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The Marriage First - Kids Second

My husband and I have been in a battle about priorities with children, we set guidelines and I end up having to be the one to follow up and he usually wears out in the middle of it and 'wants to have some fun with the kids' resulting in him stating I am too tough with the kids. We took his daughter in 5 years ago, split up over her playing him which ended up with him having to verify EVERYTHING I stated with his 9 year old daughter at that time, before it could be valid, meaning I was not valid unless his daughter stated it. We split up and I went back, yes, it was my choice but I thought he made changes and he did but we are at the same point again. His daughter and I have a wonderful relationship now and mainly because we all made changes.

We had a disagreement about the kids again, I was too tough on them, and I told him in hurt and anger that he has the wrong priorities, he needed to put me first and the way he treats me is wrong. Of course he disagreed on that and I told him he needed to start asking others around us, after asking who, I told him he could start with his daughter. He was silent and then angry stating he will take it up with her, making remarks about how her father handles anything. I told him she would tell him the same I do, which he replied to that he would ask her, if she stated he had an issue, he would have to review his actions and make changes, this was a repeat of what he used to do to me before. I asked him if he meant that he would validate her statement but not mine and he replied that was exactly it, since all I wanted to do was to control things and if she would see his actions as an issue, then there would be something to work on.

Needless to say, that felt like a knife in my back and I told him that he needed to handle the children as he felt correct. I called his daughter and told her about the conversation and told her that if she did not want to be confronted, I did not expect her to admit making that statement before, which is what she did. Everyone fears my husband's wrath and since it was me that opened my mouth, I did not want her to have to reap the consequences.

My question is, do we put our child's statement before our spouse? Is following up on responsibilities and consequences with children a control issue?


Re: My question is, do we put our child's statement before our spouse?

No. I regularly tell parents not to believe anything their kids say (as in 0%), because strong-willed, out-of-control kids rarely speak the truth. They routinely try to convince the father that the mother is mistreating them …try to convince the mother that the father is unfair …try convince the parents that the teachers are cruel and unjust …try to convince the teachers that the parents are abusive …and so on.

The marriage is the foundation of the entire family, and if the foundation is weak, the entire structure fails.

Analogy: Think of the marriage as the foundation of a house, and the children as the roof. If the foundation is cracked and sagging, it’s not long before the roof begins to buckle. Eventually, it’s not even safe to be in the house at all due to the impending collapse of the roof, which could result in and death or injury. Because the foundation problems were not repaired at the first sign of trouble, the entire house must be demolished for safety reasons.

Similarly, if the marital-foundation is weak and goes without repair for several months (i.e., parents choosing not to be united an bonded on most issues), the family-unit will fail, and family members will have to find a safer environment to live in.

Re: Is following up on responsibilities and consequences with children a control issue?

No. It’s called assertive parenting (as opposed to passive, over-indulgent, or authoritarian parenting).

Mark Hutten,M.A.


==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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