Dear Abby vs White Trash Mom
The problem is my father. Dad is very physically affectionate, even against the will of our daughter. For example, if she walks past him, he'll grab her and squeeze her and kiss her while she struggles to break free. It's all in the spirit of a playful hug, but it bothers my wife and me to hear and see our little daughter say "No!" and struggle to get away while he says things like, "No, I'm not going to let you get away. This is what a granddad does."
My father imposes the same behavior on me, coming up behind me and forcibly hugging me while I cook, wash dishes or some other task. When I say this makes me uncomfortable, he either acts offended or makes fun of me. His aggressive demand for physical affection is becoming an issue with us. But when we say things like, "Let her go" or "Respect her boundaries," my parents make light of the situation. In fact, my mother said on her last visit, "Your daughter HAS no boundaries!"
What can we do to protect ourselves and our kids from my father's aggression without hurting his feelings or starting a fight? -- ANXIOUS DAD IN OHIO
Here is the reply from DEAR ABBY:
DEAR ANXIOUS DAD: Perhaps back in the day when your parents were raising you, children didn't have boundaries, but times and circumstances have changed. Today, parents teach children to assert themselves if someone's touch makes them uncomfortable so they will be less submissive if an adult tries to take advantage of them.
There may not be a way to protect yourselves and your children from your father without "hurting his feelings" or "starting an argument." People as insensitive to the feelings of others as he appears to be are usually hypersensitive when it comes to their own.
Because your father (and mother) refuse to accept YOUR boundaries when you ask him to let your daughter go, recognize that his time with your children should be severely curtailed until they're old enough to fight him off. And the next time he grabs you from behind, don't "suggest" that it makes you uncomfortable; INSIST that he let you go.
DEAR ABBY has been giving good advice for years. I can't say that her advice is not good. However, White Trash Mom, has a little different, a more DIRECT approach communicating with "Anxious Dad" about his creepy dad and mom.
DEAR ANXIOUS DAD: Quit being a wuss! Your dad and mom, while I am sure they don't realize it, are being totally creepy. Okay---I am being NICE when I say that they don't realize it. They probably DO REALIZE it and they don't care! People that say things like "Children Don't HAVE Boundaries" make me break into hives.
I question whether or not you have explored all the "issues" that you have with your dad, if he comes up and GRABS YOU and you don't feel comfortable----and you're a grown man. Think of how bad it makes your little girl feel!
Get a backbone for God's sakes! If it creeps you out-----it has to really upset your daughter! I understand you don't want to create conflict but the creepy parents you have are acting like bullies-----and bullies respond ONLY to force. I understand that things change with generations but they don't respect you or your family. Protect your daughter.