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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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My husband and I both work full time and work hard to support

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My husband and I both work full time and work hard to support family, so we share the responsibilities of taking care of our 15 month old son after work and other household responsibilities. However, my husband often makes obvious mistakes at home.

For example, he would forget to put PJ on our son after changing diaper at night. When I happen to wake up at night to check on him, I found my son was half naked laying on the bed with cold legs hanging outside the blanket. Not mentioning several nights of wet bed/clothes because of loose diaper.

We just moved to a new house and he often forgets to lock the front door after coming home because of a different lock system after I repeatedly told him to (even put a note next to the door).

He would forget to put back the outlet plug (for child proofing) after using the outlet so I have to follow up after him.

I am tired of checking on almost everything he does but has no choices because these mistakes are not disregardble. I start to feel unsafe to leave him with the child alone due to his negligence if I need to travel for work or go out do my things. When I told him, his response was either "ok fine" (then he repeated it) or "you always tell me I did something wrong every day - I am tired of it."

I cannot get this man to face his mistakes humbly which is very disturbing to me. What can I do to make this man to be responsible/reliable without pissing him off?? BTW, I told him directly but also nicely/politely.

I understand your concerns. I agree with you and would be very concerned about these issues since these "little" things are actually very concerning. He was tired and forgot to put PJ's on his son is not an excuse. As parents it is our responsibility to do our part. This seems more like negligence on his part as you said. You are in a tough spot because the more you try to teach him even if it is in a nice way he can either learn and change or become defensive and angry. Based on his responses he seems like he would become defensive, which is common for most men. This puts you in a very difficult situation. Unfortunately, you may need to continue to check on him for the safety of the family. Even if he wants to change it would be difficult overnight since he is set in his ways and will take an active role and willingness on his part in order to break this habit. I would continue checking and when it is a good moment when the both of you are calm with time to talk I would express why these actions are important. I would let him know all the good he does first and how much you appreciate him. Let him know it is not about who is right or wrong and you are not judging him. You simply are concerned for your son and family. Let him know what the consequences are for his actions in order for him to feel the concern himself. He needs to feel why this is a true problem and look beyond the fact that you are pointing it out to him. Say it like you both are a team and it is not you against him. It is good you both already work as a team since you both work and share other responsibilities. So I would show him how good this is. Also, ask him questions as to why he feels certain actions are no big deal and ask if he could explain why. Sometimes asking one questions can help the other to understand better in order to be able to help better. It can also help him to realize what is truly happening here and maybe it is time for him to be more responsible. This can happen by him explaining his reasons. Some people have a breakthrough and realize this is not how they want to be and want to be better for their family. He needs to be able to see this importance in order to change and doing these things can help aid this.

Overall, no one is perfect and everyone has their faults, but it does not mean we should not learn in order to be better for our family.

I hope he realizes this and comes around over time.

I wish you well and please let me know if I can be of further help.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply. A follow up question: I am considering having this conversation you described above involving his parents when they visit later this month. The reason is below and please let me know if you think it is a good idea.


When his parents visited last year, a similar topic was raised by me about removing bicycle from the apartment we were living in, his reaction was defensive at first but when his mother agreed with me, he suddently retreated. He did remove the bike later without any attitude.


I think there might be two reasons why he "listened" to his mother, but not me in this incident.


One, he cares how his family think of him.


two, he does listen to me better when we are relaxing and calm (probably not right before he rushes to work) or when there is an additional agreeable voice in the audience, especially from someone he admires in the family.


You can probably guess that I often need to point out mistakes to him so he has an impression that I am keeping my eyes on his action all the time which most men do not like.


His first reaction to my comments is most likekly going to be defensive under most circumstances because his man ego often kicks in first before his rationality comes in to tell him his action is wrong.


Therefore, his parents being present may force him to calm down to think how to react first before responding.


I would be worried that his parents being there may add wood to the fire and embarrass him. However, if you feel you have had good results from this then it should be fine. Another idea may be to speak to his parents privately about it first to see what they think. Maybe they can speak to him about it or all of you together. I just don't want him to get upset with you for saying too much in front of them, but then on the other hand I wouldn't want him to think you were talking behind his back. Your plan does sound good because he cares what his parents think, he did not get defensive before, and it worked. Just keep in mind the potential risks. However, I agree with you with everything you said. It is very difficult when people correct another even for women. I know a woman who did not learn much from her parents, so her husband was constantly correcting her, but in order to help her and teach her to better herself. At first she would get offended and defensive, but now she has learned and accepts it as help. Also, he is really not needing to much anymore as before. So him getting defensive is normal and he probably will feel you are watching him. It puts you between a rock and a hard plate since you really want to help and not try to prove a point or that you know more. It is not an easy position to be in and that is how many are just because of "human nature". Although the fact he shows improvement and has accepted certain things already shows good signs that he can and be willing to change overtime. I think you have a good plan and good insight. I would go from there and take it step by step. Hopefully he will take these things seriously and want to change for himself and family. He is luck to have you there to support him.

All the best,
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