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This is over the top - Page 5

post #81 of 205
I too think that this man is abusive to his children. And no, not everyone is "dunked" deliberately in the pool. And playful dunking does not involve force or crying. However, I also hear you on your reluctance to go to the authories on what could be explained away and while it would be really clear who (within a few people) had called.

I like Bczmama's idea of getting another man involved. Is BIL close to your DH? Maybe he would be willing to have a man-to-man conversation, in addition to FIL?

I can't tell - does this family live near by? Do you see them often or did they have to travel to get to you. If you see them often, I would definitely reach out to SIL and try to see them more often so you can keep tabs on what is happening.

If they live in a different community, could you reach out to someone else to keep tabs on things? I would suggest calling the principal of the boys school with a "listen, I'm not sure about anything but I think maybe these children are being abused and could you and teacher keep an eye out for problems?" All of the principals I know would be grateful for the heads up. That way, if they too see something, they make the call (as mandated reporters), you don't get connected, and you are then in a place to potentiall help pick up the pieces.
post #82 of 205
This is so so awful! That is extremely abusive. If the dad feels comfortable treating his BABY like that in someone else's house then what does he do at his own???
post #83 of 205
I don't think the OP is being condescending or ungentle. It seems to me that she's trying to figure out the most effective way to handle this, and everyone is *insisting* she do something that she doesn't think is a good idea. I would feel defensive too.

OP, have you spoken w/ SIL or FIL about this?
post #84 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
Do you think your BIL would respond better to "male" authority than "female" authority? Sounds like he might be pretty traditional.

Maybe your FIL pulling him aside and saying something along the lines of "this sort of thing didn't go on in the home I raised SIL in, and when you married, I believed and expected that both SIL and your future children would be in a safe, comfortable home, where they were respected and well-treated. You know your anger isn't normal, and I know your anger isn't normal. I know you love SIL and the kids, what can I do to help?

I think this is a good idea. My dh was raised by an angry, abusive father who behaved a lot like your BIL. He still refuses to have anything to do with most of his relatives because they just sat by and watched. You don't have to call cps, but you do need to accept that this is abusive behavior and it needs to stop.
post #85 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
Anyway, I'm thinking that a good starting point is to have a private conversation with SIL about his anger issues and how she perceives them. Maybe this is something they are already working on, for all I know.
I know that I am late to this thread. I think that this is an excellent place to start. Private conversations now are a must. No one wants to feel embarrassed or criticized in front of everyone. An Intervention-style conversation would be most negative. Show respect and you will be heard.

My sister and bil are not into GD at all. It breaks my heart to see how they discipline their children. When my mother tries to talk to my sister about it her response is, "Well you're not here 24/7 to see how they act. You don't have to listen to the whining and screaming." They just simply don't see the link from the way they treat their kids to the way their kids treat them and each other.

I also think that bczmama might be onto something. Like if you know of an older man who might be able to have a conversation with bil. Maybe a pastor?

FWIW, I understand your plea for reasoning, not "histrionics and hyperbole." This is an extremely delicate family situation that, IMO, requires baby steps, not stomping upon.

GD requires a lot of patience and self-control. Not everyone can just do it. Good parenting takes effort and consistency, two qualities that I see lacking lately in people in general and in our society where its easier to turn the tv on than connect with one's own children. Yelling is easier than modeling - "do as I say, not as I do."

Good luck, and I hope things can work out for your family.
post #86 of 205
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momileigh View Post
OP, have you spoken w/ SIL or FIL about this?
Not directly with SIL. We've exchanged glances and help run interference together at times when dad's coming down on one of the boys, so I'm sure she knows that I'm concerned.

FIL and pretty much everyone in the family thinks that BIL is 'too rough' and 'too strict' with the boys. But I don't think anyone thinks that he is physically abusing them. I've never seen him spank or hit, for instance, and I don't think that they incorporate spanking into their discipline typically, although I'd bet he's lost his temper and done it. I think that, for reasons like this, BIL considers himself a very gentle parent compared to his own upbringing, which did include lots of outright beatings.

He tends to yell, threaten, be physically intimidating and rough. For instance, grabbing a child roughly by the arm while yelling in his face. Dd cringes when he yells and all the nephews are leery of him. The other IL's are very permissive parents, and their two boys are just out of control. But when BIL yells at their kids, they immediately listen and obey. BIL knows better than to yell at dd -we've made it very clear that we don't discipline that way. And he probably wouldn't anyway because she's such a sweet girl.

Our neighbor is a local police officer and he parents nearly this exact same way, except that they do believe in spanking, and they do it daily. Dunking his kid to make a point would be right up his alley. In fact, they don't like to let their kids play at our house because they think that we 'spoil' the kids by not spanking, yelling and putting them in time out.

The brunt of BIL's anger seems directed at their 2 yo (the one he yelled at that first night). This poor little boy is just lost as a middle child. The five year old is independent, and the one year old is an adorable, happy baby that is a joy to have around, so he gets all the attention all the time. So 2 yo is this sullen, very, very anxious little boy who almost constantly whines. I think the only way he gets enough attention is by being negative, and he'd rather be dragged across the yard by his screaming father than be ignored.

SIL is a very sweet, very attentive and concerned mother. Two yo was upset coming home in the car today because he couldn't sit next to mom, and when they got home she took him off in a room alone, rocked him, talked to him and sang songs to him for over an hour.

So, I'm rambling. But bottom line for an update is that BIL hasn't done anything grossly inappropriate since that first night. I really do think he was very embarrassed knowing that I saw him treating his son that way, which I take as a good sign. He seems to know how wrong that was.

I need to get some time alone with SIL and talk. I did get a chance to ask more about the broken arms and both occurred while the boys were with nanny and mom, respectively. So I don't think there's anything to that concern.
post #87 of 205
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her dh is far from a gentle parent, and no one in the family likes how he disciplines the boys.
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Constantly, every few minutes he would scream - literally scream, you could hear it right through the walls of the house - and the baby would cry. Dad would yell "Shut UP!" over and over, threaten, yell, etc.
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The dad went into this tirade and started screaming nonstop, carrying on about how the baby had 'ruined' his older brother's picture (some crayon drawing he'd done). It went on until I couldn't bear it any longer
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He was standing over the baby who was sitting on the floor sobbing hysterically. He was screaming "Look what you did! You ruined it! SHUT UP! I SAID SHUT UP!"
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The dad grabbed the baby's plastic sun visor that was layng close by, wadded it up into a ball, breaking it, and then hurled it straight into the baby's face - with tremendous force and anger, shouting "How does it feel? How does it feel to have your things ruined?"
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He was red faced, sweaty, and trembling with anger
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But I do have strong feelings about not wanting my daughter to be exposed to that kind of emotional and physical violence
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My impression at the time was that he was verging on completely out of control. I definitely was being careful about engaging him, for my own safety.
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I do worry about the safety of SIL and kids
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You can tell he gets a kick out of yelling their names and having them startle with fear, come over and stand fearfully in front of him wondering what he's going to do. Yesterday he didn't like the 5 yo splashing in the pool and ordered him to come over to him in the shallow end. The boy was tearful and trembling, saying he was afraid to come over. He ordered him to come and the child reluctantly did. When he got within reach BIL grabbed him and dunked him underwater, holding him there until he came up choking and crying. Then he ordered him out of the pool.
OP these are your own words. Quoted back to you. Listen you what YOU are saying. If this wasn't your family what would you say to this person??? HONESTLY.
post #88 of 205
Quote:
Not directly with SIL. We've exchanged glances and help run interference together at times when dad's coming down on one of the boys, so I'm sure she knows that I'm concerned.
I don't think that exchanging glances is enough to really communicate your concern. If it were my sister in law and my nephews, I would make sure to have a real talk about it ASAP, definately before they leave.
post #89 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
CPS isn't going to remove children for being dunked in the pool or for being yelled at and hit with a thrown hat. So being confrontational and histrionic isn't going to benefit anyone. Least of all the children, who would probably be the most upset and injured of anyone by it.
Even if CPS doesn't remove the children (and I'm not sure they should) they can send him to counselling, and they can watch to make sure nothing worse than what went on this weekend is happening. Children are often only taken away in very extreme cases (though this deppends where you live the CPS in the pacific north west seems more prone to over reacting.)

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We are all carefully modeling gentle parenting, both with our own kids and also with his kids, before he has a chance to jump in with his tyrannical methods. I'm certain that it's making an impression on him. He won't change overnight, but if it spares the children some drama and fear then it helps.
Haven't you been modeling gentle parenting for years? If it hasn't worked yet why do you think it will suddenly start working.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
By my standards and by those of MDC parents, he is. Not in the eyes of law, however. Nor even in the eyes of many mainstream American parents, to be honest.
How do you know? A social worker is in a better position to judge this. You are also assuming that you have seen the worst he is capable of.

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Calling the police? Calling CPS? And when they show up they find 3 happy, healthy looking little boys without a mark on them, playing in the backyard. Yes officer, I yelled at my son. He broke something and needed discipline. Yes sir, I'm sorry, I lost my temper and threw a hat at him. No sir, you can see that it didn't hurt him at all, it's just a made of paper and plastic. Yes officer, we were playing and I dunked my son in the pool. That's not against the law, is it, sir?
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
They will see clean, polite, happy children who are obviously loved and well cared for, without any sign of abuse whatsoever. They will see a middle class, professional couple who look for all the world like Ward and June Cleaver.

They'll hear a story about everyone playing in pool, the child being rambunctious and not listening, and dad dunking him. Family members dunking each other are pretty ordinary. I was dunked plenty as a kid. I imagine so was the cop who would be here listening to some crazy lady (me) trying to convince him that this all American family man, this clean cut, handsome, polite and well spoken coach of his kid's soccer and softball teams, this boy scout leader, is an abuser and needs to go jail. Because he dunked his kid. The cops probably wouldn't make it back to the squad car before bursting into laughter.
A SW is trained to see through this.

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So I could call. And I would be extremely short sighted and foolish to do so. Because it would wreck the relationships of this family - forever. And it would do nothing except solidify this family against me and any influence that I might have had with them.
You can give it a couple of weeks and call anonimously and just say you're a neighbor and concered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
But it would never fit the category of abuse in any court in this land.
Even if you decide what you saw him do doesn't qualify, what he does at home behind closed doors very well may.
post #90 of 205
blessed.
post #91 of 205
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
OP these are your own words. Quoted back to you. Listen you what YOU are saying. If this wasn't your family what would you say to this person??? HONESTLY.
Maybe I can have my neighbor, the cop come over and arrest him? For yelling at his kids and dunking his son one time in the swimming pool. CPS will take the kids (uh-huh), and everyone will now be so safe and happy. Maybe they can take my neighbor's kids too, while they're here.

Honestly, if you've got ideas on how to handle this that are based on reality, then spell them out. Be precise. Once again, this man hasn't broken the law. I can't have him arrested because he yells in his kids' faces or threw a hat at one. Or because he dunked his kid. It doesn't matter that he did it when he was frustrated. It doesn't matter that his kid came up sputtering and crying. He dunked his kid. That isn't against the law - anywhere. No one cares if I thought he looked scary or close to being out of control. They care if he hurt his kid. Period. To all of our knowlege, he never has.

So that's out. The kids stay with him. He stays married. He is the kids' dad. All of the righteous indignation you can muster in the whole world isn't going to be able to change that.

That being the case, what ideas might you have about ways that we can bring about a change in him or his family situation that will positively affect the kids? Spell them out. Be precise. I'd like to hear some ideas.
post #92 of 205
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Haven't you been modeling gentle parenting for years? If it hasn't worked yet why do you think it will suddenly start working..
No, we haven't. That's likely part of the problem.

BIL and SIL have really been quite isolated from our side of the family. That's why this family reunion is so important, and why it is so critical that it go well.

This is the first time dh and I have met the two youngest boys. The family lives several states away, in the same small town as BIL's family. As I've said above, this family is extremely harsh on it's children. They are a 'children be seen and not heard' type group, who believe strongly in harsh punishments. Very religious. Very conservative. Very bigoted.

BIL stands out among his brothers for being less severe of a parent, less conservative, etc. For instance, I mentioned that they have essentially chosen not to spank, which is unheard of in his family.

I think the more BIL can be influenced by other people and ideas, the better parent he will be. Right now his wife sort of stands alone as this crazy soft hearted mother who gives her kids too much of a break. When he sees dh and I, and the other IL couple being gentle, tolerant, kind with our kids, that is normalizing that behavior in his mind.
post #93 of 205
Blessed-once again what do you want us to say??? What would you say if you were reading your posts?? There is nothing left to say other than what has been said....everyone, including you, fears for these childrens safety, no one has truely stepped in and tried to help among the family (man to man as suggested), you don't want CPS involved, you want this reunion to go well so everyone is basically ignoring what is happening, and you now are downplaying what happened and getting mad at us who are responding to you. We aren't there...you are...what do you think is best for this family?
post #94 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisent View Post
This is so so awful! That is extremely abusive. If the dad feels comfortable treating his BABY like that in someone else's house then what does he do at his own???
exactly this is so disturbing. and unfortunately, I don't know that it can be stopped, legally, realistically, or otherwise. if that happened in my family I would be so horrified I think I would cry myself to sleep every night thinking about those kids. but I don't think cps is the answer at all, it's very unlikely they'd do much anyways and could make the situation worse. no one can stop it except him. an entire family intervention without kids present (ie, one person takes all the kids and the conversation is hosted at a different location) might at least wake their mother up. but even her power is limited, short of taking the children and disappearing (which is exactly what I would do, but she might be abused too). Clearly that's not going to happen, though.

My uncle was this "drill sergeant" type of parent, but I never saw him cross the line into pure rage. There is a difference and you know it when you see it. I think that's what your BIL doesn't get, the distinction between strictness (which I don't agree with, but isn't abusive) and pure control freak abusiveness. Knowing how he is viewed by other parents who are his peers might help him realize it's not okay, but it might also enrage him further... if this is all he knows because of the way he was raised, what really has to click is "I don't want my kids feeling the way about me that I feel about my father". Nothing's going to be fixed overnight. Maybe SIL who wants to protect the kids needs to be empowered to draw the line and I guess just talking with her and supporting her would be a start.
post #95 of 205
Ya know, I don't know what experience you have with CPS that makes you so sure that they wouldn't do anything about the underwater incident, which I am not going to call a dunking. A dunking is a quick push under the water, done playfully when two or more people are playing together in the water. What your BIL did was to hold a child under water for at least several seconds as a punishment.

I do have a lot of experience with CPS, as a foster parent and a former social worker. Any social worker worth a flip (and I'll be the first to admit that there are some who are not worth a flip) will consider that abuse and will do something about it.

Frankly, Blessed, after "knowing" you from your posts in the foster and adoptive parenting forum, I'm fairly baffled at your take on this whole situation.

So, you asked for what you should do. IMO, you really really should call CPS. But you have made it clear you aren't going to do that -- although, did you consider a pp's suggestion of calling in and describing the situation, without giving names? If it is not something that they will investigate, they can tell you that. If you do have a change of heart and decide to report, please talk to the other witnesses first and make sure they will back you up.

Next, I agree that a group intervention with BIL would probably just put him on the defensive. But how about w/ SIL? This family reunion is her family, right? And she is obviously a loving, caring mom? So talk to her. Let her know that many many people consider the type of "discipline" doled out by her dh to be abusive and reportable, and you don't want to see her end up losing her kids b/c of his behavior. Ask her what you can do to help.

Exchanging glances is not doing a damned thing to help her or the kids. Is she being abused as well? Is keeping her isolated from her family, and surrounded only by his abusive family part of his abuse pattern?

What if he held one of the other kids underwater as a punishment? One of the other "out of control" nephews? Or your dd? What would you do then? Please do the same for these little boys.
post #96 of 205
If it was me and my BIL I think the first thing I would do would be to hold a major intervetion with the people I think are most important to be there. And take it from there, but you simply cannot just go pn pretending like he did nothing wrong. Youre saying you do not want to involve CPS or cops or anything, well then you need to sit down with him and his wife and talk to him about it. He needs some help, he needs therapy, anger managment, whatever he can get. He is not going to change on his own and behavior like this NEEDS to be changed before something REALLY bad happeneds.
post #97 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
Blessed-once again what do you want us to say??? What would you say if you were reading your posts?? There is nothing left to say other than what has been said....everyone, including you, fears for these childrens safety, no one has truely stepped in and tried to help among the family (man to man as suggested), you don't want CPS involved, you want this reunion to go well so everyone is basically ignoring what is happening, and you now are downplaying what happened and getting mad at us who are responding to you. We aren't there...you are...what do you think is best for this family?
:

Unsubscribing to this, blessed, because it is frustrating to see you post here for "advice" and then snarkily discount everyone as histrionic.
post #98 of 205
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzannah View Post
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Unsubscribing to this, blessed, because it is frustrating to see you post here for "advice" and then snarkily discount everyone as histrionic.
Thanks for weighing in. But I do need to be selective about who I listen to here.

This is real life. This is my life. I love these people and will continue to have relationships with them. And I want what is best for them.

Getting excited and confrontational makes for good stories, but not for good familes. These children adore their father. For me to align myself against him is to align myself against them. There are other ways.

I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense to you.
post #99 of 205
I have read this entire thread, and I'm honestly not trying to sound harsh, but blessed: If you do not do something to stop him from treating his children this way (which IS abusive from what you described) than YOU are enabling your BIL to continue ABUSING his children. What you describe is emotional abuse at the VERY least. I know that it is hard, but I am very surprised that you are defending your BIL's behaviour. You know that his behaviour is wrong, or you wouldn't have posted here.
post #100 of 205
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliMommie View Post
I have read this entire thread, and I'm honestly not trying to sound harsh, but blessed: If you do not do something to stop him from treating his children this way (which IS abusive from what you described) than YOU are enabling your BIL to continue ABUSING his children.
Oh okay.

Tell me how.
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