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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DH tries (sometimes), but just can't calm down. GD is not part of his life's story, and he just can't get with the program.<br><br>
To be totally clear, though, he's much more intensely angry (yes, as a general rule he's angry) with DS#1, and is much calmer with the other children. When DS#1 was their age, DH was already yelling at him, and doesn't yell at the other ones now, so it's definitely an issue of the relationship with DH and DS#1, if that makes any sense to anyone else.<br><br>
Anyway ... so what can I do, if I can't get DH to calm down with DS#1? What can I say to DS#1 when he's miserable and dejected about the way DH talks to him (DH is in a state of constant frustration/aggravation with dS#1, even if the little guy's done nothing wrong ... it's like DH is assumign something wrong is coming down the pike) ...<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
What do I say to DS? Without saying that his father is a jerk, of course. Is there anything to say? Is explaining to him that DH is easily frustrated a helpful or hurtful thing? Is saying that DH loves him and doesn't want him to [fill in behavior issue here] because he loves him, and just gets so angry and frustrated because he doesn't know how to help DS ... well, is saying that whole spiel helpful for DS? Or is it just confusing to him? Or does it make DS resent me, maybe seeming like I'm making excuses for DH?<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Or am I just post-partum and hormonal and should I just eat a box of cookies and forget about it?<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Okay, well, I am post-partum and hormonal, and maybe I'll eat the cookies, but I won't forget about it. This is getting awful around here ... and I worry about DS ... his self-esteem has to be hitting the floor, the way DH just constantly nags and picks at him ...<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Am looking for useful suggestions or support from other people married to ... well, someone who can't get with the GD program. Am not looking to be told to leave DH. Thanks ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunnmama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How old is your ds?</div>
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6.
 

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Are you sure he isn't totally aware of the mistakes he makes with #1 and simply isn't able to get out of that pattern with him, but is able to do it with the others?<br><br>
I have to talk to my dh several times about the same issues - as calmly as I can or he shuts down - until he gets it. Express your concerns but don't accuse. Do it at a good time, when he is not already stressed about something else. If he says he doesn't know why he yells, trust him. He probably doesn't. Keep suggesting alternatives. Don't get mad when he screws up again. It's not easy. Try not to correct him in front of ds. Do it later.<br><br>
I don't think telling you ds that dh is easily frustrated is hurtful at all. In fact, I would say something like, "Do you have any ideas about how to help daddy when he gets frustrated?" I would think (I'm no expert) that this would help ds see that he is not causing the problem.<br><br>
I would also model as loudly as possible when dh is around. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Sometimes I talk very loud to make sure dh hears me resolving probs with dd. I know he's listening, the sneak!<br><br>
Anyway, I'm sorry you have this going on. We probably all cringe when we listen to the other parent talk to OUR kid. Slightly OT (I'm sure we ALL - bio mamas, partners, papas, etc. - consider our kid OUR kid and prefer for the child to be talked to the way WE talk to him or her. It's an ego thing.).
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"><br><br>
Poor kid!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">When DS#1 was their age, DH was already yelling at him, and doesn't yell at the other ones now, so it's definitely an issue of the relationship with DH and DS#1, if that makes any sense to anyone else.</td>
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Its common to struggle with higher expectations for our oldest children. I do also.<br><br>
I like to think that being aware helps me temper my frustration though.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Is saying that DH loves him and doesn't want him to [fill in behavior issue here] because he loves him, and just gets so angry and frustrated because he doesn't know how to help DS</td>
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I wouldn't say this. The overall feeling I get from this is that Daddy is frustrated with HIM. That if he were good enough, Daddy wouldn't be angry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> *I* know thats not what you are trying to say because I'm 30 years old. But I think a 6 yo. would take this as blame.<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Is explaining to him that DH is easily frustrated a helpful or hurtful thing?</td>
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I think this could be helpful. I think that you need to communicate that this is *Daddy's* problem and not ds's problem.<br><br>
I might go so far as to explain that DS is the first child... and that Daddy doesn't know yet how to deal with a six year old. A seven year old. An eight year old... howver long this is a problem.<br><br><br>
Damn. Its hard to read your post and not want to give your DH a kick in the pants. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I hate to hear about your kid suffering like this.<br><br>
What is your DH's place in the birth order? Can you appeal to his relationship with his father?<br><br>
What about therapy for your DH?<br><br>
Maybe he can't "get it together." But I would still ride him about it.
 

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I agree with the previous posters. Definately make it known to your ds that this is your dh problem and really isn't about him. I wonder if your dh is possibly the oldest? or the oldest boy in his family and is expressing what happened to him on your ds?<br><br>
((HUGS)) if at all possible I would try and get dh in counseling. I would also point out as often as possible what he does that hurts ds and the effects that dh behavior is and will have on ds for his entire life.
 

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Honestly...he is hurting this child...I would tell hime that the way he treats this child is absolutely inappopriate...I want to hug this child and tell him he is ok...but that is what your DH should be doing...<br><br>
I would talk to him seriously and tell him that you fear your son will grow up with terrible problems from the relationship with him...it's not about GD, it's about an adult not having a relationship with a child...<br><br>
Tell him that he has to stop making this child feel so bad about himself...<br><br>
And you have to do this in a GD style with your husband...you "can't do this" but you "can do this"....like a child he may need direction on how to do it....<br><br>
But don't use label like GD with him...I find that men like specific solutions to specific problems....<br><br>
Like son is doing A so we can't do B but C will work...kwim? But if you say use GD with him it's too vague...<br><br>
I almost got the impression that you feel like your DH is trying to hurt your son for some reason...I am hoping I am reading the tone wrong...because that is a terrible thing for a child to go through...and he will take it personally...because it is personal.<br><br>
If there are parenting classes that teach GD of some kind...maybe sign up...if not, tell your DH to leave the discipline to you as he is hurting the child...better he doesn't participate in the discipline than hurt your child this way.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">If there are parenting classes that teach GD of some kind...maybe sign up...if not, tell your DH to leave the discipline to you as he is hurting the child...better he doesn't participate in the discipline than hurt your child this way.</td>
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I thought of this too, but from what she said about him... I don't think it would help. I think head knowlege is not the problem, and not what is lacking. Otherwise -- he'd be this bad with all the kids.<br><br>
merpk -- feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But I think its the anger that must be addressed. Because he's not going to be able to do right by this child as long as he trying to function under the weight of anger. Its too limiting.<br>
Thats why I think therapy.
 

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however you cannot "make" anyone do anything much less go to therapy, trust me I know (sigh). I agree with the other posters that explaining to your DS that his Dad has some issues is helpful...maybe therapy for your ds? This is a tough one.
 

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I feel hestitation posting but I will anyway. Hope it helps.<br><br>
I had a dad like you describe (your DH). He finally came around emotionally when I was 19. He apolgized for being angry with me for nothing, for all those years.<br><br>
It was too late for me. It's like I'd already hard wired that everything was my fault and I was rotten and bad inside. So I pretended like his apology was appreciated and was only superficial as I'd always been with him. Then we had a blow out and we don't speak anymore and it's a wonderful relief.<br><br>
But anyway. My mom did the whole, 'dad is frustrated, dad is angry', it's not you' and tried her hardest to prove to me that it wasn't me but I gotta say, as a kid, that made NO sense. What I did pissed dad off so I could not grasp that I was not the cause.<br><br>
Plus, all her explaining and protecting me from dad's anger made me wonder, 'why does she love him?' when I became older (teen years).<br><br>
So dad became the angry idiot in the family, by accident. My mom worked so hard to convince me that I wasn't the problem that dad became a person with no credibility. 'Dad's mad' was a normal explanation our family used for problems. But that didn't take away the pit in my stomach fearing that I'd do something yet again to frustrate him. I have clear memories of doing all sorts of things and my dad getting so frustrated with me. I felt so worthless.<br><br>
She was the middle (wo)man between us and always counseled him behind closed doors (that I heard), 'you need to calm down. She didn't mean to (spill the juice, break the toy, wreck the car, get a 'C' in math). She's not doing this <b>to</b> you, she's only a normal kid.' And I'd hear my dad say, 'well, she should have...' Justifying his anger at/with me.<br><br>
That's what I hear in your post, merpk. That your husband feels justified in his anger. That worries me.<br><br>
Oh, and my siblings didn't get it like I did from my dad. He expected less of them (I'm eldest) and they handled his anger better in some ways. I took it to heart as a decree of who I was as a human. They wrote him off as a knee jerking hot head (still not much credibility or 'fatherly wisdom'!)<br><br>
I'm really sorry you are in this place. I sincerely hope something, somehow illuminates for your DH how off course he is. There is still time to change and repair. He shouldn't wait 20 years like my dad did, though. There is no way to repair twenty years and ime, there is such a thing as too late.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Playdoh.<br><br>
My brother had a similar relationship with our father. But my mom didn't do what yours did. And my dad has not apologized.<br><br>
I know that doesn't make it any better for you. Everyone has different experiences. Just wanted to share.
 

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As other posters have said, I think this can only be "fixed" by changing dad's behavior. Ds is powerless to change the situation (obviously), and I don't think that there can be a way that dad's behavior is "ok"...as in, something that you can do/say to ds to lessen the effect.<br><br>
So, to address dad's behavior. I like Parismaman's insight that he *is getting gd if he uses it with the younger kids. Sounds to me like he has set up a very negative pattern with ds1, and is having a difficult time breaking it. He has a negative attitude toward ds1. Attitude, of course, affects behavior (makes him yell at ds1 more often, etc). But behavior can affect attitude, too. Does dh acknowledge the negative attitude he has toward ds1? Would he be willing to take some very concrete steps to promote a more positive attitude?<br><br>
For instance, he could commit to:<br>
--smiling at ds1 every time he enters the room.<br>
--spending a one-on-one bonding hour (or 2 or 3) every week. Something they mutually enjoy, developing their common interests.<br>
--finding at least 3 things to praise ds1 for every day<br>
--touching ds1 in an affectionate way (hug, stroking hair) a certain number of times each day, etc.<br><br>
Of course, therapy for dh would be best. But if he is unwilling, I think he should at least agree to do some of the things above. After all, it is just showing love for his child. He probably does most of these things already, but the idea is for him to *think about it and do these things deliberately, with a concrete goal each day--so that a day does not go by without kind words, warm smiles, and demonstrations of affection. These actions will definitely affect the way ds1 perceives his relationship with dad, and will likely moderate that effects of dad's anger when it occurs. But, more importantly, I believe these simple actions would change the way that dh perceives ds as a child: he will begin to regard him less as an irritant to be tolerated, and more as a precious child to be treasured. And, hopefully then, will begin to naturally *treat him with the patience and love and respect that every precious child deserves.
 

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Hi Merpk, I think my dh is a bit like yours except it's not particularly ds#1 he takes it out on. We have 2 sons 4 and 5 and it's really both of them.<br><br>
I think the first thing you have to get clear is whether it is really an on-going issue, or whether he is under particular stress right now - you say you're postpartum, how recent? I'm not saying you shouldn't handle it even if it's temporary, but you should definitely try to worry less if in general he's an involved, pretty good father.<br><br>
My dh is "always" shouting at our sons and if not threatening, punishing (timeouts, you can't do this....) and even minor name-calling and stuff. But many times he'll spend a lot of time with them, he'll sit up with them all night if they are ill, etc. I'm just working on him gradually. Like someone else said, trying to set a good example, telling him the rules. Telling him the rules again. Telling the rules over again..... Giving him credit when he gets it right. Telling him he did a good job when he offered an alternative instead of a no, or understood that they were tired and didn't mean to....<br><br>
The trouble is that his parents were far from gd. Basically thought children should do as they were told, did not respect them (him mum still doesn't) and wouldn't think twice about hitting them if they didn't comply. And he thinks he turned out alright. In some ways he did but in some ways i think he is still screwed up - certainly can't talk about it though !!!!!! And you should see his brothers!! OMG!!!<br><br>
Anyway, I find it difficult not to sound like I am criticising him but I have tried to keep my mouth shut in front of the children unless he gets physical and try not to contradict him no matter how much I want to. I try and keep the comments for when they are not around. Progress is not fast, but I figure progress is better than me leaving him just because I can't stand the way he is with the kids - not a great choice but surely a father that is not perfect is better than none? Especially since between the 2 of us when we don't talk children things are fine.<br><br>
too long, let us know how things go.
 

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My dad was the same way with me. I will try and say this as nicely as I can. Your DH is abusing your son, YES abusing him. It is emotional abuse to be constantly harped on and made to feel as if you are the cause of all the world's problems. I know you love your son, how can you allow him to go through this? I don't think you truly understand how damaging this is. Personally I would tell my DH that it is not acceptable, that I will not allow him to treat my child like that and if he doesn't stop we will be leaving. My children come first to me over any other relationship. Please stop him from hurting your son. Or some day your son will grow up and ask you why you allowed this to happen to him.<br><br>
Editted to add: I reread your post and I am not trying to tell you to leave your husband but if its between that and allowing this abuse to continue, well IMO that's a no-brainer. You said your DH "can't" calm down. That's bull, he can if he wants to. He doesn't want to. You say that your DH is mad at your son all the time. How can you allow that? I really don't understand.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Heavenly</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My dad was the same way with me. I will try and say this as nicely as I can. Your DH is abusing your son, YES abusing him. It is emotional abuse to be constantly harped on and made to feel as if you are the cause of all the world's problems. I know you love your son, how can you allow him to go through this? I don't think you truly understand how damaging this is. Personally I would tell my DH that it is not acceptable, that I will not allow him to treat my child like that and if he doesn't stop we will be leaving. My children come first to me over any other relationship. Please stop him from hurting your son. Or some day your son will grow up and ask you why you allowed this to happen to him.<br><br>
Editted to add: I reread your post and I am not trying to tell you to leave your husband but if its between that and allowing this abuse to continue, well IMO that's a no-brainer. You said your DH "can't" calm down. That's bull, he can if he wants to. He doesn't want to. You say that your DH is mad at your son all the time. How can you allow that? I really don't understand.</div>
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I'm going to chime in here. I respectfully disagree. I am guilty of the kind of harping her DH is and I constantly struggle with it. Yes there are some times you "can't" calm down. Yes, her DH needs to learn to deal with the issues, but there's abuse, and then there's abuse. It's not black and white, it's a continuum. Do I abuse my children? My heart says I do. Am I trying to change? Yes. Should DH take kids and leave because I am?<br><br>
Just my POV.
 

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Let's remember that it was probably very difficult for merpk to write about this.<br><br>
Let's remember that if this were a mama talking about her own actions we would be all try to be gentle & supportive - let's not be any different when talking about dads; it's just as hard for them to change as it is for us.<br><br>
Let's remember that we don't have the whole story.<br><br>
Let's not let so much anger cloud our thinking; anger is very destructive.<br><br><b>Sunmama</b><br><br>
Great suggestions!
 

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Of course it's just as hard for dads to change. But, does this dad want to change? Is he trying at all to change? Only the OP knows. All of us posting are trying to help and to protect the OPs ds. After all he is the innocent child here. It actually would be easier if the poster here was the person treating the ds this way and seeking advice, because that would mean that the person knew that what they were doing was wrong and asking for help in changing. I hope for the families sake and especially poor ds that the father is working on changing. This type of stuff can and does permanantly scar a child for life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You know, I just typed a whole long response ... not easy as I'm NAK a newborn and can't feel my left hand to type with and it is 2 am ... and the whole thing just went poof.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><br><br>
Anyway, maybe that means I should rethink what I typed.<br><br>
In brief, though, the responses were well thought-out and I appreciate that.<br><br>
Will type more tomorrow (later today, to be more precise) but am going to mull over all the thoughts here ... sunmama, thank you for the concrete suggestions, and everyone else, thanks for the posts ... playdoh, your experience is crucial for me to read, thank you for sharing it ...<br><br>
More tomorrow.<br><br>
And yes, BTW, P'M is so right that it is a behavior pattern that is just locked in, both DH's constant irritation and DS#1's responses ... though I'm well aware that DS's responses will change as soon as DH's bad behavior changes ...<br><br>
Like I said, have to digest this. More tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So with all the thinking I'm doing, we're sending DS#1 and DD off to camp Grandma&Grandpa this week. Am anticipating that the vacation from each other will give all sides a chance to calm down. Also anticipating that now that work is out for DH (he's a high school teacher) that the stress level will go down and maybe we'll all calm down.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/privateeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="private eyes"><br><br>
Am hopeful, anyway ...<br><br>
If there's any follow-up worth posting, I will ...<br><br>
Thanks for the support. And advice.
 

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My mom was like your dh. I think.<br><br>
She <b>identified</b> with me. She was the eldest. Her frustration and anger were with herself. Her inability to show affection, most of the time, was about her, not me. I think I was aware of this from a very early age but it was <i>still</i> incredibly damaging.<br><br>
I'd go with the therapy suggestion. This isn't going to shift by itself. There is always something to be stressed out about, even in the summer. (My mom also was on a school year schedule.) Really, it's not appropriate for adults to take out their frustrations on their children. Your dh, who is a teacher, is quite aware of this. He knows he's doing wrong. In his more rational moments he may even admit it to you.<br><br>
Don't make the mistake of thinking your 6 year old is an equal partner in these conflicts. That was one of the things that went on in my house. Six year old misbehavior is not a reason or an excuse for parental yelling or hitting. The misbehavior has to be addressed separately from what your dh is doing. Hitting and yelling aren't an effective means of addressing misbehavior, they are a complicating factor that generally makes it worse. Especially if your ds is hitting his sister--as a child I hit my sister and felt huge shame and I can say that getting hit a lot was a big factor in my inability to control myself as a child.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 
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