I have a problem with my wife. She is the product of parents who were not at all affectionate and a grandmother who was out and out abusive to her (verbally).
My relations with her are strained but I am doing my best to love her as Christ loved the church. We are a prayerful family and she is quite religious. I think her problems stem from her upbringing and psychological damage done to her as a child/young adult.
Now, my question - she is very disappointed by our eldest daughter. Evidently she was a very responsible, truthful child, and her mother required her to help out with her other siblings (she was the eldest of 7 children).
My daughter (12 yo) has long hair and it is unkempt. It is extremely thick and always looks greasy and my wife will say things to her like “I can’t stand the way you look.” And complain bitterly about how she can’t look after her hair at 12. She complains that her daughter “disgusts” her because she will not do the dishes/load the dishwasher or do a bad job of it. She also complains that my daughter slinks away whenever there is work to be done, and spends all her time in her room and only comes down when it is meal time.
She is disgusted by the fact that her daughter will not practice her musical instrument or read good books, instead of playing on the computer all day or doing her drawings. She also complains that her daughter will only play by ear and not play challenging music.
My wife was a music teacher and has extremely high standards that even I find it hard to live up to.
We home school so my daughter does not have her immature behaviors checked by her peers.
I would like to know how to handle this. I can’t seem to convince my wife that her behavior is damaging to my daughter. Doing so I get an earful about what her home life was life, and how my daughters peers are all so accomplished, and how deceptive my daughter is. Now pointing out that when I look at my daughters peers and I see even more shyness or immature behavior in them doesn’t seem to help.
I am trying to be very affectionate with my daughter and have special times together with her. Any advice on how to handle this would be appreciated.
Next problem - my wife and my eldest son (11 yo) argue all the time. Mainly they are arguments about fact. For example my son once stated “All the home school boys I know do X” where X was perhaps not read a chapter of a book a day.
Now first off, my son does not mingle much with home-schoolers and the chances of him discussing curriculum with them is nil. But in his head my son believed it. I often catch him believing something which simply is not true. For example he might forget to empty the bathroom trash, but if you ask him if he did, he swears he did and is bewildered to see that he actually did not. I recognize this behavior as I do it myself. I am sometimes asked if I did something and I think I did. There is no intention to deceive.
So my wife and him go to it. I try to tell him privately not to argue with her and just let it go. The battles he has with her are the same form as the ones she has with me, I just don’t quibble on every single inconsequential fact.
My concern is that if my wife chooses to have such an adversarial relationship with her two eldest children it will not be healthy and cannot be resolved into something peaceful. This battle will just persist and get worse.
I should point out that 2 of her siblings are divorced (anger management issues), we have strained relationships with 2 others - mainly because of belligerent/stubborn behaviors which my wife also manifests.
My thoughts are that I must lead as the male parent, and protect my children and ensure that they will be well adjusted children and not carry on this streak into the next generation.
Any advice on handling this situation would be appreciated.