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Wife questions husband's 'controlling' parenting style after 'disturbing' apple incident. AITA?

Wife questions husband's 'controlling' parenting style after 'disturbing' apple incident. AITA?


When this wife/mother is weirded out by her husband's actions with their 5 yo, she asks Reddit:

"Am I wrong for thinking my husband is being unnecessarily controlling after an apple related incident?"

So my husband(45m) and I (35f) have a 5 year old daughter. She can be quite contrary. We discipline as needed (corner, time out, sent to room) but, boy, does she have an attitude. We have a happy home, though, and she is navigating life and growing!

This morning 5yo asks for us to cut up an apple. Husband says he'll do it so he goes to reach for a green apple. 5yo says, "wait, can I have a red apple?" Husband says, so sweety, I'm going to cut up a green. 5yo again pleads for a red and when husband says "no" again she starts crying.

I go ask husband why not cut up a red? They are sweeter? He says it's because we have 3 green and 2 red.... I'm like... so?

He says at this point "I can't give her a red because of her meltdown, I'm not going to Kowtow to her!" I'm like "it's just an apple! And she did ask nicely!! why it's so important for you to have an even number of green/red apples? We go to the store almost every other day!"

He walks away angry and goes to the a shower. This poor 5yo gets told "no" so often that a silly apple preference is an easy win for her. He likes thr green ones more so why not let her have a red? Am I wrong for feeling like he is being unnecessarily controlling? What will this do to our 5 yo daughter?

Let's see what readers thought. They had different ideas of parenting. Let's take a look!

instacarmareeper writes:

When a child is very young they want autonomy and it's important to give it to them whenever possible. When my daughter was 3 she went to a Montessori preschool.

The teachers told us parents to always give the child a choice that did not have consequences to eliminate tantrums (red or green apples, pink or purple socks).

You could not wear a bathing suit into a snow storm but you could choose which mittens you put on. Save the hard no's for things that matter and give them choice whenever you could.

You should have a conversation with your husband. He's asserting his authority unnecessarily and he will continue to fight about unimportant matters until he completely breaks her spirit or she rebels completely.

She will not grow to respect him this way. She will resent the hardline as she ages and it will hurt their relationship.

beamdog77 writes:

What a way to teach your daughter that she doesn't even get to have bodily autonomy over what type of apple she eats. Gonna really help her learn to say no to unwanted se%ual encounters, stick up for herself, and advocate for herself.

This is frankly, not an exaggeration. The lesson here is that a red apple is available, but someone else is the decision maker and your daughter must kowtow or be hungry. That lesson, when taught repeatedly, will have devastating consequences on how she responds to peer pressure later in her childhood.

This is so much more serious than the apple. It's also why she is "quite contrary..." She is a human being who gets zero control of her life, and is desperately trying to to control anything she can, since she can't even control what she eats.

Stop treating her this way, and she'll stop being contrary. Just because she is 5 doesn't mean she doesn't want the same control of her own food that we want as adults. WTF is wrong with your husband???

wholereward7036 writes:

Your husband is not treating your daughter like a person with her own thoughts and feelings, and I'm willing to bet that if she receives this treatment a lot in your house you've found the origin of her attitude.

Green apples are very bitter to many people. They were developed as cooking apples. It insane to try to make her eat them and then frame her having a reasonable preference as 'kowtowing'. Your husband cannot self-regulate.

Your husband is bullying your child. Your husband either needs to take parenting classes ASAP (she is old enough to remember this treatment, and it will absolutely reflect in her relationship with both of you as she grows) or you need to leave him.

accordingwest8 writes:

NTA. And the reason you think he might be controlling is because...he's controlling. Getting into a pissing match with a 4 year old, OVER AN APPLE??? Get all the way the F outa here with that BS.

He's pulling power moves on your kid, the "because I said so" vibe. This is REALLY damaging to a child, he's telling her that he, and by extension, other people, have a bigger say in what she wants than she does.

Breaking your daughter's independence and spirit at 5 YEARS OLD it beyond troublesome, this will set he up to be a people pleasing, spineless abuse victim.

This is NOT a small problem, this attitude will affect your daughter's development from here on out, it already has. She will now worry about choosing between two things because daddy might get mad at her.

WTF is wrong with your husband, and why did you not see the giant billowing red flags surrounding this "man" before you brought a child into this world?

Get your stuff figured out, this is a VERY hurtful situation for your daughter, and will affect her profoundly if you don't nip this crap in the bud.

contentchem writes:

What are the odds your husband had OCD? I definitely don't think it's controlling. Especially since he would be giving up his own preferred apple.

Does he need to have things exactly his way a lot? Are there spots that are just his? Are apples the only thing he needs consumed in equal ratios? By any chance had he already touched the apple? Does he double check things often? Big hand washer?

A lot of people think of OCD as being a neat freak disorder, but it's usually more that someone has a notion of how things are supposed to be, and absolutely cannot break away from it.

tnjdude writes:

If he has a habit of doing this, then yeah, he could be less controlling. If it's just the apple thing, then does it really need to be expanded into a reddit issue? I imagine there's already people telling you to divorce him. I didn't check but will scroll down now ....

OK, no direct calls for divorce, but according to reddit, your husband not cutting up a red apple is: abusing your child,a terrible father ,already hated by one person, is a total asshole, is going to make it easier for your child to be sexually abused (that's a pretty impressive stretch even by reddit standards), giving you good reason to look into domestic violence resources (wow!)

And I'll likely get flak from some people who feel I'm a terrible person for not recognizing how abusive and horrible a person your husband is. LOL! In any case, does your husband of a touch of OCD that's surfacing?

Or maybe he backed himself into a corner and couldn't set a precedent of giving in to a tantrum even though it was justified? In retrospect, he should have cut the red one (green ones are only good for baking, unless it's a Red Delicious apple, in which case you're both horrible people for bringing those abominations into your home).

But our hindsight is always 20/20. If you have a happy home, then this issue is likely just one of the growing pains families go through.

chronopage9 writes:

I’m… going to politely suggest that you keep an eye on both of them for being neurodivergent, likely autistic.

This… sounds like an argument that would happen with my kids and me. I pick my battles but I’m (likely) an autistic adult I can get stuck on things like this. My kids, are diagnosed as autistic.

What is likely happening is that he thinks the right thing to do is to create an equal distribution of apples by color. That makes sense to him.

Your daughter likely thinks that apples should be red. Or that red apples are better because they’re more authentic. Or she had a bad experience with a green apple and now only wants red ones.

It’s easy to say, “well, he’s and adult and she’s a child,” and that’s true… but if he’s autistic, it has to make sense. If he doesn’t know he’s autistic, the world is a frustrating and enraging place and he’s going to try to exert what control he has over it.

Knowing you’re autistic allows you to “refrain” your idiosyncrasies; you are able to acknowledge your “quirks” and make a lot more “sense” of the world.

If you’re in a relationship with some who’s neurodivergent and/or raising someone who is, then you’re going to be mediating utterly baffling (to you) arguments between the two.

This is my experience and I can’t apply it to anyone, especially after one interaction. Also, I’m not a medical health professional. That being stated, this scenario definitely raised some red flags in my mind.

capable40 writes:

Yes you are wrong! Today's children are spoiled for exactly this reason. You are enabling them to get whatever they want by throwing temper tantrums. And that is what your husband is talking about with kowtowing to his daughter.

Maybe you think it's wrong because your parents catered to you. Which only proves that you are a spoiled brat. And, to top it off, you're having this argument, with your husband, in front of her.

Children are very smart and they know how to manipulate parents to get what they want. If you don't tell kids what boundaries to respect, they will not respect any. You need to respect your husband and support his decision.

You need to apologize to him and you need to make it clear to your daughter to respect her elders and to be obedient. I know that sounds old fashion, and frankly, I don't really care.

All you have to do is look at the state of the world around you and see the utter selfishness in our society. And I speak from a great deal of experience. Bottomline is that it all starts at home with the children.

You need to teach her humility instead of entitlement. You already mentioned she has an attitude. Guess where she got that from.

So, is OP in the wrong here? Is she right to question her husband's parenting or is this an overreaction?

Sources: Reddit
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