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PLEASE help me save my family

heatherb's picture

Hello all, I was a member of this group about 1 years ago, but havnt been on since. I am in need of serious advice. My SO and myself have recently seperated. We have one child together who is 3 1/2, and I hae two from a previous marriage (10, and 6) We were together for 5 years and over the years as the kids got older and more parenting issues arose we ound ourselves constantly gighting over the kids. He iswhat I consider super strict and I am what he considers too leanient. After a month of being apart we are both havin the "dont know wht you got till its gone" thoughts. I need advice on how to learn to compromise and let go of some of the control with the kids or at least ho to allow him to discipline as he sees fit even if I dont agree. Please help me save my family, this has been awful on my girls. I know that no all families agree on everything so how do we mke it through when we dont? Any and all advice is appreciated and welcomed. ↓

herewegoagain's picture

I am a firm believer that you make lists for adults, just like you do for kids...if your partner is not open to it, then you are in trouble...but it's worth a worked for me years ago, although having major issues now...maybe it's time I do a list again...I know it's coming! hehe

Anyway, write a list of all the things your kids normally do that you find wrong, the same with his...have him look at the list (do NOT write kid's names, etc...) and then IN WRITING try to come up with if it is a huge issue or not...and try to compromise and literally, put that list on your will realize too what your values are, being able to see what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior in your home...good luck!

heatherb's picture

Thanks for the Advice. I made the list and even had parent and child rules on the fridge but I think at that time (about 2 weeks before I moved about)it was too late, at least in his angry mind. I really think we just threw in the towel way too quick and we both realize it now. So I guess my new question is.... with time and counseling... how do I bring my family back together? I do not want to mess up the kids. This has been very hard on my 3 year old, she doesnt understand why mommy and daddy are not both with her at the same time. So how do we work things out living in seperate houses and yet bring the kids back into the mix? How long do we wait to bring the kids back into the mix? Will it hurt them more to wait or not to wait? My kids are my number one priority and I dont want to do anything else to hurt them.

Stick's picture

Heatherb - I would try to get together with your husband and talk. Communicate. And not just about the differences you two have about your own parenting styles, or what your parenting style is...

I want you two to talk to each other about WHY your parenting style is the way it is. And really listen to each other's answers. I am talking about showing your true selves, warts and all!! Smile

I think since you are both feeling like you threw in the towel too quick, then it could be a prime opportunity to really be open to true communication.

For example - you say your husband is too strict. But I think it would be interesting to ask him what he thinks would happen if he wasn't as strict. Or, possibly easier for you to open up the dialogue, with what your fears are about his being "too strict". Are you afraid he is hurting your children's feelings? Stunting their emotional growth with harsh words? Are you feeling attacked, or feel that they believe they are being attacked? What exactly is it that he does that you believe is too strict? Have you had personal experience with having someone be too strict on you, or on a friend ? And ... How do YOU feel when he is being too strict on the children? Do you feel frightened? Sad? Scared?

And for him? What happens if he doesn't come down as hard on the kids when they mess up? Is he afraid they will continue on with bad behavior? Is he afraid they will grow up to be rude or spoiled? Is he concerned that it will reflect on him as a father if his children are being naughty?

I can tell you from my own personal experience that for better or worse, a good deal of our parenting styles come from our own parents and upbringing and family. Not only do we take away the whole.. "Ohhh I want to do that with my kids"... We also come away with "Wow! I will NEVER do that to my kids". And I believe that sentence right there is where the fights start.

I think that one thing you guys could possibly do is also find some really benign issues where you are both willing to bend a little. Where you don't feel as constricted or concerned if things don't go exactly your way. And then, let your husband handle it the way he wants, and another time let you handle it the way you want... and see where things go. It's your fear of the outcome that is having you both draw battle lines.

SD over here was somewhat spoiled and DH is an admitted "guilty daddy". So he wouldn't correct his daughter when I felt she had overstepped, or done something inappropriate. So he would just say, I don't want to make her feel bad. Where I would say, if we don't correct this now, she will grow up believing this is okay and will possibly have less friends, and be hurt when other kids / adults tell her this is wrong. We need to stop this NOW. (So I was the one being a little too strict in DH's opinion.)

By us allowing each other to express our fears for the outcome of our actions, we were able to come up with a compromise.

Best of luck to you. I really hope you can work it out because it sounds like you both love each other and your family.

mmc's picture

i'm more strict than my H. i don't believe in back talking and disrespecting adults. but i'm very open with my kids and SD. my husband is the complete opposite, and when there is a SC involved, it's not good. i have left as much up to my husband as possible when it comes to SD. And when we don't agree, we discuss it AWAY from the kids until we do, although there are times we never do come to an agreement. my husband and i separated (just for a few days) about month ago. since then, he has been trying to support me more (that was the biggest issue). things still arent the greatest but they are getting better. hope this helps

heatherb's picture

Thank you Stick and mmc, yes Stick that is exactly what we have been talking about this past week. I take his discipline as a personal attack almost on me as a parent or maybe the fact that my oldest isnt "his". The more we talk abut these things the more I feel like we might be able to get passed it and come up with a neutral ground. mmc, My biggest mistake has always been "Jay dont you think thats a little harsh" right in front of the kids, so of course stupid me, I have just let them know that they can play us against each other! I want to learn to parent together I know it is the best for all of us so thank you all and please keep the advice coming!

iwishyouwould's picture

I would try family counseling for all and couples counseling for the two of you, if you can. It gives you a place to scream and fight and talk and discuss and all that... but constructively, with someone there to help you stay focused and figure it all out and not go off on unrelated tangents.

heatherb's picture

Yes thank you Spunk, great advice! I think at this point we sort of know what we have to do, now we just have to do it! I guess part of the battle is done! I really appreciate all the comments and help, and thank you for not attacking me, I know how foolish this all sounds... we are just not perfect and I want to do what is best for my whole family.