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Man Threatens To Leave His Wife Over Her 'Extremely Irrational' Parenting Style

Photo: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock
man and woman couple arguing in the bathroom

One of the most challenging facets of parenting is having consistent rules, so when two parents can agree on a parenting style from the start, it can make raising kids together much more seamless. 

This was the case for one husband and wife, who agreed to "practice authoritative parenting and treat our kids with respect and kindness." According to the husband, he and his wife were able to maintain this parenting style throughout the kids' childhoods. However, once their kids became teenagers, the mother's actions threatened to upend not only her relationship with her daughter but also their marriage.

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The parents agreed to a "collaborative" and "authoritative" parenting style to raise their kids.

The concerned husband and father took to Reddit, worrying that he had gone too far in an argument with his wife after she had changed up her parenting style without warning. In his post, the father explained that he and his wife have always tried to be on the same page with their parenting styles, and they agreed to be equally involved in raising and disciplining their children. So, the father expected that they would be leading their children more through example than through punishment, and, from the sound of it, that is exactly what they did for years.

However, now that their twin son and daughter are 16 years old, the family has experienced more "friction." He explained that his daughter in particular has been wanting more and more independence as of late and that his wife seems to have a hard time dealing with it.

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After his wife suddenly began using harsher discipline methods, the man threatened to leave her.

Explaining what led up to his threat, the man shared a particular instance when his daughter wanted to go to a party at her friend’s house. He explained that her mother took her phone when she got home and looked through it to make sure she hadn’t been lying about where she’d gone.

Although the father was appalled by the invasion of privacy, telling his wife as such, he thought it was a one-time disagreement after she told him that she wouldn’t do it again.

However, the stuff-snatching continued. Less than a week later, she took their daughter’s laptop as well and even threatened to take her door off the hinges “if she found out she was talking to boys.” He was exasperated to hear this, especially because they had never forbade her from talking to boys.

Finally, things came to a head when his wife asked for his help to take their daughter’s door away. He explained that he took his wife aside, where “things got heated.”

"I told her I felt she was being extremely irrational and bullying our daughter and implemting [sic] insane standards they have never had to or should have to expect," he wrote. "I threatened to leave her and take the kids if she didn't start reflecting on what she was doing and start respecting them as people again."

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While not all of the comments were in full agreement, most people agreed that something deeper was going on.

The top comment, while sympathetic to the husband, wondered if something more might be going on that the husband was not aware of, writing, “There is something going on with your wife, but you are right to protect your children from her newly punitive and capricious behavior.”

Though it's impossible to be anything other than speculative with only so much information, some questioned whether his wife was experiencing menopause, which can cause symptoms such as mood swings and irritability. Add that to similar symptoms teenagers going through puberty experience and you have a recipe for disaster as "everyone feels buffeted by hormonal storms that feel new and out of control,” clinical psychologist Lisa Damour told the New York Times.

People also pointed out that the mother's sudden rage seemed only to focus on their daughter, causing some to wonder if his wife could possibly have some deep-rooted trauma surfacing.

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"It sounds like something triggered an old trauma of your wife's. Maybe something bad happened to her around that age," one person commented, which another person agreed with, writing, "One of the strongest pieces of evidence that this isn't about the kids being 'too relaxed' is that your wife isn't talking about taking away your son's door or checking his cell phone. This is somehow specifically related to something bad happening to your daughter because of a boy."

While some of the comments believed that the father was too harsh to threaten to leave her, many found it important that his daughter at least had one parent to defend her, even if he went overboard.

Whatever the case may be, Dr. Damour reminded families "that emotions are like waves, not fire," which will "rise, crest and recede if we let them run their course."

As always, it's a good course of action to seek professional help whenever you find yourself at odds with your partner.

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Amanda Hartmann is a writer who covers human interest stories, relationships, parenting, and more.