Mom Stops Dad as He Body-Shames 3-Year-Old -- but He Berates Her for 'Contradicting' Him

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toddler playing
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Fighting in front of your kids is inevitable -- sometimes you just get caught in the moment and lose your cool. But for one couple, the issue wasn't just that they got into a tiff in front of the kids. Apparently the wife *dared* to contradict her husband in front of their toddler and to him that's a big no-no. The mom shared her story online, and wrote that in her own defense, she did so because she thought what her husband was saying would hurt their young daughter's self-esteem -- so she needed to speak up right then.

  • The drama happened after her daughter did something pretty typical for a 3-year-old: She ran around the house in the buff.

    In a post on Reddit, the anonymous mom explained that her toddler "sometimes loves running around the house naked." Which for the most part is pretty "adorable as she wiggles her butt to make me laugh or zooms up and down the hallway."

    But for some reason, dad doesn't see it the same way and was apparently appalled when his potty-training 3-year-old came out of the bathroom without pants on. 

    At first, the dad simply told his daughter that she needed to put some pants on for dinner, but of course, his 3-year-old didn't listen the first time. "Then he told her something like 'that's nasty; you need to wear pants,'" the mom recalled. Which made the mom so angry she gasped. 

    "That's not nasty. There's not one nasty thing about our baby girl," she called to him from the kitchen, where she was cooking dinner. She then told her daughter that she needed to wear pants at dinner "in case we spill hot food on ourselves and she put on her pants and helped set the table."

    But unfortunately, the problem didn't end there. In fact, the mom wrote that her husband then got upset with her and told her she can't contradict him in front of their kids. "I explained that he should tell her it's too cold to be without pants or it's unhygienic at the dinner table, but not to use the word 'nasty' as I don't want her to feel shame about her body," she wrote. "He explained that he is her father and when I contradict him in front of her, that undercuts his role in the family."

    But the mom stood her ground. "I said, 'And I'm a mother and a woman. I protect her like you do too but I also know what it's like to have a complex about your body and that's not what I want her to even think about at 3,'" she said. The couple decided to drop the issue instead of continuing the conversation in front of the child, but still the mom wondered: "Was I wrong to react how I did?"

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  • Some people applauded the mom for sticking up for herself and her daughter.


    Many people thought that the dad was being a wee bit over-the-top about his wife calling him out on using shaming language to discipline his kid. And they agreed that this mom was right to speak out when she heard something she didn't like. 

  • One person commented that this isn't the type of issue that the parents need to put up a "united front" about, so mom did nothing wrong. 

    And another person commented that they didn't think the mom had undermined her husband "because you also said she should put pants on. I’d reserve 'undercut' for situations where one parent says do X and the other says do Y. You guys were arguing over your reasoning, but both said to put pants on. You did disagree with him in front of your child, but I don’t think that’s automatically wrong. If it’s all kept civil, it’s just modeling good conflict resolution," they added. 

    Someone else wrote that there was no way the dad was right. "Daughter should never think mom cosigns on body shame. 3-year-olds absolutely do internalize that sort of thing," this user argued.

  • But some people disagreed. They thought that the mom had undermined the rule that her husband was trying to enforce.


    These people reasoned that parents should NEVER disagree in front of their kids. And some people felt that the dad was right -- it was kinda gross for his daughter to run off of the potty without her bottoms on.

  • One person wrote that a spouse should "never correct the other parent in front of the child."

    "Even if you disagree with what he said, you didn't have to undermine him in front of your daughter, especially since you told her to put her pants on straight after anyway," another person commented. 

    "Also, it's one thing to not want your daughter to be ashamed of her body but if she ran off the potty around the house naked then it is nasty[...] And it definitely isn't right for you to play the woman card as if it gives you more parental rights over her father. You should be equals when it comes to parenting," the commenter added.

    A third person agreed: "A 3-year-old will not really internalize a onetime remark. You have to repeat the process several times and from several angles for the message to get through. In this case, the undercutting inverting of the child is worse," they wrote.

    And of course, there were at least a few of these kind of posts down at the bottom of the post's thread. "He is right. Dad is king of the castle, kids need to know that," wrote another commenter. 

  • The mom concluded that perhaps she could have worded her disapproval a little differently so her husband wouldn't have felt disrespected.


    In the end, the mom rethought her words after one impactful commenter changed her mind about the situation. 

    The helpful commenter wrote that "if you were able to explain to your daughter that it was unsafe to eat dinner without clothes, you could've also explained that it's nasty as in unhygienic to eat without clothes," the commenter wrote. "That way, if you felt what your husband said sounded harsh or judgmental, you're explaining it in a nicer way that doesn't contradict him. Then you could talk about your very good points with him later." The person also questioned why the mom didn't back her husband up the second her child ignored him. 

    "Thank you. That would've been a much better way to say it," the mom answered. "I need to work on not reacting so quickly so I can phrase things better to be respectful to both of them. And yes, you're right, I should have backed him up sooner and maybe that would have prevented his impatient comment to her," she added.

    "And about the potty, thankfully she wipes and washes her own hands," the mom wrote.

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