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not ok to shake our son...

(135 Posts)
DippyDoohdah Mon 15-Oct-12 22:42:36

my estranged Dh and I have been trying to have some family time before divorce finalised, to make sure w are doing right thing/see if can come back together.long story but includes me feeling very strongly that is too heavy handed with 2 and 4 year old ds..4 year old showing some autistic tendencies.anyway...
yesterday, 2 year old (soon 3) did something minor and Dh told him to say sorry..ds refused a couple of times..Dh got very angry that he was being defied and grabbed ds, raised him in the air in front of him and shook him two or three times, shouting, until ds burst into tears.Dh thinks they need a firm hand.he came to pick them up for nursery this morning and eldest was playing up about not wanting to go out..Dh frog matched him to door, shouting and ds was cowering and trekking me did not want to go..Dh pulled them both out and they both left in tears.
they can be challenging, extremely bright and loving.
I just need a bit if affirmation that this is not ok, no matter how many nice bits can come unbeaten..

HellonHeels Tue 16-Oct-12 09:40:13

He is definitely NOT 'amazing' with them - he shouts, bullies, manhandles them until they cry, they cower from him, he carries out a dangerous and terrifying assault on your youngest. In what way do any of those things make him an amazing dad?

lubeybooby Tue 16-Oct-12 09:41:22

Come on now. Do your job as a mother and protect your children.

Doesn't matter how good he can be 'sometimes' he is an ongoing danger to them so that's that I'm afraid. Supervised contact only - and not supervised by you but by SS.

mischiefmummy Tue 16-Oct-12 09:41:27

Dippy, think a moment, who will protect your DCs if he decides to 'discipline' them when he has them alone??
If you can't trust him when you're around, you sure as hell can't when he's on his own with them.
As their mother you have a duty of care to protect them, even from their father if necessary.
If SS realise you took no action you could potentially lose your DCs too!!
Please take some assertive action against your STBXH.

Chopstheduck Tue 16-Oct-12 09:43:24

DH went on a parenting course, it did help. He learned what would be more realistic expectations of the children.

Some people DO really struggle with children it's not as simple as throwing them out of the equation, people can change. I do think though, that it is up to you to make sure your children are safe, and not to put them in that situation again until you are 100% certain they are safe.

DippyDoohdah Tue 16-Oct-12 09:43:57

he did not punch his head though.he shook him two or three times. I would only be accessory if I did not address it and make clear boundaries...how can I refer my own children to social services?

HellonHeels Tue 16-Oct-12 09:45:57

Dippy the point people were making with the punch to the head comments was that shaking your child could cause equivalent brain damage to a punch. Have you grasped that shaking is very dangerous and can cause brain injury?

Chopstheduck Tue 16-Oct-12 09:46:26

Could you insist that he is supervised by another family member for now, rather than being alone with them. Does he have a brother, or his parents who could be around when he sees them?

DippyDoohdah Tue 16-Oct-12 09:55:58

chops...he has no family in this country. he will not see them supervised..if r are not together he will see them alone or not at all.
yes I do get that shaking is not at all ok.
I am taking action, I am asking and listening to your advice. I am thinking that I am going to tell him he can see them with me there but has to go on a parenting course. he won't like it but its not good enough.
I am in no way saying these behaviours make
him an amazing Dad...I was simply referring to the other bits in between, the nice times and fin hr has with them.I know my job is to protect them.
up thread someone said that if this is his best behaviour while attemptinga reunion then (sad) ..I know. I can't be with him anymore.

Offred Tue 16-Oct-12 09:58:33

I think realistically, drama about being an accessory to crimes and all that aside all that matters is your children are safe. The main complicating factor in this is that you have split up and I DON'T think you should get back together just because you are afraid he'll hurt them.

Because you aren't together and are in the process of separating you cannot be the person that helps him learn how to be safe around his children. This is why you should make use of the services and official processes because if you try to handle it yourself it will become tied in with the splitting up process in his mind and he will not be able to see it as a separate issue and/or something he needs to do something about.

He may nod in agreement and then ignore and undermine you or realise it is something that upsets you and do it more. I do agree that shaking, even if it was not a very bad shake this time is extremely dangerous and worrying.

The reason the UN wants to see an outright ban on any form of physical discipline in the uk is that people who believe in physical discipline in a state where it is sanctioned tend to escalate their behaviour and this leads to child deaths like Victoria climbie. Can you really be sure your ex has control of himself and your children are safe? It only takes a split second decision for a child to end up dead and he may not believe it is his fault if it happens as a result of something he believes he is reasonable to do.

Please don't try handling this on your own.

shesariver Tue 16-Oct-12 09:59:19

Look it doesnt how "amazing" you think he can be as a Dad if he can bully them to teh point they are scared of him and physically abuse them like this - because it is physical abuse. Im not slating you - but yes you are trying to minimise this, and you have to ask yourself why?

No-one has said he has punched them but shaking, as people have said can cause brain damage. By letting him have contact you are risking serious injury or worse to your children.

Offred Tue 16-Oct-12 10:03:59

And please stop taking on so much responsibility for him being a total crap parent. You need to expect more from him than physical violence and bothering only on his terms and focus entirely on what is good for the children. If he won't see them supervised, runs off to his own country at the drop of a hat and when he does see them shakes them in anger how the hell can you call him an amazing dad? He will always be their father but you cannot keep pretending to them an to yourself that he is something that he isn't. For all your sakes you need to see the reality and make sure your children are safe from the risks he poses to them and I don't mean stop contact necessarily but I don't mean pandering to his every whim and wish just to get him to keep seeing them either.

Chopstheduck Tue 16-Oct-12 10:05:01

'. he will not see them supervised..if r are not together he will see them alone or not at all.'

tbh, i think in that case, it really needs to be the not at all option sad It also sounds like he is trying to use the children to get at you. You also said

' I think he will disappear off, in time, to his country of origin'

which seems to imply that really, he isn;t that interested in the children at all. I think, if he is an amazing dad, he needs to accept he has made a serious and dangerous error of judgement and that he cannot be alone with the children in the meantime, and work with you to rectify the situation.

Another idea though - what about dropping them off to soft play and picking them up from him there 2 hours later? Somewhere where he is in public and the children would be safe.

Cheesecakefan Tue 16-Oct-12 10:05:57

It really isn't OK to shake him. On the other hand, lack of contact with their dad is also damaging, at least if he would learn to control himself: so is divorce, in general.
www.amazon.co.uk/Unexpected-Legacy-Divorce-Landmark-Study/dp/0786863943/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350378090&sr=1-11
If your DH wants to stay, I would try a parenting course and anger management course first.

All the best.

amyboo Tue 16-Oct-12 10:07:59

No. It is never OK to shake a child. My DS (also 2 nearly 3) behaves like you describe in your first post sometimes. If he refuses to say sorry, or do whatever else it is we're asking, he gets sat in the corner and ignored until he is ready to come and say sorry and then we carry on playing. Rarely does it take more than a couple of minutes forhim to see sense. Toddlers and small children can be infuriating sometimes, but there is no need to behave violently or roughly with them like your DH. I would be sriously thinking twice about allowing him free access to the children.

Offred Tue 16-Oct-12 10:08:35

Chops - whether the children are safe or not doesn't depend on where he has contact but how he believes it is reasonable to behave. If he thinks it is reasonable to shake he won't necessarily modify his behaviour in public and the children won't be safe. I have seen parents like this at soft play centres who if challenged clearly believe they are totally justified and reasonable to do whatever they like to their children. Not saying this is definitely what the op's ex is like but something to worry about.

Offred Tue 16-Oct-12 10:10:20

Cheesecakefan - actually lack of contact with a dad and divorce are not shown to be damaging necessarily. There is however research which shows having a disruptive parent is what is most damaging.

BertieBotts Tue 16-Oct-12 10:12:43

OP, I'm sorry, but he CANNOT see them unsupervised... you know what he is like even when you are there, how could you ever trust him? sad Also, it needs to be someone other than you supervising, something like a contact centre, because this cannot ever happen again and he's already learnt that you will do nothing about it and will continue to let him see them.

If you work with SS you must be aware of what can happen when these things escalate, please don't stick your head in the sand. Your children need you to be afraid, and to protect them. You are not overreacting.

You would not be stopping him from seeing them if you insisted on supervision, not at all. If he then chooses to walk away, refuse to see them and go and live in another country then that is HIS choice, you are not responsible for that.

Dahlen Tue 16-Oct-12 10:12:58

Agree with everyone else that this is definitely NOT ok and that you and your DC will be far better off away from this man, no matter how nice he is when he's not being nasty.

IMO you'd be far better off reporting this to the police or to social services in case you need a record of it in the future. This does NOT mean that any investigation/proceedings will be launched because you are leaving your DH and therefore you ARE keeping your children safe. However, it will go down on record, meaning that if your H makes an attempt in the future to see the DC unsupervised, you will have proof that you have long had concerns about his behaviour. If you leave it, and he applies for unsupervised contact and you raise it then, he will simply argue that you are being spiteful and making the whole thing up.

alienreflux Tue 16-Oct-12 10:13:36

Sorry love, you need to do something to protect you children, i really think they are in danger with this man. you may be thinking 'here goes the hysteria' but seriously, even if he never hurt them (v. optimistic in IMO) he is emotionally damaging them!!! Imagine how terrifying, being lifted off the floor into the face of a massive man, shouting and shaking you??!! The helplessness and fear would be immense, please please reconsider letting him see you kids without supervision.

BertieBotts Tue 16-Oct-12 10:15:28

Sorry - lack of contact with a father who is abusive is not damaging, continuation of contact with an abusive parent is.

It is beneficial for children to have good relationships with adults who love and care for them non-abusively, whether that's dad, step-dad, grandma, aunty, etc etc. As long as they have a stable home (with one parent is still stable) there are no ill effects from something that doesn't exist!

DippyDoohdah Tue 16-Oct-12 10:29:02

I have already had two letters from ss in the past 2 years re: DV. once, he disappeared when I was heavily preg with DC 2 after a row..I reported him missing.a row was while ds 1 slept, this was passed by police to ss. second was after w retired and he made a lose threat to me..posted on MN and took advice to log with police..again they passed to ss and I got another letter.
if I contact them it will def be open case, that is why I am asking for other alternatives. I sit in core groups with ss most Weeks.so I know this is not ok but you have no idea of the horrors I hear and that these children are still not always removed or protected. am also scared that he will then use against me that have used alcohol as a bit of a coping mechanism..though do not get drunk.
crap.am trying to work but head in bits.do I speak to my solicitor?

Dahlen Tue 16-Oct-12 10:35:24

If SS reopen the case, would that be such a bad thing? If you leave your H, you are taking steps to safeguard your children and therefore they have nothing to reproach you for, even if they do want to monitor the situation. In fact, it could prove highly beneficial to you. Not only can they offer you lots of support and help with things like sorting out your finances, an injunction (if you need it), etc., but simply having them there in the background could have a big psychological effect, making you better able to resist your H's persuasion to drop proceedings and go back to him, and reducing your H's inclination to give you (and therefore your DC) any trouble.

SS are not the enemy and can help you. They love it when they come across a mother who is actually serious about leaving an abusive partner and protecting her DC.

SirBoobAlot Tue 16-Oct-12 11:26:40

How can you work with SS and not view this as something they need to be aware of?

He is not an amazing dad, he is a bully.

And frankly, even if you're saying he won't see them by himself, he's willing to do this in front of you.

Agree with whoever said that if you don't contact them, you will be seen as responsible for not protecting your children.

If it had been a stranger who had done this, you would have taken immediate action. The fact he is their father does not make it any different.

Abitwobblynow Tue 16-Oct-12 11:54:40

"what if I insist he goes on a parenting course?"

You are still trying to control him/the situation. You really can't.

He (because of course there is nothing wrong with him, if you were't such a bitch and the kids weren't so....) will ALWAYS resist and blame you.

That is why the police (authority in the shape of other men) work and your efforts don't.

DippyDoohdah Tue 16-Oct-12 12:02:02

Dahlen..I agree I could get more support from as but I also know is a bit of a lottery as to what worker you get/their perspective/opinion of you. would everyone on this thread think nothing of referring own family to a statutory body with such powers?

I have been speaking to my manager (very good, knows situation, lots of child protection experience). agreed is not ok, did not insist I had to call ss but I concluded I will speak to health visitor...am pretty sure health visitor will advise or support with social services referral...has never been enamoured with him, and made tentative remarks that if turbulent rel/his heavy parenting continued, she would consider ss.that's only when I pushed her to give me that opinion.that sounds like I am looking for someone elses permission to leave him and and affirmation that I am not being over sensitive.guess that is what I was looking for. b.c. scared of doing it alone, even with family support, and denying the boys a Dad. got to get over my own guilt

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