If you’re married, you’ve been in an argument with your spouse. When these disagreements get heated, sometimes hurtful words get thrown…. There are some words that really cross the line. What do you do if your spouse says you’re a bad parent?
What type of person would do something like this to their spouse?
Before we share what to do if you are NOT the problem, we both need to look at this question. If you do nothing else… do this…
“You’re a Bad Parent” – Is It Warranted?
Let’s face it… Even though it may be a tough pill to swallow, you need to ask if there’s any truth to it. Is your spouse being mean, or is there some truth to their words? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you knock before entering your child’s room?
- Do you stop trying to hug your children after they ask you to stop?
- Do you stop making jokes after your child asks you to stop?
- Do you make an effort to treat your children with respect?
- Do you listen to your child’s ideas and beliefs without questioning or joking about them?
If you answered “no,” to any of these questions, psychology suggests you might need to reevaluate your parenting approach. If you answered “yes” to all these questions — and can’t imagine why your children might suffer from your parenting — you need to evaluate why your spouse is saying this.
How to be Better Parent
It’s hard to reckon with the idea you’re not the best parent, yet it isn’t the end of the world. Parenting is a skill, and — like all skills — you can improve. Here are two ideas to consider.
Your Child’s Age
Your relationship with your child and how you treat them changes as they develop… and it should. While your child might love hugs as an 8-year-old, they might have more stringent boundaries as a teen.
You will also need to change the way you talk to your child. If you don’t, the calm, loving tone you used with your 5-year-old will become condescending when they’re twelve… and they’ll think you’re a bad parent.
During their teenage years, talking to your child shouldn’t be much different from how you talk to adults. You will want to avoid mature subjects and shouldn’t vent the way you might with a close friend, yet they’re one-hundred percent capable of holding their own in an intelligent conversation as they grow up.
Your Child’s Boundaries
Sometimes children need to do things they don’t want to do — like bathing or going to the dentist. There’s a difference between these necessities and their boundaries. Overstepping boundaries can cause resentment and trust issues in your child causing them to think you’re a bad parent.
What To Do If You Are NOT the Problem
If you can say your parenting skills don’t warrant the label of “bad parent,” then you might not be the problem. In fact, even if there are areas where you can improve your parenting, there’s a chance your spouse is saying these things just to be mean.
In these situations, take these 4 steps:
- Take a breath. Don’t respond right away. You’re more likely to fire back with something hurtful if you do. We both know… that’s when you lose.
- Tell your spouse they’ve gone too far. Remain calm. Don’t raise your voice, and say, “I disagree with what you’re saying, and you’re going too far.”
- Find out why they’re upset. Deescalate the situation and — remain calm — ask them why they’re so upset.
- Talk it out. If they’re open to a conversation, allow it. If you did something
to hurt their feelings, then own up to it and apologize. Don’t bring up old stuff, don’t deflect, stay singularly focused. Together, you can come up with a way to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Whether you need to brush up your parenting skills or you’re stuck in an argument with your spouse, it’s important to learn how to react. Either way, the worst thing you can do is buckle down and fire back. No one wins when you’re throwing around insults.
Focus on becoming the best parent you can, and the best spouse you can. If you are in a toxic situation and need help, take action with the help of a counselor and do what’s necessary to safely remove yourself and your children from the situation.