Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Why would someone say stuff like this?(57 Posts)
I am after a sanity check here. My eldest Dd was dilly dallying this morning not brushing her teeth- lying on the ground basically chewing her toothbrush instead of at least making a start on them. I normally help her a bit but I was rushing about this morning getting myself ready to take them out to a party and my husband was getting them ready. She is 5. My husband was getting more and more irate with her, and then said something along the lines of ' well if you don't want to brush your teeth I'll take you to the dentist and have them all taken out' . I thought this was a horrendous thing to say to a child and I can barely look him in the eye now. He said it was heat of the moment and has apologised. I am struggling to let this go because I just wonder where this sort of unpleasant stuff even comes from. I don't think it would occur to me to say something like that to anyone let alone a 5 year old. Am I overreacting? He has apologised.... I almost feel like I don't know him. Ugh, I don't know. Be gentle please. :-(
We must be careful what we say to children, because their cognitive development at that age means they CAN ONLY take things literally.
As long as your H has realised his mistake, is a good enough Dad and will take care not to
mindlessly repeat his parent's stupid patterns say things like that again, onwards and upwards.
On the other thing? Lying on the floor chewing your TB is a very effective way of cleaning teeth! But really children at that age do not have the fine motor control to do dental hygiene properly, and to at least the age of 10 parents should be brushing their children's teeth (told me in all seriousness, by my dentist!).
Silly warnings are different from threats.
Does she scream or flinch when you touch her? Has she ever screamed murder when you handle her?
Or when anyone else does in front of you, including your OH?
My worry is that whatever happens is away from you.
And you have caught him lying about it.
I'm not saying leave now, but it must be understood that it is a possibility if you really want him to change, given what you have said so far.
I think you absolutely have to go with your instincts on this and great for having begun to work out how to deal with. A big back up for the understanding that a five year old can have different interpretations. My DS 5yo can have stroppy, stubborn moments. If he is in one of these then anything anyone does is wailed out by him "don't push me, that hurts". This is seriously in response to the lightest, lightest touch on his back....you know the hand on the back/shoulder barely touching the tshirt to gently herd/guide them to the front door. The lightness of touch you would be safe to use on a very frail old lady. The first time DS said it I actually looked around to see what/who else could actually be pushing him. It is his way of saying I am in a grump, please don't invade my space. I now try to respect his space if he is in a grump. But similarly ,if he needs gentle herding towards the front door on a school day then I will.
My childhood was full of silly warnings ... 'Don't pull a face because, if the wind changes, it'll stick'.... 'Don't swallow chewing gum or it'll wrap itself in knots round your guts'..... 'Don't swallow apple pips or you'll end up with an apple tree in your stomach'..... 'If you look at light-bulbs you'll go blind'.... Depends how it's said, really.
Oops sorry just seen more recent comment that you disagree with smacking, which I totally respect by the way.
Hope you sort things out with your DH and DD, I would try and talk things through with him calmly before asking him to leave though.
ExH did the clenched fist at me once. It was scary.
Imagine to a 3-5 year old and with an angry face.
Are you prepared to tell him to go? Because that might well be what it takes to make him take you seriously and change his attitude.
Can I ask if you smack your daughter also?
My 2 used to have the old smack until we didn't need to when they reached about the age of 7 or 8...they've grown into well adjusted older teenagers before anyone judges.
Thanks lweji. Smacking was on the arm. I completely get what you say about the kitten. That's it exactly. It's an unsettling glimpse into someone's inner self, underneath the veneer.
I will discuss parenting classes with him as pixie suggested. I can guess he will be very defensive. And I am also going to note down incidents as they happen so I can review things objectively. I absolutely don't think my daughter is lying. Not at all. But it could be a matter of interpretation. However the more incidents stack up, the less I believe him. The clenched fist thing was a particularly implausible explanation from him for example.
Also adding that the first time I really seriously considered divorcing exH was when he mistreated the kitten.
My reasoning was that if he mistreated the kitten, he was bad to the core.
He didn't harm DS, as far as I know, and he was a twat with me but it hadn't gone down to physical abuse yet.
The signs of a very nasty and dangerous person are there, IMO.
Fanta, it is not wrong of you not to tolerate this treatment of your daughter.
There are usually a few posters around who suffered abuse as children, and have reported before feeling angry with their mothers for allowing it.
It all sounds very wrong to me. But you always get dismissive posters, particularly over one incident.
It is not uncommon for threads to start as little things, with mostly dismissive posters, and turn out to be about very serious abuse.
You have had here people changing their opinion when you mentioned the other incidents.
You have been in a difficult position of having OH's word against your DD's.
In this case you have heard what he said, and he has admitted to smacking and you can start from there.
Was the smacking on the face?
I think you need to start believing your DD and let her know that she can tell you anything that happens. And reassure her that such threats are not real.
Most children worship their parents and wouldn't make lies like these, particularly to the other parent.
And I think you should put your foot down with your OH. This should be the very last time he makes such threats.
People were surprised about the smacking versus the threats, but emotional abuse can be worse than physical abuse. If your daughter believes he will carry out such outlandish threats, it is not good at all.
But the smacking, even if bottoms, can lead to more serious abuse if he is like this with her. And because he lies about it.
A responsible parent wouldn't lie about it.
I wouldn't trust him either.
Sh1ney - no I guess I don't let him parent as I see fit. And You are right that i don't trust him which must be difficult for him. This is because I feel he tells lies. And I don't want them to be smacked. Maybe it is wrong of me that I can't tolerate his differing style on this. But it is important to me, and we have discussed it and I thought we had agreed.
Lweji - it was a horrible incident. Really. Because I have to believe her. And I do believe her. Equally I can accept that 2 people can have a different view of the same incident. But she indicated he had held her round the front of her neck. And he denied it and said it was steering her shoulder. He called her a liar! A 3 year old. And as I say there are more than one occasion since of such 'misinterpretation'. Some more plausible than others. I must say I am surprised that so many other posters think the pulling out teeth comment is nothing to worry about it. Maybe i do need to chill out a bit. Dunno.
So, at 3 your DD said your OH held her by the throat?
It doesn't sound like something a 3 year old would make up, IMO.
Does she make up stories normally?
Because he has a history of lying.
And gaslighting, it seems.
I don't see a problem with steering a child. Blimey - I bloody frog march my youngest up to his bedroom when he's in trouble. I don't, however smack or shout but see nothin wrong with either per se... Depends doesn't it?
Op - you need to work out for yourself why you feel so on edge about this. It sounds to me like you don't trust him. I , for example , have a very different parenting style to my ex and he has our 6 year old every other weekend. I disagree with some of the things he does - and I'm quite sure this is reciprocated. However I trust him to deal with our son as he sees fit. I know he would never hit him or scream at him or swear at him and when he gets angry with him it's all very controlled and he's told off effectively. So I let him get on with it.
You seem unable to allow your husband to parent as he sees fit - so the deeper issue is why
Pixie frog that is very interesting and food for thought.i am going to tackle this. Well done for getting it sorted. Thanks so much.
I speak from experience re; the 'don't come back until you can take all this seriously' approach. My dh was grumpy, shouty and overly harsh with our DC and he would be very dismissive if I tried to address it. I cane on here a few months ago and was enlightened by some very lovely and wise posters. They pointed out that his behaviour was abusive at times, and that he would not change until he had something to lose I.e. us.
He had been promising to read a parenting book and seek help with anger management for years but never did anything. I spoke to him and told him to stay at his dm's until I could see that he was doing something proactive about altering his behaviour. I kept calm and reasonable through the initial conversation and didn't budge when he begged to stay.
It was upsetting and traumatic for a couple of weeks but he took me seriously. He found a therapist the next day and took a real interest in what I viewed as unacceptable behaviour. We are now really in tune with each other and work really well as a team when it comes to parenting.
It was hard work but so worth it. None of it would have changed if I hadn't asked him to leave for a while.
Sorry for epic post, I hope it's helpful in some way.x
I sometimes 'steer' mine via their shoulders and I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but then it's all about context again. I don't ever touch them in anger (no hitting, pushing, pulling, yanking etc.) so a steer is just that.
Have I read this right - he was 'steering' a 3-year-old to tidy up? Is it just me, or does that seem odd to anyone else?
I don't really know what to say, Fanta, except that you really do seem to doubt yourself over his parenting - that in itself is worrying. When you hear your partner hitting your child, and he then denies it, you're in a difficult situation. It's almost as though you need to discipline him when he disciplines DD
He gets extremely defensive at the suggestion something is amiss in his parenting style.
Oh, dear. Do you mean angry?
How would you feel about taking the hard line pixiefrog suggested?
Sorry- lweji. In between getting kids to bed. He is ok with me. I have a problem with him dismissing my feelings sometimes. He tends to lie under pressure - denying saying something unkind, say he said it in a different way etc. I am not sure I can believe him about things. Re the anger- he does not always make choices in parenting I see as appropriate. Too harsh words etc. this against a background where 99 % of the time he is loving and kind. there have been a few incidents where he has said he has done something which he has denied/ said she has misinterpreted. One which I posted under a different user name a coup,e if years ago where she said he had grabbed her by the neck/ he said he had only held her by the shoulder to steer her to tidying up. She said he had grabbed her wrist / he said he lightly held her wrist. She said he clenched his fist at her. He said he made a gesture which was open. It sounds so bad - even the fact that I am interrogating him says there s something wrong. There is a mistrust there from me - am I paranoid/ overreacting- I don't know. I am sorry to drip feed - the comment this morning seemed to me Unacceptable. He is an apparently kind and gentle person in the round. He gets extremely defensive at the suggestion something is amiss in his parenting style. I am firmly opposed to smacking / threat making etc and try very hard to deploy other strategies. He knows this. I feel very confused, and the comment he made this morning has served as a focus for that confusion.
I also withdraw my previous advice. Smacking is unacceptable in itself, and then to lie to you about it makes it a million times worse. I understand now why you are upset, you can't trust him as you don't know if your dd is safe around him, and if anything abusive does happen you may never know about it. I would be on edge most of the time if I were you op.
I know this may sound extreme, but I would really recommend talking to him about some parenting classes. If he belittles your concerns (and I expect him to tbh) ask him to go somewhere else and not come back until he is willing to address his parenting (and his penchant for lying to you). This may sound drastic, but until he has some real consequences to face he won't change a thing.
Fanta, you haven't answered about how he is with you.
And how angry does he get with DD, usually?
What an over reaction
Maybe she will brush her teeth next time ?
Unless he's abusive normally then it's no big deal - or indeed ANY deal
Sorry, OP, but now you've told us he smacks her when you're not in the room, that's a totally different ball game.
I withdraw my earlier 'let it go' comment and think you need to address his parenting style. That's part of a much wider discussion. Coupled with the fact he denies it to your face, I think there's a real issue here.
Can't your DD tell you whether she has been smacked or not?
Is he her father?
Of course I can Garlic. As I said I think it depends on his demeanour at the time and the tone he used.
Thank you garlic. Yes it does worry me. I think it has happened more than once but it is difficult to know when you question yourself. And when things are denied.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.