Husband Feels Unsupported in Parenting


Hi Brooke,

My husband Brett and I often disagree on how to parent my 14 year old son Lachy. He is very strict and gets angry when Lachy does not listen to him and obey him. Tonight we were sitting as a family eating dinner on the grass by the river. I dropped some food and brushed it off onto the ground where the ducks ate it. Brett told me not to feed the ducks until after dinner as they would all be gathered around while we ate if I fed them. Lachy fed them anyway. Twice. Brett exploded and called him a “f***ing idiot” and told him he felt like “bashing his f***ing head in”. I told him that was enough and that he was embarrassing. He stormed off and went home. I approached him when we got home reiterating (as we have had this discussion before) that his behaviour was abusive and unacceptable. When we discuss these episodes he makes a lot of threats “I’ll just stop parenting him, I don’t have to I have my own son who listens to me…” and accusations “you never say anything, you just let him do what he wants, I’ll let you and his father parent him and see how he turns out”. He tells me he feels unsupported as I didn’t say anything to Lachy when he fed the ducks, as an example. Truthfully I was just enjoying the night and not really paying a lot of attention to Lachy feeding the ducks. I heard Brett tell him off the first time and the second time he lost his temper. I didn’t see much room in between for me to jump in and support him. I know I cannot control how Brett feels but I would prefer he didn’t feel unsupported. I feel that I am not doing the right thing If I ignore that he has expressed this to me and not try and be more supportive…but then I’m really not sure how to do this…I feel like I have to get angry at Lachy and yell at him and scold him (often over things that I really don’t think matter) in order for my husband to feel supported…this doesn’t feel right either. I’m really at a loss here.

C – Brett feels unsupported
T – I don’t know how to support him in a way that feels right to me
F – powerless
A – I don’t do anything
R – Brett gets angry and reinforces his feeling of being unsupported

C – Brett feels unsupported
T – Brett can choose to feel anyway he wants to feel
F – indifferent
A – inaction
R – As above

I’m really lost with this model. Please help.

Cheers,
Corina