‘Awful’ Husband Criticized Over Sulking Attitude Towards His Young Kids

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A woman hesitant to end her marriage for fear of “throwing” her children “under the bus” by leaving them alone with her husband has received a wave of support from users on Mumsnet.

According to a post shared by the woman (under the username Hygge88) on the online forum, where he received over 100 comments, her husband “plays lots of video games or looks at his phone” but can be “vv [very very] affectionate” with their two sons, who are 4 and 18 months.

However, the “moment it starts to go wrong,” her husband “disengages” and it can result in shouting.

The wife said she’s “fed up” with his “lack of patience,” explaining it’s “all getting worse” and that “there is an unkindness now.”

She is “absolutely” prepared to leave her husband. “But the only thing stopping me is him going for 5050 [50 percent of custody over the kids]…I just can’t get my head round leaving DC [dear children] with him for any length of time.”

She explained that while they’d be fed and changed, they “also might be ignored, shouted at,” and her husband will “most likely…sulk.”

The wife says her husband displays “awful behavior” by sulking if one of their kids breaks a toy or refuses to eat dinner.

She said: “I feel like if I leave, I’m almost throwing DC [dear children] under the bus. Like they have to now deal with him alone.”

A father looking at his phone with his back turned to his daughter, who is sitting by a lake with arm crossed.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

The woman’s fear of not having full custody of her children should she decide to leave her husband isn’t entirely unfounded.

A 10-year study of US child custody cases, published in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Lawlooked at the use of parental alienation claims to discredit a mother alleging that the father has been abusive or was unsafe for the children.

Parental alienation happens mainly in high-conflict divorces in which the child identifies strongly with one parent, usually the custodial parent, according to WebMD. The other parent is rejected for no valid reason.

The study, by Joan Meier, a professor at George Washington University Law School, found that, even when courts believe a mother has been abused by the father, if the court also believes the mother is alienating, some moms still lose custody to abusive dads .

The study found that “mothers’ claims of abuse, especially child physical or sexual abuse, increase their risk of losing custody, and that fathers’ cross-claims of alienation virtually double that risk.”

Mumsnet users showed support for the woman in the latest post, with several encouraging her to leave the husband, saying it was unlikely her husband would want 50 percent of child custody, based on his behavior.

User MintJulia said: “I had the same concern OP [original poster]. I shouldn’t have worried. Judging by your description of your dh’s behavior, impatience, lack of engagement, dislike …I don’t think you have anything to worry about. He won’t want 50:50.”

User Goldfishjones agreed that the husband “won’t go for 50:50,” advising the woman to “just leave, you’ll all be so much happier. Walking on eggshells 24/7 is exhausting, you don’t realize until you don’t have to do it anymore..”

AttilaTheMeerkat said the original poster’s fear of leaving the kids with her husband for any length of time is “still no reason to stay with such a man because he will also teach your children really damaging about relationships. They are already seeing you (and in turn them) being abused at his hands.”

The user said the man is a “deadbeat” husband and dad, “so why subject your children to more of this from him just because of some supposition of yours which is also not based on fact,” adding “I doubt whether such a man would want 50/50 in all reality…”

Other suggested counseling/therapy and parenting courses may be an alternative solution.

User SleepingStandingUp said: “Would he be open to counseling? What happens if you challenge him on his behavior?”, while user RandomMess advised “looking for some parenting courses to do together.”

User SunnySideDeepDown was more diplomatic, stating: “One massive positive is that he cares about parenting and child behavior…but the way he’s going about it is a bit of a car crash,” adding that the woman and the husband should “definitely “try couples counseling.

“Sounds like there’s lots of resentment and a power struggle. But it sounds like you both care. Cling onto that and find someone who can help facilitate a shared approach going forwards,” the user said.

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