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  1. #1
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    Default Need help to repair my family dynamics

    Hi, I'm really in need of some advice and support, please.

    I have three young children, and am married. But the dynamics of our family are so dysfunctional (in regards to discipline) and I believe damaging to our children.

    My eldest son is 5 yrs old and is quite highly strung/sensitive. He has social anxiety but it is improving. He shouts to ask for what he wants (more like demands) on a daily basis, and often has meltdowns involving screaming and hitting me when he's told no. While much of this is pretty common for his age, the main problem is how me and DH deal with it. Of course it really tests our patience and makes us very angry. I try my best to stay calm and not shout back, and just give him natural consequences for his actions.. Eg "if you can't play nicely with the ball then I'll have to put it away", but yes I do lose it at times and shout or try to put him in time out, which doesn't work as he just comes out.. And I hate myself for losing it.

    My husband is even worse. He frequently smacks DS, and is quite belittling into his actions and words. I absolutely hate it. But DH won't admit this is wrong. He says nothing else works (even though smacking doesn't work either), and that DS has to learn. I tell DH that he is damaging DS, and he is going to grow up being scared of him. DH says he doesn't care, but I know deep down that he does. He just won't admit it. In many ways he is a great dad. But he doesn't handle stress well.

    I'm far from a model parent, I'm far from being the calm and gentle parent I want to be, but I'm trying and I read lots of articles and books about calm parenting. I truly believe in it, and about trying to connect with my son. DH just refuses to read anything, and it seems he doesn't want to change his approach. I am so frustrated and scared for DS.

    Also, DH blames the state of our relationship for his behaviour towards DS during discipline. I understand that he's stressed and unhappy with things, eg lack of intimacy, and for sure that has an impact on his ability to cope with stress. But I refuse to be held solely responsible for his actions. He's passing the buck to me for what he does. No accountability.

    I suggested this morning seeing a family psychologist. I want change. I want to protect my son and parent him respectfully. But DH said no.

    What can I do? I'm so frustrated and confused. Sorry if not all of this makes sense. I'd just really like some feedback or opinions please.
    Thank you....

  2. #2
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    No advice but can empathise! Whenever there are issues with my kids me and dp cannot see eye to eye. He's a just get on with things no real plan / approach to disciple etc. he will let the kids get away with so much rudeness and even aggression and then will suddenly snap. He'll throw toys in the bin and shout out of nowhere. He refuses to see a psych with me and won't read any parenting books. In fact he actually accused me of messing up our 9yo by reading too many books and considering taking her to see a psych when she was asking me how to kill herself! Just generally finds a way of making me the bad guy. I feel like you, I know that I'm not a model parent but I work on it all the time and seeking professional advice in books or in person helps me. Dp just thinks he knows it all and puts down my views

    Sorry no advice, it sucks when you can't get through to your own partner or in my case even have a real conversation.

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  4. #3
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    I'm so sorry you're going through this.

    I would keep on DH, gently, about counselling. In the meantime go by yourself and see if you can start to work through this issue on your own. I'm sure a qualified counsellor / psychologist would give you much better advise than any of us.

    My 2 cents - I think it's really unfair of your DH to simply say no. And a bit of a red flag that he smacks your son. Sure I was slapped a couple times as a mouthy teenager, but never as a child. I don't plan to slap my kids. Anger and violence isn't going to get him anywhere, and I think you need to think about you, and your kids. If he's doing it to the eldest, are the others next? If it were me, I'd start carefully planning my exit strategy from this man, but to each their own.

    I truly hope you can work through this.

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  6. #4
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    Sounds like a horrible situation with your DH OP. Nothing polarises differences more than parenting. It's a constant test of compromise and patience.

    I'd be making an appointment to go and see a psychologist on my own. Perhaps have a look for one who has experience in family counselling.

    If you Google 'australian psychological society' you'll be able to check out possibilities.

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    Default Need help to repair my family dynamics

    Sorry you are having such a rough time.

    First thing - be crystal clear in laying down the law with your DH. He's not to smack or belittle your child at all, let alone in anger. Don't let him get a word in. Absolutely no negotiations - your way or the highway. Your DH sounds like my father was - I can't stress how damaging the ar$ehole approach to raising kids is. If you have a sensitive child multiply the long term damage by at least 100. Your hubby's action now have the potential to emotionally cripple your child down the track.

    Secondly, reach out for help . See your gp. It's too hard to handle crap like this on your own. There are free seminars that can help with tactics. Your GP can get the ball rolling regarding any diagnostic assessments your child may need.

    Thirdly - and simply - if your approach with your child isn't working change it. What other option is there - can't change your kid! Don't see this as a failure. See this as a smart move - rolling with what life throws at you and tailoring your approach as needed

    Fourthly - ask not how you can disciple your child - ask what your child needs from you to navigate through the struggles he is facing. ImageUploadedByThe Bub Hub1458281262.382758.jpg

    Best of luck
    Last edited by VicPark; 18-03-2016 at 16:14.

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  10. #6
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    Thank you for the replies. I completely agree with you Vic Park, and this is how I'm trying to direct my thinking. Though not always successfully!! DH just doesn't even seem to acknowledge the needs behind the behaviour at all. He says he doesn't care why, DS needs to learn not to do it (whatever he is doing at the time). I am so worried about how my little boy will turn out. DH just laughed at me this morning when I said a lack of connection makes him more prone to things like drug misuse. He's also started to smack our two year old sometimes, I guess as she becomes older and more of a challenge. I just don't want this. Have threatened to take the kids away from him a couple of times but I actually don't have the means to do so. He just doesn't listen to me when I say stop, don't do that. I think his own dad was like this.

    Ds sees a child psychologist for his social anxiety. But not sure she's the right person to chat to. I'd feel uncomfortable. Might have to look into other options. DH is so stubborn I don't know what could be done to change this 😞

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    In a firm voice: "I will not allow my children to be hit by anyone. Get help for yourself or get out."

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  13. #8
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    I hear you loud and clear!
    Me and dp hsve different parenting/discipline views and often argue about this. I'm trying to better myself as a mother and learning more about gentle parenting. Of course I'm only human and when I get stressed I do lose it. It's something I'm working on.
    Dp thinks I should be disciplining harder though. When I mention couceling he refuses and just says that the kids need to behave better.

    He's a good dad but doesn't have a lot of patience.

    So not much advice but maybe you could see a councelor without your dp for now? See if he/she will give you some advice?

    Will he read articles, watch youtube videos on gentle parenting? Leave articles lying around where he's likely to read them.
    Display yourself how you want him to treat your son.
    Don't argue in front of him either (I know it's not easy). Talk peacefully when you're both calm, in a mutual place. Maybe with other people around if you need to (not with your kids around though).

    One thing that we argue over a lot is my kids aren't dp's bio kids ( only the 2 year old is) and he often wants me to take his side with discipline, which I find hard, especially when I don't agree on him. He has never been physical with him but he does yell a lot which is also damaging. Again, I'm not saying I'm perfect but at least I can (and trying to) change.

    Anyway, hopefully you can both come to some kind of agreement.. Maybe tell him to back off (nicely) and let you do the disciplining until he can be more calm.

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    Default Need help to repair my family dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueBubbles View Post
    Thank you for the replies. I completely agree with you Vic Park, and this is how I'm trying to direct my thinking. Though not always successfully!! DH just doesn't even seem to acknowledge the needs behind the behaviour at all. He says he doesn't care why, DS needs to learn not to do it (whatever he is doing at the time). I am so worried about how my little boy will turn out. DH just laughed at me this morning when I said a lack of connection makes him more prone to things like drug misuse. He's also started to smack our two year old sometimes, I guess as she becomes older and more of a challenge. I just don't want this. Have threatened to take the kids away from him a couple of times but I actually don't have the means to do so. He just doesn't listen to me when I say stop, don't do that. I think his own dad was like this.

    Ds sees a child psychologist for his social anxiety. But not sure she's the right person to chat to. I'd feel uncomfortable. Might have to look into other options. DH is so stubborn I don't know what could be done to change this 😞
    There are many organisations that can support you leaving him. I can imagine it's the scariest thing in the world. The only other thing more scary would be the regret in 20 years time. @VicPark is right. Zero tolerance. Your little boy will grow up knowing it's ok to hit people when they don't do what you want. Please speak to your GP or relevant organisation and dig deep to find the strength to protect yourself and little ones. Good luck.

  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by amiracle4me View Post
    There are many organisations that can support you leaving him. I can imagine it's the scariest thing in the world. The only other thing more scary would be the regret in 20 years time. @VicPark is right. Zero tolerance. Your little boy will grow up knowing it's ok to hit people when they don't do what you want. Please speak to your GP or relevant organisation and dig deep to find the strength to protect yourself and little ones. Good luck.
    Yes, I do not want to look back and wish I had done more to stop this happening.

    What I struggle with is his retaliation that it's all my fault. That he acts this way because of the problems between us....namely lack of sex and affection. So he's unhappy, doesn't sleep well, and then doesn't cope so well with challenges. He just doesn't deal well with stress full stop. I'd be interested to see if giving him what he wants twice a week would make a difference to his mood. Maybe I should do that, just force myself to, so if it doesn't work after a few weeks he can't use that excuse anymore. Or is that silly? Maybe the key to this is just making him happy by fixing things between us so he's better able to deal with the stress of the kids. If that doesn't help, then yes, an ultimatum....either stop smacking or we have to leave.

    I actually don't want to do that unless nothing else will help as he's a very involved and caring father in every other way. He does loads around the house, takes the kids out, reads to them...everything he should do. It's just the discipline that we clash on. His moods can be terrible, and the kids suffer.

    So, if we can't fix it by helping him feel better, by sorting out our relationship and reducing his stress, then we'll have to go. Sorry if I'm going around in circles here.


 

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