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Husband Says His Wife Won't Let Their Daughter Take A Bath More Than Once A Week Or 'Make Noise Or Yell'

Photo: Maria Leonova / Shutterstock & Mumsnet
Mom, dad and daughter

A father took to the Internet to voice his concerns about his wife’s problematic parenting habits

He worries that she is negatively affecting their daughter’s development and well-being and is seeking the advice of other parents on how to alleviate the situation. 

Sharing his story on the U.K.-based parenting forum, Mumsnet, the father asked what he should do regarding his wife’s parenting of their five-year-old daughter. He began his post by revealing that he and his wife have been married for 13 years. Although he claims that their relationship is “not great” they both love their daughter immensely. However, their views on parenting vary greatly. 

The man describes his wife’s parenting of their daughter as ‘obsessive’ and ‘controlling.’ 

The man says that his wife is “obsessively controlling” of their daughter.  “She will not allow DD [dear daughter] to play with cold (or) warm water; she only bathes her one or a maximum of two times a week because of the fear that she will get a cold,” he writes. He says his wife "freaks out" whenever their child shows signs of illness and, even in mild weather, dresses her in "two t-shirts, a jumper, and a jacket."

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Source: Mumsnet

His wife also limits their daughter’s activities around the house and does not allow her to participate in household duties. “DD is not allowed to help in the kitchen while I prepare something to cook or put her hand on anything meat,” the father writes. “If she does, she must wash her hand instantly; otherwise, Mum gets very upset.” Their daughter is also forbidden by her mother from touching her face to anything, even the floor as she is playing on it. 

Additionally, their daughter is not to make any noise while she is having playtime, per her mother’s rules. “She can’t be herself,” her father says. “The wife is always autocratic with our dd and almost always says to dd, ‘Don't do this..., don't do that..., don't touch this..., don't touch that,’ etc…  I understand these are everyday things to say to kids, but this is constant throughout the day. She monitors every move of DD.” 

Source: Mumsnet

The girl’s mother is also hardly ever affectionate toward her, according to her father. “It is scarce when my wife is cuddly with DD,” he writes. “When I point this out, she says she is always cuddly with her but doesn't like to be cuddly with dd when I am home. The wife seems almost always to be grumpy and unhappy.” 

The father claims that his wife’s constant control is beginning to affect their daughter’s behavior. “I have noticed that my DD becomes very frustrated and angry because of this, to the extent that she goes into a complete rage where she can't control herself and throws herself violently on the floor.” 

The father is at a loss, feeling “frustrated” and “angry” by his wife’s treatment of their child. “I feel that the above affects the mental health of my daughter,” he admits. He asks other parents on the forum if anything can be done regarding the situation. 

Other parents suggested that the man’s wife seek the help of therapy and that he discuss this with her. 

Some even pointed out that her parenting behaviors could be the result of anxiety or depression and that she would benefit from professional help. 

“The ultra-controlling behavior makes me feel that your wife needs some therapy to unpick why she is like this,” one user commented. “I don't doubt she loves your daughter and her behavior is based on fear but it's so deeply unhealthy and your child is going to end up with all manner of problems going forward.” 

“It is really important that you make it clear to your wife that she needs some help,” another user wrote. “It sounds to be like your wife is extremely risk averse, germaphobic, and has high health anxiety in regards to your dd. All of this is unhealthy and damaging behavior. Your DD needs to be able to explore the world around her in a safe way and she is expressing her feelings in the only way she can by having a meltdown.”

A clinical psychologist explained to YourTango how helicopter parenting hinders the growth of children. 

Although her mother may have the best intentions for her daughter, her constant monitoring and controlling of every aspect of the girl’s life will only harm her in the long run. Dr. Sharon Saline, Psy.D.,  a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience, explains the impotence of children learning to do things for themselves without the constant monitoring of their parents.

“Kids need to learn how to be self-sufficient, advocate for themselves and recover from disappointment. This is how we all grow and mature,” she says. 

While she notes that it can be difficult for parents to watch their children struggle and want to jump in and intervene, they should allow their children to discover the world around them without their constant guidance to help them grow.

“When parents intervene in ways that block kids from making their own choices and understanding the natural consequences, they deprive their children of figuring out how to maneuver in the world around them and developing a growth mindset,” she says.  “Of course, there are extenuating circumstances such as health and safety issues that require parental intervention. But, there is a big difference between supervision and control. When children hear 'No' repeatedly, they may stop trying, learning, and exploring.” 

Dr. Sharon Saline also emphasizes the importance of parents working collaboratively when it comes to child-rearing. “In this family situation, the parents have to work out how to co-parent more effectively in the best interest of their child or they will weaken her curiosity, self-esteem, and sense of personal security,” she adds. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.