I feel as though my husband and I are
going through a difficult time in our relationship. I am very much into
gentle discipline, kindness, respect, etc. I always have been and I
learned much of it through my schooling and professional experiences in
early childhood education. Husband mostly agrees but says that our
daughter is not learning from our style of disciplining her. I am open
to trying new things but it is just important that we stay close to firm
kindness and respect.
We have a 6-year-old daughter. Hubby came into our lives when she was 3-years-old (almost 4) and he is "daddy" in every way you can imagine. She adores and worships him. Lately, though they are having problems and I truly feel it is in the way he speaks to her. I believe she feels disrespected and attacked. She is very independent but still loves attention and all the love you will offer. I believe that correcting her with firm kindness is the way to go. He will often say what I find to be ridiculous (and often hurtful) statements to her such as "Grow up." or "Get over it." or "I make the money and you will follow my rules. Why don't you just move out and see how far you get." I try to make him understand that she doesn't understand sentiment like that and that she will just take it as him being mean. When he lectures her it comes across to me as offensive and I understand why she immediately becomes defensive and disrespectful.
I would never claim that this does not happen on occasion with me but I choose to handle her behavior (disrespect, talking back, rolling eyes, etc.) by sending her to her room for "chill out" at five-minute intervals and depending on what she is doing. When she is calm I go to speak to her. When a behavior is ongoing or truly out of line, she will lose privileges. Hubby thinks that this is not working and that she needs "real consequences," "punishments," and that our approach is not "severe" enough...That if she doesn't feel sad from the consequence then it has no affect on her. I think he feels this because she will often laugh if you put her in her room or say "I don't care!" However, within minutes she is calm and able to talk normally. If she isn't, I tell her I will come back in a few more minutes. He believes that our daughter "owns me" and "walks all over me" because I am not severe with her. He mistakes my patience and kindness as weakness and being a pushover. He also thinks it's silly when I tell him that I choose my battles because I don't want her to think that she is a terrible kid, which she will often say.
Now, let me say that when this man does it right, he really does it right! Sometimes his parenting blows me away and he handles certain things better than I ever could have. I try to tell him how happy I feel when he behaves in that way and ask him if he sees the difference in her response to him. He agrees that she responds well but that sometimes she needs a more severe reprimanding because she obviously isn't getting it. I try to explain that some kids go through stages like this in their emotional development and it is our job to guide her through and just be consistent. We have to show her through our behavior the way to handle life. I have said to him before that we have to teach her now how to be the woman we want her to become. She will not be truly learning the meaning of it all if she behaves a certain way because she will get in trouble versus behaving a certain way because she respects us and others.
Please help me to figure this out. What do I do? Is there a middle ground? Do you have any suggestion of consequences that would be fitting but kind that could satisfy us both?
Anything helps...I appreciate all of your feedback!!