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AIBU to think we should respect a baby's personal space?

(79 Posts)
Susuwatari1 Tue 03-Jan-17 12:57:26

I'll preface this by saying the way I was raised was to be overly polite ( sometimes to the point of not being able to voice opinions) so I'm probably a little too conservative, but my partner was raised completely differently and there's recently been a bit of a clash. The main issue is the way my partner's dad is with our son ( currently 16months). Whilst he's usually well intentioned there are a few things he does that really irritate me.

when he was younger (from around 6 months)

* calling my baby a 'twit' if he doesn't immediately turn to look at the thing that he wants him to look at, then forcibly turning his head in that direction

* shouting "hello" in a irritated/childish way if he doesn't immediately get the response he wants ie. my son's fascinated by a light and not looking at him (hard to convey the tone in text )

*putting his hand in the baby's face and covering his nose/mouth - no idea why he does this, again probably a way of forcing attention.

I know babies don't have personal space in the same way adults do and that they can't give exactly give consent but there is just something about the way my partner's dad behaves with him that irks me.

I try to be tactful in telling him not to do things by saying stuff like 'generally we try not to put things over his nose/mouth because we don't want him to get used to it and pull his blanket over his mouth in his sleep etc.' but this person just cannot take a hint!

Yesterday he decided to make a video with his camera phone of my son in his highchair using continual flash, imo it was too bright to be holding up at close range and I asked repeatedly if he would mind filming without but he ignored me (and his wife who asked multiple times) and just did what he wanted.

Listening to others is a big issue for him in general, He has an outdated sexist attitude saying he doesn't listen to his wife because has 'more important things to think about.' This attitude has rubbed off on my partner causing a lot of friction in our relationship and I really don't want history to repeat with my son. I feel like his attitude is setting a really bad example and that's more irritating than the fact that he doesn't attempt to control his burping/flatulence ect. I guess the root to my irritation is about more than just bad manners.

The thing that prompted me to post is that recently he's started pointing at my son, sticking is finger right up into my son's face and talking ridiculously loudly to get his attention. It's completely unnecessary, it's not like my son isn't socially active, he really engages with everyone around him, just maybe not always at the exact moment my partner's dad wants.

Now we're home and my son is waving his finger about, pointing at people like he's on the apprentice, something he never did before (he used to make open-handed gestures or wave/nod/smile at people to acknowledge them). It's just a little thing but it irritates me because I was always shy growing up and we're trying to do everything we can to help our son's social skills develope.

I feel like saying if it'd be rude to do to an adult you shouldn't be doing it to my son (ie. someone a 'twit' or getting right up in their face), maybe I'm just over protective but I'm so glad we don't have to visit their house for a while now Christmas is over!

Simonneilsbeard Tue 03-Jan-17 13:02:24

A grown man putting has hand over a baby's nose and mouth to get attention?
He sounds like a complete dick and I'd be telling him in no uncertain terms if he does it again or calls your child a twit or any other of his dickish behaviour he will no longer be welcome in your home or near your child.

I'm honestly gobsmacked at a grown man behaving that way with a baby.

DesignedForLife Tue 03-Jan-17 13:05:07

He sounds like a twit. What does your partner say about all this?

mytimewillcome Tue 03-Jan-17 13:07:16

He sounds like an idiot who has been allowed to do as he wants for too long.

MissBattleaxe Tue 03-Jan-17 13:07:54

You need to get your partner to have a firm word. He shouldn't be letting this happen. His dad is an idiot, and bloody dangerous!

Ohyesiam Tue 03-Jan-17 13:08:09

You are so not over protective! I would not tolerate this for one moment, and I'm surprised you've managed not to punch him.
The least that will come of this is that your soon learns some nasty character traits, but I think he will soon feel intimidated, and not at all respected.
He sound like a difficult person to tackle, but you are going to have to confront him, sounds like his wife may be on your side? Talk it through with her?
But really stick to for instincts here, he sounds vile.

MuseumOfCurry Tue 03-Jan-17 13:09:03

Does he have some kind of personality disorder? That's not normal behaviour. I wouldn't like any of the above.

queenc81 Tue 03-Jan-17 13:09:29


He covers your sons mouth and nose? You have a lot more patience that me, if he did that to my child I'd be repaying the favour with a bin bag!!

Honestly he doesn't sound like he's going to listen to you if you say something, do your DH think this is acceptable? Would he say something to the fucking idiot?

LaundryQueenHatesIroning Tue 03-Jan-17 13:10:30

YANBU he sounds awful.

I agree, babies don't have the same personal space as adults but if they are clearly unhappy with something someone is doing that's not necessary (like changing nappy or brushing teeth etc) then they should respect them and bloody well stop!

Soubriquet Tue 03-Jan-17 13:11:28

I was all set to say yabu

It's a baby, they don't have a personal space

But actually that's pretty scary to read! Can your partner really say that what he is doing is ok?!

EvonneGoolagong Tue 03-Jan-17 13:11:59

He sounds awful!
I think you need to try and stand up for yourself and your son. I realise that it's easier said than done, especially as he seems to have got a way with this kind of behaviour for most of life. Perhaps when your DP is in the right frame of mind approach it with him and try to come up with some ground rules that you can both enforce with his dad.
Sounds like a horrible situation but YANBU and it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later.

Daisyfrumps Tue 03-Jan-17 13:13:38

He's an idiot bully and if your DH allows it he's one aswell.

MrsMeeseeks Tue 03-Jan-17 13:13:53

OMG, I would slap him. He sounds vile. YANBU!

Soubriquet Tue 03-Jan-17 13:14:05

If your partner doesnt start talking to his dad, I would be leaving him.

If he's like that with a 16month old what is he going to be like when older?

April229 Tue 03-Jan-17 13:16:13

I would not tolerate this for a minute. Forceabley turning your child's head in his direction and covering his face. Wtf? If your partner is big prepared to step in I would take the baby out next time he visits.

I think you partner should also have a word about his lack of respect in your house you should be listened too, if you have said to stop doing something, as in the case of the camera flash then that should be the end of it. I would be tempted to have a conversation with your partner about what you expect from him in terms of support and respect as a parent - he should have stepped in a while ago to stop this and fully be supporting your stance with his dad.

JigglyTuff Tue 03-Jan-17 13:18:35

Your subject line really doesn't describe the frankly abusive behaviour of your FIL.

Where's your partner in all this? He needs to stand up for him as this is not going to get any better. If your partner is condoning it and thinks you're over-reacting, you have a big problem I'm afraid sad

Simonneilsbeard Tue 03-Jan-17 13:20:34

In my disgust at your fil I completely missed the part in your op where you say that his sexist ways rub off on your partner.
That's a worry.
Do you think either of these men in your child's life will listen to your concerns?

ACatCalledFang Tue 03-Jan-17 13:20:39

YANBU. My DS is the same age as yours and I can honestly say that if I ever saw someone put their hand over his nose and mouth, I would be telling them in no uncertain terms that they would not be seeing DS in future if I ever saw it happen again. That's appalling. The twit thing would also enrage me. Children this age are not far off becoming verbal themselves (and may be starting to talk already) - the last thing you want is a toddler repeating stuff like this.

I actually think people should respect a baby's personal space as far as possible, eg not forcing cuddles/hugs if baby is unhappy about it. But this doesn't sound like a well-meaning if overbearing grandparent who just can't resist a cuddle. It sounds like an adult with no sense of appropriate behaviour. What does your DP make of it?

Trifleorbust Tue 03-Jan-17 13:22:17

Your baby doesn't have personal space. But your instinct as a mother is to protect him and the problem here is that your FiL isn't being respectful of you and your requests for how he should behave around your son.

Chocoholicmonster Tue 03-Jan-17 13:25:24

I've got a 12 week old son & I found reading your post quite upsetting actually. There's no way I'd allow anyone to behave like that to my child, regardless of their age. Especially not a family member. Utterly disgusting & your partner is no better if he thinks this behavior to another human is normal.

AmberEars Tue 03-Jan-17 13:25:54

This is not right.

maddiemookins16mum Tue 03-Jan-17 13:26:03

He sounds vile, that really isn't normal behaviour and somewhat scary.

Itsseweasy Tue 03-Jan-17 13:27:58

I would not tolerate this behaviour towards my child from anyone. It's cruel & unkind.
At best your son will not learn anything positive from it, at worst it could physically hurt him and scare him.
I wouldn't allow someone who did those things around my child full stop.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 03-Jan-17 13:28:04

He sounds awful, I would be limiting my child's contact with him asap!

bigbuttons Tue 03-Jan-17 13:29:27

I was all ready to say that of course babies don't 'need' personal space and then I read your OP.
What a revolting man your fil is. I think he is dangerous and abusive. Please protect your son by removing him every time your fil does something. I would be absolutely crazy with rage if anyone had done this to any of my children.

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