Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Those of you who never smack their children - tell me your tips for keeping it together

(89 Posts)
Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 13:38:11

Ok so I'm laying myself open here so be gentle please. I never intended to smack my children but I since the arrival of ds2 I find myself lashing out on a regular basis at ds1 when he hurts or bullies the little one. I'm totally aware that I'm being a ridiculous hypocrite saying 'don't you dare hit your brother' while simultaneously snaking him on the bum but my reaction when it happens is so split second it feels like before I can think it through I've done it. We do 1 2 3 magic but it hasn't solved the problem. The issue I think is not so much ds1's behaviour but my anger management issues. I want to stop smacking but I'm terrified of asking for help in RL as its so taboo and I don't know what kind of reaction I'd get.

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 13:39:04

Smacking not snaking!

WowOoo Fri 13-Jul-12 13:41:21

My tips and I've been very close:
Breathing very deeply and counting to at least 5 slowly whilst I do so.

Walking away even if one of the two needs instant comfort. I need to be calm to talk to them.

Sending one away to another room and shutting him there while I find out what happened be it a huge mess, someone hit someone or whatever.

What ages are your youngest and oldest?

JustFabulous Fri 13-Jul-12 13:42:39

You are very brave to post and you will only get gentleness from me. I have smacked my ds1 this week and it is a horrible feeling but I had run out of ideas.

Mine are older but I wish I had done things sooner. I would have used the step, 1-2-3 and read How to talk....a lot sooner. I also wish I had MN and some confidence and I think we wouldn't be where we are now.

Our sanctions are

no lap top
no computer
time off bedtime
7 o'clock bedtime
no tv

BonkeyMollocks Fri 13-Jul-12 13:43:34

You walk away until you are calmer.

Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom and let chaos happen whilst your gone. Just get out and calm down!

If you feel like you need help with your anger, then please ask for help! No one will judge you but they will respect you because you have acknowledged that you have a problem and you are seeking help!

WowOoo Fri 13-Jul-12 13:44:28

Another one is immediate cuddle. I know it seems wrong and counter productive but I love them even when they are devils.

Hope some other people can help you too.

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 13:44:33

3.5 yrs and 10 months. See my lashing out is so instantaneous I don't seem to have time to step away before I've gone and done it. My anger is like a flame that shoots up out of nowhere. Afterwards I feel so awful sad

Sparklingbrook Fri 13-Jul-12 13:44:42

I do what Wow does. Deep breaths, and walk away for a second. Do not touch the child at all.

TobyLerone Fri 13-Jul-12 13:47:21


Smacking a child is about the parent losing control, IMO. And you're right -- it's hypocritical and sends the message that it's ok to hit someone who is smaller than you because they're not doing what you want them to do. So it's confusing for the child.

So when he hurts his brother, you very firmly tell DS1 to stop and to move away from DS2. Have you tried talking to him about why it's not ok to hit his brother?

You can think it through. Just don't react so instantly. Take a deep breath and then react. Make him sit on the naughty step, explain to him that it's wrong to hit someone, do whatever feels right.

TheOneWithTheHair Fri 13-Jul-12 13:47:36

I agree. You need to walk away. This is about your self control and you need space to regain your equilibrium before you deal with the dcs.

I also agree with Bonkey that you will not get judged for asking for help.

TheOneWithTheHair Fri 13-Jul-12 13:49:50

If you feel you react instantly try making that reaction to grab your own arms. This will give you enough time to take a breath and is easy to do in a split second.

Frontpaw Fri 13-Jul-12 13:50:39

How old is he? Im not surprised, but remember that older siblings often act badly towards the new arrivals!

First, move the baby away from the older child. Make sure they are ok and not hurt - cuddle and set down.

Take a deep breath. Then take Ds1 away from the situation, get down to his level and look him in the eyes. Remember that he is probably acting out of jealousy.

Tell him the A B or C is not acceptable and why - he is hurting, scaring... his brother, and just as you wouldn't let anyone hurt him, you won't allow him to hurt his brother. Ask him why if he is old enough to verbalise. Say it's not allowed and have some punishments already outlined, so he knows if he does this, he will have... No TV, no ice cream after tea, no pocket money early to bed.... Whatever you think works. Make it clear that this is because of his behaviour and you are diappointed because he is a big boy now. You could try the emotional blackmail of 'your brother looks up to you because he loves you. He will copy you because you are a big boy...'.

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 13:53:15

So if I went to my children's centre manager/health worker/gp and said 'i smack ds1 but I don't want to' what would happen? Im over reacting I know but I guess I have this nightmare scenario in my head if the situation being misconstrued and of SS turning up and taking the boys away from me - totally terrifying sad

TobyLerone Fri 13-Jul-12 13:54:05

If I were you, I'd try following the tips on here first. That might be all you need.

WowOoo Fri 13-Jul-12 13:55:56

They're very young, I see.

Shimmy older one away as gently as possible and say you'll talk to them once you've dealt with 10 monther.

When mine were younger I would swear in sing song voice. They had no idea of the filth i was coming out with!

TheSpokenNerd Fri 13-Jul-12 13:57:43

There is a moment...a split second where you "decide" to hit. Find that moment and choose not to. I had to...I went through a short phase of smacking...not hard but I hated's wrong. I found the moment of choosing to hit....and went the other way. It's a looong time since I did that and my DC are fine.

WowOoo Fri 13-Jul-12 13:58:12

Toby's right.
Try the tips and if you feel you need more try your local centre.
I'd say I have been close to it - just in case. Good luck.

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 13:58:49

All suggestions are great thank you - The arm grabbing (my own) though sounds particularly good. Will definitely try that next time smile

I often wonder among my friends who else struggles with smacking as no one EVER talks about it sad

Sparklingbrook Fri 13-Jul-12 14:00:49

Draw a line now and make a start Whirli, think of this thread when you can feel yourself about to smack? You can do it. Good luck.

BonkeyMollocks Fri 13-Jul-12 14:01:27

You don't say that Whirl. Not like that any way.

You ask to speak to someone, preferably someone who knows you a bit, your HV for instance.

You just tell her you are having a hard time managing your anger and you feel that you need help. Hopefully she should sit you down and talk to you and ask you to explain how you feel, when you feel like it etc. Let, you will feel so much better for it! it come out

They here alot worse! The best thing is that you already know that you have anger issues.
You would be surprised at the amount of people who think its compleatly fine to beat seven shits out of children for no other reason than 'because they can' . sad

HV, doctors, etc are all there to help, they are not evil people who will whisk your child away for little reason!

Good luck! You are not a bad person!! smile

TobyLerone Fri 13-Jul-12 14:02:01

Smacking is a habit. You can train yourself out of it, just as you can train yourself out of any other habit.

Sit on your hands if you have to! You can do it grin

CailinDana Fri 13-Jul-12 14:02:02

Take a breath. Smacking isn't illegal and no one is going to take your children away from you. Some parents smack their children regularly (and worse) and feel nothing at all about it. You recognise that it's not what you want to do and you're willing to change, that's great. But now you have to try to stop panicking and do what needs to be done.

Your DS is going through a tough phase of his life - he's gone from being the one and only child to having to share his parents with a demanding little noisy demon in the space of ten months. That's a huge upheaval and he is reacting to it as best he can - by taking out his frustration on what he sees to be the source, the baby. You have to start viewing his behaviour not as something mean or aggressive but as him saying "Mummy I'm really upset and I don't know how to show it properly." He honestly doesn't realise that hurting his brother is wrong - like you he is just reacting to a situation, and reacting poorly. In that way you and he are very similar. Forgive yourself first and then forgive him. You are both doing your best but you both have a bit to learn.

Do you encourage him to get involved with the baby and to help with his care?

TheOneWithTheHair Fri 13-Jul-12 14:03:03

I once smacked ds1. We were on the beach and his skin was slightly damp. The bright, red hand print it left on his little bottom was horrendous and I still suffer the guilt. He's 16 now and doesn't remember any of it by the way but it was enough to make me never do it again.

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 14:06:27

I love the swearing in sing song idea grin!

pinkteddy Fri 13-Jul-12 14:06:32

I would just ask at your local children's centre about parenting sessions. Say you need help with disciplining your children.

Alternatively, Family lives have a helpline and also some information on their website.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: