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My Dad - warning - long(11 Posts)
Just need some help deciding what to do about my dad' s reactions to my DC. Background is that he is late 70's married to my mum who is now in a home, he visits her most days. Currently he is staying with me and family as he has not been well but now recovered. My dad has always been quite strong willed and speaks his mind. He has been here about 10 days and for most of that time has kept quiet in his room as was unwell. I have two DC youngest DC is a pre teen but has always been the most difficult of the two, can be moody, answers back and stroppy at times. He does have low confidence/ low self esteem which I think also influences how he behaves - he will ' lash out ' because I think, he feels embarrassed/ anxious or uncomfortable. Other DC quite calm and quiet. I know that some will say that it's my fault that one child can be difficult and we try to parent youngest DC the same as eldest but sometimes it's hard as youngest DC can be a pain. So for example if he complains / acts up at tea time, I just ignore it rather than say anything as that might provoke a reaction (eg stropping off upstairs) which then spoils meal. I should also say Youngest DC is also a lovely funny and good company when not being moody IYSWIM. BACK TO MY DAD - dad does not see eye to eye with him at all and therefore they argue and dad tends to put him down a lot, therefore provoking reaction ( answering back/ being rude) . This is something I can remember from my childhood too - plus my dad is the person who will say things like " don't be a big girls blouse!" If boys cry etc, which I will challenge him on. Whilst he has been at our house my dad has made many comments to me about how I parent my children (" you let them get away with everything" " you should tell them to help more" plus about my DH ( implies he is lazy) " you have three children" plus comments like "I dont feel welcome here" ( not true) and " my grandchildren are not like I expected them to be - they don't lean towards us as grandparents ( ie they are not close with us). Today we are all at dinner table, youngest DC tipped over a drink ( accident but does have form for attention seeking behaviour at table ) immediately apologises, dad gets up to get cloth, drink is over him mostly, complains that DC was waving his arms about and tells him off, then, spends rest of meal in silence ( sulking) . I am so very cross as this ruins meal for me, both DC and youngest DC tried hard to get conversation going, but dad stayed silent. Then has spent all evening in his room. I am cross, don't know what to say. I feel that his behaviour is controlling and at best if not controlling he is beating like a child, and disrespectful to me and my DC ( DH not here today) Any advice please - I want to speak to him tomorrow morning as have spent all evening on my own fuming.
Given your df's long established character, I suggest you visualise your anger as a red light flowing down your body and seeping out of your feet to be swallowed up by the earth as a bright white light enters your head and fills every cell of your body with its calm healing glow as I very much doubt that anything productive can come of out of talking to him and it's more likely to end in you feeling even more irate.
Now that he's recovered, is there any reason why your df can't go home
later today in the next few days? Fixing a date for his departure may go some way to creating a glimmer of white light in your home which will grow bright as you wave him off.
Great advice from goddess as usual. I was thinking have you told him about the reasons behind your strategies with your youngest son?
Not the same, but I remember when my dd was in the terrible twos, she was doing so many seriously wrong things at one point that I was telling her off all the time and she wasn't paying a blind bit of notice. So I decided that I would deal with one thing at a time, starting with the most serious which was biting. That afternoon we were visiting an elderly neighbour and dd starts spitting and I didn't correct her. The neighbour must have thought I was an appalling mother.
You have a well thought out reason for treating ds2 as you do and there is no harm in explaining it.
It sounds difficult with your dad. However from your post it sounds lije there is certain behaviour you're not dealing with. You say your son "acts up" but that you ignore him because you're worried about how he'll react if you deal with it. This isn't healthy and is setting yourself up for more problems as he gets older. You need clear boundaries and consequences for behaviour. Your dad probably sees this, although he's being unsupportive and unhelpful in the way he reacts to it all.
Is there somewhere you could go for support in dealing with your son's difficult behaviour. School can sometimes point you in the direction of parenting classes or other support.
Thank you all for posting.
Makeit yes you are right there are some behaviour issues which we do have strategies for but wanted to keep my already long post to a short summary, maybe I need a thread for DC on its own, was just trying to give some context to say that I can see why my DDad might get frustrated with DC.
goddess thank you so much - sound advice - I will be thinking those thoughts for the next day or two. I do feel on this occasion, ( it's not the first time we have had the silent treatment ) that I need to say something though - explain how it makes me feel.
Atenco thanks - we have told him our strategies, but to be honest he just ignores what I have to say about it, and to be fair to DC he does react to DDad at times because DDad pushes his buttons, diliberately at times to 'prove his point'.
It's complex - but I am going to have to say something today - DC have gone off to school - because it made ME upset, he behaved like a child which just modelled childish behaviour to the DC who he 'accuses' of poor behaviour.
Gah! It's never easy with intergenerational dynamics. Could you not use your Df words with regards to you having 3 children etc.? Tell him at times its more like 4! Then stand back and wait for the excrement to hit the air disperser. Try your strategies you share with your Ds2 on your Df? Try and visualise the end in sight. And you've done a good thing helping your dad back to health.
I have observed tricky parents ramp up controlling type behaviour when their own small world is diminishing. Quite a lot of that older generation do not consider inter-familial dynamics. It's their way or the highway.
Chin up OP.
Thank you yoksha you have made me feel a bit better that
inter generational dynamics are not confined to my house! I did indeed open the conversation this morning - telling him about how he made me feel, and how upset I am, plus how I thought his behaviour would have impacted on the DC. Yes it did cause a " heated debate" as Mrs Merton would say, AND he was very defensive and did start to patronise me and blame the youngest DC.....but I think it was needed. We are talking and I have been trying to tell him about my youngest DC by explaining how we deal with behaviour and why. It is very much "his way" and he was a bit shocked I think that I have challenged him on his behaviour! My dad has a lot on his plate I know that, but the silent treatment was beyond rude and I felt he needed to know that.
Yoksha just seen your post on the other thread re " troll " thread - people on here give so much advice and support - for you -
From your OP I get the impression of your dad interacting with your children only by telling them off or complaining about them (sorry if I've got that wrong)
My own late dad was fairly particular when it came to table manners, not messing around at meals times etc. and my children knew this - he would tell them off if necessary.
BUT he spent a huge amount of time with them- chatting, playing games, asking their opinions, reading to them, getting them to help him in the garden, telling them jokes and listening to what they had to say, he was always happy to help with homework and explain things very patiently etc etc. They adored him despite the fact that he could occasionally come over as old school stern. And he took great joy in all his grand children (he had 9) and his great grand children.
In my opinion you can't go in and tell kids off unless you are properly involved in their lives - because they won't respect you, they won't have the closeness you need to hand discipline and set boundaries. Your kids will just think 'who does he think he is, bossing me about' and i suspect they may even be a little bit scared of him and find him a bit unpredictable.
Your dad has said they are not close to him and are not the GC he expected - what does he actually do to improved and engender a good relationship with the children, is there a hobby of theirs he can take and interest in, watch them at a sport they like, take them on a day out (individually if necessary so he gets to know them as people).
He's the adult and he is needling at your son and trying to get a rise out of him by the sound of it, he needs to stop that - it's a subtle kind of bullying - and start being a proper granddad.
If he complains about the way your parent, tell him he's entitled to his opinion but that you make the decisions. Also - your parenting model is him - so what does that tell him about his own efforts if he finds fault with yours ?
Thanks Quite, it helps that we can support others out there. I've not ever posted for a problem, but I've received shed loads of good solid logical advice that works via other Mn'rs asking for help. I hope you and your dad can reach a loving compromise. right back at ya
Oh Kurri that has made me cry - you have pretty much described the situation to a 'T'. Especially the two middle paras. We live about 2 hours away from my folks - so see them periodically but since my mum has been in residential care mist visits revolve around that. My dad does play cards with them and chats about cricket but it often takes the form of ..." You should do it this way" .... I think maybe my challenge today was a start ( I hope he will start to think about things and try harder ) . Thank you.
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