When making parenting decisions as a couple, sometimes you encounter a significant difference in opinions and approaches between you and your partner. After all, everyone’s parenting style is heavily influenced by how they were raised and their individual personalities.
When one woman’s husband gets mad at her for not supporting him in punishing their adult daughter, she ponders if her approach is the problem. She asks on a popular online forum; is she the a**hole for not backing up her husband and sending their adult daughter to her room?
The OP begins by explaining some details about the relationship she has with her daughter, who she calls Sienna. She says her daughter takes after her in many ways and that she can understand her daughters’ moods well because of their similarities.
“Sienna and I have always been very close. We’re a lot alike, share similar interests, etc. We’re also both very stubborn,” the OP says. She continues, “I’ve always been okay with her voicing her opinions, challenging me, etc. I don’t want her to blindly respect me. We occasionally have a tiny tiff or whatever, but we always make up rather quickly.”
This approach to communicating with her daughter differs significantly from the OP’s husband’s view. The OP explains, “My husband grew up in a very different household. He never would’ve questioned his mother, even as an adult. It’s been very hard for him to accept that it’s healthy for Sienna to voice her opinions and not blindly accept our word.”
The OP insists that allowing Sienna to express herself freely is healthy and important and tells her husband that she is not offended by the way their daughter speaks to her. The OP’s husband remains firm that how Sienna speaks to her mother is disrespectful and rude.
This difference in opinions remains an ongoing issue for the OP and her husband and the subject of many conversations. “My husband often gets irritated when Sienna and I have a disagreement. I’ve told him before that this is healthy communication,” shares the OP. She adds, “We’ve had several discussions with him about respecting our relationship and how it works.”
At this point, the OP also clarifies that the ‘disagreements’ she and her daughter have are both minor and infrequent. “We may just have a minor disagreement, or we’ll roll our eyes at one another, joke around, etc., a few times a week,” says the OP.
Despite having discussed the matter on multiple occasions, the issue remains unsettled. Over dinner one night, the same problem arises once again. The OP explains that her daughter had a rough day at school and was in a bad mood. The tension leads to an interaction that sets off the argument at hand.
The OP explains, “She had already told me she didn’t want to talk about it, so I respected her. She ended up getting a little snappy when I asked her if she wanted to do something, and I just told her there were better ways of answering that, and she rolled her eyes.”
“I was ready to let it go when my husband jumped in and told Sienna to go to her room for “being disrespectful.” She said she’s an adult, and he said she lives rent-free in his house; she needs to listen,” the OP states.
As already established, the OP does not take offense to what Sienna says as her husband does. “I told him that I didn’t mind, and he said that he didn’t want to hear this attitude,” the OP says.
The OP reasons why she is okay with her daughter talking to her that way, saying, “I know she and I will discuss it later, and she’ll apologize; we all have bad days.” Still, her husband is unhappy and lets the OP know, wearing out the OP’s patience and leading to an awkward end to the family’s dinner.
The OP shares, “He said he is tired of hearing the two of us squabble and her talk to me like this. I said I was tired of him trying to control my relationship with her. By his own admission, Sienna won’t talk to him that way, so why does it matter?”
The OP chooses to stand behind her daughter, concluding, “I said Sienna wasn’t going to her room unless she wanted to, end of discussion. In the end, my husband went up to our room. He hasn’t spoken to me since, and things are a little tense.”
Looking at the reactions from commenters, we find a mixed bag of responses. A healthy amount of people agreed with the OP. One user says, “NTA(not the a**hole). You and your daughter have a reasonable dynamic, and he’s projecting his childhood trauma on you two. He needs therapy, and if he isn’t going to get it, it’s up to you to stick up for your daughter.”
Another person voices, “NTA. Regardless of whether she pays rent, Sienna is a tenant and an adult. Your husband needs to learn that “respect” isn’t only due to those in positions of authority and is deserved by everyone. Even Sienna, and even when she’s having a bad day.”
Others thought the husband had a point and found OP’s daughter’s behavior the problem. “YTA (you’re the a**hole). You’re training your daughter to be the obnoxious one. And you’re making your husband the villain for not wanting to put up with it,” says one user.
“You actually believe that listening to people as they squabble has zero effect on the listener? If this is a regular communication mode for you and your daughter, you’ve been draining your husband’s energy for a very long time. It matters. YTA,” adds another.
What do you think of this situation? Should the OP have made her daughter go to her room despite her age? Or is the OP’s husband being too unreasonable with his stance on the arguing? What would you do if faced with a similar scenario?
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Inspired by this thread – photos for illustrative purposes.