I am in a blended family (marriage has been rocky since the start) and believe that my husband degrades and humiliates my daughter. Is my job to continue to be his help meet and trust that God will protect my daughter?

My husband and I have participated in counseling and I have been told by 3 of 4 counselors that my husband is very controlling. No surprise; I lack boundaries. I am having difficulty finding the balance of doing what God has called me to do in terms of my relationship with my husband, protecting my daughter, and not losing myself. My husband is a bit of a dictator regarding parenting, and I am a love and logic kind of parent. My daughter’s counselor, who is a Christian, has stressed that what I am modeling for my daughter is not healthy. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Michael answers:

You are too sweet and passive and your husband is too hard and cold. The child is caught between. This is a recipe for disaster. You pull one way and he is pulling the other. The more he is hard and controlling, the more you try to bring balance by acting in the opposite manner. Likewise, he sees your lack of boundaries and discipline, your passive acquiescence, and he tries to bring balance by being tougher and more demanding. Each of you is making the other act in a more extreme way. Neither of you will allow himself to moderate in the other direction because of the need to keep balance. You are pulling against each other, and the child is going to be pulled in two. Both of you are immature, trying to find your own balance in life. It is time to give up your personal struggles and think of the child.

How is this accomplished? You must come to the peace table with your husband and discuss without anger or accusation the difficulties the two of you have caused. Until both of you see your deficiencies and agree to seek a balance, you will continue to pull the baby apart. Talk. Discuss. Analyze. Both of you need to moderate. If you have a partner who will not talk and is so competitive that he is jerking the child in only one direction, then your road will be harder, but there is still hope. If you can find balance and get good results because of it, in time he will see the wisdom of your approach and come on board with you. When you stop pulling against him, he will stop pulling against you. It is better to release your end and leave the baby intact than to keep the contest going.