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DS thinks DH doesn't like him.

(20 Posts)
brotherhoodofspam Mon 05-Jan-15 13:59:57

Not really AIBU, more WWYD. We have DD 11 and DS 10. DD quite laid back, not materialistic, goes with the flow etc. DS more competitive, spends any money he has, v. bright with adult-like vocab (making it easy to forget sometimes he's only 10) but can be very generous and kind hearted. For some reason though he just seems to push DHs buttons. He's not perfect by any means but DH seems to find him more frustrating than I do, thinks he doesn't know the value things, doesn't make an effort because school comes easily him etc, and last night DS said his DF doesn't like him much. He was quite matter of fact about it, but did get upset when he said he felt like he'd ruined the holidays with his behaviour and that DH was in a bad mood with him all the time.

Things had come to a head in the morning when DD revealed that DS had shared her Christmas sweets round our visitors the day before without asking her which she'd been upset about. DH had told him off and taken some of his Christmas sweets to give to her (which I thought was fair). This prompted the discussion in the evening and I don't think it was just a throwaway, stroppy response. The thing is, I sometimes feel that DH doesn't like DS v. much either, which is just so sad, he used to be very hands on as we both worked P/T and shared child care, but he now works F/T in a tiring, stressful job. I told him what DS said and he went to have a chat with him but I've a feeling this may have turned into more telling off to explain the previous rows.

Any advice on how I could handle this?

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 05-Jan-15 14:02:43

Can you tell your husband to back off and start showing his son that he does indeed like him? Otherwise he will lose him.

NoMontagues Mon 05-Jan-15 14:06:01

Have you heard of lovebombing ?

NoMontagues Mon 05-Jan-15 14:06:41

Your DH would have to do it though, not you.

MrsTawdry Mon 05-Jan-15 14:27:56

It's hard to comment on the little info given but your DS handing round your DDs sweets seems like an odd/unkind thing to do...I don't know any child who would do that and I think you should consider if DS does anything similar on a regular basis and look at why.

I would be very cross if one of mine did this...and especially if he had his own he could have offered too!

Topseyt Mon 05-Jan-15 14:31:40

He needs to reassure your son that he does love him. You need to somehow get that across to your husband because it sounds as though some warning signs are there now.

Just going by your post as I know none of you at all, it sounds as though your son is a nice, bright and well meaning boy, although like all kids (and adults) he gets it wrong sometimes, as evidenced by him giving away your daughter's sweets.

It seems you suspect the "chat" was a conditional apology from your husband to your son. Along the lines of "sorry that I did/said X, but it was because you did/said Y"??

Is he finding it hard to relate to your boy now that he is an older child who is very articulate and able to hold his own in some adult type ways? Are they very similar types, or totally different. Too similar can sometimes rub each other up the wrong way, whereas totally different can at times mean having little or no common ground.

I relate to my middle daughter very differently to how I relate to her older and younger sisters. Love them all equally and to bits, but she and I are quite alike in the way we think and behave. It makes it tricky because it means we are prone to clashing. Perhaps your husband feels something similar? As the adult though, he should be able to control it and keep it under wraps as much as possible, just as I have to with my daughter. Failing to do that (and none of us are perfect) may damage the relationship long term.

brotherhoodofspam Mon 05-Jan-15 16:28:52

Thanks for the responses. I think you're right Topseyt that DH struggles to relate to him at the moment, I am probably more similar to DS than he is, though don't want to be over-protective and "my son can do no wrong", I do agree with Mrs Tawdry that the sweet sharing incident was wrong which is why we both came down on him quite hard and I fully backed DH up with his punishment, I just worry that the rows outweigh the positives at the moment and worry that they will have a poor relationship in later life. The Lovebombing looks interesting and I'll read it properly later but from a glance I suspect it won't be DH's cup of tea sadly.

MinceSpy Mon 05-Jan-15 16:37:24

I think it's more likely that DH doesn't like DS's behaviour at the moment rather than stopped loving him.

Leeds2 Mon 05-Jan-15 16:56:15

Would it be possible for OH to do something with DS, just the two of them, doing something that you and DD aren't interested in? Having a sort of "bonding" time together.

OhMittens Mon 05-Jan-15 17:00:38

DH had told him off and taken some of his Christmas sweets to give to her (which I thought was fair)

I totally agree that the end result was right however your DH got emotionally invested in this row (easy done) and what would have worked better would have been for DH (or you) to facilitate DS working out that conclusion himself.

i.e. DH to gather DD & DS for DD to explain how it made her feel. DS to come up with a solution to make it better, send away to think about it if nothing genuintely comes to mind immediately, with a time limit of say 5 mins. DS at age 10 is by far old enough to work out a fair gesture of apology so if he doesn't, or if he won't play ball, then tell him he can either come up with an idea or he will have X or Y favourite toy/game removed until he does. His choice, etc. If he still won't play then remove the toy and tell him you'll talk about it again later on and not before.

Any kind of earache/arguing from DS - get DH to say like a mantra that he's told DS what's happening and there's no need for any further discussion on the topic.

If your DH takes on every challenge on behalf of the kids he's going to be totally worn out with locking horns. In this instance he treated DS like he was a lot younger than 10 but got the earache that a 10yo gives out (of course smile ) 10yo will be capable of good stuff (genuine apology solutions etc) as well as the bad stuff....

OhMittens Mon 05-Jan-15 17:03:23

*By takes on every challenge, I mean figures out the punishment then becomes "the bad guy", of course 10 and 11yo are going to need help and supervision to work out upsets between them, but your DH's energy is better spent getting them to do some of the work and not getting wound up personally by these (somewhat natural) spats. This is how they learn smile

QTPie Mon 05-Jan-15 17:03:42

Do they spend any "quality time" together? Do they have a shared interest or can start one? Do something for a couple of hours each weekend? So they reconnect as people?

I think that it is sometimes easy to get caught up in trying to be a "parent who is trying to correct behaviour" and forget about having fun. If you have fun - and connect as people - then sometimes the parenting can get easier too smile.

So either organise a regular "dad and son" activity or book some "dad and son" treats (go karting, go ape, camping, fishing, pitch and put, that sort of thing).

saturnvista Mon 05-Jan-15 17:18:28

This is really, really sad. Your DH needs to forget being so defensive. He should spend some one on one time with DS doing something just for the two of them. Regularly. He should work on affirming behaviour as well. Ask him how he'd feel if DS looked back on this feeling as an adult and couldn't remember anything else. Parents have a moral obligation to treat their children in a way that communicates their love. That is separate from chastising them when necessary. Sounds like DH is only doing the latter.

Chandon Mon 05-Jan-15 17:24:04

Do they ever spend 121?

121 is great, IMO

we have 2 kids and it always works wonders, makes both of them feel "special"

DeWee Mon 05-Jan-15 17:34:31

I don't see that the dh was emotionally invested or wound up personally in this: he told him off and told him to give some of his sweets to his sister. That sounds like quite a healthy reaction, and the punishment sounds totally appropriate.
I also don't get that them choosing their own punishment would be better either. You run the risk of the dd saying she doesn't accept it, or the easier going child tending to miss out because they tend to be harder on themselves, but accept the other ones.
I would see that among mine. Dd1 would be initially sulky and not want to admit she was wrong, leading to a grudging offer of the minimum she thought she could get away with. She would rather be told, have a strop about it, do it, move on.
Dd2 would go terribly guilty and probably give not only all her sweets but probably still be buying sweets for whoever she'd wronged a couple of months down the line.
Ds would probably have chosen that punishment, but then would have chosen which sweets and hand them over with a comment like "they're the ones I don't like" (or possibly "you don't like)"
If it had been an accident, then a discussion between the children on he could make up for it would be appropriate.

I would think finding something more "adult" they might like to do together. Possibly that your dh will find relaxing. Bike rides (with a drink at a pub/cafe), sport, painting, concerts, airfix, model plane flying... that sort of thing.

Topseyt Mon 05-Jan-15 18:23:38

I think *mincespy" has very likely hit the nail on the head.

In fact, it is almost word for word what I have said to my teenagers on numerous occasions - i.e. I love them 100% of the time, but I don't always like the way they are behaving, tone of voice, demands they are trying to make or whatever.

Perhaps 10 is slightly young to understand that fully, or perhaps not in all cases. No harm trying to explain it sometimes though.

It doesn't have to mean that the boy is behaving badly all the time, rather that he and his Dad are probably just sparking each other off a bit too often. A 10 year-old child may perceive this as "Daddy/Mummy doesn't like me" even though that is not what is intended. I would think the idea of an activity Dad and son could do together as others have suggested might well have some currency.

It is very difficult really. My middle daughter could try the patience of a saint and always has. Neither of her two sisters are as hot-headed and stubborn as she is. They are also very academic and outgoing whereas she struggles much more at school and is quite reserved, so it is very difficult nearly impossible to ensure she does not feel in anyone's shadow. It makes me feel rather protective of her, yet she can still spark me off.

brotherhoodofspam Mon 05-Jan-15 20:22:31

Thank you all for some good suggestions. I thought the punishment was proportionate and appropriate but take the point that it would have been better coming from DS1, however I do think it can be difficult to come up with the perfect response in the heat of the moment. I will try and encourage them to spend some 121 time. I'm sure it's a case of disliking the behaviour not the child but I don't think DH always makes it clear to DS that there's a difference.

OhMittens Mon 05-Jan-15 21:49:01

I completely agree that it's difficult to come up with perfect response, in fact a lot of the things I've learned have come from searching the internet/reading behavioural books because I or DH have struggled to deal with something and I just don't know what to do for the best.

There was a great website called empowering parents which had a lot of very helpful stuff on it. I think what I found most useful to learn was to get the kids to take personal responsibility which is a great learning lesson for them but also it taught me (and DH) that we don't always have to take the place of the injured party.

Obviously you support the wronged child but you don't (always) have to step in their place for them. Sometimes that is completely right and appropriate of course, but if you do it all the time, you are going to be immersed in the world (and the level) of 10-11yo squabbles at ground level, and I think maybe your DH has got fatigued with that.

I think that your DS is then going to see your DH as almost another child and he translates that as "DF doesn't like me" rather than "DD was upset by what I did with her sweets"... (as an example).

Like I said though, sometimes a short response where you quickly make a punishment decision is quite right and appropriate. I think getting dragged down in it and dwelling in it is so tiring, though.

ToffeeCaramel Mon 05-Jan-15 21:57:38

What was your dh's relationship with his own dad like?
I agree that one to one time might be a good idea, so he is giving him attention other than negative attention when telling him off

brotherhoodofspam Mon 05-Jan-15 22:30:29

That's an interesting point about his own Dad. They get on reasonably as adults bit I'm not sure they have a lot in common or did when DH was growing up, and I know as a child/teenager DH felt his Dad caused the family a lot of problems through financial fecklessness (may have something to do with why he gets wound up about our DCs being spoilt and DS not knowing the value of things.)

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