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Is my wife spoiling our son?

Is my wife spoiling our son?

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Is my wife spoiling our son?

Hi everyone. I'm looking for a little advice and just another perspective on my young son's development. Sorry that this is a long post but I thought it best to explain the situation fully and give examples.
 
Anyway, to put it bluntly I feel that my wife is spoiling our son too much and I am worried that he is starting to learn bad habits when it comes to getting his own way and how he deals with being told no.
 
Now before I go on I should say that my wife is an amazing mum and like any mum she puts the welfare of our son above anything else and will do anything for him. But I think that her natural instincts to make him happy and take care of him are also making her pander to him too much and it is a common cause of arguments between us.
 
Our son is coming up to his 3rd birthday so is well into his terrible two's and is having his normal tantrums that a two year old has. He is a lovely boy who is generally always smiling and happy and all my family adore him. But the way his demeanour suddenly changes when we say no to him is worrying me . He will be the happiest child on earth then as soon as he doesn't get his own way he will stamp his feet, scream his head off and cry his eyes out until he gets it. I know that this is probably normal behaviour for a 2 year old but it's becoming more drastic and it's how my wife deals with it that I am at odds with.
 
I'd say 8 times out of 10 she will eventually give into him and give him what he wants and I think she is giving him the wrong message. I think that we need to be consistent and let him cry it out so that he learns that tantrums won't get him anything but my wife sees this as me wanting to punish him and we generally argue about it. She always says we should pick our battles with him and that she knows what she is doing. It's now gotten to the point where i just don't say anything as I just get ignored. But I am worried that our son is learning to be very spoilt and he will find it hard to be socially accepted by his peers.
 
Like any child he is very much influenced by his closest relatives. Our niece on my wife's side who he sees regularly is 6 and is a very difficult child. Her dad hasn't been around since she was born so I understand that it is really hard for my sister in law. But she very rarely disciplines her and she is very aggressive with other kids, hates sharing her toys and pretty much does whatever she wants without many consequences. There is always drama when the family get together. All the other kids happily play together but our niece is always fighting over her toys and it gets very tiresome. She vary rarely sits at the table during tea time and still has major tantrums at 6 years old. My son has already picked up some bad habits from her and I'm worried that he is going down the same path. The last thing I want is for him to become aggressive with other kids and then feel left out or isolated.
 
At this point our son is pretty much dictating most things in our life. I'm not allowed to do his bed time stories cos he will scream for his mum. When he wakes up in the morning he is fine until he realises it's my turn to get up with him. He will then scream saying he wants mummy not daddy and his screaming lasts for about 30 minutes. Last night my wife said she would make tea only for my son to cry and scream saying he wanted me to make tea so that she could watch tv with him. These are just a few examples of his everyday demands.
 
The last time we had a health visitor come to our house we told her all of this. Her first comment was that he was ruling the roost and we needed to address it and not let him get what he wants. She pretty much repeated everything I had been telling my wife for months but as soon as she heard it from the health visitor my wife agreed with it all. It's like she needed to hear it from someone else other than me for it to register with her. Her argument was that our son was too young to be disciplined which the health visitor was having none of. It was actually a huge relief to hear someone echo my thoughts. 
 
But since then nothing has changed and we're still going through the same routines when he has a tantrum. If I'm dealing with him I'll let him cry it out, me and my wife will then argue about me 'punishing him' then she will pick him up, comfort him and a lot of the time eventually give him what he wants. I've tried to explain that even the act of comforting him at these times is making it seem like she is 'saving' him from me the 'bad guy'. She will always make an excuse too and say his is just tired every time he cries.
 
The most recent example of this behaviour was last weekend when we went away with her family for her dad's birthday. There were roughly 7 families together with kids and it was one of their birthdays whilst we were there so we had a little birthday party. Whilst all the kids were singing happy birthday our son was crying and screaming because another kid had a toy he wanted. He spent the whole weekend having tantrums and demanding sweets and ignored everything we asked him to do. Then as we were leaving the resort to go home he saw a toy shop and said he wanted a toy and began to cry after I initially said no. I was ignored as always and my wife bought him a 'prize'. 
 
The weekend before we were at my sister's wedding and after the ceremony my wife spent the whole of the meal time in another room with him and his toys because anytime she tried to bring him to sit with us at the table he kicked and screamed. She had to eat her food on her own in the other room and missed all the speeches.
 
So I just want to know am I being too harsh on him and my wife and do I just need to chill out and accept that this is part of him growing up and he will eventually grow out of it? I just want what is best for him long term even if it means being more strict on him now as the last thing i want is for him to find it difficult interacting with other kids later in life.
 
Any help will be really appreciated.
 
thanks
 
ps. 
The funny thing is that just before I wrote this my wife had to end a call with her brother because my son spent the whole time asking for sweets and started getting more and more upset cos my wife wouldn't get off the phone. Against my wishes my wife ended the call, got dressed out of her pyjamas and has driven to the shop full of cold to get him sweets. She has returned with a huge bag of sweets and a toy for him. 
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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

Hey @thomaswomas 

 

Welcome to the ReachOut community, and thank you so much for sharing. 

 

I just thought I'd say I really understand where you're coming from, and I think if I were in your position, I'd be concerned too. You're right in that, generally speaking, you shouldn't reward a child that is throwing a tantrum as they learn that that behaviour gets them what they want, so they'll keep doing it. So you're concerns are definitely legitimate as also evidenced by the health visitor who echoed your thoughts.  

 

I understand that your wife wants the best for your son, and it definitely sounds like she wants to make him happy, which is great. But, it sounds like you aren't feeling heard or listened to, which seems like one of the main problems here. You and your wife had the child together, and it's important that she listens to you and respects your parenting style as well, especially if health professionals support what you're saying. If I were you I'd bring this up with my wife and just explain to her that you're feeling unheard, that you have had this child together, and that you deserve to take part in how your son is parented. It might be an idea to come to some sort of compromise. It might also be worth engaging in couples counselling to aid this discussion/compromise. 

 

I have tagged some of our most regular users here for their amazing support and insights! 

  @JAKGR8  @sunflowermom @sidneysdad @MumofTwo2020 @Faob_1 @PapaBill @compassion 

 

 

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Parent Community Champion

Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

The Negative Effects Of Spoiling Children 

By Madisyn Taylor

When children are spoiled we do them a great disservice because they are not being allowed to earn and learn.

It might feel that buying gifts and presents constantly will give them fond memories of childhood  however your wife may be interfering with your childs developement. 

One of the most precious gifts you can give your children is the independance they gain when they learn to earn what they covet and become stewards of their own happiness.

When children are not afforded the opportunity to be self reliant and that possessions come at a price they develop a sense of entitlement that blinds them to the necessity of work and the needs of others.

We may spoil our children because giving is pleasurable or to avoid conflict . Yet children who are given acceptance ,love and affection in abundance are often kinder,more charitable and more responsible than those whose parents give in to their every wish or demand .They develop a sense of self that goes beyond possessions and as adults understand that each individual needs to be responsible for building the life they desire. If you are giving into your childs every whim/demand ask yourself, Why ?

This is a summary of the article and it is written probably with children older than 2 in mind , however the habits built now will be very hard to change . 

For what it's worth I agree with you completely and too often there is a good cop bad cop scenario on the home front. That role needs to be constantly reversed other wise the examples you have given in regard to you and your wife are only going to open a big divide in the upbringing of your child for many years .. No reason for you to always be the nay sayer, you just need to get your wife to agree to be the bad cop from time to time . Good luck with that , 

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

Thanks for the replies and taking the time to read my post. I feel better that I'm not on my own here. I actually feel like things are getting worse by the day. I've literally just had an argument with my wife because our son had a big melt down over a piece of toast this morning. It sounds very stupid but I was eating a piece of toast when my son said he wanted it so I offered him half. He said he didn't want that and wanted all of it. I said he could have half or I can make him his own full piece of toast. He immediately got upset and started crying more and more to the point where my wife said I should just pretend to make another piece of toast for myself and then let him have it so that he has got what he wants. She then complained that he is always having tantrums and i said i t has a lot to do with him being spoilt. I tried again to explain that me giving him the impression that he got what he wanted in the end is another wrong message. It turned into a massive row with my wife accusing me of all sorts saying he is too young to be spoilt and that the underlying problem with all of this is that I expect everyone to be like me instead of appreciating that everyone is different. She finished by saying I am not perfect so neither should I expect him to be and that I should read up more about toddlers and their tantrums. Believe me I've been reading none stop about this. 
 
I really don't know where to go with this if 'm honest. I try and and explain myself to her and it gets either ignored or it turns into a row whilst all along our son is becoming more and more spoilt.
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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

See if she will have a look at the abridged version of the negative effects of spoiling children. Meanwhile for your own sanity at home , you may have to reach a compromise with your wife , so that toddler gets given in to by you both and sometimes not. The whole job gets easier in time as your child develops so does his vocabulary and understanding of the world around him . Maybe you just have to laugh it off with your child for a little longer, with baby talk and smiles 

"oh you want daddy's toast, ? oh poor daddy , daddy will be hungry , oh here eat my toast while I am starving huuunnggrryy, you rascal ! if you can turn the tantrum into a laugh you could be on the way to getting more cooperation from your wife in the future and possibly reducing the length of tantrum and even lowering your stress levels. When I went through it I used to joke or semi joke with my friends , if my kid lives to three he has a good chance of a long life. Learning on the job with my toddler nearly killed me some days

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

I agree that a laugh it off approach is a good thing. I do often try this but his reactions have gotten so drastic and happen so quick that once he gets upset I can't reason with him and me even speaking to him anymore makes him get more and more upset. It's like a switch is flicked and there's no going back. If I'm on my own with him then I just have to let him cry it out which works in the end. But this isn't an option when my wife is around. I actually don't remember the last time she did let him cry it out to be honest.

 

I'm starting to realise that this is just as much to do with my wife having zero trust in my instincts as a father or generally having any respect for me as an able parent. I'm even starting to question everything I do with him and feel like I have to run everything by her first.

 

Even this morning she had a problem with me arranging to have my mum babysit him due to her having just found out that she has to go away for a couple of days with work at the same time that I have had a prior arrangement booked for months. It was brought up between my Mum and I over the phone yesterday and she simply offered to help out so that the date clash wasn't an issue. I informed my wife this morning and she immediately said that she wouldn't feel comfortable with him staying out whilst she was away and that I'd just have to cancel my arrangements meaning I'd be letting other people down in the process. But then there have been plenty of times where she has arranged for our son to stay with her parents when it suits her without ever running it by me. But then I trust her and her family so wouldn't expect her to check with me first.

 

I realise I'm going off on a tangent here but everyday I feel less and less like his father and more and more like my wife's pa who is there to simply help out as much as possible but have absolutely no say in how things are done and I really am starting to feel like it's creating a divide between myself and the two of them.

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

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Hi @thomaswomas , 

 

Just catching up on this post, and I can really relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm also the parent of a toddler, and dealing with challenging behaviours is definitely one of the most challenging parts of this (also delightful!) stage. 

 

I'm hearing from you that you don't feel like your wife and yourself are on the same page when it comes to approaches to discipline, is that right? It's a really common experience for parents of young kids, especially if you have different family backgrounds, expectations of acceptable behaviour or parenting styles. 

 

i have found the resources on the raising children website to be really useful for different ideas for behaviour management, and I thought I'd just share this link here in case you find it helpful , it's full of different articles and ideas on toddler behaviour and common challenges. 

 

One thing I've found helpful is to try and discuss general boundaries and parenting decisions with my partner at a time when we're both calm, and child free -it can be really hard to have those discussions in the heat of the moment, with a screaming 2.5 year old!

 

I hear you say that you feel like your wife doesn't trust your parenting decisions, and you feel like her PA - that must be really painful and upsetting as a husband and dad. Do you think talking about these feelings with her could be helpful? 

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

I feel I am entering dangerous waters here, as I don't wish to give offence to any female forum readers, my wife was quite overprotective after she gave birth, this may or may not be a common occurrence . To the point that she wouldn't allow anyone , not even her parents or sister to mind let alone babysit our son, well at that point in time she thought of him as  her son not our son. And like you I didn't get much of a say .  

I probably sound silly here but your wife ,in my opinion is really way off course with bags of lollies for a toddler. We held off sweets and soft drinks until he was nearly 6.

But thats a minor point compared to the shut down thats starting between you two.

She may be feeling a bit frightened and panicky about the whole baby thing and taking it out on those nearest and dearest, ie you. Before you get to breaking point on this you are going to need a lot more help than my ramblings. 

Tell her , promise her what ever , go so far as saying I am doing my best but it's clearly not good enough, but you both need to go together and sit down with a child care person or a marriage counsellor or a psychologist , agree with her if she tells you you are not doing a brilliant job just say it's the best iI can do.Ask her to come with you for some professional advice before too much damage is done between you . Kids are tough no two are alike in what works or doesn't work.  One of my friends went so far as to say, our first child was so easy we had another. Then go on to tell me if the 2nd child had come first they would never have had another as that was the child from hell. Not implying anything here but the 2nd child nearly broke the marriage.For years my wife totally panicked if she thought our son wasn't fitting in or ticking boxes as she wanted or expected. She took it personally as if we were bad parents. No we weren't but there is a ton of peer pressure and high expectations in mothers groups it almost becomes a competition. It's easier as a team and at the moment you are 2 individuals butting heads with too little teamwork. If you are Australia your Gp can get you 5 or 6 free visits to a psychologist under medicare's mental health plan. Told him I was getting depressed so I went , then she went using one of my bookings alone, then we went together Not sure if that is within the rules but we got cooperation from both the doctor and psych. Having someone outside family and friends listen to you both can work wonders . It certainly helped us understand each others point of view better. Just being two people who love each other isn't always enough.Keep trying its better than losing your family

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

As a PS I should have said seek professional advice when you feel you have tried and are getting no where with normal discussions ,not rows, at home. As when all else fails the impartiality of those professionals can really help you both resolve the problems 

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Re: Is my wife spoiling our son?

Hey @sidneysdad , 

 

Just a quick note to let you know I made a small edit to your post - just in case it could be upsetting or triggering for other users. 

 

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, and I think your advice about seeing a psychologist under a mental health plan is a really excellent one Smiley Happy  I think that parenting, especially parenting young kids, can be a really stressful time in a lot of people's relationships, and working with a professional to communicate with each other through these challenges and strengthen that relationship is a really great idea. 

 

Thanks so much again for all the amazing advice and support you give here .