Blognonymous – Is it acceptable?

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Is it acceptable for a parent to tell their child to their face that they wish they had never had that child?

I witnessed this recently. The parent was my wife, the child our younger son.

Our son is primary school age and exhibits some challenging behaviour. He is quick tempered, anger-prone and easily frustrated. Much of this is directed indiscriminately but not exclusively at his mother.

My wife suffers occasional mild bouts of depression. Her mood can swing sharply. Sometimes having to deal with our son’s attitude is enough to tip her over the edge.

Neither of us tolerate his belligerent behaviour but we have different ways of dealing with it. I am strict and will administer a telling off and punishment if I see fit. I try to instill a sense of cause and effect. My wife swings between being lenient and extremely angry. When it is the latter it only serves to escalate the situation.

The other night, something caused my wife to explode. Our son was upset at having a privilege withdrawn by me following an incident of bad behaviour. Even though she had not been involved in the incident, my wife took it upon herself to make it clear how unhappy she was with our son’s behaviour. It was during this tirade she got right up in our son’s face and told him she wished she had not had any more children after our first.

I intervened and made her leave the room. Our son was crying and shaking. I calmed him down and tried to convince him that mum was just angry and upset and that people say things they don’t mean in those circumstances.

In truth I was shocked by my wife’s behaviour. To lose one’s temper is one thing; to lose all apparent sense of reason is another. When the boys went to bed I tried to discuss the outburst with her. I made it clear it was unacceptable, but she was unrepentant. I told her that I would rather see her leave than subject our boy to such abuse.

Our son needs considered and consistent discipline, that much is clear. His attitude at times could test the patience of a saint. Neither of us are saints, but up until this incident I didn’t think we were monsters either. This incident frightened my son and frightened me too. I don’t know what to do for the best.
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