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how do you cope with 2 totally different parenting styles, or in other words, when your dh constantly behaves with the kids in a way you HATE but just won't stop

(52 Posts)
ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 08:50:32

Honestly, if he was a bf & not their dad I'd have booted him years ago.

In some ways he's great.


-He'll wind them up & not know when to stop.
-He swears around them, so now I have 3 foul mouthed little horrors who eff and blind constantly (inc telling grandad to fuck off!)
-If one of them is crying he'll mimick them, take the piss, call them a baby
-they get frustrated & hysterically angry with them, shout at him to shut up, or hit him, so he punishes them
-He can't say 'turn off the tv' or 'put down your book' - it's turn off that stupid programme' and 'put down your stupid book', everything feels like a put down
- he's rough with them, well 2 out of 4,

9 out of 10 argument are about me picking him up on how he treats the kids. Depending on mood he'll either
-have a go at me & tell me I'm no great mother (true I suppose)
-acknowledge he's out of order, then do it again anyway the next time
- acknowledge he's out of order and try harder for a limited amount of time then at some point start again anyway.

I'm really sick of the shouting, swearing & tears.

So apart from getting divorced, which wouldn't nec. fix it as he'll always be their dad anyway, wtf am I supposed ro do? It's depressing. And the piss taking I'm sure must really damage their self esteem. ANd now they just swaer and shout at each other & me all the time!

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 08:59:53

I had this problem.
Would he read a book if you gave him one?
I told DP that I wanted us to both look at our parenting styles as they were so conflicting and it wasn't good for the children, and bought some books.
By saying that my parenting wasn't perfect he was a lot more accepting than if I'd just said 'You're crap'.

WRT swearing, both DP and I swear, the children don't, so I wouldn't say that was the problem there, same with them hitting him, no matter how wound up the children get they should not be lashing out, at parent or peer.

kitbit Mon 08-Sep-08 09:00:45

Can you ask someone else to talk to him? His mother? Another of his friends who is also a dad?
Poor you, I really feel for you, it must be so hard watching him bullying your children sad you really have to do something asap (I know you know that).

mamadiva Mon 08-Sep-08 09:20:24

I have the same problem WRT swearing and getting agrivvated easily with our 2YO son who has actually started picking up on his swearing and it really embaresses(sp?) me that people think it's me.

My DP also throws it in my face that Im not a great parent blah de blah but I try as hard as I can I get the feeling he does not.

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 09:24:05

kitbit, the only person he'd listen to was his mum, but she died last year he's short with everyone, so even his sister hopes I'll answer the phone if she calls, he's rude & abrupt with her too.

vs, I know they shouldn't lash out but he backs them into a corner. ds2 does get upset easily & cries worryingly easily gor a 7 yr old. But dh pushes & pushes. Something triggers him, he cries
dh ( in stupid baby voice) "Ooh are you a baby?"
ds "Shut up"
dh ""ooh I'm crying cos I'm a baby too"
dh"ooh little babies cry all the time. boo hoo I'm a baby"
ds"SHUT UP SHUT UP" either pushes dh or tries to hit him or runs out & slams the door.

He does this mocking & piss taking with ds2 & ds3. Ad infinitum.

One of the boys'll ask a perfectly reasonable Q & he'll answer, but end it with "ewhat's the next stupid wquestion?" he's just a bloody torment.

I bought 1,2,3 Magic & he has taken some of that on board, but it hasn't helped with the winding up.

We're a long way from friends & family so he never sees his 2 friends who have kids.

kitbit Mon 08-Sep-08 09:32:56

angry on your behalf.
He needs a kick up the bum. If dh did this I would leave him especially if he's like it with everyone he sounds like a totally dislikeable person (sorry I know he's your husband). It's emotional abuse and if he continues he will damage his children even more. What kind of adults does he think this will make them?
They have the right to be secure and happy and well cared for at home, he is not parenting, he's bullying.

Can you ask the school? Perhaps a teacher could have a chat with both of you together having been primed beforehand to address the issue. Would he respond to an external person?

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 09:41:39

omg, just seen the smile! was of course supposed to be sad face. My lovely mil was totally wonderful

Leaving isn't an option, but I need to improve this issue. We've spoken about it a zillion times, so either I'm approaching it totally wrong, or I don't know. I need it to change, but I don't know how to get through.

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 09:53:56

Has he always been like this?

Can you step in when it is happening?

Speak to him and tell him that although you'd love to be a partnership and don't want to undermine him, you cannot put up with the way he speaks to them and will remove yourself and them from the situation and use a keyword to let him know why you are doing it.

Then every time he acts like a twat just say the keyword and walk away, with the child, making sure the child knows you do not agree so if he says 'What stupid question is next?' say 'Actually I thought it was a very interesting question' and continue the conversation with the child.

Ideally he would change his ways, but if you cannot make that happen then the next best thing is for the children to know you do not agree with how they are being treated and nor do you think they are stupid.

Do you have home swear words? In our house for example, 'Stupid' is a swear word. I have told the children that only 'stupid' or lazy people need to use the word 'stupid' because they aren't clever enough or are too lazy to think of anything else to say, same goes with swearing.

If they can get rid of the connotations with the word 'stupid' then it won't be as damaging.

These are all small things to protect your children from this hurtful man though. Personally I'd give him an ultimatum. Either he stops bullying the children, or he goes. Simple as.

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 09:56:26

A good book, if you can get him to read it, is How to talk so kids listen and how to listen so kids talk.

My DP was a more diluted version of what you're going through, he doesn't name call but when stressed often became a lot harsher than need be, after reading bits of this book that explain what the kids hear when he says X it helped a great deal.

Why is leaving not an option?

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 10:02:47

I'm not in UK, have no where to go, no money.

I don't really want to, but it's just so depressing. I can't carry on day in day out with him talking to everyone like that. He just shouts all the time.

If I ask him not to shout he says if they did wht they were told the 1st time he wouldn't have to.

He wouldn't read a book. We do have that one.

NappiesGalore Mon 08-Sep-08 10:04:28

oh man EtheB, sounds v wearing for you and awful for the kids! doubt hes having much fun either tbh

wish i had answers to help you

Tidgypuds Mon 08-Sep-08 10:05:15

That must be hard Ernest, not the way to a peaceful home at all.
Sometimes my Dad teases my and my sisters DC's (but not in a nasty way, never swears or anythingg) gets them all hyped up and a bit grumpy and this only happens occasionally, so I really feel for you coping with it constantly from your DH.

They need to learn that even if your DH swears it isnt acceptable for them to swear or lash out.

First step if you cant change or your DH is unwilling to change is to educate your children to ignore their fathers behaviour and rise above it. Teach them that they dont have to react to his comments or actions, that if they ignore the behaviour they wil be less upset about it.

Your DH needs some parenting classes or something that will show him the error of his parenting style and the damage it will have long term on his children. In effect he is bullying them.

solidgoldbrass Mon 08-Sep-08 10:07:00

Is there any kind of organisation to help victims of domestic violence in your home area? Because you need to throw this nasty bully out before he escalates to regular beatings of the children: that's where this is heading. He thinks they are inferior to him, his property, and that their feelings don't matter. He thinks he is entitled to torment and abuse them because it makes him feel better about his horrible little self.
No children should have to put up with daily abuse and cruelty, and you shouldn't have to live with it either.

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 10:12:03

Have you tried using the How to talk methods on him wink
They work great on adults toogrin

Ask him why he is so unhappy and what would have to happen for him to change the way he behaves, write it down and see if you can come up with some ways to work round this.

If he doesn't do something then I'm sorry but SGB is right, it will just escalate, not necessarily to violence but children growing up in a home where they feel inferior and downtrodden.sad

Upwind Mon 08-Sep-08 10:42:18

Your DH sounds very like my Dad - and he did eventually start beating us.

Reading your posts I have a sense of helplessness.

"I'm not in UK, have no where to go, no money."
You can come to the UK if you want. Money can be squirrelled away, posessions pawned or ebayed so you have enough to get by before you sort out either maintenance from DH, employment for yourself, or social welfare payments. Accomodation can easily be arranged in the short term at a b&b or similar, in the longer term private rentals or social housing can be organised.

You have options and choices. You do not have to depend on this man. However, if you do want to work things out with him, maybe marriage counselling might be the next step? It could help you get through to him how badly he is behaving.

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 11:05:51

sad I just saw you also have a three month old DD.
You must be knackered enough without all this going on.

kitbit Mon 08-Sep-08 11:14:50

How old is your dh Ernest? Just wondering if he became a Dad before he really grew up (well, actually, that much is obvious, but I wondered if it might be to do with age).

What are the good points of his fathering skills? Can you concentrate on those while tackling the bad points to try and make it look less like you're saying he's crap? VictorianSqualor is very wise and her advise is fantastic.

Whereabouts are you? Obviously you don't have to say if you'd rather not, but one of us might know the country and be able to suggest routes of help?

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 11:31:42

Bavaria, southern Germany.

He is funny, he plays football with them, he hates being stuck indoors so always ready to take them out.

sorry, having esp bad day. I don't want to leave, I just want to find a way to convince him to stop the bullying behaviour, the mickey taking and ridiculing and shouting and put downs. I'm not perfect, but he does upset people. Ar least I can tell him to shut up,, or sil can put the phone down, or not even call in the 1st place, but the boys don't have that optiion

jojostar Mon 08-Sep-08 11:41:15

let him read this thread....

Upwind Mon 08-Sep-08 11:42:03

You don't want to leave - that is okay, you don't have to. It might still be a good idea to have your own bank account with some money put aside in case you want it.

Would he consider counselling?

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 11:52:35

You don't have to leave him, but let him know that it is on the cards if he doesn't make the effort to change.

Tell him that though you love him dearly, when you became a parent your love life stopped being the most important thing in the world and your children started to. As much as it would break your heart you don't really see how you have a choice. You cannot put up with this behaviour and allow your children to feel so demoralised so you desperately want to find a way to get things to change.

He doesn't have to turn into a namby pamby (or a 'hippy' as DP sometimes likes to call mehmm) but there are boundaries, name-calling is one of them and these boundaries cannot be crossed.

There is absolutely nothing wrong (and actually a lot right) in telling a child to find out an answer for themselves, for example, so rather than 'what kind of stupid question is next' (which I suspect is his way of avoiding having to answer questions which to him may seem really boring) he could say 'Why don't you try finding out, have a look on the internet or at the library etc' or' What do you think?' and hmm, yes, hmm, ah, etc in the right places.

Tell him you'll back him up completely if they swear or lash out, but he needs to back you up too. If he likes to play fight and rough and tumble use that, it is another great thing, children learn how to control anger and emotion through play-fighting. Tell him it's cool to do it but there must be rules, for both him and them, if anyone gets too angry/wound up there needs to eb a five minute cooling down period etc.

Does he get any time to himself? I don't know if he works etc but I know sometimes Dp needs just ten minutes with a cup of tea by himself before he gets the DCs jumping all over him to get him in the 'home' frame of mind and out of the 'work' frame of mind.

I'm sure if he is willing to make this work there are a million ways in which it can be done, but you need to sit down and talk to him, not us. (Also, use the pen and paper trick, write down all his concerns so eh can see you're listening to his frustrations as he sounds just as frustrated as you.)

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 08-Sep-08 12:20:38

VS thanks for your time & thoughts. I've already metioned to him today that I want to talk about these issues, and he has at least acknowledged that he went too far (his words) this morning.

Incidentally the "wahat's the next stupid question" is in response to "will we be going striaght home after" or something like that, a request for info regarding the day, rather than a "daddy, why do bees sting" type question.

Good point about saying i'll back him completely. I think he would appreciate hearing that. We seem to constantly be at war over the kids. I'm sick of hearing myself moaning at him about it too tbh. Need big and lasting changes

Upwind Mon 08-Sep-08 12:24:14

At least you are talking.

FWIW I don't think there is any excuse for your boys to be hitting their dad, no matter how much he has wound them up. You really should back him up on punishing them for that.

VictorianSqualor Mon 08-Sep-08 12:24:48

Ah, well if it's that kind of question I'd suggest the 'what do you think?' response.
DD does exactly the same, and it's much less stressful if I reply that way than having to feel like I'm justifying myself to a 7yrold blush!

foothesnoo Mon 08-Sep-08 12:36:32

Ernest what you have described sounds like abuse to me. He sounds like a terrible bully. My DH's father was like this and please don't underestimate the long term damage it causes (my dh has suffered from depression and had a proper breakdown too).

Alternatively your DSs will end up like him -he is their role model (sounds as though this is already happening).

What sort of external support can you get? Are there parenting classes you can access? Health vistors?

Your top priotity should be to protect your kids from his behaviour and it sounds as though that might mean leaving him, even if only for a short time.

This might help- maybe he could read it?

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