Didn’t know if I should post this here or r/relationships. But it’s focused on parenting/discipline so I came here.
Basically, my SO’s idea of parenting and discipline is different than my own. I don’t agree with physical punishment. He has gotten angry at me before for defending her and “getting in the way” of him “disciplining” our 3 year old daughter. He thinks all she needs is “one really good spanking” so that she stops misbehaving. Because then she’ll be scared of getting spanked. I disagree. She is only 3 and I feel like that’s just how kids are… They make messes, they test you, etc. I don’t think she is TRYING to be bad. I also don’t think there is any reason to hurt a child, definitely not to teach a lesson.
My SO also pulls our daughter’s ear. He does it. All. The. Time. He does is hard. Every time I see him do it I tell him to stop because I know it hurts her. He doesn’t listen to me and he doesn’t believe it hurts her. He just did this tonight because my daughter dropped some peas on the floor and he wanted her to clean it up. She wasn’t listening even though we asked her multiple times, so he got angry and jerked her off the couch (she was next to me, I was breastfeeding my 2 month old son, and because he pulled her away like that her leg hit the baby’s head). I got mad at him that he pulled her like that and that her leg hit the baby and he just said that it was her fault for acting like this. Then he pushed her on the ground and tried to force her to pick up the food. When she wouldn’t, he pulled her ear and put her in time out.
He also said that it was MY fault because I gave her food. He thinks ahe should not be allowed to have her own plates of food. I think this is stupid. She is not a baby, she is big enough to feed herself. And if she makes messes, so what? That’s what kids do. I don’t care about messes as much as he does. It’s not that difficult to clean. Last time this happened where he got angry at her for refusing to clean her mess, she was crying really bad because he put her in time out and I was trying to talk to her calmly so she would calm down. And he accused me of “rescuing her.” When she did calm down (after SO went upstairs) I calmly talked to her, held her hand and showed her how to clean up. Then her and I cleaned up together. Easy. But he just gets angry and thinks she should be punished immediately if she doesn’t listen.
So, he calls me a bad mother. Specifically, he calls me the “weak parent” because I don’t discipline my daughter. I don’t hit/spank her. I don’t even really put her in time out because I don’t think she is old enough to understand time out. I don’t think it works for her. My SO also says that because of the way I “rescue her” when he tries to discipline her, and the fact that I don’t, she is going to be a bad kid when she grows up. He says she is going to turn out just like his brother (his brother is a criminal, currently in jail because he does whatever he wants, because he thinks he can get away with everything since their mom always let him get away with anything). I disagree obviously. I don’t think I let her get away with things. I just don’t spank her or anything like he does. I usually just try to tell her that she is not supposed to do a certain thing and explain why.
What happened tonight was not even the worst thing my SO has done. There was a day we went to the mall. I guess my daughter started getting cranky because she started throwing a fit so we decided to leave. SO was carrying her to the car and she hit him in the face (he gets irrationally angry when our daughter hits him in the face because he says she needs to respect her parents…) so he was angry. As we were driving home, my daughter would not stop screaming and crying. Just throwing her fit. Of course I was in the back seat with her just trying to calm her down. He couldn’t handle it. He pulled over into some parking lot and took her out of her seat and he said he was going to spank her and that I better not interfere. The first time he smacked her butt I could tell it was WAY too hard so I put my hand over her butt and he accidentally hit my hand. It was really hard. It hurt my hand, my hand was red and it stung for like half an hour I think. After that he just told me not to ask him for help with her anymore (his go-to line when he is angry at me for interfering with his discipline).
There is probably more to this that I am forgetting but I think that sums up most of the issue. Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m the one who takes care of the kids 24/7. He barely spends time helping with them because he works all night and sleeps most of the day. So he really has no idea (in my opinion) what works for taking care of them. He isn’t around enough to know. And I should add that my SO’s mother was very abusive. So I’m sure to him what he’s doing is nothing. I just don’t know how to make him understand that what he is doing is not discipline, especially not for a toddler.