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cheerfull4u 02-11-2011 06:53 AM

Son does not respect father. He's only 3!
My husband and I have a rocky relationship. I have bipolar and he's, well we will put it this way; an engineer and really good at that. It frustrates me in our relationship, but we are working on it. Really hard!

What I'm afraid about is the relationship he has with our 3 year old son. I'm stay at home, so I know about everything that is going on with him and how to help him and what discipline is effective and what isn't. I'm not super strict, but there is a yes ma'am policy after given a direction or spoken to for a warning. I feel that he understands better if I make sure he knows I'm serious!

His father is a complete pushover. Hates to hear him cry, can't get him to bed, nothing. I know it's because he gives up and feel guilty, and I try my hardest not to step in to "save" him or "Teach" him in the moment and wait until a later time. He's asked for my help and I've told him over again that he needs to discipline and follow through with it. There will not be any more arguments with a three year old...

I want to help him, but if he won't listen to me, what else can I say?

JohnR41 02-17-2011 05:17 PM

Re: Son does not respect father. He's only 3!
[QUOTE=cheerfull4u;4682046] I'm stay at home, so I know about everything that is going on with him and how to help him and what discipline is effective and what isn't.[/QUOTE]

So, if you're good at it and your husband isn't, it seems to me that you should be the one to take care of him. This may be known as a "division of labor". You do what you're good at and let your husband do what he's good at. He's a good engineer etc.. You're good at taking care of your child. What's wrong with that? It seems like a very natural thing.

My mother and father made this agreement when they first got married (before they had any children) and it worked very well. My mother took care of us kids, shopping, budgeting and meal planing. My father worked 10 hours a day at his job. He took care of the house (repairs, painting etc.), the car and yard work (cutting grass and shoveling snow).

writeleft 02-17-2011 05:46 PM

Re: Son does not respect father. He's only 3!
With due respect to John, I have to disagree completely.

Children need both mom and dad to be involved in every fact of their lives. They certainly need to learn to respect their father, but as you know it will take your husband to make him respect his dad.

So many of us do not have a dad at all, so by all means allow this child to have his dad in every way. Not to mention that his dad is his main role model in teaching him what a good man does. When there are two parents, consistency is very important so dad has to come to the party and get involved.

My suggestion would be to make up a chart that everyone can see that lists the rewards and consequences of your child's behavior.Then have both of them learn it, and stick to it like glue. This would give both dad and child the rules of the house, and the enforcement would be done by whoever is there, and be the same.

Make special time for your son and his dad to be together without you. This would also allow you some "me" time, which you both need and deserve every week. Your son and husband will both get so much out of this.

It is better to get this going sooner rather than later, because your husband will only get farther away from your son, and vice versa.

Encourage him, because it will be natural for you son to react with some defiance at first. But once your son learns that daddy and mommy are the boss, the better.

Make sure there is a lot of rewards on the chart for good behavior, and that dad is the one who dishes out the rewards at a certain time each day. The rewards can be very simple, like a gold star to later be traded in for something he wants, after so many stars have been accumulated. Kids love putting stickers on, so let him put his gold stars on for his good behavior. Make "being kind to daddy" one of them. Soon daddy will be the guy to deal with for something important for your son.

I hope some of these ideas help a bit. Good luck to you!

JohnR41 02-19-2011 11:22 AM

Re: Son does not respect father. He's only 3!

You made a lot of good points and I can't say that I disagree with any of it. The problem is I didn't explain all the details of our relationships. My father, although not a big talker, was definitly in my life. I remember doing things with my father (just the two of us) like sitting on the porch together, playing ball, going for a ride. When I was little, he was the one who would put me to bed, tuck me in and give me a kiss good night. It was a very special relationship and he was a good role model.

This is the part that may be difficult to explain: Although I knew that they were both in charge (or both the boss as you might put it), my mother (as they had agreed upon) was in charge of the household, which included disipline. There were four of us kids and we never disrespected our father. We had no reason to disrespect him. Maybe that's the key and maybe that's why it worked out so well. What reason would a 3 year old have to disrespect his father? I suppose that is the all important question.

My mother was good at discipline so we learned to behave. Therefore, when our father came home from work, we didn't need him to discipline us. We knew what the rules were.

So, in general, (keeping in mind that every family may be somewhat different) I would think if one parent is good at something, let that parent be in charge of it.

writeleft 02-19-2011 03:04 PM

Re: Son does not respect father. He's only 3!

Your childhood was much like mine, my mother was also in charge of us kids, the house, all the duties that were part of a similar agreement my folks had too. In fact, my dad was a military man, and as a veteran of three foreign wars (Korea, WWll, and Vietnam) he was often gone for months at a time, leaving my mom with all the duties of running the house. It was quite typical of all of my friends families, and it worked very well.

You bring up a great you say the all important question, "What reason would a three year old have to disrespect his father"? For that, we will have to ask Cheerful to clarify.

The things that struck me as difficulties they are encountering have a lot to do with the fact that dad is suffering with bipolar disorder, and that they have a rocky relationship.

This is not a perfect world, and I think my scenario was not taking that in consideration. I take back my disagreement with your makes a lot of sense. One thing that I do want to stick with is that the job of doing all the parenting is very hard work, and a husband that is involved in the everyday care for his son is greatly appreciated by all moms. We need to know that our men can take care of our children, and are willing to participate. Doing to all alone is a very lonely job.

JohnR41 02-21-2011 03:44 PM

Re: Son does not respect father. He's only 3!

For some strange reason I thought you were male. But you're female. How did I miss that? :-) I just read your profile and am sorry for all that you've been through. One would never know just from reading your helpful posts. You do seem to have a positive outlook and are a credit to these boards. Thanks.
(Oops! This should have been a private message.)

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