To get really uncomfortable around a friend when she smacks her children...

(236 Posts)
Toowittoowoo Mon 11-Feb-13 16:23:38

....and other harsh (in my view) disciplining?

I know it is none of my business how somebody else disciplines their DCs but they are all under 3 and they are so lovely. I also don't always understand why they are smacked - seems like trivial things to me. I just can't see my friend in the same way as I used to if she is capable of treating her children like that.

Emsmaman Mon 11-Feb-13 16:27:29

YANBU, I wouldn't want to be around that. Not much you can do since it's legal but I would cut contact if possible.

As an aside I have noticed a "friend" well wife of a friend posting pro-smacking stuff on facebook and she works in a nursery shock. I hope none of the staff at DD's nursery feel the same!

BubblegumPie Mon 11-Feb-13 16:29:28

I actually felt sick after a relative smacked his three year old. I do try not to judge people but it does make me feel very uncomfortable. I don't think you're being unreasonable to FEEL anything, it's more what you do about the way you feel.

It sounds as if you think your friend is overreacting and giving out harsher than necessary punishments, maybe you could chat with her about how stressful raising children can be and how important it is to try and have some 'me time'. Maybe you could offer to babysit occasionally?

You might find that with support and a bit of relaxing child free time your friend copes a bit better and isn't so quick to smack?

Callisto Mon 11-Feb-13 16:29:31

I couldn't be friends with someone who regularly whacked their very young children. And I would have to tell said 'friend' why I was withdrawing my friendship. I also wouldn't want my DD witnessing other children being hit.

How regular is the hitting?

ToothGah Mon 11-Feb-13 16:31:04

My aunt and uncle used to smack my cousin. Until she was about 15 confused

It was horrendous and I can still remember how I felt when it happened as a kid. Can still remember her wailing sad YANBU.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 16:32:52

I couldn't be friends with someone who regularly smacked their children. It would make me feel awful.

Toowittoowoo Mon 11-Feb-13 16:36:49

Fairly regular and it is used as a threat A LOT e.g. "if you don't do XYZ then you'll get a smack".

Can't talk to her about it - she has 3 DCs and I have 1 DC. She would be right in thinking that I have no experience of dealing with 3 toddlers at the same time.

We've been friends for a long time but I don't think I agree with any of their parenting choices. Obviously nothing to do with me but I does change how you think about people.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:38:22

Send her to the salt mines if you can. Alternatively if she is mildly chastising her children with a mild slap you could just get a grip.

georgedawes Mon 11-Feb-13 16:42:19

A mild slap?!

What a lovely phrase.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 16:47:00

I binned a friend because of this. I didn't want my children to see me giving positive regard to somebody who hits children. And I found it increasingly difficult to like her. I just don't have any respect for someone who hits smaller, weaker people.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:47:17

Well my kids survived parental smacking. And they are fine and we had a much nicer time with them than others who basically tried to negotiate with brats for years. All ended up nice kids at the end except we had a much better intervening period. So TBH I don't think it makes much difference as long as you are fair.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:48:29

Well I am sure she is happy to be rid Green. I found my ineffectually parenting friends totally irritating.

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 16:49:02

Wouldn't like this as a regular thing.

I have smacked mine on some occasions, blatant disregard or persistent ignoring of family rules but never as a regular thing. That's a bit sad.

I don't know what you can say to her without causing a massive row.

But I couldn't watch this all the time.

Callisto Mon 11-Feb-13 16:49:15

Hard if she is an old friend, but I still couldn't sit back and watch an adult hit a child, no matter what their relationship. Is it a case of her being at the end of her tether do you think (in which case some help may stop her hitting her children so much) or is it a more deliberate 'we use physical force to dicipline' sort of thing?

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 16:49:17

Kids survive all sorts of things. I'd like my children to remember their childhood as something a bit more than "survival" personally.

Nobody is allowed to hit them. And they are not allowed to hit anyone. Because hitting people is wrong. No-brainer.

Callisto Mon 11-Feb-13 16:50:33

Gosh Pessary, a smug hitter. How very unattractive.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:50:41

Note I did not smack my kids very often but it was a back up that was there. Why would I?

aldiwhore Mon 11-Feb-13 16:50:48

You either need to walk away.

Say something, resulting in enforced walking away.

Or see her only when she doesn't have the children and isn't in mum mode. I don't like the way a couple of my friend's parent, I stick to grown up time with them... it very tough, but these are very old and for the most part, very lovely people with very weird ideas on the subject of parenting.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:51:53

Callisto do you realize how much I don't care about you opinion. Can't believe I bothered to post but that's for all of a similar ilk.

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 16:51:58

Pam i agree with ineffectual parenting as bloody annoying but there's too far the other way and smacking all the time is a waste of time.

Voice and tone should be enough, firm consistent boundaries etc.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 16:52:30

DH and I are pretty strict btw and we have high standards for our children's behaviour. DS1 has Aspergers and can be very challenging. He is, however, doing well in mainstream school and is a happy child with lots of friends.

You've done a fab job of showing what is at the root of smacking PessaryPam. Ignorance. The assumption that the only alternative is permissiveness. I recommend parenting classes. It's never too late.

Londonmrss Mon 11-Feb-13 16:54:03

Pessary, are you suggesting that smacking is the only to be effective as a parent?

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:54:13

Of Greensleeves I am afraid my terminally damaged children are all grown up and strangely doing well and happy. But thanks so much for your input.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:54:53

London, no but is is in the tool kit and is the final resort.

Iggly Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:29

Your parenting couldn't have been that good Pessary if you had to keep smacking them.

YANBU. I'd get rid.

twofingerstoGideon Mon 11-Feb-13 16:56:04

I am afraid my terminally damaged children are all grown up and strangely doing well and happy. But thanks so much for your input.

Probably in spite of being smacked, not because of being smacked.
You sound very flippant about your smacking habit...

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:56:16

Iggly I never said I kept smacking them but thanks anyway.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 16:58:01

Oh, too late then. Never mind. They survived hmm

tbh nothing a smacker could call me is going to be worse than "thick bully who hits children to get them to obey". I can't think of anything that would make me feel more shamed than hitting my children. I think it takes a mindset of total arrogance to feel entitled to hit a smaller person and feel fine about it.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:58:04

Oh yes now my Dh and I are on our own as kids are off at uni I have to satisfy my sadistic tendencies on him, or not really in the real world that I live in two.

Londonmrss Mon 11-Feb-13 16:59:36

I have to say while it may be in your toolkit, it's not my tool of choice. I want to educate my child to believe that a violent response is not right. I wouldn't want her to react to something with violence so I will always try and live up to my own standard.
Please don't judge me harshly for my passive and rational tendencies. This is merely the kind of parent I and many others want to be and I do not believe it makes us ineffectual.

Chandon Mon 11-Feb-13 16:59:53

If you are a good friend, you should tell her just that " I don 't know, but it really makes me uncomfortable seeing you smack her."

My mum always said that real friends correct or help their friends when they are making mistakes.

Be brave and stick your neck out.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:00:11

Green I would like you to talk to them. They are really nice people. They are not cowed or screwed up or anything. I understand bad parenting and this was not it. Save your ire for the real transgressors.

Flatbread Mon 11-Feb-13 17:00:34

Oh FFS, why does MN get so melodramatic about smacking?

There was a study which looked at children who were violent and uncontrollable. 50% had been smacked and the other 50% hadn't.

Children who have been smacked don't 'learn' to be violent as compared to other children. Nor does smacking necessarily lead to better behaviour.

It is the whole family dynamics thing and if the children are loved and happy, OP, it is none of your business.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:22

If she's a typical smacker you won't change anything with reasoned argument or offers of support. If you want to change her mind you'll need a transplant surgeon. I'd just walk away.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:26

London that's fine I think it's different strokes for different folks. We all have to do the best we can bringing up kids.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:32

Here Pessary, over here,
How about I smack you?
Cos you are so irritating.
And i feel like it.
So there

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:03:28

And I can smack you back cos I am quite handy, let's do it.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:03:33

Fuck studies.
The sight of an adult hitting a smaller being, because they can, is not right.
I was punched, hit, thrown, you name it. Parents and teachers did it because it was "the norm".
In fact it was unjust and uncivilised.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:04:13

Come on then *Pess", you and me, two adults.
Much fairer. and I reckon my years of dodging flying fists and objects may give me the edge

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:04:31

Irritating is why I am a Pessary, clues in the name. I am also mostly right.

parakeet Mon 11-Feb-13 17:04:57

This statistic There was a study which looked at children who were violent and uncontrollable. 50% had been smacked and the other 50% hadn't. tells us nothing.

Suppose 10 per cent of the population hit their children? Then it would suggest that hitting does make children violent. (And vice versa.)

Flatbread Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:01

Lola, but smacking is not the same as punching, is it?

Like I said, too much melodrama on MN about this.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:15

There have been hundreds of studies. The majority confirm that smacking is a really bad idea. Which is why the NSPCC and everyone else who knows anything about children condemns it.

Deep down, you know it's wrong to hit people who are smaller than you and can't defend themselves. You do it because you can, and you lack the skills to manage your children without brute force.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:34

In your own head dear. There appears to be other on here that widely differ.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:46

People who choose not to inflict physical violence on their children are ineffectual parents?! Ineffectual?!

I've heard it all now.

What would we call a boss who hit members of his/her team when they messed up, arrived late, argued back? An effective leader?

Thought not.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:06:10

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:07:02

Flatbread, they are just so over the top.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:07:18

frequent smacking is not nice and I wouldn't want to be around someone who did this the their DC on a regular basis. Occasional smacking is not such an issue although I would personally find it difficult to smack my DC in public.

Nancy66 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:07:29

I'm certain that the vast majority of smacked children grow up to be healthy, balanced adults.

However it doesn't change the fact that it's a shitty, nasty, bullying thing to do to a child.

I hate wishy-washy parenting. I have no time for mothers who are forever negotiating with their children, who never correct them, never discipline them.

But I also have no time for any adult who thinks it's ok to physically hurt another human being - particularly one a fraction of their size.

moominmarvellous Mon 11-Feb-13 17:07:47

YANBU. I have a friend who slaps his daughter alot and I absolutely hate it. He slaps her for the most trivial things like your friend, and it's got to the stage where she doesn't even flinch.

I'll never forget my DD's reaction when he slapped his then 1 year daughter for touching a toy in our living room. She jumped out of her skin and asked me why he hurt the baby sad

I looked after his child a few times and she was a shocker for biting and hitting when things didn't go her way.

These parents end up looking like deranged child beaters with no self control. The kids don't give a shit because they get slapped for anything and everything. So that seems pretty ineffectual to me.

Londonmrss Mon 11-Feb-13 17:08:30

I think it's like believing in God. As an atheist, my morality is based on the the idea that I want to be good to people, not because I'm scared of divine retribution but because I believe that is the right thing to do.

I want my daughter to make the right choice because they are right... not because she is afraid of violent consequences. I don't care how many times I will have to rationalise with her. It's better than beating her.

Can I ask in what circumstances you think a smack is appropriate? Can you give us an example from your own life perhaps?

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:08:53

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Flatbread Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:25

Suppose 10 per cent of the population hit their children? Then it would suggest that hitting does make children violent. and vice versa

I think 70%+ parents admit to smacking their children.

So it suggests that the children who are disciplined are less likely to be violent...

Londonmrss Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:55

Pessary I was actually hoping for an intelligent debate with you, but as you are aggressive and inarticulate I don't think I'll bother. I'm guessing you are an aggressive and inarticulate parent as well.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 17:12:41

These threads always show up the real problem fairly quickly. Smackers talk about "discipline" when they mean "physical force".

Better education about non-violent effective parenting is what is required. People simply lack the skills.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:13:55

lolaflores Pessary did you not take your anti_aggressive meds today?

Strangely enough not on any meds and I am quietly on the internet on holiday dealing with weirdos. How about you.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:15:35

Londo, I was responding to a 'lets go outside' post from lola. TBH I am not aggressive at all. Just don't like being walked over.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:15:41

Sinus infection, lots of pain killers, to whit, quite zoned out in honesty. Though Pess you sound like you are person nursing a heart full of might want to sort that out whilst you have a bit of you time

twofingerstoGideon Mon 11-Feb-13 17:16:34

Pessary calling a poster an idiot is actually aggressive.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:27

Oh thanks for your concern, I am just impatient of stupidity though. No holiday ever takes that way.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:18:13

nd I can smack you back cos I am quite handy, let's do it."
Your words I believe Pessary

Were your words.
Flatbread punching and slapping may be different but an adult slapping someone much smaller than them is also very different.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:18:59

two I have been called an abusive parent on here, whats worse?

Hulababy Mon 11-Feb-13 17:19:29

I have to admit that I judge parents who resort to smacking. If it was something I was seeing occur regularly i would reduce or cut contact.
If they asked why I would tell them why.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 17:20:25

You're quite right PP. There is nothing worse.

PessaryPam Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:11

Am off now, beach and everything see ya all.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:22

Pessary you invited all of that abuse with your "tone". Do you not understand that if you are so high handed and condescending to those who may not be able to detect your no doubt wonderful line in cynical eyebrow arching sense of humour that in fact you come across in a rather unpleasant light. Then you get all fighty and hurt by peoples responses.
Suppose it might make you want to slap them

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:58

Hmm it would make me uncomfortable but then so does hollering,coaxing,threatening,ignoring dreadful behaviour,loud parenting,hours of over indulgent reaoning etc,etc.

I doubt any of us are perfect.

lolaflores Mon 11-Feb-13 17:22:59

enjoy the beach Pessary enjoy, I sincerely mean that. just lie back and relax, calm down a bit and get your head into your holiday. sounds like you need it.

BabyRoger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:23:01

Yanbu in my opinion. I would say I'm quite a strict parent. I expect good behaviour from my kids and I do jot.negotiate when they've been naughty.

I have never and would never hit them. I just cannot fathom using violence to sort the issue?! Inflicting pain on a small child for any reason just boggles my brain.

Anyway, I couldn't watch someone hitting a child. I just couldn't and I'd tell my friend why I was leaving.

I was hit as a child. Never with an implement or anything but I remember being slapped (usually on the head or legs). I'm fine, not traumatised but times have moved on. It's not acceptable to me. God, I wouldn't want to hit them.

andubelievedthat Mon 11-Feb-13 17:23:14

funny,a post re smacking ,right or wrong ends up as a verbal punch up between some? its always going to be an opinion imo because no one knows how smacking a small person might affect them then ,or later.thou its generally accepted that if a child falls/is hit whilst playing u take them to A&E,me, i was hit /smacked, hated it then ,and for some reason unknown to myself i cannot let anyone i do not reallytrust/know come into my little comfort space /zone>i cannot/willnot try to parent other kids>but my opinion is >hit a child, you teach them that violence is ok ,sometimes.

GetOrf Mon 11-Feb-13 17:23:46

I would dump a friend for this - no interest in spending time with idiots who clout their kids.

One day it will be illegal. I wish it was now. No grey areas then.

GetOrf Mon 11-Feb-13 17:24:39

I think PP is the epitome of a goady fucker. Best ignored really.

BabyRoger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:26:26

I do not negotiate

Hulababy Mon 11-Feb-13 17:27:07

Re. the statistics.

I worked in a prison and we did our own research as part of a parenting programme. One of the things we included was that we asked all the men there who were inside for violent crimes at that time about whether they had been smacked as children. It was nowhere near 50/50. It was much higher. I can't remember the exact figures but it was around 90% or more who had been hit as children. It was the vast majority, very few had not. Still doens't mean a whole lot - statistics can be made to fit whatever you like and one piece of data alone doesn't tell the full story - but ime it was way higher than 50/50 quotes earlier.

Theicingontop Mon 11-Feb-13 17:27:55

I was arrested for assault at 14, when my father decided I could use a slap, and I'd finally decided he could do with one back. Funny old world where it's an offence for a child to hit their parents but deemed a 'parenting tool' when a parent hits their child.

If I ever lost it with DS and hit him, I'd feel like a fucking failure.

Iggly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:28:54

You had to smack more than once? That's what I assume anyway.

Smacking is horrible and lazy.

Fairylea Mon 11-Feb-13 17:31:31

I hate smacking and couldn't be friends with someone that did it.

There's just no need. It says more about the adults lack of control than anything else.

I've never ever smacked my children and it would never enter my head to do so. Ever.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 11-Feb-13 17:38:07

What is it with smacking threads at the mo?

Yanbu. Your friend is lucky you are not me I would feel compelled to say something like

"you are a piss poor parent, I would rather not associate with people like you"

SashaSashays Mon 11-Feb-13 17:39:34

I don't think the smacking aspect is that relevant, its more that you don't like her parenting behaviour.

If you're good friends you should be able to tell her this.

Otherwise don't interact with her as a parent, as I think another poster already suggested. I don't like the parenting styles of a few friends. One screeches constantly, even in public, the kids can't even take a breath without some squawking of their names, embarrassing. One gets herself into such a state then goes to pieces and gets very sort of pathetic or snappy. The other is prone to speaking to her children every 30 seconds meaning I never get to finish a sentence and instead watch her family production of getting a coffee.

The actual crimes aren't relevant, if you don't like her behaviour, don't spend time with her. Smacking might make you uncomfortable, and it does sound as if she is making bizarre use of it, but it could be various other kinds of behaviour so maybe just keep her at arms length for now.

I don't think individual poster's personal preference towards smacking is that relevant its that you are uncomfortable about your friends behaviour regardless of what it is.

bollywoodfan Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:12

I have smacked my DS when he was younger. Now he is 4 and I can't remember the last time he was smacked. Thats because he can understand now and things like taking toys away, time out etc work better.
An occasional smack, which really is just a tap on the hand or bottom, does work ime. How do you reason with a 2 year old? They don't understand that they shouldn't do x because its dangerous/not appropriate. But they do understand that doing x means a smack, so it does stop the behaviour.
Smacking too much is not effective though and if someone is doing it several times a day, something is going wrong i.e other methods like distraction need to be developed. Smacking can and is used by normal, rational people, but its the minority who take it too far.
Unfortunately it is now seen as 'abuse' so people are scared to admit that they do it.

PleasePudding Mon 11-Feb-13 17:54:00

I have spanked my children. Afterwards I always wonder if there is something I could have done which would have prevented the situation escalating. I'm sure there probably is but at the time I do it it is beyond that. It is an extremely rare thing and not something I rely on for normal day to day discipline. I never threaten it. I am not saying this to justify myself but just to give the other side of the story.

There is not uncontrollable rage just immense irritation, it is on the bottom and I seriously doubt that it is painful.

I was spanked, I don't know whether I think it's the right form if discipline. I don't want my children to be scared of me. When I have been close to losing it I have not spanked but walked away. I do not think the fact that I was spanked damaged me apart from maybe conditioning me to spank my own children. I was in an abusive relationship but left pretty quickly so I've never felt that it's ok for people to hit me because I was spanked.

In an ideal world I wouldn't spank my children - I have spanked them for ignoring me telling them not to hit a smaller child and for running out in front of a car and for absolutely point blank refusing to leave the house to take older brother to school and once I think for lying about lying.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive to hit for hitting and probably is but so is confiscating a toy for taking it off another child and all sorts of other things. In fact I do not want my children to replicate our relationship with anyone apart from their own children because the imposition of one's own will onto another persons behaviour should be unique to parent children relationships otherwise it's controlling.

OP I think your friend is over-spanking and threatening and she could probably do with sometime to herself or a holiday to rediscover the magic of her children. I don't think YABU to ask her if she's ok or say that it makes you uncomfortable when she disciplines like that but is there other stress in her life which is causing her to get more irritable?

tedmundo Mon 11-Feb-13 18:05:49

YANBU - that must be such a horrible afternoon out for al concerned if she is smacking the children in front of you. That sounds dreadful.

I would say though, I have felt even MORE uncomfortable watching a "timeout" being enforced by a friend who is forever banging on about how she would never, ever smack...

Her DD was held on the naughty step by force and when that descended into rage, she was strapped, hysterical, into a pushchair for her full 3 minute punishment. Not entirely convinced a single smack on the bottom would not have been less hurtful - both mentally and physically. It was godawful to witness.

Also, I was the first of my group to have children, and a good friend took me aside whilst I was pregnant and tearfully asked me not to "cold parent" as a form of punishment/discipline. She was NEVER smacked but her relationship with her mother is very, very complex as a result of this withdrawal of affection as punishment.

KumquatMae Mon 11-Feb-13 18:07:55

My thoughts on smacking:

"It's the last resort, and they respond to it." Great! What happens if they don't respond? You hit harder? Use a wooden spoon or a belt? Or do you.have to resort to (shock horror) methods that are NOT physical violence?

I do not and will not believe that making the conscious decision to ddliberately cause pain to your own children, in the name of "discipline" is a good parenting choice. Yes your children may well grow up fine, but that doesnt take away the fact that when they were small and powerless, you hurt them. Was it ever acceptable, would it ever be acceptable for them to hit you, or others? No of course not, because the parent is in charge...

SundaysGirl Mon 11-Feb-13 18:07:56

I don't think you ABU to get uncomfortable with smacking and if you find your friends parenting overly harsh.

I would feel similar, I couldn't sit and watch smacks being given out regularly and not say something myself, I don't know anyone who smacks and have never done so myself so thankfully not had to deal with it personally but if I did see it i'd be having some words.

I would be prepared to lose a friendship over it also. I agree with the other posters who say it's not ok to hit anyone, and especially someone much younger and more vulnerable than you.

I raised my had to smack my son once when he was a toddler and I felt I had run out of other options. In that split second I realised that I couldn't be that sort of parent and it would make me feel like a massive shit forever. So I found another way.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 18:24:23

Bollywood, my two year old DS does respond to reason sometimes, for example he understands the concept of hurting himself so if I ask him to stop doing something because he'll get hurt he gets that. But even in cases where reason doesn't work I don't smack. He responds very well to my tone of voice, so if I tell him to stop doing something he generally does, but if that doesn't work then I remove him from the situation. No need to hurt him IME.

gimmecakeandcandy Mon 11-Feb-13 18:32:47

I do not smack my children and think it is the wrong approach, but - I do think pessarypam is getting over the top responses.

Although I don't believe smacking children is the right approach, I'll always tell my kids to defend themselves (in the playground etc) if some other kid hits them and to hit them back.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 18:34:27

I smack my dd on rare occassions and it works. But I can imagine it is a shock to anyone who hasn't witnessed it. I was smacked as a child and I feel I learnt best that way. I do however think yabu to loose friendship over it. I would feel very angry toward anyone of my friends who stopped talking/seeing me simply because my way of discipline is different to theres. However thankfully my friends no I smack and have seen me use this punishment before therefore are not shocked when I do use it. People have different ways of parenting and some feel smacking is an acceptable form of punishment. However, if you do feel she is being really harsh and/or using too much force you should Definitly have a talk with her. I've known people to smack everytime a child does something wrong as the parent has gotten 'used' to using that form of punishment

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 11-Feb-13 18:39:27

Aaaaarghhh, why do I always click on smacking threads when I know full well they raise my blood pressure!! It is not "only" a slap, nor does the "I was spanked and it didn't do my any harm" tripe make it OK. It is not all right for an adult to hit a child. There are always other ways to discipline children. It's a completely outdated method and the sooner it's made bloody illegal, the better.
And breathe...
Oh, and I would ditch that friend. Actually, no, I'd tell her that I found her smacking really upsetting, and stick my neck out and ask if she'd thought about other, non-violent ways to discipline her child. I'd fully expect to be shown the door after that smile

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Feb-13 18:39:32


CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 18:42:42

Just to say, the alternative to smacking isn't other forms of aggression like physically forcing a child into time out, or the withdrawal of affection.

The term discipline has become really corrupted to the point where many seem to feel discipline has to be coercive and negative in order to be effective. Discipline is about teaching a child, which involves recognising their capabilities and their difficulties and working around them. It doesn't mean exerting power over a child so that they conform to certain way of behaving.

What pisses me off most is when I see a parent putting their child in a situation that they're clearly not capable of handling, such as a situation where the child is very hungry or tired or overwhelmed by other children, and then goes ballistic at the child for not behaving perfectly even though the child is either not capable of it or has never been taught how to do it.

You have to do the work with children. You can't just throw them into a situation, expect perfect behaviour and unleash punishment if that doesn't happen. You have to be aware of what they're actually able to manage and don't put them in situations where they are going to misbehave mainly because they just can't handle what's going on.

Fanjounchained Mon 11-Feb-13 18:50:47

OP, you're not being unreasonable. Her behaviour to her child is obviously making you feel very uncomfortable. I would have to tell her why I no longer wanted to be friends with her though.

I'm not a smacker myself and whilst I can understand some rationalising smacking as a necessary "tool in their toolkit" it just screams "parent out of control to me". I was in Tesco the other week and a toddler was acting up, the mother shrieked at her that she was going to pull her trousers and pants down in the middle of the shop and slap her bottom in front of everyone.

I'd rather use the naughty corner or confiscate a favourite toy for a few hours and give them time to think. Couldn't give a shit if someone thinks I'm an ineffectual parent for doing this, I can live with myself knowing that I've not raised my hands to my kids.

echt Mon 11-Feb-13 19:00:03

In a minute some smug slapper will rock up to tell you you're indulging in emotional bullying, Fanjo.

Makes me boak to read the justifications of those who hit people who can't defend themselves.

ALL the justifications for hitting children can be used to justify hitting people with SN.

Not so clever now, eh?

bedmonster Mon 11-Feb-13 19:03:44

Sil smacks my niece and nephew. We have totally different styles of parenting. They are her children. I mind my own business. It's Fuck all to do with me.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 19:04:09

Fanjo I'm a 'smackers' and im certainly not a parent out control? I will only smack dd when I no I am not angry and I am aware of the strength I am using! I can understand that many parents come across this way as a lot smack out f frustration but some dont and it's a little unfair to brand all smacking parents as 'out of control'

NopeStillNothing Mon 11-Feb-13 19:05:08

Ok,I'm not going to get into the whole anti/pro smacking debate as this isn't actually what the thread is about. I will say that I have a strong anti-smack opinion that has been forged through critical thinking rather than with much emotional sway.
In this circumstance OP yadnbu. Whilst your friend may have the 'law' on her side, you have the absolute right to raise concerns about behaviour that makes you uncomfortable. She can choose to do with that info whatever the hell she pleases.

When it comes to judging people, I am a strong believer in judging the attitude rather than the action. Although I don't smack, I would not 'dump' a friend who smacked their children occasionally at the end of their tether. But often? With no sense of embarassment? In front of you? I'd drop em like a lead balloon. And they'd know why as well.

Dahlen Mon 11-Feb-13 19:05:47

I don't smack. I don't think it is justifiable personally. However, it is legal and, when used appropriately, there is no evidence that it does any harm. THe trouble is that IMO most parents who use smacking don't use it appropriately. They hit in anger, frustration and impotence. Which sends completely the wrong message and is damaging.

It sounds to me that the OP's friend is coping badly and could do with some help to build a repertoire of parenting techniques that will work more effectively. Are you good enough friends to discuss this with her OP?

echt Mon 11-Feb-13 19:06:08

Being "in control" makes it worse. Premeditated. Calculating

PleasePudding Mon 11-Feb-13 19:08:14

Cailin I totally agree about avoiding situations which are hard for the child to handle, if the parent doesn't do this they can't really expect their child to behave within the normal boundaries. I read a great book on parenting talking about the reptilian lash-out reflex and how to avoid it (not purely aimed at smacking but any punishment which either can't be enforced or is disproportionate etc).

I don't know if you were referring to my post about exerting power to conform to expected behaviour. If you were I probably didn't put it well, all I meant to say is that the nature of a parent child relationship is unique in the way guidance is given and there does need to be a level of loving authority in it which doesn't occur in other relationships.

I was only raising this point to suggest that just because your parents smack you might not automatically lead to you smacking others just as it wouldn't lead you to assume an air of authority with others just because your parents have that air with you from time to time.

Anyway I think gut instinct is a fairly handy guide and if you feel unsettled OP it probably is OTT punishment

NopeStillNothing Mon 11-Feb-13 19:10:48

I agree echt I can never understand 'I never hit when angry' smackers

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 19:12:38

Why do you not understand them? It's not hard to comprehend?

catladycourtney1 Mon 11-Feb-13 19:13:17

YANBU, it would make me feel uncomfortable too. I always think it's weird when you see an otherwise calm, non-violent person hitting their children. Even though not everyone who smacks their child is automatically a thug, and people have allsorts of reasons (or excuses) for doing it, it always seems cowardly to me. I just think, well you wouldn't turn around and slap me if I'd done something similar, so why a small child?

I was smacked - not beaten, and I don't harbour resentment now, but my parents were quick with their hands - and I became one of those kids who don't even flinch. Because it didn't work. Maybe the first few times it's a bit of a shock, but after that you start to realise that there are worse things. As I got older, I knew I would rather get a smack than be grounded, or have something taken off me, or be sent to bed early, etc, and frankly my parents would sooner have swung for me anyway because it was easier for them to follow through with. When I got to probably about thirteen, I started to see it as disrespectful, and I hit my mum back a few times, which resulted in full-on fights.

I think, if any method of parenting is "ineffectual," then it's using violence in place of teaching reasoning and a sense of consequences. After all, in the real world, it's very rare that someone will hit you for doing something wrong, and kids should grow up knowing that it is absolutely not okay for anyone to hit them, or for them to hit anyone else.

alemci Mon 11-Feb-13 19:20:10

I think it is a little bit embarrassing to be around a friend who smacks her kids in front of me and it would make me feel uncomfortable.

SashaSashays Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:00

I made my point earlier regarding this thread and I think it still stands.

However in regards to smacking, as that seems to be what the discussion has become.

It works for some families and doesn't work for others. I would say it isn't working for the OP's friend based on the regularity of its use and I think that all the smackers have been in agreement with that. I don't think there is really that much wrong with the didn't do me any harm argument. I was smacked as a child and it didn't do me any harm. I was smacked probably 10 ten times or less in my childhood and I think I got the whacker once maybe twice.

All 5 of my DCs have been smacked. I'm not keeping count but I know the second from oldest (now late teens) has been smacked once and my youngest (6) has been smacked once. I can remember that with my youngest it was for a very specific incident where she did something very dangerous to her, her sibling and friend despite being specifically told not to do it. I don't have any guilt and I would be astounded if in the future she felt it had any negative effect on her.

NopeStillNothing Mon 11-Feb-13 19:28:19

Actually kickassmomma it is.
Although I dont necessarily agree, I can empathise with parents who are pushed to the limit and ( ignorant of other methods) lash out and smack.
It's the mentality involved in calmly and purposefully (and proudly?) smacking a child that I just can not get my head around.

TreadOnTheCracks Mon 11-Feb-13 19:32:45

I have a friend with a 6 and an 8 year old. She does smack her children and has done it a couple of times in front of me. Usually for safety related reasons - such as child running off out of sight on the way home.

I don't like it but I feel I can't really say anything as her children are much better behaved than mine.

MavisG Mon 11-Feb-13 19:36:46

I won't hang out with people who are horrible to their kids. Not least because my 4yo will ask why they're hitting/screaming/physically overpowering their child, and how do we stop them?
I see them in the evenings without kids or not at all & maybe we'll pick up again in a few years. Maybe not.
I do offer breaks to my frazzled friends and take them up on their offers too - even just five mins sometimes makes all the difference.

Mimishimi Mon 11-Feb-13 19:38:18

I think it would depend, for me, on how often she smacked them and what for. Have seen lots of parents use their "strong, firm" voice eventually disintegrate into shrill screeching when the kid continues to completely ignore them. In some situations, especially when the kids are greatly inconveniencing others, a smack to the bottom is not always out of place and saves a lot of time. In others, I think it's warranted if the child is in immediate danger or has just been, and is unlikely to heed your words (eg rushing out on road).

sukysue Mon 11-Feb-13 19:38:32

yanbu op I have never forgotten a good friend of mine(as she was then) losing her rag at her ds and really manhandling him. I never felt the same way about her again and never went to her home after that, I don't know if she realised or not but I just felt so sorry for the kid, she had a real problem. She should have known better too she was a nurse and used to nurse children as an n/a before doing her training.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 19:42:52

Like i said before some people smack out of frustration and some don't it Isnt fair to tar everyone with the same brush. I can understand it is hard to get your head round. I don't think anyone is proud of smacking though? I'm certainly not but nor am I ashamed? I don't think anyone is proud with the way they punish a child but with the results it has? I the same as one of the other posters said about their friend. I smack when there is a danger to the child
And everything else has failed. I get down to dd's level either smack her hand or her bum ( her hand is more
My choice than her bum) and the. Explain why I smacked her, she the apologises and say if she has run of she either goes in her pushchair or holds my hand. I couldn't possible do all that whilst angry. I have seen someone hit out of anger before. I was actually disgusted. Her child had ran off, she chased after him and hit him rather hard he fell to the floor ad would get up so she
Dragged him by the arm along the floor all in front of a shopping centre full I people! That's when parents loose control!hmm

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 11-Feb-13 19:53:34


Tolerating someone smacking a child in front of you without some form of reaction sends a message to the child that you are colluding with this and feel its acceptable.

Porkster Mon 11-Feb-13 19:57:14

I couldn't be friends with someone who hits her children.

I'd put distance between us and tell her why too.

It's a horrible way to parent.

I have dumped a friend for being too wafty and permissive.
I would also dump a friend for smacking. And I would say how uncomfortable I felt witnessing it.

DS goes to talk to children who have been put on 'the naughty step', because 'they are sad'. I don't stop him; I'm not a time out fan either.

NulliusInBlurba Mon 11-Feb-13 20:10:32

I've brought up my DC in a country where hitting your children is very clearly illegal, and as a consequence it is much more seldom. It would be naive to pretend it doesn't go on at all, but if parents are discovered doing it there would be firm intervention by social services - probably initially compulsory parenting classes and ultimately removing a child if it is persistently being physically abused.

Hitting the person you're supposedly responsible for is disgraceful. I can just about understand it if someone loses their temper and hits out in anger, but the inevitable consequence of that surely has to be anger management classes. Anyone who hits their child in cold blood is just beyond the pale - get yerselves to a fecking parenting class and learn how to do it without violence!

And can people just stop using the word 'smack' - it makes physical abuse sound too harmless. I don't 'smack' my DH. He doesn't 'smack' me. Neither of us 'smack' random people in the street or our colleagues. And we certainly don't 'smack' the two people who mean most to us in the world - our children. We discipline them with consistency, firmness, and a helluva lot of positive reinforcement of good behaviour. When they were much younger I would certainly pick up and remove a tantrumming child, but that is not in itself a violent act.

In some years time - maybe 10 at the most - hitting your children will be just as unacceptable as smoking during pregnancy is now.

WaitingForPancakeDay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:12:56

I agree with a previous poster that you should bring it up with your friend. Thinking about what's the worst that could happen, well, you're not currently massively comfortable in her company, so it's no real loss if you lose her friendship over this as you will have done something. I would say it might be best to work out how to tackle it though and perhaps suggest coping strategies or parenting classes. Maybe you could go together. Say along the lines of I don't know how you manage 3 toddlers, but lets do this class together to see if we can both learn something...

My grandmother was violent with my mum. My mum smacked me and my sister and on a couple of memorable occasions beat me to the floor and also smacked my sister when she accidentally hurt herself. She was undoubtedly less violent than my grandmother, but neither me or my sister hit our children. It's abhorrent and being smacked as a child made me feel scornful that my mother couldn't think of a better way of dealing with me. My mum of course has rose tinted specs on about it. She also looks back with nostalgia about our housemistress at school who used to use a fly swat to hit us with. It still makes her smile. Odd. Basic rule of thumb...pick on someone your own size.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 20:18:15

Op either cut contact or dont i have friends whom i find some of ther parenting shocking to say the least but.......i am not the childrens parent its up to them as long as there not breaking the law then what can you do

I have a friend whom allows her 7 year old to watch 18 rated films and its always a bit tence when i come over for moive night and her kids are sitting with us but the bottom line is there her kids not mine i dont like it so i dont let my children watch 18 rated films.

Whatever friends you have there will always be aspects of there parenting you fird diffcult you may cut her out and get a new firends who leave her children alone or allows there teen to drink

Why dont you suggest other stratgies with coming on to strong i would just let her get on with it

Toowittoowoo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:26:59

I'm a little relived that most of you agree that I am not being unreasonable and I would like to add that I am making no judgement about smacking. Before having my DC I was neither pro- nor anti- smacking and I was certainly smacked as a child as discipline when I was very naughty and i remember it working, however, it turns out now I have DD that I would not feel comfortable ever doing it to her especially at toddler age when they are just as likely to do it back to be honest. I don't agree with violence ever being used and I want to bring my DD up to be nice to people above all else so it not the approach for me.

However, it is the regularity that it is used by my friend that I find uncomfortable and for such small things that makes me feel that I don't know her at all and I don't understand her. And, obviously, we do not share the same values and are not going to bring our children up to have even similar values.

I am however, slightly surprised how many of you think I should tell her. Isn't the one golden rule of being friends with other parents that you NEVER criticise somebody else parenting. Also as i stated in the second post I have 1 DC (a [mostly] well behaved 3yr DD) and she has 3 DC all under 3. I have no idea how hard things are for her are I would never like to presume that I know better about parenting as I don't. Oh its hard....very hard.....

maybe I wish you'd all replied to say that I was being totally unreasonable and then I could have used it as justification for carrying on as we were.

Thank, lots for food for thought and good to get to get other mum's opinions as I couldn't discuss this in RL as I wouldn't want it to be perceived as gossip.

I really don't understand the rationale behind physical punishment.
If you do it out of loss of control/high anger, you need to learn self control, and how to discipline. Effective parenting means not getting to the point of lashing out at a child, if you are lashing out, you aren't being effective, so you need to look at your own methods.
If you simply have it as a 'tool in your tool box', and you believe it does no harm, are you also ok with other people hitting your child, like teachers?
Would you be ok with their future partners hitting them?
If you think it is acceptable because the person being hit is unable to understand verbal reasoning, is it also ok to hit people with developmental disabilities who lack understanding? Can you justify hitting someone with dementia who is putting themselves in danger?
Or does it come down to "I made the kid, so I can do what I want?"

I was beaten as a child. Not 'smacked', the full on, bruising, bleeding sort. By a parent who couldn't control their temper. Is there some kind of test that says you get to hit your kids, but your neighbour can't, and her across the road can hit her kids, but only when she's sober?

NopeStillNothing Mon 11-Feb-13 20:39:22

The reason people are urging you to speak up OP is because there is a difference between saying "you should not smack" and " Please don't smack infront of me" Whatever your views are, you have every right to question behaviour that makes you uncomfortable.
I have a friend that swears very liberally. She sees no issue with swearing in front of her child and I see no issue with asking her not to swear in front of mine. We are very good friends and manage to live side by side with different parenting styles.

willesden Mon 11-Feb-13 20:41:35

No decent loving parent smacks their children. I would not hesitate to report a smacking incident to the Police/NSPCC. It is abuse. End of.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 20:41:48

I agree with nope you should question her the one thing I have about snacking is I don't do it in public. If it is something I need to do while away from home i take dd into a corner or to the toilet etc

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 20:42:20

Effective parenting means not losing control-this isn't only with smacking though.I've seen parents lose control in high anger shouting ,berating,making empty threats that I think actually are far worse than a measured controlled tap.

Personally I think it's quite a problem and a far bigger problem that is often excused because it isn't smacking.

I also think describing abuse which can happen in the above scenarios too isn't how the majority of parents smack at all.

I don't smack myself before I'm hung drawn and quartered.

echt Mon 11-Feb-13 20:43:03

Excellent post SoldAtAuction.

WaitingForPancakeDay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:44:14

So kickassmomma, you wait until you're somewhere private an unseen before hitting your child? I suppose its better to have no witnesses.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 20:45:50

Willesden if it is a light tap that doesn't leave a mark you will be laughed at.

Would you report somebody that was shouting out of control?

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 20:46:47

Or even controlled shouting?

But Polkadot, the berating and such would fall into the whole 'you need to learn better methods of parenting', it still doesn't make smacking a good option.
Thank etch

*thank you

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 20:47:54

Yea because it's really a crime?

I was something that my brother did to his son. It is better to take a child aside and do it out of the way than embarrass them infront of people? We are in a day and age when people will clash over punishment and what might be right for one wot be for another and the last thing that's needed is people passing judgement during the punishment. I don't 'wait' either I take her aside straight away so wherever is nearest and suitable

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 20:50:16

Thankyou polka dot! A light slap is all most people I no give

If you think it is bad you should see how my eldest brother punished his son! He is stood in the corner of a room and made to stand as straight as possible he learnt it in the army, obviously he doesn't use it to the degree as they do in the army but it is still not nice! hmm

BlueberryHill Mon 11-Feb-13 20:50:34

OP I would think that her smacking is as a result of being at the end of her tether in trying to control and parent three under threes, I have two 2yo plus a 6 yo and at times I feel at the end of my tether with them.

I cannot understand the reasoning behind smacking, please someone who smacks don't bother trying to explain it, none of the previous posts has done so. The only times I have ever felt that I was about to smack is when I had completely lost it, I walked away at that point. How could I ever tell a child that it is wrong to hit someone if I have done it to them.

Someone at work once said in explaining why he smacked his children, he said he would only do it when they were small, yes quite, no one 'smacks' older children do they, at least not without running of the risk of being hit back.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 20:51:22

I don't know tbf.

I think a lot of parents feel powerless and. I know parents who have tapped.To be honest I didn't bother me half as much as those that hollered in public and actually I'm not sure.

I think there is a lot of hysteria and hypocrisy over this subject

Wereonourway Mon 11-Feb-13 20:57:13

I would never ever put my ds in a position where he was physically scared of me.
How anyone can cope with actually frightening their child and physically hurting then is beyond me.
Ds is 2 and I'm fairly sure I've got some challenges and trials ahead of me but I know with absolute certainty I will never ever hit him.
I'm talking about my baby, who is looking for me to teach him absolutely everything about life and who you would die to protect.
Why the fuck would you want to hit them?

Yanbu I hate it when a certain lady shows up at toddlers as she regularly (at least twice a session) smacks her one year old dd on the hand or bum for normal toddler behaviour. hmm

alemci Mon 11-Feb-13 21:15:35

then again Kick perhaps it was better that your DB did this rather than hitting his son. This was a punishment in the 70s to go and stand in the corner.

or did you feel that your DB was being OTT and his DS didn't warrant being punished so harshly.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 21:26:26

I think it's not a nice punishment because it causes him physical pain eventhough db doesn't physically hit him the way in which he makes him
Stands causes him pain. Whn I smack dd it shocks her and that's it. His punishment is good on dn he never steps a foot out of line!

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 21:39:13

Kickass you would take your child to a toilet so that you could hit her away from prying eyes?

So actually, you know damn well you shouldn't be doing it.

And you defend your actions by pointing out that you smack her in a really calm, cold-blooded way, after the fact once you are nice and chilled-out and ready to decide how much force to hit her with.

Poor little love sad

I was driving my 2 DC (an 8 hour journey, I was alone with the DC.) We made lots of stops along the way. Most of it was motorway.

IIRC my DC were about 6 and 8.6 yo.
They were in the back, in car seats.(Too young to seperate and put one in the front seat) They had toys, things to do , but were really winding each other up,leaning over, hitting each other with their pens etc.
I kept telling them to behave.
On the M6, something flew over my shoulder, scrunched up paper or something.Neither of them would admit. If I'd have lost control of the car, imagine the carnage shock
I had threatened a punishment, so I did it.
I pulled over at the next service station, opened the boot and put every single one of their toys in the bin.

I don't care how much they cried. I don't drive in a bad temper.I refuse to.
But their stupid action could've killed me, them, maybe one of you reading this if my car had crashed.

I think they'd rather have been smacked TBH.

WaitingForPancakeDay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:49:55

Well done 70s. Horrid to lose toys, but you did warn them, it was a dangerous situation. There is nothing o say smacking them would have been better. Besides they were hitting each other. Why would hitting them yourself been ok?

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 21:53:35

70isalimit although that is obviously quite a strong response, I would say it was totally different from turning round and walloping them (or pulling over and calmly hitting them)

In your case the consequence was a logical one, as your children had demonstrated that they could not be trusted to use those toys responsibly in the car. The toys had to go. They were give a warning.

If you had responded to their behaviour by hitting them I think you would have taught them considerably less and made much less impact on their future behaviour (and lost the moral high ground)

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 21:54:30

I've explained why I take her away. The thing I don't get is exactly that people will disagree but those who disagree with smacking make those that do sound so bad! It's a choice that I make and I choose to do it away from 'preying eyes' because I do not wish to have a full scale argument with people about how i discipline my child. I no people that smack and it doesn't work, there children will be he next criminals or here generation. But I also no people that don't smack and there kids are exactly the same. My daughter is very well behaved ( gloating smile) and I think I do a god damn brilliant job at bringing her up. She isn't scared of me nor does she hit people. She understands her punishments ad often she is place on the naughty step sent into a corner sometimes i take her out of the way just to tell her off. Her behaviour has to be continuingly consistent and dangerous to get a smack and the it is light. I do not smack when angry. If I get frustrated with her I walk away and calm down for a couple of minutes. I then come back if she continues despite all of the above +extra warnings i do not in any way smack her when calm so i can choose how hard I hit her. I do it do it is in a controlled way and and that I am not simply 'hitting her' out of frustration! Jeez I have stubbed my toe harder than I have ever smacked her. People should agree to disagree not question someone's choice at ever turn and calling them bad parents for there choice! What about those parents on drugs who let there 6year olds run the streets till all hours?! am I worse than them? My child is warm healthy clothed fed and disciplined and I am happy with how I parent! I she was unhappy I would change my ways! What does one smack a year do to a child? Nowt wine

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 21:59:24

I'm still shock over the smacking of three very small children under 3. So 2, 1 and O?

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 22:02:12

By the way one of most vivid memories as a child was when my mother went to 'smack'/hit one of my older brothers (the eldest) and he faced up to her, put his arm out to block her, and he said, 'No more.' He was 11.

Her face...

KumquatMae Mon 11-Feb-13 22:03:34

So if it does "nowt" and you hardly hit her at all, what's the bloody point? If you go to the effort of taking her away (lest anyone should accuse you of hjrting your child...oh wait, you are!) then why not leave out this smack that barely hurts and effects her in no way at all, and explain if she carries on you will be removing priveleges/belongings or wahtever is appropriate to her age?!

simpson Mon 11-Feb-13 22:06:09

Parent smacks their young child for doing something they shouldn't have done. The young child then smacks another young child at a toddler group for snatching a toy of them. Young child is them confused when they are told off because this is what happens to them.

I will admit to smacking my DD (she was 3 at the time). She was having some screaming hissy fit about not being allowed to have another biscuit/treat just before dinner a d then she bit me on the leg. I was so shock at the pain that instinct kicked in and I lashed out and caught her on the face sad

I felt dreadful afterwards, but it wasn't deliberate.

simpson Mon 11-Feb-13 22:06:57

Sorry for typos, blooming iPad!!!

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:13:36

Kumquat when I say it does "nowt" I mean it doesn't cause distress or pain or mentally scares her! If you read any of my posts further down Ido say that all it does to her is shock her which is enough to stop whatever dangerous behaviour she is doing at the time! smile

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 22:16:38

kick It won't shock her if you are taking her away to do it. It will made her very scared and anxious.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:47

Well seems to be doing the trick so far! smile

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 22:20:04

Kickassmomma the trouble is, you don't know what it is doing to her. She's a bit more complex than the expression on her face.

LineRunner, how fantastic for your brother. Did she stop hitting?

My mother used to say "kids' feelings are skin deep" and "they cry tears not blood". I think sadly it is typical for smackers to understand that children are as deep and sensitive as adults (more so, in fact). They're not goldfish.

letsgomaths Mon 11-Feb-13 22:26:09

A couple of interesting observations by an anti-smacking book from the 1980's (which I read again and again following my own parents' methods):

"Many parents regard it not just as a right, but as their duty to hit their children."

"Our language has developed a remarkable vocabulary to cover the hitting of children: slapping, smacking, spanking, walloping, clouting, switching, 'six of the best', slippering, belting..." There were more I think.

the only times i smacked ds were when he was under 3. it was a total failure on my part as a parent. it happened about three times. i was the adult. now i care for my niece and nephew. yes there are moments i feel that impulse rise upb in me. but i ring fence it. i am a product of my upbringing when slapping spanking and hitting was the norm. i have to mitigate against it. i hope i have not substituted physical violence so it is replaced by other forms of abuse. i think not. because while we all fail as parents children are so loving they will forgive us almost anything. i dont want my child or children in my care to forgive my falings. i want them to know their bodies and spirits enjoy my protection.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:27:19

I don't by her expression i go on her behaviour, since I started smacking her she has windled down doing dangerous stuff to erm....oh she doesn't do anything dangerous. She hasn't actually needed to be punished via naughty step/ corner anything for 4 months now, she doesn't run off she isn't cheeky, she is polite with other kids and has exceptional manners to say she knows few words. She says Thankyou and please wherever appropriate. She also apologises to people if she gets in there way or bumps into them! People have commented on how well behaved she is. And shes slap bang in the middle of what should be the terrible two period. I would agree that smacking isn't the best option, if she was running around being a cheeky sod hitting people and being rude but IMO and in my situation it has worked!

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 22:27:46

Greensleeves, Yes, she never raised a hand to my brother again, that I saw. They have a complicated relationship now; attached purely by habit and guilt, really. The trouble is she replaced smacking with manipulation. Sigh.

Londonmrss Mon 11-Feb-13 22:30:19

There seems to be a correlation on this thread between smacking your children and terrible spelling and grammar. I wonder if that's a coincidence or maybe evidence that people smack because they do not have the ability to use language to discipline.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 22:31:19

Good God I didn't realise she was only two


larks35 Mon 11-Feb-13 22:32:00

I remember my dad quoting Dr Spock (who I always confused with Spock from Star Trek) "You should only smack in anger, doing it as cold punishment is wrong" or something like that. My dad smacked me a few times when I was young (not as young as 3 btw and often out of fear due to me having done something quite dangerous) and it was always in the moment, never delivered as cold punishment and as such has left no scars.

OP, I understand your discomfort and would have to say something if a friend of mine was that ready with the slap. How is she going to teach them that hitting is wrong when she readily hits herself?

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:36:32

Yes she is two! A very well behaved 2 year old with no reason to even think she had be previously smacked as punishment by looking at her! And if the poor grammar is aimed at me? I'm on an iPhone do take your issue up with whoever creates the apple spell checker grin

larks35 Mon 11-Feb-13 22:37:16

BTW, I never smack mine as I don't see the point, I think I can communicate my fear to my children without resorting to violence. Saying that I have dragged my DS up the stairs before which is quite aggressive. Oh who knows what is best?

KumquatMae Mon 11-Feb-13 22:38:42

You're not shocking her if you take her away to do it though. You're very clearly teaching her that you're moving somewhere out of eyesight to hurt her because she's done something wrong. Saying "stop it" firmly would "shock her" sufficiently at the point of the behaviour, or picking her up and removing her.

Also, you say it's working well so it? If it worked that well surely she wouldn't repeat the behaviour? And if it.stops "working", what are you going to do?

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 22:39:13

No, I can quite believe you can't tell by looking at her <headdesk>

How long have you been doing it, if she is only two now? She's a baby!

kickass a two year olds cognitive abilities are pretty primitive. as are their memories. well done you for ignoring these developmental knowns and brutalising a baby into 'good behaviour'.

KumquatMae Mon 11-Feb-13 22:41:39

Lol, she behaves so well that you feel the need to smack her. And when she's say...six, and starts with the answering back and disobedience and attitude, and smacking doesn't work because you've been doing it since she was two...what then?

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:41:49

Oh my think it should be me headdesk!!! She actually is 2.7 I have been smacking since 2! And to say I don't need to anymore is good? She knows what I expect of her and she's well behaved!

christ. have you been 'smacking' her for long?

PleasePudding Mon 11-Feb-13 22:43:48

Londonmrs there also seems to be a correlation between those who don't smack and quite vicious attacks on those who have different views on the issue - abusive, not fit to be parents etcetera.

No one seems to be proud of smacking but people have asked why smackers do it and smackers are trying to explain. Does the issue need to get so emotionally charged. Presumably everyone on this thread loves their children and wants to do the best for them but have different views on how keeping them safe, happy and providing boundaries is best done. As parents we've all fucked up sometimes and made the wrong choices; maybe being a little less judgemental may help?

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:46:19

<applauds> Thankyou please pudding!!!!!!grin

ConfuzzledMummy Mon 11-Feb-13 22:46:23

If you don't like it don't see her, its none of your business if you don't like the way she parents her children. I smack my daughter very rarely and only if she is really naughty or if she hits me I hit her back. That's what I'll be teaching her when she goes to school if she gets hit, hit them back. That's what I was taught and it never did me any harm. I don't give a shit about any ones opinion about my comment either so flame away grin

poor baby. a huge towering mother of anger/cold intent. that hand descending. the sting of pain. that betrayal of trust in mummy. how can you.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 22:50:21

Nothing you say will make me feel bad! And I don't tower! I'm a short arse!! You think I should smack through anger instead of our of
Calmness? Children Hve been killed because parents have lost control and beat them!?!?? And you think hitting when angry is better than snacking when calm and controlled? Which the Nspcc says if you smack you should do so when calm!!!! Look it up!

EmpressMaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:53:46

I too would be ending the relationship, after explaining my reasons why.

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 22:54:47

Why all the grinning symbols at the end of posts supporting hitting young children - is it to try to sanitise them?

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 22:57:28

PuddingPlease while we all try to be supportive of other parents, there are some practices which it would be stupid and irresponsible to condone. Hitting a 2yo for example. I am not strongly opposing it because I am soppy and over-emotional, I am strongly opposing it because it is wrong. And it is important that this sort of behaviour is challenged strongly and visibly every time somebody says it is OK. New parents and those looking for advice come here. I would not like them to happen upon Kickassmomma preaching the benefits of hitting a toddler and not read any posts that counter her.

Although in most cases common sense and decency would prevail hmm

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 22:58:49

...and the NSPCC condemns all parental smacking. Look it up.

nokidshere Mon 11-Feb-13 23:00:24

30 years ago a friend of mine used to smack her daughter for trivial things. Interupting a converstaion, dropping a toy... she used to just smack, no telling off or explanation - the child was about 4 years old. One day she had done it so many times I must have looked horrified and she asked me what was wrong. So I told her how awful she was being to her dd and that she really needed to stop and think about why she was smacking her. She didn't speak to me for a month - but she never hit her dd again. We are still close friends. Her DD is 35 now with a family of her own and she assures me that my intervening had a long lasting effect on her and she will never smack her children.

So it is possible to say something and still remain friends.

I have never hit my children. They are teens now and polite, respectful and loving boys. They were not angels as toddlers, there are just better ways of dealing with discipline than smacking.

kickass. to ratchet back a bit. what is it you do? a light tap on the hand once every few weeks? a slap across the nappied bum? its hard to evaluate...

MidnightMasquerader Mon 11-Feb-13 23:01:36

My brother and I were smacked occassionally, in the context of a loving home, in an era when it was acceptable to do so. It didn't do either of us any harm, and absolutely did not lead either of us onto any violent tendencies in the slightest - the very thought....!

However, I take that to mean we were probably the exception that proves the rule, and I have never and categorically will never smack my children (2 and 4). It feels inherently wrong to me.

I would be very, very uncomfortable watching someone else smacking young children (well, hitting anyone) in this day and age when we're so much more enlightened, educated and knowledgable. I freely judge people who smack these days as being backward and, frankly, not very intelligent. Not lateral thinkers. Lazy. Etc.


nokidshere Mon 11-Feb-13 23:01:44

Oh and another friend of mine used to take her son into a corner to smack him because she was "using the rod to spare the child"!!! I told her if she was not ashamed of hiting her son then she wouldn;t be sneaking off into a corner to do it!!!

Buzzardbird Mon 11-Feb-13 23:03:22

Just googled "does the nspcc condone smacking?" It definitely doesn't condone any smacking calm or otherwise.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 23:04:50

Nope I am
Actually laughing because grown people can't accept that people will have a difference in opinion to them!?? That's why! I am not going to be knocked down as a parent because I smacked my child?!! You cannot simply say people shouldn't come to me for parenting advice because i smack my daughter. In fact I have never said to anyone smack you child it works, I have said it works for me! That is all! And Infact I have done a lot of things that make me proud only parenting! Not smacking (before you run at me with pitchforks) but other things! You
Cannot judge parenting on one thing!

You pick which one you wana look at!

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 23:06:12

kick Your post is coming across as slightly bonkers.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 23:08:47

Ano, I am a bit bonkers :/

Kick, do you think you could parent without hitting? Would your child still be well behaved?

if you are not prepared to be explicit in the frequency and methods used then you mustb be prepared for others to assume the worst in their own minds. if you choose not to elaborate then your contribution has no value.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 23:14:26

If we were talking about whether you feed purees or carrot sticks, that would be a matter of opinion.

This is more than that. Violence towards little children (which it is, you are hitting her) is not a matter of personal style, it's a matter of child welfare and is therefore not something where we all shrug and say "each to his own". If someone posted saying they didn't think putting babies in a car without a seat or belt was that dangerous, I wouldn't say "your child your choice hun", I'd say it was bloody stupid.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 23:15:47

I was smacked a lot as a child, and swore I would never smack, but I have in the past.
I think that we learn a lot of things from our parents and in the moment can sort of revert to the way they would have done things.
I have only done it a handful of times, at the end of my tether, and always felt like a total failure for letting my frustration get the better of me.
If you smack, you lose, because it is a totally illogical and counter productive thing to do, not to mention very scary for a child.
I was very stressed for a while, lonely, depressed, grieving. Lots going on, and the last time I was scared by how out of control I could feel and so I got help.
Haven't smacked since, never will.
None of us are perfect, but as adults it is up to us to sort ourselves out if we can't find a way to discipline properly.
OP, I would tell your friend in no uncertain terms how you feel.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 23:18:10

I'm quite capable of parenting without smacking, I have done for several months ( as I've already said) I don't think she would have been as good though! Im being made out tonne some heartless bitch that beats her child! When in fact I'm doing wat a lot of people are doing and i (did) give her a smack to her hand or bum ( which has a nappy on!) and it did
The trick, she IS well behaved and she HASNT been naughty enough for anything more than a stern "no" in months! I really am an awful parent arnt I!

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 23:20:42

I don't think you are beating her. I've read what you've said about what you do. I don't need to embroider it to make it sound despicable, because it already is. There is no excuse for a grown adult to hit a 2yo child.

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 23:21:46

Hitting a two year old. Bloody hell.

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 23:21:51

Yeah you would and I would
Completely agree with you, but the law states that a smack that doesn't leave a mark and is used in appropriate manners is within the law! I know someone who smacks her kid across the head! I think it's awful, but then I think that's her choice her children

Kick, I think, judging by your responses, that you are a confused parent.
You say that you are quite capable of parenting without hitting, but then go on to say that the reason she is being good "it did the trick" is that she has been hit.

Are you ok with others hitting her, if she was at school, or at a relatives?

kickassmomma Mon 11-Feb-13 23:23:14

You know what I give up! I am the worlds worst parent arnt I! My daughter is so much better without me! You all win! Bye bye

Buzzardbird Mon 11-Feb-13 23:27:56

Probably wasn't a good idea to state things that people could look up and find to be untrue?

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 23:28:21

I don't think you are the worst parent in the world, not by a long way. You clearly love your daughter and care about her a lot. I agree you are confused though. And I think you could have parented your dd perfectly well without hitting her, so I don't understand why you did it or why you are defending it now.

QuickLookBusy Mon 11-Feb-13 23:28:34

No one is saying that Kick. You just need to stop hitting and you will be a better parent.

You obviously care that your dc are well behaved, polite etc but millions of parents achieve this without ever smacking and so can you....if you want to.

kickass. its a frequent mistake of first time parents to attribute developments in their children to their parenting. no you are not the worst parent. but possibly not the most aware of child development.

lucamom Mon 11-Feb-13 23:38:03

I was smacked as a child-grew up in the 70's and 80's with loving parents I adore still-honestly believe they are the kindest people in the world. It was also during this time that it was acceptable for my mom to smoke when pregnant, for dad to smoke around us all as babies & children and for him to regularly drink and drive home.

Research and progress educate us that things that were once acceptable are no longer safe, healthy or indeed the right thing to do. I now emulate the positive things my parents did in bringing us up and leave the hitting as a relic of the past, and can say without (much) bias that my children (5,4 & 1) are generally very well behaved and strongly disciplined (through tone, looks, removal from dangerous situation, withdrawal of tv/toys etc). Probably stuff I still do wrong but I can look each one in the eye as they grow up and know that not only did I protect them and teach them right from wrong, I was never the cause of their hurt.

And as for the fuckwit's teaching "if someone hits you, hit back"-seriously, take some classes and learn how to teach your children to coexist without resorting to your own sloppy methods of resolving a problem. Might not sound cool or impressive to you but surely we teach our kids to tell someone in authority rather than resort to the lowest methods? The cycle of violence will continue from you to your child until you grow a pair and take responsibility for your child's moral welfare...

defineme Mon 11-Feb-13 23:42:01

I think some of the pompous posts on here are doing more harm than good for the anti smacking cause.

Fwiw my Dad was atheist, educated to the highest level and his prose was perfect. For those of you that are suggesting smacking goes hand in hand with poor grammar-shame on you. Crap parenting crosses all social strata.

He gave my dbr and I the odd smack out of pure frustration. It didn't hurt, leave a mark or make me cry. I couldn't care less that he did. He had some failings as a Dad, but I wouldn't put that down as one of them-he got cross and didn't do effective discipline-who cares? Dbro and I used to laugh about his face when he got cross-he really was crap at controlling us-my bloody mother used to talk and talk at us-far more effective in shutting us up!

I care very deeply that some of you were beaten severely as kids, buts it's ridiculous to suggest that any and all smacks are on a par with that.

I had 3 under 3 and didn't smack the younger 2. When the oldest was 3 (un dx asd at this point) he was eating his own crap and laughing and I did smack him-it was a mixture of frustration, sheer stress at dealing with that and baby twins, and wanting to shock him out of the disgusting thing he was doing. It didn't work. I'm not proud, but I'm not ashamed either-just one of many mistakes- I don't think I needed reporting to ss.

I'm having a strange thing at the moment-my anti natal group peers and I all have 10 year old boys and 3 of them -all vehemently anti smackers(1 of whom was beaten too the point of hospital treatment as a child) have confessed to smacking their boys for the first (and hopefully last) time in the last year. They're mortified they lost control of themselves in the face of pre teen defiance and their boys' reactions were very vocal along the lines of 'how dare you hit me, I'll call the police'! I think it's very cocky to be the mother of a toddler and judging other parents-you have no idea of the road ahead.

The mother in question is out of control-I've seen support on here for others in this situation( years ago the 'red mist' thread was an amazing thing). Perhaps that's what needs to be offered.

Greensleeves Mon 11-Feb-13 23:46:15

I've offered support and hand-holding on "red mist" type threads where OP has lost her temper and is upset. There was one a couple of weeks ago iirc. This thread is completely different and a different response is appropriate. It's not pompous to insist in the face of a barrage of protestations and anecdotes that it is WRONG to hit people who are smaller than you, particularly when that person is your own baby/toddler.

Oh, and my kids certainly aren't toddlers any more

my ds is 12 now. have i used hitting to discipline him? no. but i am very aware his personality has meant i have not been pushed up against my own failings. children drive us to the limits and beyond of our abilities. fail. fail again better. but dont blinking rejoice in the supposed results of our failures. 2 year olds do see us as giants.

QuickLookBusy Mon 11-Feb-13 23:55:05

My kids are 22 and 19.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 23:55:47

I don't actually agree with your last point luca
You can coexist marvellously, but if some bully persist in punching you in the face, probably best to defend yourself. Judo is better than hitting though.
"Telling someone in authority" is a good idea, but not always effective unfortunately.

Bigpants1 Tue 12-Feb-13 00:20:03

kickass-read your last few posts again. Your dd is 2yrs old-a baby. You are "proud" she now hasn't needed to be smacked for 4 months! You say, "you wouldn't know to look at her that she had needed to be smacked", does that statement not seem odd to you?
Your dd knows what's expected of her, because, no matter how you "dress it up" or explain yourself, you are parenting through fear-do x or you will be smacked. And the fact that you take a 2yr old out of sight to smack her, makes me feel very uneasy. It feels very calculated and cold. You say you do it, so you don't get into arguments with people over smacking, I say you do it 'cos you know it's indefensible, & how could you justify yourself-"Yes, that's right, concerned member of public, I'm taking my 2 yr old into the toilet to calmly smack her for not doing as she was told. Yes, I am very proud of my parenting thank you. Oh, why not stand infront of the shop & do it? Well, er, er, well..."
I am not perfect, I have smacked in the past, but I have Never taken any of my dc "out of sight" to do it!
Though it might not be nice to see, I could understand a parent at the end of their tether with a tantruming toddler, tap a hand or bottom, but I would feel suspicious of seeing a toddler being taken out of view to be smacked.
Your smugness & self righteousness is misplaced-if you feel the need to do what you do now, god help you & your dd when she's a teenager!
And breathe......

MidnightMasquerader Tue 12-Feb-13 00:32:03

I'm sorry, but I do not see how it is pompous to be against the hitting of people half (or smaller) your size.

I just don't see how it is.

I recognise that it is frustrating to see parents of one, or very young children, think they have all the answers, and of course none of us can see into the future. If a red mist situation descends on me and I smack my child one day, I would never defend it as the right thing to do; I would admit it was a mistake, when pushed to the limit. Not try to weasel my way out, and try to excuse it as part of my disciplining tool kit, or whatever.

I don't want my children to hit other children. I don't want other adults to hit my children. My DH doesn't hit other adults. I don't hit other adults when trying to resolve a situation, or when thing to assert myself. How do I teach my DC not to hit - and that violence and aggression is wrong - if I/we hit them? confused

I am genuinely confused as to how smackers deal with their child hitting, or other children hitting their child, when they fully, happily and comfortably hit their children. It is illogical.

GetOrf Tue 12-Feb-13 00:35:32

I am not a mother of a toddler calmly judging those who hit their kids. My dd is 17. Yes some moments have been difficult but I haven't resorted to hitting her.

I think it's quite telling when hitters say that they were hit as children, and it didn't do them any harm. Well of course it harmed, you grew up thinking that's OK and it's fine to hit your own chidren. Good on those who have broken that pattern of violence.

I hope it is made illegal in the next few decades. Then it removes any grey area and quotes that the NSPCC say that calm hitting is OK, or whatever.

I hope I wasn't coming across as pompous, I was questioning, because so far none of the hitters have made any sense.
My DC's are teens, one with ASD. I know it can be a struggle, but hitting children isn't the solution.

LineRunner Tue 12-Feb-13 00:57:08

My DCs are teenagers, too.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 12-Feb-13 01:54:39

My eldest is an adult so past teens,and I think its nasty to hit children especially when they are 2.

lucamom Tue 12-Feb-13 07:41:18

Sorry if my post appeared pompous, but I feel both angry and sad at the apathy towards hitting kids in the wider society - I freely admit that I don't have all the answers and that my kids test my patience at times, as kids do, but I'm proud of the fact that I don't resort to hitting and am willing to try different methods in different situations. Just because I gave birth to them, I don't own my kids and have the right to do what I want without being called into question, but some people are happy not to interfere and regard hitting as just another 'parenting style'. It's more than just a 'choice', it's wrong.

Hitting anyone isn't big or clever. Someone up thread mentioned hitting back if being bullied, rather than tell someone. A playground bully hitting is the same as a parent hitting, temper or not. Both are people using physical force to gain advantage over someone smaller and defenseless, when they lack the intellect, imagination or desire to try other ways to get what they want.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 08:38:39

I am neither pro or anti smacking; I do not have children and have therefore not had to address this issue. However I am pregnant and therefore read articles and discussions about child discipline with interest as it is something I will have to face in the future.

What I do find interesting is that the majority of you who are very quick to criticise other parents who use smacking as a form of discipline, remain quite silent on your own methods for disciplining your children. If you think that smacking is wrong and your way is superior then perhaps you should provide some detail as to what it is and how successful. But then again, it's far easier or you to name call and label someone as abusive (when parliament has already decided that they are not)

Positive reinforcement for good behaviour is all well and good but I do believe that there needs to be consequences for negative behaviour as well. Some of the crap I have read about on other sites about ignoring annoying or naughty behaviour or not putting your child in a certain situation (for example where they are not allowed to touch anything) is just ludicrous.

Surely the best way for children to learn is that positive behaviour is rewarded and praised and bad behaviour has consequences. I'm just not sure what those consequences should be, particularly for a toddler.

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 09:14:24

dreaming disciplining a child is not a quick fix, one trick solution. On some occasions, ignoring bad behaviour IS effective, in others not so much. There are hundreds of different techniques for dealing with unwanted behaviour, I'm very surprised you haven't read any in your articles hmm
Fwiw, I do not think that smacking automatically equals child abuse but I do think it is unnecessary and often a result of lazy parenting. On the surface it 'works' so some people do not bother to try other methods.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 09:34:43

What's with the sceptical face NopeStill?!
I have read one or two articles on parenting websites about how to discipline toddlers. What exactly do you find so hard to believe about that?! I never suggested I had spent hours researching the issue, did I.

What i have found is that they seem to refer to positive reinforcement but don't seem to refer to consequences for negative behaviour. Yes I appreciate that ignoring bad behaviour works to an extent but surely there comes a point when there has to consequences for doing something that the child is not meant to do?

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 10:03:12

Apologies, the hmm face probably confused matters.

What I was trying to convey was the fact that even though you are claiming to be neutral, your post just comes across as the "They took away our right to smack and left no alternative" way of thinking. Sorry if that is not the case but it was a rather scathing view of anti-smackers.
Like I said, there are many different techniques suggested in many different articles and the reason that most concentrate on only positive reinforcement is because consequences and punishment is not really something a toddler can comprehend well. Usually a stern "No" and removing them from the situation will suffice until they are old enough to understand time outs/removal of toys etc.

twofingerstoGideon Tue 12-Feb-13 10:10:51

This was more or less what I did:
disciplining toddlers

I do need to comment on this, though: ...label someone as abusive (when parliament has already decided that they are not)
Just because the UK parliament still hasn't outlawed smacking, doesn't make it acceptable. Many other governments have outlawed it. But perhaps those countries' MPs didn't grow up in an Etonian-style culture where fagging and beating are the norm.

sheeplikessleep Tue 12-Feb-13 10:15:52

OP, YANBU. Being around another mum who smacks their child would make me uncomfortable too.

I can sort of understand it if it is more really dangerous behaviour, like running off into a road, as an occasional one-off tactic (not that I could ever do it).

But for being 'naughty' would upset me to see it. Even strangers in public who I see smacking, it really leaves a sour taste.

Plus, as others have said, there's no way I could give a rational and plausible argument to my own children, if they questioned it.

BlueberryHill Tue 12-Feb-13 10:23:50

Dreaming, my discipline varies according to the child and the situation. My children have clear rules and we parent consistently. I don't smack however because I think that it is morally wrong and because how can I discipline my children if I do not have self discipline. How is hitting a child because they have hit another child supposed to show them what is right or wrong. No one who smacks has yet had an adequate answer to this one.

So in some instances, ignoring bad behaviour works, especially if the behaviour is trying to gain your attention. Obviously if the child is doing something dangerous or hurting another child, e.g. hitting etc you don't ignore it, but to say it is ludicrous shows a lack of experience, in the right time and place it is an appropriate response.

Positive enforcement is great as well, children respond really well to praise, it doesn't mean that there aren't consequences if they behave badly though.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 10:30:40

My post wasn't intended to be a scathing view of anti smackers, more a slightly scathing view of people on this thread who seem very quick to judge those who use smacking, without making any suggestion of how their way of parenting is more effective. Some of those same people also criticise the use of time outs as well. It's very easy to be critical and judge while remaining silent on your own 'better' ways of parenting.

I guess I am left with my mind boggling at what on earth I am going to do with a toddler who won't behave him/herself, causes chaos and drives me to distraction. I think the realisation that I am going to become a parent in a few months has hit and I am panicking about EVERYTHING child related, from baby stage onwards! anyone got a paper bag for me to breathe into

I was out with a friend a few months ago and her almost 2 year old. We were sat in a cafe which was empty when we arrived. My friend allowed her daughter to get out every book the cafe had and spread them around, to pour salt all over another table and as the cafe filled up, to go and stand behind (and clearly irritate) the people at another table. I tried to engage the girl by talking to her and getting a book to look at with her or one of her toys but this didn't work and I didn't feel it appropriate to do any more than that when my friend did nothing.

All I remember thinking is that surely there is a way to prevent that kind of behaviour, but not having children really having no idea if it was or how. It wasn't a case of the child getting bored after sitting down for a while, it was from the moment we got into the cafe.

I didn't intend to come across as 'they took away our right to smack an left no alternative' because I know that the right to smack hasn't been taken away. The law allows it in the UK. I say this not because I agree with it or otherwise but as a matter of fact.

I really am neither pro or anti smacking. I probably will fall into the no smacking camp when the time comes because I do not even smack my dog because it just wouldn't feel right so i cant imagine it would feel right with a child. My husband once smacked our dog when he had run off in the park and couldn't find him. When he finally found him after my DH had been panicking, my husband smacked him out of panicking and relief. He then spent the rest of the week feeling awful and guilty that he had done it!

cory Tue 12-Feb-13 10:31:52

My eldest is 16, so probably more smacking around when they are little. I didn't like it at the time, but was friends with some women who did it.

In retrospect I would say the dividing line between children who grew up well behaved and children who didn't was not perhaps so much between parents who smacked very occasionally and parents who never smacked: it was more between parents who had a quietly authoritative approach and parents who were inconsistent, shouty and with negative expectations of their children.

(Unsurprisingly, the girl who at the age of 11 was described as a nymphomaniac by her mother (not a friend of mine) was pregnant 5 years later. According to dd, there was nothing in it when they were 11- but of course there is nothing like a self fulfilling prophecy.)

Can't say I ever felt less capable of maintaining discipline because I didn't smack. Couldn't see the point tbh, and as the results in our local community seem to suggest that the children of sensible calm authoritative parents grew up just as well behaved anyway, I still don't see the point.

My family have got by without it for generations. I'd feel a bit pathetic if I was the first family member since the year 1900 who couldn't keep my own children under control without it.

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 10:39:57

Yes I can see what you are trying to say now and believe it or not, I actually have a very similar view blush

Don't sweat it, No-one (nomatter how smug) has all the answers, just accept the fact that you will try your best,you will probably fuck up a fair few times but tomorrow you can start all over again. grin

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 10:39:59

Blueberry - I have accepted that ignoring bad behaviour can work and agree that it would be the right thing to do when it is attention seeking but CONTINUALLY ignoring naughty behaviour (which isn't dangerous or hurting someone) surely cannot be right. I just don't see it.

You say that positive discipline doesn't mean that there aren't consequences for negative behaviour but again you do not explain what those are. Those people who condone smacking make it clear (in their posts) what they are but the anti smackers do not.

BlueberryHill Tue 12-Feb-13 10:41:33

Dreaming, your friends child shouldn't be doing that in a cafe, I think that children should be taught to behave well in cafes. In that situation we have books, crayons etc that we take in, we don't let them walk around annoying other people. Distraction is a good way to stop bad behaviour, we take them to watch pizzas being made etc, but we don't get in the way. Bottom line though, if they don't behave we take them out, they are warned and then the punishment is carried through.

I'm not perfect in my parenting, but DH and I consider what we do, change the approach if it isn't working or as children grow up. My DCs, I have 2 yo twins and a 6 yo, so far are turning out OK, they know that there are boundaries, warned about crossing them and have punishments if they ignore those boundaries. The punishments for DS1 (6 yo) include 5 mins going to bed earlier for each thing, no TV etc, He isn't badly behaved, the main problem is tuning out and playing with his toys instead of geting dressed, he is really good. They work with him because he doesn't want to go to bed at the same time as the 'babies' and wants to watch Power Rangers.

I wouldn't get too wound up about it, its not that difficult, pick your battles, praise is really good at getting to do what you want them to do. If it isn't working think again and keep your cool. I don't always manage the last one but I really try to.,

QuickLookBusy Tue 12-Feb-13 10:42:00

TwoFingers thanks for that link, it's great that it has real examples of what to do in common situations.

I think every parent should be given that info during pregnancy.

BlueberryHill Tue 12-Feb-13 10:48:50

Dreaming, does my last post answer your question? My punishments are personal to each child, whatever they like / want is a privilege, if they don't behave correctly we take that away for a set period. We have taken them home from playgrounds, days out etc if they haven't behaved. We haven't had to do this for ages as DS understands the consequences. He knows that we have a line and if he crosses it, there is a consequence, we are consistent with that and follow through. I don't always ignore bad behaviour, it depends what it is and why they are doing it and that depends on the individual child.

DTs are at a different stage in their development but they understand 'no' and are just starting to understand that things will be taken away if they don't behave.

cory Tue 12-Feb-13 10:50:57

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 08:38:39

"What I do find interesting is that the majority of you who are very quick to criticise other parents who use smacking as a form of discipline, remain quite silent on your own methods for disciplining your children. If you think that smacking is wrong and your way is superior then perhaps you should provide some detail as to what it is and how successful."

This is a reasonable question imo and deserves an answer. I think one reason it doesn't always get one is because parents who don't smack don't necessarily have one single stock punishment.

This is my experience of growing up in a non smacking but well disciplined household (and I do hope my children would be able to say something similar):

My parents were quite proactive about keeping me safe. A lot of the time they didn't have to punish me for doing dangerous things, because they had already made sure I couldn't. Dangerous substances were put away in a high place, knives were in a top drawer, the kitchen was fenced off with a stairgate, somebody kept an eye on me in places that couldn't be made safe. When we went outside, I wore reins or held hands when I was too little to be trusted. If I had been trusted and misbehaved, that was back to the reins.

They were also proactive about boredom. They got me used to enjoying conversations from a very early age, so that they could keep me entertained in cafes etc, and if they took me out they would see that as their job. (I myself once read stories to dd all the way from Calais to Berlin on the train; dh used to make up his own stories for them. But you need to train children to enjoy stories).

They reacted instantly if I was doing something I shouldn't. When I was little, they would remove me calmly but firmly from where I shouldn't be, take the toy or item I shouldn't have away from me, put the coat on that I didn't want to wear etc. f I hit another child, I was taken home from the party instantly.

They rarely lost their temper- but they didn't give in either! Eventually, I learned that there wasn't much point in struggling because they tended to get their way.

They had perfected the headmistress look and the brisk unflappable headmistress tone of voice.

If I got out of control (tantrum), I would be put in time out, but this wasn't happening every day.

As I got older, there were consequences: not allowed out the next day if I had overstayed my curfew etc.

But they also spent a lot of time in conversation with me and talked to me as a sensible human being. Whenever the punishment was over, we would revert to that. They never held grudges.

As I grew older, I needed fewer and fewer consequences because I had got to respect them and wanted their approval.

Flatbread Tue 12-Feb-13 10:57:51

For a six year old it is ok to have consequences that happen later, e.g., earlier bedtime.

For a one/two year old, that is pointless. The action and consequence have to be immediate, swift and not drawn out. A warning, followed by a tap on the bum or hand is fine. It is not traumatic for the child or parent. It is a simple way of communicating, 'hey, you are crossing a boundary' in a way a toddler understands.

Accepting parental authority is not the same as being scared of your parents. I think there is too much of wishy-washy nonsense of negotiating all the time. I think that is very disconcerting for toddlers who are just trying to explore their boundaries

When a child becomes 5-6, they should never be smacked. They are too old and other consequences, such as blueberry's early bedtime will work.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 11:25:00

Blueberry, your post does answer my question in relation to older children but I am still quite stumped by toddlers. Surely there are occasions when removing the toddler from the scene isn't feasible - if you are out with family or friends, particularly if you haven't seen them for a while, you aren't going to want to leave because your toddler has done something naughty. Or if the toddler is being naught at home etc

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 12-Feb-13 11:27:08

Thanks for the link Twofingers and for your post Cory

cory Tue 12-Feb-13 11:37:23

Sometimes you can remove the toddler temporarily, Dreaming- and if there are two of you, the parents can take it in turns. Or you can just restrain them.

It depends on the kind of naughtiness.

First of all, you would be anticipating the situation and planning for it. e.g. "We are going to be meeting DM in a restaurant, how do I cope with that?"

You might ask for a more child friendly venue, or you might simply bring lots of things to keep toddler entertained. You would probably have to expect at least one person to spend a fair bit of time talking to toddler. But why not? They're quite interesting. And DM might also like talking to toddler.

Secondly, naughty behaviour occurs. The question here is "What kind of naughty behaviour? How do I stop it?"

If toddler is trying to throw her glass, remove the glass. If she is trying to run around, sit her on your lap and distract her with a story or joke. If she goes into total meltdown, take it in turns to walk her outside until she calms down and is fit for human society again. (they do calm down eventually).

georgedawes Tue 12-Feb-13 11:40:56

Dreaming, for me part of it is about understanding the developmental age of your child. For instance, that 2 year old you were talking about sounded just too young, developmentally, to cope with being in a busy cafe. Of course there are things you can do to try and distract them - crayons, toys, talking to them and so on, but for some young toddlers they're going to really struggle to sit still in that kind of situation. As a parent of a toddler, you have to pick your battles and perhaps avoid restaurants til they're a little older (not all people have to do this!).

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 11:47:30

Very well put Cory

cory Tue 12-Feb-13 12:00:46

Having read GeorgeDawes' post I want to emend mine to a kind of combo of mine and hers.

Basically, I think sometimes you do have to, or you really want to, do things that are tricky given your child's developmental stage. But a big part of the trick is knowing that you are doing something extra difficult so you will have to work extra hard for that one occasion. Doesn't mean every aspect of toddler minding is equally hard work.

I didn't have to spend every day of my life being some kind of entertainment committee for dc: a lot of the time, they were happy to be pottering around next to me and do their own thing.

But when I did something extraordinary, like took dd on the train to Berlin, or for a meal in a restaurant, then I knew it was an extra and would need an extra input, so I wasn't surprised or frustrated when that proved true.

Some of those things became automatic. Dc and I travelled a lot on public transport, and I used to start telling a story just before the bus pulled up, to make sure I had their attention hooked before they got on the bus and could get bored. If we went into a pet shop I would stop on the pavement outside and just remind them of what pets like and what they don't like. I went into an aquatics shop the other day and I almost stopped on the pavement to remind myself that fish don't like it when you knock on the glass.

georgedawes Tue 12-Feb-13 12:27:05

Definitely agree with what Cory said.

BlueberryHill Tue 12-Feb-13 12:54:13

I agree with cory and georgedawes, a lot of managing behaviour is thinking ahead and taking action so that you don't have any misbehaviour to deal with. If we think that something is too much for the children, e.g. a long meal in a quiet restaurant, we just don't go, we have three small children and it can be too much hard work for us to enjoy ourselves. We do go out to eat, but we pick busy restaurants with a lot happening and that can help them be entertained. Sometimes no matter what you do it is hard work for that particular outing, in that case eat quickly and go.

If they are being naughty at home, I can remove something, say no and keep repeating (they are young so they are learning at this stage). I try to avoid issues where I can by planning ahead but if I can't or it there is nothing I could have done to avoid it I tackle it head on, pick your battle but once you do, be consistent and follow through. I tend to ignore tantrums, mainly because another child needs my attention plus I don't want to encourage them by reacting to them.

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 13:13:49

Toddlers are a bit of a law unto themselves really and should definately not be viewed and treated the same as an older child. Consequences and Punishments are a bit wasted on them as their sense of reason is still not quite cooked yet.

Distraction, consistency and example are definately the best ways to "teach" them. The aim is to stop the unwanted behaviour, not necessary to make them regret misbehaving IYSWIM

NopeStillNothing Tue 12-Feb-13 13:14:56

necessarily even

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 12-Feb-13 13:17:34

DreamingofMaldives; regarding discipline (learning) for a 2 year old. As far as I can remember, sometimes I did have to cut a pleasant time short by removing my child and leaving.
If leaving is something they don't want to do,( e.g if you are at a playground) then they learn quite quickly, even at 2, that their behaviour has consequences. Better to leave and suffer once or twice than suffer every tine you go anywhere.

I did do time-out, especially for hitting/throwing things/ wilful bad behaviour.
If he hit, I would put him immediately in his cot and leave him for a couple of minutes. Just instant removal-no negotiations or warnings. That absolutely worked, because it was dead simple and he got the message that the behaviour was just not going to be tolerated.

I think that's the key with toddlers-simplicity. Not too much talking, no need for shouting, just "no" and swift retribution.

Also "no" has to MEAN "no". Every time. NEVER say "no" to anything your child asks you for if you are planning on caving in to nagging/whining.
It's good to give a reason why the answer is "no" but it's not negotiable.

And positive reinforcement works wonders too. Sometimes it's really easy to forget that, but every time I have a renewed attempt at it I am amazed how much better me and ds get along.

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