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FIL lost it with the kids.. Perspective needed

(221 Posts)
mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 08:17:42

My head's in a muddle with this one and I'm bloomin angry.
Yesterday we were at the in laws for a family get together. Nice day but FIL gets stressed by our boys aged 7,5 and 2 going within 5 metres a glass/ tea cup/ ornament. He's quite a shouty man and has very limited patience. Anyway, we were about to leave when the two youngest started bickering over a toy. I got up to go and pack our stuff up, left husband sat with the boys, FIL and other family members. I came back into the room 2 minutes later to find FIL dragging the youngest 2 boys by their wrists across the room. They were hysterical and clearly in pain. Apparently he had flipped at their bickering and told them to get out the room. He is a big, strong 6ft 4 man, they are 2 and 4. I shouted 'what the hell is going on ?' at FIL and DH ( who did nothing but that's another story), grabbed the boys and went to the car with them where it took 5 mins to calm them down from their hysteria.
I agree it's their house and their rules but I am livid that he manhandled the kids. AIBU ?

Tanith Sun 28-Apr-13 08:50:36

YANBU, but I would not be cross with your DH. If your FIL can behave like that to his grandchildren, I can imagine what your DH's childhood was like.
I expect he's feeling bad enough already sad

Your FIL sounds like a nasty bully and I'm not sure I could welcome him in my home. Certainly, I wouldn't be taking my kids to him.

It was your FIL that did this - his responsibility. Your DH being frozen into inaction is a sad indication of his own bad experiences.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 28-Apr-13 08:56:29

Tanith - really? I don't buy that. If he knows his father is likely to go off like that then he should be making sure his children are better behaved.

OP - tbh the fact that your DH didn't react at all, makes me think that you are over-reacting.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 08:57:43

I just want to be clear.. For 98% of the time of the visit the children were really well behaved. It was just a few minutes of tired sniping at each other whilst I was gathering things to leave. His reaction was completely over the top.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 08:59:44

DH is mortified that he didn't step in and feels horrendous as he knows how bad the situation but yes he was frozen by fear and I suspect taken straight back to his childhood. 😞

Figgygal Sun 28-Apr-13 09:03:49

Sounds like ur dh sat on his arse and let it happen tbh but your FIL was wrong to react in that way too.

MimiSunshine Sun 28-Apr-13 09:06:18

I would not appreciate anyone doing that to my child, but it probably looked worse than it was in some ways unless he was holding them off the ground by their wrists. But I'd certainly (as a couple) be telling FIL that he is to never to manhandle them in that way again.

Your DH clearly needs support in standing up to his dad as I'm guessing there are decades of conditioning to wipe out.

However it's not clear from what you've said if you or your DH actually did anything to stop the bickering. Getting up and saying "right lets go" does not cover it, it's too subtle for children of that age to pick up on.
So when you walked out of the room and DH just sat there, to your FIL you probably looked the kind of parents who get slated on here for not immediately breaking up their warring children.

ll31 Sun 28-Apr-13 09:08:28

Given that you weren't there you don't really know what caused the reaction. clearly I don't either but do wonder how much your reaction contributed to their taking time to calm down . If they were in living room he was hardly dragging them across a long distance, sounds to me like their upset was likely a continuation of their arguments.
Also though your dh should have managed his kids and should also have intervened if indeed your fil reaction was over the top.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:09:13

Mimi, I wasn't there but he said yes he was telling to stop bickering and that we were about to go.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 28-Apr-13 09:10:59

Please do not listen to anyone who says your children should have been impeccably behaved and 100% under control from go to woah.

We're talking about a 2YO and a 4YO and with the best will in the world, zero misbehaving is not possible. Anyone who thinks it is, is either childless, a long way removed from this age group, or wilfully putting the boot in, in the time-honoured manner of AIBU.

missnevermind Sun 28-Apr-13 09:11:01

I imagine that your DH has had it drummed into him for 30? years that FIL is the man, he is in charge, you will do as you are told. And his conditioning left him unable to help his own sons in that instant.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:11:57

Should of explained their living/ dining room is joined up and a huge room and he dragged them quite a way. When I walked in both boys were screaming hysterically so it wasnt a reaction to me. The 2 year old Leo saying 'grandpa hurt my hand ' in the car on the way home and other son cried at bedtime about it.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:12:46

'the 2 year old was saying'
Bloomin autocorrect

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:14:18

DonDrapers... Exactly smile
Missnevermind you have summed it up brilliantly smile

Icantstopeatinglol Sun 28-Apr-13 09:15:18

Yanbu, I wouldn't be taking them back there full stop! I'd be annoyed at your dh too, I understand it probably brought back memories etc but they're his kids and regardless he should have stood up for them. They're 2 + 4 I think you said? Of course they bicker! Hardly a reason to drag them and upset them like that.

VinegarDrinker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:17:09

I get that your DH was "frozen with fear" after your FIL kicked off, but I agree he should have stepped in before that point to distract/discipline them if you want to avoid others doing it.

What was he doing while you ran around getting everything sorted? In our family one of us gets the stuff and the other gets the toddler into his coat/shoes etc.

I also think you shouting probably escalated the situation and scared them more.

I can understand why you are cross but you know what your FIL is like - a bit of a bully by the sounds of it, so I would just avoid leaving them alone together in future. I doubt they will be scarred for life.

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:17:21

Drafting an email to him today. A phonecall won't work with his anger.
Trying to think of the wording which will have maximum impact and get through to him.

dawntigga Sun 28-Apr-13 09:18:43

FFS he dragged 2 small boys across a room, people, under what circumstances is that appropriate?

mousemole you have a very simple solution, you don't go to your FiL's again. He was out of order and owes those children an apology. We all do things we shouldn't but most of us have enough backbone to apologise to those we hurt. Under no circumstances is he to be left alone with the boys.

If it were me, under no circumstances would I visit that home again. If I HAD to meet him I'd do it on neutral ground. I'd also encourage dh to get some counselling.


VinegarDrinker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:20:17

Btw I meant to say, we have a situation in our family where, without going into specifics, we can't leave any children unattended with my Dad. We are all aware of this and it doesn't stop us seeing him, we just make sure we alter our behaviour accordingly.

If your sons gain from a relationship with your in laws and extended family then I wouldn't be keen to chuck the baby out with the bathwater and refuse to ever go again.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 28-Apr-13 09:20:49

I have a 2YO and a 4TYO. smile

My Dad is an ex-museum/art gallery director, he has a lot of art and, um, pieces on display. Precious stuff gets moved out of reach. Otherwise, he goes with the flow, and/or we teach them to just look, be gentle, etc. It's a work in progress. He understand they're 2 and 4. Barking and shouting simply does not happen. What with him not being a bully.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 28-Apr-13 09:21:28

IME children of 2 and 4 pick up on an atmosphere of disapproval, and can behave worse in the company of those with whom they are insecure. Seems to fit the bill here, so I don't agree about them being badly behaved.

The FILs behaviour was terrible. Good grandparents cope better, not worse than parents with bickering and the like.

Agree about your DH

mousemole Sun 28-Apr-13 09:22:03

I'm with you dawntigga, I think he needs anger management counselling.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 28-Apr-13 09:22:22

Good grandparents cope better, not worse, that parents ...

SouthBySouthWest Sun 28-Apr-13 09:24:07

Something similar happened to us when we were visiting the PIL. I was coming down with a D&V bug, so wasn't as on top of my toddler as I should have been (too busy running to bathroom to puke!) and he was being a little naughty (he was 2 at the time, so nothing major). Normally, we would head home once he was getting to the tired and bored stage, so would avoid this behaviour.

While me and DH were getting ready to leave (DH only just having arrived to drive me home), FIL lost it with my DS, and lashed out at him. It was only because my DS turned away at the last second that he wasn't walloped! FIL's face was red with rage, so he had clearly lost it.

We were too stunned to say anything, and just gathered our things and left. My DH was a bit like yours, and has been conditioned not to cross his father, but this was too much even for him to ignore.

The next time we went there, we dealt with it as low key as we could. My DH took my FIL aside as we were leaving, and had a word with him, to the effect that he was not to hit our DS, and that was not how were were dealing with discipline. He seemed to take it well, and we thought that was the end of it.

We came to find out weeks later that FIL was refusing to come to ours and see us (no big loss, but it meant MIL, who can't drive, couldn't see our DCs either), and was in a big strop. All because my DH had the temerity to say anything to him. My MIL was sticking up for him, and basically denying that he almost hit our DS. Apparently he was just 'getting out of his chair'. Yeah, right. It all culminated in a phonecall that I had with my MIL (as my DH was not really dealing with his parents at all well), where I told he what I really thought, without mincing words. Not pleasant, but far too much pussy footing around my FIL for my liking.

I'm not sure if this helps you at all, but you're not the only one in this position, and to my mind, it doesn't matter that you were in their house, your FIL had no right to get that physical with your children. He should have walked away, or told you to do something if he didn't like their behaviour. He lost control, pure and simple.

pigletmania Sun 28-Apr-13 09:24:49

Your Fil should not have done what he did, it was wrong. However you knew that he finds th kids in his house stressful, so why take them there! My mum is the same and we just dint go to her house, it better for all of us if mm comes to stay with usevery month. Your dh should have stepped in, so you should be angry an both and look at why the situation escalated

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 28-Apr-13 09:25:03

Also, I can see how your DH might find it hard to assert himself - to his children and to his dad, if he really is scared or even uncomfortable with his dad. Seems he needs help with this if past experiences are affecting present behaviour

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