Seeking advice to stop a teasing Grandfather

FrustratedneedadviceJuly 25, 2012

I'm hoping someone can give me some insight/advice on how to politely change a Grandpa's behavior (my father-in-law).

I have two children: 4.5yrs old and 2.5yrs old. Since my oldest was born we've been having issues with my fil and how he interacts with with them. He used to be very physically rough with them, but through a lot of discussions with him, he has improved immensely in that area.

However, he still teases them both--he mainly calls them "bad" or that he is the "bad grandpa" and that it's "fun to be bad". He's also called my daughter "stupid", "dummy", and other terms that I do not find acceptable for small children (no matter the intent behind them). He has poor judgement on what shows are age appropriate for small children to watch (and he really likes watching movies or TV with them). And he encourages them to bite, scratch, and kick him (all of which are expressly not allowed) by making it into a game.

My mil does not police his behavior at all. However, she gets very insulted if I or my husband complain or make suggestions.

Our relationship with them has suffered greatly. They want us to "back off" and let them do what they want with their grandchildren (and also let them watch them over a weekend). I believe that what my fil is doing is harmful to my children (as evidence by their behavior following almost every visit to their house--especially when they've clearly been hurt and there are tears involved).

I believe family is very important and am fully committed to working things out with them as best we can. But I also feel strongly that we should not leave my children with them unsupervised until some of the issues have been resolved.

So, I guess my question is how can I help them see that what they are doing is harmful? And that my husband and I are not trying to be overly picky about our kids, we're just trying to protect them?

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nigelsgarden

I commend you for protecting your children and it's good to see that you and your husband are working together to do what's best for your family. I know all this is very hard on both of you, especially your DH....but your children come first.

As a GM of a 4 yr old I think you're right not to leave your children with someone that is trying to instill such negative thoughts and violent behavior.
My only guess is GF thinks he's teaching them to be tough, but I'm really shocked that your MIL isn't willing to help correct the problem. If she thinks your FIL is doing nothing wrong then it's going to be difficult to get them to change. You can try giving them reading material that explains why children shouldn't be treated that way, but they may not take the time to read it.
If they're reluctant to sit down and listen to why the roughness concerns you, then write them a letter and give them time to absorb it.

If GF isn't willing to listen to you or make changes in his behavior, then you don't have much option except to supervise all visits.
Ask your husband if this is how he was raised. Your FIL's behavior probably reflects his own childhood and he knows no other way to show affection.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 1:03PM
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emma

I don't think you can change a person like that, he can destroy their self esteem. What I would do is explain that if he doesn't stop you will stay away and follow through if you have to.

I had an uncle in our family that like to tease but he was mean. He would tell the kids to jump off the porch and he would catch them and he did, all except my sister and he would let her hit the ground. Thankfully we lived a state away and didn't see him often. I don't know why my mother allowed it. Maybe because she was raised with them and was intimidated herself.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:19PM
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sylviatexas1

"I don't think you can change a person like tha"

right.

& a person who does this stuff does not think it's okay, does not think it's right, does not think it's nice.

He just thinks he can get away with it, so he's going to do it.

Please get your children away from this guy;
he's an abuser, & they always always get worse.

I wish you & your children the very best.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 5:16PM
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emma

I was wondering if you managed to stop him. I would just pick up my kids and leave and tell them you won't come back until he stops. I was easily hurt as a child and I am very glad my uncle didn't live near us. I am sure my Mom would have stopped if it had gone on very long.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:37AM
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