Were we both wrong? - FamilyEducation
Were we both wrong?
05/17/2013 at 05:10 AM

Hi there, my wife and I had a situation recently whereby she said she had 'promised' the kids a sweet treat, I am suspect about the use of the word promise as to be honest it would be unusal for her to say, 'I promise you can have a yogurt later' more likely she would say, 'yes you can have a yogurt later if you eat all your dinner/behave' I know her and her language and the latter sounds more plausible, however I digress... she 'promised' the kids a treat, my wife and I were busy and the kids wanted me to sort this treat for them as they had now finished dinner, I said they would need to wait a few minutes, they continued to whine and complain, we want it now, on and on.. I said again the only reward you will receive for continued complaining and whining is to lose the treat, now wait a few minutes and we will sort it, any more and I will refuse the treat, their whining continued.. I then said right im sorry but that's it, no treat for you now, it's very sad but I tried to warn you and you would not be patient. The kids were then understandably upset, the end of the world had come to see their reaction but I was resolute and said, no you were warned about your behaviour and Im sorry but dad is not changing his mind over this now. I exited the room only to come back and discover my wife had given all the kids the treat I refused them and then proceeded to tell me she had made a promise and I had no right to break that promise on her behalf over their beahviour, (even though she had been silent for the whole transaction up until this point) the youngest is not yet 6 and I was unfair to expect him to be patient and even more unfair to make her word void by breaking her promise. I suggested that it was not about her promise, (one I had no knowledge of her actually making until she revealed this after I had handed out the punishment), it was about the childrens behaviour and she had undermined me by giving them the treat I had taken away from them. Am I wrong to feel aggrieved by this or was I wrong to break her 'promise' how then does this work in future times, say she is not there and I have to punish the children, how am I to know my punishment wont be overturned as she tells me 'she promised' this or that without my prior knowledge, are we to tell each other everything we 'promise' each day so it is off the table, withold punishments until we are both present in order to negate any undermining in future, as we all know bad behaviour needs dealing with rapidly rather than waiting.

Thoughts folks


I totally agree with you in this scenario, if she had made this "promise" why was she so silent when the complaining was going on? but the issue seems deeper than this you guys need to get together and discuss further discipline with the children make her aware that you don't want to be perceived as the "bad guy" and that you both support the other when consequences are handed down, now if you wanna go and discuss things later with one another that is fine for instance whenever something like that comes up with my and my spouse I will let whatever he says stand I will then talk with him when the kids are not around tell him my thoughts and in your case the whole "promise" that was made but I always let him tell the kids if the consequence is lifted just so the kids know that both he and I have the authority and what one of us says goes and cannot be trumped by the other so he may come back and tell the kids he does not condone their actions

I think there is nothing wrong in treating the kids as being promised by your wife as it was her promise. You should have supported your wife promise for the kid treat otherwise they might have become resilient and would never accept you words. But I think the decision should be taken together so that there might not be issue in supporting it.

Jollysmith, I understand what you are saying but as I say in my post, it would be unusal for her to 'promise' a treat and she was silent the whole time this was occuring, had she piped up and said, I have promised them so we should perhaps find another punishment if they do not settle down or do as they are told, then fair enough, but the point is she did not do that and then only succeeded in having us fall out and for me to look un supported and stupid to the kids as it then appears her word carries more weight, either that or she can be won over while dad is out the way, as she gave the treat here whilst I was out the room. In my view she buckled to pressure from the upset children and decided to make out she had promised them something in order to allow them what they wanted and to be the good cop to my bad cop.