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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.

stitchNting Thu 29-Nov-12 19:00:47

First three results of my google search. On phone so will be back later but please show your DH these and see what he says...

Softywife Thu 29-Nov-12 21:03:40

Perfect, thanks stitchNting, I'll show him those links and see what he thinks of them.

Softywife Thu 29-Nov-12 21:04:32

Just to be sure I get a balanced view, does anyone on here think I'm being too lenient with the kids?

loveroflife Thu 29-Nov-12 22:11:48


This post made me feel very sad. Your dd2 has been in this world for just over year and is having to suffer her father screaming shut up at her. How else is she meant to communicate what she needs apart from through crying? I wonder how he would feel if is boss or friends screamed shut up at him. I'm appalled that he would treat his darling innocent daughter this way. He sounds like a complete wanker, who wants discipline and control - tell him to fuck off and go and shout at someone his own size.

If your dd2 jumped when he shouted, then of course she is scared. She is probably saying no she isn't scared of him when you ask her because she is afraid of being shouted at again.

I wouldn't leave the children with him alone if he is admitting to shouting at them when you are not there, things could escalate and you would never forgive yourself. Stick to your guns and get him some anger management.

Schmoozer Thu 29-Nov-12 23:23:43

No you are not too lenient
He sounds like an arse. A bully.
He needs to develop his repertoire of parenting,skills.
Sounds like he has a fairly limited toolbox of skills and short fuses through to shouting to frighten small kids / babies into desired action.

naturalbaby Thu 29-Nov-12 23:35:03

He wants scientific proof that shouting is wrong?!? How about you shout at him and ask him how it sounds/feels to be on the receiving end!

I have struggled over the past year or so and ended up shouting a lot at my dc's. I feel like a fool having to explain to ds2 that it is not nice to shout at his siblings/it's wrong/we don't shout when he is resorting to copying me when his siblings don't listen to him.
If your DH shouts then your dd's will copy. What will he do then?

dreamingbohemian Thu 29-Nov-12 23:35:09

Who the hell shouts at a 13-month old???

Don't get too sucked into his need for scientific studies. You know it's wrong, anyone with a functioning sense of empathy and reason knows it's wrong.

Do you really think showing him a few studies will change his mind?

Caroline2103 Thu 29-Nov-12 23:35:40

no your not being too lenient! and to say that there is no such thing as maternal instinct is just ridiculous and sounds almost like petulant jealousy because u have something he doesnt. I dont want to sound off about your DH and my opinion on his actions but I will say that reading your post saddened me and I hope from maybe showing him this thread he might look to change his ways. Good luck smile

Softywife Thu 29-Nov-12 23:47:10

I think I WILL show him yr replies thanks, once he's had a chance to look at those links.

JassyRadlett Fri 30-Nov-12 14:29:23

He is confusing discipline with shouting. You can have great discipline without ever once shouting.

My own DS is only 14 months so we're only a few months into actual discipline - and still at the point where a stern voice warning him away from 'danger' spots does the trick. But I used to be a nanny and anyone who says you can't disipline without shouting or smacking is misguided and isn't going to get the best results in the long term - kids who behave because they understand exactly where the boundaries are, and why those boundaries are there. The idea that there's quasi-angry behaviour (shouting/smacking - things done either in anger or simulating anger) or nothing is just plain wrong.

What are you supposed to be preparing your kids for? Do you want them to be in a classroom or workplace where those in more powerful positions shout to get their way? A teacher or a boss who does that is bullying, and a four-year-old shouldn't be getting the message that bullying is OK and it's her role to put up with it.

diyqueen Fri 30-Nov-12 23:09:02

Jasseyradlett, I agree and was going to say something similar. Turn it back on him - when he is shouting, he is showing that he has lost control, otherwise he wouldn't want to shout, would he? There are other ways of getting attention (eye contact, getting down to the same level etc) and definitely better ways of discipline. Getting a child to do something by shouting at them isn't teaching them how to work things out for themselves or learn from previous experiences. Teachers these days often use something called 'assertive discipline' - using rules, expectations and consequences and an assertive rather than aggressive approach - maybe googling that would help, as it's a proven way of managing school age children effectively without yelling at them.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 30-Nov-12 23:17:19

Shouting is loss of self-control. Ask him why he has no internal discipline and what he's going to do about that.

He want scientific evidence to back up his ideas about parenting, he looks it up. Simple. You are not his assistant.

Startail Fri 30-Nov-12 23:24:04

Can't I have two very well adapted DDs who are entirely used to being shouted at.

Although shouting at children under two is probably pretty pointless as they haven't a clue what they've done wrong.

pictish Fri 30-Nov-12 23:31:25

13 months is just a baby. This man shouts at babies. How awful.

I'm no pushover and my kids tow my line on the whole, but I don't shout at them often.
Shouting at babies is just skin crawly. He's a bully, and the worst sort.

thezoobmeister Sat 01-Dec-12 07:54:52

Margot Sunderland's book 'the science of parenting' is excellent for this sort of thing and well worth a look.

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:34:08

Ok. So he read the links and we talked.

He acknowledges that he shouldn't have shouted at DD2 no matter what whilst she's still so little. That's a big step forward. I'm not sure what he'll do differently next time she's ill/teething and he's tired/frustrated though. Perhaps just shout at me more instead!

loveroflife, DH looks after the kids at night when I'm working overnight or if I have a very early shift start. If he's on 'night duty' whilst I'm there and he seems stressed then I try to help him. However then I'm apparently interfering and "don't trust him" and therefore I should do all the night duties on my own! He can seem so childish sometimes.

With DD1 he thinks he's got the right approach to discipline. He reckons he raises his voice just to get her attention and then talks calmly to her once she's listening. I still think he expects too much from a 4 year old - he often seems to expect her to act like an adult. How many pre-schoolers notice what their parents are saying if there's something more interesting going on?! I still think he needs to be more patient and get down to her level.

It's difficult for us to agree on the issue as we've got different ideas about how to define 'yelling' and 'shouting' so whilst I think he needs to tone it down a bit he thinks he's being quite reasonable and that I'm being oversensitive. I obviously DO raise my voice with DD1, just not as much, as quickly or as frequently as DH does. The first article refers to 'constant' yelling and 'if overused', so he reckons it doesn't apply to him. Even if that's so, I think there's useful stuff in there and the second article talks about 'overreacting' which I think's very relevant to him.

Thanks for the 'assertive discipline' suggestion diyqueen and the Margot Sunderland recommendation thezoobmeister, I'll take a look at those.

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:41:49

That book sounds spot on thezoobmeister. And the author seems to have enough credentials to hopefully keep my high maintenance wink high-standards-DH happy!!

schobe Mon 03-Dec-12 14:46:48

So he's teaching your DD1 that you only have to start listening once the voice is raised.

Her teachers are going to be just delighted with that one.

Sorry but he's a bully and, to be honest, not the sharpest tool in the box if he can't see the illogical nature of his own reasoning.

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:54:22

Although, as one of the reviews points out, 'it is is an attachment parenting book, with occasional footnotes, backing up these perspectives only. It does not, as it claims in the title and introduction, present the science to you and let you make up your own mind.'

So DH will no doubt say it's not neutral or scientific. Whilst I'm keen on attachment parenting myself, if I'm to convince DH then I think I need a stronger scientific footing.

Does anyone know of a child development book which is backed up by scientific research/statistics?

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:55:56

schobe, I know!

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:56

not the sharpest tool in the box

He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. It's a double edged sword though and I wish he had more emotional intelligence to go along with the high IQ.

Softywife Mon 03-Dec-12 15:04:22

diyqueen I think DH will like the assertive discipline technique. The key would be to establish what the 'rules' are, keeping them simple and sticking to them. I think DH has too many in his head!

SmeggingAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 03-Dec-12 15:11:43

He's not thinking about how to actually communicate with his children, just about training them hmm. He's teaching them that daddy shouts, mummy listens. That's going to come back and bite him on the bum.

A great book about effective communication with children is How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. It does cite studies etc, but is very readable too.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 03-Dec-12 15:15:09

He is bullying your children.

Beware if his "intelligence" means he sees it as a given that he is always right... And beware of going along with this personal myth ("He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. "). His demand for "scientific proof" smacks of real arrogance. Another hallmark of bullies.

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