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"Typical" A Behavior?

Old 12-07-2010, 02:43 PM
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Question "Typical" A Behavior?

Maybe some of the folks here could shed some light on the following situation.

The other night my W was laying into our teenage son about his grades (I'm sure that's typical in all families). She went into her usual rant... "Your father and I are working so hard to pay for this outstanding school that you're going to and you just can't seem to be bothered to even turn in work you've already done! And after all we do for you...!" He responded with, "Why do you always play the VICTIM?!"

When I heard this, I came into the room and sat down. She even got snippy with me when I made any comments.

Later that night she went off on me saying that she just didn't feel that I had her back. I'm her husband and she's my wife so I must always be there to back her up.

I told her that I didn't see it that way. The way I saw it, she went after him and he responded to her. I thought that this was really between the two of them (they're both quite similar).

As I'm sure anyone with kids understands, it's very important to present a 'united front' in dealing with kids. My wife thinks that, because I'm her husband, I must back her up in any confrontation she decides to start.

In the past, I was so terrified of her wrath that I would just stand behind her and back her up on anything she said. I consider some of these times to be low points in my life. My son once yelled at me by saying that I'm just her 'yes man' who does whatever she says. He was right!

I was actually proud of my son for holding his own and standing up for himself. I also think that kids need to practice conflict resolution and boundary setting (usually with their parents) before going out into the world where the stakes are higher.

Maybe my not getting involved in this incident was my way of detaching from her issues. Maybe she was trying to drag me into her drama.

I would really appreciate any insight you could give me.

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:11 PM
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Hello

I agree with you that there are times when yes maybe you should back them up, but sometimes not. I do believe they should be correct in what they are saying and how they approached it. I have at times backed my H up on issues with the kids and at times sat there and at other times left the room. If I have issue with something that may be minor I speak to him about it later when the children are not around. Then we both will come across on a united front later to speak about it with the kids. I am also not in the mood for drama there is enough already.

Sending out hugs
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:03 PM
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let the Truth prevail.

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Old 12-07-2010, 05:12 PM
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SteppingUp, There comes a time when we who live with alcoholics must stand up for what is right, and what is wrong is wrong! This includes standing up for our children when their rights are starting to be stamped on by the alcoholic parent. You wrote "As I'm sure anyone with kids understands, it's very important to present a 'united front' in dealing with kids. My wife thinks that, because I'm her husband, I must back her up in any confrontation she decides to start." I don't agree! You are the only father that can stand up for your teenage son's rights!

You wrote "......Your father and I are working so hard to pay for this outstanding school that you're going to and you just can't seem to be bothered to even turn in work you've already done! And after all we do for you...!" Do you REALLY think your son cares about this and it's NOT his responsbility to care! All kids really care about is LOVE and validation, which has no price tag attached!
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:26 PM
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Hi stepping up,

My AH and I have had many tiffs around the subject of chastising our daughters (when they were younger). My AH generally complained that I did not always back him up, but sometimes I didnt agree with him or his parenting skills, so I didnt and would generally walk away or not say anything. Later I would just say 'I thought you were handling it, so didnt need me to jump in'.

My AH has not been consistant at all in his parenting style or skills and sometimes he has left me feeling aghast at what he has said or was doing that there was no way that I was going to join in. The key phrase here is 'agree to disagree'. You dont have to agree on everything in life and if there is something that you cant agree on, that isnt a deal breaker, then let it go and move on.

I undertand the principals of standing together as adults, one united front, as kids are very clever at playing one parent off against the other. It sounds like your son has found the 'angle' to divide and conquere, so I would suggest that you and your wife work out a compromise to tackle this before it gets out of hand as it sounds like a slippy slope (if you want to stay married that is). I know its easier said than done when dealing with an alcoholic who is not always consistant in their responses, its a tough balancing act.

I would suggest that these family disagreements are extremely common and happening all over the world, our circumstances are just complicating matters. There are some good books at the library about rearing children, especially 'clever' teenagers, so maybe start there and that way, you can open up the lines of discussion with your wife about which way to handle your son and his grades etc.
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