Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mom is Afraid That Dad Is Trying To Raise A Bully

Dear Tazi:

My five year old son, "Jacob" is a sweet and active little boy.  He loves to run and play in the yard, but will stop to pick dandelions and run inside to give me a "bouquet".  He enjoys playing ruff-and-tumble games with the neighborhood boys but is equally comfortable giving a little girl a push on the swings.  I love my son dearly, which is why I am concerned about how my husband wishes to raise him.  I think "Jack" is pushing Jacob to be a bully.

I was recently baking chocolate chip cookies for my book club meeting, and Jacob asked if he could help me.  I thought by "help" he meant taste the batter and lick the extra off of the mixing wand, but Jacob was actually interested in knowing how to bake cookies.  He was fascinated that separate ingredients could come together to form something new; wanted to know why the oven had to be a particular temperature in order for the cookies to bake; and what happened to the cookies while they were baking, how they went from being "mushy balls of dough to real cookies" is what he said!

I was so proud of Jacob's curiosity and desire to learn the science behind cooking that I told Jack about my day when he got home.  Big mistake!  Jack accused me of trying to "turn our son into a sissy" and argued that the kitchen is no place for a man.  He then took Jacob outside and told him that it was high time he learned how to play football.  Tazi, Jacob plays soccer and T-ball and is very happy playing both.  I think he is too young to add a third sport to his schedule, but when I said this to Jack later that evening, he let loose with a tirade against both sports, calling them "sissy sports".  He then went on to say that Jacob is too soft, that he is going to end up being bullied if he doesn't start to toughen up, and that I need to loosen the apron strings!  I left the room on the verge of tears!

Tazi, my little boy is only five.  He just started kindergarten in September and he loves it.  He is not having any problems in school; in fact, he has made several new friends, both boys and girls.  His teacher says he is a joy to have in class and is always offering to help her pass out paper and art supplies or to help with the end-of-day clean up before the school bus arrives.  I do not think that Jacob is maladjusted in any way and I do not want my husband to discourage Jacob's natural curiosity - even if Jacob wanted to bake cookies because he enjoys baking!  Can you give me some advice on how to stand up to my husband?  I considered using your "Cut and Serve Paw Slap of Disgust" but I couldn't remember which column it was printed in; plus I am afraid that giving one to Jack will just make the problem worse.

Jacob's Mom

Dear Jacob's Mom:

Excuse my a minute while I contact Chef Emeril Lagasse to tell him that, because he is a man, his place is not in the kitchen.  I will let your husband handle Chef Gordon Ramsey and even provide a fresh litter-box so you can bury what remains of your husband once he has handled the situation.  I am hoping that my dry humor is not lost through the printed word - as scary as Chef Ramsey is, I do not believe he has ever gone Sweeney Todd on anyone.

Your son Jacob sounds like a wonderful little boy, and I do not think that issues with bullying - either being one or hurt by one - is something in his immediate future.  As a parent, you are right to to keep an ever vigilant eye on the issue to make certain that the problem, should it arise, is nipped in the bud.  I do not think the problem here is with your son, but with your husband's impression of the relationship between you and your son.

The fact that Jack called Jacob's sports "sissy sports" is unnerving.  Your child is five years old!  Does your husband expect him to play tackle football at that age?  The comment that it is time for you to "loosen the apron strings" gives me a clue to Jack's side of the story.  Does your husband feel like a third wheel in the relationship between you and your son?  Or is he allowed to be an active participant in his son's life and childhood development?  Do you push your husband aside - inadvertently or purposely - when it comes to making decisions regarding your son?  Do you welcome your husband to spend time with Jacob - together with you or as Daddy and son time?

I get the impression that you are a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom), which means you get to spend a great deal more time with your son, even now that he has started school.  Your husband could be feeling jealous of the close relationship that has developed between you and Jacob.  Not only does this closeness leave him out in the cold as a father, it also affects his closeness to you as your husband.  It could be that Jack feels he is no longer the #1 man in your life.

The issues you are facing with the raising of your son could reflect deeper issues in your marriage - issues of which you may not yet be aware.  I suggest that you hold off on delivering a Tazi-Kat Paw Slap of Disgust until you have had the chance to sit and talk with your husband in a neutral setting, sans Jacob.  Ask your husband if he feels left out of Jacob's life, if he feels you are the one doing all the child-raising and he is left to sit on the sidelines and watch.  Let Jack's answers guide your next move, which may include parenting classes or marital counseling.  Remember that counseling is not only for people who have problems - many couples seek counseling to resolve small problems before they become big ones!


P.S.  I have added a permanent page to this website, offering a "Cut and Serve Tazi-Kat Paw Slap of Disgust", Original, Claws Out, or Cute Kitten style!  Check it out!  --T.K.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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