The original poster (OP) and his wife have three children they take care of together: her 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, a 15-year-old niece, and their 6-year-old daughter they had together.
The Teens are Besties
The teen girls are best friends and share a room together. OP feels like there is constant fighting in the family, with the teens against the mom and 6-year-old and him being the referee trying to solve the problems.
The Younger Daughter is Spoiled
OP believes his wife taught the youngest that “she can blame others for her actions and avoid consequences.” She quickly blames one of the older girls, and his wife punishes them without question. She blatantly favors the little girl, and OP feels it’s turning her into an entitled brat.
The Girls Went Swimming
When OP and his wife had an appointment and left the girls alone at home, they returned to find out they had gone swimming without their permission. The teens were swiftly punished, but the young daughter denied she had been swimming despite the teens saying that she did.
The Youngest Said She Was Coloring
The young girls said she was coloring in her room the entire time they were gone, but OP later found the daughter’s wet swimming suit hidden in the garage.
His Wife Refused to Punish Her
His wife refused to punish her, but after arguing with OP, she gave her a minor consequence. But the teens are given more chores and removed from their music lessons.
The Teens Get Angry
OP believes this unfair treatment of the teens is causing them to lash out. OP thinks the teens are so frustrated they disrespect his wife even more.
He Gave Her a Written Performance Review
After several arguments with his wife but being unable to get her to understand her unfair parenting approach, OP thought giving her a performance review would help her see the things she was doing wrong. He thought it would be a better way to organize his thoughts without interruption and a better way to get his point across.
He Gave Parenting Suggestions
Like a typical performance review, he wrote down the areas in which she needed improvement, including listening better and stopping being biased. He suggested she be fairer in her decisions and consider all three children. He also recommended that she give each child the same amount of one-on-one time to spend with her.
His Wife Was Furious
OP’s wife became furious after reading the review and called him “abusive and manipulative.” OP thinks maybe he should have written his thoughts down like a letter, not a performance review.
Some Readers Say He’s Not Her Boss
One reader feels that everyone is wrong in this situation:
“The concerns you have are legitimate and it needs an urgent solution. But, the way you went about it is really unhealthy. The parenting of your children is not a project. You are not her boss, you are her husband and the father of her kid. Giving her a performance review comes across as really condescending and as she said, manipulative.”
Many Readers are Divided on This
Some believe that the 6-year-old didn’t deserve to be punished for the swimming incident because she was following what the older girls were doing.
“why would you hold a 6 year old equally responsible to their teenage siblings? Why does it matter what the 6 year old claimed? If the six year old went swimming alone, the teenage babysitters should be punished for allowing it. If they all went swimming, the six year old was just following the example of their much-older siblings. Maybe OPs wife isn’t believing everything the 6 year old says, so much as (reasonably) treating the children differently based on their ages.”
“The 6 year old was not in charge and certainly didn’t initiate. Absolutely inappropriate to punish her for something that was certainly the fault of the older girls.”
Should Everyone Have Been Punished?
Others believed the young daughter lied and should be punished.
“The 6yo flat out lied. How is that not on her? No matter how you slice it, the 6yo has issues. And let’s not pretend that favoritism doesn’t come into play in family dynamics and stuff like this is very common when blatant favoritism is shown.”
“So, you don’t discipline her for lying? That will only teach her that lying will help you get away with things. I wouldn’t discipline for swimming since she was following an example, but do discipline for lying.”
“And deliberately hiding the swimsuit – this 6yo knew exactly what they were doing.”
The Punishment Shouldn’t Be the Same
Several readers also felt that the teens have to be treated differently than the 6-year-old as they are supposed to be more responsible.
“if that’s the example he gave of his wife favoring the youngest, I’m not sure I trust his judgment. The older girls were in charge and they are more responsible for violating the no swimming rule than the youngest is. I don’t agree with her not being punished at all, but that doesn’t seem like favoritism or emotional abuse as other commenters are saying. I don’t think we have enough information to judge the wife, but we definitely have enough to judge the husband. That said, everyone here should get therapy.
“Another example he gave is that he grounded the 6yo for a week and his wife put a stop to it. It is not appropriate to ground a 6yo for a week!! If OP’s wife is so terrible, why doesn’t he have examples where she’s actually wrong?”
“A time-out is based on a child’s age. A six-minute time-out is an appropriate consequence for a six-year-old, not grounding them for a week. That’s a teenage-level consequence.”
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This post originally appeared on Reddit.