Am I being overprotective about how FIL speaks to DCs?

(20 Posts)
Blup Tue 09-Aug-16 15:44:03

DD is 5. Over the weekend we went to one of those indoor high-ropes courses with ILs. DD is only just old enough to go on some of the higher ropes for the first time. She was happy to climb up, but then got scared when it came to actually stepping off the platform and going across a rope (DD isn't very confident, and she often needs a bit of time and encouragement to have a go at new things).

I was trying to gently encourage her to give it a go, but she wasn't confident enough and I could see she was close to tears. I was about to tell her to step back and watch someone else do it (to give her a little breather) when FIL came over. He looked up at DD and said "You're such a scaredy cat!" and started making chicken noises. DD looked really upset and said she wanted to come down. FIL laughed and made chicken noises again.

She came down and sobbed for a while, but then went back to the lower ropes and played on those for the rest of the time.

I was angry with FIL because I felt that he was just shaming her for being nervous. I talked to DH about it afterwards and asked him to have a word with FIL to ask him not to do that again. DH laughed at me and said it wouldn't do DD any harm, and that that was his dad's way of encouraging the DCs to do things. There have been times before when I've heard FIL call the DCs "chickens" and "scaredy" because they wouldn't do something a few days before. I've heard some of DH's siblings tell their DCs "You have to do this or I'll tell Grandpa you were too chicken".

I think this is an awful way to speak to a child, and I know that when I was DD's age, it would have totally put me off even attempting something new (which is the effect it had on DD), but DH says it works for most of them and DD is just a bit too sensitive.

Am I being overprotective here?

GlindatheFairy Tue 09-Aug-16 15:46:41

No, I think you are right, OP.

My grandad's dad threw him in at the deep end to teach him to swim. It just gave him a life long fear of water.

ggirl Tue 09-Aug-16 15:47:04

Yeh not a nice way to speak to a child imo and I don't think you're being overprotective

I would speak to him yourself if you want him to stop .

Lottapianos Tue 09-Aug-16 15:49:18

'I was angry with FIL because I felt that he was just shaming her for being nervous'

I think 'shaming' is exactly the right word to use here. Feeling nervous or scared is a natural reaction and not something anyone should be made to feel ashamed about. DD should be encouraged to listen to and trust her own feelings, not go through with stuff just to please other people.

It sounds like your FIl was bullying DD into doing something that she didn't want to do, and I think I would feel the same as you did. Very unpleasant of him, and it sounds like he has form for this kind of behaviour

seven201 Tue 09-Aug-16 15:49:52

In future you need to say something at the time but I think your dh is a bit crap
For refusing to speak to him.

liquidrevolution Tue 09-Aug-16 15:52:24

He sounds awful! Your poor DD sad

Sorry no advice as I haven't come across that kind of idiocy for a long time. If it had happened to DD I would be all tiger mum though so definitely have a word. And don't feel the need to be polite about it. He will probably only understand a good blunt talking to.

FadedRed Tue 09-Aug-16 15:52:46

You are right and your FIL (and your DH if he agrees with FIL) are bullies.
How is it right for two adult men to make a 5year old girl cry because she is scared. This was supposed to be a fun thing to do, not result in making your DD cry. Shame on them.

Dutchcourage Tue 09-Aug-16 15:56:20

Obviously your Dh is used to this kind of baiting.

Don't wait for him to say anything - the next time just say "oi - leave her alone she is only five your a big bloke"

Or

"Fuck off dickhead" usually works too wink

You have to stick up for your kids sometimes even from arsehole relatives

Blup Tue 09-Aug-16 16:00:22

Glad I'm not being silly. I didn't say anything at the time as I was mainly focussing on getting DD to come down and then stopping her crying. I think I'll have to have a word myself.

I do encourage DD to listen to her own feelings, and not to plunge headfirst into things just to please people. Unfortunately, PILs seem to feel that DD needs a bit of a shove in order to do things (which she does, sometimes, but a gentle shove!). I avoid going out with them as much as possible, and the DCs aren't that keen on them either.

My parents are totally different - if my dad had been there, he'd have climbed up to DD, and held onto her while she took a few steps; if she'd come down, he'd have told her she was brave for even climbing up, and she can give it another go in a while etc.

DH has grown up with this and I think just accepts it - he reckons it made him take more risks as a child, but then he was maybe a different character, or just used to being spoken to like that. I personally don't think FIL is a particularly nice person, but DH hero-worships him and thinks he's great.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Aug-16 17:13:00

No you are not being at all over protective here. Your FIL was indeed trying to shame her here and your DH is no better either by trying to excuse such from his dad. He's also had a lifetime of this toughen up type nonsense from him so regards it as normal; it is not. He cannot be therefore relied upon therefore to talk to his dad.

I would keep your DD away from your FIL from now on; he is not a nice person to be around.

pointythings Tue 09-Aug-16 20:20:18

Not at all overprotective, your FIL was being a dick and your DH was also being a dick. They both need telling that this is not acceptable. No-one in my family would have dreamed of doing this to any other family member. I'm actually a bit angry on your DD's behalf.

ToffeeForEveryone Tue 09-Aug-16 20:23:00

Mocking a child is never a good move. So unnecessary. You need to have a word with your DH.

Blup Tue 09-Aug-16 20:27:57

Right, I'll try talking it with DH again and see what he says. He's always defensive of his dad, or tries to laugh off things that aren't acceptable. He'd do anything to avoid upsetting parents. But if he isn't going to help, then I'll have to take FIL directly, won't I? Is it best to wait until I see him again (could be a while), or drop him an email or something?

FadedRed Tue 09-Aug-16 21:05:09

He'd do anything to avoid upsetting his parents because his father bullied him and he learned to appease.

unimagmative13 Tue 09-Aug-16 21:07:41

Not al all, my FIL calls my nephews gay all the time. Gets on my nerves. Telling them to toughen up.

Over my dead body will he speak to my son like that.

Mycraneisfixed Tue 09-Aug-16 21:25:52

Tell DH firmly and calmly that the way your FIL behaves is bullying. DH may have grown up with it but you are not going to have your DD bullied either by DH or FIL.
Next time FIL does anything like this (and he will) say very loudly, "Don't be a bully. She's 5 and your are a grown man." And stick to your guns, repeating it until he shuts up. If your DH doesn't like it then too bad.
Your DD needs to know that you won't allow anyone to bully her, especially close family.

Blup Wed 10-Aug-16 15:01:29

Thanks for the advice, especially crane.

Unimagmative, that's awful sad

unimagmative13 Fri 12-Aug-16 19:16:53

Constant 'shit it gay boy'.

Winds me up so much!

unimagmative13 Fri 12-Aug-16 19:17:23

That was a baaaaaad autocorrect i meant shut it confused

Blup Sat 13-Aug-16 22:21:23

That really is horrible, un. I think I'd find it hard to let my children be around someone who constantly talked like that (even the "shut it" is rude, but the "gay boy" is horrific).

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