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Getting OH to manage temper when helping son with work

(14 Posts)
Echobelly Fri 23-Feb-18 11:42:30

My DH is determined to do more writing and maths with our son, who is six and has a lot of difficulty with both.

In some ways it’s great that DH wants to help. On the other hand his methods concern me. Neither of us is a patient teacher, but he tends to really lose it. Some of the time, son does get it, after much sobbing from him and shouting from DH and when I try to intervene and say it’s too much and to back off, DH just snarls that yelling and making him cry is the only way to get him to do it, because look, he’s done it now and nothing else worked. And it’s hard to respond to that, especially as DH’s anger is like a juggernaut, he doesn’t really seem to want to stop and all my counterarguments just sound piss-weak because I can’t match his yelling. The fact is, maybe he can make him get something right by yelling, but he’s not teaching it to him because the next day he’s forgotten it again. Basically, DH has this idea that son is ‘lazy’ and needs to be forced. I think son just finds things genuinely difficult and needs a very patient, gradual approach. DH comes from a family where yelling and giving critical labels to children was the norm. I really hate it when he calls son lazy or accuses him of not trying when he is, because that latter I feel is really damaging. Why should you bother trying when you still get the third degree even when you do try?

I’m thinking the best thing might be to put my thoughts down in an email to him so it doesn’t have to be confrontational and say it’s great that he wants to do more, but he has to manage his temper and he has to try to move away from negative labels either in his head or said out loud. Son is an August baby, and not mature for his age either – I think he does have difficulty concentrating and can be inattentive, but I don’t think he’s ‘lazy’. But generally when I try to express this to DH he just says I’m being soft and do I have a better suggestion (and then writes off any suggestions I give as ineffectual). Also worth saying, DH is a natural mathematician who is really good at that kind of thing, so it is hard for him to understand not getting maths!

I’ll admit I’m also worried because we have a new au pair and I’m worried that if DH puts on his worst side with this, au pair will decide this household is too stressful and decide to pack his bags. It’s a stressful and awkward time right now as DH is between contracts since the start of December and things have been slow, so he’s also extra-stressed and on edge about that.

Poshindevon Fri 23-Feb-18 14:27:30

This is an appalling way for your husband to behave. Being in between contracts is no excuse. Your husband is a bully and you stand by and allow DH to yell at your son until you poor child is sobbing. Unbelievable.
DH needs to attend anger management although he wont believe he needs it. I suggest you tape his outbursts. It comes to something when you have to email your husband because you cannot address this problem verbally in case DH goes off on one.

As the au pair is young does he have the patience to help your child.
If not can you afford some private tutoring. You have not mentioned what the schools opinion is of your son. Does the teacher think he is lazy or inattentive?

Maatsuyker Fri 23-Feb-18 14:38:50

This is abuse. You have to stop it.

Echobelly Fri 23-Feb-18 14:51:40

School thinks son is just being a fairly usual younger child in class and has done quite a lot to give him extra help. I do think that if maths hasn't clicked by the end of this year we should consider investigating possibility of dyscalculia (esp as my mum believes she may have it - she was top of class in everything else, but just couldn't get maths). I would rather go to tutoring but can't afford at the moment - don't think au pair can help with things.

I should point out, not that it makes things better, but my husband losing it over son's work isn't something that happens regularly, just an explosion a couple of times a year, and there are other times he does positive and encouraging work with him too. I sometimes think that if he were to attempt 'little and often' he might manage it a bit better than at the moment when he goes in intermittently and totally full on, and loses it. But I do get so stressed out at the thought of him losing it and the kids sometimes dread working with him too in case it happens. (He has been similarly up and down with daughter, who is older, but less so these days as she's got better at doing stuff herself).

pallisers Fri 23-Feb-18 14:56:32

your child is 6! And a grown man is yelling and shouting at him about schoolwork.

Yes I can well see why you would be ashamed for an au pair to see that. She may leave - or she may call someone and say that your son is being abused.

You need to get your husband at a less stressful time and tell him that unless and until he can guarantee that he will not yell and bully his child, he is banned from helping him at all and that if the au pair hears him, she will leave/report you so he better sort himself out.

How can you like someone who can bully a child like this?

tafftum Fri 23-Feb-18 15:01:43

He sounds like a bully. Your poor child

Nicolamarlow1 Fri 23-Feb-18 15:10:14

This is dreadful behaviour from your DH. Shouting at a child who doesn't understand a concept will only set up a cycle of negativity and fear, and make it very unlikely that he will learn anything. Your DS needs patient, step by step teaching and lots of encouragement when he gets things right. If he gets things wrong, the approach should be 'let's see if we can find a better way to do this.' If your DS is frightened he will be totally unable to think clearly about the maths. Your DH is bullying him and he needs to stop before he sets up a lasting fear of maths.

Thebookswereherfriends Fri 23-Feb-18 15:11:04

My dad used to "help" me with maths homework and reduce me to tears because I didn't get it quickly enough. I failed my maths GCSE as I would not engage with maths at all and assumed I was rubbish. I retook it at college and doing it at my own pace with calm help if required in the maths class meant I got a c. Your husband will put your child off learning and your child will not listen to him, but just feel stressed and unhappy any time he says he is going to work with your son.

Echobelly Fri 23-Feb-18 15:26:16

I do sometimes tell him that he is the adult and they are the kids and he has to have realistic expectations. And sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. He himself has said just the other day he wants to manage his anger with DS, but he's not sure how - he knows a bit what pushes his buttons but isn't sure how to stop it. Everyone knows the whole 'count to ten' /walk away, I know I've used it but I know I also don't manage to use it every time .

The good news is he has demonstrated in the past that he can change his ways , having stopped some behaviours which I've told him I didn't like. But I'm not sure where to start here. He can get my side to some degree when he's calm, but it just all goes out of the window when he loses his temper.

pallisers Fri 23-Feb-18 15:43:51

He can get my side to some degree when he's calm, but it just all goes out of the window when he loses his temper.

Then he is unable to help his son with his homework. End of story. it isn't fair to expose a 6 year old to an uncontrolled grown man losing his temper. Apart from how scary and horrible it is, he is ruining his son's love of learning. Asshole.

HonkyWonkWoman Fri 23-Feb-18 15:52:48

What a horrible bully your nasty husband is.
Shouting and losing his temper with a 6 year old.
Terrifying the poor little thing.
Stand up to him, for goodness sake.
Tell him that he is not helping Ds with Maths any more.
You are the Mother, you must keep your child safe from this abuse.

Echobelly Fri 23-Feb-18 16:23:18

Please don't accuse me of not standing up to him. I am confronting him that it is enough or too much when it gets to that stage, but on a really bad day sometimes he just carries on regardless. I tell him that my approach is not because I'm a wimp and want to be their best mate, it's because that is what's effective, as proved by countless psychologists etc!

I think when we're having a normal conversation about managing his anger I should tell him that one way would be an agreement to stop and back off when I say so, every time. There are times when I've been the angry one and he's been the one who steps in calmly as well, so I know it can work, but it takes both sides.

OhCalamity Fri 23-Feb-18 17:12:35

Ask him if he wants the Au pair to call social services on him because that's where it's heading.

I was bad at maths. My teacher tried to bully me into it much like your DH. I'm in my forties now and I've never forgotten the terror of times tables. I suspect I was an undiagnosed case of dyscalcula.

geekymommy Fri 23-Feb-18 17:19:22

His anger is a juggernaut. Does he have problems at work because he loses his temper at his boss, colleagues, or customers? Does he have problems with friends and other family members because he loses his temper at them? If the answer is no, then he CAN control his anger, but he is choosing not to.

A natural mathematician who doesn't understand why someone wouldn't get maths doesn't sound like he would make a good maths tutor. It takes more than understanding the subject to be a good teacher or tutor. Ask anybody who has gone to university and had a professor who was a brilliant researcher but a lousy teacher. University science departments here in the US are full of this type of professor.

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