Help-my Husband and I Can't See Eye to Eye!!

Updated on March 12, 2010
H.P. asks from Culpeper, VA
13 answers

Hi all! Okay-here's the dilemma in a nutshell--At bedtime, i am particular about keeping to a schedule and my husband, usually lets our 2 year old do what he wants (not all the time, of course). We have talked about compromising--me being a bit more flexible (and I feel I've done alright with this) and he being a bit more regulated (it seems that he doesn't see the benefit of keeping to a routine). I work some nights, so our little man is able to be completely independent and run out of his room while doing the routine when my husband is doing the routine. On the nights when I'm home, I try to keep structure and stick with the routine, but I have tried to allow our little man to have more freedom. When I say "no" to running out of the room, my husband lets him anyway. I am so frustrated--Ultimately, it's about teaching our little one to be independent and have structure, so how do we compromise when we can't see eye to eye?? I guess I'm afraid that without some structure, our little man will become wild and won't listen to us or later his teachers, etc. Any thoughts or advice???

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So What Happened?

I know it's only been a few hours since my original post, but I THANK YOU all so much:):) Each of your posts was so helpful, and you all completely understand:) My husband does work all day, and I'm home all day, so that train of thought was right on too:) My husband tends to get excited to play since he only has a few hours in the evening and wants to be fun and not have to say no, and I'm drained by bedtime. We do have a pretty good routine, but backing each other no matter what (and chatting later) is something we both need to remember! THANKS AGAIN:):)

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answers from Austin on

First off, I'm with you. I think kids need routine and structure, especially at night.
My question is, why is your husband doing this? Does he feel like he doesn't see you child enough during the day? Or is he trying to exert some sort of "control" over the child? Men don't usually do things like this without a reason. Are you at home with him during the day? If so, then just be straight with your husband. Tell him this is how you need it done so that your child will listen and follow directions during the day. If he is going against what you are saying at night, believe me, your child is picking up on that and will use it to create trouble.
If he just doesn't feel like he's getting enough time with him, then figure out a routine that you can both be happy with and stick to it. Maybe put him to bed a little later?
Sorry for your trouble.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bangor on

My kids don't have a set bedtime routine. Sometimes they go to bed at eight, sometimes nine. It really depends on how we, the parents, are feeling and how the kids are behaving. I also homeschool my children, so they don't need to get up at a specific time in the morning. Granted, they are all usually up at seven, but they don't need to be because they don't have to get ready to get on a bus or go to school somewhere.
However, if you tell your child, "no," to something, then your husband should agree with you. You're supposed to be on the same team. Your kid is going to learn that he can play one parent against the other when he gets older if this continues. You need to sit down and talk to your husband about the two of you being on the same team from now on. That's what's really important here, not so much the bedtime routine.
And your child won't become wild just because he doesn't have a bedtime routine. He will, however, learn how to play people against each other if you and husband say and do different things. So, work on that, and don't worry so much about the bedtime routine. Your child knows when he tires, and I'm sure he'll give you signs as to when he really needs to go to sleep. My daughter rubs her eyes when she gets tired, and that's when I know it's time for her to go to bed. And she goes willingly.
I hope this helped. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You are 110% right on this one. My husband did the same thing. I am a SAHM & couldn't wait for our 3 little ones to go to bed & my husband gets home about 1-2 hours before their bedtime. So typically when my husband got home from work he was exhausted & wanted to wind down then 15 minutes before their bedtime he would start chasing them around & play monster. It got them wound up & they fought going to bed. My husband & I go to a marriage counselor mostly because we think it's healthy for our marriage & this was one of our discussions. The counselor talked to us about the importance of structure for children & thats when we figured out he didnt feel like he was getting quality time with the kids. I told him I wasnt willing to budge on this & we came to an agreement that he would have to do his own winding down a bit later so he could spend sme time with the kids & read to them before bed. I say you are doing the right thing for your 2 yr old by getting this under control now, it is very important.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think your son probably would be ok with two different routines, a mommy routine and a daddy routine. If your hubby lets you do it your way on your night, and you let him do it his way on his night. I think your son will figure it out pretty fast (yes dad lets me run around, but mom won't put up with it). I don't believe he'll be wild at school because your husband lets him play around at bedtime. Though he may perhaps be tired the next day if he doesn't get enough sleep. I try to let my kids go to bed when they are tired, but on weeknights I start getting firm about it at 9 pm. (They are 7 and 9).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

My husband is exactly the same way. He sees no need for routine and structure. I know that it's needed, especially at bedtime. I looked online and in the baby books we were given. All of them stress that it's good to have a set bedtime routine. We still struggle with the time issue. He things she can stay up way later than what she needs to. Now that she's 3, she's actually started asking to go to bed. I know that my husband has a hard time saying "no" to our daughter because he doesnt' want to deal with her fits. It's coming back to bite us in the butt now. She's very independent, but is also getting terribly defiant. Now that he sees what saying "yes" does, he's more likely to say "no." Good luck!!!1

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Is your husband reluctant to be a "bad guy"?
I know in my house, EVERYONE is a lot happier when there is astructure and a routine is followed. That said, on weekend nights, times we are out & about, etc, there is flexibility in our routine. The important thing is that you and your husband are perceived as a cohesive unit by your son. He is only 2 right now but he will quickly learn how to pay one against the other!
I think you can set a general guideline of, for example "bath at 7:00, book, snack, bed at 8" Let your hubby work in that time frame how he wants to and you do it your way when you're there....but the general ideas/times should be the same.
My son will be 7 next week and we still follow a pretty set schedule as far as bedtime is concerned. But my son always says: "Dads do things a little different!" ;-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You and your husband need to resolve this before you try anything with your little man. Children are experts at picking the parent who gives them the easiest road, so before these issues take on more importance than bedtime routines, you and DH need to resolve your issues, compromise, agree on a set of rules you can both live with and present a united front to DS. You both need to read some parenting books to determine what reasonable boundaries are. Bedtime routines are as often for the convenience of the parents as the health of the child, and this is what your DH is probably responding to. But, the more fundamental issue of agreeing on parental rules and each enforcing them equally is much more important. Don't let little man think he can get around you by just going to his Dad. He will use the same technique when he doesn't agree with what Dad wants to do and you waffle. So, you and Dad need to sit down and decide what rules you want your little man to live by.



answers from Washington DC on

When you and your hubby disagree be sure not to let your little boy see this. He needs to see a united front or he will manipulate and get his way by arranging the war between you. If bedtime is very important to you, try in a respectful tone of voice to explain this to your husband. Ask him again to consider a workable compromise to this situation. Give him time to think it over. Pray to God and ask Him to help you work this out. AF


answers from Washington DC on


This is a hard spot to be in. There are chances for compromise. However, communication is key between you and your husband.

On the nights that you work - your son can stay up with dad - this isn't about him running in and out of his room, this is about father and son spending time together. If that isn't happening, then your son and husband needs to adhere to the routine you put in place.

Instead of saying "NO" to your son - ask him WHAT HE NEEDS - if he needs a hug, great give him one. This is a power struggle for him. Yes at the young age of 2, children can manipulate - they are smart little creatures!!!

Your man will become wild and uncontrollable when he does not get discipline and different punishment for the same action. If he does "X" then the punishment is "Y". If this changes every time, he will learn that you cannot be consistent. CONSISTENCY COUNTS!!!

I hope this helps!!



answers from Washington DC on

OH, Honey, I feel so badly for you!! To have such a horrible battle every night just before bed. You are right, your little man needs his boundaries. Without them children just do not feel safe. He is probably wondering why daddy wont keep him in line, like he should.

You need a counselor on this issue. At least go and talk with a mediator. Does your husband have boundary issues himself? Does he have trouble keeping "within the lines" when it comes to rules?

Sometimes we project our own emotions onto our children and let them do what we do not have to courage to do ourselves. Could hubby feel boxed in so he is letting little man do anything he wants?

Parents should not try to reason with a 2 year old. You are the parent. He is the child. He goes to bed and stays in bed when you say, no questions asked.

When my kids were little (we have 5) if they got out of bed, I made them scrub the toilet and the tub. They usually decided that staying in bed was better than the toilet brush, so if they said "I cant sleep" I said "well, go get the toilet brush" and they would scurry back to their beds. It usually only took one or two nights with my kids for them to see that I was serious.

I will keep you in my prayers.



answers from Washington DC on

it's not about what's the right bedtime routine (although i'm in your camp), it's about presenting a united face as parents. there are few things more destructive and frightening for a little one than uncertainty, and that's almost always what's at the base of behavior that pushes the boundaries......a desperate need to know just where the boundaries are. when parents argue in front of a child about how to parent that child, it puts the poor kid in the awful position of being in control of how his parents behave. that's way too much responsibility for a 10 year old let alone a 2 year old. take the pressure off your little one.
i fully sympathize with your husband's need to play with his son after a long day at work without him. you both need to work on finding ways to do that without being at loggerheads over the rules. bedtime is about the worst time for tensions there could possibly be. i hope you can find a way to work this out.



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with you about bedtime - it can make kids act out and not function to the full capacity at school in the future if they are left to go to bed whenever they feel like the hard part is convincing your DH. I would tell him what I believed, then back it up with research - then leave it alone for a bit - men need time to digest DH always comes around on his own's important for the two of you to be on the same page. If you still see no improvements in how he handles bedtime and structure, ask him if he intends to change once the little one gets a bit older and starts to school....maybe DH just doesn't know the importance right now and maybe you can expect some changes in the future??



answers from Washington DC on

It's simple, you are right and your husband is wrong. A structured bedtime routine is critical. Yes, there are times when it is appropriate to give your LM some independence (like letting him choose which bedtime story, which toy to sleep with or which snack to have) but allowing him to disobey known rules is asking for trouble.
Ask your husband to picture your son as a 12 year old. The routine at the age would be "be in the house by 9pm". Suppose he wanders in at 12am because he's used to 'independence'. That should help him get some perspective!

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