I am trying to incorporate some of the new parenting skills but my husband undermines me. He is not on board at all. I find it very frustrating and I get really irritated with him. What should I do?
Thank you so much for your question.
I get this a lot from Moms. Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Don’t do anything:
There is nothing more annoying to a man than to have his wife criticize or a nag him. I think we all have to learn that the hard way. One of the benefits of the skills that I teach is to model respectful communication. So your children, and even your husband, can learn the skills by just watching what you do.
Also, if you criticize your husband’s parenting skills in front of your kids, that can be misconstrued as disrespect. Kids can pick up on this as well. Unless there is outright physical and verbal abuse, you need to support your husband’s decisions and parenting, even if you might not agree with his tactics. Kids feel more secure when their parents act as a team.
2. Have important conversations in private:
If your child is having an issue and you have an idea on how to handle it, speak to your spouse in private about the matter. Try not to be pushy and ask for his opinion:
“I know we have been having this issue with Mikey and not doing his homework. Do you think we should try talking to his teacher? Do you think we should help him more with his homework? I heard that if we praise him specifically for the work that he does well that can help him. Does that sound right to you?”
It might sound phony, but it is more respectful. I have learned that my husband is really receptive to my ideas if I let him have his say, sincerely, without an ulterior motive and agenda. I have also discovered that we need a guy’s opinion. They love their kids too and have some great ideas on what works. We need to just really listen to what they have to say.
3. If all else fails, talk about yourself:
If you find that you are disagreeing a lot about parenting, you again want to have your discussions when you are both calm, in private (as I mentioned above) do not accuse and use “I” statements: “When roughhousing starts before bedtime I get really angry. Can we talk about this?”
“I am kind of frustrated about what happened today. I told Sam that he could not go to Sara’s house. He told me that you said he could go. Can we discuss this so we can get on the same page?”
“I am not sure if you will agree with me, but I feel that sometimes Mikey’s feelings get hurt when you mention that he is not great at sports. Do you sense that too?”
When you start your conversation with neutral language, and “I” statements, you have a better chance of avoiding arguments and coming up with positive solutions on how to work together.
I hope this helps!
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.