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To wonder if this discipline was excessive of my mother?

(141 Posts)
PineappleFwitters Wed 04-Jan-17 11:24:09

My mother always physically punished us as children. It's what she grew up with and what she knew, but I think it happened more because she lost her temper than because I was badly behaved.

Once, when I was about 12, I was keeping an eye on my brother but also reading my copy of Mandy (yes it was that long ago!) Before I knew what was happening my brother, who was probably about 9 months at the time, rolled off the bed and fell into the (carpeted) floor. He was not injured (as the bed was fairly low) but he cried, and my mother came storming into the room, slapped me and tore my magazine into pieces.

Now I don't deny that I should've been keeping a closer eye on my brother, but was her behaviour not a tad OTT? Again, I think she lost her temper and didn't know how to deal with it. I don't hold a grudge against her but I do wonder if it's why, even today, I get easily annoyed with her. Part of me is worried that I might wind up acting like that with DC, but fortunately so far so good.

Anyway not sure why I'm posting this really, maybe to see if my feelings are justified or if her behaviour was excessive. sad

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:26:45

That's not discipline; It's out of control temper.

My mother used to do similar; Break toys etc. I think she was very unhappy and took it out on us small people.

Ilovecaindingle Wed 04-Jan-17 11:29:56

She was likely mad at herself for leaving you with the baby and you got the backlash. . Things our parents do don't make us do the same. My dm was horrendous to me but I don't parent the same. She used to blame me for stuff going missing and punish me. I knew it wasn't me but there was only me and her... She was quite malicious I feel. She has no contact with me or my kids. ...

BigusBumus Wed 04-Jan-17 11:30:44

I think things have changed a lot since the 70s. I was also physically punished as a child. There used to be a wooden spoon balanced above the kitchen door that we would be smacked with if naughty, also the leather handle of the dog lead. Its unbelievable to think about that nowadays!
So your mums reaction of slapping you was probably the norm for that time, however the ripping up of the magazine seems like someone who has lost control over her temper.
Have you ever asked her about those incidents to see it from her perspective? She might well agree with you now that it was excessive.

badtime Wed 04-Jan-17 11:31:23

My mother also used physical punishment mainly because she lost her temper. It was very common back in the day.

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:33:21

In a way, provincial and suburban SAHMs of the 70s and 80s were Betty Drapers but without such ready access to pills.

drivingmisspotty Wed 04-Jan-17 11:33:47

I agree she was unreasonable. But then I think it is unreasonable to physically punish or destroy your DCs property full stop.

I have a similar one actually. I was 9, little sis was 5 and youngest sister 1 and ready to take her first steps. Middle sister and I spent ages with little one encouraging her to walk between us and eventually she did it. I was so excited I ran and fetched my mum. 'Come and see this!' Still so excited I stood baby sister up and half pushed her at my sister and she fell flat on her face. Mum super angry shouted at me how dare I push her!

Now, I can see how it looked like that and don't bear any hard feelings against mum for it. But it's one of those incidents that stick with me because I wasn't understood. It was an honest accident and I was a bit shocked my mum assumed I was being malicious rather than that is was just a accident. So I wonder if the incident with your brother sticks for a similar reason-you were doing your best at 12 to keep an eye on him. Maybe you didn't have the foresight to realise he would fall off bed and she overreacted, but possibly keep understandably as her baby was hurt and she was shocked?

badtime Wed 04-Jan-17 11:36:22

I've just realised that my comment looks like I was excusing this behaviour; I did not intend it to.
I believe there is actually quite a lot of evidence that shows that it is more damaging to apply (any)discipline inconsistently (e.g. due to temper) than to use physical punishment for consistent reasons (obviously, not including actual beatings).
If you have to deal with a parent who would base your punishment on their feelings, that can lead to anxiety and other long-term issues.

PineappleFwitters Wed 04-Jan-17 11:43:13

In a way, provincial and suburban SAHMs of the 70s and 80s were Betty Drapers but without such ready access to pills.

I think my mother suffered from depression and anxiety but it was never recognised. She thinks it dreadful that I work full time with a DC rather than be a SAHM like she was, but my main memories of childhood are of her screaming at us, losing her temper over something small or refusing to engage with us. She used to tell us she couldn't read so that she could avoid reading bedtime stories!

DontTouchTheMoustache Wed 04-Jan-17 11:45:20

Both my parents would punish us in this way. I remember one time when I was about 8 I don't know what I was doing, possibly being too noisy or too stroppy but my dad suddenly lost his temper and stormed across the room and grabbed me by the neck and slammed me into the wall with his fist pulled back. Thankfully stopped then but I will never forget the terror I felt. My mum wpuld just fly into a rage at the slightest thing especially if we were fighting and slap us across the head or face. When we were older my mum more or less moved out (when I was 14) and my dad had left when we were 10 and at that point my older brother became very violent and would frequently beat up my sister and me. I always used to hate him but now understand it is partly not his fault with the example he was set

missyB1 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:51:30

I do think parents using physical punishment was very common in the 70s and 80s . My mum certainly did and she also had a vicious temper, she would often lose it over nothing much and fly at me slapping and saying the nastiest things sad

Weirdly I never remember seeing her hit any of my siblings- only me.

dollydaydream114 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:51:47

I think it was pretty standard to punish a child with a slap or a smack back then, but even then, there was a difference between that and completely losing control. It does sound like your mum lost the plot and massively overreacted. I know every mum probably feels a sense of panic if their baby falls off the bed or sofa or whatever, but her reaction overall sounds extreme to me.

I got sent to my room and had things confiscated as a punishment when I was a child and I'm sure I might have had the odd smack on the leg when I was little (although I don't actually remember) - but I don't think I'd have thought it was normal or OK even then for either of my parents to react to a minor accident by slapping me and ripping up what I was reading.

Was this a one-off or was she routinely this irrational/over-reactive?

I think a lot of people worry about making the same mistakes their parents did, and also a lot of people find that having kids of their own rakes up difficult memories of their own childhoods, so I'm sure you are not alone in feeling like this. It doesn't mean you don't love your mum or that you haven't forgiven her, but it's normal to remember and feel strange about this sort of thing I think.

backaftera2yearbreak Wed 04-Jan-17 11:53:21

My dad used to poke his finger into my nose and then slap me around the face. It was horrible. He went in to have a 3rd child with another woman (after me and brother with my mum) and he never laid a finger on him.

LaContessaDiPlump Wed 04-Jan-17 11:55:02

Oh, my mum hit us all the time because she was pissed off - with us, my dad, the universe etc. She didn't control her temper very well understatement. Funnily enough she managed to rein it in after I turned 15 and threatened to hit her back hmm bullying behaviour.

I have a temper of my own and have often wanted to smash DS1's head into a wall - in fact I used to daydream about hitting them when they were smaller and more irksome, that's how bad it got. I didn't, though. Self-control, innit.

Sorry op thanks

BertrandRussell Wed 04-Jan-17 11:55:41

I don't agree with hitting children. At all. Ever. For anything.

But you were supposed to be watching your brother and you weren't and he fell.

What would you do if that happened with your own children?

kaitlinktm Wed 04-Jan-17 11:58:51

I was brought up in the 60s and for the times was very leniently treated. My DM (whom I love very much) is adamant that although my brother was physically punished, I never was. (This inequality was often the case then). It is almost true, but it's funny isn't it that I remember (probably) the only two times she did - it was her, not my DF. She has no memory at all of these times.

One was when I was very small - she slapped my face because I was naughty. I was crying and I remember she asked my father if he thought she ought to have smacked me. He replied "Well, not on the face." I remember thinking "Why didn't she ask him BEFORE she hit me?" grin

The other was when I was older - about 10 - and I had got paint on a new coat (painting a picture in the shed) and she was so annoyed and slapped me across the face (again - the face). I once reminded her of this years later (not out of the blue, we were discussing smacking children) and she was so upset and said it would haunt her. I don't think she really believed me. I wouldn't ever mention it now.

She has told me that her mother did similar - but much worse - to her, so it must be that it was how she had been brought up, she was very young, and to her credit she decided to parent (mostly) a different way.

Purplebluebird Wed 04-Jan-17 12:00:50

My mum would do this too, she'd slap me in the face or tell me to go to hell, or put my toys in a bin bag because I'd done something wrong. I had very little respect for her eventually, though I recognise now that she had major issues with her health and was physically punished when growing up. Not that that is an excuse, more of an explanation for why she would do this. It was very much a case of losing control rather than discipline. However she was also emotionally abusive, so perhaps not the same as for you. I do think your mum overreacted massively tbh.

CatSittingMonkey Wed 04-Jan-17 12:01:07

My mother used to do this. It was because she lost her temper and lost control. Nothing to do with discipline. This covered from 1980's to early 2000's.

It took me moving out to escape her physical "discipline". Looking back it was (and still is I guess) because she was unhappy.

Heatherbell1978 Wed 04-Jan-17 12:02:02

My dad had an horrendous temper and as kids in the 80s we were often hit. I remember a particular incident when my older brother was about 15 and I was 13 and we were messing about and my dad went crazy and chased us both up the stairs. I had a lock on my room (big old house) so locked myself in but he went after him and beat him quite badly. Weirdly it felt normal. My best friend at the times dad did the same to them. I just sat in my room thinking how much I hated him. I hated my mum at the time too for doing nothing about his temper and turning a blind eye. I can have a temper at times but not in a million years would I hit my kids now.

Gazelda Wed 04-Jan-17 12:02:50

I was frequently slapped by my DM (70s/80s). But the one that sticks in my mind the most was when we were at the beach and I misbehaved (can't recall the crime). DM told me to go into the sea to get wet, as a slap hurts more on wet skin.

Zarachristmas Wed 04-Jan-17 12:05:33

What your mum did sounds totally wrong and over the top.

However, things were different then, smacking was much more acceptable. Things were different, parenting has always been stressful and I guess many parents didn't have all of the modern conveniences that we have now.

Most of us lose our temper and I wonder how our children will remember us and our mistakes.

I guess it's worth looking at the bigger picture of everything.

DontTouchTheMoustache Wed 04-Jan-17 12:06:28

I hope that after all the horrible experiences we have described here that we can see the positive in that we would never lay a finger on our own children. I know sometimes it doesn't work like that but for me I know my little boy will never go through what I wet through because I won't allow it. I can learn from my parents mistakes and be better because of it (I hope)

BertrandRussell Wed 04-Jan-17 12:08:50

What would people do nowadays if they asked their 12 year old to watch the baby, and the 12 year old was so taken up with their iPad that they missed the baby falling off a bed?

ExConstance Wed 04-Jan-17 12:09:10

The past is another country. My mother used to hit us on the legs with a bamboo cane, not very hard but it still stung a bit. When I first went to school corporal punishment was legal and in infants you would get 3 slaps on the hand and in juniors you would be caned. DH tells me when he was at school the Headmaster would start assembly with "Since our last assembly I have caned the following boys....." We are 60, not 90!

Zarachristmas Wed 04-Jan-17 12:09:52

I'm totally against hitting children. It seems horrendous how children were treated in the 70s.

But I do wonder in 20 years time what our children will think of our parenting. I think we'd be naive to believe we get it right.

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