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Weird parenting going on...

I have a wonderful friend with two adorable girls,who are 7 and 5. Her husband, however, seems almost crazy controlling. He doesn't hide the fact that he doesn't like kids, and when we go to their house, I hate to see how he treats his own daughters. He's not outright verbally or physically abusive, but it's obvious that they fear him, and he controls every little detail. For example, they've never eaten at their dinner table as a family, because he doesn't want the girls to ruin the chairs. I think that is crazy. The only places they're allowed to play are in their tiny room upstairs, and the rec room in the basement. They aren't allowed to play in the living room or dining room, or even to sit on the furniture. They aren't allowed to put toys anywhere that doesn't have a carpet, because he doesn't want the floors getting scratched. I love this friend and her kids, and it hurts to see him treating them like somehow having perfect furniture and un-marked hardwood floors is more important than kids playing and being a part of the home. Am I overreacting, or is this as weird as I think? Anything I can do?? I avoid going over when he's home because I don't like being around him.

Re: Weird parenting going on...

  • P.s. and I hate bringing my daughter over because I spend the whole time trying to keep her from touching anything or breaking the "rules"!
  • I don't really know that there is anything you can do.  I think the closest I would touch this is that I would stop going over.  When friend asks why, I'd just generally say "Well, it's usually stressful for me.  As your DH has all those rules about where the kids can/can't be and what they can/can't touch - I'd really just rather have playdates at my house."
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  • I totally agree with ECB. I'd just have play dates at my house. I can understand having boundaries but he sounds over the top. Why'd he have kids?
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  • honestly this sounds like my dad. Hopefully like my father he will loosen up as the kids get older. My dad didn't want us on the yard at all or in the "formal" living room. There isn't much you can do about it. Just suggest having fun at your house.
  • Yes it's weird and very unfortunate for the kids.  But it's not abusive.  There's nothing you can do.  He'll pay the price someday when his kids are grown and want nothing to do with him.

    Ditto PPs.  I'd just stop going over and have them to my house. If my friend asked why, I'd tell her the truth.
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  • I had friends who's parents where like this. It's why everyone hung out at my house all the time. My parents really didn't care what we did as long as no drugs, alcohol and we didn't drown each other happened. (We had a pool)

    Just stop going over to her house. If you don't want them at your house, park or inside play areas.
  • Honestly, it sounds like a dad who didn't want kids.... but there's nothing you can do, you're not their parents. If you're not happy with the situation, don't visit them. 

    I don't like the way my sister in law takes care of her son, but I keep my mouth shut. Not my kid and she's not doing anything abusive. 
  • I have a friend who was raised by a father like this. She told me his rule was "do not ever make a mistake. Do it right the first time because if I have to correct what you have done there will be consequences." Needless to say, she is 34, not married, has OCD and a complete inability to make decisions quickly, and her father STILL has complete control over her banking and finances. There is nothing you can do other than stay away from their territory. Like PPs said, one day he will realize what he has done to his kids when they are as messed up as my friend is.
  • Thanks for the advice, I guess I'll just stick to going over when he isn't there or having them at my place. It's just sad to think of what will happen to those girls. I'm sorry to hear the stories of other dads like this. I just hope the girls will realize that their dad is the problem, not them. :(
  • I see where he is trying to go with this in keeping the house nice, but he is way way crazy about it.  I wonder if he has OCD himself or something.  If it comes up and you are really close to the friend, you might ask her if she agrees with his rules on where/ how the kids play or disagree with him, and see what she says, but beyond that I don't think there is much you can do. 
  • This is a mind your own business situation. You may not agree with their father but he is not harming them in any way. Is he too strict and uptight, absolutely, abusive, no. For all you know his wife agrees 100% with his rules. Unless she brings it up then you should leave it alone. Having them over is an excellent solution. 
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