type of compromise will probaby be needed -- maybe timeouts? I know they aren't popular here but they are better than what your DH is advocating. I know my DH had an absolute need to "do something" when DS hurt someone and this was our compromise.</div>
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Personally I find the idea of a time out pretty stupid. We've tried them before, and they really accomplish nothing. So toys are thrown all over the house, kids won't clean up, so place them in an area by themselves for 4 and 2 minutes. Kids come off the time out, toys STILL aren't cleaned up. So they refuse to clean them up and place them back on for 4 and 2 minutes?
 

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I'm going through this same thing right now with my dh. It seems he thinks i'm too lenient because i don't yell and scream to get my kids to listen to me. He on the other hand threatens, yells, doesn't follow through, and wonders why the kids don't listen to him.<br>
We 've tried to talk it over, he'll agree hes being to harsh, vow to change, do it for like a day then he's back to the same things again.<br>
Sorry i wish i had some advice to give. I feel like i've tried everything. I'm about to loose it here.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9911121"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Personally I find the idea of a time out pretty stupid. We've tried them before, and they really accomplish nothing. So toys are thrown all over the house, kids won't clean up, so place them in an area by themselves for 4 and 2 minutes. Kids come off the time out, toys STILL aren't cleaned up. So they refuse to clean them up and place them back on for 4 and 2 minutes?</div>
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I mostly agree -- we only used time out for hitting/hurting, and in that context I think the cool-down time (for everyone) is actually pretty effective.<br><br>
But my point was that both parties here are going to have to find something they can both live with. In the case that the DH won't agree to completely "gentle" methods, time out is at least a non-violent tool that might or might not be effective, but is at least better than the alternative now being used by the DH in this case. Other options might be some sort of reward system (though the OPs kids are young for that) or something I can't think of. All of which are better than hitting, yelling, and withholding food from a 2 year old, IMHO. And it may be that a move toward gentler discipline is a first step and can be followed by subsequent moves once things have grown calmer. And/or combined with more playful approaches, better transitions to cleaning up, more specific instruction and involvement from parents (e.g. "lets pick up the books, now the trains, etc.).<br><br>
For the msot part, getting someone to move from yelling, threatening and withholding food to a completely gentle approach is going to be frustrating for everyone. A step-wise approach, especially coupled with an "expert, outside, neutral" opinion will probably be more successful.
 

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I think an important factor is that your dh had just gotten home from work. This is a tricky time for most of us... the end of a long day, before dinner. I'm not excusing what he did, but he probably just blew a gasket and lost control because he was overtired and hungry. It happens to the best of us, parents and toddlers alike.<br><br>
DH and I have a rule that the one who is handling the situation is handling the situation. In other words, if I'm in the process of helping ds clean up the toys, dh is not welcome to intervene to get it done faster. This is difficult for him, because I tend to encourage ds to do what he can for himself, even if it takes three times as long; where dh wants it done now because he said so. If dh has told ds that he needs to put away one toy before he gets out another, I stand back and stay out, even though I think it's <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
For a parent with a quick temper, timeouts can be a blessing. Sometimes parents need the time to gather their thoughts and plan a reasonable strategy, rather than lashing out with angry words and empty threats (or physical abuse) that only leads to worse behavior. A methodical timeout is an excellent alternative for a parent who is "this close" to striking out. In this context, it's not about what the timeout teaches the child; it's the lesser "evil."<br><br>
If he can get past the momentary flare of his anger, and think about discipline in a rational manner, he may find that he can come up with strategies on his own that will be more effective than what he's doing now.<br><br>
You may want to check out the Sears' *The Discipline Book* There is a whole chapter directed to dads. I thought it was condescending, but dh actually liked it.
 

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A few thoughts...just ramblings about what we do and how I feel, I don't know if it applies...but...it's just my experience since if something similar happened at our house, with my temper, I might be in your dh's role!!<br><br>
We've never been as far apart as the two of you...but as the one with firmer limits (our disagreements have been about expectations), I realize in retrospect than when my partner began to have noticably firmer limits, but not hugely different or outside of her comfort zone, it was easier for me to have looser limits. Sometimes in families it seems we're each pulling on the end of a rope and we feel we have to pull as hard as we can to keep the rope from slipping to the other side. Sometimes just taking a step towards the other side, as paradoxical as it can seem, can create an opportunity to unstick that stuckness. I saw my partner changing and then it was much easier for me to change. I didn't start doing things exactly her way, but I changed too, and then she changed something else, and gradually we found a place where sometimes I think <b>her</b> limits are too strict and she finds mine too loose! Of course, we kept talking and we found ways not to judge each other's styles and use I statements and ask other people's opinions and stuff like that. Might not fix your situation, but it might be worth finding a few ways to become just a little sterner and firmer with your kids, especially in front of your dh, and see what happens after a few weeks.<br><br>
Two, can you and your dh find a way to step outside the room with the kids to have your disagreements about parenting? It sounds like the disagreement was in front of the kids and, frankly, I'd be pissed if my partner undermined my parenting in front of the kids. It would make me MUCH less likely to change. But if we stepped outside for a few minutes and she said calmly, "y might work fine for you, but it doesn't work for me because of x, can we find a compromise? it also sounds like you've probably had a rough day and maybe there's something you need--how can I help?" I'd be much more able to take a deep breath and admit to being made mad by the situation and find some sort of compromise. YMMV, but I thought I'd share my reaction to the scene you described.<br><br>
A compromise we'd probably have reached would be, "dinner will be in a few minutes, you need to clean up before dinner." walk out, serve dinner, call out "dinner's served!", when they came to dinner and hadn't cleaned up, we'd redirect them to cleaning, and sit down and start eating. The consequence of not doing what is required is that you get left out of the next thing and have to catch up. Our four year old is very capable of grasping this and it only takes one time through of getting left out. The three year old has a harder time and has to go through it again and again, but leaving her out and moving on is the only thing that consistently works with her. She'll cry, though. Afterwards we give her a snuggle and let her tell us why she's mad and find something to help her feel good about herself (in this case it might have been helping clear the table and give the plates to the dogs to lick which she loves to do).<br><br>
A final thought, though, I wonder if your 2 year old is capable of cleaning up without clear directions? Is there a way to set up some kind of a play "test" (not cleaning up his toys, but some similar task that is made fun) that you and your dh can devise together so that the two of you can be on the same page about what he is capable of doing? If your dh knows that your 2yo needs clear directions to clean up (e.g. "put your blocks in this bin.") maybe it would help him?
 

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I realize I didn't make clear that it's not that they wouldn't get dinner, but that the clean up happens first. Our kids would get mad at us, but they'd immediately clean up. They'd be late for dinner, but they'd get it. If food isn't something that you're willing to do it with, choose something else...a game before dinner, reading a Christmas book, lighting candles, whatever...but, only those people who have finished their pre-dinner chores (give your dh something) get to do it. If when left out, they go to clean, wait until they're done so they're included. For us, part of being a family is we all do our part. I know that's not a philosophy everyone on here shares, but it works for us...
 

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Sorry but no way do I see anything in that post to compromise on. At all. I'd get dh to go to counseling. Your kids are 2 and 4 and even if they were much older his behavior towards them is completely and utterly unacceptable. Withholding food? Getting in the faces of children. Nope not doing it. I'd tell him if doesn't want you to "side with the kids" then stop acting in a way that forces you to be their human shield. Ok don't say that literally.<br><br>
He needs to know that his authoritarian treatment of your children is hurting them and will cause permanent harm to their psyches. Anyone that treats kids kids the way your dh does has got to have baggage from his own childhood he hasn't dealt with. And it will be easier to make a permanent change in behavior once he deals with it.
 

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I don't think that telling kids that they need to clean up their toys before they get dinner is "withholding food"...<br><br>
I think that that's pretty reasonable. In a family everyone helps out. It's the parent's job to make supper and do laundry. And it's the children's job to help out with other stuff - like picking up toys.<br><br>
Personally I wouldn't send a child to bed without supper - I think that's too far. But making a kid wait for 10 minutes while they finish tidying - that's not absurd.
 

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My dh and I have been through similar struggles, though he is not as opposite to me as your dh is. What helped us tremendously was two things. First, I sat down with as much of an open mind as I could muster, and asked him to talk to me about why he felt the need to control dd, especially through threats. He confided that at times he just felt at a loss as to what to do, and he felt that if we didn't establish 'parental control' at 2-3 years old, what would we do at 16? So alot of what he was doing was out of fear.<br>
Another thing that helped tremendously was to empower him. I used to step in at every. single. parenting. difference. And it agitated him so much, and made him feel totally powerless, which combined with fear is not a good combo. So I have backed off a LOT in intervening. He still does things I don't do, like tell her boys don't wear pink while coloring a picture, or tell her "We are leaving!" when she's lolligagging to get ready. However, he is realizing that she really does respond MUCH better to a little patience and understanding and he is getting better about connecting with her first.<br>
I've tried to make changes to the hour when he gets home as well. Ideally, when he gets home, I'd like for him to connect 100% with her. So, I have the house cleaned up, dinner made, and dd is waiting for him with a book or some other 10 minute activity. While he is reading/playing with her, I am serving dinner and then we all sit down together. I've tried to make that first hour as stress free as possible. Sometimes, I take dd outside for an hour before he gets home so she isn't wired and wanting to run around. Sometimes she wants him to swing her on her swing set for a while, which is a nice relaxing activity. Anyway, I've tried to make it a pleasant time for all of us. HTH!
 

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Ugh, that's rotten.<br><br>
In our situation, I'm the one who's much more short tempered (although as a disclaimer I don't yell or spank!) and am much more 'This is how it's going to be dd... you do xyz or abc doesn't happen' and dh is much softer and more easy going.<br><br>
It drives us both nuts to watch the other one parent because I'm constantly like 'Okay guys, I'm done making dinner, quit fooling around and pick that up so we can eat' (dh is really goofy, playful, etc. with dd and it feels like parenting two kids some days).<br><br>
And I know he thinks I'm a drill sergeant! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I do need to lighten up...<br><br>
Basically we've come to the point where we 1) have agreed to always show a unified front (even if secretly we're ready to kill each other!) and 2) unless dd is getting really upset or one of us is reaching the end of our rope, we stay out of eachother's parenting.<br><br>
Not sure if that's helpful at all, just wanted to let you know that I feel for you. It's such a hard situation when your parenting is so drastically different. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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So what do you do when there are two drastically different parenting techniques and neither parent is willing to change?</div>
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If you want the toys picked up, model being happy about toys being picked up. When we deride the picking up as 'not fun', we model that it is not fun to clean up. Ds happily *helps* to clean up. However, when *I* want things picked up, I pick them up.<br><br>
Here is an old post of mine about cleaning as a gift, not a chore. <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=9774260&highlight=clean+canvas#post9774260" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...as#post9774260</a><br><br><br>
Pat
 

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Ok, we (me/dh) aren't on the same page here either... In the beginning, it was that I was the one who had high expecations and just wanted certain things done how I wanted them done and he was patient talk through everything, cosleeping babywearing dad. Through his persistence and some help/influence from this board I am somewhat better though i do have those frustrated moments in my head where I wonder "why can't you just do X" Only now the tides have shifted and he is highly stressed from work and has started yelling and focusing on compliance... when he's really tired or irritated from something else he develops a hair trigger and while things normally wouldn't bother him (once recently he even called ds1 his boss' name while yelling at him)... he does realize he's going to far but usually only after he's done it not in the heat of the moment. So I try to intevene or cut it him short and redirect him when i see it building (just like with the kids I guess which may sound bad <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: but I'll givbe you an example using your scenario)<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">A couple of days ago my boys (2 and 4) brought at LEAST 30 toys out and scattered them all over the kitchen and dining room. I asked them to please clean up the toys before dinner. It was a few minutes before dinner and DH came home. I was sitting on the floor talking to the boys. I had brought out a laundry hamper and I was going to help them pick up the toys. DH snapped and started yelling at the kids to clean up the toys. <i>He got up into their faces and was yelling so I told him to knock it off.</i> Of course it ended up with a lot of shed tears and obviously no toys got picked up.</div>
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Me *calmly as possible, put a hand on his arm/shoulder or since I'd be sitting on the floor possibly his leg and speak softly so that he actually has to stop screaming to hear hear what I am saying* : Honey, honey... (as soon as he turns to look at me, look him directly in the eyes and take a deep breath--inhale only, immediately speaking on the exhale) Sweetie, I understand you want the toys picked up, I do too and I just sat down to help them. Please let me handle this... *then set back to helping the kids clean up*<br><br>
[why I do certain pieces of this (so you can adapt it to your needs): 1) touching him - so he'll realize I'm talking to him/trying to get his attention even though I am about to speak softly; 2) speaking softly - though this sometimes takes effort you honestly can't anywhere trying to verbally out brute someone... yelling over someone's yelling doesn't help you get heard it escalates the yelling as they try to match your tome or out yell you, hence fight breaks out... speaking in a quietier both forces them to stop yelling to hear you since their own voice would drown it out, and bring their voice down more to match yours (just as yelling encouarges yelling, speaking softer brings their voice tone down and though it's commonly slower to <i>match</i> hushed tones than raised voices you will notice a prgressive change as you continue to keep a soft quiet voice--lower than your normal voice but not a whisper as too much strain to hear you make make them too willing to dismiss what you are saying and go back to what they are doing/saying); 3) looking into his eyes and taking a deep breath - helps remind him to breathe, which in turn can help calm him down, but doesn't bring attention to it like saying "calm down" or "take a deep breath" does so generally people end up taking the cue and responding as you want them to instead of percieving any sort of barb to defend themselves from, hence no need to jump to the defensive or dig in their heels to validate themselves or any point they feel they have... doubly if I am in mama tiger mode wanting to devour him in defense of the kids this gives me the oxygen to regroup before I escalate things myself; 4) immediately speak before exhaling - don't give him a long enough pause to turn back around and resume what he's doing before I can speak... and because speaking on the exhale helps keep my voice soft if I am tempted to yell, and since I'm a yeller it's always easier for me to work to maintain a soft, calm voice that I've started with than to get one back after I've let myself slip... 5) acknowlegde what I think he is trying to acomplish or the point he is trying to get across - so he knows the disagreement that is to follow is based on method of attack or manner of address not principle, and can see me as an ally rather than an enemy (men/boys are wired differently trying to point out that it need not be a war/battle is fruitless, I had to learn to accept, both with hubby and sons, that they are/will be this way and approaching things with a "going in the wrong way gets your men killed before they can accomplish their mission so let's talk strategy and try going in <i>this</i> way instead" mindset is more helpful in getting them on the same page keeping this in mind makes it easier to rally them and makes it easier to turn to them for help brainstorming new ideas if your proposed idea falls through... otherwise your sway is dependent upon your success and the second it turns to failure, well you already know the rest I'm sure and back to square one... 6) please let me handle this - when said in the right tone this doesn't convey any 'your wrong, I'm right, now get out of my way' but simply 'I have an idea, please let me run with it a bit before shooting it down as pointless' simply condensed into a generic phrasing since it must be used in the heat of the moment in front of the kids... this is most effective when have talked alone first and it is a previously agreed upon phrase either of you can use to intervene when you can see the other needs a break or is making backward progress in acheiving the goal/task at hand--reasons for using can be discussed later (not in front of the children/inlaws/whoever it must be used to intervene with) and it is also most helpful to have a partner phrase that the overwhelmed party can use to ask for help or a step in from the other... and usually works best--especially if it needs to be used around inlaws or other adults, or other people's children--when it is not so blatent a phrase and more like a code between the two of you... think, baseball signals a minute: you need an arsenal so they convey something very precise, so there is no question what you want them to do next... and they are useful for directing a ball, you don't put in a relief pitcher after every bad pitch (but you don't have to wait until the game is shot beyond comeback to do so either)... but as the catcher you a) have a different vantage point and as such may know something that'll work better in a given instance and b) are better able to back the pitcher up if you know what is coming... and c) the pitcher can always pass the call and throw his own signal... but things work better when the two are in sync about what the next step will be regardless whether they both agree that's what it should be or not... If you can't talk to him ahead of time to set up such signals think redirection. For example in this situation, just coming home, I'd probably say to my DH something like "Why don't you go ahead and put your things away and get changed while we get started on this mess" He has a laptop and such that he brings home everyday and he usually changes out of his work clothes when he gets home...you of course would tailor this to whatever he'd be doing if he hadn't gotten sidetracked screaming or simply something he could go do while you handle this... 7) return to helping them clean up - getting them back on task tables the arguement before it can start good because in the end bad approach aside that's what he wanted to achieve and seeing it happen gives him no reason to continue the bad behavior and completing the task removes the spark... whereas even if you had managed to 'win' the arguement it wouldn't have mattered, you both wanted the toys cleaned up and fighting leaves you both frustrated and the toys still lying where they were when you started so it's a lose-lose regardless who "wins" so why waste the time in the first place... also not waiting for a response to the please let me handle this makes it clear that you are going to handle it, which wouldn't work so well with another woman (think for a minute about how you felt when he stepped in while you were dealing with things and you'll know why this would go south in a hurry) but men are usually more result oriented and tend to step in because they feel that is what is required to get the task achieved but if they see the task is being achieved they can just as easily stop and move on--I don't get this it is simply an obeservation so don't ask me to explain why it works, but for some reason with most men it will]<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><i>DH yelled "No dinner for them unless they clean up!".</i> I told him that I absolutely REFUSE to withhold food from my children. I refuse! He got really angry and ended up picking up all of the toys, putting them into the toy room, then put a babygate up in the playroom doorway so the kids couldn't get in there.</div>
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Me *again, calmly and quietly* : It won't come to that, they will help clean up <i>and</i> they will eat. *then set back to helping the kids clean up*<br><br>
[reassures hubby the toys will get cleaned up, and reassures the children since they are listening they they won't go hungry but they also hear that mom and dad are in agreement that the toys must be picked up, hence no way to get out of cleaning them up... this is very key because while you must defend them, since they are often going to be present whie you defend them you have to think about what they are hearing/learning... you can tell him later that you refuse to withhold food from the children and why, for now it suffices to say they will eat he will register your intolerance for his suggestion but the kids won't see you as two warring sides... getting them back to cleaning has the same effects as it would have above but here it additionally eliminates the opening of inactivity that arguing with DH left for him to clean the toys himself... which might have negated the next issue..]<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Dinner time came along and <i>DH tried again to tell the kids they were not eating because they did not clean up the toys</i>, so once again, I had to intervene and say that I would NOT withhold food from the children. He got really upset because he said that I always side with the kids. I HAVE to though. Their voice doesn't get heard because he doesn't listen, so someone has to speak up for them right.</div>
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Me *again as calmly as you can muster, but since he's not yelling a normal speaking tone will be fine* : Unfortunately honey, you cleaned up the toys for them so you cannot punish them for not doing something you chose to do for them. *meanwhile I would be helping the kids get in their chairs as I said this and sitting down to my own food*<br><br>
[you already told him you would not withhold food, it doesn't even bear repeating simply serve them their food... you had already intended to have the kids clean up before dinner but as there is no longer toys to clean up that can't happen, so move on to the next step which is dinner... and gently dismiss the idea that they can't eat as DH negated his own deal--by not allowing them the opportunity to "defy" him he cannot dole out any consquences to a nonexistant defiance merely because he presumes it would have taken place... he cleaned up the toys, the kids can no longer 1) clean them up and prove they would nor 2) refuse to and even be in a position of possibly being subject to such a suggestion so there is really no need to engage him... and in truth, feeding them is not siding with them over him, even had you agreed to this suggestion (which you already made clear you didn't) he eliminated their means of meeting his terms so they can't be at fault for not meeting them, plain and simple... you don't have to readdress the absurdity of not feeding a 2 yo as a punishment because there is nothing to punish...]<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He got really upset because he said that I always side with the kids. I HAVE to though. Their voice doesn't get heard because he doesn't listen, so someone has to speak up for them right.</div>
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as for him pulling you in on the siding with the kids thing, frankly it appears he realized he couldn't stop you from feeding them so he tried to keep you engaged in the fight because he was still upset and needed to release it... my simple solution when there's subtext like this (he's really trying to express the hurt he feels from you not siding with him, and if you listen carefully he's really accusing you of doing so because you love them more than him... but in defending your choice to stand up for your kids--which he already knows you will do and that's why it is the bait he is using to prove himself right--you have ignored the subtext of his insecurities and hurt feelings and confirmed them by implying there is no other choice to make... the trick is nothing is wrong with standing up for you kids, that's why he's certain you ignore the subtext... he's accusing you of something that isn't actually wrong or bad because then you won't possibly deny it--and therefore its subtext--or admit fault, because only by you confirming does he get validated... and this may not even be malicious, some people are actually passive agressive and trying to control you and others have just picked up the behaviors and aren't even aware they are doing it) is to address to subtext issue instead or as well. So here I'd get up from the table go over to him, hug him, kiss him, and play with his hair or rub his cheek as I reassured him that I love him and if he pushed the sides things, I'd probably point out that I was on his side and wanted the kids to clean up just as much as he did... (the truth is you weren't on their side they wanted to not clean up their toys, you and hubby wanted them to clean up.. you and hubby were undeniably on the same side... you simply saw a more productive way of getting there...)<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babygrant</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9904411"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I hate that DH and I fight so much about discipline, but I refuse to change what I feel is right. He refuses to change what he feels is right. I don't believe in spanking. I don't believe in yelling. I don't believe in using scare tactics or threats.<br><br>
So what do you do when there are two drastically different parenting techniques and neither parent is willing to change?</div>
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remind him that parenting isn't about getting the kids to do what you tell them, but teaching them so they do the things that need doin without having to be told or asked... if you have to yell or spank or threaten or scare someone into doing something then they clearly don't see the value in doing it in the first place and that's the real problem... the parenting conflict you describe is because neither of you want to change your <i>beliefs</i>, this is a good thing and what you want to impart on your children--values and beliefs that are the core of the behaviors they choose... instead of focusing on how to 'make' the kids do what you want and bickering over whose way of doing that is better... focus on teaching the kids why they should do those things, once they truly understand they'll either embrace or reject the value of it... which can be a much harder blow of a rejection, but generally they'll recognize the value and want what you want (though they may have a different plan of how to get there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)... and in the end no matter how much you think you want compliance (I really thought I did for a while, and it occassionally trys to tempt me still but deep down I know better) it has inherent flaws, if you only teach your children do as they are told--an somehow are successful--what happens when a) you stop telling them what to do? or b) someone tells them to do something they really shouldn't?<br>
one the other hand when you try to impart values and teach them to use their values and beliefs as their compass for decision making, then you don't even have to forsee all the bad possiblities to avoid them... (and a lot of people I know make fear based decisions because of bad possiblities they can forsee and are desperate to avoid)<br><br>
here's what I see from your story... your children have willpower (they successfully avoided that which they didn't want to do until it was done for them, truthfully they could have at any time cleaned up the toys while you and DH were arguing or pitched in to help him when he started as they would have with you and the laundry basket or even done it before it go to that point but they didn't want to so they didn't... and while it may not seem so in this moment, that is a GOOD thing... being able to see things through when you want to/have a reason is a very key aspect of the value based decision making because frankly it's not always going to be easy or encouraged to do the right thing so this willpower is a huge asset especially since it didn't buckle to fear... this will be an awesome trait as they get older, trust me my brother and one of my sisters fall short in it and as children it is an admired trait but in teens and adulthood this shortcoming proves problematic to say the least and is dangerous and harmful at it's worst...), work with it don't supress it... you and your husband have beliefs from which you will not falter, even for each other who you presumably love, again a GOOD thing... and really not even a reason for conflict, and possibly are the source of resolution since I deeply suspect your beliefs strongly overlap and that it's the method/tactics/the use of force and intimidation that are your true road blocks and sources of conflict not your beliefs... if so, it'll be easier to solve... just figure out what you both want from the kids, then figure out what core beliefs or useful knowledge would make a person want those things from themselves and discuss ways you can teach them that information and come up with ways you can help the roleplay/practice/apply that information so they will understand how to use it before facing the situations you want them to use it in... then explain your discomfort with each other's techniques and agree on boundaries for both sides so that neither of you feels the other is too harsh or too lienient... and hold each other accountable for crossing those agreed upon lines... and allow each other freedom to move within those accepted lines even if one of you would handle a given situation differently... {Granted, Hubby pulled me very far to his way of thinking which is why I'm even in the realm of GD so maybe it's easier to get him back on track because it's in him but I didn't have it in me and I came around so I think your hubby probably will if you remember it's just as much not about making him comply as it is not about making the kids comply. The same concepts apply...you have to be just as gentle with him as you want him to be with the kids}
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenfish</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9917416"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">A few thoughts...just ramblings about what we do and how I feel, I don't know if it applies...but...it's just my experience since if something similar happened at our house, with my temper, I might be in your dh's role!!<br><br>
We've never been as far apart as the two of you...but as the one with firmer limits (our disagreements have been about expectations), I realize in retrospect than when my partner began to have noticeably firmer limits, but not hugely different or outside of her comfort zone, it was easier for me to have looser limits. <span style="color:#FF0000;">Sometimes in families it seems we're each pulling on the end of a rope and we feel we have to pull as hard as we can to keep the rope from slipping to the other side. Sometimes just taking a step towards the other side, as paradoxical as it can seem, can create an opportunity to unstick that stuckness</span>. I saw my partner changing and then it was much easier for me to change. I didn't start doing things exactly her way, but I changed too, and then she changed something else, and gradually we found a place where sometimes I think <b>her</b> limits are too strict and she finds mine too loose! Of course, we kept talking and we found ways not to judge each other's styles and use I statements and ask other people's opinions and stuff like that. Might not fix your situation, but it might be worth finding a few ways to become just a little sterner and firmer with your kids, especially in front of your dh, and see what happens after a few weeks.<br><br>
Two, can you and your dh find a way to step outside the room with the kids to have your disagreements about parenting? It sounds like the disagreement was in front of the kids and, frankly, I'd be pissed if my partner undermined my parenting in front of the kids. It would make me MUCH less likely to change. But if we stepped outside for a few minutes and she said calmly, "y might work fine for you, but it doesn't work for me because of x, can we find a compromise? it also sounds like you've probably had a rough day and maybe there's something you need--how can I help?" I'd be much more able to take a deep breath and admit to being made mad by the situation and find some sort of compromise. YMMV, but I thought I'd share my reaction to the scene you described.<br><br>
A compromise we'd probably have reached would be, "dinner will be in a few minutes, you need to clean up before dinner." walk out, serve dinner, call out "dinner's served!", when they came to dinner and hadn't cleaned up, we'd redirect them to cleaning, and sit down and start eating. The consequence of not doing what is required is that you get left out of the next thing and have to catch up. Our four year old is very capable of grasping this and it only takes one time through of getting left out. The three year old has a harder time and has to go through it again and again, but leaving her out and moving on is the only thing that consistently works with her. She'll cry, though. Afterwards we give her a snuggle and let her tell us why she's mad and find something to help her feel good about herself (in this case it might have been helping clear the table and give the plates to the dogs to lick which she loves to do).<br><br>
A final thought, though, I wonder if your 2 year old is capable of cleaning up without clear directions? Is there a way to set up some kind of a play "test" (not cleaning up his toys, but some similar task that is made fun) that you and your dh can devise together so that the two of you can be on the same page about what he is capable of doing? If your dh knows that your 2yo needs clear directions to clean up (e.g. "put your blocks in this bin.") maybe it would help him?</div>
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So true! I've heard the same reasoning regarding money-handling in couples, one is quickly cast as the spender, the other the saver. It just becomes a cycle in proving or encouraging 'your side', whereas if you take a break and think rationally and behave like 'the other side' once in a while it will become clear you don't want to really be 'enemies' and a happy medium will likely be reached.
 
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