Daddy = Punishment....?

I know this might sound ridiculous to most of you but it is an issue I am facing right now. My husband and son never had a strong bond due to some Iraq deployments. I try to get them to play together and have a positive relationship but I am not very successful with that. My son will reject the help of his or to play with his dad and his father has resigned himself to a place of physically being there (playing his videogames) unless he needs to punish our son. Yesterday my son made a deliberate Number 2 in his pants and didn't wanna go change so my husband overreacted and punished him (with two whoops on the bottom. Oh believe me we had quite a seriouse talk after that one ). I know this sounds bad and I agree in my mind all alarm lights started flashing ( i don't like whoops and resort to it only as my very last option, I have about 10 other punishments that don't involve physical whoops. Generally for me its enough when I change my voice and my son goes into tears). Today my son had an accident in bed and when his father tried to comfort him he cried as if he was being abused. He didnt even wanna be in the same room with him. I think my son associates daddy with time outs and whoops and other punishments only, as you can imagine thats hardly the relationship I want them to have. Anyone have any tips and advice on how to get the two of them closer again. I went to a sick friend today and left my son with Daddy and my husband said it took him an hour to calm him down and he kept saying " I am a good boy". I punish my son too and am quite strict with him but we have a loving, fun relationship most of the time. Any ideas on how to approach this problem?


We do not fight in front of my child. We wait till he is asleep to solve the issues we cant adress in front of him. The relationship between my husband and me is fine too. Yes we have issues every once in a while and differences in opinions but show me a couple that doesn't.

Update 2:

He has been home for a little over a year now so its not a new situation that he is there. He is 3 and a half years old.

Update 3:

I will be choosing a best answer today but before that I just wanted to say thank you for reading taking me seriously and notMaking me feel like I am a worthless parent. I talked to my husband and find out that this was the way his dad was. Since therir relationship is distant at best we have decided to change a few things. For starters :

We have schedualed some play activities between the two of them on daily basis with the over acting that was recommended by one of you. We have also schedualed 1 day a week where he will take him on a walk (the kid on his bike) to the playground by themselves. We will buy a game thats fun that is just for Daddy and him. On his nights of he will take over the bedtime routine and he will not discipline him for a while. When they get settled with the new situation he will be able to give him timeouts again.

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You don't say how old your son is. I'm thinking he's on the young side.

    If Daddy hasn't been around much, you have to understand "stranger danger" that is normal for youngsters. He doesn't understand "Daddy's home". To him, the large man in the house is frightning and he had no idea how to deal with it.

    Now, this man grabs him and swats him, well, what's the poor kid supposed to do? I'd have screamed too.

    You need to get dad away from the video games. That doesn't count as "daddy time". Video games shut off meaningful interaction.

    Set up things for them to do together, and cater it to the child's interests and age group.

    It could be as simple as play-doh or a trip to a local amusement park.

    They need to spend time together.

    Daddy seems like he may need some parenting classes. It's worth seeking therapy as well.


    Have dad get some of his toys and sit on the floor in the living room playing with them. (Shut off the TV/video games)

    Yes, daddy all by himself, playing with the kid's toys.

    Ignoring the child.

    This sets up a non-confrontational environment for the child to approach his dad and interact on his terms. TIP: Dad instantly gives the toy to the kid if he asks for it. Try to get them playing together, but if the kid freaks over a certain toy, give it to him.

    Praise curiosity, involvement and interaction. Ignore everything else. You can point out that the dad has the toys. Say, "What's daddy doing?", or "Did you see Elmo?". Dad should promptly start making silly sounds and "over acting" out with the toys.

    Silliness always breaks the ice with children.

    Good luck.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My little cousin and her father had the exact same problem. It took her almost a year to get over the change of him being there as a dad and a friend. I would suggest finding something your son really loves to do like going roller skating or batting cage, any thing age appropriate that your son can relate a good memory with his dad. Try and just let the guys go.. Your son wont like it at first but soon when he realizes hes going to do something really fun he'll calm down a bit.. Try and make sure your son isn't corrected a lot that night. You want a good memory not a bad one from being corrected a lot. I hope this helps. It definitely helped with my cousin and her dad.

    But sometimes it really does just take time.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oh wow, I'm so sorry. Since your husband was away from so long, your son doesn't have the same bond to him as a parent that he does to you. He may see his dad as some big man he doesn't really know.

    Since your husband isn't listening to you enough about being gentle with him, maybe you could ask your pediatrician to mention something about how it would be very beneficial for them to bond? Maybe she could also advise him to not "whoop" your son.

    Maybe family therapy would be helpful. My friend's mom is a therapist just for people who served in Iraq. Someone who hasn't experienced all that couldn't possibly understand. Maybe your husband just spends his time playing video games as a form of escapism. He clearly needs to be more involved.

    In the meantime, trying holding your son in a warm hug while sitting next to his dad and telling him what a good boy he is and how much Daddy loves him. Just keep telling him this and giving him assurances. He just wants to feel safe and loved.

  • 1 decade ago


    It's the same with my son and husband. But, as other people have said, you can't force a relationship on them. My son & husband have never really been the best of friends, and my husband has been deployed many times and they were all at curtail times that our son would need him. My son would get angry and became resentful towards his dad, which broke my heart !! As he got older their relationship got more and more strained, and they couldn't go two minutes without a yelling match. It sucked !! All you can do is talk to your husband. I understand that authority is a big part of this problem. With my husband being in the service too, you need to teach him to draw the line between soldiers and son. They are two completely different things and he needs to understand that. His son is little and he needs a calm relaxed environment to grow in. Your husband needs to understand that his son is begging for his dads love ..... he needs to understand that his son lves him, but getting mad a 3 year old and not being rational has to stop.

    My son is 15. Him and my husband still have a crapy relationship, but both do try to get along. I think now, it has more to do with personality clashes than anything else. They really are the exact same, and it's funny the way they both clam to opposites !! My husband loves our son and vice versa, but that relationship has many vrakes in it's foundation.

    E-mail me if you need anymore advice ....

    Source(s): been there and tried eveything.....
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • hi youre son is three years old know he can keep on having accidents til five years old ...hitting a wee boy for this is asking for problems if his dad is only getting involved how else do you expect him to react ...with open arms and full of cuddles for this man to tower over him and shout at him ,an that would be going on ,and then smack him or as you put it whoop him ,its the same trhing at the end of the day ,how else did youre husband expect his son to react ,the last time his father was close to him he was getting a whoop across his backside an youre son has had another wet session an then its all cuddles ,stop and think about it youre self ,if you were youre son ,would you think you were going to get a "its ok right we'll get it sorted "or more like right another whoop ...he is 3years old ,36mths into his life give or take a few months cut this wee boy some slack there are plenty of years ahead when you really will need to get tough on him ....just wait til the teen years get here ...oh boy ...theres being strict and then there is this situation ,id love to know how you know it was done diliberatly ....if he is having problems and there is no doubt that there are an you cant disagree with that as youre here looking for ideas an advice....youre husband needs to see him as a wee boy not someone that is in the army or what ever service he was in ...this is common ,but can be sorted ,you both need to start working this out together and by leaving youre son with his dad and him getting into this type of state is not good for him ,his dad needs to do a lot of work getting his relationship with his son ...and that is the whole point it has to come from him ,drawing,playing computer games or what ever youre wee boy loves doing but you are going to have to be in an around the place til he feels safe an happy with his dad ....i know that sounds like im being horrible but at the moment that is how youre wee boy is feeling ....unsafe ,with the cries of im a good boy screams im really scared and dont leave me im going to get hit ....what im saying is a true reflection of what this son of youres is seeing things ,start by going places and doing fun things together and then eventually he is going to get to the stage of hearing you say ..."right im going out ...youre staying with daddy " an him saying "ok ...bye mum "an giving you kisses not a huge pile of tears and screams i said at the start im not trying to hurt you or upset you but this can be sorted out ,but this is something that his mummy an daddy need to work on together ,,,....good luck and take care xx

  • 1 decade ago

    back off you cant force a relationship to happen Some times you cant blame a problem on something else if he is in iraq or not there are difficulties between children and parents and spouses there is a relationship prob. Communication between parents an any situation war city suburban is the key mostly non agreeable but don't argue in front of your kids.i think the problem is more with the relationship you have together than anything to do with the child. You two do you have the commitment it takes?

  • 1 decade ago

    Sorry about this situation. It must be difficult for all 3 of you. I think it's good for the two of them to spend time without you. Although there are the whoops times, your husband doesn't sound abusive. Have them do a project together or something fun just for the two of them. In doing this, they'll have a good time without really any punishment needed. Soon they should have a good bond.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    NO! I for sure think of which you probably did properly and next time, you could decrease his hair while he's sound asleep! If he tries to punish you, tell him how many dislikes he has on Youtube.

  • 1 decade ago

    wow poor kid is traumatized

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.