Yesterday my six year old daughter said to me "I wish you were dead". When I recovered from my surprise, I asked her why she wished I was dead. Her reply: "Then Mommy wouldn't get mad at you all the time."
Kids often will say something like "I hate you" or "I wish you would die" when they are young because they lack the words to express their frustration when you say they can't do or have something that they want. The other times when K has said something like that it did not bother me, as I knew she was just unable to express her anger with me. This was different. I was shocked and hurt because there was nothing like that going on this time. I
had not denied her anything just before to bring this on.
But the last part of this story shocked me the most. I looked over at the Wife and she was smiling, almost laughing at this turn of events.
And then it dawned on me what was going on.
Lately, the Wife has bugging me more that usual about me not doing enough of the housework. I will leave the details of that for another time, however, it is obvious now that she has been doing more of this in front of the kids and K now thinks that Mommy would be less mad if I wasn't around.
It's hard to believe The Wife thinks this is funny. Little girls need a male role model. The kind of father they have will set the kind of relationships they will have with with males in the future. Girls whose fathers are abusive with their wives are more likely to get into abusive relationships themselves.
Parents sent the tone for what type of relationship their kids will have with their partners. Does the Wife what her to grow up thinking that husbands are lazy bums and the job of the wife is to constantly complain about them? What kind of husband will that get her and what kind of relationship will they have?
Of course, many women out there reading this are thinking "Well, why don't you do some work around the house?" A fair point, but I do. The argument is over how much (and in the correct way). This fight will never be resolved. I am ok with having this fight. There will always be areas of a marriage where the partners will not agree. The point is not to have them in front of the kids.
I don't think the Wife has thought this through. What is my response going to be to this? Perhaps I should start berating her about all the things I am dissatisfied in our relationship in front of the kids? How is that going to help our daughter?
This is a lose-lose situation. I can to the same thing as the Wife does, further damage our relationship and make it more difficult for our kids to have good relationships, or I can just continue to take it.
If I do not lower myself to her level but the Wife keeps this up our kids will still grow up with a less positive example of male-female relationships.
She might think she is "winning" the relationship war, but the kids are going to be the casualties.