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to tell DH to stop acting like a petulant stroppy toddler

(137 Posts)
BringOnTheSunshine Sat 13-Aug-11 23:54:20

and to get a grip!

I have also posted this in behaviour.

Background bit: DS 4 1/2, DD 2 1/2. I work 12.5 hours at the weekend and DH works M-F 12 hour shifts.

I am currently at loggerheads with DH about his, in my opinion, unreasonable expectations about the behaviour of our children.

He has been on holiday this week (he did DIY all week) and I have been taking the kids out every day so he gets peace to work. Wed night he is tired and getting grumpy with us all...fair enough, he is tired! He stops talking except to give one word answers. Thursday evening at dinner DD falls off the dining chair after numerous tellings to sit still. DH blows up and starts shouting at me for not watching her.... he was standing behind her chair and I was sitting two chairs away still attempting to eat my own dinner. We have words in the other room about him shouting at me and he goes back to one word answers.

We decided to spend yesterday out of the house together so he gets at least one day of rest. It starts badly as I put the wrong bin out...first time in 12 years, and he starts ranting about me spending all my time sitting about reading books or on the computer rather than doing what I am "suppose to do". We spent the entire 1 1/2 hour journey there barely speaking. We went to a local attraction, got lunch in a restaurant and were suppose to take the kids on a boat ride at the lake but DH stormed to the car in a toddler huff and we ended up going home.... again he wasn't speaking to any of us.

I dropped him at home and took the kids out and didn't come home till 7pm. He had slept on the chair the whole time. He got up to eat his dinner then went back to the couch. He didn't speak or interract with any of us until the kids were in bed then he told me they were "doing his head in"

This evening after another similar day of ignoring the kids and giving me single word answers I decided I was beyond pissed off and asked him what his problem is.

The list of complaints include our children being too loud. too boisterous, too whiney and they behaved "like animals" at the restaurant.

They were not shouting or screaming, but DS has a habit of talking loudly when excited. He needs frequent reminders to lower his volume but he was not disturbing other diners. At one point both children put their heads down on the seat and were told to sit up, which they did. DD dropped her fork twice. The first time when we arrived and she started playing with them as I was taking off jackets etc and the second when she was eating and it fell. Both ate the food that was served. They were not throwing food, climbing over us to get out the booth. Running around the chairs, screeching, swearing or hitting people. I actually thought they behaved reasonable well.

The problem we both agree on is the moaning, huffing and generally irritating behaviour that drives us both bonkers. They whined about one wanted to see one thing, another something else. DS went huffy because DD sat beside me and he wanted to...But I have also pointed out that this is NORMAL.

This evening he told me that I am obviously not discipling them enough as they have to be told 100 + times not to jump on the couch, to sit still at the table, to speak quietly and not shout.

I say ... they are 2 and 4 get a bloody grip.

so AIBU or is DH right?

worraliberty Sat 13-Aug-11 23:59:52

To be 100% honest it's hard to say.

He does sound like a grumpy git...that's one issue.

The kids misbehaving and jumping on the couch etc is another issue.

From what you've said I'd say YANBU but I have a feeling that if he read your OP...he might well have other bits to add IYSWIM?

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 14-Aug-11 00:03:52

I wonder where your DCs are learning this whiney, huffy behaviour. Tell him to grow up and start communicating like an adult.

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Aug-11 00:15:24

Has he always been like this? With the withdrawing, snapping, being unreasonable when he's talking to you?

Because if he's not, he would sound to me like a man on the edge who has something on his mind that's rendered him incapable of being able to deal with the day to day routine stuff.

If he's always been like this, how have you managed to live with walking on eggshells for so long?

What you've described sounds totally normal behaviour to me, doesn't everyone get pissed off with the constant whining and huffing of their DC?

But to be behaving like that all week when you've gone out of your way to give him time and space just isn't on.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 14-Aug-11 00:16:55

worraliberty: he would add that DS is loud in the house. He shouts when excited, when angry and when he wants something.

I would add that shouting at the kids is DH main way of communicating and have pointed it out to him....and that I frequently tell ds to lower his voice...seriously! daily, hourly constantly!

He is home with the kids while I work. DS likes pretending to be a superhero, spiderman, bumblebee etc so he jumps and runs...also jumps onto/off the chairs.

I would add he is told not to climb/jump on the chairs and is put in time out.....again and again.

They sit at the table for all meals. Once they have reached the sated but not full stage they start bouncing about on the chairs, getting down from the chair to "see" something etc.

They are told to sit down/sit still until they are done. If it is Ott they go on time out.

I am trying ...... very bloody hard! just like every other thing related to our kids....holding hands to cross the road, please and thank you etc. Why the hell does he give me no support and all the criticism????

blackeyedsusan Sun 14-Aug-11 00:27:08

he shouted at you because a 2 1/2 year old fell off a chair and can't sit still? that is not normal. either he is incredibly stressed and needs help or he has too high expectations that are likely to be damaging to your children if he is telling them off all the time/ shouting at them/you.

does he praise them for good behaviour at all?

did he apologise for shouting at you in front of the children?

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Aug-11 00:29:57

'What you've described sounds totally normal behaviour to me, doesn't everyone get pissed off with the constant whining and huffing of their DC?'

I've just re-read my post, I meant the childrens behaviour sounds totally normal, the DHs not normal in the slightest.

blackeyedsusan Sun 14-Aug-11 00:31:34

making them finish food when they have had enough is not healthy for them. understandable if they are messing around a lot...

I suspect that ds gets his shouting from his dad. monkey see, monkey do.

sorry, I can only see problems if your h is overbearing and intolerant with the children. it is crap to live like this. poor children.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 14-Aug-11 00:31:48

Sorry, ranting!

AgentZigzag: He has periods which I believe are depression but he won't go to the GP for. The first and biggest whe DS was born he spent the first couple of months work, eating and sleeping. He barely spoke or interracted with me or our DS but snapped out of it when I told him to get help.

Since then, probably once per year, it is like he shuts down. The next time lasted acouple of weeks, the next a week, then 4 days. It is the same pattern, he gets tired, irritable, short tempered and stops speaking or interracting with us. He just sleeps or sits staring into space.

He is usually the joker, poking me in the ribs, inventing stupid songs and throwing the kids around the floor. He has always been a loud and shouty person...guess where ds gets it from.

It is heartbreaking watching the kids trying to talk to him and he ignores them or snaps at them. DS told him he doesn't love him anymore and is begging me not to go to work.

He started talking to DD tonight but is still mostly ignoring DS and staring into space.

We have been together 12 years and I am fed up

blackeyedsusan Sun 14-Aug-11 00:34:50

personal experience... it will damage the kids. he needs to get help. your children do not need to be growing up with this. it is extremely crap for the children.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 14-Aug-11 00:37:52

blackeyedsusan: he shouted at you because a 2 1/2 year old fell off a chair and can't sit still?

Exactly! I pointed out it was and ACCIDENT. But apparently it was caused by her bouncing about on the chair which is my fault as I don't discipline them enough.

I think he is stressed, tired and has too high expectations... which I have told him.

I should be sleeping, I have to get up in 6 hours for work sad

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Aug-11 00:38:28

I thought of depression as well, but didn't like to say because it's seen by some as an overused 'excuse' for certain behaviour.

But I know someone who acts just like that when they're in a period of what Winston Churchill called his 'black dog', he'd just sit and stare, no telly or radio on, sometimes in the dark. It was like he had to switch off because his brain just couldn't cope with anything else but the black dog and clawing his way back up to the surface again.

Why do you think he won't go to see his doctor about it? Will he not accept that it's causing a problem? Or even that there is one?

Bearskinwoolies Sun 14-Aug-11 00:42:51

YANBU - they sound like normal, boisterous children to me.

I think your dh may have unreasonable expectations of their behaviour. I could understand (just a little) his being irritable at weekends after working those kinds of hours during the week, however, not after you've been taking the children out every day while he is on leave.

It may be worth pointing out to him that they are children, not pets - and cannot be 'disciplined' to be quiet little mice. Also, if you really want to push the point home, tell him that you're not sure if the children are copying his behaviour, or vice versa. Your mileage may vary on this though. (It worked for me, but I'm no holds barred).

Hope things improve smile

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 14-Aug-11 00:46:18

He has told me he sees no benefit in "talking" to someone in therapy and TBH I think he believes it is just a blip that passes so why bother.

He always hopes that by doing XYZ it will be better.

I think he raises his hopes too high. He expects days out with the kids to be picture perfect like the ads. No tantrums, whining or need to tell them off. We all just glide along, laughing merrily eating ice cream and taking beuatiful pictures. Reality is blindingly different! right now he seems to be thinking "is it worth it?"

That is the vibe I am getting anyway

blackeyedsusan Sun 14-Aug-11 00:55:59

it is not a blip that passes by, not for the children any rate. believe me if they live with it for long it will leave scars that take a long long time to heal... 30 years on and you have poked the scar and it has not healed underneath... does he want them living with it 30 years on?

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Aug-11 00:59:44

I was going to say something similar susan about the OP saying 'DS told him he doesn't love him anymore and is begging me not to go to work.'

Most children say hurtful things at some time, and it was probably just an 'in the moment' comment, but it would be awful if that kind of feeling got a hold and your DS got to a flinching stage near his Dad.

I grew up in a house that had atmospheres and sulking that you could cut with a knife and went on for days, and I think it's impossible not to notice.

He's got to make a choice about what he wants his children to feel about him when they look back on their childhood, and even if he has depression, there are still things he can do to get a bit of control over it.

babeinthewood Sun 14-Aug-11 01:06:32

No you are def not being unreasonable. I accept that there will be his side of the story, but I think its sounds quite balanced from you.

He is damaging your children by behaving this way, shape up or ship out IMO

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sun 14-Aug-11 01:07:27

Your DCs sound perfectly normal and HIBU. Even if they were misbehaving, which they're not, why is everything your fault and your responsibility? They're his DCs too.

redexpat Sun 14-Aug-11 11:53:28

Parenting course to give him a realistic idea of how children behave at different ages? Possibly in audiobook so he can listen on the way to work.

CalamityKate Sun 14-Aug-11 12:02:50

So your moaning, huffy, immature DH is complaining about moaning, huffy behaviour from two very small children?

Is he a bit thick?

ChaoticAngeloftheUnderworld Sun 14-Aug-11 12:03:39

What does he do, other than shouting at them, to discipline them?

What does he do to teach them how to behave?

It's all very well blaming you but he is their father and it's his responsibility as much as yours.

CurrySpice Sun 14-Aug-11 13:22:13

Because he sure as heck isn't leading by example of how to behave is he?!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Sun 14-Aug-11 13:27:16

I'm sorry, you're not disciplining them enough? Does he not think he has a part to play?

And obviously if the kids hear and see him shouting, sulking, stropping etc they'll learn to behave like that themselves.

YANBU and he needs to have a word with himself.

BringOnTheSunshine Mon 15-Aug-11 09:51:48

Thanks for all your replies.

Bearskinwoolies: It may be worth pointing out to him that they are children, not pets - and cannot be 'disciplined' to be quiet little mice. I actually said that to him, except I used dogs and told him children shouldn't/couldn't be forced to obey commands to sit, be quiet etc.

It is almost laughable how high his expectations are. He models what they should be doing based on glimpses of other children ... usually older (8+) and fails to see any messing about from those children (which I have seen...and is normal) noticing only the "good" behaviour.

I have pointed this out to him! I have also told him how loud he is and explained about ds and dd copying.

AgentZigzag: My worry is the children becoming scared and withdrawn from DH. A one off "I don't love you" is expected, I just don't want it to become normal.

babeinthewood: I am not a fan of "leave him" which I know is not exactly that you said. I don't plan to rush into anything but for the first time in 12 years I have been thinking is it worth it. I don't want to live in a situation where I have to take my kids out the house or shield them from their dads odd behaviour and too high expectations. He is setting them up to fail.

LadyClariceCannockMonty & LesserOfTwoWeevils: why is everything your fault and your responsibility?
because he is out the house 60+ hours per week and I spend the majority of time with the kids so his influence on behaviour is limited.....that would be his explanation anyway.

This feeling doesn't surprise me. I realise in hindsight... such a wonderful thing sad I have allowed DH to have certain control and behaviours... obviously too much info over 12 years together. There was also a change when I reduced my hours where I allowed him to be MR Alpha, man of the house. I am not talking physical dominance but more he got the last word etc. Over the last few months I have started pushing back and being clear. I still have work to do and so does he if he wants me to stay.

I have always done everything...anything you can think of relating to buying/owning a house/car/holidays/phone calls etc, all the domestic things, all the financial things, all the childcare. Until I had DC I worked full time and did everything, now I work part time with two kids and do everything.
DH works, cuts the grass and does DIY, (I stopped DIY when DS arrived).

Crap, maybe I should move to relationships!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 15-Aug-11 10:06:36

OP, I can see why he'd think like that, but he is still their father and still needs to assume responsibility for parenting when he IS around. Clearly they're picking up on his shouting etc even though his contact time with them is limited.

I do hope you resolve things. Very best of luck.

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