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How would you have handled this?

(22 Posts)
violetbouncer Mon 10-Jan-11 18:01:51

Posting here because I know I fucked up but need to know how better I could have handled it.

DP was sitting at the PC with DD (3 months) on his knee and DS (3.5) standing next to him, and as I entered the room he started shouting at DS asking him what he'd done. DD had started crying obviously in pain.

I went straight over and asked DS what he did and he said he pinched her fingers hard. I saw red and pinched his finger, and then had a real go at him - it's very unkind, she's just a baby, why did he do it (because "sometimes she scratches or pinches" him) etc. I know that was a pointless, futile, unkind thing to do and I am truly ashamed of myself for doing it. So he started crying and rambling and I kept on at him and it was all bad, meanwhile DP's trying to soothe teary DD.

Afterwards DP had a go at me for butting in and not letting him handle it - I do have a history of this and I realise it is bloody annoying. On this occasion as DP was holding DD who was hurt it didn't occur to me not to intervene. So he's pissed off with me, probably fairly, but I didn't honestly think it would be a problem.

So we're in a mess. And it's my fault. As for why a 3 year old who's never, ever been anything but affectionate towards his baby sister would suddenly pinch her, I have no idea, and not a scooby about how to handle it.

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Mon 10-Jan-11 18:04:47


calm down. it is done now and you knw exaclty where you went wrong. the thing you need to work on is the 'seeing red'. seeing red is a bad temper. and losing your temper is losing control. you cannot deal with the situation effectively if you aren't in control of it. and yes you should have let your DH deal with it.

FabbyChic Mon 10-Jan-11 18:04:47

Ouch. All you can do is apologise to your DP for intervening and let him do things his way next time.

With regards your son, you are going to have to say sorry for pinching him, because well you should not have pinched him!

Chil1234 Mon 10-Jan-11 18:04:51

You're not in a mess.... Feathers have been ruffled but it'll be forgotten in 10 minutes time unless you and DP keep chewing it over or blaming each other. Random stuff happens with toddler/baby combos and no-one has the monopoly on 'the right way to handle it'. Cup of tea... custard cream.... relax and move on.

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Mon 10-Jan-11 18:06:12

your son is probably feeling a bit jealous and a bit pissed off taht his sister can hit him and not get shouted at.

TheVisitor Mon 10-Jan-11 18:07:13

Because he's 3 and yes, you should have let your DH handle it. What you teach him is that you're bigger so you can hurt him just like he's done to his sister. I don't say this as a stick to beat you with, just a little psych of a 3 year old's mind. If he hurts her again, get down to his level and tell him that it's not nice to hurt people and put him in time out for 3 minutes. Cuddles afterwards. He will get jealous of his sister from time to time, no matter what you do, and it's normal behaviour.

TheVisitor Mon 10-Jan-11 18:08:17

Oh yes, and apologise to him too. Boo, the baby is only 3 months old, so doesn't do hitting!

valiumredhead Mon 10-Jan-11 18:13:00

I'm a great believer in aplogising when you've fucked up and you know you have. Explain to ds you are sorry and you made a mistake and it won't happen again, big cuddle and do something special this evening just the 2 of you - puzzle/game/story. Same for dh, just apologise and tell him you know you were in the wrong followed by big cuddle etc etc wink Start tomorrow afresh and maybe of it's an ongoing problem seek some kind of anger management?

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Mon 10-Jan-11 18:13:33

ah right, i was going on what OP said

" why did he do it (because "sometimes she scratches or pinches" him)"

i presumed this is what she meant. didn't see the baby's age.

Plumm Mon 10-Jan-11 18:17:32

Apologize to your husband - he could have handled it as he was with the children when it happened.

Apologize to your DS - pinching him teaches him that pinching is okay.

violetbouncer Mon 10-Jan-11 18:39:04

OK. Thank you. I've got a shitty temper but I was also on the receiving end of my Dad's shitty temper and he was one for lashing out in anger - never more than a skelped backside but it was the anger that was scary - so I can see it is unhelpful for a child to be punished physically.

DP's putting DS to bed now but I'll go up in a minute and tall to him.

violetbouncer Mon 10-Jan-11 19:03:28

So, the pinching is normal - but very out of character in this case, other than DS being massively chronically tired no reason is obvious to me - but what's the right thing to do? I've never used time out. DS has always been easy going and we've just talked to him about things rather than punishments, apart from the odd no-story-because-you-didn't-get-ready-for-bed-with out-a-fuss type thing.

hester Mon 10-Jan-11 19:15:21

The right thing to do is what TheVisitor suggested, IMO. I know it's not your style but you need to find some way of having a significant (non-physical) sanction for big no-nos like physical violence. I actually don't believe incidents like this are out of character for ANY 3 year old. I would have said it was out of character for my dd, but yes she has shoved her baby sister. And then she has been on the naughty chair, which we have used maybe five times in her life and reserve for serious crimes like hitting...

But I'm a bit concerned that you're so upset about this. Apologise and move on. And don't decide too early that this is a big new problem. It may never happen again.

hester Mon 10-Jan-11 19:17:22

Can I just add, time out may not be your style but you need to have a punishment worked out in advance of this (maybe) happening again. I too have a terrible temper, and come from a childhood in which ghastly things happened in rage, and I know how it feels when that red mist descends. The ONLY way to handle this is to have a script, or a default action that you can automatically deploy without too much thought. If not naughty step, then come up with something else and fast!

Now go have a glass of wine and make it up with your dp. This is not nearly as big a deal as it feels to you right now!

CamelToeAndWine Mon 10-Jan-11 19:20:07

Well, your DS is probably wondering why his Mum, who has only ever been kind and affectionate towards him, would pinch him.

And if you're about to say "Because he pinched DD" - well, as he told you, he pinched her because she sometimes pinches him!

So you've effectively taught him that he's right - pinching IS acceptable if the pinchee "deserves" it.

tinkgirl Mon 10-Jan-11 19:20:50

i think you need to work on trusting your DP to handle the situation. as your DC's grow do you always want to be the one doing the telling off? I only say this, not to be unkind but have learnt this lesson the hard way.

sit down with DH and talk about what you both feel are acceptable punishments and how to handle situations when they arise.

Lonnie Mon 10-Jan-11 19:20:58

YABU you said your dh was telling your son off and then you took over. you need to learn to allow your dh to parent yoru children.

lecce Mon 10-Jan-11 19:25:24

I have a similar age-gap between my dc. I kind of follow unconditional parenting and that kind of thing, so like you, have never done time-out etc. My ds1 is pretty laid-back but once thev two of them were in a shopping trolley and he suddenly bit ds2 hard on the finger, totally out of the blue. I had a bit of a rant but it wasn't the start of majpr aggression problems for ds1. Maybe your ds wanted to see what would happen. Don't worry that it's goint to be the start of hostilities!

Being very tired probably is the reason. I'd stick to talking to him about the not wanting to hurt others for now.

violetbouncer Mon 10-Jan-11 19:25:56

That's a kind post hester, thank you. I guess I'm just stressed because DS isn't like this usually and it's such a horrible thing to do, plus I hate myself when I lose my rag and then also I manage to piss DP off into the bargain. Having one of those days where I feel out of my depth and crap at being a mum. Good advice here though, thank you.

hester Mon 10-Jan-11 19:39:39

For him, it may not have been a horrible thing to do. Sometimes children just do these things to try them out. I think you may be projecting some of your own history onto this: honestly, all kids do this sort of thing sometimes. He is still your lovely little boy, I promise.

So sorry you had a rough day and feel like the world's crappest mum. I certainly know how that feels!

violetbouncer Mon 10-Jan-11 19:41:22

I've apologised to both of them now. It doesn't get any easier, this mum stuff, does it? Thanks for the advice.

hester Mon 10-Jan-11 21:30:40

Another day, another layer of guilt! Take care, violet.

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