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Family Relations/Clash of Parenting Styles

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I have been with my husband for the past 9 years, and for the most part he is a very loving and giving man. The problem is that he has a rage issue. He only has one level of anger and that is full blown rage. When it comes to parenting our 5 year old son, he is harsh(in my opinion). He says I am too lax and do not discipline our son. I admit I am a very protective parent and that I overcompensate, because I think he is too harsh. I have 3 other grown/almost grown (16, 21, and 23)children, who have all turned out productive and healthy. I believe in discipline but I believe it should be done in a positive, calm/controlled manner. He "disciplines" when he is angry (which is often because even the smallest infractions set him off). And at that time, he yells,belittles (says he should buy our son a dress when he cries and tells him he's changing his name to girl name or buy him diapers for example) name-calls (tells our son he is a brat, beast, girly-girl etc for examples) and sometimes it escalates and he is physically rough when putting son in room,and/or spanks (which I don't believe in). When I try to intervene, he will physically remove me from the room and yells/rages at me. I am at the breaking point. I do not want my son to be permanently scarred emotionally and to suffer self esteem issues because of this.I don't want to throw away my marriage or hurt my son by ending the relationship with his father (because he really loves him and the majority of the time heis an attentive and great dad,) but this is not healthy for any of us. I feel like his behavior is emotionally/verbally abusive but maybe I am just overprotective and blowing it out of proportion. Do you have any advice or suggestions on how we can change this unhealthy dynamic? Thank you

Answer
Lisa,

If what you say is true then yes this is verbal abuse. It doesn't matter that he is attentive. A child won't remember that if they are being belittled over small foolish things. Imagine what this looks like when he is a teenager and can fight back. This rage issue he has is related to something that he hasn't dealt with in his life. The sooner he can deal with it the sooner you all can get back to living a normal life. You as a mama bear should probably deal with it because he won't want to.

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Dr. David Simonsen

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I am a licensed Marriage & Family therapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology. I work primarily with teens and families on a weekly basis. You will get the straight truth. I will not pull punches.

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I have been working daily with teens and families for the last 10 years.

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AAMFT; AACC; WAMFT

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M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy; Ph.D. Psychology

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