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inappropriate cuddling

(73 Posts)
nuttiestnut Mon 03-Oct-11 14:20:40

Yesterday visited sil and her partner. I felt he was cuddling the kids a lot and that it was inappropriate given the fact that they barely know him. I felt like saying something but couldnt. Now I feel annoyed with myself as I think he crossed a line. Have spoken to the kids about not cuddling people they dont know very well. If this happens again I am not sure how to deal with it or what to say. Wondered if anyone has had a similar experience. How did you deal with it?

HellonHeels Mon 03-Oct-11 14:21:50

Is this a new partner for your SIL? How old are your children?

nuttiestnut Mon 03-Oct-11 14:25:57

They are under 10. She has been seeing him for about 2 years. Kids have only seen him briefly a couple of times.

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 14:29:13

What would you define as inappropriate cuddling. I'm often a bit confused by this, was it just an arm around the shoulder "jollying along" nice to see you again kind of cuddling or something erm..more?

nuttiestnut Mon 03-Oct-11 14:40:32

No it was lots of cuddles and tickling them. Actually called my dd over put her on his knee and cuddled her close. This made me feel uncomfortable and later DH said he wasnt comfortable with it either. We dont know him very well at all and although we probably wont see him again for a while I definately want to say something should it happen again.

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 14:43:50

It's a tricky one, not sure how I'd handle it to be honest. Trying to put myself in your shoes!! I'd probably wimp out and just stop visiting. Is this your husband's sister? Could he have a discreet word with her?

mumsamilitant Mon 03-Oct-11 14:44:17

I wouldn't like a stranger doing this to one of my kids either. Does your SIL have any young children?

Callisto Mon 03-Oct-11 14:44:49

I'd be uncomfortable with that too. How did your children feel about it? DD has always known that if she doesn't want to give someone a kiss or a cuddle she doesn't have to, even if it is her granny, so in this situation, she would have refused to go over to this man, and if he had forced it I would have rescued her.

nuttiestnut Mon 03-Oct-11 14:51:08

Suppose he could say discreetly to her- just wary of doing that in case it causes bad feeling- couldnt say anything at the time for the same reason. She doesnt have young kids, but has regular contact with young nieces/nephews.

GypsyMoth Mon 03-Oct-11 14:52:47

Just be careful how you handle this!

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 14:54:24

I can't believe that a bloke would be so naive about this kind of thing though, surely he should have realised it was inappropriate or at least your sil must have. I know that if my husband acted in that way with children he'd only met a handful of times i'd be having words. I'd be inclined maybe to get your husband to have a word with his sister if it happens again.

If he was getting some kind of sexual gratification out of it, I wouldn't have thought he would be doing it infront of you. Do you think that it is more likely the case that he is just plain stupid?

jesuswhatnext Mon 03-Oct-11 14:56:32

do you feel unfortable when anyone else cuddles them? only asking because if the answer is yes, then maybe you have to look at why you feel like that, if the answer is no, then i would trust your instincts! he may be a perfectly nice man with no evil intent, however, if your instinct tells you different then i would make sure that he was never alone with them.

nuttiestnut Mon 03-Oct-11 15:42:21

Sorry was on school run. Yes maybe he is extremely stupid. I just thought I should treat my uncomfortable feeling as a warning signal. I dont feel uncomfortable when anyone else cuddles them as its usually a loving/friendly fairly quick hug hello or goodbye by someone they know well. I wouldnt leave them alone with him, given his behaviour in our presence.

mamas12 Mon 03-Oct-11 20:33:47

Trust your instincts and get your dh to say something to your sil.
He would do this in front of you just to 'prove' that it was harmless, it's a form of gaslighting.
I'm harmless because I do this in front of you and you let me kind of thing.

Just don't visit again

ImperialBlether Mon 03-Oct-11 20:39:03

Ugh how horrible. Mamas12 is right - he's doing it in front of you on purpose. Ugh.Ugh. Ugh.

bubblegumpop Mon 03-Oct-11 20:41:39

So sil, so aunt/uncle then? Do you have anything in your past? Would I feel uncomfortable, considering he was a long term partner, no.

Am I aware of peados most likely to be in the family, yes, lets be honest, this is what we are getting at here.

What I find sad nowadays is relatives, even if distant, can't get to know children in the family, cuddle, play without being judged. I think the Daily Mail have a lot to answer for, turning every sign of affection towards kids, into sexually motivated, must be a peado, watch out nasty man. Type thing.

ImperialBlether Mon 03-Oct-11 20:47:03

You think it's a normal thing to do, for a man who the children barely know to cuddle them constantly? Really? And you'd be happy for him to cuddle your children?

bubblegumpop Mon 03-Oct-11 20:50:48

Yeah, I think it can be depending on how affectionate your family are. This was a family visit. Some people are more tactile than others. This thread is a perfect example of how easy women find it to shout "peado" at a man however and question his motives.

I do blame the press for that.

PeppermintPasty Mon 03-Oct-11 21:00:32

well fwiw I think this is all down to gut instinct. If you feel it's wrong, and you don't generally have an issue with this type of thing normally then it probably is wrong. But I take bubblegum's point, it is tragic that men are often cast in a suspicious light if they are chummy with kids.

My bro has a friend who is the life and soul, always been with the same woman, got married to her a couple of yrs ago and they have a longed-for 6 yr old dd. He totally "gets" kids, he is a kid, very funny, natural comedian type, very self mocking and always putting on a turn for adults and kids alike.

I know he sounds irritating, but he's not, amazingly. And children just love him. They flock to him and he manhandles the big ones, cuddles the little ones and coos over the babies. I've seen it several times and it's not remotely creepy, and I think I have a good radar for that sort of thing. My chidren love him (but really, they don't know him well), but if I thought for a second they didn't, or there was coercion on his part or something else going on-that would be that.

I suppose the point is-it can happen, but I'm guessing this bloke isn't like that? You need to go with your instincts.

meltedchocolate Mon 03-Oct-11 21:01:36

I'm with bubble. Men get a rotten deal when it comes to how affectionate they are allowed to be with kids these days.

HOWEVER, I think after a small age, say two or three, when the child is no longer a baby/toddler and have their own feelings and ideas anyone should not be overly cuddly cos they may not actually like it but be unable to voice it (because they feel they need to be good). Only very close family should be like this then. Maybe after a weekend together a lovely hug then but not in just a few hours of a day meeting.

Schnullerbacke Mon 03-Oct-11 21:23:51

I'd say that you should go with your gut instinct. Incidently, we had visitors today, friends of my husbands, whom I never met before. My two DDs took an instantly liking to them both, eldest (5) would sit on his lap, cuddled up closely, at one point her cheek was against his.

I have to say that I never felt uncomfortable though. There was no 'fiddling' or 'tickling' on his part. I agree that men are often given a raw deal and if he had sent out weird vibes or if it was all his doing, then perhaps I would have felt uncomfortable too. But as it was, it was harmless, mutual liking. Although I didnt know my husband's friends, they are sort of extended family and they all really like children and its quite normal for all of them to rally around the kids.

BUT, a mother's instinct should never been ignored and as you said, your husband picked up on it too. Stay aware.

aurynne Mon 03-Oct-11 21:26:46

Is this man a foreigner? In many countries a man who is affectionate with children is perfectly normal, actually it is very refreshing. The lack of affection towards children by strangers is something very very anglo.

wonkylegs Mon 03-Oct-11 21:39:00

Would you have felt the same way if he was a woman doing the same thing?
We have a couple of friends who have always been hands on with our DS, cuddles, tickles, raspberries are par for the course. They love kids and desperately would love to have them but due to circumstances aren't yet in a position to.
It's completely harmless and it's never even crossed our minds to be concerned. If you are concerned I would be very careful, perhaps just say please ease off the kids don't like it and change the situation - let's all go and .....

Fairenuff Mon 03-Oct-11 22:45:19

I would speak up at the time. If my child was on his lap I would call them over to me and just say to him "I'm not comfortable with that level of physical contact right now". You don't need to accuse or justify. And you can say it in gentle, friendly way with a smile on your face. If he takes offence, that's his problem really. But this needs to be nipped in the bud.

If your instincts are wrong then so be it. It's better to err on the side of caution. I don't know any man who would be tickling children on his lap when it's only the second time he's met them. How can he be so ignorant of acceptable social boundaries hmm.

Schnullerbacke Mon 03-Oct-11 22:47:25

@ Fairenuff - it could be a cultural thing as it wouldnt looked bad upon if someone from my DH's culture did that.

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