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to be furious with my pil and to think its up to me. to discipline my children

(118 Posts)
chocoholic05 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:32:25

Yesterday afternoon my pil came round. Ds1 was playing up and I removed him from the room when he came back in he became aggressive towards his brother again. This happened a number of times he's normally a good boy but yesterday he was not he's 7. To cut along story short after ds hit his brother again fil got hold of him pulled his trousers and pants down and was about to smack him! I screamed (extremely unlike me) no fil he's my child and you don't touch him!!! He then made out he wasn't really going to do it and mil then said its a pity you don't smack him he'd probably be a lot better behaved! Sooo angry shaking now just thinking about yesterday!

chocoholic05 Tue 26-Feb-13 12:37:37

Mil rang yesterday as if nothing had happened and asked how ds is (my mum rang had seen her in town and told her about ds1 bad ear). Then finished before hanging.up with 'take care you know where we are if you want us!"

flatbread Tue 26-Feb-13 13:02:18

I think that is nice of them. It is hardly worth falling out over.

Goldmandra Tue 26-Feb-13 14:09:10

It is hardly worth falling out over.

It is very much worth falling out over if the OP is not able to feel reassured that her PILs will NEVER use corporal punishment on her children either with or without her being there to protect them.

I would need to hear them promise never to raise a hand to either child ever again and would be more than willing to fall out with them if they wouldn't do this.

flatbread Tue 26-Feb-13 14:38:08

PIl haven't smacked ds, they backed off.

The only one with a propensity for hitting seems to be OP's older child. Best to focus on curbing that, which is really the main issue.

Maybe I am very sensitive to this, having been on the receiving end of an older sibling's hitting. IMO, parents often don't take it seriously enough or provide serious enough consequences to the older sibling. A 7 year old can hit hard, and it will feel painful for someone who is 4 or 5. And humiliating for them too.

Personally, I would have loved my mum or dad, or anyone really to have smacked my older sibling, to show them how it feels to be on the receiving end and hopefully put the fear in her that she cannot hit a younger child and get away with it. Instead everyone just tutted ineffectually or said that my older sis would outgrow it or worse still, the children are just playing hmm

Anyway, in this case, op's and her dh's views have been made clear. Mil calling was probably a conciliatory gesture. I would let it go.

Goldmandra Tue 26-Feb-13 15:31:13

He only stopped because the OP screamed. Other comments they have made back up the OP's view that they see it as the right thing to do.

There is a much bigger power imbalance between a 7 year old and his grandfather than there is between two brothers. This grandfather was also using humiliation against the child in addition to his intention to use violence.

The OP needs to know that he has been stopped in his tracks and will remain stopped.

Yes she needs to deal effectively with the hitting but there is no evidence on this thread that she is not doing so.

We don't know how hard the brother was hit or what other behaviour management strategies she and her DH would have used had the GF not interfered.

We don't know how many times his brother has hit him and how he has responded to that in the past and we don't know on how many previous occasions he has hit his brother.

I understand that you have had a bad experience and don't want the younger child to feel the same but that doesn't negate the seriousness of the actions of the grandfather.

The phone call could just as easily have been a way of making it clear that the attempt to smack was perfectly reasonable in the GP's view and they see no reason for the OP to raise any concerns about it.

If it's any consolation, flatbread, I was hit all the time for hitting my younger sibling. All I learned is that hitting someone smaller is a good way to get your own way. Not sure it would've helped your situation.

flatbread Tue 26-Feb-13 16:14:31

Gold, what we do know is the 7 year old hit his younger sibling twice and as far as we know, the only punishment was an ineffectual timeout.

There is a much bigger power imbalance between a 7 year old and his grandfather than there is between two brothers

God, this is so misguided. There is no comparison, unless the grandfather randomly hits the child whenever he feels like it.

It can be terrifying to be hit by an older sibling. Especially when you have done no wrong. It is just dependent on their mood and when they are in a bad mood, they take it out on you. Seriously, in some ways it is like being in an abusive relationship when you are tippy-toeing around the physically bigger person because they might suddenly hit you for no reason at all. It is physically painful and humiliating. And so unfair

As an adult, if I see an older sibling hit a younger one and get away with it, I don't think I could keep my beak out. I would not smack someone else's child but I would be very firm in telling the older child off.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 26-Feb-13 16:30:15

Its good that your dh who witnessed the incident agrees with you. How did the grandparents react when you screamed and made him stop?

Anything to surgest they took it on board?

Goldmandra Tue 26-Feb-13 16:57:58

It can be terrifying to be hit by an older sibling. Especially when you have done no wrong. It is just dependent on their mood and when they are in a bad mood, they take it out on you. Seriously, in some ways it is like being in an abusive relationship when you are tippy-toeing around the physically bigger person because they might suddenly hit you for no reason at all. It is physically painful and humiliating. And so unfair

This is quite an extreme example of sibling interaction and, I agree, a damaging and very undesirable situation. However there is no reason to think that it describes what is going on in the OP's home.

chocoholic05 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:07:23

No it is not what goes on with my boys most of the time. Though like most. Siblings they do have their moments. Normally putting ds in another room to calm down works and he had been very sternly told off. I know my ds had been very naughty but I don't want this to become a discussion about him.
Oh and my inlaws left soon. afterwards

flatbread Tue 26-Feb-13 17:08:53

I actually think it is more common than we think. Parents love their children equally and somehow think that the siblings love each other just as much. They might, but there is often a personality dynamics at play as well.

When we see a 7 year old, we see an adorable, naughty but essentially harmless child. For a 5 year old, on the other hand, he could be a tormentor. You might love your older sibling, but be very scared of them as well. And not understand why they lash out at you and think it is somehow your fault, even if you did nothing wrong. Not healthy.

A lot of children are just not very nice to their younger siblings. They can act superior, put them down. Hit them or pinch them when no one is looking. Stuff that parents often roll their eyes at. But it could be damaging to the younger child if done too often in the formative years.

Goldmandra Tue 26-Feb-13 17:12:13

Flatbread I think this is in important issue about which you clearly have very strong feelings.

Maybe you would be better starting a new thread devoted to it as it probably isn't really relevant to this one.

chocoholic05 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:16:47

I agree gold smile

flatbread Tue 26-Feb-13 17:22:42

I do think it is very relevant to this thread. It is about correcting an older child who is hitting a younger one.

Are only parents allowed to do it? What if their approach is not working and younger child is hit repeatedly?

Are you supposed to sit back and watch while sipping your coffee?

Btw, this is not to say PIL should have pulled ds pants down. But to point out that it is not unreasonable that he felt he had to butt in.

abbyfromoz Tue 26-Feb-13 18:05:07

I would be furious if ANYONE laid a hand on my child... I can't say I disagree with smacking as a parent entirely but not as a form of humiliation or aggression and certainly not from anyone but the parent! Even if fil wasn't going to smack him.. He pulled his pants down! Outrageous!!!

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 26-Feb-13 19:05:14


The op is being very clear on wanting to focus on the attempted punishment and how to deal with that.

She has also been very clear that she and her dh were dealing with the bad behaviour.

The bad behaviour of her ds is a different issue to how acceptable the punishment his gp attempted to hand out.

anonymosity Wed 27-Feb-13 03:04:53

AbbyFromoz - what is smacking if not humiliation and aggression rolled into one? I remember being smacked and feeling totally humiliated by it.

Megatron Wed 27-Feb-13 04:27:35


I think many of us have experienced being hit by an older sibling. My brother was 4 years older and dislocated my shoulder however I certainly do not wish that my parents had hit him, far from it. Regardless of personal experience I could never understand an adult physically hurting a small child. There is no excuse.

Contradictionincarnate Wed 27-Feb-13 04:31:47

he shouldn't have made any attempt at discipline whilst you were there anyway but its come from him trying to help think you need to sit down and have a word to explain your methods and ask them not to hit your children as discipline!

TheFallenNinja Wed 27-Feb-13 04:57:18

Easy one. Don't finish your tea, get the fuck out. Come back when you can explain why I'm angry.

coralanne Wed 27-Feb-13 07:04:14

My DGS is 7 and is a very gentle placid little boy. Usually.

Several years ago I was taking the DGC for a walk and DGS (4 at the time) and DGD (7 at the time) were walking along bickering with each other.DGS turned and spat at his sister.

I picked up his little hand and gave it a soft smack.

He was terrified and cried his eyes out and I was terrified and shocked that I had done that.

We sat down on a park bench. I cuddled him until he had stopped crying and then made him apologize to his sister.

I then explained to him that only camels spit and donkeys and horses kick. We then spent the next half hour thinking up things that only animals do and humans don't (or shouldn't do).

Even now, two years later he'll sometimes say. "Only camels spit don 't they Grandma"

I'm horrified that FIL actually pulled DS's pants down to smack him and just as the OP things the the earache might be a mitigating circumstance then maybe FIL had had enought of a 7 year old consistently going back and forward and hitting his sibling.

Maybe it was a spontaneous reaction that he regretted afterwards.

Must say that I never smacked my DC when they were growing up.

abbyfromoz Wed 27-Feb-13 07:40:23

Anonimosity- smacking and hitting are not the same. Smacking is a consequence that is usually rarely given after much consideration and with appropriate warning and explanation- not an enjoyable experience for either child or parent and never as a consequence for physical violence ('don't hit your brother! Smack!' Yeah that makes sense... not) Hitting on the other hand is usually a snap reaction out of anger or rage in an aim to channel your own anger. Most people don't understand the difference between the two- for those people i say smacking is not a choice for you.

coralanne Wed 27-Feb-13 07:56:57

Don't agree abby. Smacking and Hitting are exactly the same.

The consequences are the same.

abbyfromoz Wed 27-Feb-13 08:03:54

Carolanne- that's fine. As i said most don't understand the difference so probably not for you.

cory Wed 27-Feb-13 08:10:50

It isn't just about another adult correcting a child.

It is about a totally inappropriate way of correcting a child: pulling down the trousers of a 7yo. Wrong because of his age, also wrong because exposing your private parts in this fashion will be something the little boy should have been taught never to let anyone do.

Basically, it is a bad, bad way to discipline a child, even if you do believe in smacking.

And disciplining a child when the parent is present is not helping her: it is sending strong signals to the child that mummy can't make you obey, she is so weak that I have to help her.

I had to have words with my (very loving) father on this score: being slightly deaf he used to miss that I had just told ds off and would tell him off himself in almost identical words (you'd have thought the fact that my lips were moving was some kind of clue...). After a few weeks in their house, ds was getting more and more disrespectful towards me, which meant that he was misbehaving more than usual, not less. Fortunately my dad listened, I took back the reins and order was restored.

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