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Grandparent using gesture to silence child


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#51 born.a.girl

Posted 30 December 2019 - 06:08 AM

I was thinking, too, that if he's going deaf, he may be trying to get in before she makes any noise.  i.e. keep being quiet the way you are now, because when you do make background noise, I can't hear what anyone's saying.

Totally inappropriate, but from what you say about him not clearing his dishes away, sounds possible.

#52 CallMeFeral

Posted 30 December 2019 - 10:34 AM

Wouldn't be weird if it was when she was being noisy, but is definitely strange when she isn't.

View Postfig_jam, on 29 December 2019 - 08:14 AM, said:

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

Yeah, my mind goes there too. Hopefully it's some other sort of in joke but it's a bit worrying.

View PostPhillipaCrawford, on 29 December 2019 - 08:57 AM, said:

As Froyo said, if there was a secret he wanted her to keep he would hardly be making gestures where all could see.

No. Grooming behaviour definitely includes stuff right where everyone can see - that's how it's normalised and the child is taught to think that certain things are normal, or gaslighted into thinking they are in the wrong, because "but he did it in front of everyone, it must be ok?". Similarly people surrounding assume the intent is innocent because it's so public. Many, many children have been groomed right under their parents eyes. Sometimes that's part of the thrill/power trip for the groomers.

I'm not saying he's doing this. But seeking security in the fact that someone has done something publicly is playing right into these people's hands. A person could very easily use a technique like this to demonstrate to a child that it's perfectly ok to have secrets with them right in front of their parents faces. The parents noticing and not intervening can then be used as proof to the child that a) it's expected and ok, and b) the parents won't do anything about whatever is going on.

Again, not saying that's necessarily the case in this scenario.

#53 PrincessPeach

Posted 30 December 2019 - 11:07 AM

It's certainly odd, but having a parent with early stages of dementia, odd things like that is one thing they do - so my mind doesnt go creepy, but cognitive impairment.

Ask outright next time, because its one thing if she was squeeling & yelling to do that.

#54 Ozquoll

Posted 30 December 2019 - 12:56 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 30 December 2019 - 10:34 AM, said:


No. Grooming behaviour definitely includes stuff right where everyone can see - that's how it's normalised and the child is taught to think that certain things are normal, or gaslighted into thinking they are in the wrong, because "but he did it in front of everyone, it must be ok?". Similarly people surrounding assume the intent is innocent because it's so public. Many, many children have been groomed right under their parents eyes. Sometimes that's part of the thrill/power trip for the groomers.

I'm not saying he's doing this. But seeking security in the fact that someone has done something publicly is playing right into these people's hands. A person could very easily use a technique like this to demonstrate to a child that it's perfectly ok to have secrets with them right in front of their parents faces. The parents noticing and not intervening can then be used as proof to the child that a) it's expected and ok, and b) the parents won't do anything about whatever is going on.

Again, not saying that's necessarily the case in this scenario.
The brother of one of my friends is a child abuser, and I have seen him do exactly what you describe. In front of various adults, including her parents, he told an 8yo girl she was going to grow up to be a tramp (ie s*ut). He did not say it jokingly, and she clearly perceived he was saying something nasty. I am not quick off the mark at the best of times, and I just sat there speechless that an adult would say this to a small child. The parents (who are normal, loving people) did not tell him off either, presumably because the child abuser had slowly got them used to him saying stuff like that. Years later when I saw the documentaries about Jimmy Savile, he reminded me strongly of that child abuser.

None of this means the grandparent in the OP is a child abuser - more likely he's just a grumpy old sh*t. But it is certainly true that plenty of child abusers operate almost openly, flaunting their skills at manipulating people to not see what is in plain sight.

#55 Dianalynch

Posted 30 December 2019 - 04:18 PM

Inappropriate at best, creepy at worst. It’s not okay to make your dd feel uncomfortable in her own home. Would he silence an adult that way? Definitely ask next visit, and ask your dd about it too, eg did she know what it meant, did it confuse her, reassure her she did nothing wrong, etc.
Op if it felt a bit off/weird, trust that instinct.

#56 Ivy Ivy

Posted 30 December 2019 - 04:41 PM

Can you ring and ask him over the phone why he did it?

#57 marple

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:09 PM

Yes I would just ring and ask. You should have asked before he left if you were really worried. Everyone is very quick to dramatise so I would ring and check. Maybe ask your daughter too if she knows why Grandpa was telling her to shush.
He is probably like my Grandma and he couldn't hear anyone speaking if there was any other noise. We got her new ( expensive)  hearing aids and that fixed the problem.

#58 lazycritter

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:15 PM

Just from reading the initial post, I would find it irritating if not weird.  I would flat out ask him why the duck he was shushing my perfectly quiet child.

#59 Ellie bean

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:17 PM

I’d probably just talk to your daughter, along with ongoing discussions about how there are no secrets from mum and you can tell mum anything and you will never get in trouble for it, and ongoing age appropriate discussions about bodily autonomy etc (we do those discussions here anyway), and then ask him next time he visits if it happens again
It’s probably nothing sinister BUT it’s best to arm your child with age appropriate tools anyway and keep a bit of an eye on anything that seems creepy or potentially grooming

#60 Tall Poppy

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:18 PM

I would get your DH to ring and ask him about it. There’s a few things it could be I think creepy or dementia. It could be hearing declining or just cranky old man. if you have more information then you can plan what to do next. If hearing aids resolved the issue it would be better to know sooner than later, wouldn’t it?

#61 anon039

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:23 PM

Have you said to him
“ she wasn’t making a sound so I’m wondering why you’re  shushing her?”

#62 Oriental lily

Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:59 PM

Op I am not THAT old (43) but my hearing is not brilliant . I weirdly can concentrate better on the tv when no one is in the room . Even if they are silent . I think it’s the expectation that they will make a noise and make it harder to hear . I do have five kids so on edge lol .

Op could be that . I don’t Shush my silent companions in front of the tv but inwardly groan and think I wish they could all bugger of . I don’t really even try to watch telly now until the kids are in bed .

Could be he is irritable and grumpy . Common state of being for elderly men . And for irate mothers obviously .

Or could be creepy and suss .

Talk to you DH about it . He might turn around and say he has been doing it his whole life . Or might be concerned himself and want to get to the bottom of it .

#63 nasty buddha

Posted 30 December 2019 - 06:58 PM

It is a shame you didn't ask him while he was there as there is likely to be a next time right?

I wouldn't let this go. I would your FIL and ask. Or ask your DH to call and ask.

Regardless of the answer you are likely to want to closely monitor all future interactions and I think that is understandable.

#64 born.a.girl

Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:22 PM

I'm surprised at how many people are suggesting calling him about this.

1) He is possibly DEAF.  "WHAT?? WHY DID I WHOOSH HER?"

2) If it's dementia he'll have little to no comprehension of the problem, even though he may vaguely remember doing it, and say it was because she was being noisy.

"No she wasn't."  "Yes, she was."  Stalemate.


3) If it's suss, he'll pretend you're making things up.

4) He'll have a perfectly logical explanation.    I find this unlikely, as even if the reason is 'I want to to say shushed as you are now' he's unlikely to be able to articulate that in a way that you accept, given it's verging on weird.



Really, the only opportunity to find out is immediately as he does it and say words to the effect 'gosh I didn't hear a peep out of her, why are you shushing her?'.

If it's not questioned 'in the moment' then I suspect your chance of getting a straight answer from him are low, which could give rise to further anxiety on your part.

#65 Ivy Ivy

Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:38 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 30 December 2019 - 07:22 PM, said:

I'm surprised at how many people are suggesting calling him about this.

1) He is possibly DEAF.  "WHAT?? WHY DID I WHOOSH HER?"

2) If it's dementia he'll have little to no comprehension of the problem, even though he may vaguely remember doing it, and say it was because she was being noisy.

"No she wasn't."  "Yes, she was."  Stalemate.


3) If it's suss, he'll pretend you're making things up.

4) He'll have a perfectly logical explanation. I find this unlikely, as even if the reason is 'I want to to say shushed as you are now' he's unlikely to be able to articulate that in a way that you accept, given it's verging on weird.



Really, the only opportunity to find out is immediately as he does it and say words to the effect 'gosh I didn't hear a peep out of her, why are you shushing her?'.

If it's not questioned 'in the moment' then I suspect your chance of getting a straight answer from him are low, which could give rise to further anxiety on your part.

Ahh, born.a.girl, you're obviously nicer and less manipulative than me, because the main reason I'd be asking him, is to point out I was unimpressed by it, and get him to reflect on how it was probably inappropriate if not plain rude to repeatedly do that to someone, and change his behaviour, i.e. NOT DO IT TO MY DAUGHTER AGAIN.

Obviously if he is dementing he has my sympathy instead of my irritation.  But if there were no other soft signs of dementia noticed by anyone, I think he was just being a selfish berk, and I'd be pointing that out in my tone and vocab when I discussed the "why" with him.

I'd have done it face to face, but telephone is the next best option.  Not asking him at all, or waiting till next time, is a terrible idea IMHO.  I'd want him to know I wasn't impressed.  That way if nothing else, next time he comes, he knows that if he can't stop that BS behaviour, he won't be so welcome staying with me.

(Wouldn't be welcome anyway with the entitled 'be my domestic slave' attitude but possibly others aren't as p*ssed off by that as I am.  I hate waiting on men who have that attitude.)

#66 VVV

Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:42 PM

There were no signs of dementia that I noticed over the week that he spent with us, mind you I’m not an expert. He is a very entitled, chauvinistic man.

#67 MooGuru

Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:50 PM

Did you ask your DH about it?  Sorry if you already answered and I missed it.

#68 VVV

Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:52 PM

Yes, I did ask my DH and he said he didn’t notice it happening, he said we will question it when we see it happen next time.




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