johnendoftheroad's picture
johnendoftheroad

Need urgent help wife and I are close to separation due to parenting differences.

Hi All,

I am writing in the state utter desperation. My wife and I have been married for eleven years now and we have two little boys aged 4 and 7. Every year, the differences in our parenting approach is causing a bigger rift in our marriage which is already scared due to other disagreements on almost everything under the sun which for the sake of brevity I don't like to discuss here.

The biggest problem that I see is that she tries to be the nice parent not providing enough structure and discipline. One of the key issue is video games. The first thing the youngest one asks for when he wakes up is video games which she allows. This takes 30 to 45 minutes and longer over the weekends. When I get home from work around 6pm, they are both usually playing video games as well. So in average they do play 1:30 to 2 hours of video games a day which for this age I find out be extremely excessive. Most of the other parents I talk to believe the same but my wife underplays the detrimental effects and says that it helps her do the housework which I find a poor excuse.

So usually the responsibility become mine to take away the video game which now inadvertently makes me the bad guy. I should also mention that my wife routinely involves our kids in our conflicts where she uses them to get back at me. So already my relationship with the boys is not greatest and me having to do the "dirty work" when it comes to the video game issue is obviously not helping. But as an responsible parent, I cannot just witness them being glued in front of the TV and I refuse to do so.

She also used to let the play games on her phone right in bed before going to sleep which she finally gave up after many many heated disputes and a lot of scientific articles which confirmed that it is harmful to do so. The fact that she cannot see something so obvious leaves me questioning her judgement and competence as a parent.

When I then take it upon myself to give them a warning an then ultimately shutting of the device when they do not listen, my wife comes in yells at me accusing me of making them cry all the time and not having any compassion. I told her many times that we need to discuss these differences behind close door and her undermining my authority is only harming the boys who need to see a strong role model in their dad and not a villain who is just trying to make them miserable. When she does that however I do lose my cool a lot of time which results in an argument in front of the kids with raised voices which obviously makes things worst for me. This is something I am aware of and something I am trying really hard to correct but at times it's so darn difficult. I am only a human being and have other struggles at work and my own family and sometimes I can't just be like a robot in control of my emotions at all times.

I am so at the end with everything and feel like so helpless. I love my kids to death and want the best for them. As a man I know what it takes to be successful and I firmly believe that giving these wonderful boys structure and discipline now will make their life better. My wife's constant interference is causing me great despair and my inability to deal with the situation has made me come to believe that this marriage is doomed and that I would be better off divorced with shared custody where I can do some effective parenting, even if only part time while trying to get close to my boys. Deep down I don't want a divorce , I wish I could patch things up with my wife and make her see, but after many counselling sessions and may different approaches I don't see it happening anymore. Things are getting worst every year and at this stage I just want to save my boys as I see her as an ignorant and irresponsible woman who would just harm them for her own comfort and personal vendettas.

If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can deal with this situation , please let me know. The heartbreak and concern for my kids is really breaking my back.

Thank you for listening,
John



MomNneed's picture
MomNneed
Aloha John, I feel for you & your situation, It's gotta be tough! I think that you should try suggesting an alternative to the video games, like board games, drawing, coloring, crafts, etc... Something you could do together maybe? I grew up in Hawaii and I never spent time in the house unless I was sick or grounded, video games were non existent in my life growing up. Unfortunately that is not how it is these days. I agree with you that playing video games all the time is not good for kids, however technology is apart of life now, and unless you live off grid, there is no escape from it! I limit my kids video game time to, never before school, only after all homework & chores are done, weekends when we are just sitting around the house being lazy, or if the weather is crappy outside. They understand that video games are a privilege that can be revoked at anytime, and when I say turn it off & go outside they are fine with that.
MomNneed's picture
MomNneed
Continued: As far as your wife, well I think you guys could benefit from some counseling, if nothing else just to document the situation in case you do end up in court. If she is that nasty to you now, it's gonna get a lot worse when your going through a divorce! And if you feel that she is mentally unstable you need to seek professional advice, for the sake of your sanity & for your boy's well being! Make sure you are not the one losing your temper, EVER, that will come back and bite in the end!
johnendoftheroad's picture
johnendoftheroad
Thank you for your reply. I do exactly what you are suggesting when I am home but unfortunately this happens when I am not home and early in the morning when I need to get ready to go to work. The problem really is that my wife does not have the wisdom to understand that it is wrong for a three year old to spend 2 hours a day in front of games. I am very well aware that it is a different time now but using technology and simply wasting so many hours on mindless video game are two different things. My daily struggle trying to get my wife on board to limit the exposure, when I am not there is really harming our relationship and emblematic of the challanges of our relationship where simple common sense issues just don't register with this woman. And without their mother being on board, there is a danger that these kids will also fail to see the problem which will inevitably harm them down the road. Cheers, John
johnendoftheroad's picture
johnendoftheroad
We tried many many counselling sessions. To some extent they help me with controlling myself for a while but ultimately the unreasonable behaviour is too much to handle. She is also seeing an individual councillor, but to my amazement and more so confusion, she uses her sessions to tell me how wrongly I behave instead of correcting her own shortcomings, which from my understanding is the essence of all relationship counselling. You change yourself hoping your partner will be positively affected. She knows this theory , preaches it back to me , yet all I ever heard from her is how my behaviour is affecting everything which basically indicates that she misses the pivotal points of therapy. Unfortunately she lacks logic and common sense which I see as the essential problem in our life. It is also the reason I don't foresee a happy future with her If there is anyway to to put some common sense into someone who lacks it to begin with, please let me know.