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Grandpa’s brutality leads to tears – The Denver Post

Dear Amy: Recently, my children and I were with my in-laws (their grandparents) at a crowded event where I relied on my in-law to supervise my son (4 years old) while I was with my granddaughter.

My stepdad tries to connect with my son by “being stupid,” which to him means holding his nose, tickling, tugging while holding hands, and general bullying and clownish behavior.

Occasionally my son laughs with him, but more often than not I can tell by his body language that he feels assaulted by all the unwanted touching.

At one point he fell down and was sobbing because his grandfather had basically pushed him down with an arm wrestle.

As we said goodbye and Grandpa tried to hug him (while saying “you don’t have to hug me if you don’t want to”), my son refused to say goodbye. I said goodbye and started to realize how much brutality there had been, so I asked my son if Grandpa was “pushing” him too much.

He said (surprisingly) “I love Grandpa so much and every time I see him I get so excited to play but he makes me so sad every time because he’s too tough.”

My question is, what is the best way to approach this?

I see a few options. My husband experienced this behavior himself as a child. I don’t think he would be able to handle this effectively with his father. I could encourage my son to defend himself with his grandfather.

I could tell my stepdad what my son said, something like, “I see you really want to connect with our kids, but what you’re doing is the opposite of connecting.

I feel like he’s a bully, but I don’t know if I’m projecting my own feelings onto the situation.

Your advice?


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