Husband’s abuse must not be ignored
DearAmy: My husband, “Stan,” and I have two great-grandchildren, ages 3 (girl) and 5 (boy). Stan is very critical of the little boy. He teases him a lot and when the child cries or yells at his Pop to stop, Stan gets mad, criticizes him and stomps off. In a recent column, you called this behavior bullying. I had never thought of it that way.
Stan doesn’t do this all the time, but the little boy has told me several times he does not like his “Pop.” We were going outside yesterday and he didn’t want Pop to come with us, and when we were taking them home later he didn’t want Pop to ride in the car with us.
I’ve tried to explain to the child that he shouldn’t dislike his Pop — but lately, I don’t like him either.
This is not new behavior for Stan. He also did it to our own children, especially our oldest — at one time biting her so hard on the arm when she was 10 that he left a bruise. Then he got mad at her for crying.
I’ve thought about telling Stan what our great-grandson has said about him but I’m afraid it will just make things worse. I’m keeping them for a whole week later this month and I am worried. Advise me how to handle this, please!
Teasing or berating a young child and then punishing him for reacting is inexcusable and unacceptable. Yes, it is bullying. Biting a child on the arm hard enough to raise a bruise is abuse. You have either passively accepted this behavior or (at least) have not done enough to disrupt it.
Your priority should be in protecting a young child who has limited ways to protect himself.
So far, your great-grandson is doing a good job by reacting honestly and without fear by pushing back and by not wanting to be with his “Pop.” As far as I can tell, this kid’s instincts are perfect.
In terms of your husband, start with a very honest talk about his behavior and the impact on others. Did someone treat him this way when he was young? Does he really want this little boy to be afraid of him?
You and your husband have a grand opportunity to be heroes to these children by modeling kindness and respect. You should let Stan know that if he can’t handle himself around the children, then he should not be with them. Continue to keep a close eye on them. Dear Amy: Thank you for your response to “Agitated Mom,” the mother who was upset when people teased her daughter to the point of tears. You called this behavior what it is: bullying.
There are healthy ways to kid children, but they need and deserve to be in on the joke. Otherwise it’s just an adult being cruel.
Dear Amy: You frequently
field questions from people who behave very poorly to their daughter or son-in-law.
I’d like to offer my point of view about this: Being nasty toward the parent (or future parent) of your grandchildren is really dumb.
This is wise advice. Amy’s column appears seven days a week at
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