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Friends DH

(46 Posts)
Flatoutnautilus Wed 15-Jun-16 13:03:32

Dear All,

A lovely friend of mine has married a man I think has overstepped the boundaries of nice adult behaviour towards kids and I just want to gauge whether I'm being unreasonable. Ok so first incident on holiday with their family. Two of my kids in sandpit, two of theirs. Friend away shopping in village so just me and friends DH. Bit of argy bargy from all children - the usual, it was hot, they had been playing happily together all morning (age range 2 - 7). Nothing out of ordinary. My tactic was "why don't you play in that corner, you share the truck, how about this, let's take turns etc etc". They were all at it but mine no more than his when he says something to my seven year old. Seven year old goes rather quiet and friends dear husband gets closer. Repeats question (louder). And then says "what's wrong mini flat out - are you deaf or something ?!' In rather loud intimidating-if-you-are-a-small-boy-and you're-being-confronted-by-a-strange-large tall-dad-sort-of-way. I was quite shocked especially as a) they were all being fractious b) I was and think it's very important to be even handed when in a situation with your own and others DC.
I didn't say anything at the time but for my DS (who is in contrast to my little more feisty one is a very gentle little boy really) it really coloured the holiday. Especially as dear friends husband then competed with him grabbing toys in pool just as my DS would go to dive for them. I was hmm. My husband is not enamoured of dear friends husband so after holiday we gently reassured my DS that we wouldn't be going on holiday with them anytime soon when he bought it up (I think he was slightly worried).
I didn't make a big deal of it but I did tell him I had noted it and explained that every family has different rules and sometimes our rules and way we speak to each to each other might be a bit different. Second incident was in a pool of shared friends house. Youngest son (mine) chucking small floats out of pool. Rather annoying as they rolled in the garden but not the end of the world. Lots of kids having a great time etc. Observed by dear friends husband. I told my son not to do it as me and friend wrangled kids, chatted and calmly picked up floats. My son then said from pool "but they're annoying me!" (He is 4.5). Dear friends husband overhead this. Stood up and went over to him and said very aggressively "I don't give a damn if they're annoying you!" I was again hmm especially as my son was then distracted and happily playing with his daughter in about 5 second.
The children all get along really well but I find my lovely lovely friends husband just weirdly agresssive. Friends children are lovely but perhaps more passive low key than mine but on these occasions both mine were not doing anything outrageous or mean or particularly naughty. Any views greatly appreciated as my friend has raised invite to joint holiday again. I've never mentioned it before and (to give context) she often tells me how her other close friends don't like her husband. I've always remained silent as I don't want to hurt her feelings & these were momentary incidents (although I think in the first example it did lead to my older son feeling very wary).

ImperialBlether Wed 15-Jun-16 13:09:27

It sounds as though she's trying to raise a conversation about her husband, doesn't it? When you didn't respond, did she stop discussing it?

He sounds horrible. Other people dislike him. You and your husband dislike him. Do you think it's likely she really likes him? Maybe she wants a discussion about him with someone who can give her good advice.

cosmicglittergirl Wed 15-Jun-16 13:12:06

If he's making you and your children feel uncomfortable then no way go on holiday with them. Do you feel you could tell your friend how you feel about her husband?

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 15-Jun-16 13:15:03

I would definitely decline the invite to another holiday, and if she broaches the subject of her DH again (especially if she's saying how other friends don't get on with him) you could gently suggest that it might be due to the intimidating way he treats the children. It does sound like your friend might be trying to gauge whether her husband's attitude is normal so don't feel you have to remain silent on the matter. There's a very good chance she's uncomfortable with it too.

Oldraver Wed 15-Jun-16 13:16:31

Are you able to tell her, her husband is overly aggresive towards other children ? If not, and I realise the shit could hit the fan if you bring it up, then you may just have to make an excuse not to go

MrsSpecter Wed 15-Jun-16 13:18:11

Why on earth didnt you address him there and then when he was being a cunt to your child?

LadyAntonella Wed 15-Jun-16 13:20:51

Yanbu. That is weirdly aggressive behaviour towards a 4.5yo! I am guessing you didn't really know the DH before you went on holiday with him or you probably wouldn't have agreed to it. I think going on holiday with other families is usually a bit of a nightmare. I certainly wouldn't be doing it again with this family. If your friend brings up that other people dislike her DH again, maybe mention the incidents and say (more tactfully than I am) that maybe that sort of behaviour is why people sometimes don't like him. It's not illegal or anything (his behaviour) but it's certainly pretty twattish.

Lovewineandchocs Wed 15-Jun-16 13:29:31

I'd be inclined to tell her that you don't want another joint holiday and outline calmly exactly why you are declining. It shouldn't come as a surprise to her really if she is already aware that other close friends don't like him. I know it's hard to bring up and you hate the thought of starting a row but she needs to know. Is he aggressive towards her or other adults? If you witness this behaviour again towards your DS you need to call him on it-your DS needs to know you have his back and won't let him be bullied.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Wed 15-Jun-16 13:37:18

Why on earth didnt you address him there and then when he was being a cunt to your child?

Helpful! The OP explained quite clearly the situation and what she did to sort things out and reassure her DS. It's not normal to start kicking off at someone else over one incident, if she had done that she'd have been as bad as the friend's husband. And showed the children that adults are aggressive and unstable.

OP, agree with the other posters that it's a chance to broach the subject of her husband's behaviour with her but I imagine there will be fall-out from this whichever way the conversation goes.

Is he OK with his own children and other people? Could have have taken an irrational dislike to your son (not saying that makes it better but just wondered out loud why he seems to be picking on your little boy so unreasonably).

Lovewineandchocs Wed 15-Jun-16 13:39:03

I think it's both her sons that he picked on if I read correctly. He could have taken a dislike to them but the fact that other friends don't like him suggests a much wider issue.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Wed 15-Jun-16 13:40:14


LordoftheTits Wed 15-Jun-16 13:40:23

I think you need to speak to her calmly, maybe in a neutral place like a coffee shop or even at your house so that she can leave if she's upset, and explain what you've said here. Tell her honestly that your child has been upset and worried by the incidents and then politely decline the invitation.

She's clearly aware that her DH is an arse because she has broached the subject before so she can't be too taken aback by the news.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Wed 15-Jun-16 13:43:01

I think you should say something like "thanks but no thanks - we have different ways of parenting to your DH, and find his way a little too astringent for our boys. Hope you have a lovely time though!"

But this will have a knock-on effect on future socialising as well, obviously. But that might not be such a bad idea - I don't think I'd like to have my boys around someone who talks to them like that either.

RunnerOnTheRun Wed 15-Jun-16 13:45:20

Is he a police man or ex-police man, or anything like that? We have EXACTLY the same thing going on with a family member, it's like he treats the children like criminals. Urgh. Hate it. Feel your pain! we just keep our distance now.

AnnaMarlowe Wed 15-Jun-16 13:47:01

You are repeatedly uncomfortable with how he deals with your child, but you don't address it with him at the time?

It's entirely possible to raise these things in a non confrontational way. It doesn't have to be an argument.

If you are accurately describing the situations then your DC are being g bullied by this man and you are standing by saying nothing! How will your DC feel about that?

However that said the description of his reaction to the pool toys incident sounds like a man at the end of his tether with an annoying child. It could be as simple as a difference of opinion regarding behaviour standards.

FlyingElbows Wed 15-Jun-16 13:49:09

My bil's a bit like that, can't cope with children being anything other than quiet and compliant. My children asked not to visit again so we just don't visit any more. You should decline the invite but tell your friend honestly why.

MistressMerryWeather Wed 15-Jun-16 13:54:06

I would just be honest.

Your husband is too aggressive and he upsets my children, I can't allow that to continue.

I would also let her know that you still want to be friends are happy to see her without him. She may not appreciate that now but she may do in the future.

MrsSpecter Wed 15-Jun-16 13:54:39

Helpful! The OP explained quite clearly the situation and what she did to sort things out and reassure her DS. It's not normal to start kicking off at someone else over one incident, if she had done that she'd have been as bad as the friend's husband. And showed the children that adults are aggressive and unstable.

Maybe in your world "address" means get aggressive. But it doesnt in mine. Its perfectly possible to address someone about inappropriate behaviour without sinking to their level.

knowler Wed 15-Jun-16 13:57:18

Not sure what your AIBU question is, but if it's AIBU to refuse the invite to go on hols again, then no, YANBU. He sounds deeply unpleasant and I certainly wouldn't want to spend time with him, let alone precious family holiday time. You don't need to explain why to your friend if you don't want to as it's never going to go down well to tell someone that her husband is a prize bellend who frightens little kids.

So there's no way though that I would be putting my 2 boys in the way of him again, and although you describe your older son as being merely 'wary' of him, this type of aggressive macho nonsense can be profoundly distressing. Doesn't sound like much of a holiday to me for them, or for you if you're constantly worrying about when the next nasty comment is coming. Just don't go.

GarlicSteak Wed 15-Jun-16 13:58:35

A man who enjoys intimidating small children in public is likely to be far more aggressive at home, with the doors shut. Quite possibly to his wife as well.

I'd encourage discussion, if I were you, instead of "not saying anything". If no-one says anything, the only person giving her input is the bully.

Have you seen this?

knowler Wed 15-Jun-16 14:01:53

Actually, just re read your OP and what he actually said, and I think it's even worse than I first thought. If anyone bellowed at me, let alone my kids "are you deaf or something?!" I would never be socialising with them again, and certainly not even considering a holiday. Also, is your friend definitely ok with him? He sounds a nasty arse to put it mildly - hopefully he's not like it with her or their kids, but not sure how likely this is.

sleeponeday Wed 15-Jun-16 14:09:04

I agree with LordoftheTits. It's hard, but she is going to find herself very isolated if nobody ever explains it's not her, it's him.

If she's open to it, I'd arrange playdates etc when he isn't around.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 15-Jun-16 14:13:25

"she often tells me how her other close friends don't like her husband. I've always remained silent as I don't want to hurt her feelings & these were momentary incidents (although I think in the first example it did lead to my older son feeling very wary)."
I was struck by the word 'often'. Why are you remaining silent? Why do you think it would hurt her feelings to say what others have said before you?

I can see you are trying to be kind, but I fear you may actually be being quite cruel sad. She has an aggressive husband. Your silence on that could make her doubt her own opinion that he is being aggressive. Please be honest with her, as others appear to have been. Tell her you don't like him either, and why. The fact that she's raised it with you suggests she may be at a crossroads,trying to decide. Be honest with her, she's your friend and that's what she needs right now.

HouseworkIsASin10 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:17:09

I would keep my kids away from him, and if your friend wants to know why just tell her. I would also expect my DP to confront him over his 'bullying' young children.

Oysterbabe Wed 15-Jun-16 14:23:25

TBH I would have told him that the time to not to talk to my children like that and to leave the disciplining to me.
I'd maybe have a quiet word with your friend about it prior to any other occasion when he'll be there.

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