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Shouting at grandchild

(54 Posts)
Lindey Mon 08-Apr-19 21:30:30

I have a lovely family and am lucky enough to have 2 beautiful grandchildren. The oldest little one is almost three years now and is a typical toddler - never sits still for a minute, always up to tricks and can try the patience of a saint. However, he is adorable and is obviously just learning about the world and how to behave. He is so loved by us all, is mostly a gentle, quite shy wee boy and I can honestly say I have never raised my voice to him and try to show him right from wrong in a calm measured way (it's really hard sometimes as many of you will know).

My son in law is a great guy and works hard, pulls his weight at home with the housework and the children and really enjoys being a kind and caring daddy.

My worry is that he has quite a 'short fuse' and I have witnessed him on a couple of occasions losing his temper at the 3 year old and shouting at him. This has resulted in my grandson running out of the room, crying and upset. Daddy then tries to make things up to him by cuddling, etc as he has then realised he has over-reacted. My son in law seems to think my grandson should understand that no means no and should take a telling, but I feel he is expecting too much from such a young child who is just learning right from wrong. Mainly I hate when he raises his voice like this at such a young child and feel that it is totally unnecessary.

I get upset when I see my grandson getting a 'row' in this way, but do not interfere as I do not want to cause any bad feeling. On the few occasions I have witnessed this shouting I have not told my daughter as I do not want to upset or worry her either.

I feel my son in law is just 'learning' himself how to be a good daddy, but finds it hard to control his frustration and temper sometimes. I feel sure this is not an everyday occurrence, but I worry if being shouted at in this way, even if only occasionally, could have a detrimental long term effect on my grandson. I feel it is unacceptable for my son in law to shout in this way at such a young child and wonder about the best way to deal with this. Any positive advice would be welcome. Thank you.

Starlady Sat 11-May-19 15:28:38

Children don't have to be happy about discipline. IMO, that's part of the point - misbehave and there are going to be unpleasant consequences.

Granted, there are more effective ways than shouting to teach a child this lesson. But DD and SIL are going to have to figure this out themselves. Anything you say, Lindey, would, unfortunately, be seen as "interfering," no doubt. I think you're very wise to bring your concerns here instead of to DD or SIL.

"My son in law seems to think my grandson should understand that no means no and should take a telling, but I feel he is expecting too much from such a young child who is just learning right from wrong."

I think you're both right. GS is "just learning right from wrong," but IMO, part of that is learning to obey parents and that "no means no." True, I feel it would be better to distract him from things he's not supposed to do/touch/etc. while still saying "No." But SIL sees it differently and he's the parent (as is DD), not you or me.

As long as he's a good, loving dad, overall, and it's a happy household, I think your GC will be ok. I get how you feel though, and hope that as GS gets older and there are more privileges SIL can take away instead (electronics come to mind), there will be less yelling.

icanhandthemback Wed 08-May-19 11:50:06

I agree with a lot you say, M0nica. I think it is about balance. I think it is also about letting children know there is a line they don’t cross without consequences, talking about why you took a stand and being able to apologise when you get it wrong or you over react. If you’re end game is to bring a child up to be the best adult they can be, they have to learn resilience along with everything else.

M0nica Wed 08-May-19 10:01:48

There is a difference between shouting and losing your temper and shouting in anger - and the second is more worrying.

I confess I was a bit of a shouter, but rarely in anger. although not when the children were as young as 3, usually when they were older and I had gone through all the grades of asking them to do something, telling them to do it. commanding that they do it and finally raising my voice when they continue to ignore me.

I have discussed it with my now very adult children. DD's reaction was, that she knew why I did it because, she for one, had had no intention of doing what I asked, until the alternative, (being shouted at), was marginally worse, than doing what was requested.hmm

As madeline says, a child who never hears a raised voice finds it very difficult to cope with it when it does happen My DH, an only child, grew up in a home entirely quiet and peacefully and this has left him still finding it difficult to accept that someone who likes him/loves him could possibly disagree with him, criticise him or get cross with him, even mildly. To him a negative expression means that person hates him. It has caused him real problems at times, at work and at home.

TwoSlicesOfCake Tue 07-May-19 21:55:06

This thread might be sleeping but I wanted to add that I think (as a mom of an active toddler) that this all seems very natural.
Your reaction, your son-in-law’s reaction and the toddlers reaction.
Dad is responsible for raising the little boy to be a functioning adult. He is to teach him how to behave and consequences. He lives him dearly and wants to prepare him for the world.
Grandma is for hugs and fun. Of course you’re not comfortable with discipline. You are not raising the kiddo. Your role is very different.
The toddler is a toddler. Controlled by impulse, wants what he wants. Emotional when he doesn’t get it. He’ll learn- dad is teaching him.
Take a deep breath and realize it’s all new to everyone, but everyone is doing great!

jeanie99 Wed 10-Apr-19 23:13:32

If you are there when there is the possibility of the little one is creating a situation which SIL may react, try and distract the child into doing something else with you.
It is very difficult but really it is best not to talk to your daughter as she is problably well aware of her husbands temper.
Unless you are asked for advice it is best not to get involved unless your grandchild is in danger.
Your daughter will not thank you for interferring as she loves her husband and will defend him.
They are the parents and need to sort this out together by talking it through.

Deedaa Wed 10-Apr-19 22:17:25

MamaCaz years ago a friend of mine was producing a play with a local amateur group. Some of the actors were beginning to mess around and she eventually got fed up and spoke to them very "forcefully". Her 12 year old son gazed at her in amazement and said "You were using the Mummy voice!!!" The Mummy voice works on grown ups as well grin

dotters Wed 10-Apr-19 16:14:15

I used to witness somebody shouting at his dog and, while feeling sorry for the dog, the actual shouting was very upsetting for us all. Not a pleasant experience for you Lindey.

Jane10 Wed 10-Apr-19 16:04:00

Once, when babysitting, my youngest DGS was being really awkward, refusing to move. I could do nothing with him. DH suddenly picked him up, put him under his arm and said 'That's it. I'm putting you out into the snow.' I was appalled. Result: youngest DGS thinks the sun shines out of DH! He's his favourite person in the family. Incomprehensible!

Magrithea Wed 10-Apr-19 14:47:11

When either our DD or DSiL shout at their children (often with good reason) we keep out of it, as should any grandparent. Getting involved by trying to mediate only sends mixed messages to the child so please don't. It is hard to 'zip it' but they are the child's parents, not you

MamaCaz Wed 10-Apr-19 09:26:36


I think you are so right!

A couple of weeks ago, while at my house, my young GD (5) started being really rude to all of us, including me, when not allowed to continue doing what she wanted (it was someone else's turn!).

Usually, I leave all disciplining to her parents when they are present, but I could see that they were at their wits end and didn't know what to do.

I was so angry, and made a snap decision to act.
I marched her up the stairs and really read her the riot act, about how I would not be spoken to like that in my own home, and would not have behaviour in my own home etc. !

I could hear myself that my voice sounded totally different from normal (very different even from my usual 'cross'voice), and for once in her life, she didn't argue. She sat there open-mouthed!
My last words were, " we will go back downstair now, and you are going to behave, right?" She nodded, meekly.

Riot act over, I took her straight back downstairs and we all carried on as normal, but without the bad behaviour, all her 'attitude' gone.

Just as you said, "a brief loss of temper now and again can be quite instructive"!

B9exchange Wed 10-Apr-19 08:58:31

believed, apologies!

B9exchange Wed 10-Apr-19 08:57:50

Penelope Leach was my bible too! A three year old has to understand 'No' means 'No' to keep them safe. I beleived you never break a promise or a threat, and your child will grow up to respect you, as they know where they are.

I despair for the parents who threaten the naughty step or being sent to a room over and over again. 'If you do that once more', the child does, and the phrase is repeated instead of being acted upon. Similarly if you promise a child a treat for enduring something boring or tedious without complaint, then you must move heaven and earth to provide it.

mumofmadboys Wed 10-Apr-19 07:23:38

I used to love reading Penelope Leach!

Deedaa Tue 09-Apr-19 23:09:38

I had a book by Penelope Leach in the 70s and in it she said that it didn't do small children any harm to occasionally see that they had pushed a parent too far. The operative word being occasionally of course. A brief loss of temper now and again can be quite instructive.

Daddima Tue 09-Apr-19 17:44:30

In many years of running parenting groups, lots of parents give me the “ my dad ( always the dad, strangely enough) only had to raise his voice and I did what I was told” argument! Illustrating the difference between firm and angry could be a struggle!

Someone mentioned using distraction, but I’d assume it wouldn’t be using something which could be seen as a reward. Sorry if I’m preaching to the converted!

Madgran77 Tue 09-Apr-19 17:14:46

grandetante The trouble is, as can be seen on this thread, even politely expressed opinions can be not welcomed and can cause bigger problems. Only the OP will know if that is the case or not

elfies Tue 09-Apr-19 16:42:35

Please try not to have this happen near the bairn will affect him ,believe me .
My beloved dad used had a short fuse ,and used to simply Erupt . For many years I had nightmares about being tiny with no voice and having giant people bellowing at me . In time these nightmares eased , but I still panic if someone (or even a Tv programme) is shouty and overloud .
And I'm now in my Seventies

Dancinggran Tue 09-Apr-19 16:02:29

My SiL is the same however he doesn't shout at the children all the time and he is a loving father who adores the children and I assume it's the same with yours. It does still upset me if I hear him shout but they are now 9&7, are both extremely happy and well adjusted who have a happy, wonderful, loving relationship with both their parents.

Saggi Tue 09-Apr-19 15:44:01

My son in law is the most lovely dad...but... when he has to reprimand one of his children he insists on the longest monologue and most boring
Explanations of why they shouldn’t have done what they did... that any child would just wish for a clip round the ear and that being an end to it. Thank goodness that’s how I was brought up.I see my erring grandchild glazing over with the tediousness I’d it all.

trisher Tue 09-Apr-19 15:00:49

Cuddles would only be confusing if the father was apologising and saying he shouldn't have shouted. If he is saying I love you even when you are naughty he is giving a positive message.
Nothing wrong with a child knowing some adults can be bad tempered. My mum's dad was very grumpy and could really snap at you, however he also had a great sense of humour, taught me all sorts of tricks and jokes and helped me play them on people. You learned to judge what mood he was in.

Gonegirl Tue 09-Apr-19 14:48:56

I don't think the cuddles after shouting are confusing. Just showing the child is still loved in spite of his being naughty.

quizqueen Tue 09-Apr-19 14:30:09

Parents who lose control with their children and scream at them very often produce children who grow up to be the same, unfortunately, or it goes the opposite way and they become adults who are afraid of confrontation. Of course, no means no, but it be enforced calmly.

Can your daughter video him when he is shouting and play it back to him. He may be shocked out of doing it when he sees himself but it's up to her to sort it out really, not you. You could point out your concerns to her if you have that sot of relationship. He needs to use the old 'count to 10' method.

oldmom Tue 09-Apr-19 14:21:35

Shouting is not ideal, and it's good that your SIL actually realises that.

However, if your GS is neurotypical, 3 years old is NOT too young to know that No means No. A 2 year old should know that, if parents are consistent. Don't mollycoddle your GS and let him think he can get away with blue murder with you, it will just make his father's job even harder. A 3 year old is not a baby any more.

Namsnanny Tue 09-Apr-19 14:11:13

Well there’s shouting and there’s SHOUTING!!
As others have pointed out cuddles afterward is confusing for a child. Better to sit down together and explain why dad behaved this way. Not condoning it, not endorsing child’s behaviour either. Like everything to do with child care (any relationship really) it’s trying to keep to the middle ground.

Sandigold Tue 09-Apr-19 13:33:02

It's far from ideal I think the shouting followed by cuddles is a very confusing message. And the child is very young. What to do? I have s similar issue in my family. If you can offer a helpful suggestion when you SIL is remorseful....but yes it's s minefield. Shouting can be considered emotionally abusive and it can be traumatic especially if your grandson is highly sensitive. I've spoken to a family member in a similar situation and gave him a book called Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Niel Janis Norton. Wish you well.