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Did he cause this behaviour in my DD?

(29 Posts)
Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:22:38

Am I being unreasonable here?

My DD is 3. We have had some very tough times recently and have ended up having to stay with my family (Dad, stepmum...kids)

My Father has very little time for small children, he is almost annoyed by them.

On the first day we arrived my DD was playing, she was very excited and was screaming ...not in a scared way, but in an over excited way.

My Father took it upon himself to bellow at her "NO screaming" she was terrified, she didn't know him at all and had only just met him (we lived abroad)

DD came and hid in my lap for 15 mins or so, crying.

Since then (now 7 months later) she is still scared, instead of crying though, she will tell him she hates him. I am at a total loss as to what to do? I have told her not to say it, to be quiet....all in his home. Its really getting me down.

I don't think there was any need to say anything at all, I'm very on the ball with my kids and would have asked her to stop playing/screaming anyway.

My Father has a habit of saying cruel things, he asked me what it was like to give birth to my Mother while staring at DD (divorced many years bad feelings....)

He told my son (9) he was a "stupid boy" and said it was just a quip from Dads Army.

Its been very, very, decent of him to put us up till we got back on our feet(we have now) but this has left me upset.

Is is unreasonable to think if he had just kept quiet, none of this would have happened?

Thanks for reading smile its turned out pretty long!

WorraLiberty Wed 03-Oct-12 10:25:48

The screaming thing I can understand because it goes right through me like nails on a chalk board.

But the other comments are horrible and I would say that yes, they might have something to do with why your DD says she hates him.

squeakytoy Wed 03-Oct-12 10:29:28

the "stupid boy" thing is a quip from Dads Army though too.. it was a phrase my Dad often used as it was a programme that he watched.

slartybartfast Wed 03-Oct-12 10:33:26

well you have had tough times prior to moving you say. and if you did blame your dad for your dd bheaivour where would that get you?

it will take some time with all the changes but i am sure you dd will settle soon.

zippey Wed 03-Oct-12 10:36:55

They say first impressions last, so the reason for her "hate" probably stems from that. Not nice comments and its difficult because you are living in his house.

Is there anything you can do to get him bonding with your children?

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:37:20

I am old enough to remember Dad's Army , I'm British too.

My son is/ was very much an American ...and 9!

Its considered a harsh thing to say there.

Plus, as I told him it was a mean thing to say, you would think he'd stop confused

I haven't written all the details of my problems here. Taken as just a couple of things, it might not look much I guess.

After his "Mother" comment though, I starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a 'toxic Dad'

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:39:57

zippy I told him yesterday (after a very emotional crying type day for me) that all I had wanted was for him to have been a Grandfather to her.

To maybe read a book , talk to her ...I don't know?

The children have been through a very rough year, and lost all they knew.

babybythesea Wed 03-Oct-12 10:40:59

It is a quip from Dad's Army, yes. But I doubt that the OP's son knows that and as far as he is concerned, his grandad just called him stupid.
I think yes, he has to take the responsibility for the way your DD reacts.
I was scared of my grandad (on my Dad's side). We used to go and stay for a weekend every couple of months and although he didn't shout, there were always comments about mess and noise. Not always from him, to be fair, from my parents as well ("Don't leave those toys there - what will Grandpa say?"). He never spoke to us, never interacted, and just tended to be grumpy.
What I didn't realise until I was almost a teenager was that he was very ill with a degenerative disease that caused him pain. After he died, people started to tell me things that made me think that before he was ill he must have been a fun person, and I think we may have had a lot in common - I wish I'd known him properly.
As it was, he is in my memory as a scary, uninvolved man. Children react to the way someone treats them and it will linger. Even if you know why, it doesn't change the fact of who they were with you. I don't think there's anything you can do, other than maybe try and discuss with him the effect he's having and the way that might impact on the way his grandchildren thinkofhim and remember him?

TroublesomeEx Wed 03-Oct-12 10:51:04

It might be a quip from Dad's Army but there aren't many small children who are familiar with Dad's Army nowadays. Without that context, it's just demeaning a young boy.

Yes, I suspect he probably has created this behaviour.

Children look to adults for their messages about the world and what sort of place it is; how they should react.

They don't have the ability that adults do to recognise that someone is being rude/a twat/under stress/whatever, they internalise the way they are spoken to because they are children.

The way adults communicate with children does determine the response they elicit.

I'm sorry your children and you have had such a crappy year. What they need at the moment is a bit of TLC and some security. Some reassurance that actually, they and the world is still ok.

Their experiences this year will have undermined their previous understanding of the world and their place in it. They don't need someone undermining them further.

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:51:47

baby sounds a like my Dad...

The toy thing too, she left a tiny chair from a tiny dolls house on the sofa, he asked me to move it. So my Stepmother didn't have to.

I tidy the house everyday ...the housework, and obviously my children's things.

I'm sorry you had the same with your Grandfather. sad

TroublesomeEx Wed 03-Oct-12 10:53:18

I'm always amazed by the level/lack of insight some people have into children and the way they perceive their environment/relationships (I'm talking about your dad here Feminine, not you - you clearly can see it smile)

slartybartfast Wed 03-Oct-12 10:56:24

but you say kids, so he has more kids or the step mum has kids?

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:57:50

Thanks folkgirl your understanding has really helped.

I spent 2 hours crying last night, you have made me feel much better.

Thank you.

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:59:25

slarty My Dad and stepmother have 5 more children.

The youngest is only 16, I'm 41!

I won't go in to it now, but unfortunately she has been stirring it up also. sad

slartybartfast Wed 03-Oct-12 11:00:16

i think you need to focus on tlc with your dd op. make a safe place for her. not suggesting you leave where you are, but she knows she can turn to you. and may be you should stick up for her granddad, tell her, he is old and grumpy, or something. or tell her some people are old and tired.

babybythesea Wed 03-Oct-12 11:00:20

In hindsight, it was understandable. The condition he had meant he had constant pain in his feet and hands - he always wore slippers even outside, because shoes hurt too much. Stepping on a toy would have been excrutiating, and made him liable to fall. His memory was all over the shop - sometimes he was really sparky, other times he'd be staring fixedly at the TV even though it wasn't switched on.
I understand now and I deeply regret that the man I knew wasn't who he really was. It's hard for my Dad too, as me and my sister can't share his memories of his father - we knew a very different man to the one he did. (Contrasts deeply to my maternal grandad who is still very much with it at 95 and a brilliant guy to be around).
But it doesn't change the fact that I was scared of my grandad. I can overlay an adult understanding on it, but I don't love him really, not in the way I love my other grandad.

How is getting back on your feet going?

Are you able to foresee a time when you can move out?

Can you minimise their interaction while you have to live there?

I found my dad used to tease my DD to the point of tears (hers not his! and definitely not deliberately) when I lived at home and although he loves her to distraction (and they have a brilliant relationship now) it used to distress me too (I was very reliant on my parents at the time and we have never had a relationship where confrontation/correction went down well).

I used to make sure we were out during the day if he was around and this was likely to happen. Then we got our own place and this part of the interaction disappeared completely, because he wasn't around when she was tired (so she was well able for him), and on visits there were lots of people around so the teasing never got to that stage again.

Your job is to protect your children - sometimes the way to do this is to confront, sometimes it is to withdraw and disengage. We all would love to be able to make people change their behaviour, however it is not a possibility in a lot of cases - all you can do is change your own.

You may find in the future when you have your own place, if she is still avoiding him and he comments on it you can say "Well it's because you were so hard on her when she was little, you frightened her" - but you may get a very defensive reaction - no one likes to think they frighten little children. Only you can decide at that stage if it is something you want to highlight or if it can be left in the past.

Oh and I agree with other posters wrt to the "Stupid boy" comment - all your DS is hearing is that Grandad thinks he's stupid.

How old is DS - can you show him Dad's Army on the internet - get him to call his grandad Captain Mannering that will prob really annoy him and is just tit for tat but I'd be sooo tempted!

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 11:29:36

onthebottom Yes, finally I can say we are moving out.

We have been housed (as of last week)

It has been a very difficult time for all the children, I'm hoping that when we have our own front door, things will move on.

Another example is supper time, my children only use a folk (American) he can't stop ribbing them for that either. I haven't had a meal in 7 months where I haven't left the table with a pain in my stomach...

Regularly he compares his second family (of children) to mine, and always finds mine failing.

Such a shame.

slartybartfast Wed 03-Oct-12 11:30:41

i am sure you will all get on much better now you are no longer in the same house smile

SeventhEverything Wed 03-Oct-12 11:34:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TroublesomeEx Wed 03-Oct-12 11:35:05

smile @ Feminine

I'm pleased to hear that you have now been housed and that will, hopefully, mean things settle down for all of you now.

It's so draining to be under someone's critical eye constantly.

But onwards and upwards, eh? x

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 11:44:22

seventh yes, I'll show the little ones...it hasn't been a priority at the moment, but you are right.

My eldest does (14) as he started life here smile

Thanks again all, I'm just glad to know things will soon get better~ I owe it to my children. smile

nickeldaisical Wed 03-Oct-12 11:44:37

I agree with Seventh - you need to teach them to use a knife and fork for formal settings, maybe make a game of it - "let's use supper with grandad as practice for eating formally"

and i also agree about the stupid boy thing - show him Dad's army and get him to mimic Capt M or Pike.

but you do need to talk to your DD and try to make it sound like your father is old and not-with-it rather than a nasty bastard.
you obviously can't change your father, but you can tell him he will not shout at your children ever again.
If he has problems with their behaviour he should tell you.

Feminine Wed 03-Oct-12 11:50:51

Exactly nickel I'll try that with the children. My Dad has some nerve though, all these ' tellings off' have been in front of my DH.

A very laid back man.

In fact, he even took to calling my DH a new name as he didn't think his given one suited him.

When we do household chores for them , they both (him and stepmum) call us Manuel and Maria confused there is so much now I've started to write it down.

Oh well...

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