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DH withholding love/silent treatment

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Nov 16 2022, 11:33 pm
2 of my children, ages 10 and 7 recently started having behavior difficulties in school for different reasons. My husband is so upset at them and thinks that he needs to take a firm stand by showing them how upset he is. Normally he is very affectionate and loving towards them, but the past few days, he has been cold and distant to them. I’ve tried explaining to him how damaging and twisted it is what he is doing, I’ve screenshotted google sources showing how damaging this type of parental behavior is, but he maintains that they need “a firm hand” and how else will they get the message. My 7 year old told me tonight that he doesn’t want to be around DH because “Abba doesn’t like me anymore” and my 10 year old begged me to please be the one to wake him up for minyan in the morning because “Abba is annoying”. I can’t bear to watch this emotional abuse and the turmoil it’s creating in my children, but my pleas and explanations fall on deaf ears. What should I do?
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amother




Ghostwhite
 

Post Wed, Nov 16 2022, 11:48 pm
Can you discuss with him what a "firm hand" really means? How this is not showing firmness, but lack of love?
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Nov 17 2022, 12:00 am
Discussed ad nauseum. Brick wall.
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amother




DarkKhaki
 

Post Thu, Nov 17 2022, 12:45 am
I didn’t have good advice but I want to tell you I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Just show them love, if your husband is usually loving he will probably come around. Maybe for now deal with the behavior issues yourself so that your husband isn’t noticing it? He’s obviously not equipped to know how to deal with this, it’s probably not malicious on his part, so maybe take over for now if you can?
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amother




Ghostwhite
 

Post Thu, Nov 17 2022, 12:49 am
Is there anyone you can speak to that he respects, and then quote them? Like Rav so-and-so mentioned xyz about children...
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 17 2022, 6:01 am
Do the kids even understand why he's acting like this around them?

I guess we can understand something of the genetics of the behavior difficulties, given DH's rigidity with you.

When people of any age are too caught up in their emotions, they can't process reason and logic. It sounds like that's happening for DH now, and it may be part of the behavior issues for the boys as well.

My suggestion is twofold. There's a SB concern, and there's a kid concern, and you have to navigate both.

For the kids, since DH's silent treatment isn't going well, what other strategies are in place for dealing with the behavior concerns? Does everyone understand why it's happening, based on data of when it's happening? (For example, a boy can push a classmate because he wants that seat, or because he's angry at that boy, or because he wants to be friends and doesn't know how to engage -- knowing when it's happening can help figure why it's happening, which can determine best responses). Do you and the teachers/rebbes agree on a clear plan of handling the behavior, based on this analysis? If further therapeutic support is needed (OT, ABA, meds, parent coaching, whatever), is it happening?

If all of the above is a yes, then I'd suggest keeping a record. Ask everyone who is working with each DS to report on how each day is going, and what strategies are working. Take notes on daily progress, and what's working. Also take daily notes on kid response to their father's cold shoulder.

For SB, it's important not to get in the middle. If the kids are complaining to you, you can validate their feelings while encouraging them to talk to their father. To the younger -- "Abba loves you, he's just really upset about the problems in school, it's very important to him that you be a mensch, so maybe you can remind him that you're trying harder, and you miss him?" And then, for any subsequent comments, "that's between you and Abba, I think you should talk to him."

To the older, I'd suggest just waking him at his request, but also encourage direct communication. Abba is indeed being annoying, and you can say to him, "yes, I can wake you tomorrow, but I think you should talk to him as well."

Between you and DH, since he has his back up right now, you might want to lay low and take notes for later.

A generally kind and loving father is not likely to cause terrible emotional abuse if he gets cold and distant for a short period of time. Give him some space, he knows you disagree with him, and also needs to know that even when you disagree, you can show him the respect you want him to show the boys. And besides, he literally can't process your point of view right now.

But also keep that journal. Because after the immediate crisis is resolved, that's the time to sit down with him and invite him to think rationally about the data.
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amother




Teal
 

Post Thu, Nov 17 2022, 6:24 am
Ouch no
you are right op
get someone involved asap some professional this is really not ok
definitely would nip this in the bud now before more damage is done and before they hit the teen years
hugs and hatzlocha
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