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I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time. It seems there are 2 issues: your son's behavior and your husband's refusal to parent.
As far as your husband goes, you need to have a real talk. His strength is not the issue, since no one is suggesting he use physical strength. He can give a time-out or ground a toy or the TV as easily as you can. He's got to understand that it's part of parenting, and that his son will not respect him in the future if he's given carte blanche with dad. But don't look to your husband to discipline your son when you're the one there. Then he learns that daddy can make him behave when mommy can't; in effect you're giving your authority to your husband. After many many years of teaching I learned that there's only so much authority in the world-- give too much of yours away and you have none left.
As far as your son's behavior goes: find his soft spot. What does he like? A particular show? His tricycle? His Rescue Heroes? PB&J? Staying up until 8?? Give it some thought. Then one morning, before he has had the chance to be bad, go up to him in bed and snuggle. Tell him that you know he's quite capable of acting like a big boy. He'll get 2 warnings-- you can put a frowing face or something on the fridge if he needs a visual reminder. But then on the 3rd strike, whatever he values most in the world is grounded until tomorrow morning. And-- heres' the tough part: you've got to be prepared to follow through. (So if you're not prepared for the mother of all tantrums, choose another day.) He'll hate it. But if you don't back down, eventually he'll learn that you mean what you say.
WIFE TO PETER
MOM TO BRIAN (6-18-98)
ITA agree with Ashley and Twinsmom....Im really sorry to hear that you have to go through this...i have this problem only because i am not with my babys fathers any longer so they arent there to discipline them anyway...it must be tough for him to be RIGHT there and not do anything about it still......