I'll try to be a succinct as possible, but it's a complicated situation.
My dad was abusive in my childhood. There was a lot of bullying, threats of physical abuse, actual physical abuse, and emotional abuse (telling us we were stupid, worthless, refusing to let us cry with threats of physical harm, blah blah blah). There have been several "incidences" during my life, which are what our family calls the major episodes of him blowing up. My dad has even been arrested once.
One of his major temper triggers is normal child behavior: crying, whining, inability to verbally express what they want, playing too loudly, talking too loudly, etc. So when we started growing up and moving out thing got better for the sole reason my dad wasn't dealing with children anymore.
Enter grandkids. My son is the first grandchild and he's very spirited. If anyone has read "Raising Your Spirited Child", BuggaBoo scored a 40 out of 45 on the little quiz. He has explosive expressions of emotions, screaming one minute and laughing wildly the next. Needless to say BuggaBoo's personality does not mesh with my dad's.
We have been working with my son and with age he has better control with his emotions and is able to express them through speech more and more. We work with naming his emotions for him, encouraging him to talk about them, and when he's throwing a knock-down fit he's welcome to do so in his room. He is allowed to cry and make frustrated noises, laugh, be mad, and basically be a person.
My dad hates how we're raising our kids.
My dad is a major bully to my son in particular, but now that my daughter is growing up she's getting it, too. They live 4 hours away so that's nice, but interaction with family were getting bad. My dad would parent over us, place unrealistic expectations on my son, tell him crying wasn't allowed in his hours (at 18 months!), calling my son names (crybaby, don't you want to be a big boy), and threatening physical discipline (usually spanking).
My dad would also create artificial situations so he could punish BuggaBoo. For example, we were dairy-free for the first 3 years of BuggaBoo's life. My dad was always trying to give him stuff. When BuggaBoo was around 18 months old my dad was eating ice cream. BuggaBoo asked for some, but when I explained that it had milk in it and I would get him something different he was totally fine with it. He sat down next to my dad, and my dad offered him some ice cream. Of course BuggaBoo said yes, and my dad said, "Too bad, you can't have any," and ate the spoonful himself. When my son started crying about it my dad said, "Stop crying, no crying in my house." So, yeah, stuff like that.
The Hubby and I talked to my dad lots of times about his behavior, but he always defended himself. Last Christmas I confronted my dad and told him if he couldn't be nicer to my kids then he could not be around them. He said, fine, if that's how it needs to be. A few days later he came to my home (remember, 4 hours away) to tell me that my children weren't welcome in his home unless they correctly and he's able to punish them as he sees fit.
However, my dad (supposedly, I don't believe it however) thought that he could still see the kids. Through sporadic contact with my kids he was treating them much better. He still verbally maintained that he did/does no wrong, my kids need redirecting, blah blah blah. There was a lot of pressure from my family to let my dad show me he changed. I was wary about it, since we had this all the time was growing up, I felt we were in the "Honeymoon" cycle of abuse. But I decided to give him a chance.
My parents came to visit this last weekend. My dad was not nice to the kids at all. He was back to calling names and being verbally rough and parenting over us in our own home and telling my son which emotion he could have, which apparently the only "correct" emotion is happiness. Yesterday I went to the mall with my mom and sister and left the kids with The Hubby and my dad because they were working on yard projects. Last night after my parents left I was talking to The Hubby and it came out that my dad was very mean to the kids and actually threatened to spank BuggaBoo, which I have told my dad is never to be done.
I called my dad's cell last night to tell him he wasn't welcome in my home. I got his voice mail so I left the message. My dad immediately called back but I ignored it and had a panic attack in The Hubby's arms instead.
If you're still with me at this point, bless you. Please, flood me with support on this, I am so scared about what my dad is going to do and my family is going to do. The last time I did this the support from my family was split and it made it so hard. Obviously, because we let my dad back into our life. I don't want my son to be bullied like that. I've been working very hard to not become abusive and I just can't let my dad be that way. But some of my family tells me I'm blowing it out of proportion and that's just my dad. So, please, again, support me in this!