I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Intervene? Part 2

I'm not sure if this is something I should blog about, but then I think, it's important, and perhaps getting some ideas from other people would be helpful. So here I go.

My husband and my daughter have an interesting relationship. They are at once very loving and caring and enjoy each other's company, and at the same time very critical and demanding of one another. So one minute they are laughing and engaged in some activity or other, and the next one or the other or both is speaking harshly to the other in utter frustration. It goes both ways. I'm in the middle much of the time. Both often want me to do something about whatever conflict has come up at the time. And the focus of the conflict is not the issue typically. It's the way they communicate about it. I will often hear DD saying, "BAD PAPA!" to which hubby will respond, "I have done nothing wrong!" to which DD will respond, with more conviction, "BAAAD PAPA!!" To which hubby will respond, with more conviction, "Don't talk to me that way!" And on and on. They both fuel the fire. So there I am, shaking my head, again, wondering what to do with it all. I know, for example, that our daughter is getting something out of the reaction she gets from him. She enjoys knowing she can stir him up. He seems unable to stop himself from becoming aggravated, and so the cycle continues. SIGHS! Much of it is harmless  - I mean a little bickering never hurt anybody. But sometimes it gets ugly, and then I worry. (Not physical, just loud) On DDs end I see that she is truly disrespectful sometimes, and that's not ok. Hubby is an adult who deserves, and truly earns, that respect most of the time. He is an authority figure, and she would do well to learn to respect authority figures from a young age. On hubby's end, he is modeling poor conflict resolution and stress management. He is telling DD not to be obnoxious and disrespectful, but he not modeling ways for her to stop. And just to make this abundantly clear, I am NOT the perfect parent. I am guilty of yelling out of frustration. I am guilty of expecting more from my kids than they are capable of. I am guilty of expecting my poor husband of reading my mind. So I am not trying to give the impression that I do things perfectly and those two should model after me. I am just stating that I am an observer of a less-than-always-harmonious relationship, and I wonder if something should be done to make it more harmonious. I think that in most situations, as long as things are not too tense, they should be left alone to figure things out between them. After all, we all need to learn to get along with all sorts of people and personalities, and it is very helpful to be able to do so from the beginning if possible. But ... when do I intervene? Or do I not? Or do I initiate some other type of intervention? Your thoughts are appreciated!


  1. Ugh--this is hard because it involves your husband. My husband prefers to deal with things on his own with the kids, and he's pretty good at it--always has been. However, if he wasn't perhaps I would step in a bit to defend him if he was ok with that.

    You said your husband often wants you to do some conflict resolution, right? If it were me, I would send my daughter off to the corner (or whatever you do to discipline her) and make sure she knows that the reason she is being sent off that way is because she is being disrespectful of Daddy.

    I would also talk to dh and try to share with him that it might get better results if he were calmer and didn't allow her to see his irritation.

    Like I said, it's so touchy when it has to do with dh--you can't just send them both into the corner, though you may feel like it for a little peace for yourself. :)


  2. Maybe DH and you can agree upon some consequence- time-out for DD or removal of a privilege or both- when she speaks disrespectfully. Then DH needs to be armed with faith that if he is silent, other than saying calmly, "Because you are being disrespectful, you now lose ________ .", that DD will positively learn, over a few trials of this, that it isn't worth it to speak that way. If she continues to speak rudely, she can lose another privilege for each utterance. But DH needs to stay calm and try to just go about his business once he is clear to her about the misbehavior and the consequence. He should be warned that it could briefly get worse before it gets better. It will work, but surely certain personalities and relationships will keep a bit of tension there always. I know we deal with this issue often in our home! It has gotten so much better since my DS started losing TV time, his favorite toys, a bedtime story, etc. when he acts up. Not to say that I don't deal with this with my other three kids!

  3. PS- I have, in complete frustration, told my DH to take a time-out. He doesn't appreciate that when he's mad, but sometimes it's all I can hope for!

  4. Very good thoughts, both of you. Thank you. I like the idea of talking with him about what the consequence will be when DD is disrespectful, then adding that it might help if he not give her the reaction she's used to getting. That way it doesn't come across as an accusation or a criticism of his parenting, just a way to help DD to change her behavior. There have been times when hubby gets so angry he leaves the house for a while - a self-imposed time-out. I think that's healthy, though it's not until he is very upset that he does that, and by then the conflict is in full swing. Taking things from DD does work to some degree, though I feel we over-use it. I would like to come up with one consequence that is used every time she does A, another for when she does B, and so forth. That way she knows exactly what to expect, and we know exactly how to react in any given situation. It can be hard to think on our feet when in the midst of an issue. But I think consistency is key for both children and parents. Thank you again, guys. It's really helpful to me to get objective thoughts.

  5. Dais- I can relate. My husband is harder on my 6 yr. old than I would be in many situations and I feel for my daughter. I have spoken to my husband about what he can and can not say to her (sometimes he's not clear with his expectations for her), and I have spoken to my daughter to explain that daddy yells because he cares and loves her. Mostly, I stay out of it unless I see a true injustice on one side or the other. It turns out, my daughter has the same personality as my husband, which is why I think he gets so frustrated with her. I think he sees himself and his negative personality traits when she is not behaving, and I think that gets him more aggrevated than a person would normally get. Could that be the case with your 2?


  6. Hi J,

    My daughter is much more verbal and obvious when she is feeling tense or upset. Well, sort of. I mean, hubby is more likely to stew until he's really upset, then react. DD acts up and tests her boundaries when she's agitated, and, at least to me, it's obvious. I'm not sure hubby always sees the meaning behind the behavior. So when DD is being a little "squirrelly," he clearly sees the girl who is wound up and testy, and reacts to that before stopping to think about what's behind it all. Neither is wonderful at expressing his or her feelings. I'm not good at that either. But I do get that there is usually more to the story than meets the eye. IE something going on at school or work that one or both of them is tense over. I can over react when I'm tense, no question about that. But I do try to apologize to DD when I catch myself, and I try to tell her that I'm tired or tense or worried, etc. Part of the reason I started this blog is because I didn't like how I was feeling which was effecting my parenting. I think it's important to recognize when we are imbalanced. And to help those we love when we notice that they are. But it's definitely one thing to help ourselves to make adjustments. It's another thing entirely to help another person, especially another adult.