babysitting a cracking up father with abusive thoughts
February 26, 2013 8:25 PM Subscribe
Helping my boss' husband out with their 2 little kids while she's away. He snapped and pushed them away roughly (imagining hitting them, he told me later) and left me alone with the 2 inconsolable children.
What can/should I tell my boss? HOW?
Any good resources I can recommend to a couple with 2 terrible twos and many more meltdowns to come?
posted by chrysanthemum to human relations (46 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Strange situation. I'm babysitting for my boss, whom I adore, who is currently out of town at a conference. So I'm helping her husband out with the kids. She is totally in control of everything in the household (a scientist at work and at home) and likes everything done correctly and efficiently, which means that she doesn't let her husband do anything. This makes it difficult when she leaves. They also never have babysitters so the kids aren't used to other authority figures in their house.
I'm babysitting 2 boys under 4 yo for several days (helping the father out while mother is out of town). Bedtime was difficult tonight, and while I'm good with kids, I'm not their mother. Father couldn't get 3 yo to stay in bed, and this tantrum woke up 1.5 yo, who wasn't comforted by me and ran to father. He lost his shit and roughly tossed the comfort-seeking children away from him and ran out of the room (leaving me unsure if he would come back). What can/should I tell the mother (my boss, who's a terrific person and mother)? And HOW do I say it?
I talked to the father after the incident and he asked me how I could change his child's behavior (the older one, who doesn't want to go to bed). I told him to start with himself--that he needs to not be stressed around the kids--he has been terribly stressed out and negatively thinking as long as I've known him and hasn't interacted with kids before his own. Not being stressed out in the first place means the threshold for his breakdown will be a little higher. He didn't really buy that and was looking for concrete ways to change his child but would rule out all of my suggestions (making dinner earlier instead of right before bed, changing the menu--the child always stalls with soup or forces the parents to feed him, letting the older kid stay up and do a quiet activity after bedtime).
The father admitted to me that during the incident (of him throwing off the children), all he could do was imagine hitting them. He felt like he was being suffocated by them and couldn't handle it. Even while he was telling me this, it sounded like he was considering hitting them. He DIDN'T. And he was scared of the thought of doing it, but I'm scared of not doing anything about this situation. I think he's just too close to snapping.
Last time I babysat (same situation, but they were 6 months younger), I told my boss that she really needed to let her husband help out so he could not stress out so much, but she complained that he wasn't as fast or as good as she was.
What can I tell my boss? I won't see her for a couple days, but I want to email her about the situation. I really think he needs counseling or some dramatic change in his life. Is there a tactful way of suggesting this?