Q: Do I really have to tell my husband to play with the kids instead of watching TV or playing on his phone? We've been married for 10 yrs now, and it's always the same argument. Does this happen with other families? I need help, I get tired of the same story almost every night. And is not like I'm sitting doing nothing, most of the time I'm cleaning or cooking or doing laundry, please help.

A: This sounds like an issue that is played out in almost every house hold around the county. Women are now working outside the house and are still doing most of the work at home as well. It's a stereotype for sure but men go to work then come home and create some sort of cave and appear to the rest of the household to live in a bubble. They retreat to their home office, TV, Ipad or blackberry.  It's the same hibernating instinct now facilitated by technology. Let's face it we are wired differently.

My suggestion is to stop arguing about it. This is not a way to get behavior to change and if you go over the same issues all the time without results your marriage will head in the wrong direction quickly. And most of the time, it's better to stay together as a family and accept your partner's limitations because the next one will most likely invest even less in your children.

That having been said, try other ways to get your man more involved. Try to find your husband's strenghts. Many men are better with the children when it's a family activity and you all go out together. Some men have to be left home with the children to really step up to the plate.  Perhaps you can support your husband to earn more money at work so you can delegate some of the tasks that he won't share. Maybe you need to cut your work load back to have more time and energy to do all the home tasks. Are there short cuts you can take on food preparation? Are any of the children old enough to pitch in and help. Can they approach their Dad with fun activities such as sports or other things that interest him?

Perhaps you need more time alone with your husband to re-spark your relationship and shift the focus from all the things he isn't doing to all the things he does. If he feels happier in the relationship, he may be more motivated to please you. Don't give up! Be creative in your solutions. Get advice from family or friends that know him. Try to create a new story for yourself and your family and remember that kids do grow and family needs will change. Many men are better parents when the kids are older.

Wishing the best to you and your family.

Answered by Dr. Eva Ritvo



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