For years now I’ve been feeling like my husband treats our son differently than he does the other kids, like a step-child. For all practical purposes, my son really is his step-son…my son is from a previous relationship and we now have two daughters together. I have, at times, criticized my husband for the way he speaks to my son. On numerous occasions, I’ve voiced that he speaks too harshly and that he should soften up a bit. In contrast, he seems to handle our daughters with kid gloves and speaks in a much softer tone always. Of course, they are considerably younger than my son, but it still made me feel uneasy at times. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to tell my husband how much this was bothering me, and had been for so long. It was then that he explained to me and admitted that he does treat my son differently than our other children.
He began to tell me that no matter how hard I tried, I could never teach a boy how to be a man. He further explained to me that the fact that he uses a firm tone with our son has nothing to do with him being his step-son. He would be the same way if he had his own biological son…”it’s just what guys do.” He said that one of the many roles as a father is to teach their son how to be a “hunter” and that he refuses to raise a lazy or worthless young man. I appreciated the way he broke down to me why he treats the girls the way that he does. So eloquently, he said he wants them to understand and to know what its like to be treated with respect at all times and that its his job to be their first love. His exact words were, “Let me spoil them so that I can set the bar high and there will be few [men] that will be able to compete.”
After the explanation of why my husband treated our son and daughters differently, I feel very foolish. I feel like I questioned his actions and his character – the man that I chose to marry. How could I do that? I know he loves and cares about my son. How could I question this? Without beating myself up over it, I simply took my protective mother blinders off and began to open my eyes and realize that God had blessed me with an insightful, compassionate man to help me raise our children. Even though our roles cross and merge from time to time, I get it now. I understand better that my role is to also be a leader, but provide them with love and the nurturing that only a mother can provide. To also be admired by our children and set the standards high for my son, so he’ll know what to look for in his future wife. I have the soft voice that our son needs to hear, as well as the loving arms he needs to embrace him and to provide the balance that he needs. For my daughters, I thank God for the Daddy’s girls that my husband has created as I continue show them how to be little ladies.
So, yes it is a known fact that my husband treats our son differently than he does the girls, but after hearing and understanding that my husband’s intentions are sincere and seeing the amazing children that we are rearing together, I’m grateful for the difference!
BMWK – Have you ever questioned how your spouse treats/disciplines your kids (their step-kids?) How did you handle this in your family? How do you handle differences in disciplinary styles in your family?