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DH shouts at preschooler and baby

(61 Posts)
Softywife Thu 29-Nov-12 18:43:22

I think DH is too harsh with our DDs (13 months and 4 years). He thinks I'm too soft.

DD1 has started being rude to me and DH thinks I need to take a firmer hand. Whereas I think she's copying his sometimes aggressive approach. If DD1 is being naughty I give her a few warnings, explain why she shouldn't be doing whatever it is and then I make her do a naughty step if she does it again. She's a bright girl and generally understands the implications of things but most toddlers/preschoolers do like to test the boundaries. If she's obviously upset about something though I'll give her hugs and try to get to the bottom of the problem rather than launching into discipline. I think that's a sensible approach, rather than being too soft. Whereas DH will give a few warnings and then shout at her regardless of what the underlying cause is. I think I'm showing her a good example. He thinks she's walking all over me.

After he's shouted at them I'll tell him that I don't like it but he won't accept that as a reason to stop. His reaction is that they need discipline, it's better than smacking them and that we shouldn't 'wrap them up in cotton wool' but prepare them for the real world. I think they've got plenty of time for that during their school years.

He also says that it's the only thing that gets a result. e.g. If DD1 is distracted by something else and won't listen he'll give a couple of warnings (fair enough) and then shout at her to get her attention. The other day she was sitting on my lap when he did this and I felt her physically start - I think that's going too far. We asked her recently if she was frightened of DH. She said she wasn't, which is reassuring, but that still doesn't make it right. Or am I being too sensitive?

I suppose I'm more worried about DD2 who's still so young. Although DH is firmer with DD1 as she's older, he DOES shout at DD2 too. She's not sleeping well at the moment, and a few times when I've worked nights he's told me that he eventually snapped and shouted "shut up" at her. She went quiet so he thought it worked. Whereas I think he's teaching her to not ask for what she needs and that she might become insecure. He did this to her the other day whilst I was trying, unsuccessfully, to settle her in the middle of the night; half an hour later it turned out that all she wanted was a bottle of milk and she settled quite happily after that. I felt so bad for her. sad

I think it could emotionally damage them in the long run, particularly DD2 who's still so young. DH however says that there's no such thing as maternal instinct and that my gut feeling doesn't mean a thing. He values logic and common sense over emotion. He also says I'm telling him we should bring up the children the way I think is right with no regard to what he might think is best. It's difficult to know what to say to that. I feel like we should be a team deciding together what's best for the whole family but I do worry when he shouts.

Am I misinformed about child development? I don't want my children to grow up spoilt but I do want them to be confident and happy.

So, after a long-winded explanation,

He needs scientific evidence that shouting is wrong. He won't accept my opinion or something that I might have read on-line or in a book, he needs verifiable proof!

Does anyone have any links to a scientific study proving that children are happier, more confident, well-adapted, etc with positive reinforcement rather than shouting? I'm struggling to find any studies that prove this beyond reasonable doubt.

AmberLeaf Thu 13-Dec-12 22:34:18

Ah he's has been diagnosed/seen a professional?

Good luck with everything OP.

Softywife Thu 13-Dec-12 21:04:36

Just an update to you all as you were kind enough to offer advice. thanks And then I'll let this thread go.

It seems like DH DOES have a form of aspergers. Whilst this isn't an excuse for treating children harshly it does explain why he finds it almost impossible to see things from their perspective. It also means lots of puzzling past behaviour makes more sense too.

Of course I'll still do all I can for the kids but it's helpful for me to understand what AS is because it changes the way I explain things to DH and therefore the way he reacts.

And maybe this might also help others stumbling onto this thread in a similar situation.

AmberLeaf Fri 07-Dec-12 11:38:12

smile much easier in person, it can be hard to convey tone in the written form and so easy to get it wrong as the reader.

schobe Fri 07-Dec-12 11:32:03

S'ok Amber, I always seem to say the wrong thing. I wonder why wink

Agree no point her trying to 'fix' him, just set clear boundaries for her and DC.

AmberLeaf Fri 07-Dec-12 11:28:08

Schobe, Thanks and sorry from me for being so abrupt.

I agree that there may well be reasons for his behavior, but I don't think its fair to the OPs children for her to investigate them while they are being damaged by the behavior.

Totally agree that it is his problem, but the OP must protect her children.

schobe Fri 07-Dec-12 11:10:35

We're in agreement really, I definitely don't and didn't advise her to stand by while his behaviour is abusive, either to her or her DC. My posts on the thread make that clear I think.

I'm sorry if the 'calm down' was rude and patronising. It honestly wasn't meant that way though I can see it really looks it when written down.

I just want people to able to talk about reasons for behaviour without it being seen as looking for excuses, even if this also happens to be related to having additional needs (which it may not in this case). I think HE should be investigating this and also child-rearing techniques, not her. But maybe she can point him in the right direction.

AmberLeaf Fri 07-Dec-12 09:57:37

Schobe, firstly, don't tell me to calm down, its rude and patronising.

I get all of what you are saying, but that isn't the issue here.

Even if the OPs husband does have autism, he is not her prime responsibility.

Her children are.

He is being abusive to her, if she is happy to accept that, fine.

If she wants to go down the route of 'does he have aspergers' fine.

If she wants to stand by while he is abusive to her children. not fine

The other day she was sitting on my lap when he did this and I felt her physically start - I think that's going too far. We asked her recently if she was frightened of DH She said she wasn't, which is reassuring, but that still doesn't make it right. Or am I being too sensitive?

Ask her on your own. If she is scared of him, would she say that in font of him?

waterrat Fri 07-Dec-12 09:53:34

I'm sorry but I cannot let that 'men are shouty' statement stand! My partner would never, ever shout at our children - or if he really lost his cool he would be mortified. My dad never shouted at me - it's got nothing to do with gender at all - and presumably everything to do with how you were treated by your own parents.

Men are just as able to emphasise and have an 'instinct ' of loving kindness for their children - some men don't use it well, some women don't.

Empross76 Fri 07-Dec-12 08:45:34

My husband can be pretty shouty with our kids, too. From talking to friends it seems a lot of their husbands resort to shouting so maybe it is a male thing? Not all males, obviously, but maybe a default setting due to lack of maternal instinct - which definitely DOES exist!

schobe Fri 07-Dec-12 08:23:10

Calm down Amber. It's not an excuse but maybe it is part of the reason, as you well know.

We can't censor our posts and not mention autism or any other issue just because we might be perpetuating other people's ignorance and prejudice.

If children need and deserve extra support because they find things more difficult than others for a genuine reason, then why not adults? You can't have it both ways.

It doesn't make the behaviour ok, but it might just help improve things. Although obviously just kicking him out would be quicker and threads like this would be pithier.

AmberLeaf Fri 07-Dec-12 00:55:45


Not another abusive dickhead being excused because someone thinks he might have aspergers.

So if he did have aspergers, would that mean its ok to treat his children like shit?

OP he shouts at your baby and has zero respect for your opinion.

Please don't look for an excuse for that. Deal with it as it is, even if he did have aspergers, it would still be inexcusable.

Jen547 Fri 07-Dec-12 00:34:46

My DD is only 3months so I don't have any advice on discipline but I find it incredibly ignorant of your DH to deny that there is maternal instinct. My DP and I had very similar personalities, routines, beliefs and ways of doing things until we had a child. Now, whenever I do anything with my daughter it is a calculated and considered response to what my head is telling me is best for her, and my brain seems to scan all possible outcomes in lightning quick time before telling me the safest and most logical course of action. My DP still thinks much as he used to (and I used to) and that is "what is the quickest and least disruptive way (to himself/his plans) of completing this task". Maternal instinct is without a doubt the strongest tool you have, trust it and believe in it and if it's telling you he is wrong then I assure you it's because he is wrong. I'd trust my instinct over any scientific study no matter what.

schobe Thu 06-Dec-12 15:01:02

Yes softy, I didn't want to diagnose on the internet as I know that's ridiculous, but it doesn't surprise me that you have suspicions re AS.

I sometimes struggled with being a parent and now (1 child with severe ASD later) realise why I find some aspects of it so challenging.

I sometimes think as a female I have been conditioned to look for the fault in myself rather than in other people or the world. So it has been easier to avoid being an arrogant denier! Plus my difficulties are very very slight compared with others.

strumpetpumpkin Thu 06-Dec-12 13:16:54

different children require differnt methods, and different parents do it differently.

greenrabbits Thu 06-Dec-12 12:52:51

I think children learn by example and no good will come of routinely screaming at them. Right now, I'm thinking of my SIL who never shouts - just calmly and firmly says whatever she's saying.

I also agree that he is confusing discipline with shouting. Shouting is not "better than smacking". Both can damage in different ways.

"How many pre-schoolers notice what their parents are saying if there's something more interesting going on?!"

Shouting is not the answer. Getting down on her level is.

He sounds like a bully. If my husband behaved like this, I would not be pandering to him by providing scientific "evidence", I would be in couples counselling talking about why I was thinking of leaving.

strumpetpumpkin Wed 05-Dec-12 18:11:59

children arent employees, theyre children. Plus if your employess consitently didnt do as they were asked, theyd get the sack. Im not sure you can give your children the sack

strumpetpumpkin Wed 05-Dec-12 18:10:27

The children arent scared of him, which i would say means that its more of a difference of parenting than him being some sort of abusive bullying arsehole. I dont think that shouting at a baby is ever gonna be a good idea. You said he did it in the night? Is that the only time?

I think you have to be careful and make sure youre letting him parent the children too, and not getting told off when its not done your way. Hes not a childminder or a grandparent that needs to follow your routine. He has misgivings about your style too and thinks youre being walked over. It sounds like you need a big heart to heart and to either work out a style you can both agree on, or just agree to parent differently. Children will adapt to this perfectly well. Children throughout the ages have had one parent stricter than the other. The most important thing IMO, is that the parents are a united front. Its ok to not be as strict. I think its ok for him to raise his voice if hes already given her fair warnings. Thats the consequence. As long as hes not screaming and shouting at them, a shout is a fair consequence. Even if youd prefer it if he used something like the naughty step or whatever instead, maybe you could talk about it in his discussion, or talk about how the shouting makes YOU feel. If you go in and make out hes being abusive, the conversation isnt going to get anywhere and hes going to just feel like hes not an equal parent to the children

LaCiccolina Wed 05-Dec-12 18:07:33

Incase ur curious I asked dd how she felt after I had shouted at her for spilling a drink before we were due to go out.

Sad was her response at 2.

He might not feel bad after but I kicked myself for a week. Still do weeks later as u see. U will sometimes shout, but it has to be balanced alongside other tactics. If its his default position that's not right.

LaCiccolina Wed 05-Dec-12 18:03:09

Shouting is not discipline. What work place ever condones shouting at employees for results? How many bosses shout at him to get a task done? It's more likely assertiveness, tact, diplomacy and courtesy are used to gain better and consistent results.

There will always be studies, but get him to argue against the above. He can't. It's how civilised people behave.

I'm a natural shouter. An explosive temperament but I recognise that when I behave like that, or sarcastically, I'm not big or clever. I've lost it. Doesn't mean I still don't do it but I try hard not to and use other tactics.

This is not to say ur way is perfect, it depends on the occasion. I would say ur way offers consistency and love where his is negative and likely just makes him feel bad. Does me....

Welovecouscous Wed 05-Dec-12 17:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

strumpetpumpkin Wed 05-Dec-12 16:56:22

I think a lot of parents differ on discipline. My dp is stricter than me and always has been. He is also louder and shouts more, but he is consistent and fair.

I dont think shouting is ideal, but his way of parenting is his way, and deserves respect, just as yours does.

waterrat Wed 05-Dec-12 16:47:44

I think you have to put him in their shoes - ask him how he feels when people who have authority or power over him shout at him aggressively? Does he feel angry? How would he feel if you shouted at him loudly whenever you were unhappy about something?

Does he want your children to shout when they are annoyed? CHildren learn how to behave from their parents - he needs to behave as he would like them to behave.

I'm afraid he does not sound intelligent at all - if he needs to see research to know that being shouted at is unpleasant and likely to lead to fear and distress - also, it is not intelligent to treat a 1 and 4 year old like 'bad' children, when they do not have the cognitive development to behave as he would like them to.

He needs to understand their mental development levels more.

I think you need to be braver in believing that you are right - and that it is your duty as mother to protect your children from his behaviour.

Softywife Wed 05-Dec-12 15:53:12

Thanks tiktok, I'll take another look.

I'm sorry about your DH Welovecouscous. Has he come to terms with it/moved past it?

Thanks loveroflife I've copied the NSPCC info to DH.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 03-Dec-12 20:50:17 If he can't shout at your 1 year old, he'll shout more at you??? Really? ... and you don't seem to think this is a problem?!

Yes, it is a problem - we're working on it.

HandbagCrab Mon 03-Dec-12 16:26:04 Why are you scurrying round for him?


dreamingbohemian Mon 03-Dec-12 20:55:34 Why don't you turn this around on him? Tell him you're convinced that YOU are right and you'd like him to produce some scientific research proving that shouting at children has no ill effects whatsoever.

DH already feels that the way we're raising our children is based too much on what I think is best and I'm the one questionning his approach here.

But I agree that my ^ opinion is just as valid as his..... until he believes that you are not going to get anywhere.^

Schobe, Thanks for the prompt about 'arrogant deniers', I think DH might have some form of aspergers so I'm reading up on it.

rhetorician Mon 03-Dec-12 21:16:13

I'm not sure I would ask DD1 if she was frightened of her father though - you could put the question differently - it's a very leading question. How does it make you feel when he shouts at you?

rhetorician Mon 03-Dec-12 21:15:22

well, first off, I suspect that nearly everyone shouts occasionally. I do. I hate myself for it, and would never seek to justify it in any way. As others have said, it is a loss of control and is a response to failed discipline, not a form of discipline. I was well and truly brought up short one time when my (then) 3 year old said through her tears and snot, 'don't shout at me, I'm only little'. It's exactly the same as a 4 year old losing control, but without the excuse of being 4.

Clear boundaries and rules (and you and he need to agree what you will and will not tolerate), reinforced verbally and, if necessary, by consequences (again, agree these) delivered calmly will do wonders. If you have a child prone to upset (I do) then sometimes a hug and a listening ear can avert all sorts of trouble.

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