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.
DD has hit DH(144 Posts)
DD is 9 and whilst being a sweet and caring kid, she's developing a pretty volatile temper. She gets frustrated and impatient easily, hates being in trouble and doesn't handle it well. Her temper recently is more explosive. Last night, she tried to take a bit out of DH's food - he was ravenous, she had eaten already, she'd asked, he said no and she still tried to take a bite. I think she assumed he'd laugh it off but he exploded. She was hurt and rushed out of the room. On returning my he called her a 'prat', several times, she responded that she wasn't a prat and I could see her temper rising. He said it again and she snapped, stormed over to him and thumped him as hard as she could in the small of his back, then legged it.
I felt pretty useless in the whole sorry situation - I could see it escalating and felt powerless to help. I got her upstairs into bedtime mode and when she calmed (albeit not much) I calmly told her that what she had done was totally unacceptable and that I would be thinking of a consequence ASAP. She went to bed angrily. DH is hurt and upset, but I really, really resent the way he calls her a prat. He also says things like "you're a nasty girl" repeated ad infinitum when they've had a ding-dong and I have asked him time and time again to not do this.
I feel that DH is partly to blame for provoking here somewhat. I'm far from perfect, but I try and avoid escalating any situation with DD whilst he seems to have to goad her. I foresee a terrible relationship between them in her teens if things continue as they are.
She adores his company at times - they share the same interests - cycling, gardening and it's as if she cannot handle any disapproval from him.
How do I handle this situation - I've barely slept and I don't want this to be a pattern we fall into. DH has been known to accuse me of taking sides and always backing DD up, but when he calls here these names, he's making it virtually impossible for me not to support her.
She shouldn't have tried to take his food after being told no. He responded badly but she shouldn't have hit him. Her temper seems to be as bad as his. Family meeting?
WTF? A grown man calls a 9 year old girl a 'prat' and a 'nasty girl' and you're worried about the 9 year old's behaviour? What sort of adult 'explodes' when a child eats their food? Your DH needs to sort himself out, fast. Your DD is angry and hitting because she has a nasty father who treats her like shit.
Two issues that I can see here. 1. Your DH is behaving like a twat not a parent and 2. She has likely got some anxiety issues.
Have you read a book called 'the explosive child' by Ross W Greene. Helped so much with my DD1. Worst thing you can do with an anxious child is call her names like 'nasty' and 'prat'.
Have to say that while her behaviour was unacceptable and she needs to listen (ie no means no), i would expect the adult in the scenario ie your dh, to behave, well, like an adult!
Name calling? Really? A grown man against a 9 year old girl? He needs to get a hold of himself.
I feel sorry for you dealing with this.
He tells her repeatedly that she's a nasty girl? How incredibly sad and hurtful. No she shouldn't have hit him but she is a child and he is an adult and I agree that he was goading her. Your DH needs to modify his language towards her otherwise she may just decide as she already been written off as a nasty girl she may as well go to town with the label.
Have you asked him why he thinks calling her horrible names like that is ok and what he thinks the consequences of that will be for dd and his relationship with her? I'm not sure I would have been focusing on consequences for her in that situation, I'd have been explaining that I understood what led to her hitting him and that it was completely unacceptable what he said but that she needed to realise that she couldn't respond in that way - hitting people is not ok. I'd have given her a big cuddle and a kiss.
Agree with PP your DH's behaviour would cause me greater concern, he's setting her a terrible example who calls a 9 yr old a prat and tells them that their nasty? His behaviour is the biggest clue as to where your DD's difficulties lie.
Yes she has some issues and no she should not be hitting but it's quite clear to see her dad is not helping at all.
He calls his daughter a prat repeatedly? Concentrate on sorting the oh out first.
What do you mean by 'he exploded. She was hurt and rushed out of the room'? Was he shouting?
If you tell a child they're nasty enough, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. She hit him and of course that was wrong but hey, in her eyes she is just being the nasty girl he has made her believe she is. Awesomely bad parenting.
Doesn't your DH know that you're supposed to criticise the behaviour not the person.
Tell your DH that if he wants his DD to have happy memories of him when she's grown up he needs to stop name-calling because that is what she'll remember. It's incredibly sad for her too as she'll grow up with an inferiority complex and an anxiety problem which she sounds like she's developing already.
The change in behaviour needs to come from your dh. I would expect my own 9yr-old to behave better than he did.
Interesting too that "nasty" and "pratt" are words that would describe your dh perfectly in this scenario, yet those are the ones that he aims at your dd.
I would speak to dd about not hitting people, but it's your dh who needs to seriously re-think his own behaviour and attitude.
He is verbally abusive and pushed her until she reacted. Don't allow this to happen, it's your job to protect your child from this kind of crap. Tell him not to make a fuss in 10 years when she is dating a nasty bully that calls her an idiot.
Why is your DH behaving like this? Of course your DD. was wrong to take the food off his plate, but why didn't he adress this directly and calmly? It would have been very easy to say "I told you not to take my food, you did it anyway, therefore consequence X". He can do this with a neutral tone of voice and not make a bigger deal of the one incident than is necessary.
I slapped my mother hard across the face when I was 7 - after she'd come out to where I was playing with my friends ranting and screeching at me because the white hand towel from the bathroom was mucky so it must have been me not washing my hands properly and I was embarrasing and showing her up - when I said it could have been one of my sisters she slapped me so instinctively I slapped her back... I just didn't know what else to do I guess.
I've never slapped anyone since btw so it probably won't set a precedent. My mum never apologised (nor did she when she threw steak knives at me a few years later) so I didn't either - it was all "forgotten" and never referred to.
You can't in any conscience apply sanctions to your dd and make her apologise unless your DH also apologises to her for "exploding" and calling her a prat.
Anyone can snap (verbally) at a child occassionally for being extra annoying or pushing the boundaries. .. but you apologise afterwards as an introduction to talking about what you both need to do differently.
If your DH insists on being a child in the situation your dd needs to know you have her back and won't punish her and back her father unconditionally even though he is in the wrong and behaving like a difficult sibling not a parent. Sounds as if it was "6 of one and half a dozen of the other" but your DH had all the power and no sense of responsibility to go with it.
Calling her names after she came back into the room was absolutely AWFUL. How was she meant to respond? She can't retaliate as an adult on an equal level.
He is bullying her.
So she hit out, because he left her nowhere else to go! He wouldn't let it drop. This was his fault.
Also, who is so starving they can't spare a bloody chip for their kid who wants to try a bite?!
I would say parenting lessons would be a good idea but I guess he would never consider them. I feel sorry for your DD.
Is name calling acceptable behaviour in your home? You need to tell your DH that he is supposed to be a grown up and it doesn't matter if DD provokes him name calling is not acceptable.
Also is stealing a bite of something usually laughed off? Would your DH usually treat it as ok? because children can find that kind of inconsistency very hard to read. I've had to point this out to myDH before now and my Dad was very inconsistent so it's something I'm aware off.
I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to have to live with a man like this, and no power to leave and no reserves of an adult.
Your DD is already displaying a pretty worrying level of anxiety.
Are you happy putting up with the cause of it?
The fact that you felt helpless to intervene tells you a lot about the power dynamic in your house. Why are you the one thinking of a suitable sanction? Why are you the one unable to sleep as a result of a situation you couldn't work out how to defuse?
It sounds very unhealthy for all of you but especially for your 9-year-old.
I think your husband sounds hideous. Most fathers would give their child the last crumb they had if they wanted it. Most would laugh at the situation you describes. Instead, he gets aggressive, shouts, calls her horrible names.
He got what he deserved frankly. He's a grown man who has a lot of growing up to do.
If I were you I wouldn't allow him to be alone with her.
Join the discussion
Please login first.