DH health and safety obssessed(38 Posts)
DH, affectionately known as MR H+S amongst friends and family, is driving me to the point of distraction. DS is 14 months, this is the list of things DH doesn't want him to do:
drink tap water (lead poisoning)
feed ducks (bird poo, possibly d+V)
walk around kitchen (electricution)
touch washing machine or dishwasher (see above)
touch plugs with safety covers on (see kitchen)
eat food not minced (choke)
come to bathroom with me (d+v again)
touch taps (burn. Even cold ones)
open drawers (finger trapping. We have all drawer handles removed in case of fall and head injury)
play with communal toys i.e. playgroups (germs)
walk around with stick from donughnut ring stacker toy (possible fall and pierce chest)
When I suggest that these are ridiculous he shoots me down saying that I have impaired judegment and I can't keep him safe (he has never had an injury on my watch apart from usual falls and bruises). Do I have impaired judgement? Whn DS and I are alone together (most of time) I flout these "rules". DS is obviously getting mixed messgaes. WWYD?
Please get some help. My MIL suffers from OCD, although she would never admit it. All four of her children suffer from mental illnesses ranging from agoraphobia, OCD and hypochondria. She is a nightmare to be around even now. Please don't ignore this.
Please look up OCD and intrusive thoughts. It's not just about cleaning.
I agree with Sockreturningpixie- sounds just like my FIL.
My MIL was a bit like this with DH and his sister. The result was that until he moved in with me he was a bit shit at doing anything remotely practical because she'd never let him near anything as dangerous as a screwdriver, paint (fumes), a sharp enough knife to actually chop or cut meat and veg with etc. He's still pretty hopeless but fortunately is at least prepared to try stuff. I love MIL but she is hugely over-anxious around the DCs, especially over things like the temperature of their food, choking hazards (everything) and so on. He really DOES need to get some perspective or you are going to encounter really quite serious problems as your DS gets older and wants to be more adventurous. Where does he get his reasons or arguments for these things from?
Of course he may not have any health problems at all he may just be a dense knobber.
My SIL is like your DH. Her ds had been in nursery one day when he came home with the sniffles and she gave her job up (I kid you not) as 'there's no way we are deliberately going to expose our child to illnesses, it stank in there as well, sorry, people who send their dc to nursery must be mad'
He's 8 now, and although a sweet little thing, he's petrified of everything - noises, smells, new tastes. She never leaves him at parties (except my son's but that's because we can't bear eachother!) and constantly fusses and faffs with him - carrying his bags when he comes out of school, pushing his bike if he doesn't feel like riding it, carrying scooter....
Unsure if it's the same thing as OP's DH, but everything she says he does - SIL would have thought perfectly reasonable when her son was a baby. Now he's, well, a bit of a drip...although sweet
feels guilty for saying that about him
It sounds OCD-like to me. It's not normal and left uncheck he will ruin your child's life.
Children have to be allowed to experience life and not live inside some cotton wool bubble. And that means yes....getting hurt sometimes. Be that falling over and grazing their knee to running into a door handle. How else do they learn????
Posting again to add that I too had (have) and over-anxious mother with what has since been diagnosed as OCD. It still absolutely blights my life and made my childhood a misery. Made me, as the eldest, anxious, panicky like everything is overwhelming, really avoidant of normal stuff and made my siblings the other way - incredibly accident-prone and unaware of danger because they never had a chance to learn what was dangerous or not and were wrapped up in cotton wool, etc.
Also, whilst I am determined not to be the same with my Ds, I struggle all the time to know what is appropriate. I can see how I am overly fussy with some things and probably too lax on other things (he's allowed to press the buttons on the washing machine when it's off, for example - although on the plus side I have already taught him how to put on a quick wash, which I hope my future DIL will thank me for ).
Anxiety in whatever way it manifests can really mess with tots learning and accepting certain things 'innately', ie prevents them becoming second nature. You meet any fussy adult eater and there will be a parent fixated with them choking in their past, for example.
Agree with everybody else: your dh needs to see somebody about this.
As the boy's parent, he has a duty to bring him up in a way that does not compromise his developmental health (chewing and speech muscles as mentioned by previous poster), his socialisation or his ability to learn to do risk assessment and gradually become independent. If he has anxiety problems of his own, he cannot allow those to impact on his son's mental health- and sooner or later they will do. If he is putting him at risk of later mental health problems, that is just as bad as putting him at risk of chronic physical health problems. A cold or a bout of d&v is going to be a lot less damaging to his life than a nervous disorder.
For the record, my mother has a phobia. I didn't even know about it until I was in my twenties: that's how anxious she was not to pass it on to me. It must have required massive self control and I am very grateful.
i'd echo gnushoes growing up with a parent like this is isolating and damaging.
My mum was like this and it's had a lasting impact on the lives of me and my sister, though in different ways. I've coped with it a lot better, but it led to my sister having a nervous breakdown in adulthood.
I do think this is more than your husband simply being H&S obsessed - as kgie says this is more like intrusive thoughts attached to OCD/anxiety and it's a problem your DH needs to address.
He needs to talk to someone about his concerns.
A couple of his points are broadly reasonable:
Eg not touching washing machine and dishwasher - not going to cause electrocution if properly installed but toddlers shouldn't be touching these anyway - could damage knobs and cause expensive repair, could mess up cycle etc. my kids not allowed to touch unless supervised, eg allowed to press button.
Plugs should not be touched by toddlers whether covered or not - must learn that need to think before touching something. Electricity to be respected!
Drawers - could be dangerous if very big and heavy and pulled right out of unit onto self. presumably your drawers aren't like this though.
The rest qualifies as "intrusive thoughts" and OCD/anxiety/stress IMO. And I am a very cautious person. He does have a mental health problem, it's just a question of how serious it is and whether he can talk through the issues with family members or whether a doc is needed.
D&V v unlikely to be caught from activities listed. But even if it is, it won't kill your ds. So this is an ok "risk" to take.
My mum has struggled with OCD, phobias and the fear that some harm would come to my sister and I since my early babyhood (I was the oldest). It made our lives a misery and effectively cut us off from other people too. My mum is now saying how much she regrets what happened but is still obsessive decades later. Please make him get help.
How does your DH stop him doing all those things? It must be virtually impossible.
He sounds very dismissive and lacking in respect towards you.
I think he should be encouraged to deal with his anxieties, sooner rather than later.
Can you speak to your GP for advice? Maybe some cbt would be helpful for your dh? Has he always been this anxious?
Can you speak to your GP for advice? Maybe some cbt would be helpful for your dh? Has he always been this anxious?
No suggestions of how to help but a posdibly really stupid question - how do you open your drawers if all the handles have been removed?
email him this link.
health and safety myths
He can have hours of endless fun.
I'm sorry but your post has made me quite cross tbh.
Does he impose these rules and expect you to blindly follow them? Does he follow his own rules or does he just expect you to follow your Ds around all day?
What happens when DS starts school, will he try and impose the same rules on the teachers?
It really does seem like he's implying you are an unfit mother to me, your judgement is impaired? I would have hit the roof at that!
Have you tried a short sharp "don't be so bloody silly" when he starts, showing you are offended might pull him up a bit.
My H and his family tend a little in this direction. But my H realises his tendancy - and that his own mother's nervous overprotectiveness didn't do him any favours. So he tries to self-correct to come round to my position of benign neglect.
His sister had stair gates up for a 4 year old FGS.
Your DH does need to get his issued addressed as it will only get worse over the next couple of years. What will he do when at 3 your DS is wanting to play in the play park on the climbing frame? What are you to do when he is toilet traing never use a public toilet? What if at the age of 5 he wants to he wants to go play on his own at a friends house?
We all want to keep our children safe and as a parent it is our job to help them learn to stay safe. Even my nearly 11 month old knows the AGA is hot and when in front of it holds her hand in front of it (not touching) and goes "oh oh" as any time she has come near it since learning to crawl we say "hot hot" given the chance they learn younger than we think.
why I removed all our socket covers
Your husband sounds like he is struggling with the changes having a small person has brought. Has he always been a little OCD about things or is this a development since baby? Either way he does need help.
The only real gesture we took towards h&s was stair gates. As Ds is particularly curious and I don't want him to hurt himself. However I've shown him that the oven is hot, I repeatedly tell him not to do things because he will get hurt etc. my heart has been in my mouth at times with him running around and jumping off furniture. But I've had to swallow that fear and as a responsible parent, unless something is clearly stupidly dangerous, bumps and falls are a part of the learning process. Ds fell head first into a toy box from the back of the sofa once. His legs were waving in the air, I was pmsl and he was howling! Thankfully no harm done but he's not done it since.
Really, encourage him to seek help. See if he can be home perhaps for a hv visit as he may express all these concerns to them and they can help you by providing reasonable objections and solutions to counter them. If he refuses to seek help then I'm afraid I'd see it as a bigger picture of wanting overall control and would wonder where it would stop.
I think we can all understand the desire to keep our precious child safe from all harm. But in reality it's just not possible, and I agree with many posters above, in the long run you're likely to cause more issues with the level of over-protectiveness.
Maybe you could run through his concerns to try to put his mind at ease?
It doesn't really matter if children do get D&V - sure, it's not that nice, but it's only illness, they get better. Same with colds and things, really not the end of the world. PLus, it's not like germs are lurking constantly - my 2yo DS is determindly unhygenic, always licking trolleys, touching the loo, feeding birds and eating chunks of the bread at the same time, picking up anything gross/interesting and yet he's never (yet) had d or v - although I am sure he will at some point.
Again, learning to open drawers and doors safely is important. DS has trapped his fingers a couple of times and they cry but then they stop crying and are fine.
Eating minced food will mean that the correct muscles for speech won't develop. He needs chunks. Maybe your DH could learn exactly what to do in the event of choking - I did and it made me feel more comfortable.
Anyway, with the best will in the world, they will injure themselves however careful you are.
14 months is prime age for anxiety in parents I think as you basically have a moving/walking baby who has no fear and no idea of consequences. It does get better as they get a little older.
If he lives in a germ free environment his immune system will never get used to whats out there and he will be more likely to get ill.
If he is never allowed to taek any risks he will never learn risk management for himself and will always put himself into dangerous situations.
Ask your husband if this is how he wants his son to grow up and yes it does sound like he has OCD or an underlying anxiety problem that is showing up in this way.
What does impaired judgement form you mean? Has he implied there will be consequences if you don't follow the list.
I don't mean that to sound like he will turn into an arsehole and beat the hell out of you but his anxiety level may rise so much at the thought he could become even more irrational.
If your husband doen't find a way to manage this then as your child grows and wants to experience life his anxiety will get worse and he may try to tighten his grip or have a breakdown get him some help now.
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