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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to try to keep this short, but want to preface it by saying that while watching my kids climb trees and take risks makes me cringe inwardly sometimes, I believe in the value of letting them have childhoods, have fun, and take risks (within reason!). I know that people have different boundaries here, and my impression is that dads often let kids do things that makes us moms nervous. For that reason, I always tried to let H do things with the kids without me around.

Well, there have been times though that he let them do things that gave me a heart attack. I'm not going into a laundry list, but things like letting our 1 year old sit at the edge of a massive pier with no rail and him 5 feet away. Too far to get her if she tumbled back. So, when there's a real question of danger, I always make sure I'm there too.

So, we were at an indoor water park. I'd fallen that morning and scraped up my knee really badly, but the kids wanted to swim more after dinner. At this point, they're 5.5 and 3. Neither a good swimmer, and the 3 year old not a swimmer at all. We decide that I'll come with a book and sit on a lounge chair. I'm not in a swimsuit and I am off duty. A little bit of mom time!

It's very loud from the rushing water, and very empty. I can't remember if there was even another family there. H takes the kids into the wade-in wave pool. I don't know how much time went by, but I looked up and the 3 year old was up to her waist, alone, in the pool and heading deeper. No life jacket. The 5 year old is in a life jacket over her head but OK. No waves at the moment, but they start up randomly. Husband is nowhere to be seen.

I was so scared. I decided to watch the little one and if she got any deeper to run in, clothes and all. Also if the waves started. I couldn't see a life guard anywhere. I shouted for H, but he couldn't hear me over the rushing water.

Finally, I found him playing basketball. He could not see or hear our children from where he was. I was shaking with fear and anger.

He said he was sorry, that it was a momentary lapse in judgement. I think it's .... not unforgivable, but unforgettable. I can't trust someone who would leave our kids alone in water when they're not swimmers. Even if they were swimmers it's not OK! To me, this is parenting 101.

It's been over a year and I still can't get over it. I am afraid to trust him. If something happened to the kids on his watch, I would blame myself. I've had fair warning that he's not up to the job.

But how do I proceed? H feels like I'm punishing him. I'm not trying to, but I don't know how to communicate that I just can't trust someone who would do something like this. These are my kids! They're my heart and soul.

What would you do? What would you tell your spouse when they insisted that nothing like this would happen again? Is it as bad as I think it is?
 

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Your husband is an idiot, and you're right not to trust him. He can't be trusted to recognize a dangerous situation, if you ask me. This is coming from a guy, BTW.

C
 

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Your two examples made me sick to my stomach with fear. Your husband is a clueless fool. I wouldn't leave him alone with kids either until old enough to fend for themselves. I don't think even a parenting class or counseling would sway me to trust an idiot like him again.
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If I were in your situation, I wouldn't be able to trust my husband with the kids for a while..at least not until they are older and can take care of themselves better (like golfergirl said). I wouldn't leave them alone with him, difficult as that will probably be at times. Does your husband get defensive when you confront him about his mistakes? Would he be willing to read some parenting books or take some classes? I don't think it would hurt. But it boils down to common sense, and it seems he is lacking in that department, not trying to bash your husband. My hubby's made some mistakes and will probably continue to make me feel uneasy at time with the kids, but there are some things you just DO NOT DO!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much for your honesty everyone. Sometimes it's hard to tell from so close if it's as bad as I think it is, so I really appreciate the objective feedback. I haven't been able to talk about this with any of my family. I did tell one friend once and saying it all out loud made me start crying, so I've just refrained since then.

He gets defensive if I bring it up or tell him he can't do something like take the girls to the beach, but he has communication issues, so he doesn't say much. Just will say something like, "oh you're being ridiculous," and then walk away.

I've tried to get him to read parenting books just because it's important to me, but he won't. I'm big into the idea that changing the way you discipline takes practice and effort (and I hate when I open my mouth and I hear my parents' words coming out! They weren't bad parents or anything, but you know, I think I can do better).

I don't know how I didn't see this coming before we had kids. :(
 

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Thank you so much for your honesty everyone. Sometimes it's hard to tell from so close if it's as bad as I think it is, so I really appreciate the objective feedback. I haven't been able to talk about this with any of my family. I did tell one friend once and saying it all out loud made me start crying, so I've just refrained since then.

He gets defensive if I bring it up or tell him he can't do something like take the girls to the beach, but he has communication issues, so he doesn't say much. Just will say something like, "oh you're being ridiculous," and then walk away.

I've tried to get him to read parenting books just because it's important to me, but he won't. I'm big into the idea that changing the way you discipline takes practice and effort (and I hate when I open my mouth and I hear my parents' words coming out! They weren't bad parents or anything, but you know, I think I can do better).

I don't know how I didn't see this coming before we had kids. :(
If he got the seriousness of it, it would still be hard, but he sounds like he blows it off like, 'boo hoo poor me - mean wife doesn't trust me'. You don't get do-overs with drowning.
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I'll share something completely stupid my husband used to do that made me FURIOUS. Maybe it will make you feel a little better, because you're not alone and you definitely have a right to not trust your husband.

My husband owns a gun and so do I. We have a 2 year old and a 1 month old right now. Around 8-10 months ago when he first got his gun, he would sometimes leave it out low enough for our toddler to reach. Granted, it's doubtful my son would even be able to pick the thing up because of it's weight but that's beside the point..my husband was being a complete idiot. He has sleep apnea, so he has a lot of issues because of that, and will sometimes fall asleep watching TV or even while he's right in the middle of playing a game on his phone. Twice he's come to bed leaving it out, forgetting about it because of his exhaustion. STILL NOT OKAY, and not an excuse for making the same mistake 3-4 times. And we do have a safe specifically for the guns. Every time I'd confront him he would get defensive, saying our son wouldn't even be able to shoot himself or anyone else with it for whatever reason..blah blah blah. Bullsh*t! You just don't take those kinds of chances! His gun doesn't even have a safety on it.

I cannot tell you how furious I was with my husband and his reaction. I was to the point of either getting rid of his gun, or him. My childrens' safety come FIRST and FOREMOST, and it seemed he wasn't on the same page as me.

I started showing him and talking to him about articles in the news of toddlers who were able to shoot themselves with their parents' guns. I talked to his dad who is a cop to get some advice and even asked him to talk to my husband about the seriousness of the issue.

Sorry this ran a little long..but to make my point, we did fix the problem and it did help to reach out to family. He takes me and my feelings seriously, but is more likely to be defensive with me, especially when he makes a mistake. It was helpful for him to hear how stupid he was being from someone else. You never know what can happen and you can never be too careful when it comes to your kids' safety.. So maybe you should reach out to family to get some help. What about his parents?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's hard to tell if he gets the seriousness of it, because he really doesn't say much. I think he does. I'm sure I communicated it when I blew up at him later.

I can't think of anything he could do anyway to get my trust back. I guess maybe if for the next few years he showed by his actions that he knows how to be safe and careful I could maybe trust him. I dunno, if that happens I guess I'll re-evaluate then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll share something completely stupid my husband used to do that made me FURIOUS. Maybe it will make you feel a little better, because you're not alone and you definitely have a right to not trust your husband.
Ugh, I'd be furious about that too! Good for you for getting him to change.

I have less hope for my husband. It's not like it's just one blind spot with him. He just honestly has no sense.
 

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It's been over a year and I still can't get over it. I am afraid to trust him. If something happened to the kids on his watch, I would blame myself. I've had fair warning that he's not up to the job.

But how do I proceed? H feels like I'm punishing him. I'm not trying to, but I don't know how to communicate that I just can't trust someone who would do something like this.
So this is all something that happened a year ago? How old is your husband?

I can understand your position, particularly around water. We wouldn't even leave ours in the bathtub unattended at that age. I don't know that a parenting book is going to help, this is a basic safety issue. He has to understand with little ones that bad things can happen in an instant and he has to not just watch out for them, but anticipate dangers because they are not able to. If he doesn't understand this, then perhaps some MC sessions? Might help with the communication issues too.
 

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He's 38, so I can't count on him growing out of it.

We've discussed MC, and he went to one session of individual counseling, but I don't know what's become of that. He told me that the counselor had him role play what he thought I would say about our marriage, and that was confusing to me... is it marriage counseling without me, or is this a common technique in IC? I asked him to ask the counselor if we could please both go (we live in his home country, so I can't call the office myself, I don't speak the language well enough), and I think he just cancelled the appointment. But he won't tell me these kinds of things. I could ask him, but I'm trying to back off and let him take the lead here. Maybe that's a stupid idea, I don't know. I just want him to show initiative in the marriage, and I've realized that if I keep doing these things, I'm not giving him the chance to show me that he's willing to do it. So, I'm waiting.
 

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I have had similar issues with my wife, so it is not necessarily a gender thing.

I think that your first duty is to your kids. You have sanity checked this on this forum and most people seem to agree that your husband is in the wrong. I would question why he would want to play basketball rather than swim with the kids in the first place.

I would suggest that you have someone neutral to talk to, someone your husband would trust to be neutral, and discuss this without anger and recrimination. You need to have back up to make it clear that there is consensus on his behaviour and that this is about the safety of your kids, not an issue between the two of you..

He needs to take a long hard look at himself and find a way to win back your trust and figure out what is important.

Good luck.
 

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Playing basketball? He is insane. I think I would consider leaving my husband if he put our daughters in such danger.

I'm sorry, I have no real advice except don't let him take them anywhere hazardous without you until they are older.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Playing basketball? He is insane. I think I would consider leaving my husband if he put our daughters in such danger.
It's actually one (of multiple) reasons I do NOT want a divorce. I wouldn't trust him to have them unsupervised, and I wouldn't want to do that to their relationship with him. I think a healthy relationship with their father is so, so important, and I'm willing to do anything I can to foster that.
 

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Reading your post, it almost sounds like your husband might have some neurological problem. I would be really curious to see what his MRI looks like to see if there's any brain lesion or damage.
 

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The concerns you are raising are of course serious. The danger, however, if of creating a "parent - child" dynamic with him where you become the critical mother, and he becomes the irresponsible adolescent. Try getting him to go to a parenting class with you, or better yet, see a skilled marriage and family therapist, for a few sessions with parenting as the focus. That could be well worth the investment. DrDavidCOlsen, The Couple's Survival Workbook
 

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Does he have ADD? Does he have the attention span of a dead dog?

Could he possibly think hey I survived without supervision, my kids would too?

You were right to be pissed, your story almost sent me into a panic attack because it brought back memories of when I nearly drowned as a kid. The water kept pulling me in deeper, like your child, I was not wearing a life jacket.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The concerns you are raising are of course serious. The danger, however, if of creating a "parent - child" dynamic with him where you become the critical mother, and he becomes the irresponsible adolescent. Try getting him to go to a parenting class with you, or better yet, see a skilled marriage and family therapist, for a few sessions with parenting as the focus. That could be well worth the investment. DrDavidCOlsen, The Couple's Survival Workbook
I can't say I agree that the danger here is our dynamic. A danger, yes, but not THE danger.

Anyway, it's possible I suppose that a therapist would help. I've bought and read lots of books on parenting, starting even before the kids were born, and tried to get DH to read them too so we could discuss them, but he never did. I tried just summarizing parts for him, and he will listen to me talk, but he has never really engaged in a conversation about things like discipline. Still, I don't see this particular problem as a discipline issue, more of a common sense issue. I don't see how a parenting class could teach him common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Does he have ADD? Does he have the attention span of a dead dog?

Could he possibly think hey I survived without supervision, my kids would too?

You were right to be pissed, your story almost sent me into a panic attack because it brought back memories of when I nearly drowned as a kid. The water kept pulling me in deeper, like your child, I was not wearing a life jacket.
His attention span is ok i think. There are probably few things besides a basketball hoop that would capture his attention to the point where he would risk letting our kids drown, though food might do it too.

I'm sorry that this brought back bad memories for you. :-(
 

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When i started reading this i thought this was going to be one of those "mummy" threads where a woman complains about her kids being in contact sports and taking some risks... You know, mummy being mummy trying to protect the cubs. But when i read the stuff in the examples... YIKES!
 
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