When this mom is annoyed with her husband's parenting style, she asks Reddit:
Husband (M49) and I (F47) have been married 15+ years and have a young teen son together. No other kids.
Husband has been working through family trauma over the years in various forms of therapy and I recently went through therapy as well as has our son for ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Part of having a kid with ADHD and ODD is that he has no filter and when things bug him and annoy him he just blurts them out.
Husband tends to be very high and mighty about all his years of therapy and has a really hard time being called out on certain things and many time refuses to change his approach, even if it annoys everyone else. He thinks he knows better because of all his years of therapy.
It came to a head today during breakfast when our son asked him to please stop telling him to “stop being critical”. Husband uses that phrase whenever our son is being mean or gets frustrated at himself for doing something wrong. It’s been going on for months now and it seems like he says it at least ten times a day.
It shuts down the conversation as it pisses off our son because he uses it so much and it’s lost any meaning at this point. I asked him to please start using some other words as it just seems like the term is overused and our son has been asking him over and over to stop.
I gave him some options so he can be more specific “stop being mean, stop saying nasty things, stop being a bully…” but he shut down the conversation and called me critical. No one can say anything to him because we’re being critical and wrong.
From then on, he refused to talk to me. He said goodbye to our son but refused to say goodbye to me as I approached him for a kiss goodbye and blamed me for his running lat for work. I said, “OK be that way.” He called me critical as he left the house.
To add, this isn’t the first time he refuses to change a phrase. Even for little things. For the longest time our son asked him to please stop saying “screen time” because it made him feel like a baby and he refused, making our son get pissed. I asked him what was the big deal with just saying “computer time”? There are other examples as well but these two were the biggest.
I feel like he’s being stubborn and not doing something basic that would ease tensions and ridiculous hills to die on. Our son feels disrespected when he just stubbornly continues. Was it wrong to ask him to please use other words? Especially when it affects our son?
NTA your husband is a controlling asshole and you'd actually be surprised how much of what he is doing is actually exhuberating your son's triggers AND management. ODD and ADHD are hard enough to deal with in life, and your son has to live with a trigger and no escape.
ESH. Of course your husband should stop using the phrase, “stop being critical”. Clearly, it’s not having its intended effect plus you want you son to be discerning. Ironically, your husband’s refusal to comply with reasonable requests sounds like Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
However, telling your son to “stop being a bully”, “stop being mean”, etc. is useless. Don’t assume that he knows what behavior you are interpreting as bullying, being mean, etc. You need to describe the exact behavior that you want him to change and what behavior you’d like him to replace it with.
You should not be asking your husband to change his words every time your son expresses irritation. Screen time is a valid wording and people who suffer from ADHD should limit their screen time.
ESH. It honestly sounds like you all are overly critical of each other, don’t bother to listen or communicate to each other well, and are way too sensitive about stuff. That goes for you, your husband, and your kid. You all sound extremely exhausting to live with.