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dd upset by dh - not sure what to do

(19 Posts)
flowerbunny Wed 01-Jul-09 17:46:41

My dd told me last night that when my dh shouts at her it reminds her of when he used to smack her and it really frightens her. She was very upset and although we have spoken before about how she feels about her dad and the way he is with her, it's woken me up a bit.

I was never happy with him smacking either my dd or ds but i wasn't able to stop him (he thought it was his right as a father and he was smacked as a child, etc etc). However, I thought it was only when they were pre-school but my dd told me yesterday he had done it 4/5 years ago in a playground (pulling down her trousers and smacking her on the bottom).

I'm sure she's not lying (why would she?) but she may not have clear memories. If this is true, though, I'm sick at the thought that he would do this when she was 7/8 in public place. No wonder she is scared of him now.

What do I do? He still regularly "scares" both ds and dd and raises his hand but i've not seen him smack them in the last couple of years.

flowerbunny Wed 01-Jul-09 17:47:38

My dd is nearly 13 now, by the way

MIAonline Wed 01-Jul-09 18:00:29

I am really not sure tbh, without some kind of background. Your DD is still worried about DH smacking her on the bottom 4/5 years ago? I am not saying what he did was right in any way, but if nothing has happened in that time it seems odd that your 13 year old would still be worried by it.

I think whats more important is that your DC are scared of their dad. Does your DH do to 'scare' them and do you think his behaviour is inappropriate now? There must be more to this.

MIAonline Wed 01-Jul-09 18:01:11

That should be what does your DH do to scare them..

Scorpette Wed 01-Jul-09 19:19:51

Smacking is bad enough, but doing it in public AND pulling her trousers down to do it? That's not right. It's not normal. Even if there's nothing creepy to it, why would he do such a thing? Having been smacked yourself isn't an excuse. Can you imagine the indignity, powerlessness, injustice, humiliation, pain and fear you would feel if someone you loved stripped you in front of others and physically hurt you? You need to tackle him about this and his 'scary' behaviour'. Why is he allowed to scare your DCs? It's unacceptable. Punishing your kids is appropriate and even the most saintly parent shouts now and then, but regularly scaring them is emotional abuse. Children shouldn't be continually scared of their parents - this isn't 1885 for christ's sake! My father prides himself on the fact that neither me or my brother have ever been scared of him and I think this is the right attitude.

I think you need to find out how he treats them when you're not around - he might be very shouty, negative and aggressive with them without you to mediate and this might be why DD is so wary of him still, as well as the previous incident playing on her mind. His behaviour sounds totally unacceptable and you need to stand up to him for the sake of your DCs.

piscesmoon Wed 01-Jul-09 19:27:41

I agree with Scorpette-you need to stand up to him for the sake of your DCs. I would suggest parenting classes.

slowreadingprogress Wed 01-Jul-09 19:36:51

I think what you do is show your kids that you will protect them and not accept crap behaviour toward them. It will do their self esteem so much good and they will take it through their lives from now on - so it really is worth it, though of course it is a hard thing to do. I just wouldn't accept ANYONE scaring my child or raising their hand in a threatening way. What a big man he is to do that to children hmm

You know your husband best so I wouldn't presume to tell you exactly what to do but what certainly, clearly, 100% needs to happen is that it is made clear to him that you will not have your kids shouted at and threatened. He needs a wake up call. Good luck.

flowerbunny Wed 01-Jul-09 19:50:19

He doesn't mean to scare them but he has a loud voice and tends to shout rather than talk. When he gets angry he puffs himself up and can be quite intimidating. A couple of months ago my dd wrote him a letter telling him how he made her feel but she won't do it again because he argued with what she was saying and didn't really accept that he was in the wrong.

My ds is quite argumentative back (in some ways its quite good to see dh getting a piece of his own medicine) but its not right and it makes dh more angry. Dh has made him so scared before that he has cried.

SarahL2 Wed 01-Jul-09 19:51:16

My Dad hit me, emotionally abused me and generally scared me for my whole childhood. It was only resolved when I went to uni and got councelling (after I started self harming)

Get them away from him!

flowerbunny Wed 01-Jul-09 19:57:11

SarahL2 - I'm sorry for you. I'm frightened that my dd is showing signs of being troubled. She's not sleeping well, gets migraines and raises her voice at the smallest thing. i know a lot of this may be because she is going through puberty but bringing up this incident now means that it is still playing on her mind and with the fact that she still gets upset by him shouting, i don't know what to do for the best.

SarahL2 Wed 01-Jul-09 20:10:06

I would take her to the doctors and see if you can get some councelling for her.

At the very least they might get to the bottom and help your daughter and her father heal thier relationship. It was too far gone for me and I haven't seen my father in more than 13 years.

They'll help you work out whether this is emotional scarring or just teenage angst too

imaynotbeperfectbutimokmummy Wed 01-Jul-09 20:13:02

oh flowerbunny, this is very difficult. Does your DD have an otherwise good relationship with her father? My dad smacked me, only when i was really bad and i can count the times on one hand. I was NEVER scared of my dad, ever. He was a wonderful parent and a very gentle man. That was what parents did back then. I don't agree with smacking and i don't smack my DD, neither does my DP. Things have changed.

I just don't know what to make of this - i hate that you say he still raises his hand to them. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is inadequate parenting at best, at worse, well, its a form of abuse. This is somehting you need to confront him about, tell him that it has to stop, if he can't get a handle on this and refuses that would raise some serious issues for me. If he recognises that its not right then fine, look for ways to resolve it.

The only thing i would say here is, could your DD be starting her periods? The headaches and the irritablity? She could be picking fights that she knows are going to come back and bite her in the bum, its what teenagers do, almost a self destructive thing, iyswim.

Just covering all angles.

You cannot change whats gone, its done - but you can change the future - your DH absolutely has to recognise that he must not smack the children, that he needs to find other ways to deal with problems. Your DD is 13, you are coming up to a difficult few years and aggressive parenting is only going to make things worse.

You need to have a real good chat with your DD too, find out exactly what has been happening.

Scorpette Wed 01-Jul-09 20:21:24

Another thought - it could be playing on her mind because it involved him pulling her trousers down. As she's going through puberty, she will be hugely aware of and sensitive to things to do with bodies, nakedness, appropriate vs inappropriate touching, etc. She might have had talks in school about what's 'appropriate' and be worried that her Dad is a bit pervy cos of the trousers-off thing. She might well be wrong (although I have to confess that him pulling her trousers down to smack her sounds dubious to me as a reader), but this is the sort of thing a pubescent girl could be fretting about. Sarah L2 is right about counselling being needed. He needs help with his temper, she (and possibly DS) need help to stop them being messed up by his behaviour, blaming themselves, etc., and you all need help to change this situation and get over it, if you want to stay together as a family. My fear for you is that the kids will grow to blame you for not preventing his bad behaviour and resent you as teens and adults, especially if stuff has gone on that you don't know about (like the bottom-smacking thing).

flowerbunny Wed 01-Jul-09 22:31:12

thank you so much. i have been worrying about this all day - I hadn't really thought about the link to her going through puberty - i was just shocked that she had brought up the incident from so long ago.

we've got an appointment at the doctor tomorrow (to get her migraines looked at) so i might just broach the puberty/anxiety issues as well.

i'm sure that i've got no reason to think there is anything pervy going - nothing i've seen or heard gives me any concern. as for talking to dh- he's always known that i disagree with smacking and that i don't like him shouting so, apart from making threats to leave, i'm not sure if i have any avenues left.

imaynotbeperfectbutimokmummy Wed 01-Jul-09 22:50:52

Nothing you have said here has made me think that anything pervy is going on. Have you told your dh what your dd has said? I think he needs to hear it. I bet he would be mortified.

What has triggered her to bring this up? Have they fallen out over something? Yes, it could well be the demon hormones that have caused her to sit and brood over stuff.

I think this needs action because if not, your DD and DHs relationship is going to be pretty strained. If he is still being aggressive with the children, he needs to find another approach.

Good luck with the GP tomorrow. Maybe ask about some vitamin supplements for pre-pubescent girls?

imaynotbeperfectbutimokmummy Wed 01-Jul-09 22:54:10

just another thought, i remember my dad smacking me on the bottom when i was about 3 i think. Nothing sinister, just a tap - no emotional damage, but i remember it. I remember my dad really smacking me when I was about 12 and i had a temper tantrum and smashed the glass door panel with my head! You do remember these things. My dad never shouted though.

It could be that she remembers the smacking incident, she is aware that its inappropriate due to what she is learning as life goes by and that is why its playing on her mind. Yes, it was wrong, but like you say, not pervy - but maybe she feels worried about it?

Scorpette Wed 01-Jul-09 23:17:38

imaynotbeperfect... said it better than me - I wasn't trying to suggest he WAS being pervy, only that as she's at that age where her mind will be starting to think and worry about bodies and nakedness, etc., SHE might be worrying that it might've been pervy.

SarahL2 Thu 02-Jul-09 09:44:17

Speaking from experience, Scorpette has a very good point;

"My fear for you is that the kids will grow to blame you for not preventing his bad behaviour and resent you as teens and adults, especially if stuff has gone on that you don't know about"

It may have been my Father who hit me but it's my Mum I resent for knowing about it and not stopping him. Left me with some serious self-worth issues and has left our relationship strained too.

slowreadingprogress Thu 02-Jul-09 19:52:35

good post Sarah. Flowerbunny I do think it's time to back up what you've said to your DH. Good on your dd for writing to him but really it's YOU who need to deal with this for your kids. You don't have to threaten to leave - but you can make it clear that it is an option you will have to look at if he does not change his ways. They only get one childhood. Of course it's not as simple as saying 'leave him' because the damage that may do to your children is of course to be considered. But your kids IMVHO need very much to see you deal with this for them. As Sarah says your relationship with them will be affected too, if you don't - in my opinion.

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