I am having a disagreement with my husband concerning how to handle a situation with our 12-year old daughter. Yesterday, our daughter had an accident soiling in her pants at her softball game – or more accurately, on the bus ride coming home from the game. Her explanation was that she didn’t want to use the girls’ room at the game because there were no doors on the individual toilet stalls. Consequently, she just tried to hold it in and disaster struck on the bus ride home. My husband, who picked her up at school afterwards, was absolutely livid when he found out what she had done. He not only yelled at her pretty harshly and made her scrub out her messy panties when they got home, but he made her sit on the toilet to “think about what she’d done.” I got home to find our daughter crying her eyes out sitting on the toilet where she had apparently been for over half an hour. He also grounded her for 2 weeks.
In discussing the situation with my husband, he says that he doesn’t care what the girls’ room at the game was like. He says she still should have used it if she needed to. He says that a lack of stall doors in the bathroom is no excuse for a 12 year old to be messing in her panties. I don’t necessarily disagree with that – obviously, she really should have used the girls’ room at the game – but I don’t think he fully comprehends what it’s like to be an adolescent girl. Maybe boys’ bathrooms are like that sometimes, and to boys it isn’t a big deal, (he says he used bathrooms like that all through school) but it’s pretty rare to find a girls’ room without doors on the stalls. His point that everyone needs to use the toilet and it shouldn’t be that big a big deal if the stalls don’t have doors may be fine for an adult, but a 12 year old girl in a desperate situation just doesn’t think quite that logically. He’s obviously never been an adolescent girl and he has no clue how self-conscious they can be. I’m certainly not saying that our daughter did the right thing – obviously she should have gone in the toilet and not in her pants. But I’m just saying that I can certainly appreciate the situation she was in at the time and I can understand why she didn’t want to use the toilet – especially for #2 – when there wasn’t much privacy. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I was facing that same dilemma at her age. I wouldn’t even be entirely comfortable with it now at my age. I can certainly say that it would have indeed been a big deal for me at her age to be having a bowel movement in open stall.
I guess the big issue now is the 2 weeks grounding that my husband imposed on her. He says that she needs to be taught a lesson that just because she doesn’t like a particular bathroom, it’s no excuse to go in her panties instead. But once again, I don’t think he comprehends the situation. It’s not like our daughter just decided to go in her pants. She no doubt tried to hold it in as best she could, but unfortunately on the bus ride home it was just too long to wait. And if you could have seen the look of humiliation on my poor daughter’s face as she sat there crying on the toilet, you’d understand that she’s already learned a very humiliating lesson and she’s never going to risk this happening again. Suffice to say, I have no doubt she’ll use whatever toilet is available next time rather than risk having another accident.
How do I convince my husband that grounding her on top of all this is just completely unnecessary and it actually borders on being cruel? He really is a wonderful father, but again, I just don’t think he understands what it’s like to be a 12 year girl and face the prospect of going to the bathroom – especially #2 – without much privacy.
your husband is being abusive.....how do you convince an abuser to stop being abusive? I don't know......I would start by contacting a lawyer
his behavior is unacceptable.......
and why are you allowing it? he's controlling you too......
are you sure you want to be married to a man like this?
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I agree with Rosequartz......he way overreacted I'm sure she was sufficiently humiliated that she had an "accident" on the bus without her father acting like she'd committed a crime! I would have thought he'd feel terribly bad for her and rush her home to clean up so she wouldn't get a UTI. I understand not wanting to use an open stall, I wouldn't either, especially at that age. My sons never liked using public restrooms for #2 and it's even worse when you're around a bunch of peers. Don't know what his problem is, but he needs to get a grip! Punishment is unwarranted, she's not a pet! (I don't believe in punishing animals who have an accident either)
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lenvegas (05-08-2013),rosequartz (05-08-2013)
As a father to two sons and a daughter, I can say without doubt if this had been me I would not have reacted as he did.
The only discipline needed here is with your husband and his abusive behavior toward your daughter.
I would have had the utmost sympathy for my daughter and her predicament, and would have played down the situation as much as possible. To make a big deal out of it says more about your husband (in my opinion) than it does your daughter.
He appears insecure and a bully and is more concerned about "what others might think" than in the care and consideration for your daughter. He is likely embarrassed and concerned that this might reflect negatively on HIM and perhaps his parenting skills.
I really dont know how you should handle this with your husband but maybe getting him some help should be a priority, he needs it.
Have you communicated how you would have felt in the same situation? I really cannot see how you can call him a wonderful father when he is capable of doing this.
Frankly, I am saddened, angered and disgusted by his reaction and subsequent actions.
if this appears harsh, well, its meant to.
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lenvegas (05-08-2013),rosequartz (05-08-2013)
I agree with the others. Apart from his abuse, this is not even a discipline issue. Poor little girl. I would never let somebody, even her father treat my daughter like this. Stick up for her!! Make him back down off the totally ridiculous "punishment". This is NOT the action of a "wonderful" father. Sera
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lenvegas (05-08-2013),rosequartz (05-08-2013)
Hi, your question is how to convince your husband to lift the grounding, well. tell him the event itself traumatized her enough to not warrant any more punishment because after all it is a once in a lifetime type thing. Also, tell him to apologize to her for being so hard and take her out for pizza or ice cream and make amends. Tell your husband he is creating emotional scars that could last a lifetime by further humiliating her beyond the actual event.
I agree with the others as this behaviour is abuse. My only additional comment is about your husband's behaviour to your daughter. Just call it a hunch, but has your daughter ever been sexually abused? She is just entering her teen years, but unfortunately, many girls (by the age of 12) have been abused in some fashion. Your husband is treating your daughter like a possession, as something he has ownership over. She is a living, breathing separate entity, a person who has thoughts, feelings, and actions of her own. Your husband's behaviour has crossed a line and his actions are going to get worse. For your daughter's sake, please protect her. At the age of 12, she cannot protect herself from the adults who would do her harm.
Wow, he may have permenatly harmed his relationship with her.
I doubt I would ever have felt the same about my father had that happened to me.
I hope you were able to comfort her. They are so fraigile emotionally at that time.
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Hi, I was the same way when I was her age, I wouldn't use the stalls without doors. But on the other hand, having to go in my pants at that age would have been devestating. Then have my father act like that on top of everything else? Nope, wouldn't forget that ever.
I recommend a counselor at this point in case there's been some damage there. Wouldn't hurt for hubby to go if you can get him.
I don't know what you're gonna do about that situation. Its a mess. Cathy
It sounds like your husband was embarrassed and sure didn't know how to handle it. He was totally wrong. If he can see it now, and actually apologized and talked one on one with his daughter about this, that would help. I agree it's abuse. This could and probably will effect your daughter the rest of her life. Get some professional help for her. She so deserves it!