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Can someone from an emotionally distant parents be close with their kids?

(31 Posts)
vincettenoir Tue 17-Jun-14 20:24:53

My bf is from a very reserved middle class family. Parents were boarders and are emotionally distant. He calls them once every 3 weeks. They literally never call him and he sees them about 3 times a year. Maybe more some years but my bf or his brother always instigate the meet ups. Never his parents. They don't really open up or show emotion around each other. Bf opens up a lot more with me but he doesn't exactly wear his heart on his sleeve. He is a bloke afterall.

This has never sat well with me and I have sometimes wondered what this might mean for our family if we have one.

Anyway has anyone got experience of this? If someone is from a very emotionally closed family what does that mean for their family?

Eekaman Wed 18-Jun-14 00:09:56

Yes, it's entirely possible to be close to the kids.

My Mum died when I was a toddler, my Dad worked all hours (out of necessity) and was pretty straight laced from his upbringing. My brother, sister and I went to different boarding schools, all that sort of stuff. Used to only really see Dad in Summer and Christmas holidays.

So my DW and I had a boy, he's 12 this weekend. Even my sister said that at 18 months I'd spent more time playing with him than my Dad had spent with me in 18 years.

I knew that I had an opportunity to break the disfunctional parenting cycle. I knew about the crap caused by familys not being together and if I could do nothing else, I couldn't not show him unconditional affectionate parental love. I HAD to give him a warm, happy affectionate life, as I knew what the alternatives were.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 18-Jun-14 06:40:46

IME people either treat their parents as a 'great example' or a 'dire warning'. If he's capable of being affectionate with you, if he has a good circle of friends etc then he's probably going to go with the latter. Does he realise his parents are rather distant?

BertieBotts Wed 18-Jun-14 08:10:14

My DH has emotionally cold parents and doesn't think it's a huge problem but he's fine with DS. The only thingis sometimes he can be a bit dismissive or old school about things like small injuries, or if DS is upset because he's been told off or something, he's more likely to say tough get over it whereas I'll be more sympathetic/supportive. He's not cruel, and if there's a big issue he's often better than me as he's much calmer whereas I can panic and worry which sets DS off.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 18-Jun-14 11:27:53

It's rubbish isn't it Garlic. I find I am so busy sorting out the kids, and the house when I get in from work that not only do I not make the time to be physically affectionate with my own husband, it doesn't even occur to me. Then when I remember it feels forced and awkward. He reckons it is because I didn't see my own parents do it but I am much more relaxed and affectionate when I can stop stressing about the long list of stuff that needs doing when I get in.

Anyway - back to the OP. I'd be surprised if your DH is distant with his children, it's a learnt behaviour to some extent but there are things you can do to break the cycle. Ensuring he is a hands on parent for example, takes paternity leave and if you return to work, you share childcare emergencies together. Our parents generation had very traditional roles and it is very easy to be a distant parent when you haven't got the faintest idea what your child does from morning to nightfall, and your involvement in their schooling is limited to an annual report. Parents these days are expected to be much more involved.

One thing you do need to consider is that your own parents will probably be much more involved with any grandchildren you may have. You need to understand now that your DH's parents are unlikely to be turning up with lasagnes, offering to babysit and generally making themselves useful/doting on your child and getting in the way. You may well count yourself lucky when it comes to that point or you may also take it very personally that they are distant and seem disinterested in your PFB.

Ratbagcatbag Wed 18-Jun-14 21:31:33

Sorry, just came back to this, god know, I'm not close to parents, I'm completely NC with my dad. My dm is ok, but it's a very distant relationship.

Dh I hug, kiss, snuggle, everything and I'm very affectionate with dss and dd.

Ratbagcatbag Wed 18-Jun-14 21:32:57

Know = no. Sorry

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