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Why would someone say stuff like this?

(57 Posts)
Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 17:41:35

I am after a sanity check here. My eldest Dd was dilly dallying this morning not brushing her teeth- lying on the ground basically chewing her toothbrush instead of at least making a start on them. I normally help her a bit but I was rushing about this morning getting myself ready to take them out to a party and my husband was getting them ready. She is 5. My husband was getting more and more irate with her, and then said something along the lines of ' well if you don't want to brush your teeth I'll take you to the dentist and have them all taken out' . I thought this was a horrendous thing to say to a child and I can barely look him in the eye now. He said it was heat of the moment and has apologised. I am struggling to let this go because I just wonder where this sort of unpleasant stuff even comes from. I don't think it would occur to me to say something like that to anyone let alone a 5 year old. Am I overreacting? He has apologised.... I almost feel like I don't know him. Ugh, I don't know. Be gentle please. :-(

BeckAndCall Sat 15-Jun-13 17:44:27

Ridiculous thing to say, but I think I've heard myself saying ridiculous things in my time too. He doesn't mean it. You know he doesn't mean it. He's not being evil, just plain fed up with your DD not doing what she should be doing. Let it go and move on.

meditrina Sat 15-Jun-13 17:46:47

His tone and DD's reaction is everything here, and hard to convey when typing. If it wasment, and she took it, on the same level as "I'm going to rip off your arm and beat you round the head with the soggy end', then that's fine. If it was a usually patient/kind parent who misjudged effect of words (for we all make mistakes from time to time, including big ones), then apology is in order, then you move on.

But if you think he's got a set pattern of speech and behaviour which is threatening, then yes this is a big problem.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 15-Jun-13 17:47:28

I really don't think it was that bad a comment, quite funny actually IMO. You have vastly over reacted with not being able to look at him and having him apologise jheeze.

tumbletumble Sat 15-Jun-13 17:49:19

I've heard my friend say to her DS "if you're naughty the police will come and take you away". I think it's an awful thing to say, but my guess is that she, and your DH, heard it from their own parents.

Agree with BeckAndCall. He's apologised, you've made it clear it's not acceptable. Unless it happens again you need to forgive him and move on.

thepixiefrog Sat 15-Jun-13 17:50:40

Hi op, I personally don't think it is a horrendous thing to say. It's definitely not a nice thing to say, however, and the stress of the situation got the better of your dh. He realises this, has apologised and I think you need to move on. At 5 your dd won't associate dentists with pain and anxiety the way adults do so there really won't be any emotional damage there.

Also, you need to remember that dh has a really good track record (so it seems to me as you are so suprised by this current outburst) and this is highly unusual for him. Think of it as a minor lapse and something to learn from, not the sudden revelation of a potential abusive personality.

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 17:52:35

Thanks all. It's interesting. Seems like I may be over sensitive.

DawnOfTheDee Sat 15-Jun-13 17:54:48

Not the best thing to say but I could imagine your DD posting about on mn in 20-30 years time on the thread 'Things your parents told you that you believed (but were in face complete bollocks)'.

rainbowfeet Sat 15-Jun-13 17:55:32

Wait til she is s teenager & pushing all your buttons I'm sure you will not always be so gentle with your words then!!!
Kids test you & as long as it isn't physical or constant harsh words then its normal & fine!

Corygal Sat 15-Jun-13 17:57:19

I think you've overreacted, we all do sometimes.

My SIL has told my niece, in the heat of the moment when she's playing up and refusing to have her hair brushed and plaited, that she'll take her to the hairdressers and ask them to cut it all off.

He's apologised. To say you can barely look him in the eye and feel like you don't know him is a huge overreaction.

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:00:00

Does he ever say something like this?
Has he apologised to DD or just you?
Has he reassured her he was kidding?

I have told DS I'd throw him out of the window, and even playfully and not in anger, I could see he wasn't sure, so went out of my way to reassure him and he now jokes about it too.

I'd never threaten as punishment anything I wouldn't be prepared to carry on.

I understand he might have said it without thinking, but I'd make sure this was the last time he said something like this.
Has he truly understood why this was wrong?

babadabadoo Sat 15-Jun-13 18:00:50

yeah dont see the big deal myself but I am not you. I guess he was just trying to get her to brush her teeth properly and not waste any time. Perhaps he is not as patient as you but I doubt she has been damaged by the remark.

Whatwouldyousay Sat 15-Jun-13 18:01:23

From this perspective it sounds obvious that he was exaggerating for effect - misjudged probably but also probably effective. Hindsight is wonderful - and he's apologised. I think your reaction to him since (not being able to look him in the eye) is an over-reaction.

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:05:45

Fwiw, I think HE overreacted, not you.
He needs to know you found this totally unacceptable, as would I.

If all else is good, I'd forgive and move on, but not forget.

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:10:39

Your DD will either be frightened or dismissive. Neither is good.

And why didn't he help her Or coax her, instead of being irate?

Both of you need to find better discipline and encouraging tactics, it seems.

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 18:10:46

Hi lweji. Part of the reason I feel jarred is because I had to explain to him why it was wrong and I don't feel he gets it. I would not like someone to say this stuff to me that's for sure in the context of a heated discussion. But I am sensitive I accept that.

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:26:21

I don't think you are sensitive. smile

Perhaps I'm more alert to red flags, but this and the not realising it's wrong, are one for me.

He could have said that if she didn't brush her teeth they would go rotten and she'd have to go to the dentist to remove them all.
Are you sure he didn't say this? Because it is different.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Jun-13 18:31:43

It just sounds like a joke to me!

I guess it depends on their relationship, how it was said and how she took it.

If anyone said this to my DC's I'm sure we've said much worse they'd just laugh and take it as a jokey way to hurry them along.

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 18:35:04

Hi Lweji, No that isn't what was said. Absolutely not. It was as I described.

There is a context to this also- he has smacked her, I have heard it. Gone into the room and have said ' did you smack her?' And he has denied it. Then later admitted it.

BalloonSlayer Sat 15-Jun-13 18:37:58

There's a frequent threat by parents to DDs with long hair who don't look after it - "if you won't brush it, we'll have to get it all cut off."

I suspect his brain went a-looking for a teeth-related version and it came up with this, not realising it actually sounds quite awful.

Or he could have heard of people saying about other people's DCs "oh well they never made sure the kids brushed their teeth so they had to have them all taken out" and not really made the connection about that happening because they were all decayed.

rainbowfeet Sat 15-Jun-13 18:39:55

I'm always on the phone to Father Christmas telling him to take dc's off his list!!!!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Jun-13 18:47:55

I'm a bit confused why the smacking has been allowed to go on, but you're really furious about this?!

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:50:57

How many times has he smacked her and in what context?

How was his response to your challenge, once he admitted it? Has he done it again?

Indeed you both (him?) seem to need improved parenting skills.
You can show him how alternative methods work better, with less stress for everyone (nasty threats or smacks).
See how he responds.

You do need boundaries and to show him you cannot stand by to this treatment of DD.

How is he with you?
Does he get angry like this?

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 18:51:38

I haven't 'allowed it to go on' Outraged.

SuperiorCat Sat 15-Jun-13 18:57:37

blush we say stupid things like this all the time, but in a jocular fashion, not when irate which suggests a very different situation. Eg "I don't want to wash my face" - "shall we just chop your head off then?" - but she knows it is us just chivvying her along.

We do the "if you don't want to wash / brush your hair, you can have it cut off" - it isn't a threat, it is an option to her if she cba to look after it.

TrippleBerryFairy Sat 15-Jun-13 19:05:22

Im not sure what he said is that horrible... I would only be worried that she might bec

garlicnutty Sat 15-Jun-13 19:08:41

From what you've posted, I'd guess his upbringing was a bit harsh and he doesn't like to admit it - in consequence, the harshness he knew as a child pops out under stress but he tries not to acknowledge the reality of it.

It's tricky for you, Fanta. I assumed the 'teeth' threat came over as serious and frightening to a child, otherwise you wouldn't have posted. I wish people wouldn't go "Oh, it's just a joke" because it would be in their family: that says nothing about the situation in your family, and belittles your concern. People used to laugh at my father's threats, but he was violent and we children couldn't tell which punishments he would carry out. It was horrid to be laughed at for being scared.

It's worrying that H lied to you about hitting his daughter, isn't it? How sorry was he? Has it happened twice?

RoooneyMara Sat 15-Jun-13 19:11:26

I often tell mine that their teeth will fall out if they don't brush them. I don't think it's toooo weird.

TrippleBerryFairy Sat 15-Jun-13 19:12:08

...typing on iphone, arrgh... The only thing i would be worried about is that she might get a wrong idea about dentists and next time you go to one you will have a problem with her being scared...
Im pretty sure your DH said this out of frustration, havent we all been theresmile
i did have a little snigger at his words, sorry..

RoooneyMara Sat 15-Jun-13 19:12:29

it does depend on his tone though when he said it. How did it sound?

garlicnutty Sat 15-Jun-13 19:13:29

Can you not see the difference between "you have to care for your teeth or they might go bad & fall out" and "Do as I say or I will have your teeth pulled out"?

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 19:14:04

Thank you garlic. Yes it does worry me. I think it has happened more than once but it is difficult to know when you question yourself. And when things are denied.

RoooneyMara Sat 15-Jun-13 19:15:05

Of course I can Garlic. As I said I think it depends on his demeanour at the time and the tone he used.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Jun-13 19:19:05

Can't your DD tell you whether she has been smacked or not?

Is he her father?

BeckAndCall Sat 15-Jun-13 19:39:13

Sorry, OP, but now you've told us he smacks her when you're not in the room, that's a totally different ball game.

I withdraw my earlier 'let it go' comment and think you need to address his parenting style. That's part of a much wider discussion. Coupled with the fact he denies it to your face, I think there's a real issue here.

Sh1ney Sat 15-Jun-13 19:45:47

What an over reaction

Maybe she will brush her teeth next time ?

Unless he's abusive normally then it's no big deal - or indeed ANY deal

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 19:50:08

Fanta, you haven't answered about how he is with you.

And how angry does he get with DD, usually?

thepixiefrog Sat 15-Jun-13 19:59:28

I also withdraw my previous advice. Smacking is unacceptable in itself, and then to lie to you about it makes it a million times worse. I understand now why you are upset, you can't trust him as you don't know if your dd is safe around him, and if anything abusive does happen you may never know about it. I would be on edge most of the time if I were you op.

I know this may sound extreme, but I would really recommend talking to him about some parenting classes. If he belittles your concerns (and I expect him to tbh) ask him to go somewhere else and not come back until he is willing to address his parenting (and his penchant for lying to you). This may sound drastic, but until he has some real consequences to face he won't change a thing.

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 20:03:12

Sorry- lweji. In between getting kids to bed. He is ok with me. I have a problem with him dismissing my feelings sometimes. He tends to lie under pressure - denying saying something unkind, say he said it in a different way etc. I am not sure I can believe him about things. Re the anger- he does not always make choices in parenting I see as appropriate. Too harsh words etc. this against a background where 99 % of the time he is loving and kind. there have been a few incidents where he has said he has done something which he has denied/ said she has misinterpreted. One which I posted under a different user name a coup,e if years ago where she said he had grabbed her by the neck/ he said he had only held her by the shoulder to steer her to tidying up. She said he had grabbed her wrist / he said he lightly held her wrist. She said he clenched his fist at her. He said he made a gesture which was open. It sounds so bad - even the fact that I am interrogating him says there s something wrong. There is a mistrust there from me - am I paranoid/ overreacting- I don't know. I am sorry to drip feed - the comment this morning seemed to me Unacceptable. He is an apparently kind and gentle person in the round. He gets extremely defensive at the suggestion something is amiss in his parenting style. I am firmly opposed to smacking / threat making etc and try very hard to deploy other strategies. He knows this. I feel very confused, and the comment he made this morning has served as a focus for that confusion.

garlicnutty Sat 15-Jun-13 20:17:05

Have I read this right - he was 'steering' a 3-year-old to tidy up? Is it just me, or does that seem odd to anyone else?

I don't really know what to say, Fanta, except that you really do seem to doubt yourself over his parenting - that in itself is worrying. When you hear your partner hitting your child, and he then denies it, you're in a difficult situation. It's almost as though you need to discipline him when he disciplines DD confused

He gets extremely defensive at the suggestion something is amiss in his parenting style.

Oh, dear. Do you mean angry?

How would you feel about taking the hard line pixiefrog suggested?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Jun-13 20:31:29

I sometimes 'steer' mine via their shoulders and I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but then it's all about context again. I don't ever touch them in anger (no hitting, pushing, pulling, yanking etc.) so a steer is just that.

thepixiefrog Sat 15-Jun-13 20:38:35

I speak from experience re; the 'don't come back until you can take all this seriously' approach. My dh was grumpy, shouty and overly harsh with our DC and he would be very dismissive if I tried to address it. I cane on here a few months ago and was enlightened by some very lovely and wise posters. They pointed out that his behaviour was abusive at times, and that he would not change until he had something to lose I.e. us.

He had been promising to read a parenting book and seek help with anger management for years but never did anything. I spoke to him and told him to stay at his dm's until I could see that he was doing something proactive about altering his behaviour. I kept calm and reasonable through the initial conversation and didn't budge when he begged to stay.

It was upsetting and traumatic for a couple of weeks but he took me seriously. He found a therapist the next day and took a real interest in what I viewed as unacceptable behaviour. We are now really in tune with each other and work really well as a team when it comes to parenting.

It was hard work but so worth it. None of it would have changed if I hadn't asked him to leave for a while.

Sorry for epic post, I hope it's helpful in some way.x

Fantacolasprite Sat 15-Jun-13 21:49:31

Pixie frog that is very interesting and food for thought.i am going to tackle this. Well done for getting it sorted. Thanks so much.

Sh1ney Sat 15-Jun-13 23:35:36

I don't see a problem with steering a child. Blimey - I bloody frog march my youngest up to his bedroom when he's in trouble. I don't, however smack or shout but see nothin wrong with either per se... Depends doesn't it?

Op - you need to work out for yourself why you feel so on edge about this. It sounds to me like you don't trust him. I , for example , have a very different parenting style to my ex and he has our 6 year old every other weekend. I disagree with some of the things he does - and I'm quite sure this is reciprocated. However I trust him to deal with our son as he sees fit. I know he would never hit him or scream at him or swear at him and when he gets angry with him it's all very controlled and he's told off effectively. So I let him get on with it.

You seem unable to allow your husband to parent as he sees fit - so the deeper issue is why

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 23:54:54

So, at 3 your DD said your OH held her by the throat?
It doesn't sound like something a 3 year old would make up, IMO.
Does she make up stories normally?

Because he has a history of lying.
And gaslighting, it seems.


Fantacolasprite Sun 16-Jun-13 07:17:17

Sh1ney - no I guess I don't let him parent as I see fit. And You are right that i don't trust him which must be difficult for him. This is because I feel he tells lies. And I don't want them to be smacked. Maybe it is wrong of me that I can't tolerate his differing style on this. But it is important to me, and we have discussed it and I thought we had agreed.

Lweji - it was a horrible incident. Really. Because I have to believe her. And I do believe her. Equally I can accept that 2 people can have a different view of the same incident. But she indicated he had held her round the front of her neck. And he denied it and said it was steering her shoulder. He called her a liar! A 3 year old. And as I say there are more than one occasion since of such 'misinterpretation'. Some more plausible than others. I must say I am surprised that so many other posters think the pulling out teeth comment is nothing to worry about it. Maybe i do need to chill out a bit. Dunno.

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 07:32:25

Fanta, it is not wrong of you not to tolerate this treatment of your daughter.
There are usually a few posters around who suffered abuse as children, and have reported before feeling angry with their mothers for allowing it.

It all sounds very wrong to me. But you always get dismissive posters, particularly over one incident.

It is not uncommon for threads to start as little things, with mostly dismissive posters, and turn out to be about very serious abuse.
You have had here people changing their opinion when you mentioned the other incidents.

You have been in a difficult position of having OH's word against your DD's.

In this case you have heard what he said, and he has admitted to smacking and you can start from there.

Was the smacking on the face?

I think you need to start believing your DD and let her know that she can tell you anything that happens. And reassure her that such threats are not real.
Most children worship their parents and wouldn't make lies like these, particularly to the other parent.
And I think you should put your foot down with your OH. This should be the very last time he makes such threats.
People were surprised about the smacking versus the threats, but emotional abuse can be worse than physical abuse. If your daughter believes he will carry out such outlandish threats, it is not good at all.
But the smacking, even if bottoms, can lead to more serious abuse if he is like this with her. And because he lies about it.
A responsible parent wouldn't lie about it.

I wouldn't trust him either.

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 07:38:47

Also adding that the first time I really seriously considered divorcing exH was when he mistreated the kitten.
My reasoning was that if he mistreated the kitten, he was bad to the core.

He didn't harm DS, as far as I know, and he was a twat with me but it hadn't gone down to physical abuse yet.

The signs of a very nasty and dangerous person are there, IMO.

Fantacolasprite Sun 16-Jun-13 08:07:32

Thanks lweji. Smacking was on the arm. I completely get what you say about the kitten. That's it exactly. It's an unsettling glimpse into someone's inner self, underneath the veneer.

I will discuss parenting classes with him as pixie suggested. I can guess he will be very defensive. And I am also going to note down incidents as they happen so I can review things objectively. I absolutely don't think my daughter is lying. Not at all. But it could be a matter of interpretation. However the more incidents stack up, the less I believe him. The clenched fist thing was a particularly implausible explanation from him for example.

ticklycough Sun 16-Jun-13 08:15:22

Can I ask if you smack your daughter also?
My 2 used to have the old smack until we didn't need to when they reached about the age of 7 or 8...they've grown into well adjusted older teenagers before anyone judges.

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 08:15:57

ExH did the clenched fist at me once. It was scary.
Imagine to a 3-5 year old and with an angry face. sad

Are you prepared to tell him to go? Because that might well be what it takes to make him take you seriously and change his attitude.

Good luck. smile

ticklycough Sun 16-Jun-13 08:21:17

Oops sorry just seen more recent comment that you disagree with smacking, which I totally respect by the way.
Hope you sort things out with your DH and DD, I would try and talk things through with him calmly before asking him to leave though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Jun-13 08:27:36

My childhood was full of silly warnings ... 'Don't pull a face because, if the wind changes, it'll stick'.... 'Don't swallow chewing gum or it'll wrap itself in knots round your guts'..... 'Don't swallow apple pips or you'll end up with an apple tree in your stomach'..... 'If you look at light-bulbs you'll go blind'.... Depends how it's said, really.

I think you absolutely have to go with your instincts on this and great for having begun to work out how to deal with. A big back up for the understanding that a five year old can have different interpretations. My DS 5yo can have stroppy, stubborn moments. If he is in one of these then anything anyone does is wailed out by him "don't push me, that hurts". This is seriously in response to the lightest, lightest touch on his know the hand on the back/shoulder barely touching the tshirt to gently herd/guide them to the front door. The lightness of touch you would be safe to use on a very frail old lady. The first time DS said it I actually looked around to see what/who else could actually be pushing him. It is his way of saying I am in a grump, please don't invade my space. I now try to respect his space if he is in a grump. But similarly ,if he needs gentle herding towards the front door on a school day then I will.

Good luck

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 09:24:32

Silly warnings are different from threats.

Does she scream or flinch when you touch her? Has she ever screamed murder when you handle her?
Or when anyone else does in front of you, including your OH?

My worry is that whatever happens is away from you.
And you have caught him lying about it.

I'm not saying leave now, but it must be understood that it is a possibility if you really want him to change, given what you have said so far.

Wellwobbly Sun 16-Jun-13 16:28:57

We must be careful what we say to children, because their cognitive development at that age means they CAN ONLY take things literally.

As long as your H has realised his mistake, is a good enough Dad and will take care not to mindlessly repeat his parent's stupid patterns say things like that again, onwards and upwards.

On the other thing? Lying on the floor chewing your TB is a very effective way of cleaning teeth! But really children at that age do not have the fine motor control to do dental hygiene properly, and to at least the age of 10 parents should be brushing their children's teeth (told me in all seriousness, by my dentist!).

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