My spouse (39M) often creates tension between our son (11M) and me (38F). It seems like he deliberately sabotages our activities or stirs up conflicts to be in better favor with our son. His parenting style lacks consistency, swinging between being authoritarian and trying to be his best buddy, all the while undermining my authority as a parent.
Fortunately, I have managed to develop a strong and close bond with our son despite the challenges. We were separated for some time due to various circumstances, but I put in significant effort to establish a solid connection with him. Unfortunately, my husband has always been critical of my parenting approach, which is more non-authoritarian, focused on setting clear boundaries while respecting our son’s individual needs and personality.
I know my husband loves our son, but he struggles to connect with him. One of the reasons is his insistence on things being done his way and his way alone.
Returning to the main issue, he frequently interrupts us, creating unnecessary arguments or interfering when I’m helping our son study. He asserts that I shouldn’t assist him because he needs to take full responsibility for his studies. However, if our son were to ask him for help, the situation would be entirely different. Nevertheless, our son usually turns to me for assistance because I offer support without judgment or lectures.
There are other instances where my husband blames me if our son fails to grasp a concept or doesn’t achieve top grades. According to him, it’s my fault for not pushing him enough and allowing him to do as he pleases.
Let me provide an example from today: My husband asks, “Did you remind him to start studying? You should tell him to study.” I inquire with our son, “When are we tackling Chemistry?” Our son replies, “In 12 minutes.” To this, my husband interjects, “Why are we doing it together? It’s his exam.” I explain that it’s the end of the school year, our son is tired, and sometimes it’s helpful when someone lends a hand during moments of low motivation. Reluctantly, my husband concedes, saying he understands.
Our son arrives with his notes, and we begin reviewing the material. Suddenly, my husband interrupts again, questioning why I’m explaining things to our son. He insists that our son should be doing it independently. Our son clarifies that I’m helping him review so that I can ask him questions later. I reassure my husband that this is our effective approach, but he abruptly gets up and leaves. Both our son and I are left feeling perplexed and disheartened, losing our momentum.
I attempt to shift the atmosphere, and our son starts being a bit silly, which brings laughter into our study session. Just when things are getting back on track, my husband decides to return. We pause our activities, and our son loses interest in studying. My husband resumes his previous argument, emphasizing that it’s not my responsibility to help our son and that he should be doing it all on his own. Our son defends me, explaining that I was only assisting him because he had missed some classes. Rather than allowing us to continue studying and reviewing, my husband would rather I refrain from helping at all.
It’s important to note that our son usually achieves excellent grades. However, as a highly gifted individual, he tends to become easily discouraged when he realizes he isn’t performing flawlessly.
To summarize, I feel that my husband has established rules he expects us to follow, rules that he himself does not adhere to. Many times, consciously or unconsciously, he creates conflicts or problems that sabotage our efforts to bond and engage in productive activities.
I appreciate any insights you may have regarding this situation.