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Smacking and modern dads(14 Posts)
A lot of the posts on here about being smacked by their parents seem to say "it was mostly my mum when she got stressed/angry with us" but less so dads. My supposition is that that is because dads in the 1970s/1980s generally didn't have the stress of the morning school run or the pick-up and the childcare inbetween and dads were more (emotionally and geographically) distant from the situation so less likely to see it as their job to deal with any of it or get emotionally involved.
I'm anti-smacking and I never even used to shout at DCs when they were younger, but latterly have occasionally smacked (clothed bum, open hand only) where the tween DCs are hitting/kicking/scratching/biting each other, they're ignoring me and I've been tired/angry, under time stress because those lovely staff at the school lock the gate at 9am sharp, holding the baby (literally) or haven't had the wherewithal to take a step back and come up with a more creative solution. I hate it when I do it - it's utterly absurd to punish someone for hitting by hitting them - I always talk it through with DCs afterwards and explain how it is wrong and really try hard afterwards to learn lessons about preventing the flashpoints arising and reprise the whole constructive discipline thing.
BUT, I wonder if any other dads have had this experience when they've become more involved in childcare and have developed a strategy to discpline more effectively. (N.B. We live like caged rats in an upper floor flat which is part of the problem, so the whole ruralite "let them play out in the garden" or "go outside and cool down" strategy doesn't work for us).
I've smacked twice, once on the youngest (about 3 at the time) for biting the eldest and once the eldest for running out in the road despite being told not to. Smack to the back of the hand, neither time hard enough to leave a mark but enough for them to feel it. I figured if they equated a little pain with what they'd done it was better than the alternative in thinking they can hit without getting hit back or getting run over.
I've never smacked for basic insolence, answering back, refusing to tidy etc. They get asked once, told once, then I take them by the hand and are forced into it. Now they just do it when asked then thanked.
Interesting. The thing is when I have smacked, it is always a sudden and instinctive thing - if I have any time/brainspace to consider using smacking as discipline, I simply don't do it - there are dozens of more effective ways of enforcing good behaviour (loss of privileges, binning treats etc.).
I nearly done that once, with my eldest when she was probably about 8 or 9, she has moderate learning difficuilties and just wouldn't get into bed, after half wrestling her in I pushed her shoulders downand and was so tempted to go for her neck as a warning and to shock her. I stormed out waited at the top of the stairs and went back in, we both said sorry, had a cuddle, chatted about the next day and off she went.
I've smacked occasionally. Pretty much always, it has been when the children have been in my sole charge.
DW has been quicker to use that particular sanction, but it is very infrequent. It is the nuclear option.
I stopped smacking my eldest dc once it stopped being the most effective way of dealing with (very) bad behaviour, but that was to do with her age, rather than the nature of the punishment.
If I felt like I was losing my rag, I took myself out the room
most of the time .
Never ever. I think it represents a loss of control, it is ineffective and hypocritical.
No question about it - it is a loss of control. That's why I hate it when I do it - it shows I've lost it.
...and ineffective and hypocritical as well.
In fact I would say its even counter-productive, because they start to copy me and (paradoxically) it's me who ends up apologising after DCs' bad behaviour.
I reserve the right to smack my son. I'm not a very liberal parent really but I've not been in the situation where it has been needed. But I do feel it is appropriate in some circumstances.
Ironically, my (much more liberal) ex who was vehement that smacking represented a loss of control and is abuse plain and simple now smacks him as does her latest
God knows what he behaves like when he is with her...I only have to tell him to watch his step and he behaves. He's 7 and I am sure he'll get more and more lairy as he gets older but so far it's all good.
I'm pleased to say I've never smacked because I've "lost it", I have stormed out and took a breather though. As lostdad says I do feel it is appropriate in some circumstances.
What helps me when I feel I'm reaching the end of my tether is making a point of remembering there is pretty much always a funny side to the situation. It helps me take a step back and breathe.
I think it is right to demonstrate anger to children in appropriate circumstances. It teaches them the effects of their actions. But it is best done as an act, ie, not real anger, which leads to bad decisions regardless of whether smacking is involved.
I think if you are losing it enough to smack your children, the best thing to do is to get help asap. Many people now in their 40s who were smacked have rationalised it. Oh I was a handful etc. But this minimises it.Smqcking is physical abuse of another human being. This link, written by a child psychologist is very helpful
For some reason I cant copy the link but if you google dr laura markham aha parenting spanking you will find it
I can only remember being smacked once as a child, that was for turning on the old style 3 bar fire, I didn't do it again, hence I didn't try to put the plug in on my own nor would I be able to be too close to the fire on my own. I was never smacked for back chat, untidyness etc and I would never smack my kids for that.
I have 5 DC all grown up and I am in my Seventies. They are old enough to talk about my Parenting to me. There are lots of things I did that make me squirm and feel ashamed. I smacked them when they were far too young to understand what the hell was going on. I didn't beat them, it was taps on the bottom. I raised my voice and shouted. I was impatient. I didn't listen to them or respect them as individuals enough. I soo wish I hadn't done these things. I know I can excuse myself easily as I had a mad Toxic Parent but I feel soo guilty. However your DC are young and you still have time to give them unconditional love and warmth. The roles will possibly be reversed in the end with them looking after you. How would you like it when you are old and frail if they smacked you for wetting the bed, dropping stuff accidentally, don't listen to you or respect you? When you are old and vulnerable, your DC's will treat you as you have treated them. Luckily for me I was in a high powered job so have a pension. I am not dependent financially on my children, you might be. Any thing you do to them in their childhood will come back to bite you. Be warned.
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