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DH 'falls out' with Our toddler and generally childish with her. How to approach?

(100 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Tiskettasket67 Sun 15-May-16 19:03:02

Have NC. My DH is mainly wonderful but does have a childish streak. For instance, we can't play board games or quizzes etc because if he loses he gets incredibly sulky and sucks the fun out of anything or if we go somewhere for a social that he doesn't want to be at he will be very rude and ignore people, not engage, make everyone uncomfortable and I'll feel so awkward we leave.
Anyway, with our DD Who is three, he adores her, spoils her rotten and is a really good dad. Except for when he isn't. He will get in a sulk with her and be quite unkind and it breaks my heart to have to stick up for my three year old!
So the other night she woke up, he went to her, she said she didn't wNt him she wanted me so he shouted at her to 'shut up' and stormed off leaving her crying (I was in my way to her by that point) then the following morning she woke up and he went to get her. She said something to the effect of I want mummy not you. To which he said fine I don't want you then, shut her door, passed me in the corridor and said to me 'she's being a twat' (she did not hear that). I went to her and got ready etc but he wouldn't talkto her even when she tried, he ignored her and when she was saying 'daddy's grumpy. Why's daddy grumpy? I can make him happy?' I wanted to die inside because why should she have to worry about how he feels if he is sulking and being unkind. Concerned she's going to end up with some awful esteem issues and think everyone's emotions are her responsibility. Frequently when he sulks at her and she says that I just say, 'don't worry, daddy's fine. Nothing to worry about.' And another time they were playing and he wound her up teasing her and wrongfully, she hit him. But instead of telling her off he pushed her away and said 'I'm not playing anymore if you're going to be horrible'. And then ignored her all afternoon and I had to stick up for her again saying that he shouldn't have wound her up, shouldn't have pushed her away etc etc. when I bring it up with him he then freezes me out too and gets mardy with me and we all have a shit day. Another example is if she misbehaves or something whilst they are playing together he will throw whatever they are playing with across the room and say 'right I'm not playing anymore'. I mean, what a knob, how can I bring this up? I explain she is only three and that this isn't fair on her. He is just too hard on her. And whilst I don't want to belittle him in front of her or seem that we are divided, I cannot condone how he behaves when sulking and she is my priority. He works in child development and I am so surprised he doesn't seem to see how this childish behaviour could be affecting her. She is becoming really attuned to people's emotions and I don't want her to think him being a grumpy twat is her fault.

YoureSoSlyButSoAmI Sun 15-May-16 19:06:17

He's not a good dad. Your poor DD.

PhilPhilConnors Sun 15-May-16 19:07:14

If he works in child development, surely he knows that she will learn from his behaviour?
I don't know how you approach it, but he seriously needs to grow up.

Goingtobeawesome Sun 15-May-16 19:11:14

I'm not sure I could look at him again never mind let him live with me and enjoy my child without strong words and a final warning. sadangry.

LilaTheTiger Sun 15-May-16 19:12:48

He works in child development?! What as, the cleaner?

He needs a serious talking to and parenting classes at minimum.

Your poor DD sad

ImperialBlether Sun 15-May-16 19:13:33

At his best he spoils her and that's wrong, too. Name calling and pushing and wanting to beat a little girl at a game - he's really immature, isn't he?

ImperialBlether Sun 15-May-16 19:14:33

I missed that - he works in child development?!

YoureSoSlyButSoAmI Sun 15-May-16 19:14:55

Totally agree with Going.

In fact I'm not sure I could ever feel the same about him again even if he changed his ways. Someone who needed to be told not to be childish and unkind towards a 3 year old wouldn't interest me at all.

JonSnowsBeardClippings Sun 15-May-16 19:15:02

He's emotionally abusing her! You have correctly identified the risks to her emotional development. Strong fucking words are needed.

ricketytickety Sun 15-May-16 19:16:52

You can't change him. He will only do that if it benefits him.

And you cannot protect her despite all your attempts to lighten the mood because he is obviously being unkind to her. Ignoring a child must be up there with one of the most damaging things you can do to their esteem. Instead of pretending it is all ok, just say to her 'Daddy is behaving in a very unkind way and it is not your fault.' Don't cover for him. She needs to know you can see what is happening so she can trust you to help her when he's being cruel. Otherwise you are teaching her that her feelings come second to his. Also you are telling him it's ok to do this to her.

Tell him straight what he is doing is unkind and damaging her psyche. It probably won't have any affect, but at least he will know that you do not agree with his punishment of her. Pull him up on it every single time.

The fact he works in child development suggests he knows exactly what he is doing.

What will you do when you tell him you want it to stop and he refuses or promises to change but it continues/he does something else that is unkind?

BabyGanoush Sun 15-May-16 19:23:14

He has you trained already, now he's training her into submission.

LuluJakey1 Sun 15-May-16 19:28:31

You will never change him. He is a twat and it is his default position. His ego is his main priority.

AnyFucker Sun 15-May-16 19:37:05

Your daughter is being emotionally abused by her father

You cannot shield her from that and the older she gets the worse it will be

This is how it went with me and my father. Fifty years later I have no relationship with him and a very superficial one with my mother as I consider that she had the opportunity to protect me and chose her marriage instead

I made many mistakes in my formative teenage years that I directly attribute to growing up with this push/pull give love/withdraw love dynamic

It will fuck your daughter up, op. And if you remain a bystander, you are also culpable.

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 15-May-16 20:37:17

No way does he work in child development! He is behaving worse than a typical 3 year old who are very forgiving of people who annoyed them recently.

You must tackle this with your h or you're going to end up with a people pleaser who is constantly anxious about other people's feelings.

Tiskettasket67 Sun 15-May-16 21:06:50

I will start saying that ricketytickety, I just didn't want to worry her more by highlighting his behaviour. He is currently being frosty with me and is off somewhere on his phone. I imagine because I did pick him up on his behaviour earlier and he is annoyed. He knows I think he can be unkind and I am not shy in saying so but he usually tells me to fuck off and/or that he's not interested......this is why it's hard to broach it as a subject that we need to address.
The spoiling is another thing I have told him needs to stop and others have commented that she is spoilt (in terms of material goods not her behaviour, she's a star) but he laughs it off and says he doesn't. But he will easily spend £50 on her at a weekend on toys or clothes for no reason.
So we know these are the problems but what can I do?
This cruel side to him has always been there but it is so out of character for who he really is. And I never thought he would be like that with our children. Seriously it's like he becomes someone else. He has always been like this and I have known him since he was 16. I used to think he had mental health problems. I told him I thought I had pnd and that we really needed to take it seriously because on the news lately there had been a tragic story about a mum with pnd killing herself (that's how I realised I had it). He had a go at me for putting a downer on his night then went out to his works party. Out of the blue behaviour for a usually pleasant and good man/husband. But I digress.
How can I stop this becoming another argument? If he doesn't like what I am saying and starts to ignore me then we can't have a conversation. I am 100% sure he knows this is wrong but doesn't want to admit it as he is very proud. I feel like, he reacts inappropriately to her without wanting to, gets embarrassed/ashamed and instead of apologising, shuts us out.
He has told me that his mum used to not speak to him for days if she was annoyed with him.
I agree eyebrows. I was abused as a kid and am so aware that my dd knows her body is hers, her will is hers and that she needs to respect herself and be confident in her choices. But this contradicts what I am tying to instill in her.
So what do I do?! Leaving him isn't in the picture at the moment because I feel he needs a real chance to change his behaviour. So how?

JonSnowsBeardClippings Sun 15-May-16 21:12:14

So, he's emotionally abusive to you and your daughter. He learnt the messages in childhood. What do you think can be done here? It's really not looking good.

ImperialBlether Sun 15-May-16 21:16:36

This cruel side to him has always been there but it is so out of character for who he really is.

At what point does behaviour indicate character, then, OP? If he's always behaving in a certain way (cruel) how can you not say he IS cruel?

SeaEagleFeather Sun 15-May-16 21:18:31

Open your eyes.

your instincts are good here, get your mind out of the way and all that 'but he's a good father really" crap. He isn't. He really, really isn't. He's cruel. Jealous of your attention? Of a three year old? Punishing her for it?

This cruel side to him has always been there but it is so out of character for who he really is No it isn't. it's part of who he is. The good and the bad. You can't just do half a jigsaw and gloss over the rest.

honestly, you need to look at what you've written and give him a very sharp ultimatum, and start planning your exit. You -might- not need your exit strategy, but you need it in place. Because the odds are that a tantrumming child (and I don't mean your daughter) is not going to grow up in the maximum 1 year that you should give him.

Tiskettasket67 Sun 15-May-16 21:19:43

Well because it only really showed itself when he was drunk. I don't know. Perhaps I need to suggest counselling? I doubt he will go for it. Or to open up to me more about his own childhood and why he struggles to behave like an adult (!) and we can try to work through it?

JonSnowsBeardClippings Sun 15-May-16 21:19:56

How can he have a cruel side yet not be really cruel? Come on. His cruel side is as much a part of him as anything.

BombadierFritz Sun 15-May-16 21:19:58

Dont have any more kids with him
Get yourself some counselling to help you stand up to him as you sound pretty conditioned already to accept his sulkiness - its because its now started on your dd that you are ready to stand up to her
Tell him straight. He is emotionally abusive. He needs to do parenting courses and reflect on his behaviour
I would go fucking mental if dh was ever even once like this

JonSnowsBeardClippings Sun 15-May-16 21:20:47

Was he drunk when he was cruel to your daughter all those times?

Tiskettasket67 Sun 15-May-16 21:21:42

I think you're right Seagullfeather

Tiskettasket67 Sun 15-May-16 21:22:46

No, obviously not Jonsnow
I feel awful. Like it's all my fault.

JonSnowsBeardClippings Sun 15-May-16 21:24:00

No! It's not your fault. But you have recognised it now and now you have to act. I bet he's been cruel to you lots over the years hasn't he?

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