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How does your DH respond to the Kids when he gets home from work?

(55 Posts)
dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 13:32:29

I am a SAHM With five month baby twins and a 30 mth DS. When my DH gets home from work, he doesn't really acknowledge the DC. It doesn't matter too much with the twins because they are still very small, but it's very disconcerting when my DS looks up with joy and my DH sails past him and flings his keys in the pot and then starts chatting to me. He only acknowledges my DS when I actively tell him to, i.e. "say hello to DS, look at him as u do it " I only prompt him because poor DS is looking at him with such expectationhmm
Once we had a blazing row because he was in a bad mood and objected to me prompting him. He said that I was in a foul mood and taking it out on him. I wasn't! I was merely asking him to notice his own son!i do think he has empathy issues. He loves the DC but only on his terms. He's very much a children should be seen and not heard type of guy. My sister has observed our relationship and thinks that he views the kids as very much secondary to me. I find this off elaborate he doesn't put me on a pedestal by any means, more as a surrogate mum at times...(!)
He is quite needy-I do nag at him to take out DS in the weekends (eg to parks, national trust etc.) but he'd rather we 'all go together' which is a nice thought but really impractical with baby twins and poor DS gets sidelined as the twins are quite demanding when out...and if i suggest taking out DS on my own for 1 to 1 time, he says the same thing - "let's all go out"...

not sure why I'm posting, just getting it off my chest, I suppose...

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 02-Aug-13 14:43:34

Your poor DC! When DH gets home here (and he's not always in time for bedtime), it's all smiles, 'daddy's home' excitement, DD runs to the door, shows him her latest Duplo tower etc. He often doesn't get a chance to get a drink or snack or change out of his cycling gear before he's engrossed in toddler toys for half an hour - which in turn gives me a bit of a breather and I usually make us both a cuppa.

Anyway, that's just us. The thing that would upset me in yoour situation though isn't the lack of loads of playing - it's the lack of any kind of acknowledgement. Everyone gets stressed and there may well be days when DH gets home and for whatever reason has to be straight back on the laptop. However, he'd always have a cuddle and 10 mins chat for DD after a cheery hello/have you had a nice day? I'd actually find it pretty hard for anyone to ignore a smiling, chatty toddler who was so pleased to see me.

Are you going to speak to him again about it?

slipperySlip000 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:02:32

Have a very close friend whose dh is truly involved with the kids (envious, much?) I would see how he would return home from high powered/v stressful job and immediately immerse himself in his children/wife. My heart used to ache because that never happened in my house. There is something significant about how a DP acts on return home. Certainly not saying it should 100% of course, cos life ain't like that, but it needs getting to the bottom of. Whatever is underneath this failure to greet ds directly could manifest itself in other ways. May already be doing so.

dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 15:24:48

How long does he take to address DS before being prompted?varies between 5mins (after saying hello to me and commenting on his day)or he doesn't get round to it.
He takes DS out once a week to sainsburys. He might take him out to the local park (5 mins away) if I ask him too. Tries to get me to come along with twins and i do try, depending on the feeds, etc.
We are trying to go out more but i think DS really needs 1 on 1 time as he is stuck with screaming babies all week.
DS adores his dad, he really does but DH has set their relationship up so that DS has little expectation. DH tends to plonk DS in front of peppa pig while he plays with his iPhone. I nag him to play with DS and he does reluctantly but he's not a natural and doesn't engage so invariably DS runs off. So he shrugs and back to the iPhone. It is interesting that DS holds back when DH comes through the door. He never hurls himself at DH. Also-this really annoys me-DS always wants to play horsie on my legs (even during bfing) or my mums legs (she's 70) which is fine by us but DH claims he can't do horsie as his legs don't work that way. WTF?poor DS has given up!He does say goodbye in the morning but rarely hello on his return. Maybe it's a control thing..

dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 15:28:23

Oh, he had a pretty dysfunctional upbringing, he told me his DM and DSF used to tell him to piss off out the house when he'd been naughty, no grounded for him!they just wanted him out the house!

imnotmymum Fri 02-Aug-13 15:32:47

My DH is bombarded when he gets home and walks in the kitchen (3 DD and 1 DS) which he listens to straight away and then goes for a shower we have a quick kiss then when he back down they have dispersed and we have a hug and I bombard him
Is nice to go out together though I would hate to be told to take kids on my own. We did not have twins but 4 in 5 years so know it tricky

YouStayClassySanDiego Fri 02-Aug-13 15:42:01

Do you think he might benefit from a parenting class on how to play with your ds?

I know that he may flinch at the suggestion but some people have no idea how to interact and actually play with their dc's, do you think he falls into that category?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 02-Aug-13 15:43:21

It's not just DS who misses out is it, it'll be the twins too and of course you are then left to cope with the infants 24/7.

slipperySlip000 Fri 02-Aug-13 16:00:11

exactly, Donkeys

Scrounger Fri 02-Aug-13 16:01:41

DH gets mobbed when he gets home, I have 3 yo twins and a 6 yo boy. He talks to them about their day, changes and then pitches in with everything.

I sympathise with you have 3 really small children at home, that is really hard work and your DS does need someone to spend 1 - 1 time with him. We all went out at the weekend at that age, walks in parks etc, would that be difficult to do if you worked it around nap / feed times? How about a kick around with a ball in the park. Does he wrestle with him at all? It doesn't sound as though he knows what he should be doing as his parents didn't play with him.

I know DH used to take a deep breath before coming into the house, he comes straight from an intense job into mayhem. Would 5 mins in the car outside winding down before he came in help at all?

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Fri 02-Aug-13 16:14:58

Don'tputme - just picking up on your comments about upbringing.

I read a book recently which explained where people have had upsetting experiences in childhood, they suppress/repress their feelings and then in adulthood repeat it to their own kids, because in order to be different they would have to acknowledge the upset they felt as children, but the repression is so entrenched this is difficult.

Is it you who describes his upbringing as dysfunctional or does he think it was?

If it were me I would no longer encourage your son to go to him but for you to try to do something nice with your son over home coming time so he doesn't have to experience the disappointment.

dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 16:27:04

Thanks for all the replies-certainly food for thought and I'll try harder to get through to DH.I had given up but i now i know i need to give him another kick.I think the best way is to have a chat with DH and tell him to come in, sweep DS up in his arms and say hello and then he's done. By being prescriptive and quite physical it might drill the message home. The playing with DS is not going to change overnight but I can make a start with his homecoming. It just seems crazy that this isn't instinctual sad
He doesn't really talk to DS that much either, he'll always talk to me over DS and when I ignore him to talk to DS, he gets miffedangry

BerthaTheBogCleaner Fri 02-Aug-13 16:30:27

When he comes in and "starts chatting" to you - is he talking about his day, and offloading on you, or is he asking you about yours? Or both? What I am getting at is are the adults more important (no point talking to children) or is he more important than anyone else (no point talking to ds as ds wants him to listen).

Actually I've just read the bit about his childhood. My childhood left a lot to be desired, and the bit that makes me most cross is that I don't have the right instincts about how to behave towards my children. It has all had to be learnt. And when I'm tired, I have to remember what I'm supposed to do, because it doesn't come naturally. But your dh would have to start by acknowledging that what he does now (ignoring ds) isn't right. Then he can work on changing.

To the idea that the person who has been at work deserves a bit of downtime when s/he gets in - that's nice in an ideal world, but not when the sahp has been alone with 3-under-3 all day. The person who deserves the downtime ASAP is the sahp!

In answer to the OP - my children leap on dh when he comes in the door. Dh hears whatever they're bursting to tell him before he gets to me and asks me how I'm doing. Then we talk about him! Then he does bath&bed-time while I collapse in a heap.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Fri 02-Aug-13 16:32:51


Sad that it isn't instinctive for him, but not unusual.

You may be able to find some things they could do together that are a bit structured. Playing a board game maybe. Or going outside and watering all the plants. Something shortish but defined.

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Fri 02-Aug-13 16:33:02

Op - if you haven't reached him yet, accept you may not be able to, you might be better keeping your ds away from the hurtful behaviour. You can work on your DH separately but your priority really should be to stop your ds getting more hurt than he needs.

This lacks interest will be very crushing to a small child.

dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 16:40:10

Bees-He would never refer to his childhood as being dysfunctional. even though his sister told me it was. He scoffed when I told him what she said and he said she's making it up!He definitely does repress stuff. Some of his anecdotes sound awful, ie stepfather kicking sister out at 15, both parents suffering from depression (which he has denied despite both of his sisters telling me) DSF's verbal rages. DH doesn't know the story why his parents split up and he told me he had no interest in knowing and got really defensive when I asked why wasn't he interested in knowing...They seemed like a nice family, lovely house and garden, holidays but it doesn't sound that he had a particularly happy childhood....I doubt he's ready for counselling because when we had some relate counselling years ago, he effectively retold bits of his upbringing. Ie told the counsellor his sister left at 15 amicably but the truth was that DSF chucked her out sad

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Fri 02-Aug-13 16:51:26

Hmm, all i can really say is oh dear sad

People can change but only when they themselves want to and see a need to.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Fri 02-Aug-13 16:53:04

Before I read your DH's childhood, I thought that perhaps he was one of those men (and I'm sure there are plenty of women too) who just don't get small children. Don't see them as humans or people because they are not recognizable to them as such - they're more like creatures on another level, needing feeding and diapering, not knowing how to converse, no intellectual or emotional independence etc. Perhaps he will become better once your children are older?

Having now read about his background, I'm still not sure whether his own childhood is at the root of this. If anything, it's that he might feel the need for your attention more now, given he treats you like a surrogate mother (!), and doesn't mind "trampling" over DS to get it. Does that resonate?

Some people are just crap with children, that's all. Yes the child might end up feeling remote from his father, but assuming he fulfills other fatherly and husbandly duties (providing, supporting you, available when they need him as they grow up etc), I think there are worse crimes in the world.

I know we all want our own image of the paradigm parent for our kids, but unfortunately they get lumbered with the parents we choose for them!

YouStayClassySanDiego Fri 02-Aug-13 16:57:41

You don't need to be told that he will have a strained, distant relationship with his dc's unless he recognises how he is acting, however he does need to face up to it and do something.

Will he not even just sit and play with ds with lego , playdough or a jigsaw, it doesn't have to be too structured, it's the physical closeness and interaction he must work on.

DialsMavis Fri 02-Aug-13 16:59:28

When DP or I get in from work we always greet each other first, then the D! But obviously we talk to the DC and give them hugs and kisses.... But each other first

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Fri 02-Aug-13 17:00:39

Yes, but those who 'don't get' children are most likely the children of parents who 'didn't get' them.

Feeling remote from your parents is a huge thing.

Twinklestein Fri 02-Aug-13 17:06:00

OP you say that your H is a bit 'needy' and you feel like a 'surrogate mum' at times. Do you think he could be one of those guys who feels competitive with the kids for your attention? So the blanking could be part of that.

Alternatively, given his childhood, he may just not know how to build a relationship with his children, feels uncomfortable, so avoids it.

dontputmeinanoldcot Fri 02-Aug-13 17:10:58

He will sit and play with the toy garage but DS does get bored with it and runs off after 5mins. For DH that's game over, job done. He doesn't really chat to DS over play. Which is frustrating because DS has speech delay.
TheSun-I do think he treats me as his mum sometimes and gets frustrated if I'm preoccupied with the children. He has strange expectations, ie say if he makes lunch and gets everything ready, he wants me to serve it up to him-drives me up the wall.
Sorry for the impromptu psychoanalysing of DH but my family are going to the country for a week (DM,DSis,DNs) where my mum lives. They've offered to take DS for a jolly holiday to give me a break and to give DS a lovely holiday!DS loves my DNs and my DSis so I know he will be in safe and loving hands. DH is being a little obstructive about it. He thinks he's too little to be away for so long and I do share the concern. But he will have a great time rather than being stuck indoors with two screaming babies. DH has reluctantly agreed but on the condition that he drives DS on his own to my mum's house. He wants it to be a special time and that they'll stop off for a lovely lunch. So it feels that he only steps up when he wants to. My family think its a control issue..

slipperySlip000 Fri 02-Aug-13 17:12:32


I read a book recently which explained where people have had upsetting experiences in childhood, they suppress/repress their feelings and then in adulthood repeat it to their own kids, because in order to be different they would have to acknowledge the upset they felt as children, but the repression is so entrenched this is difficult.

is so true. I wished I had posted what the OP has posted ten years ago, I might have gained some much-needed insight to the tragectory of stbxh's parenting and therefore our marriage. Good on you, OP, and good luck talking to your DH.

Twinklestein Fri 02-Aug-13 17:43:56

If he's treating you as his mum, then he may be reacting to your children as siblings - complete with sibling rivalry for mum's attention.

If your family think it's a control issue then he may be controlling the family environment so that he is the favourite 'son'.

When you're 'preoccupied with the children' he may be resentful of them which would be why he gets 'frustrated'.

Either way, it sounds like his relationship with his kids is only on his terms which is not really what parenting is about.

Driving your son to your mum's shows he can do it, but only when he feels like it. If he wants 'special time' with your son in this case - can't he do that more regularly?

Ezio Fri 02-Aug-13 19:17:14

My ex would come in, drop his bag, grab DD and sit down for hug with her.

My BIL, comes in, grabs one of the kids and kisses them and then grabs the other for a kiss, and will have a chat to both kids, despite being only 5 and 3. My BIL, aint a perfect man, but he takes great pride in the family he has with my sister.

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