I have a friend who is a wonderful father.He has 2 small children; a boy (4) and a girl (16 months).

He tries really hard with his children and is the primary caregiver for his children. He also works outside the home.

I know he is exhausted, he gets very little sleep. His partner who is a teacher isn't of much help.

My question is how do I tell him at times, he is very abusive with his son? Not physically but verbally and mentally. I need to know how to handle this please.

  • 11
    You need to provide a bit more information, more specifically how is he abusing? It might help for us to know how so that we can advice on how to combat that. – Bugs May 25 '17 at 6:55

Of course it is important to clarify what you mean when you say he is abusing them, how often this occurs and why this happens and what are the consequences.

Having said that, you might adopt a gentle approach in the sense that you try to teach him best parenting practices, maybe staying with him and supporting him in specific occasions, and providing an example. In other words, rather than simply stigmatizing his faults, you could say he is a good father, but everybody can improve. But you must be careful, as this approach might fail if he is not attentive or if the abuse is caused by deeper issues.

The other approach, harsher but more transparent, is just telling him that in your opinion he is abusing them, and that he need to find some formal support from relatives, friends, and/or professionals.

If you really care about him, don't be shy and go for the second strategy, while then supporting him as spelled out in the first one.

  • 1
    Thank you for all your suggestions .They are all very helpfull .My friend is a wonderfull father . He is simply overwhemled at times like all parents.He comes from a family that is very loud ,where its normal to raise your voice.I am trying to help him in a gentle way ,I am an advacate for his children,and will always be. – Rebecca J Bailey May 25 '17 at 16:30

Without knowing what level of abuse you are seeing, it is almost impossible to answer. The only thing I can suggest is to offer some childcare to give this "wonderful father" a break. When you witness some (in your opinion) over-the-top discipline or anger, or you see a situation beginning to build, that's the time to quietly say something like, "I can see you have a lot on your plate. Could I help? I could watch the children while you go and...." -- whatever seems to make sense.

This is supportive and lets him know in a non-confrontational way, that his level of anger is a bit much. You are offering something concrete but without 'in his face' judgement.

You did not say if his partner is the other parent, though it seems like they could be doing more. Your offer of help might also shine a light on that.

If you do involve yourself, be prepared for a push-back. No parent wants to be shown that they are doing a less than stellar job of parenting and any offer of help might be taken exactly that way.

It sounds like the children could use your advocacy.

  • 1
    +1 this is a very good and reasonable answer. This way no matter how objective the OP is they are likely to minimize harm and potentially do good. – DRF May 25 '17 at 12:29
  • @DRF my concern is that "very abusive" is actually that. Then Child Protective Services should be called because any abuse is seriously not okay. I almost added that in my answer but hate to jump to that conclusion. – WRX May 25 '17 at 12:33
  • 1
    The answer does slightly hint in that direction due to the apologist tones, but having experience with child protective services (from having acquaintances who work there or doing work for them) Im extremely wary of recommending them as a solution for anything but the most severe cases. Maybe the US is better in some places but Im skeptical. Its really a money+time issue in a sense so I doubt its better anywhere as a rule. – DRF May 25 '17 at 12:37
  • @DRF I don't 'trust' CPS universally. I was in constant contact with them as a teacher and felt some caseworkers cared deeply about their charge's best interests and more than a few did not. It is always a last resort unless it IS abuse. I don't think we have enough to go on from the OP's question. – WRX May 25 '17 at 12:46
  • 1
    The question not answer obviously. – DRF May 25 '17 at 12:46

As others have said, it's hard to offer advice in the absence of specifics, but here's one strategy I've found that worked well occasionally:

Later, when the kids are not around, either cite a parallel where you handled things differently or, if necessary, make one up. Start by saying "X [the kid you handled or the one you've made up] also used to do that, it was really irritating. So I tried out this thing and I was really surprised at how well it worked." If you think your friend may be more likely to believe it if there's an external expert authority, cite a counselor or teacher or, again, make one up. If your friend is not too focused on themselves (which unfortunately some people are) they may decide to learn from the parallel. If they don't, and consistently refuse advice, then it may be best to do what @Joe_74 suggested and bring it up directly.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.