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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.

AlfalfaMum Fri 13-Jul-12 17:26:33

Thanks pavlov I will try it.

BonkeyMollocks Fri 13-Jul-12 17:57:47

^Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 14:25:17
Oh and another thing that really worries me is that ds1 has started smacking me back and I hate being around him wondering if he's about to clobber me one^

Its probably exactly the same for him, he may well be wary aroung you because of whats happened.

He has learned this behaviour from you and you can hardly tell him off for hitting if you do it too.

Please please just ask for help!

One day he isn't going to be a small boy, he is going to be a strapping teenage lad....

BonkeyMollocks Fri 13-Jul-12 17:58:06

Italics fail confused

recall Fri 13-Jul-12 18:09:24

It helped me to learn the naughty step routine. Someone explained it all to me very clearly, and I found that having a plan of action for each eventuality worked. So my oldest would hit youngest, and I went into auto pilot, I knew all of my next moves. Somehow it made me calm having a structured plan. So firmly but not aggressively I would remove them from the room and tell them that what they did was not "assetable" etc and went through that routine. I have found that the calmer and more in control I am the more effective it is. The calm continuity of my reaction is like a brick wall for them. If they see you are getting wound up, they feel in control - they are able to make you behave in a certain way. Don't let them push your buttons. Best of luck.

JustFabulous Fri 13-Jul-12 20:02:24

Thank you for starting this thread, OP. You have been very open about how you have been finding things tricky. Because of this thread I am determined never to smack my son again and I have told myself it is illegal so that I can't be out of order and smack, I have to cope differently.

wigglesrock Fri 13-Jul-12 20:15:34

I'm a singer as well blush I have 3 daughters (7,4 and 16 months) and when I would feel myself losing control when dd1 was small, I used to sing "whats happening now", "what are we up to", "da, dum, di" etc - I know it sounds really wanky but it worked - the distraction in my own voice gave me an extra few seconds to just think.

My Mum was a smacker and it never made a button of difference to how myself and my sister behaved so I always keep that in mind as well.

tumbletumble Fri 13-Jul-12 20:53:58

I feel for you, OP. I have 3 DCs and I never smacked DC1 or DC2, but DC3 went through a hitting phase when he was 2, and it turns out that is the trigger that makes my 'red mist' descend - I just got SO ANGRY with him for deliberately hurting another child. I did smack him a couple of times, which makes me feel very sad.

The thing is - as a couple of other posters have said - smacking doesn't work! It doesn't stop them behaving like that another time. I was smacked as a child, and although I have a close relationship with my mother now, I have very clear memories of a couple of smacking incidents. As your DS is only 3, it's unlikely he'll remember anything you've done to date. You have a wonderful opportunity to change your behaviour now so that he never remembers being smacked by you!

Good luck OP

Whirliwig72 Fri 13-Jul-12 21:50:20

Just wanted to drop by and thank every one who has contributed to this post today. Thanks to you I've had a lovely chilled non shouty no smacking afternoon with my boys and I feel lighter and happier than I've done in months grin

I really hadn't realised how much of a guilty little secret my temper had become and getting everything out in the open has been a huuuuge release grin. To those that don't smack and have never done so - I am In total awe of your control. To those who smack but want to stop thank you so much for posting - your bravery in posting on my thread means so much to me. And finally to the poster who smacks but in a controlled way followed by hugs I just wanted to say if I could honestly be like you and discipline with a small consciously delivered tap on the bum wouldn't be so worried but as I am not in control when i lash out I really feel I can't continue the way I've been going. Thanks again everyone!

TobyLerone Sat 14-Jul-12 09:46:23

Well done, OP grin

But as for "smacking in a controlled way, followed by hugs"... I have no words. Justify it however you like, whoever is doing that, but it's still hitting a child angry

noddyholder Sat 14-Jul-12 10:01:45

I would try and walk away if you can. Also really truly think about how you would feel if you were having a bad day or sounding off about something and someone slapped you?

bbface Sat 14-Jul-12 14:20:22

Oh Toby,, off your high horse. Read the post. Actually, you will still be uppity about it. Works for my boy. I was smacked occasionally, just as I am doing with my boy. Affected my relationship with my mother? Did it heck! Made me scared, lacking in confidence? Not a jot. Stopped me instantly from a spiralling tantrum? Yup.

OP, you sound so sensible, balanced and, well, lovely! All will be good for your dc with a mother like that,

noddyholder Sat 14-Jul-12 15:19:35

Agree with toby if you think about it first and still do it you are on dodgy ground

bbface Sat 14-Jul-12 19:13:39

Perhaps in noddyland, but not in my world.

I am a strict mama, deeply loving and affectionate, but strict. And my boy is delicious, he adores me and is so well behaved and happy. He knows the score with me, we have so much fun and I actually rarely say no. But, and it is a big but, if he plays up as he did in the doc surgery, I will discipline him. And the way I discipline my boy is, if he has got really worked up, and talking and negotiating is doing nothing but antagonising, then I crouch to his level, look hthesaurus in the eye, wag my finger at him, and tap the back of his legs. Five seconds later, we have moved on. we move on so quickly because the tap to the legs doesn't hurt a jot, but I do it rarely enough that he recognises it is a very big deal and I Am. Not. Happy. The fact that I am upset with him upsets him, because he doesn't want me upset.

I see some mothers absolutely beside themselves in some situations, and inwardly I am screaming, it has gone beyond nice talking and in some cases pleading, with a three yr old for heavens sake! Assert yourself, assert yourself as a loving mother who is the boss. I don't mean screaming and shouting and tugging and throwing them into their pushchairs (the hypocrisy is sometimes shocking. 'I would NEVER smack my child', but on the side I have been known to roughly manhandle them into pushchairs and car seats, and I do mean roughly). I say to my boy, you are not the boss of me. I am the boss of you. But I will do everything, and I mean everything, with your best interests as my priority.

PorkyandBess Sat 14-Jul-12 19:18:42

I feel very strongly about hitting children so I am glad you've come on here for advice op.

It is never ok to hit anyone. I hope you can sort yourself out.

noddyholder Sat 14-Jul-12 19:39:41

Yes no aggressive parenting in noddyland smile

sashh Sun 15-Jul-12 07:10:22

One of the things that upsets me most is the thought of my boys smacking their own children down the line cos I normalised it for them.

Or them beating a girl/boyfriend. Or them being beaten by a girl/boyfriend because they have learned to accept it as the norm.

I'm also from the school of being scared of my mother as a child and having not much of a relationship with her now.

She (mum) tells me about how my grandmother used to say "Oh look at poor sashh's legs" meaning the red handprint that lasted hours. I think my mum is actually quite proud of being able to mark me easily. I remeber being hit, I remember the red handprints, I do not remember why I was hit.

Repeat after me:

I am not a bad mother, I have a problem with my anger, I am seeking help.

Have you considered a reward chart? Not one on the wall but in your diary, when you have done X days without smacking buy your self a treat.

DoesBuggerAll Sun 15-Jul-12 07:18:57

DS1 is 3.5.

Laptop? Computer? Bedtime later than 7pm?


DoesBuggerAll Sun 15-Jul-12 07:32:12

Sashh. You remember being hit but you don't remember why you were hit. Someone who wasn't hit when being naughty also wouldn't remember not being hit too. We forget much.

Smacking doesn't work? I think you non-smackers are putting smacking up on a pedestal. A smack is not like some kind of vaccine that gives years of protection from naughty behaviour. It's a short, sharp shock which derails the immediate errant behaviour. If we use your logic with non-smacking then clearly not smacking doesn't work since children who are not smacked continue to be naughty.

I was smacked as a child as were my brothers. None of us have gone on to be wife-beaters. (ah, not yet you say, not yet).

TobyLerone Sun 15-Jul-12 08:28:15

bbface, I read back before I answered and hadn't been able to find the post where anyone was admitting to that. Now I know it was you, I've found it. And I am far more chilled by what you do to your poor child than someone who smacks their child through a brief loss of control and feels awful about it afterwards.

You are sending your child a message, and that message is that it's ok to hit someone because they're smaller than you and because they're not doing what you want them to.

All your bluster about me being on a high horse and being 'uppity' is because you know that hitting a child is wrong.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 15-Jul-12 08:28:43

We were smacked as children. One of my clear childhood memories is being walloped over the back of the head so hard my glasses fell off and I fell forwards and banged my nose on the kitchen surface. I don't know what I did that merited that... I have a close relationship with my mum now, and she was / a brilliant mum. The one thing I have always said I would do differently was not to smack. DH's dad was too handy with his shoe or belt, and he too adamant that smacking has no part in normal discipline.

However....any parent who tells you they have never come close to smacking is surely lying (either to you or themselves). You need to work out some coping strategies, and there have been some great ideas on here.

I think I probably shout more than I might if I used smacking (my DSis and her husband smack and have commented that we shout much more than them hmm), which isn't great, so I'm trying to work on the triggers that make me snap.

Finally OP, well done for recognising an issue and wanting to do something about it.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 15-Jul-12 08:31:13

Meant to say too - both my children have gone through phases of hitting me (usually only me, not DH or grandparents, for eg) and each other. Nurseries and CM have all assured me it's a normal phase in development, so OP, please don't worry that you are bringing up a couple of David Hayes or wife beaters!

HecateHarshPants Sun 15-Jul-12 08:40:43

Hope things are still going ok. As you have said yourself, the whole <thwack> "don't smack" thing is ridiculous. It's naughty to smack so I'm going to smack you!

I think understanding why the child is behaving the way they are is key to addressing the behaviour. And it is the behaviour you need to address as much as the way you deal with it.

I bet your older child is jealous, plain and simple.

Of course, if that's the case - then every single time you smack him, you reinforce his feeling that you love the baby more. So he'll take it out on the interloper even more.

Distraction. Praise for being gentle with the baby. Some 1:1 time with him. Lots of telling him you love him. And just moving him away with a firm "no". And when he hits his brother, you sweep his brother up and give him the attention. When he is nice and gentle with his brother, you sweep him up and give him the attention.

He learns that he best gets mummy's attention by being a nice, gentle boy.

There's 15 months between my two, and the first thing my eldest did when he met his little brother was poke him in the eye grin

I will never forget one instance. This was during a period when my eldest was horrible to my youngest. My youngest was just sitting silently on the sofa, with tears rolling down his face. Not even making a sound. Just total misery, beyond being able to sob.

From that day, he got bucket loads of attention and whisked into my arms every time his brother bashed him (and I hadn't been able to head his brother off or distract him beforehand) It meant whisking him into the air as a blow was on its way! So you have to be there, all the time, ready to intervene, until you have trained them to know that the best way that they get attention is to be gentle. That lashing out has the opposite effect to the one they were going for.

It's a long process. And siblings will always fight! You'll never get rid of that. But you can get rid of the bullying.

noddyholder Sun 15-Jul-12 09:20:41

I don't think parents who don't smack and have never felt like it are lying! Maybe some people don't associate physical hitting with discipline/learning? I was smacked and my brothers and sister and we all remember and resent it. I can never think of anything a child who is still learning could do to warrant being hit. This is all about a momentary lack of self control and doing what was done to you and that can be sorted. The planned smacker is something else which I don't get at all and is more worrying.

wanttomakeadifference Sun 15-Jul-12 09:59:28

Most posts on here have been kind and non-judgey.

I am annoyed by the accusation that parents who claim to have not come close to smacking are lying, and that they are likely to shout more.

I can assure you I have never come close to smacking DC. It is a choice I made and I think it is to do with being smacked as a child (see earlier posts). Even when they have pushed all my buttons it has never crossed my mind to hit them.

I'm not particularly shouty either.

I accept there are many ways to parent and there is no one right way. Smacking isn't for me, I resent being accused of lying about this.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 15-Jul-12 12:32:38

I'm really not being judgey or unkind - apologies if that's the way it has come across.

If parents can honestly say that they have never ever even once been driven to the point of nearly thinking about smacking they must have angelic children and / or inner Buddha like calm, and I would love to know how to achieve this.

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