A woman turned to the internet for help after her husband got upset with her parenting choices. She reached out to the popular Reddit community “Am I The A**hole?” to see if she was in the wrong for a parenting disagreement with her husband.
She explained that their seven-year-old daughter has been getting out of bed two to five times every night for the past six months due to a sleep regression, requesting that she or her husband “tuck her back in.”
The mom explains that when her husband takes a turn putting their daughter back to sleep, the behavior becomes more frequent due to how he handles the situation. She, on the other hand, is a bit more no-nonsense and to the point when she takes her daughter back to her bed.
“In my eyes this is because he goes all in. Doing things like singing to her, cuddling her, talking to her, instead of placing her back in bed and going back to sleep,” she wrote.
“She basically gets a ton of attention with him at night and it makes her get up more. I’ve tried to explain this to him but he dismisses it, so I usually get up with her to try to curb the behavior by giving minimal feedback and just putting her back in bed,” she said.
One night, things came to a head when their daughter woke them up around 3 A.M. Understandably annoyed and tired, she explained to her daughter that she was a “big girl” and she could tuck herself back into bed. When her daughter refused, all hell broke loose.
“So I told her goodnight. She began full on screaming at the top of her lungs and crying. I tell her that I’m going to count to three and she can either stop screaming or we can go downstairs. At this point she’s woken her siblings and I’m trying to contain the situation. I count to three she’s screaming more. I lift her out of bed and lead her by the hand to the stairs,” she explained.
When her husband woke up due to the commotion, he offered to take over. The two argued, and she accused him of undermining her parenting. Despite her husband’s hovering and watchful eye on the middle-of-the-night tantrum, she got her daughter to calm down and tuck herself in.
After going back to sleep, the OP explains that her husband expressed his frustration with his wife, accusing her of “abusing” their child.
“I try to explain but he ignores me and marches downstairs to the couch. I try to talk to him again and he just insists that I’m abusing our daughter. I was admittedly short with her but besides leading her downstairs by the hand I did not touch her and I don’t feel I was overly mean in trying to enforce her tucking herself in when she finds herself uncovered in the middle of the night. So, AITAH?” she asks.
After 4.7 upvotes on the subreddit and over 1k comments, Reddit users weighed in with their opinion on the tense situation.
Several users sided with the OP, saying that her husband was definitely reaching when it came to accusing her of abusing their daughter.
“NTA. You 100% have the right approach and as someone who’s spent years working with kids, you’re right that he’s encouraging her. Your husband was undermining you and that’s absolutely not okay,” one user said before noting that maybe this needs to be a bigger conversation between parents.
“However, it seems he has pretty strong views on how to handle this (and is clearly quite affected by her being upset, which in itself is not a bad thing but his response to you was bad), so I feel like you’re going to need to sit down and calmly get on the same page with this. Right now your daughter has good cop/bad cop parents and she’s quickly going to learn how to manipulate her dad at your expense.”
Others agreed that their daughter was definitely old enough to manipulate and that’s exactly what’s happening here.
“Your husband has taught your daughter that if she wakes up at night he will give her a lot of attention. Of course a child loves that,” one user said.
“You need to show a united front to your daughter so she knows what to expect from the both of you and know that there’s no wiggle room.”
One user said that there were no a**holes in this situation. Instead, they’re just two people with different parenting styles.
“It sounds like he’s more of an attachment parenting guy and you’re more of a behaviorist,” they wrote.
“Kids have gotten through periods like this with all kinds of parenting styles. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong approach here.”
Other Reddit users sided with the OP’s husband, saying that she was being too harsh on the child and recommending that she and her husband get to the root of their daughter’s sleep regression.
“This makes so much more sense than all of the ‘kids need to toughen up’ bullshit. Yes, waking up over and over again brings you to your limit. But your child clearly has a problem and you’re just shutting her down. I’m a mother myself. I know how hard getting no sleep is. But my children come first. Always. YTA,” one user said.
“Your daughter is 7 and she wants her parents. She is obviously scared or something. YTA for brushing off your daughter’s emotional needs,” another said frankly.
While the responses may be mixed, it seems that there is a happy medium somewhere, but it starts with not only getting to the root of the issue but also OP and her husband showing a united front. Parenting is hard, but it’s also about working together in tense moments.