Odd behavior


#1

My husband has been exhibiting some unsettling behavior and I'd like to know if I'm overreacting. He's semi-retired and works from home part-time. Over the last year and a half, he's become the Pied Piper of the neighborhood with an entourage of pre-teen children (mostly girls, one boy) that hang around inside and outside our house. I've asked, begged, and pleaded for him to not bring the kids inside - my children are all married and gone, so they're not coming in to play with anyone but him. I'm not interested in cleaning up after the neighborhood children and having them underfoot, not to mention the complete lack of privacy because I never know who hubby is going to bring into the house. If I get upset, he'll promise to stop and then after a few days, it starts all over again. Last week I had an 11 year old girl (home from school with chicken pox!) in my house for an entire afternoon, from 1:00 til 6:00. I lost it after she left, and again the promises were made which were broken last night. The doorbell rang about 7:30 as we were settling in to watch a movie and he invited a 12 y.o. boy in, then was rude to me in front of the boy when I said I thought we were going to watch the movie. Needless to say the movie didn't get watched and he's not speaking to me because I blew up after the boy finally left.

I also find it odd that he has the cell phone numbers for three of the children stored in his cell phone. The whole thing creeps me out and I don't know what to do. Am I overreacting? He obviously doesn't care what I think. Can anyone offer any advice?


#2

Can I ask for a bit more information.

The adult kids you have...do they visit often? Are you in contact with them? Could your husband just be very lonely and longing for the days of having a house full of kids?

You said you were creeped out. To take a sinister view of the whole thing...has your husband ever acted in a way to make you believe he would be capable of abusing children?


#3

Hmmm, I don’t know if he misses having our kids home - he travelled on business between 45 to 50 weeks of the year when they were growing up and was only home on weekends, so he never really experienced much family life. Our kids live about 8 hours away and have small children, so usually I go see them but he won’t come with me.

As for the creeped out part, it just seems so unnatural sometimes. For instance, he told one of the 11 year old girls that he probably couldn’t talk to her much longer because teenage girls are b****es. I thought that was terrible on several levels.


#4

I’ll agree this all sounds a bit odd the way you describe it.

But what you haven’t said is what he and these children do. Do they have a common hobby or other interest that you don’t share with your husband?


#5

You have every right to be concerned. It’s not normal for a man his age to be behaving like he is. Even if he hasn’t been abusive, it’s not wise to leave him alone with children when he seems so obsessed. Can you contact the children’s parents and request they not let their children come over to your house, especially not after dinner time and alone. What parent would want to have his/her child in such a situation? I know I wouldn’t.

The children may not be telling their parents where they are going. We had a 13 year old haunting out house after we took a kitten in she brought over. I told her I needed a note from her mother and after that we never saw her again.

If your husband won’t cooperate, contact your grown children to see if they can help you make him see reason. Don’t let him be alone with the children whatever you do. Nothing may have happened, but the temptation shouldn’t be put in his way, either. It’s always best to listen to your gut instincts no matter how much you don’t want to. This is not a good situation.


#6

Perhaps you could/should talk to your own children, who know him better (than we do), and get their perspective. ??


#7

I’ve talked to my girls and they think it’s weird. They’re a little confused because he was never that interested when they were that age. Don’t get me wrong, he was good to them and loves them, but he was very busy.


#8

I’m 62, semi-retired as well, and have young girls and teens in all the time and love it. It’s wonderful to have that “active life” in the home. BUT, I still have 13 and 18 yr old daughters at home, -it’s their friends. But without my own children here, I would never think of having children in like that, -as sweet as children are to be around (I don’t have grandchildren, -yet).

So, as innocent as this ‘MIGHT/COULD’ be, , it’s not at all wise or smart to even think about it, -especially in this day and age.


#9

Seems a bit out of the ordinary…especially the child with chicken-pox.

Next time a child shows up, ask if their parent knows, and follow up with a call to the parent.


#10

Thanks, everyone. I think the next step will be to talk to the kids individually about not coming in the house, and then talk to the parents if I can't put a stop to it.

Joseph629, I know what you mean about having life in the house but I'm a quiet person and I feel like my home is invaded on a daily basis. I never felt like this when my own kids were young - I always loved it when they brought friends home and felt like the more, the merrier, so I know exactly what you mean. It's just different when they're not your kids.


#11

[quote="returninglamb, post:10, topic:196288"]
Joseph629, I know what you mean about having life in the house but I'm a quiet person and I feel like my home is invaded on a daily basis. I never felt like this when my own kids were young - I always loved it when they brought friends home and felt like the more, the merrier, so I know exactly what you mean. It's just different when they're not your kids.

[/quote]

Well Returninglamb, that's the other side of this situation. Even if you 'DID' have parents' ok, you have your needs as well, and I would think that your dh -at the least- would be somewhat sensitive to your 'need of being quiet'. I can relate a little. When my daughters have girlfriends in, it's enjoyable and quite manage-able to me. But sometimes when it's boys, -well they can drive ME a little crazy with their high energy. Will keep you and this situation in my prayers.


#12

Seems ok to me taken at face value, but I’m no expert.

Do these children have stable home lives? Are they looking for a father figure? That’s another possibility.

The media brainwashes us to automatically worry about any underage person being with a man alone…and that is wrong. Jesus said we should treasure our children, and perhaps that is all that your husband is doing. So don’t let it scare you unless you really have a reason to be scared. It wouldn’t be fair to your husband or the child who might be seeking friendship.

I’d get in touch with the children’s parents and just make sure they know where they are and if they are ok with their kid hanging out there. That seems like the most prudent direction to take. At the same time, if you want some privacy in your house, that is reasonable as well. Maybe they can schedule hang out time ahead of time? Just make sure you get upset at the situation for the right reasons, and not “possible” reasons. :slight_smile:


#13

Another concern, perhaps too cynical…If it turned out that your husband IS acting inappropriately toward any of these kids, it could lead to a lawsuit which, if bad behavior could be proven, would be won by the plaintiff. You could lose everything. Don’t let him be alone with them. I like the previous suggestions of talking directly to the kids AND their parents.

A second thought just occurred to me. He sounds elderly and sometimes strange things happen to the brain in old age. You might get him to a doctor to check out any possibility of organic brain disease.


#14

Have you asked him why he is doing this? Presumably this behavior started at some point. What changed? It seems particularly odd that he won’t visit his grandchildren, if he is interested in children (in a healthy way, I mean). But he must have some reason. Maybe he feels bad about missing his own children’s growing up and is trying to make up for it somehow. If he is just interested in spending time around children, maybe he could get a part-time job at Chuck E Cheese or something.

The problem is that even if his intentions are totally appropriate, not all accusations of abuse are true. If the parents do NOT know that the kids are visiting with him and if he is spending time alone with the children, when they find out (which they are bound to at some point) the parents may have suspicions, even if they are totally unfounded. You may get somewhere by mentioning the danger he is putting himself in (but maybe not, of course).

Best of luck!

–Jen


#15

I think what tips the scales in the direction of "truly creepy" is that he has some of the children's cell phone numbers. Why on earth would you need their cell phone numbers, not their parent's? :confused:


#16

Even if you are granted permission from the parents, they can still turn around, at some point in the future, with an accusation of inappropriateness. It doesn't have to be true for you to have to pay for defense. When you look at the situation in the light of our oftentimes, litigious culture, as well as where many parents are coming from relative to their children, he seems very vulnerable. Unless you know you trust everyone involved, it could open him up for: his word against theirs.

The cell phone thing is inappropriate to me too. They're minors. His contact is the other parents. Perhaps another person, a close friend of his/yours can show him his vulnerability in this situation.

Is he spending enough time with outside activities and his adult friends? Is he busy enough?
.


#17

I think it’s been settled: It’s very strange.
Now, you must look out for other signs than only from your husband. Are the children that he has over strangely “obedient” to him? Or, do they go all out: laughing, playing, «loudness»,?

Definately talk to the parents of the children, and to the the children themselves.
When talking to the children, be very, very kind. Be careful not to have a harsh tone in your voice (even though you may not mean it, which happens to everyone).

Ask them what they do!


#18

I guess what tipped the scales towards wondering if this behavior is appropriate was finding the children's cell phone numbers saved in his phone. If an adult male had my daughters cell phone numbers when they were that age, I'd have been upset.

I think dh has a good heart and a strong faith, so I'm probably overreacting. I had a long talk with him this evening and once more told him my fears about having unrelated children in the house, especially when I'm out of town. He agreed that it's probably not a good idea and that he would sit out on the porch with them and not bring them inside. I hope he means it this time.

Our grandchildren are babies and toddlers and he's never been interested in kids at that stage. Crying babies and 2 year old temper tantrums make him crazy! Hopefully he'll be willing to visit them when they're more able to interact. I think revert_jen may be right, that maybe this is his way of making up for missing so much of his own children's childhood. Given that, I still plan to talk to all the children and parents. I'll stress that this my issue, not anything they've done.


#19

This is weird. What could a middle aged man possibly offer that would be interesting to pre-teen kids? Food? Movies, games? Weird.

Definitely weird he has their cell phone numbers. What, is he going to call them for a play date??

How odd of the parents of these kids, too. Do they KNOW their kids are hanging out with a middle aged man all day? What is wrong with those parents?


#20

Maybe your husband could volunteer at the Y or with some community organization. I have children myself, but I love children. They make me laugh. I have always worked with children in some capacity for all of my adult life. I see the potential in every one of them and try to encourage them to reach it. They do on occasion get on my nerves, but I have discovered that many tweens are lonely, unsure and looking for someone to listen to them.
Maybe your husband is a good listener at times?

I would definitely caution him, just for his own protection, to always be in sight of another adult. He may be perfectly innocent, but many young girls have been sexualized and molested at an early age. Psychiatrists say that when these girls become attached to a father figure, they may try to come onto the man in a sexual manner, because they don't know how to express affection in any other way.


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