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He makes me doubt my parenting!!!!!!

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The ex and I got divorced a year a ago, I divorced him beacsue of his abusive nature towards both myself and my son. The ex was highly critical and controlling. So to avoid having our beautiful son grow up exposed to that sort of father, I divorced him after many counselling sessions to try and correct things.


Anyway last night he called me for two hours telling me that if I only enforced 'discipline' on our son then the two of us could get back together. You see all our fighting was over our son- the ex said that I was too soft and I said that he was too hard and that lead to the eventual break-up.


The ex was physically abused as a child and was brought up with the thinking that kids are more of a burden than an absolute gift. He has a bad relationship with our son(4 years ) as all he has ever done is shout at him, he has never really loved that child.


Due to the fathers harshness I have overcompensated which I am trying to now correct. I am however soft on him, I prefer to teach him the right way first rather than to reprimand afterwards. My son has turned into a beautiful gentle boy with wonderful manners and a loving a gentle disposition, I have never found a need to hit my son and the ex finds great fault in this, he believes that by hitting a child you teach then respect. I think that by teaching through love you teach them respect.


The ex keeps on telling me that i will raise a brat and that my son will never have respect for me and that I think I know everything about parenting. I admit that Im not the perfect parent but Im trying damm hard at being a single parent.


In my opinion I have saved my son from leading an insecure life with his father- always being put down and never unconditionally accepted.



How do I cope with an ex taht keeps on telling me that Im bringing up our son the wrong way and that he needs more 'discipline, smacks and grounding'? He makes me wonder if I am not bringing my son uo correctly and makes me doubt my mothering skills!

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Okay, the fact is you are an AWESOME mother. You did save your son from an abusive father, I understand because I wish my mom would have done that for me.


From what you described, he sounds like a lousy parent. Would you take medical advice for a doctor who lost thier license due to medical malpractice? Probably not.


You can always ignore him when he starts in on the parenting lectures, just tell yourself that he is full of it and for the most part everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.

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thanks for your reply!


Thanks for saying that Im an awesome mother. I often feel a lot of guilt that I have brought my son into this world and I cannot provide him with a complete family. But I guess no family is better than a destructive one.


The thing is that the ex wants to get back together and he keeps on telling me that If I am just harder on our son that that will end the fights and we can be a happy family again. I think that is why he keeps on pushing me to be harder on our son- so that we can get back together.


Im also worried becasue I know that every time my son goes to his dad he is treated very differently than he is in my home.

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Butterflycloud, hate to burst your bubble, but....you sound like the brat in this particular case. It sure sounds to me that you should be worrying more about your quickness to judge others, and that being 'soft' on your children is NOT the way to raise children up to be kind-natured, law-abiding citizens. Wonder why schools can't teach the kids anything more? Because the kids have no respect for their teachers. Why is that, you ask? Because the kids have no respect for their children. While I do NOT advocate beating your children (I was physically abused as a child, and experienced other trauma as a child, too), I do know that it is quite possible to both discipline your children (which they DO need) AND let your children know that you're only concerned for their being and their future. Let me ask you this, Butterflycloud. Do you want to be a Mommy to your children, or a Friend? Rarely do the two mix, and you certainly will have little respect from your children (which will carry over to how they deal with authority elsewhere) if you choose the latter choice. Think about it. I'd say the same thing to your husband that I just said to you, if I had the chance. It sounds like you both need to think of each other FIRST (or at least you should have), your children SECOND (and a very close second at that). Good luck!

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Im not saying that my son has no discipline at all. I live by the disposition that you teach a child the right way from the start and reinforce is so that you dont have to end up reprimending them through physical 'smacks'.


My son has a lot of respect for me and it was not earned through fear.


I dont agree that I should have though of my husband first. If both I and my son were being emotionally abused then surely I should think of my son first- a child who is defensless to the words of his father.


I was brought up in a loving home , a 'soft' home I guess, never hit but rather tought the right way from the start.


Girltrappedinside, please also remember that I am a single mom trying her best here. And my son comes first now.

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Don't you go doubting your parenting skills, there is nothing wrong with what you are doing.


I have a girl of 12 and a boy of 3 and I have custody of them both, I raise my kids the same, loads of love and patience and it really shows with the kids, they are happy, polite and loving.


I really don't think slapping the kid does anything other than create resentment in them when they get older. I just want my kids to look back on their childhood with fondnest and not regret.

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I think you are doing the right thing. I was bought up by a mother who never said she loved me, and although she sometimes did the right thing in providing for my sister and i, she constantly put me down and broke my spirit. My stepfather is a nice guy, but he was strict and used to defend my mother, even when, IMO, she was wrong. When things got too tough for her, she would hide behind him, almost literally! They really did have a warped idea of discipline. The result? Me, a screwed up child.


Showing your son love is definitely the right thing to do, and you can instil discipline in a respectful manner by being patient and showing him right from wrong. My two younger step-siblings had quite a different upbringing to me and although they are a little lazy, they are generally well-behaved and quite well adjusted. Strangely enough, they have a mother who cares about them.


The only time you should hit a child is when it is for their own good, like, for example, to scare them off running accross the road in front of a car. But then, i could be wrong.

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Thanks Mgirl!


Your post has really given me a bit of confidence in my parenting style. Th ething is that the ex makes me feel guilty by saying that all I have to do is be harder on our son and then the two of us can get back together.


Now I feel that I am being a monster in the whole thing by telling the ex that I wont change how I am with my son for the sake of getting back together with him.

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Now I feel that I am being a monster in the whole thing by telling the ex that I wont change how I am with my son for the sake of getting back together with him.


I'm not sure what getting back with this man would accomplish anyhow. You said he's never really loved your son. If that's how things are you shouldn't even consider getting back with him.


My father didn't really love me much ethier. He was very mentally abusive to both me and my mom. It seems like every time he would open his mouth he was yelling at me for doing normal things that kids do (like wanting to go outside and play), or putting me down. By the time I was ten I knew my father didn't like me and my self-confidence was all but gone.


I wish my mother had the courage to leave him before I became a neurotic mess but she never did. In the end, I moved in with a relative at fifteen when I couldn't take his cruelty anymore.


I resented both my parents for a very long time. My mother for not protecting me and my father... I didn't start to forgive him until he was on his deathbed.

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I agree with Dako. It sounds to me that you have done exactly the right thing, taken your child out of a potentially damaging environment.


There is no reason ever to hit a child. It may achieve a short term result but ultimately the child will learn the wrong lesson by it, and that is the most important thing, not achieving 20 minutes of obedience but teaching children to learn how to behave. There is a big difference.


You sound like a great mum.

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Thanks for all your replies. It means a lot to know that all of you stand behind me!


I went to see the psychologist on Friday and as it turns out she said thAT THE ex has a narsissistic personality, so all the better that I have saved my son from this. She did however say that I will have to do a lot of debriefing when my son comes home from seeing his dad.


Im just happy to know that I have done the best that I could for my son under the circumstances

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His criticism of your parenting skills and the disparity in the parenting skills was a major factor to your divorce.


You split up for a reason... now you are split up and it should be done with. Your X-husband obviously is pushing the issue and wants to win.


Listen... even if he used to spout that you were the most wonderful mother in the world..before the divorce. NOW that you've divorced him and tossed him out on his back side... EVERYTHING you do will be wrong. Everything will be under a microscope. Nothing will EVER be right. And if anything ever goes wrong. You will ALWAYS be to blame someway.. .somehow. Thats just the way it is.


I TOO HAVE MAJOR issues with approval. I've been out 1 1/2 years and I still shake in my shoes and look for aproval from him. Do you think I am going to get it???? NOT. I don't think he'll be nominating me for mother of the year award anytime soon. But deeeeeppp in side.. I've been conditioned to him and his aproval. And its hard NOT to second guess yourself.


My "X" was very critical of the kids. He'd go from 0-60 and had abosolutely NO patience with the kids. I even started picking up his bad habits !!! and thats TERRIBLE. I don't want to be that kind of parent.

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Hi Shadows Light


Thanks for your post, well I guess we are in the same boat. What you said made sense- now that we are apart he will find fault with everything that I do.


I guess the only way to deal with that sort of criticism from our exs is to empower ourselves- the more empowered you are the less likely you are to feed into him 'emotional poison'


Tell yourself that you refuse to eat emotional poison and that his criticism comes from his issues with himself not you. As far as wanting recognition from the ex I can understand that but just know that wanting his recognition is admitting to yourself that you are not worthy of your own praise and that you still value his opinion.


Well to hell with his opinion, his opinion doesnt count anymore and that is part of being divorced

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You are right on the money. See... I knew you had it in you.


We're not so different. Intuitively.. I know all these things to be true. And its easy for me to see it in someone else. And to tell somone else these things.. its just difficult to LIVE IT. grin. Emotional involvement clouds our... better intincts. LOL.


You do the best you can do for your son. I don't know a parent out there married or not that doesn't second guess themselves at some point. As many child rearing books as there are out there and theories on what the correct process/method is.... none of them fit the MODEL of KID we have... and none of them are 100% right. Would that our kids were born with STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES in hand to make it easier.... but then again.... HOW many people would actually read the directions?????

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