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Grandparent using gesture to silence child

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VVV

My in laws have been staying with us for a week. My daughter is 3.5 and I have noticed that my FIL will say her name (often when she’s not even talking) and put his finger to his lips and say “shhh.” I’ve noted that she seems quite confused and is looking to me for reassurance and is giving him a wide berth. It’s making me uncomfortable - it’s teaching her to not express herself or just generally be herself. If she were squealing or making lots of noise I wouldn’t have any issue with it.

 

Also, I have probably made it out to sound extra creepy but I absolutely don’t suspect anything sinister, it just weirds me out. I kind of wish I had said something but they are leaving tomorrow so I have missed my opportunity. Am I overreacting. Note that this man will also just get up from the dinner table and leave plate, cup, cutlery there to be picked up by everyone else so he’s definitely of a different generation.

Edited by VVV

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Mose

It doesn't sound creepy at all to me, I am sorry you are feeling uncomfortable though.

 

I would be letting it go. As you say, he is of a different generation...as we will be when our turn to "grandparent" comes. We don't know exactly how society will change, but we can almost guarantee that many of the things we did or said as parents will be considered unacceptable by the time we are grandparents.

 

It's also worth remembering that living in a house with a 3.5 year old can be exhausting and can be over whelming if you are not used to it - the energy levels are much higher than in a household of retirees!!

 

I always just tell my kids that the grandparents do things differently and we try to be polite and go with it unless what they are suggesting is actually dangerous. And where MIL is concerned, I tell myself repeatedly that she raised DH whom I love very much, so she is unlikely to do any damage to my children. (Often muttered to myself under my breath with fairly bad grace..but I do know it to be true!)

 

Hope the next 24 hours goes quickly.

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lizzzard

People who are not used to living with little kids can find them noisy... you probably don’t notice because you’ve become desensitised to it. In some ways, a silent gesture is better than constantly telling her to be quiet don’t you think? I’d say you’re over thinking it a little - the look of confusion is just that (3.5 yr olds tend to be confused a lot!) and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing for little kids to learn to take a break from ‘expressing themselves’ occasionally?

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McG2013

Get him to stay in a hotel next time. Hate when people try to change kids normal behaviour in their own home. Don't like it, don't stay.

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eachschoolholidays

It doesn’t sound creepy. It just sounds like he is finding your daughter too noisy. I think you may be overreacting on this one.

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born.a.girl

My in laws have been staying with us for a week. My daughter is 3.5 and I have noticed that my FIL will say her name (often when she’s not even talking) and put his finger to his lips and say “shhh.” I’ve noted that she seems quite confused and is looking to me for reassurance and is giving him a wide berth. It’s making me uncomfortable - it’s teaching her to not express herself or just generally be herself. If she were squealing or making lots of noise I wouldn’t have any issue with it.

 

Also, I have probably made it out to sound extra creepy but I absolutely don’t suspect anything sinister, it just weirds me out. I kind of wish I had said something but they are leaving tomorrow so I have missed my opportunity. Am I overreacting. Note that this man will also just get up from the dinner table and leave plate, cup, cutlery there to be picked up by everyone else so he’s definitely of a different generation.

 

That's not generational, unless he's over 90.

 

I'm 67, and I can tell you there are selfish people around, generally men, who assume it's someone else's job.

 

How many threads have we had on EB about partners not pulling their weight, and being oblivious to the thought load.

 

The only people I give a free pass to in regard to 'generational' stuff is people who were born well before WW2, who were socialised in a very different time.

 

If you fil was of an age to vote in Gough Whitlam, march to save Medicare and march to end our involvement in Vietnam, then he doesn't get a free pass from me.

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born.a.girl

 

I would be letting it go. As you say, he is of a different generation...as we will be when our turn to "grandparent" comes. We don't know exactly how society will change, but we can almost guarantee that many of the things we did or said as parents will be considered unacceptable by the time we are grandparents.

 

 

 

 

Having made my previous comment, I also agree with that.

 

Any of us thrown into a household with kids, suddenly, even one, might find it a bit overwhelming.

 

How many parents here find kids exhausting? Add on another 30 years and I can assure you it's incredibly draining for more than a few hours.

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LambChop

Your reaction seems inflated, are you perhaps just sick of them being in your house period ?

 

You could try shushing him back lol

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Riotproof

Definitely don’t have them stay with you next time.

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Kiwi Bicycle

I have seen this used both at childcare, preschool and school along with the term " indoor voices please".

I actually find that as he is using her name, it's actually considered and not a reactionary hiss for her to be quiet.

I think you are over reacting and she's going to be exposed to the term more in the coming years.

 

And for him using it while she's not talking? Was she making other noise like banging, or a repetitive annoying noise?

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VVV

 

 

And for him using it while she's not talking? Was she making other noise like banging, or a repetitive annoying noise?

 

No, not at all. She could be colouring quietly, or watching tv in a zombie like state and he’ll say her name call her over and make the gesture, that’s when she looks at me like wtf, and that’s the part that’s weirding me out. If he was doing it when she was banging on something, yelling, squealing etc I’d have no problem with it but to call over a quiet child and gesture for her to be quiet is what I find odd.

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kimasa

With the added into I'm feeling like there might be an in joke or surprise between them that you're not in on.

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Grassisgreen

I find it weird. I would politely ask him, “I’ve noticed you doing x, I was just curious why?” I think it’s perfectly fine to ask, even if it is their last day. It may just annoy and irritate you if you don’t.

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gracie1978

I would discuss it next time they stay.

 

Also unless you're only staying for a night, you need to muck in and help. Putting a fish in the kitchen is the least he can do.

 

Although having said that... I recently dealt with something FIL was doing in our home that was unhygienic and causing me a lot of extra work. I think I may have offended him as we haven't heard from him for a week...

Ahhh the serenity.

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IamzFeralz

With the OP’s additional information I find it strange too. I would just outright ask the FIL why he is doing it. Perhaps something has changed with his health or mental clarity?

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BornToLove

With the added info, I’d just ask him ‘DD isn't making any noise. How much quieter can she be FIL?’

 

Sometimes using a neutral but genuinely puzzled tone to call people out makes people stop, think and change their behaviours.

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Lucrezia Bauble

yes it’s weird he’s doing it when she’s not saying anything at all. if she was squealing or shouting, then ,maybe. if he does it again in the small window before they leave i’d probably go the passive aggressive route (‘cause that’s how i roll) “wow [FIL] you must have great hearing, i didn’t think she said anything at all - why are you shushing her?”

 

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Froyo

Perhaps he thinks he's being funny. Maybe he thinks it's a thing that connects him to his grandchild as it gets her focus onto him albeit briefly.

Edited by Froyohoho

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born.a.girl

With your update, that's quite odd, to the extent that I think I'd want to hear from him why he's doing it. If he is starting to develop any memory issues, better to know sooner rather than later.

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born.a.girl

yes it’s weird he’s doing it when she’s not saying anything at all. if she was squealing or shouting, then ,maybe. if he does it again in the small window before they leave i’d probably go the passive aggressive route (‘cause that’s how i roll) “wow [FIL] you must have great hearing, i didn’t think she said anything at all - why are you shushing her?”

 

 

You'll be pleased to hear that's not passive-aggressive - having had a mother who was a classic, and lived to 98, I can recognise it a mile off.

 

PA would be saying to the child 'remember to be quieter than silent or grandpa will be on to you'.

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Lucrezia Bauble

yeh...my mind would go to all sorts of sinister scenarios - that he’s warning her to keep a “secret” - i know the OP said that’s not a concern, so that’s just me being paranoid. but it’s really weird behaviour, from a grown man.

Edited by Lucrezia Bauble
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fig_jam

Sounds more like he is reminding her to keep a secret and I agree it's creepy.

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Ho Ho No

Weird.

 

Next time they wanted to stay, I'd ask if they'd prefer a hotel since Grampy can't hack the "noise".

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Silverstreak

Honestly, I wouldn't be happy with that, it's not up to him to shh your child that's living in her own home and not even making noise when he's saying it. I'd pull him up on it and ask him why he's shh-ing her.

 

Unless he's leaving today, then I'd probably leave it!

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Silverstreak

No, not at all. She could be colouring quietly, or watching tv in a zombie like state and he’ll say her name call her over and make the gesture, that’s when she looks at me like wtf, and that’s the part that’s weirding me out. If he was doing it when she was banging on something, yelling, squealing etc I’d have no problem with it but to call over a quiet child and gesture for her to be quiet is what I find odd.

 

Just saw your update, yeah that sounds a bit off to me, like is he policing her behaviour, or have they got a secret and if so, what the heck is it. I would definitely be asking him about it.

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