What do I do about my husbands lack of positive attention around our son?

Kelly - posted on 07/18/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )




My son is 2 1/2 years old. He barely talks and is now seeing a developmental specialist and a speech therapist. He is extreme smart in certain areas like comprehension but he does get frustrated easily. He listens to me, well most of the time. He is learning sign language. He is interested in everything around him and is very active. He doesn't care for TV but loves being outside, playing with toys, and learning how things work.

The problem that I have is how my husband deals with our son. My husband barely spends time with our son, well from my point of view. I know that he loves him dearly but my husband has little to no patience. For instance, tonight after dinner, our son was helping clean up the table by throwing away napkins. Because our son is extremely curious about everything, he wanted to look in the trash can for an intended period of time. While I'm not particular fond of our son staring into the trash can, I don't get upset about it; he just has to wash his hands afterward. My husband, on the other hand, yelled at him from the couch to get out of the trash and when our son didn't listen, he was put in time-out. Our son cannot sit still for more than about 30 seconds to a minute but my husband expects him to sit there for 3 minutes. Of course, our son wanted to play around on the chair when my husband wasn't paying attention to him and my husband spanked him pretty hard for not sitting still. This breaks my heart because our son was so upset he was hyper-ventilating. This happens pretty much every night when my husband gets home for one reason or another.

I'm frustrated because our son has started hitting again and when he does this my husband spanks him for that. I've told my husband that spanking isn't doing anything but teaching our son to hit when he's frustrated. My husband screams back at me that nothing else I do works so basically who cares.

The other problem that I have with this is that this is really the only attention our son is getting from my husband especially at night. My husband barely plays with our son because "it hurts too much to sit on the floor" (he has arthritis developing in his knees and ankles) or "he just wants you (meaning me)." I know our son is a "momma" boy because I have been a stay at home mom since he was born but I don't know how to get my husband to be more active with him in a positive way. On rare occasions, I can get my husband to do things with him but it lasts about for about 5 minutes. Our son either gets distracted by something else or he gets in trouble for doing something that is completely normal at his age.

I want my husband to help more with our son instead of yelling and spanking all the time. I know I can go through the whole day without having to yell, spank, or put our son in timeout but as soon as my husband gets home, he's in trouble at least twice within an hour. I've told my husband that parenting from a couch does not work and that he should try getting up and redirecting our son. It seems useless though. I can hardly get my husband to help with much of anything with our son. I'm the one that changes diapers (I'm working on potty training), feeds our son, gives him baths, plays with him, reads him books, counts his fingers, etc. Maybe, I'm being a little bit harsh but really this is how I feel.

Am I asking too much of my husband? I know that there is a lot of controversy about spanking but I really do not think that our son needs a spanking for everything that he does "wrong."

I've mentioned going to parenting classes or that my husband should read about positive reinforcement to combat negative behavior but this becomes an argument. I feel like I'm stuck watching my son develop a negative relationship with his father. I know my husband has issues with his anger and frustration when it comes to our son. He claims that because he is 2, our son should know how to behave. I claim that he is 2 and needs to be taught how to act and behave and what my husband is doing isn't making things any better. I know our son is acting out when my husband is home to get his attention even if it is negative attention.

I really need advice in this situation. I understand that some people may tell me to leave my husband or call the police but I don't see how that would help. I think it would make the situation worse because my husband would become more angry.


Michelle - posted on 07/18/2012




Sit down with your husband and talk to him about positive bonding time for him and his son. Tell your little one just wants daddies attention and will take whatever he can get good or bad. I went through this with my daughter and her father. So I planned daddy daughter time at our house, my husband is into computers and so we bought our daughter a computer game to which I made him put it on his computer and now 2-3 times a week he sits and plays this game with her for about 15 mins she is happy and the fighting is almost completely gone. I also make him drive her to her dance class, or if we go to the zoo it is his job to push the stroller or hold her leash, my daughter is a runner so yes I use a leash. Since we have started this about a year ago my daughter and her father have a much better relationship. by the way my daughter is 3.

Tina - posted on 07/18/2012




My partner can be like that. He lost his job recently to illness though. He's not as bad with the spanking but there's been a couple of times where he's told our son off where it has been uncalled for. I try to talk calmly to him about it afterwards. He also gets defensive. I've told him most of the time when he's been at work, he's been pretty good. He barely sooks or anything until dad gets home.

It's not always easy to do but you do need to discuss concerns and tell him you don't like it when he gets angry with you and your son. He's just a curious young boy and unless he's doing something dangerous or there's something that he really can't touch that you can't put out of reach than don't worry too much. My son is 2 as well and being the eldest of 10 kids it's normal behaviour from a 2 year old. They get bored and are learning about the world. I know the feeling I do pretty well everything 2 and though it's been a little better with partner at home as far as playing with our son a little more the help hasn't gotten much better. Maybe you can ask to compromise. That if he really feels spanking is ok then only when it's necessary as in if he is playing with a power point or something that could be more damaging but then only a tap on the hand. But if he's not going to be positive and play with him more then he needs to leave the disipline up to you since you're the one that spends the most time and effort with him and makes every other decision. I feel your frustration that's for sure.


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