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Smacking

(53 Posts)
kalex Thu 28-Jul-05 19:45:28

I really really really don't want this to turn into a slagging match.

But I smack my children, when they have done something highly dangerous (liking walking into the road or trying to touch hot pots).

Now please don;t jump all over - don't let that happen, coz I live on a main road, and I'm a single parent and at 3 and 7 can't keep them out of the kitchen.


Would love to stop but am stuck, What else would you do if your child tries to walk into oncoming traffic

spod Thu 28-Jul-05 19:48:00

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Miaou Thu 28-Jul-05 19:48:28

kalex, dh and I have been known to smack our two (less now that they are older but we reserve the right!).

We always make sure that it is done in a controlled way, with an explanation first of why they are getting the smack, rather than given "in anger" as retaliation.

IMHO I think that the sharp sting of momentary pain helps to reinforce the very important message.

And yes, we tend to reserve it for such serious situations as you describe, not general naughtiness (naughty step is sufficient for that).

Nemo1977 Thu 28-Jul-05 19:51:24

hi I have smacked DS a couple of times when doing something dangerous...once he was trying to throw his toys over fireguard into open flame fire and being told off and time out didnt work so I slapped his hand. He didnt do it again. I dont use it as a daily thing but I do think there can be a couple of times when it is a necessary reinforcer.

Miaou Thu 28-Jul-05 19:52:22

Like any other form of punishment, if it wasn't working I would rethink and try something else.

kalex Thu 28-Jul-05 19:56:01

Spod, we have always lived on a main road, and so they boith understand the importance, I think that what I was trying to ask, HAS ANYBODY FOUND A BEYTTER ALTERNATIVE, to when they are puttuing their lives in danger to a smack.

Coz as far as I believe, a little smack is far better than a child in hospital

kalex Thu 28-Jul-05 19:58:35

I hear you M. But what, genearally when we are walking out the front door it is for a reason, like work. so the naughty stair is not an option,

what then

HappyMumof2 Thu 28-Jul-05 20:00:14

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Dahlia Thu 28-Jul-05 20:03:32

kalex, I live on a main road too, and understand your problem. Is it just the 3 year old that does it? Presumably the 7 year old understands the dangers of a busy road. Perhaps you could enrol their help in trying to teach the 3 year old about road safety. I always use reins on my 2 year old when I am walking down the road, and if its just a case of coming out of the house and getting the car I carry her or keep a grip of her wrist. But I can remember smacking my dd1's bottom for stepping into the road. It was more effective at the time than reasoning with her!

kalex Thu 28-Jul-05 20:06:56

Dahlia,

That excatly it, at the time it is more effective than reasoning,

So after a length of time will it die out, and should I really feel so bad about it?

kalex Thu 28-Jul-05 20:07:26

and yes just the tree year old

Dahlia Thu 28-Jul-05 20:08:47

God no! Don't feel bad! I don't condone smacking, but in that situation its possibly the best course of action. And yes, it will calm down, they don't do it forever, do they? Don't worry about it. A bellowed "NO!" helps too of course......

mummyhill Thu 28-Jul-05 20:09:52

My dd (3.5) did this couple of days ago and i admit to smacking her and then told her that if she couldn't walk nicely on the pavement with me she would have to wear her reins like a baby, after a few tears she held my hand nicely and touch wood i haven't had a repeat performance.

soapbox Thu 28-Jul-05 20:13:57

I think as spod says if they are 3 and 7 and still haven't got the message that walking on the road is dangerous then smacking clearly isn't working!

We live on a main road too and I can't even begin to imagine either my 5 or 6 YO stepping into the road - it just would not happen.

Nor would they touch anything hot.

At their ages they are able to understand the concept of deferred punishment so I would try Soupdragon's pasta jar trick where they would lose a piece of pasta and a reward for doing something so silly. If you search the achived threads I'm sure you will be able to see how it works

spidermama Thu 28-Jul-05 20:16:07

Can you get a gate so you can be ready to hold their hands as you go out?

My mum lives on a really scary road and I'm always really tense when I'm getting my four out of her back gate.

I get down on their level and talk to them about the big scarey road in a deep and serious voice.

They've responded well. You have to do it every time and go on and on and on and on about it, saying,
'Do you understand?' and 'so what are you going to do when I open the door?'

Followed by heavy serious praise when they to it well. Possibly get the older one to show the younger one how it's done.

WestCountryLass Thu 28-Jul-05 20:21:05

I don't smack my kids and have never found that I have had to or have even had to consider it. My DS is 4 and I have a DD who is 1 so obviously it is not something I have had to consider with her, but equally I do not have a 7 year old so my suggestions are what worked with my DS.

When he went to touch hot things (as a baby), I said 'no hot' and moved the object away from him. When he started being curious in the kitchen, I would tell him something was hot and not to touch it and if he did go to touch it either I would move him/employ him in something he could do or I would move the object. At 4 he knows not to touch hot things and he is just coming up to the age where I can teach him how to handle hot things as he pretends to make cakes and uses a teatowel to take the trays out of his play kitchens oven.

So far as the crossing the road safely goes, I don't understand smacking them after the event. My DS has never deliberately walked out after I have told him not to though. When my DS has walked out (twice to date), both occasions have been my fault so if anyone deserves a smack it'd be me! Once he got out the car before I had got my DD out the car and ran across the road to pre-school, my fault because I should have seen him getting out and stopped him. The other time he walked across the road to the park, I lived opposite the park as I was getting my DDs buggy out the house and I should not have let him go before me so that was my fault. Both times I screamed his name at the top of my voice and ran to get him, picked him up and carried him back and he could tell that he should not have walked out (I should not have 'let' him) and we had a talk about crossing safely and he is pretty good these days at telling me whether there are comes coming and whether it is safe to cross.

Sorry for the book!

HappyMumof2 Thu 28-Jul-05 20:31:08

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bensmum3 Thu 28-Jul-05 20:34:09

I understand as well Kalex, my youngest hasn't really encountered the same problem with the road yet , but in the kitchen and when ds1 was 3 if I shouted really loud, which is hard for me, he would stop and burst into tears, it needs to be something like that so they understand it's really serious, followed by an explanation and gettting them to tell you why you did either the smack or shout. If it's something you don't normally do I'm sure you won't have to resort to it more than a couple of times.
Oh, just thought for the road thing, if it happens a lot, put reins on to go out the door,that should get the message home quickly, and in the kitchen you could put up a temporary gate ?

spod Thu 28-Jul-05 20:35:47

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Tanzie Thu 28-Jul-05 20:36:14

I knew someone who held her daughter's hand on the electric ring to show her just how hot it was . Apparently, she didn't try to touch it again!

basketcase Thu 28-Jul-05 20:39:39

I am no perfect shining example of motherhood but I do believe that you are right to look for alternatives to smacking. I know that the immediate effect is great - instant shock, attention and the message of "don’t do that or else.." is undeniably simple. However, the additional implicit message is that when you have a problem with someone, whack them and they will stop it - physical violence will get you where you want quicker and easier than talking.
I do believe that if you follow a simple 3 step method you can avoid resorting to violence (sorry if that is an emotive word).
Step 1 - inform and explain - preventative step. Think of the basic issues of concern and tell your child calmly exactly what you want them to do/not to do and why. Tell them often, preferably before they do it - eg. "we are going outside in a minute, remember that you are going to hold my hand because of the busy road.." rather than yell as soon as you step outside when they have already "gone wrong"
Step 2 - Praise and more praise when they get it right so that they know there is incentive to behave well. For some reason kids don’t see the benefit of not being squashed by a car as enough to remind them the next time...
Step 3 - If they still misbehave, despite knowing why they shouldn’t and having had a reminder, then it is ok to lay down the law firmly. You can use body language, eye contact and tone of voice to get them to stop instantly without hitting. As a teacher if I could stop 6 foot hard as nails teenagers, testosterone flowing and mid vicious fight with words alone then you can with your own small child. Honest you can do it - think drama queen... Then dish up a follow on punishment if appropriate - such as a cancelled privelege, no trip to the park etc. Again you can do this with no fuss, no shouting, calmly and matter of fact with no argument - honest. My DD1 finds it hard not to argue back at this point but she really aught to work it out as we never ever back down. The other point is to only make threats you are prepared to follow through - consistency is the key to success. Also, try to avoid the trap where constant nagging means that you give in and say yes..

If all of that sounds rather patronising and a bit silly, I am sorry. It is posted with genuine feelings - I truly believe that you can stop children behaving in a dangerous way without resorting to physical violence and hope that I have given a few ideas to help you give it a go.

basketcase Thu 28-Jul-05 20:40:12


sorry that was a long post
feel a bit embarrassed now

WestCountryLass Thu 28-Jul-05 20:45:36

Almost as long as mine but that pretty much sums up what I do, but you said it better

JulieF Thu 28-Jul-05 23:43:11

I do smack occasionally after several warnings and see nothing wrong in it.

I had to really stop myself last week though an older child deliberately knocked over 18 month old ds in a play area (older child was over the designated height.age for the play area) and my immedialte reaction was to smack him as I would have done if it had been my own dd.

Luckily for me I came to my senses as it could have meant losing my job but my initial gut reaction was to protect my baby from this bully.

LittleStarsweeper Fri 29-Jul-05 01:00:11

It all depends on your child. I have tried everything with my DS. A little CONTROLLED sharp tap wakes him up to the here and now. I then feel sh** for the rest of the day! Any original ideas out there for controlling a control freak 3 year old with high IQ?

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