Trying to get through to my husband about parenting


#1

Frankly, I got into a bit of a tiff with my husband last night.

We're attending RCIA (or will be as soon as it starts in a week or so), this is our 4th attempt, but he really only goes because I do. And I'm willing to view that positively as a start. He isn't actively against my efforts, so that's better than many spouses face.

But, I kind of blew my top a little. He was waxing poetic about his "glory days" of being a teenager and young twenty-something plus his "experimenting" with drugs/alcohol. He told me I don't understand because I don't know what it's like to be young.

I'll qualify that statement by saying that I met my husband when I was in my late teens and he was in his late 20's. Our oldest son was unexpected, and was the driving force behind my efforts to shape us up and into a family. There were many years I had to be the adult for both of us.

He's changed a lot over the years, and now has a highly respected position and generally acts like a sane family man.

But, I get worried when I hear him lovingly and longingly looking back at a past that, really, by all accounts, he should be ashamed of rather than proud of...

I said he needs to be genuinely sorry for what he's done and left undone and what he's heaped on others (including the kids and me) as a result. If he's not genuinely sorry, then he won't be able to guide the kids when they come to the point in life where they will have to fight off "experimentation", self-indulgence and indolence.

He said "well, kids are going to experiment" (meaning drugs and sex)... And I flipped. I told him he was wrong-headed, and of no use to anyone with that kind of attitude. I have no intention of locking my children down and blinding them from reality, but I sure as hell don't have a "laid back attitude" where "kids will be kids" = "kids will fall into drug abuse and unhealthy sexual behavior"...

He already insists on exposing our 7 year old to R rated movies and mature games with a thick soup of gratuitous violence. Any attempt to say NO gets jeers from him and from the son he's trying to interest in the material.

He really doesn't see drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or promiscuity as an issue. His parents allowed him to, in essence, do whatever his selfish heart desired, and were guilty of the same (definitely the drugs).

I'm incredibly frustrated. Because he's told me that he doesn't have to feel bad about the past.

Not only that, his "mistakes" all the way up to the age of 29, he excuses as "I was young"... whereas, while I was 10 years his junior, I was never "young" and therefore, can't be given the sort of leeway he gives himself. :mad:

When we tried to go through marriage prep at our last church, he tried to pass of his prior failed marriage and additional illegitimate children as "I was young" because he was 19 or 20 at the time.

The priest said, rather flatly, that he was NOT young.

I'm in agreement. 19-20 may be a YOUNG ADULT, but it's still an ADULT. I've had to take responsibility for my own actions during that time frame and have been severely punished by life for my "youthful indescretion"... because I was and am an ADULT.

Saying you were young or immature isn't a get-out-of-jail-free-card to me.

But then, according to my husband, I was never "young".... :rolleyes:


#2

My first bit of advice is to calm down. I understand that his comments have probably made you feel very unwanted and sense an anxiety over potential future problems. Blowing up at anyone never solves the problems - it only adds to them. It's hard to take back words once they've been spoken. I'm not condoning his "youthful abberations" but if he has shown a maturing process over the years, it would seem as if he's trying. Not everyone has a very solid moral foundation and it takes years to catch up sometimes.

Most people getting married do not have a real hold on the reason two people marry. It's not because you have a physical attraction to someone; it's not for security; it's not because the two of you want children. It's to find someone that will help you during your life to attain heaven. I know that I certainly didn't have the proper attitude when I was married years ago (36).

Final thoughts - if you're not saying a daily rosary, start now. If every day is too much then start with a couple of days a week - just don't quit if it starts getting hard to fit it in! The devil doesn't want us praying to Our Lady. After all she's the one that will crush his head! Ask Her to help you and your husband sanctify each other through your marriage. God bless you both.


#3

[quote="greenmoira, post:2, topic:254525"]
My first bit of advice is to calm down. I understand that his comments have probably made you feel very unwanted and sense an anxiety over potential future problems. Blowing up at anyone never solves the problems - it only adds to them. It's hard to take back words once they've been spoken. I'm not condoning his "youthful abberations" but if he has shown a maturing process over the years, it would seem as if he's trying. Not everyone has a very solid moral foundation and it takes years to catch up sometimes.

Most people getting married do not have a real hold on the reason two people marry. It's not because you have a physical attraction to someone; it's not for security; it's not because the two of you want children. It's to find someone that will help you during your life to attain heaven. I know that I certainly didn't have the proper attitude when I was married years ago (36).

Final thoughts - if you're not saying a daily rosary, start now. If every day is too much then start with a couple of days a week - just don't quit if it starts getting hard to fit it in! The devil doesn't want us praying to Our Lady. After all she's the one that will crush his head! Ask Her to help you and your husband sanctify each other through your marriage. God bless you both.

[/quote]

We say our prayers and rosary nightly. And I think it is a good thing to do, especially with regard to calming down. :o

I didn't say anything cruel, as far as that goes. But I did say he's wrong to pine for things that weren't good or healthy.

It's not really a "future" problem, though, because he's definitely pushing my middle son to like media that he's just, really, not able to view and judge appropriately. And that's where it begins. I don't want ideas of violence, uncaring sex, and drug abuse to take root in my son's mind. Especially, with a father who doesn't see these things as the vices they are.

I think he's made great strides, and I don't take that lightly. Still, it hurts a lot to think my husband still holds onto these negative things and views them in any kind of positive light.

Also, it hurts to be told I was never "young"....especially since I very willingly and with love and a lot of intestinal fortitude... gave up being "young" to accept full responsibility for our family.

That really stung. :(

I do agree that marriage is more a battle for the souls involved than some sort of wonderous romance straight from a novel or the meeting of two like minds. As far as that goes, I think God's given us a lot of room and helped us every step and turn.

I guess it's just another hurdle, but I am troubled by the lack of moral clarity with regard to our middle son. My oldest is very... well, he's just a special kid. He's not easily swayed and has a very sturdy moral compass. I'd like to take credit for it, but I only see God's work on that front. It's harder for my middle guy because he's in the middle. And I hope I can lessen that burden and help him develop some healthier interests.


#4

I wish I could give you hope about your issue. I cannot. My husband is essentially the same, and when I asked him the other night if we had a daughter, would he put her on ABC, and he said, "I probably would." :eek: When we married, we were both lapsed Catholics, I have come back to the Church and he has not. He is closer to an atheist now although he fakes it for our sons' sake, has gone to church but has provided no spiritual leadership or input at all.

It is a very different world for our kids - there used to be 2 STDS, now there are over 30, one of which is fatal. Sex outside of marriage is detrimental in so many ways...I can't see how a thinking person could believe it is no big deal.

Is your husband Catholic?


#5

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:4, topic:254525"]
I wish I could give you hope about your issue. I cannot. My husband is essentially the same, and when I asked him the other night if we had a daughter, would he put her on ABC, and he said, "I probably would." :eek: When we married, we were both lapsed Catholics, I have come back to the Church and he has not. He is closer to an atheist now although he fakes it for our sons' sake, has gone to church but has provided no spiritual leadership or input at all.

It is a very different world for our kids - there used to be 2 STDS, now there are over 30, one of which is fatal. Sex outside of marriage is detrimental in so many ways...I can't see how a thinking person could believe it is no big deal.

Is your husband Catholic?

[/quote]

Nope. I was raised Lutheran, myself, but I'm trying to make this family Catholic. I'm sick to death of what has been caused in previous generations, and I want to make life better for future ones...

He's willing to go to RCIA and go through the motions of going to mass, praying with the kids, etc. But, he's a tough sell on really believing or caring about any of it. And he's definitely agnostic.

Yes the STDS, the horrible super deadly and addictive drugs, etc. It's even more serious now than it ever was. Just "experimenting" with meth, for example, would be the end of our children as we know them. We have to be Zero tolerance and avoid setting up that interest from the start.

I want them to have good families, healthy lives, and maybe even rewarding work/career along with it. Premarital sex, drug abuse, and a taste for violence would kill that or at least make the path harder than it needs to be. :(

Edit to add, I totally understand from some of your other posts. Yes. They sound a LOT alike.


#6

There are no people who "experiment" with meth. The first time, you are addicted. It's that bad. I tell my sons NEVER to try anything like that, I pray they are never tempted.

My husband saw how shattered our son was, after his girlfriend dumped him (they'd had sex). We both worried about STDs and pregnancy (although she was supposedly on the pill). Yet he still tells me he would certainly consider putting a girl on the pill!!! :eek:

There is a denial of the facts - he believes that I am over-reacting so he can absolutely disregard anything I tell him, and go on thinking that there is nothing wrong with our sons following in their father's footsteps. (Of course, part of it is that he was likely nowhere near as promiscuous as I was, so he has less to regret. I also experienced my sister's abortion, and I know that girls can kill their babies without the boy ever even knowing about it. Sex outside of marriage is nothing to toy with.)

As for the violent video games...that's a tough one. See if you can get a game that is slightly less violent - there's a fun online game called "Battlefield Heroes" that both my sons play, and it's cartoonish instead of graphic. Your son's friends will likely be playing those games with their dads, so it's not like you can totally avoid it. I have never liked first person shooting games myself but some of the military ones can at least give a sense of what our soldiers go through in war situations. The more troubling thing is that your husband is blowing you off about all of your concerns. The 2 of you are supposed to be a team in these things, and he should not dismiss your concerns for your son. Tell him you are going to start taking your son to ballet classes and see what he says! Then say, "Well too bad, it's not going to hurt him, you are paranoid." LOL

I will add your family to my prayers. I don't say a rosary every day, but I am going to make it a habit while I exercise, might make the exercise more pleasant. And I will include you in my intentions.

p.s. Good for you for converting!!! :thumbsup:


#7

"I was young, so that makes it okay." That attitude is easily one of my biggest pet peeves. I hear it from family and friends all the time, especially the ones who are in their mid to late 30's and still consider themselves young (giving them a built-in justification for any stupid, immature behavior). I personally don't believe there's any set age that makes being an idiot okay. A big part of the reason we live through the young, immature times is to give us the wisdom we need to help our kids avoid the mistakes we made.

I did a lot of dumb things when I was young, but I certainly wouldn't tell my kids about them or hold them us as an example for them to emulate. There were times I found myself in a parking lot or my parents' driveway, sitting behind the wheel of my car not knowing how I'd gotten there from wherever I'd been before. That doesn't mean I approve of that sort of behavior in my children, and it certainly doesn't prohibit me from telling them not to do the same.

Like you, I had to grow up fast at an early age. I got married and took on full responsibility for a family without having a good idea what that really meant. I had to give up the fun, carefree, partying behaviors all my peers were still enjoying and in a very short span of time turn myself into a dad, husband and breadwinner all at once (I have some friends and family who still resent me for that). That being said, I still gave myself ample opportunities to be young and stupid, and I'm glad that I put that behind me when I did.

Your husband needs to realize that he needs to be setting a positive example for his kids to follow. Encouraging bad behaviors and wanting to be their friend instead of their father isn't doing them any favors.


#8

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:6, topic:254525"]
There are no people who "experiment" with meth. The first time, you are addicted. It's that bad. I tell my sons NEVER to try anything like that, I pray they are never tempted.

My husband saw how shattered our son was, after his girlfriend dumped him (they'd had sex). We both worried about STDs and pregnancy (although she was supposedly on the pill). Yet he still tells me he would certainly consider putting a girl on the pill!!! :eek:

There is a denial of the facts - he believes that I am over-reacting so he can absolutely disregard anything I tell him, and go on thinking that there is nothing wrong with our sons following in their father's footsteps. (Of course, part of it is that he was likely nowhere near as promiscuous as I was, so he has less to regret. I also experienced my sister's abortion, and I know that girls can kill their babies without the boy ever even knowing about it. Sex outside of marriage is nothing to toy with.)

As for the violent video games...that's a tough one. See if you can get a game that is slightly less violent - there's a fun online game called "Battlefield Heroes" that both my sons play, and it's cartoonish instead of graphic. Your son's friends will likely be playing those games with their dads, so it's not like you can totally avoid it. I have never liked first person shooting games myself but some of the military ones can at least give a sense of what our soldiers go through in war situations. The more troubling thing is that your husband is blowing you off about all of your concerns. The 2 of you are supposed to be a team in these things, and he should not dismiss your concerns for your son. Tell him you are going to start taking your son to ballet classes and see what he says! Then say, "Well too bad, it's not going to hurt him, you are paranoid." LOL

I will add your family to my prayers. I don't say a rosary every day, but I am going to make it a habit while I exercise, might make the exercise more pleasant. And I will include you in my intentions.

p.s. Good for you for converting!!! :thumbsup:

[/quote]

I wouldn't put a girl on the pill just because of the side effects I've personally had from them. It's miserable to have your hormones disrupted just because someone else thinks you "have to be on something" because you are "the age for it" (whether you are doing anything to warrant it or not). I was forced onto the pill as soon as I had a cycle. It's a horrible thing to do to a person under your control. And you're right... girls can abort without anyone knowing--even their parents. Not only does this kill a baby, it ruins a girl's innocence, and threatens her own life/health/future well-being. Unthinking and uncaring sex is simply unacceptable... or should be... to any thinking, feeling person because of the damage it can do. "Experimenting" with things like this is like "experimenting" with a revolver during a game of Russian Roulette.

We've made some headway on the video games. He's switched the kids out for better ones, and seems okay with lessening the amount of violence the kids are exposed to... so :thumbsup: It's definitely helped calm my middle son. So I appreciate it.. quite a bit.


#9

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:7, topic:254525"]
"I was young, so that makes it okay." That attitude is easily one of my biggest pet peeves. I hear it from family and friends all the time, especially the ones who are in their mid to late 30's and still consider themselves young (giving them a built-in justification for any stupid, immature behavior). I personally don't believe there's any set age that makes being an idiot okay. A big part of the reason we live through the young, immature times is to give us the wisdom we need to help our kids avoid the mistakes we made.

I did a lot of dumb things when I was young, but I certainly wouldn't tell my kids about them or hold them us as an example for them to emulate. There were times I found myself in a parking lot or my parents' driveway, sitting behind the wheel of my car not knowing how I'd gotten there from wherever I'd been before. That doesn't mean I approve of that sort of behavior in my children, and it certainly doesn't prohibit me from telling them not to do the same.

Like you, I had to grow up fast at an early age. I got married and took on full responsibility for a family without having a good idea what that really meant. I had to give up the fun, carefree, partying behaviors all my peers were still enjoying and in a very short span of time turn myself into a dad, husband and breadwinner all at once (I have some friends and family who still resent me for that). That being said, I still gave myself ample opportunities to be young and stupid, and I'm glad that I put that behind me when I did.

Your husband needs to realize that he needs to be setting a positive example for his kids to follow. Encouraging bad behaviors and wanting to be their friend instead of their father isn't doing them any favors.

[/quote]

I'm very honest with my children. I did absolutely idiotic things when I was younger. It's a matter of "if you can't be a good example, you will find yourself turning up as a terrible warning..." Really, just because I was young when I sinned, doesn't mean I can't be sorry for it or try to prevent it in my own children.

Bolding mine: This is exactly what I've been trying to get across. And it's definitely something I consider to be as good for the goose as the gander. We have to be solid and instill values in our children. There are areas were being "laid back" could end in deadly consequences... ones I feel are our moral obligation as parents to prevent at all costs.


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.