This is some really personal stuff. As far as I’m concerned this is the best resource to reach men like me. Looking for some real advice. I am married to a wonderful woman. She has an odd relationship with her father but he is active in our life. We recently had an awesome son. (2 months old) I am now seeing traits in my father-in-law that are burning me to the core that I thought I got over. These traits are starting to get under my skin because due to the lack of living family members in my life and existence of such in my wife’s life my father-in-law will be the second up male role model for my son. The traits in question are A- He calls her sister a bitch constantly and complains that she doesn’t want to spend time with him. (She’s a good person and very educated psych major) B- He calls his girlfriend “wack job” all the time in front of her grand kids. Thus he will do the same in front of his. He treated his ex-wife the same which is why she's his ex-wife. C- When my wife was 18 she spent the night out. She wasn’t living with him but was spending the night over his house due to divorce instructions on a weekend. As opposed to talking about his anger regarding the situation he opted to walk into her job during business hours and slap her. FYI she managed a day care center and yes there were other peoples kids in the room. My blood is starting to boil now over these matters. I understand it’s because I have a son and I don’t want my son to pick up any of this bullshit. I dismissed it earlier as it’s my wife’s family business and I have to back her up. Now the scenario changed and it’s my family business, I have to do whats right. How do I address the subject, should I do it now, should I wait or any other feedback would be appreciated?? FYI this guy treats every guy with RESPECT including me. Gents I am lost man feedback would be great..
You need to talk to your wife about what language will be appropriate in front of your children. Chances are that won't be "b***h" and "wa****b." So you need to talk to her about setting boundaries regarding visits to Grandpa's.
Most other things you need to deal with as you've already dealt with them. As your children get older, however, you'll have to think about what attitudes, in addition to what words, you expose them to. You may have to come up with more subtle, anti-misogyny rules for dealings with your father-in-law.
Also, I don't see how a man can be treating "guys" with all-caps "respect" when he's also the guy that slaps women in public and calls daughters and nieces, etc., derogatory names. Isn't disrespecting someone's daughter or niece or girlfriend also disrespecting the father or uncle or boyfriend?
Thanks for the reply; To elaborate the caps for RESPECT is an implication that I haven’t seen him get “slick” with anyone who can give him any sort of physical retribution.
For the most part, you should stay out of it unless your wife asks you to step in. He's her father. It isn't your job to avenge a public slap from a decade ago, or to intrude on how he speaks to or about his girlfriend or other daughter -- even if it makes your blood boil. Speak to your wife about it, but mind your own business as much as possible.
The exception to that is when he does this around your kids, or in your house, or if he actively attacks your wife now (for instance, I'd throw my father-in-law out if he slapped my wife). In those cases, you should tell him to control himself or watch his language in front of your kids or in your house. Characterize it as a parenting decision, not an attack ... you don't want the kids hearing that kind of crap.
If he verbally attacks your wife in front of you (beyond a simply father/daughter disagreement), I'd simply say, "Do not speak to/about my wife that way." If anything beyond that needs to be done, you need to talk to your wife about it first. Don't start a fight with your father-in-law unless she's fully on board ... and fully understands how badly that fight could go. Ultimately, he is her family, and it is mostly her decision.
This is a marital decision. Decide together how to handle it, and defer to her wishes in most cases (barring extreme circumstances).
Good stuff man well received.
I agree with "This is a marital decision. Decide together how to handle it, and defer to her wishes in most cases (barring extreme circumstances)."
What you do need to do is make it very clear how angry it makes you and that you are concerned that you children will think it is acceptable. Some things are generational but their is a line, and that line is what you want to pass on to your child.
Internally, she may have work to do because of her past, not involving the present-day father. For that matter, so may you.
But externally, the only thing you can really do here I think is prevent present-day problems. I wouldn't be surprised if -- as soon as it comes up -- if you say, "We don't talk like that here. We don't let our children hear words like that" -- or such -- that'll be the end of it. It sounds like he respects power, and that's a powerful thing to say.
Steve that is the question. The fact is his youngest daughter. (My wife’s sister) Doesn’t want to be around him these days because of his conduct. My wife didn’t speak to him for two and a half years after her incident. My Mother-In-Law divorced him for his conduct. There were prior consequences to his actions. He just doesn’t seem to realize they were his fault. I do not want my son to pick up these traits. I am looking for suggestions as to how I address that now or in the future. A- Do I point this reality out to him. Tell him “I want my son to appreciate his family and treat the people he loves with respect and dignity. I would feel like a failure as a dad if my son went around calling his daughter or loved ones names.” B- Do I play it as Jack B said and sell it as a parenting tool addressing it as it comes up with a, “Don’t say stuff like that around my kid.” C- Some other option I’m not seeing. I am spending way too much time thinking about this and it’s heavy on my soul. The other layer of this problem is that communication is dead between him and his kids. Thanks again Gents!
"We don't talk like that here. We don't let our children hear words like that." Said not as a request, but as a sort of policy statement. That is pointing out the reality to him. But if you start with the explanation, it sounds like a request or a discussion.
I'm with Will; time for boundaries. My parents were like that and didn't allow profanity around us as children are walking talking tape decks. If grandpa can't get with the program then he doesn't need to be around. Grandpa can throttle his mouth and behavior if he wants to. If not, so be it. Do you want your children to emulate his behavior? Children will only do what we allow them to do and if we consistently expose them to bad behavior they will emulate it as acceptable. Good luck it may become a thorny situation since your dealing with family.
I think there is an underlying issue with the father-in-law that no one is seeing. I'm not condoning his actions or words by any means but there may be something going on with him that he can't deal with and doesn't know how to ask for help. He may not even know there is a problem.
By all means protect your wife and children but also try guiding your father-in-law toward getting some sort of counseling so he can fix or at least address the root of the problem. This way you win-win. You get your wife and sister-in-law some slack and get their father back for them and a grandfather for your children AND you get peace of mind knowing you helped someone in dire need.
If he decides not to take your advice on counseling then at least you tried your best and dis-invite him from your home.
You have a good point. This does seem to go beyond cultural training. My mother's father was abusive. He died a lonely man in a hospice somewhere. Frankly, given what I know from her memories of the man, I thought it an appropriate end. As you can tell we did not visit him as I grew up. Somethings and people can be fixed and some must be abandoned for the safety of family. But that really has to be a decision made as a couple.