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The kids don't like DH.

(46 Posts)
plantsitter Wed 06-Feb-13 09:18:22

DH is lovely but quite grumpy at the moment and doesn't put up with any nonsense. He is also sometimes a bit rough with the kids - not violent or anything but gets them dressed too quickly, or picks them up and dumps them in the bath rather than persuading them to get in, for example.

I'm a SAHM and much softer on them - partly, I confess, because I can't hack it when everyone's yelling but mostly because I think it's nicer to make things fun than just impose my will on them.

DH works quite long hours so doesn't see much of them during the week but never works weekends so sees a lot of them then.

Last night DD1 (4y) asked if daddy was working late and when I said he was she cheered and said 'yaay! We don't have to see daddy! I hate daddy!' sad I told her off for saying she hates him and she was quite remorseful afterwards, but I know they would both always rather be with me and it makes me really sad.

I appreciate 4y olds bandy words about all over the place so I'm not too worried about the hating thing but does anyone have any experience of this? Is there a way I can get them to be closer? I know DH would be upset if he heard DD1 say she hates him. He is good at reading stories and teaching them things if you see what I mean but I want them to be friends!

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 08-Feb-13 18:19:28

I had to have a similar chat with my oh about a week ago. It resulted in his tears. :0(
Long and short of it he was shattered, so I've tried to organise life a bit better to get to bed at a reasonable hour & he's made a real effort to play more, fob off less and ask not tell a bit more. It's made a massive improvement.

plantsitter Fri 08-Feb-13 18:22:33

Pictish - let's assume that what you seem to think is happening in my family really is happening (unless you are expressing yourself very badly, you are wrong).

Being sarcastic, making me feel stupid for how I have tried to deal with the situation, and claiming to know exactly what will happen next does not help me even a tiny little bit.

Can'tbelieve - thanks for that. Hope things continue to improve.

"I had a chat to DD about it and she explained why she sometimes doesn't like daddy. And then I had a very productive chat with DH who has asked me to tell him when I think he's being too grumpy or rough when it happens, even if it feels like undermining him".

I think you need to re-read the post that OxfordBags wrote.

He's boxing clever here; he's also now getting you to take full responsibility for his actions. He will likely shout you down or accuse you of nagging if you try and police him, its not a long term solution at all.

Presumably his own parents did the same sort of behaviour to him as well; if this is the case it cannot be unlearnt very easily if at all because this to him is "normal". He probably thinks you're far too soft with the children as well.

Also why should you have to police a fellow adult like this; you after all are not responsible for his actions. He is.

No wonder your children cannot stand him; children are perceptive and know more than you perhaps realise or care to admit. I do not like the sound of him either. He is a very poor role model to your children.

pictish Fri 08-Feb-13 18:26:40

My apologies - I did not intend to make you feel stupid.

My sarcasm was directed at your h who is a grown man, and really should not expect another adult to point out he is being too rough with the kids.

pictish Fri 08-Feb-13 18:27:34

As if he didn't already know.

pictish Fri 08-Feb-13 18:29:31

But nice going on the whole absolving himself of responsibility stakes.
<thumbs up>

MidnightMasquerader Fri 08-Feb-13 18:43:12

plant - it's really great that he didn't go on the defensive, but instead was open to the conversation and responsive. That bodes well.

Maybe you need to agree on a way to signal to him when he is heading down the wrong track a). so that it doesn't look like mixed signals in front of the kids, and b). so that he sees he is in the wrong and doesn't flare/grump up defensively and make it worse.

I hope you don't feel stupid - you're handling this well. If you're anything like me, you hate confrontation, so something like this is just generally unpleasant for everyone concerned (tho especially your DD who's the priority). smile

MidnightMasquerader Fri 08-Feb-13 18:46:52

But I do agree fundamentally with the others - he needs to take some responsibility for changing his behaviour as well; not just leaving it for you too fix him.

Maybe try his approach - and if he does flare up (which I suspect he will, hence my previous post), then agree that perhaps this wasn't the best tactic, and now it's time for him to look at ways of modifying his behaviour and approach?

fluffyraggies Fri 08-Feb-13 18:52:41

OP, BMN (Before MumsNet grin ) i would have taken what your DH said as perfectly reasonable. A step forward. Then i would have struggled with the reality of it - how to tell him, when to tell him, where to tell him. Whether to bring it up again at all because there never seems to be a good time.

It's true, you shouldn't be put in the position of having to tell him when he's doing wrong. It'll drive a wedge between you.

I suggest another chat. Try and explain why it's going to be his responsibility, not yours.

plantsitter Fri 08-Feb-13 19:02:20

Look - I can feel myself getting on the defensive here, because I don't think I have really said enough about DH, his behaviour or the details of our conversation for people to make judgments about whether or not they like him or just to slag him off. However I suppose I have to accept the idea that he's put the responsibility for his behaviour on to me.

I don't think he will react badly when I tell him he's being a cock. If he does I will have a rethink. For now I am reasonably happy with how our conversation went and I'm not sure what else I can or ought to do about the situation.

I'm off now; Thanks for the advice.

Springdiva Fri 08-Feb-13 19:25:13

I was wondering if DD should have been told to 'tell Daddy when he is being rough' rather than DM being the messenger.

I would have said that to my DCs, but would also have said to DH (on his own) that Dcs complained that he is being too rough.

Being the go between for DCs and DH seems wrong.

GreatUncleEddie Fri 08-Feb-13 19:28:07

Op - I don't understand why people are being like this. It sounds as though you have had a productive talk that will help.

Springdiva Fri 08-Feb-13 19:40:48

Yes, productive talk has, no doubt, fixed things.......... however, I don't understand why OP's DH can't see or notice that the DCs are flinching or looking upset or are v quiet at bathtime. He must be v self-obsessed to not notice these things imv.

Wingdingdong Fri 08-Feb-13 19:53:30

OP, I agree with Eddie above. Sounds as though others are projecting their own experiences. Also sounds like your DH is like many men I know - hard-working, bit stressed, tired, not necessarily the best at picking up emotions, not totally understanding of young children. He's asked for help, so help him - but maybe a better way would be by giving him strategies to defuse the situation rather than by telling him he's going OTT in front of the kids.

FWIW I have 3.5yo DD and 11m DS, by bath time they're both a bit hyper and I'm dreaming about gin a nice cup of tea. If I tell DD I'm going to throw her in the bath with all her clothes on, she squeals, undresses instantly and then I swing her in with a 1-2-3. Basically I also dump her unceremoniously in the tub, but she enjoys the experience and asks me to throw her in if I'm taking too long to threaten it! Maybe suggest your DH can enter into the spirit and "throw" her in instead of manhandling her, etc? Ask him what he finds to be difficult moments and tell him how you cope with those.

Not that I've found all the solutions myself... And I can be pretty tired and grumpy too, especially when DD has wet the bed twice and DS has vomited three times the night before...

Oh - and ask DD what she likes doing with DH, or what she would like DH to do with her.

Finally, the word 'hate'. My DD has said she 'hates' Daddy. Reasons so far include 'he didn't let me have any chocolate before breakfast', 'he's still at work and he went to work yesterday too' and 'because I want mummy to read me a story'. She has no good reason whatsoever. I just say that it's not very nice to hate anyone and her daddy loves her very much, and she giggles... She does tell him she loves him as well though.

Has plantsitter's DH truly accepted any responsibility for his actions towards his children and by turn his wife?. Only the OP can decide that but I would say that words are cheap, its actions that count. Time will tell.

Putting the onus on his wife to tell him when he is crossing a line is not on at all, that absolves him of responsibility for his actions within the home. Where's his self control?. I cannot imagine that such an individual would take kindly to being told and would perhaps instead accuse his wife of nagging him.

Winddingdong, yours sounds like a happy home and your DD is secure because she also says that although she "hates" her dad for not giving her chocolate she loves him as well. OPs DD on the other hand is saying that she'd rather be with her mother; children do not say such things either to wind up the parent or for no good reason.

Mumsyblouse Fri 08-Feb-13 21:12:01

I'm sorry, I disagree with that last point, saying you 'hate' one parent is extremely common I've found from age 2/3 onwards, as is showing a real preference for one over the other, sometimes the 'fun' parent, or the one who is out all day who is then adored above all other, sometimes the mum/dad who is always there. I don't think a insecure frightened cowed child would exclaim 'hooray, I hate Daddy, I want mummy to take me to bed' or whatever, they would be far too worried about the consequences.

I'm not saying this is happening here at all, I really don't know enough of the situation, I know I am grumpy and tired and overworked myself, and sometimes that comes out at the children in my short temper/snapping a bit/issuing commands rather than doing hilarious fun bed-times or preparing for the school run.

If I am too awful, my husband does point it out. I also try to notice myself, and try to be a bit nicer all round, but it is a massive effort when you are working/doing lots of childcare/all round exhausted. I do see it as my own responsibility though, and wouldn't expect my husband to police me, more that if I am truly losing it (say once every few months) he might tell me this straight.

ClippedPhoenix Fri 08-Feb-13 21:18:34

I personally don't like him either.

Gingerandcocoa Fri 08-Feb-13 21:50:58

As a daughter of a father who worked long hours and who did not seem to take much interest in showing love and affection to me, I can say this has deeply affected my life. I have had trouble believing in myself particularly when it comes to men, and unfortunately this insecurity has led me to some bad relationships.

My father sadly passed away when I was 10, and I have to tell you that to this date I am not sure he ever loved me.

I hope you find a way to get through to your DH, so he can change how he acts towards to DC while there is still time to undo the harm and hurt done. Rejection is very, very hurtful for little children and stays with them forever.

HilaryClinton Sat 09-Feb-13 06:30:32

Also really agree with Oxfordbags et al.
I am struggling with why your DD has to know how strong and negative hate is without also worrying which vocabulary would be acceptable to you and whether your DD has it and is emotionally equipped to differentiate it from hate. It does seem that you are worrying about making her responsible for being 'grown-uply-polite' whilst not getting The Big Picture

plantsitter Sat 09-Feb-13 08:38:21

Yes, I have said I handled it badly a couple of times up thread.

Luckily I know DD very well so I am not worried about her vocabulary and I know she would always take the dramatic option if possible. I take your point about being emotionally equipped to differentiate feelings but, as I have said a few times, I probably reacted to the word when she said it.

She has said she hates me loads of times when I won't let her have another slice of chocolate cake, for example. It was me that attributed her 'hatred' to the fact that DH is grumpy and a bit rough. I subsequently chatted to her about exactly what she meant.

However I would probably handle it differently if I had to do it again. I do get the big picture.

By the way, I do think it's important she knows what a strong word 'hate' is. But perhaps a time like this wasn't the best time to go into it.

All a learning curve this parenting stuff, eh? Just doing my best.

HilaryClinton Sat 09-Feb-13 11:49:28

I'm sorry I was overly negative. When it comes to the Relationships section we're on your side.

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