A young father from Solihull has encountered a barrage of criticism after his long-suffering wife revealed that ‘chasing the children up the stairs on all fours going ‘Raarrr!!!’ every evening’ was his sole contribution to their upbringing.
The nightly routine, which Dan Hurrell, 37, described as ‘Just a bit of fun, that’s all.’ has, after six years, finally driven his wife, Debbie, to breaking point.
‘I just can’t cope any more. I cook all the meals, drop them off at school, do all the washing and cleaning, I’m the one who reads with them after school and at bedtime. All he does is chase them up the stairs every night going ‘Raarrr!!!’. That’s it!’
‘He’s not a bad person,’ she continued, ‘it’s just I think he thinks that’s all there is to being a dad; chasing them up the stairs on all fours going ‘Raarrr!!!’, when there’s more to it than that. If anything, it’s counterproductive as it gets them all excited when I’ve just spent the last half-hour calming them down.’
Immediate neighbour of the Hurrells, Hannah Morgan, also spoke of her and her husband’s frustration at what Dan tries to pass off as being ‘good with the kids’.
‘He’s a nice enough bloke to talk to, but every night it’s the same. Seven thirty, on the dot; stomp stomp stomp ‘Raarrr!!!’ stomp stomp stomp. In the garden too. They’re outside playing nicely when, all of a sudden, the patio doors open and then it’s ‘Raarrr!!!’ all the way round the swings, across the decking, into the house and back out again. For ages. And let me tell you, those kids can scream.’
‘We just close the windows now as soon as we hear the lock on the patio door go.’ added her husband, David.
Consultant psychologist, Dr Fiona Grace, who Debbie Hurrell approached in desperation at her husband’s behaviour, says the practice can result in debilitating repercussions, later in life.
‘Chasing the kids about whilst going ‘Raarrr!!!’ is fine every now and then, but ideally it should be complemented with other, less loud and chasy forms of parental interaction like encouragement or praise.’
‘If that’s all the father does though, it can manifest itself in adulthood as anxiety, shyness and a chronic phobia of going up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.’
She concluded, ‘I’ve spoken to Mr Hurrell about this, he now understands the error of his ways and everyone’s being very supportive. Apart from his father who burst in halfway through our session before chasing him around the room and up the stairs going ‘Raarrr!!!’. But, if anything, I think that just proves my point.’