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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.

Thingiebob Sun 07-Oct-12 10:38:04


Distraction, removing child away from the area, and repetitive but firm NO are the methods I used. At that age, they simply don't understand so you need to teach them. Everytime you say no and move them away is another step closer to them understanding in the future,

I think trying to stop them at this stage is futile. You have to accept this is what your child will do for some time and just manage the situation.

Thingiebob Sun 07-Oct-12 10:24:53

I don't smack as a rule. It's not something I am comfortable with but I have plenty of friends who do smack. I think it is common but people don't want to admit it.

I am a bit in the fence as I was smacked as a child but I don't really remember it. What I do recall is the times when my mother totally lost it and beat me. It happened a few times and is my reason for not using smacks as discipline in case it escalates.

omri Thu 04-Oct-12 13:44:23

lailahappy - of course you can change your ways any time you want! how old is your dc? i think children do need discipline and they will test the boundaries and it is important to teach them what is acceptable behaviour or not. I am sure your dc will react to whatever discipline you impose, whether it is naughty step, change of tone in voice when explaining no xx is wrong, sending to room until they apologise etc whatever is age appropriate for your dc.
dont be so hard on yourself smile
let me know how you get on.

lailahappy Wed 03-Oct-12 12:15:35

Is it too late to turn the clock back and change the way i react with my DC,and most inportantly will forget about it.I do smack quiet often and it became like a circle and habit now,i am on my own bringing up the DC.And the guilte is killing me right now,and iam in tears at this moment that i am wring to u dear MM.Please any idea??????????

cory Wed 03-Oct-12 08:27:43

omri, ime you can't teach a 13mo a lesson which means he will never misbehave that way again: you have to be prepared to keep saying no over a period of months and in the meantime watch them constantly/not leave them unsupervised in an area where they can get into trouble.

WHen mine were that age, we had one room that was childproof and gated off so they could be left to play there without too much hassle.

In your case- do the remote controls have to be left on the coffee table? Could they perhaps be put on a high shelf?

The best way to avoid stress ime is to tell yourself that you are not failing because your child doesn't instantly change: "child-rearing is work in progress" used to be my mantra.

bbface Tue 02-Oct-12 15:00:10

I imagine how good I will feel in the evening if I do not smack. That usually brings me back from the edge, as I hate hate hate feeling guilty at 9pm whilst relaxing with DH when I am recalling losing my temper earlier on in the day.

cloudhands Tue 02-Oct-12 11:55:52


good on you for being honest, and admitting you need help, you're right, violence does breed violence,

this article has some great explanations, as to why children are aggressive and how to stop it.

Helping children with aggression

as you say yourself, you need to learn some ways to deal with your anger so you don't lash out in that split second. Anger management, parenting classes, (there are some on the same website as the above link, which have great emotional support for parents,) meditation would also be great as it can help you to 'watch' your thoughts and feelings more closely, so that if you notice yourself getting angry, and feeling like hitting, you can take a time out yourself, sit down, and breathe. although this is easier said than done when your kids are fighting and you need to intervene,

I also recommend a book called, 'when your kids push your buttons,' which explains, how when our kids make us angry, it has roots in our own childhood and how we were treated.

omri Mon 01-Oct-12 14:09:14

ok thanks - hadnt really focussed on the eye contact thing but will try that.

after a month of saying NO firmly to banging the remote controls on the coffee table (which is now forever badly marked) i think he has finally stopped that which gives me some hope that he will eventually try to stop pulling the tv down if we are consistent...

confusedperson Mon 01-Oct-12 13:18:49

13 months old is definitely too little for naughty step. I would say you look into his eyes and say "No you do not do that" and then remove from the situation.

omri Mon 01-Oct-12 11:37:26

can i re-open this thread?
My 13 month old has started getting extremely "adventurous". I want to know how do you teach him a lesson (i.e. trying to pull the television down is very bold)!!!

My mom tells me you can’t reason with a 1 year old and that a smack on the hand or the bum is the only way to teach him.
I was smacked as a child (extremely rare occasions) but i dont want to smack my child.

But how on earth do you teach a 13 month old to get away from the tv (he tries to pull it down on top of him every time i turn my back)?!
We have cordoned off all the danger zones in our apartment (all open plan) so he cant get in the kitchen and we keep all the bathroom doors closed but he sees it all as an obstacle course to get to the things he knows he shouldnt. the tv has a big table in front of it and 6 chairs around it (i can’t afford any more safety gates – they’re bloody expensive!) but he now is like a little monkey climbing up on the chairs or moving them out so he can get to the tv to pull it over...

It was annoying yesterday mom was over and my LO just kept on trying to pull the tv down and i kept having to take him away with a firm NO and i know mom was just sitting there biting her tongue as she wanted me to give him a smack!!

I don’t think the 13 month old would understand the concept of a naughty step. What else is there??

us4downhere Sun 15-Jul-12 22:08:45

Thank you for this post OP - I could have written it, except my 2 are older and, I am ashamed to say, I still smack them more often than I should.

I am going to try some of the tips here - I love the holding my arms one.

My boys are great kids really, it's me that has the problem.

bbface Sun 15-Jul-12 13:49:48

Toby, your post made me chuckle!

fortyeighthourdancemarathon Sun 15-Jul-12 13:39:57

Something I've noticed is that on the few occasions that I have smacked ds, his behaviour in the days after has been worse, and he has hit me a few times. I don't agree with smacking anyway, but like the op I have sometimes lost my rag and lashed out, but I have now realised that it doesn't even work!

wanttomakeadifference Sun 15-Jul-12 13:35:33

Thank you for the apology families, I'm perhaps bring over-sensitive as it is a subject that touches a nerve.

DC are not angelic, but perhaps not as trying as some. I'm not budda like either grin.

I have a mother who regularly lost her rag and smacked. In my case the childhood memories this left me with have made me militantly anti-smacking (for my own family, I'm not judging others). When I get cross, angry, hurt etc. smacking honestly doesn't cross my mind.

I should admit that DC are only 3 & 5. I've done many of the things that I said I never would since having DC- but I'm pretty confident I won't add smacking to the list grin.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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).

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

DS1 is 3.5.

Laptop? Computer? Bedtime later than 7pm?


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.

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

Yes no aggressive parenting in noddyland smile

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