Angry husbands non-relationship with my teenage son(31 Posts)
We met when my son was 3, and married when my son was 8. My husband is absolutely great - most of the time. When he and I are alone he's perfect, but when it comes to 'our' son he's very impatient and quick to anger. He's big on rules and discipline, like his own Dad was with him. DS is 16, and has been giving us problems, poor exam results, smoking, both weed and cigarettes, ...so I'm not under any illusions, but he is essentially a good kid, great fun and very bright, just not applying himself. My son and I are very alike in temperament, we don't like confrontation, aggression or dominant behaviour - all of which come to the fore in my husbands dealings with DS. DS responds to talking, discussion, understanding. I feel caught in the middle, DS certainly warrants boundaries and guidance, but its DHs delivery I can't stand...he's never physical but he gets so ANGRY, shouting and screaming...it really upsets both me and DS, to the point of tears from both of us. I cant talk to him about Ds without us arguing - he says I always defend DS, I say he always attacks. Its like its DHs way or no way, we find ourselves saying "We'll have to ask DH first" before we do things or make plans and now I'm reading this as I'm typing it it sounds a bit like bullying. I love DH but he's so .....strict. He has nothing in common with DS and they do nothing together, never have done, but DH didn't with his own Dad - who he loves dearly by the way. In a low moment DS told me he hates DH and doesn't want to be in the same house. DS biological Dad is on the scene but with a family of his own. Feels like its me and DS against DH and I'm getting worried for my relationship with DH. DH has a history of depression and is on anti depressants which really do the job, but DS is now saying he's depressed too and wants to see a doctor......I'm so trapped in the middle!
No brainer for me. Get shot of h who patently cannot abide your ds. Poor kid. Your h will soon start intimating that your ds should leave home you'll see. Then what will you do? Sorry op but you're being a poor parent not prioritising your son's wellbeing.
sorry to say, after 13 years H & DS sound like they're never going to get on, so in the middle is where you will stay. Tbh if it was me it wouldn't of even progressed into marriage. I've had a step dad since I was 2, although he was & still is always stricter than my mum, they were still a team. I think if that had not been the case my mum would of got rid of him.
Your DH learned his parenting skills from his dad - do you want your DS to learn his future parenting skills from your DH?
Have you told your dh how you feel?
Really REALLY told him, spelled it out, spelled it out how damaging this is for your son? How stressed and anxious he makes YOU feel when he attacks your son? How your son needs support and understanding not orders barked at him?
If you has and he doesn't get it, can't change, won't change, doesn't see the problem then walk away.
My dh used to be much more 'my way or the highway' but he's really got it now that the boys need some leeway, they are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes they will act out and not tow the line and he's relaxed an awful lot and says he's glad he's calmer and listens to them as he has a better relationship with them. (Also my dh has always done tons of activities with them from golf, to homework, to leader of their scouts groups,so that has never been an issue.)
If you know in your heart of hearts that he can't or won't change, that you've never been able to get through to him please leave him and let your son be free of his tyranny. If you don't your son will feel you didn't do enough to protect him and it will damage your relationship with him.
Does your h consider himself to be your son's father?
Does your son consider h to be his father?
Another year or so and your son will be away from this aggressive, confrontational man who scream and shouts at him until he is reduced to tears and who he has to double check before he is allowed to do anything normal.
You won't be in the middle then as your son will see you as little as possible while you stay with this man.
as I'm typing it it sounds a bit like bullying
It doesn't sound 'a bit' like bullying; it very much sounds as if your h is a verbally and emotionally abusive bully and aggressive arsehole of the first water.
As your ds has been forced to live with this hateful man for far too long, it's no wonder he "has been giving us problems" in his teenage years. Did you seriously believe that your reasonsable and rationally minded ds would turn into a yes sir, how high sir, replica of yourself and be happy to tread on eggshells for fear of upsetting the angry god that rules both of your lives?
You say you love your h. Could you please list 3 reasons why you're enamoured of a man who can only be civil when your ds is not around?
I wouldn't be trapped in the "middle" - Id be at my child's side and get shot of this hard, angry, unbending, miserable man who has blighted your son's childhood and has now caused him to be depressed at a young age. There was no way he wasn't going to have a rebellious phase, was there? 13 years of this - right through his formative years. Its horrible
Its up to you OP but your son is 16 - he will leave home as soon as he is able to, and you will barely see him, if at all. If I were your son Id be gone like a shot at 18 and never look back, get as far away as possible.
Reading your post Im not sure what you want to happen. Perhaps for your husband to change? Why would he, if he can sustain treating a child like that longterm, you've not managed to get through to him on this for years, and I assume you didn't just get up and write this post one day, you were driven to it by your situation and his attitude?
You can't teach a grown man to suck eggs. The will to change has to come from within and if your husband wished to change and be reasonable, then he already would have. The result of expecting and waiting on him to change is this - a very unhappy child.
How his own father treated him is a reason by the way, but NOT an excuse. Your son is not here to atone for his life.
I think you know the right thing to do here. But thats not necessarily going to be what you want to do. Either way..it will resolve itself soon because your son will go. So maybe now is the time to think deeper about whats truly going on here, perhaps try to imagine say 5 years time how things will be, what type of "family life" you will have. & be very honest to yourself about it
My ex behaved like this with my dcs. As PP said, he suggested that they should toe the line or leave home. It took me too long to recognise it as jealousy and bullying in the midst of teen hormones and stresses. There were apologies and excuses and then, inevitably, repetitions and escalations. I tiptoed on eggshells - increasingly anxious when they didn't. I kicked him out the day I saw how he set an argument up from scratch.
My home is now far more relaxed. My kids are chatty and open. They still live at home despite being at an age when they could leave. I enjoy their company. Funnily enough, no-one else describes them as difficult or aggressive!
Does anyone out there recommend mediation? Family therapy? The 3 of us went on a great holiday last year and got on like a house on fire away from school and work pressures; it seems DHs issues stem from his all consuming desire for DS to do well at school. It hasn't always been this way, he was really great with DS up to about GCSE age...he's done alot of good parenting through the years, but it just seems that this teenage period is a time of constant conflict.
Firstly the "you always do this" has to stop from both of you. It won't help matters as you will both feel aggrieved, you obviously do share good moments too. Yes family counselling could be a good idea but only if DH is open to accepting that aggression is never the answer. If he is going to continue being aggressive then you have no future and a PP is right to say it will just be biding time until DS leaves home and won't feel comfortable coming back.
I'm astonished you married this man and have turned a blind eye for so long.
He does not like or care about your son. He's an angry, aggressive bully. No doubt DS's issues stem from this.
I don't think it's fair to put your son through mediation/therapy when it's DH with the problem. By all means go to therapy to confront issue with DH just the two ofyou, but don't expect anything to change.
At this point, either step up and leave your husband, or let your son go and live with his father.
Btw how well your son does at school is not actually DH's business, he's not his son. That is just enough an excuse to justify his bullying and aggression.
Ok I'm going to take you at face value on your last post.
If you genuinely feel he's been a good, loving father figure, and that he's finding it stressful and hard to adjust to the teenage years, I ask you again - have you properly talked to him? Asked him to make urgent changes ? Make him see how this is pushing your son away and filing you with unhappiness and anxiety?
I find it strange and sad that you are worrying about your relationship with your DH, instead of how to protect your son from his constant bullying.
He is a bully. He reduces your 16 year old son to tears and you both have to ask his permission first on things.
Regardless if you had a nice holiday I bet your son was on egg shells not to upset him.
That's really toxic and abusive. I would have been gone ages ago and I did! but I don't think you would make that leap would you?
How can you even like a man that screams and shouts at your child?
Sounds like some kind of mediation is needed.
Youve said your DS is smoking weed and has poor exam results yet is very bright, it could be that your DH is just very frustrated at what looks like your DS throwing away his best opportunity to be successful - you can still do it with bad exam results but its so much harder.
You can't mediate with bullies.
I'd probably smoke weed if I lived with this guy and I don't even like it.
Is he a bully or is he just frustrated and needs to be shown other ways of dealing with it? All Ive seen from the OP is that he is strict with a child around the subject of school, and that they ask him before they make decisions. Unless theres a whole extra backstory, that doesnt add up to "leave this abusive person right now!" to me.
Ive seen other posters on Mumsnet say things like "I was just so frustrated with my child I screamed and shouted at them, I coulndt help it" and the response hasnt been "OMG you abusive bully!", its been "sometimes that happens when you get frustrated but you need to learn a better way of dealing with it".
And you really can't differentiate between a one off shout at a naughty child and this:
he's never physical but he gets so ANGRY, shouting and screaming...it really upsets both me and DS, to the point of tears from both of us. I cant talk to him about Ds without us arguing - he says I always defend DS, I say he always attacks. Its like its DHs way or no way, we find ourselves saying "We'll have to ask DH first" before we do things or make plans and now I'm reading this as I'm typing it it sounds a bit like bullying
They have also said "My son and I are very alike in temperament, we don't like confrontation, aggression or dominant behaviour", I wonder whether they reach the point of being brought to tears quite quickly? I have a friend who will actually really sob with tears in shock at being startled by things like loud fireworks for example.
Of course, he could alternatively be an awful shouty abusive person, only the OP can say whether or not this is the case, I just dont think its a clear "100% LTB!" based only on whats been said so far.
I'd make plans to live separately with you and your son - I'd not have let me child grow up with a man who clearly cannot stand or be arsed with him - in fact the angry outbursts will be harming your son and probably already have.
Sorry no point in talking to a man like this, he will never admit he is in the wrong so I'd not even waste my time going down that route. I'd be planning two separate homes tbh.
Mediation is for adults and is never recommended when one of the parties is abusive. Unless you can afford to pay for family therapy and get the urgent intervention you need NOW, NHS waiting lists are such that you may not be assessed or offered sessions until your ds is an adult.
What I can't understand is why you don't intervene before your h reduces your ds to tears? Your dislike of confrontation is not an excuse to stand idly by while your h shouts and screams at him. What do you think will happen if you tell your h to shut the fuck up the next time he's about to go off on one?
If I had a stepfather shouting at me to do x y or z while my dm allowed him to vent his bad temper on me, I'd seethe with resentment and I'd go out of my way not to comply so I'm not surprised that your 'bright' ds has not done well in his exams and has taken to smoking weed and fags.
Your ds has told you he's feeling depressed and if his home environment doesn't improve soon he may begin to feel so alienated that he's drawn to the wrong crowd and could get up to far worse than what has hitherto been fairly common teenage behaviour.
I suggest you invest in this book www.amazon.co.uk/How-Talk-Teens-Will-Listen/dp/1853408573/ref=pd_sim_14_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=51FTv5UA1CL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR104%2C160_&refRID=1RFHKSYN68MHQBT9NPJC and tell your h that if he's not willing to study it and practise the recommended techniques when talking to your ds, he can butt out and leave you to steer your dc along the sometimes rocky road of the late teen years. .
Despite your protestations of your h having been a 'great dad', I'm inclined to believe that he's always been an out and out bad tempered bully and that the reason he's taken to screaming and shouting at your ds is because he's no longer the biddable child he once was.
With reference to In a low moment DS told me he hates DH and doesn't want to be in the same house, your ds has confided his innermost feelings to you and you are best advised not to dismiss them as being something he expressed to you when was feeling 'low' because his is how your ds feels ALL THE TIME and, even if you can't, I can imagine the feelings of dread he has at having to return time and again to a home in which he's become the whipping boy for your h's foul temper. No wonder he's depressed; he has good reason to be but the same can't be said for your h.
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