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Dear Annie: Hostile parenting has repercussions

Dear Annie: I have been married six years and have two children. I am worried about my husband’s relationship with our 5-year-old son. My husband is very stern and has an unwavering view of right and wrong. I disagree with many of his ideas about parenting, and our relationship suffers as a result.

My husband and my son do not talk, play ball or anything else I expect a father and son to do. The only thing my husband does consistently is criticize, yell and belittle. My son gets upset, and my husband taunts or spanks him instead of comforting him. I admit I baby him, but I justify that because I am compensating for my husband’s harsh behavior.

My son has recently begun saying he doesn’t love his daddy, doesn’t care about him, wishes he were not home, etc. Is this going to create any long-term effects on his self-esteem? As a stay-at-home mom, I do not feel I have many options other than to stick around until I am in a position to make it on my own with the children. What can I do to make sure there aren’t any repercussions? – A Concerned Mother

Dear Mother: Unless your husband changes his behavior, there will be repercussions no matter what you do. His parenting is emotionally and verbally abusive, and you are overcompensating. Talk to your pediatrician and get a referral for a family therapist who can help your husband learn how to be a decent father. If necessary, see the therapist on your own and have the pediatrician speak to your husband. This behavior pattern must not be allowed to continue.

Dear Annie: A few months ago, I received two marriage proposals. I have not given a response to either man.

My family adores “Chet.” However, since his proposal he has been dodging me. He’s even making plans to buy a house with a male friend. He’s smart, goofy and very protective. He just doesn’t seem to have any initiative when it comes to planning a future.

The other man, “Dennis,” is a couple of years older. He adores me and treats me like a princess. He is very prepared for his future. The only problem is, my family doesn’t like him.

So here I am with these two great guys who love me. I love them, too, but it isn’t fair to string them along. Which one should I pick? – Confused and Torn

Dear Confused: Neither. If you are in love with two men, you cannot fully commit to either. It’s flattering to have two marriage proposals, but we strongly urge you to turn them both down, at least right now. When you are truly ready to make this decision, you will know which is the best choice.

To our Baha’i Readers: Happy Ayyam-i-Ha.

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