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... to think my DH is really mean to my DS?

(197 Posts)
Loulou000 Wed 23-Sep-15 19:03:53

DS (nearly 7) is scared of being anywhere in the house on his own. I tend to go along with him, in that I say I will watch him go down the stairs, for example, to make sure he's ok. I will try to arrange things so that I can be in the same room as him. For example, I will put washing on while he's finishing his breakfast, etc.

DH is very impatient with this (as with many other things) and just said that I was making it worse by encouraging him. In this instance, he just doesn't want to get up from his bloody computer to make him feel safe going downstairs. He's only been in the house ten minutes, and already he's cross.

And to top it all he just said, teeth gritted, "You’re not scared, you’re just being silly. What is WRONG with you?" He says this quite often, and it really upsets me. Surely this is not a good thing to say to a child?

Is he actually a total twat? And am I encouraging DS's fears too much?

formerbabe Wed 23-Sep-15 19:05:15

Does your ds have any additional needs op? It does sound very unusual for a 7 year old.

FlibbertigibbetArmadillo Wed 23-Sep-15 19:07:09

Sounds like a bit of both

Hoppinggreen Wed 23-Sep-15 19:09:13

You know if you are making things worse or not but are you taking steps to help your DS with this? I can see how it's annoying for your DH but also it does need addressing long term.

DoreenLethal Wed 23-Sep-15 19:11:16

Perhaps deep down it is your husband he is scared of.

attheendoftheday Wed 23-Sep-15 19:12:17

I'm on your side. I don't think kids become confident by being critized, I think it comes from feeling secure. Your dh is being mean and lazy IMO.

Duckdeamon Wed 23-Sep-15 19:12:55

Sounds like you could do with some advice on helping DS with his anxiety.

But criticism and snapping from his father (?) definitely won't help!

Scobberlotcher Wed 23-Sep-15 19:13:49

I think it is in your son's best interests to help him conquer this fear tbh. I think your husband is being very unhelpful but I understand that he's frustrated with it. It's not great. However, he's just going to make your son feel bad and if there's one way guaranteed to keep a child feeling unsafe, it's getting frustrated with them about them feeling unsafe!

I don't think you're encouraging him, but you're not helping him to progress to a point where he can feel safe alone. In the short term it may be easier/feel kinder to just go round with him but in the long term, that's a mistake.

What is he afraid of? What does he think is going to happen? What about a walkie talkie?

KurriKurri Wed 23-Sep-15 19:14:10

Hmm - hard one - I think you are both approaching the problem very differently and probably feeling frustrated with each other.
I personally (and of course I don't know your DS, and what has made him nervous of being on his own) think that the way to go is to find ways of helping get over this problem rather than letting him think it is a justified fear, which is what you are doing if you always try to be in the same room as him. I'd find out what it is exactly he is afraid of and I'd perhaps try very short periods of leaving him alone in a room and gradually lengthening them.
You really aren't helping him get over this fear by adapting your life to suit his fear.

on the other hand this won;t happen over night and your DH's 'don't be silly, get over it' approach isn't going to work either. And his impatience will presumably be adding to your DS's anxiety.
I can see how it might be a bit frustrating if he has only been home ten minutes and already he is having to in his view pander to a problem he thinks is not 'real' (although of course again, real to your DS)

You need to get together when the two of you are feeling calm and discuss how to best help your DS move past this - it may be just a phase that he will grow out of with a bit of encouragement or it may be something deeper rooted you need to help him with. As you say, being impatient won't help your son, but if the problem is constantly accepted as the norm. then it will become the norm and that isn't going to be good for you, your DS or your DH - it is restricting your lives.

JillBYeats Wed 23-Sep-15 19:14:42

this book is really helpful for anxieties.

MTPurse Wed 23-Sep-15 19:14:48

Have you spoken to your ds about why he feels this way? It seems very strange.

tbh I'm not sure if I would have the patience or time to follow my dc whenever they needed a wee or a drink. It sounds exhausting.

Duckdeamon Wed 23-Sep-15 19:15:00

And it seems nasty and twattish to speak to an anxious child like that.

Scobberlotcher Wed 23-Sep-15 19:15:59

and actually, thinking about it, you arranging everything around making sure he's not alone, might be re-enforcing his belief that there's something to be afraid of.

Otherwise why would mum know it's best to guard me?

iyswim.

There might be a bit of that. Or there might not. It's impossible to know. Just speculating.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BastardGoDarkly Wed 23-Sep-15 19:18:23

What about starting to say.... I'll watch from the bottom of the stairs, or.... I'm just in the hall, it does need addressing, when did it start? How's he at school?

Your dh is not being very helpful no.

Loulou000 Wed 23-Sep-15 19:18:37

Thank you wonderful ladies for your quick replies. I am not perfect mum and if anything I do tend to over-baby, so it's possible I am enabling his fears. You're right, and I need to look into how to help him get over this.

Formerbabe he doesn't have additional needs that have been officially recognised, but he is quite high maintenance in ways like this. He is also still in pull ups at night, for example.

Walkie talkie, really interesting idea, thank you!

And yes, he is bio father. Just doesn't always act like it. :-/

TheTigerIsOut Wed 23-Sep-15 19:19:33

I think younboth are wrong.

Your child is seven, he should feel confident to go around his own house without an adult. By pandering to his fear, you are justifitying and reinforcing his fears.

Your husband may be right, but he needs to have that conversation with you instead of snapping at DS.

SeasideSunshine Wed 23-Sep-15 19:20:23

The worst thing you can do is completely deny that he is feeling what he is feeling. When he says he is scared, it's not helpful to say "You're not scared."

Ask him what he's scared of. Talk to him about what might make him feel less scared. Work out a few things to try to help him be more independent and praise him for it.

But don't tell him he is not feeling what he says he is feeling. How is he supposed to tell you how he is feeling as gets older and hits those messy teen years if you spend the next few years telling him he's wrong about what he is feeling?

Spartans Wed 23-Sep-15 19:21:17

Sounds like both.

He isn't being as understanding as he should, you are over compensating, he feels you are making or worse (or at least not helping it get better) he gets more annoyed, you over compensate more.

Dd was like this and tbh I wasn't soft about it. Dd would still have me following her round now at 11. Wish I had got tougher sooner.

You need to understand why he feels scared in his own home and then sort it. Pandering or shouting isn't going to help.

And tbh if I couldn't get on with something because my 7 year old needed escorting around the house, I would get annoyed to.

TurnOffTheTv Wed 23-Sep-15 19:22:35

Yes your DH is being a dick to speak to him like that, but I would probably get a bit frustrated wandering around after a 7 year old as well. What has he said he is scared of?

MarianneSolong Wed 23-Sep-15 19:23:32

My stepson had some of these feelings, and it lasted till he was about 11. I believe that as a child he could not fall asleep without an adult sitting beside him. When I first knew him, he was around 7 but could not lie in bed upstairs while grownups were downstairs. He would keep coming down every ten minutes or so wanting reassurance about when adults would come upstairs.

He needed to know where his father was in the house and would be panicky if his father was not in the expected place.

Later when he needed to be left as preparation for secondary school, we told him we were going to the shop and would be back in half an hour. We came back at 29 minues to find him white-faced, clutching the phone in his hand so he could ring our mobile He was worried about us.

Outwardly though, with his friends, he could seem confident.

We eventually found out something that shed some light on his fears. He was 'differently wired' so experienced the world as a relatively chaotic place.

I don't really have any answers, beyond suggesting trying short absences. Being in another room with the door open. Saying I'll be back in 5 minutes and praising him for being grown up when he manages the 5 minutes. Chatting with his teacher about how he gets on at school? (Perhaps he copes there because of the structure and the routine and not being alone in the classroom.)

dodobookends Wed 23-Sep-15 19:27:44

When did this start? I'm wondering whether your ds has seen a film or played some computer game or other that might have set it off? Have you asked him to try and explain why he is scared? If you can get to the bottom of it, then it will be easier to reassure him that there is nothing to be afraid of.

AliceAnneB Wed 23-Sep-15 19:28:09

Have you tried making it into a game. Calling out to him and having him call back. Maybe a game of hide and seek where you start using the same room but then let him be the one to say this is too easy let's use the next room as well. Try to make it fun. Sometimes laughter can really ease things up and he will slowly realise he is perfectly fine on his own. Unless of course what he's afraid of is your DH who to be honest sounds mean. But only you know the answer to that one.

TurnOffTheTv Wed 23-Sep-15 19:38:28

Is it literally not a minute to yourself? Can you go to the toilet? Nip into the kitchen to turn the oven off? If he was watching tv would he stop watching you to follow you if you put hung a coat up etc.?

Stillunexpected Wed 23-Sep-15 19:38:37

It does sound a bit unusual (and exhausting for everyone) if your 7 year old won't go anywhere on his own. Is it just at home he is like this - what happens in someone else's house or at school for instance if he is going to the bathroom?

Can he articulate what he is afraid of? I think there are probably elements of you enabling this behaviour but I certainly don't think your DH's hardline approach is going to help matters. However, you do need to get to grips with this, otherwise you will be like a work colleague of mine who still had to take her mid-teens children up to bed at night because they refused to go on their own!

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