January 28, 2008,
A.P. asks from Gainesville, FL on January 19, 2008
Help Getting Husband Involved in Parenting
I need help in getting my husband more involved in parenting his children. We have 4 children oldest is a boy. My husband works a lot & when he comes home often he spends all his time on the computer or sitting next to my son while he ( my son 13 Yrs old) plays a video game. My husband moved my sons video game console out of the upstairs "playroom" on to the main TV in the livingroom because of "better Graphics". But now when I ask them to turn it off my husband tell me to be quiet they are having a good time etc.. I thought if I left them alone they would eventually get bored with it but its been like 3 months now. They are not bored. The vidie game is Halo 3 so its shooting fighting & no one like to be in the living rrom except them when they play. Its loud & disturbing & sometimes you can hear the other player swearing etc.
Even when my husband is alone with the kids he is on the computer, if he has them in the morning while I am at work, (sat morning) he pays no attention to if they get breakfast or really what they are doing. He doesn't do ANY housework, or help getting the kids to do any either. He never spends any real time with his daughters, except maybe a goodnight kiss & a good morning hug. Last year 2 of his girls were in girl scouting & wanted him to do the father daughter dance with them ( which he has done before ) & he basically said no.
Our marriage isn't doing well either, so any time I try to talk to him about issues, basically he ignores me or we fight. I am looking to go to counseling although I pretty sure he is not interested in it. In asked him to do counseling about 2 years ago & he said he was too busy, & then he was worried about getting a female that would "Side with me". I need ways to talk to him about teaching his children what they need to learn to be productive adults & not just letting them grow up & being their "buddy". I also need advice on how to get him to step up & be a productive part of our household. Any advice?
So What Happened?™
I want to thank everyone for their input. It made me realize I wasn't alone. I have decided to get counseling on my own & I am trying to get my husband to go to marriage counseling with me. I am also working on on the family first book of Dr Phil's. I think its a great book. I
M.H. answers from Orlando on January 19, 2008
my husband and i both read this and he first said "that halo game can be addicting".
the first step may be trying to become close to your husband again by spending alone time with him(i know you are busy but this is important) and listening to him,he may be having hard times with something you do not know about, and then when you feel a little more connected you can present him with your advice on his parenting. you are right in being upset at his distance towards the children but it is always difficult hearing about what you are doing wrong, so be gentle with him.
another suggestion to get him involved without him feeling he is being repramanded is try a family night where everyone does something together, games or an outing. no one can opt out. if your husband has a hard time being alone with the children on sat mornings write a list. they can be clueless as to what the kids need to eat or chores to do. my husband hates chores but he loves my list(always with a "thanks, i love you" at the end) because it lets him know what is expected of him and he knows he will get praised when i come home and he has done everything.
good luck and remember to be kind to him, men are fragile.
1 mom found this helpful
J.J. answers from Gainesville on January 28, 2008
Sorry to hear that you are going thru a difficult time...I would say to approach your husband about going to counseling together, but if he is not ready at this point, to go on your own. It will help you and ultimately hopefully your marriage. But make sure to go to a good counselor with experience in family and marriage issues. I can safely recommend either Dr. Ken Smylie or Steve Figley. Also, I wonder if your kids might benefit from some therapy, if they have experienced issues in the marriage...Best wishes and keep positive...
T.Q. answers from Orlando on January 20, 2008
How long has your relationship been this way? It sounds like he's treating you very poorly. I'm not trying to be mean, but I've been there. My husband freaked out about nine months after our son was born and decided to act like an idiot. In a nutshell...he wasn't very nice to me, he loved our son but was only intersted in "loving" him, not taking care of him, and he found a much younger and more "understanding" young lady to share his feelings with. It wasn't hard to figure out. I dragged him to counseling and he was completely resistant. He all but told the counselor that he was not interested in fixing our marriage. He used the same stupid excuse about the female counselor taking my side.
I eventually had to pack up our son and leave for him to figure it out. It took him six months to realize that the only reason he was interested in this younger girl was because she reminded him of me at her age and it took that time apart for him to appreciate me. A lot of people have criticized me for even taking him back, but it has been well worth it and it was worth the self-esteem I regained from being able to walk away from him.
When he finally came back to me we went back to the same counselor and she helped us figure out what went wrong the first time. And...surprise, surprise, it came down to communication and understanding. We have been working on our marriage for just over a year now and living together for 6 months. It has been wonderful. He's so helpful and we are closer than ever. And he doesn't even TRY to play that *@#!! video game. I also need to mention that while he and I were separated I spent the time getting to know myself and praying a lot.
Of course, I don't know what your specific situation is like. But it sounds like drastic measures need to be taken if you want peace and happiness in your future. Try to gather as much support from friends and family and let him know that you are not happy and things HAVE to change. For you and your children.
Um...this is tough. Good luck and, most of all, God bless.
T.R. answers from Orlando on January 20, 2008
Ouch. Honey it sounds like things are pretty bad at your house. I would have snapped a long time ago. I love to play games, I have always been a gamer and so has my husband. But I do not like him to play when our son is up. He gets distracted and then irritated if our son wants attention. I am lucky though because he realizes this and stops playing. Personally I would have thrown that damn game system in the garbage a long time ago. Sometimes you have to get drastic. But, you have a lot bigger problem then that game system.
Sometimes it helps me to write it down. He cant yell back or ignore you when he is reading and I always seem to get it all in order and dont forget things when I write. I make a list of things that need to be addressed then I just let it all spill out on paper, or type it if you want. If he is not interested in turning things around and acts like you are the problem. If he is not interested in his children and does not want to try counseling then it may be time to get more extreme. You have to think about yourself and your children. As it sounds now you would be better off without him, and he is a horrible father and a bad example to your kids.
Take care of yourself, remember that over everything, take care of yourself!! DO NOT let him make you feel unimportant or overly emotional, or like your overreacting. Take the reins, take control of your life and lay down the law.
I wish you the best and will be thinking about you. You are in my prayers. Please let us know what happens.
R.E. answers from Jacksonville on January 20, 2008
All I can say is this.
1. Your DH sounds EXACTLY like my EX.
2. Take a good hard look at the example of what a father and a husband is that he is teaching your children every day. Esp. your 13 year old who sees him tell you to 'be quiet' when you voice a concern.
3. He doesn't WANT to change. Why should he, you do everything for him, all he does is work and come home.
4. The question I had to finally ask myself about my EX was 'Am I really better off with him, or without him?' and when I realized that the fights would stop, me doing all the work wouldn't change but no one would tell me i'm doing it wrong, and I wouldn't have interference with raising the kids, thats' when I knew.
5. I hope this does work out. But he has to WANT to change.
T.P. answers from Tampa on January 21, 2008
A., you have a lot on your shoulders. If he won't go to counseling, start by going yourself. It may help you learn the tools needed to make changes. He may surprize you and join in as he sees progress. If not, you are on the road to better health and happiness anyway. Someone has to parent these children.
I.Y. answers from Gainesville on January 20, 2008
Sounds like you have a handful!
Well, your story sounds alot like mine. My husband sits at the computer for the majority of the day at work, then he comes home and does more work on the computer. Then when he needs a "break" he plays Halo 3.
We have a 2 year old son, and sometimes I feel my husband can do more, but I communicate this to him, and he has made sincere attempts at bonding and helping out in his care, as well as chores around the house.
But I am all too familiar on what its like to have a husband that can play Halo 3 hours upon hours!
Now onto your marital problems. One of the leading causes for divorce is communication problems. It sounds like your husband does not, nor is willing to communicate with you. Communication is verbal, nonverbal as well as active listening and just showing general consideration. I have seen so many marriages end due to one spouse, or even both spouses unwillingness to communicate nor compromise. Seek marriage counseling, if your husband will not go, go by yourself. Although, marriage is a partnership, you cannot solve all your marital probs if only one partner is seeking counseling. Try reading Robin Smith's book "Lies at the Altar". It is a VERY good book. Maybe if your husband sees you reading it, it might at least grab his attention long enough to ask questions. Which may open up some dialog between the two of you. If you told your husband that you were considering divorce, what do you think his reaction would be? Maybe you should ask him that and see.
Good Luck and update us!
J.P. answers from Orlando on January 20, 2008
I reccomend Weekend To Remember which can be found at WeekendToRemember.com
It was a real eye opener to my husband (and myself) about roles and responsibilities in the household. It was a wonderful retreat away from the children where hubby and I were able to reconnect and realize our problems and how to solve them (without escapism).
I truly recommend it as it wasn't boring by any means. We laughed until we cried because it really hit home and was entertaining all the same. You can choose your destination and they are literally everywhere.
It truly changed my marriage. We attended last may and we carry it with us nearly everyday.
As of yesterday, January 19, 2008, my life started over! One year yesterday my husband came home to me (after an affair with another married woman) and when all was said and done, he said he realized three things aside from not realizing all you have until it's gone:
1. That no one in this life owes him anything (as where he thought because he worked and he was "head of household" that we owed him his freedom and to do as he pleased without being a participant of our family.
2. That no one is responsible for his happiness but him
3. That he is an important contributor both to our household and to the lives of our children.
I am so excited for my new begining, for letting past hurts go, and for moving forward in my life. I wish the same for you and your marriage.
Please look into the information I've given you, as the marriage retreat was really fun and even had a date night in which my husband and I seperated from the friends we attended with to find a quaint restaurant that we will visit for the rest of our lives (despite it being a 3 hour drive away). It was a memory and an experience we will never forget. It truly brought us closer to God, each other, and our children.
If you have any questions:
N.S. answers from Minneapolis on January 20, 2008
If I were you, I would first get rid of the video game. There are better ways your husband can spend time with his son, ie go to the park, play ball, etc. Those are memories your son will remember, not a stupid video game. It makes me a little apprehensive in having a 13 year old boy being exposed to violence at such a young age.....I would also worry about the example his father is sending him. He will grow up to believe that a husband doens't help his wife and will never grow to be a responsible adult. I also would seriously seek marriage counseling, whether it be at a church or seeing someone professionally. If things don't improve or work out, atleast you tried but many times its hard to have someone change esp if they are used to their ways/habits. Good luck
M.R. answers from Tampa on January 20, 2008
Definitely go to counseling. If your husband won't go with you, go by yourself.
R.D. answers from Sarasota on January 20, 2008
try to give him some ideas of things he can do with the girls it might be that he's not sure what they might find fun or He might think because they are girls he has nothing in commen with them
tell him he is ignoring them and it's not fair Ask him for time with out the children around time to talk with out the game
explain how you feel about the cursing and the death games for a 13 year old. Try asking him to cut back the time they play so it will not affect your son so much i'm sure he is being a guy and not thinking about how this game could affect his son and it may need to be pointed out to him
M.H. answers from Sarasota on January 20, 2008
You have to fix the marriage first. He is doing what he is doing because he probably isn't happy. You can't get someone who isn't happy and doesn't want to change things to turn it around unless you work on your relationship first. When that is mended (and it can be if you BOTH want it), you can move on to getting rid of the video game and going to the park! Good luck, I really wish you the best. Please let us know how things go.
M.A. answers from Tampa on January 19, 2008
all I have to say is GOOD LUCK!!
S.B. answers from Jacksonville on January 20, 2008
tough call as that should have been a communication part before to have your childrens,now you have four and obviously he is not too much into it,I will suggest to try to do things at the YMCA,different sport,their is what they call princess indienne ,only dads and girls,they do canpming,crafts,meet sometimes between dads for a beer and talk about next meeting,tell him that once a week he got to get dinner for everybody and need to be done with the kids,or do crafts all toghether,or camping out,or any adventure walk,run,bike.good luck
K.L. answers from Jacksonville on January 20, 2008
I hope this helps you somewhat... but it's very simple. You guys DO need counseling. He's not involved in your lives as a fully-engaged parent, husband and partner. Find a man, so he can't assume that a woman would side with you. But get help, not only for those kids, but to save your marriage!