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I've never agreed with smacking but thinking of starting-can anyone talk me out of it?

(50 Posts)
piacere Mon 21-Sep-09 20:06:17

DS is five. A normal little boy, sometimes an angel, but sometimes downright hard work.

Have just had a really bad weekend at my MILs. She is very supportive and helpful but at the weekend she told my DH that DS "runs rings round you both". She has said this before and also in front of other family members. I find it really hard to say anything as she is lovely really and she doesn't mean it in a horrible way.

DH is all over the place parenting wise. He shouts, threatens, smacks without warning and then just gets really angry saying DS is out out control and needs a good thrashing.

My opinion is that he was excited as he was out of his own environment and was with his cousins as well so a lot going on. Things came to a head in the evening and DH told me that I practised "namby-pamby" parenting and that I basically make excuses for DS. I shouted that he had zero parenting skills.

I've recently started reading "How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk". I've tried a few things and they seem to work and I also use sticker charts, distraction, trying to make things fun etc. etc. but I feel as if I'm on my own. I feel drained by all of it and sometimes I do just think "God, I could just give him a good hard slap on the bottom".

EVERYONE-DH, MIL, my own parents obviously think he is spoilt (am super sensitive about this because he is an only child). They are always banging on about smacking and "it never did them any harm".

I've tried so many times to talk to DH about how I like to bring up DS and what methods we should use and how we should put on a united front when dealing with him. He isn't interested in reading any books. I've even written it down in steps and he just doesn't seem to take it in. Nearly every weekend there is shouting (DH works long hours so not at home much during weekend).

Lately, I'm just beginning to think DS is becoming brattish and maybe everyone is right-perhaps I should start smacking but only as a last resort and only with a warning.

Am so tired with it all-does anyone have any advice?

YouLukaStunning Mon 21-Sep-09 20:14:00

Carry on reading your book and see how you get on with it, especially as you've already noticed some positive results.
I don't think that a smack on the bottom is the answer to your complicated position. Communication may be the real key

francagoestohollywood Mon 21-Sep-09 20:16:39

I don't think that by smacking he'll be less "brattish".
Be more consistent and decide on a few rules you want him to stick to, you are right in not wanting to smack him.

Your dh def needs to revise his parenting style. Too many threats and shouting don't usually work either.

Elk Mon 21-Sep-09 20:18:14

It seems your dh already smacks him. Do you think it helps your ds change his behaviour?

I don't like smacking children. I wouldn't hit somebody else if I didn't like their behaviour so why would I do it to my child. I am supposed to be modelling good behaviour for them not bad.

You also sound like you want to smack to relieve your frustration, it may relieve it momentarily but then how would you feel?

You need to learn how to manage your sons behaviour and there are lots of different ways to do this.
If you post for advice on specific problems there are plenty of people on here who will be able to help.

Doodlez Mon 21-Sep-09 20:19:05

I think you should go with the smacking idea.

Smack your DH with the book. That should learn him.

fishie Mon 21-Sep-09 20:21:24

agree with others, i don't think smacking is going to solve anything.

you need to talk to your dh about what is reasonable and unreasonable behaviour. once you have worked that out you can look at what causes unreasonable behaviour and decide how to deal with it.

it all sounds rather familiar, i get very annoyed that my dh has some extremely unrealistic expectations and often loses his temper with ds.

travellingwilbury Mon 21-Sep-09 20:22:26

I agree with doodlez , I would smack your dh before I would smack a 5 yr old .

I do have a 5 yr old ds so I do sympathise , they can be the most gorgeous things on the planet one minute and the next minute turn into animals .

IsItMeOr Mon 21-Sep-09 20:22:26

You know it is your DH who needs a smack, not your DS. Seriously, how would he like it if you started hitting him every time he did something that annoyed you? We wouldn't do it to adults, so why on earth would we think it's okay to do it to weaker and more vulnerable people?

Your fundamental problem is that you and DH have not agreed how you want to parent DS. This will inevitably end in tears, as DS won't know what the real rules are - as bluntly the adults haven't sorted them out.

That's your job as parents. Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but I think you posted because you wanted to hear honest opinions.

You and DH need to communicate - it is not fair that your DS is being punished because you can't agree a parenting approach.

purepurple Mon 21-Sep-09 20:23:41

piacare, I think you should stop reading that book and give it to your DH to read.
I really don't think smacking is the answer.
Being consistent is.
You need to present a united front. You both need to sing from the same hymn sheet. That is probably going to require a shift in attitude from DH.

travellingwilbury Mon 21-Sep-09 20:24:23

The thing that has always stopped me whenever I have even thought of the smacking thing is the look on my sons face when the person he loves and trusts most in the whole world hits him . I just couldn't do it .

I also never think of it as a smack , it is a hit .

NightShoe Mon 21-Sep-09 20:25:38

Your MIL is not supportive and helpful. She might not mean it in a horrible way as you say, but she is certainly not being helpful. I don't think you should smack to please anyone else.

I also think you need to be careful of feeling oversensitive to "spoiling" him especially because he is an only child because you run the risk of overcompensation which is equally unhelpful. I speak as the mother of an only child who also has to be careful not to overcompensate for fear of the "onlies are spoilt" myth.

gothicmama Mon 21-Sep-09 20:26:46

I'm with isitmeor you both need to be consistent you both need to listen to touyr child and you both need to agree boundaries on what is acceptable and to deal with it when its not smacking in an uncontrolled way is not right adn is confusing and from what you say it is not something you want to do and your dh appears unable to it unless he is provoked which makes it about him. I fundamentally disagree with smacking but accept others can do it as a form of discipline I would talk to dh agree startegies and tell everyone else to butt out

ReneRusso Mon 21-Sep-09 20:32:31

I agree with others that smacking is not going to improve the situation. Ideally you and your DH should try and agree on your methods and be consistent. But it sounds unlikely that you can achieve this. But at least you can have faith in your own methods and stay consistent with them. You can be firm with your DS without smacking. I have that book you are reading. Its good, and I also like "How to be a better parent" by Cassandra Jardine.

corriefan Mon 21-Sep-09 20:40:36

Don't do it you know you would feel awful and it wouldn't work anyway. If he gets to the point where you've got steam coming out of your ears maybe you could have an alternative such as putting him his room or another time out place for a while. It would mean he's out of your face and the situation can calm down a bit.

Another one is to do the opposite and say "give me a hug" when they start being bratty. My 2 started making a right racket today when I took their chopsticks away after a long failed attempt to eat spaghetti and tuna with them (don't ask!) I could feel my stress levels rising as they started and felt like shouting but said "Oh I know come here mwa mwa" sort of thing, then dh went "wow look this fork's brilliant" etc and the situation soon calmed down.

You can be firm without smacking.

HerBeatitude Mon 21-Sep-09 20:41:51

God this sounds like me about 8 years ago, when I was advised to smack by everyone around me as well. They won't admit it to you, but the reason they want you to hit your child, is so that they can re-inforce to themselves that hitting children is normal and any other approach is namby pamby - it vindicates their parenting. They would deny it if you challenged them because they're probably not even aware of it themselves, but they feel undermined and "got at" by your failure to smack - they feel it as an implicit criticism of their smacking habit. So they put pressure on you to give in and validate their parenting. Don't be manipulated by this, it won't improve your DS's behaviour, it will simply make you feel bad about doing something you know is wrong for you.

I felt this pressure very strongly for what I suspect is the same reason you do - that I did feel fairly helpless about his behaviour and I didn't know how to make him do what I wanted him to, so his behaviour embarrassed me as it added fuel to their arguments that I was doing it wrong by not smacking. Is that how you feel, is that why you are so close to giving in to their arguments?

I tried it and it didn't work. His behaviour improved when I split up with my xp and he experienced consistency and proper boundaries, which he previously hadn't. I'm not suggesting that you split with your dh - that's a drastic solution to a parenting prob grin - but you do need to present a united front and a consistent one, so that your DS knows what the boundaries are and what the consequences are for overstepping that. You can't do that if your DH refuses to engage in it, so you need to hit him sit him down and ask him to take his parenting role seriously. He needs to put some work into it if he's going to enjoy it and be good at it. And after all, that's what most of us want as parents, isn't it?

bloomingnora Mon 21-Sep-09 20:45:06

I cannot stand it when people say that being smacked has done them no harm. It has - it has turned them in to adults who think it is ok to hit small children. You sound like a positive person and I really hope you can find a positive solution to this.

cory Mon 21-Sep-09 21:00:07

HerBeatitude is spot on. It's like smokers wanting you to smoke, and drinkers wanting you to drink.

My parents never smacked me and I had immense respect for their authority.

IsItMeOr Mon 21-Sep-09 21:17:25

piacere - I also wanted to say that you sound like you are on the right track parenting wise to me. It must be hard to have everybody immediately around you telling you you're wrong. But it doesn't mean you are smile.

piacere Mon 21-Sep-09 21:23:41

LOL Doodlez! On a serious note, I did really slap my DH hard on the arm once after he smacked DS without any warning(probably not the most mature thing to do). He was really shocked and I said "You don't like that either do you-that's exactly how DS is feeling now".

Will have to come back on tomorrow as DH is just home.

Thanks everyone. Feeling a bit happier nowsmile.

ShellingPeas Mon 21-Sep-09 21:28:10

I think you and your DH have to agree on how to parent. If, as you say, your DH is all over the place wrt discipline and you have yet another approach, your child is only going to be confused and not know where the boundaries are set.

I was smacked as a child, both with an open hand and also with a wooden spoon, sometimes so hard it left bruises. Although I think I am relatively well adjusted as an adult, I have a deep seated resentment against my parents and what they did. I cannot understand how they thought it was acceptable to hit a child so much smaller and with no method of defending herself. Now that I have my own children I can recognise that when they did hit me it was lashing out and a complete loss of control on their part - not an effective method of parenting or discipline.

I do not smack my own children and now they are older (10 and 7) I rarely have need to even contemplate doing so. I would try to avoid it if you can.

Meglet Mon 21-Sep-09 22:54:41

I love this thread smile. I don't hit my dc's (2.10 and 1yr) but obviously my toddler is, ahem, pushing boundaries these days and sometimes I wonder if a smack will help, but I just grit my teeth and ignore / do timeout etc.

I feel more confident about not doing it now. I totally understand why some parents do smack, and I don't see it as the end of the world if they do, but I was smacked a lot and it was horrible. My xp was abusive (not physically) so part of me cannot frighten the dc's in the way he did.

LindaBellinghamFanClub Mon 21-Sep-09 23:37:53

Do not smack your child. And don't allow your DH to smack him either.

Mazza09 Mon 21-Sep-09 23:42:29

If you smack a child it's you who loses control not you controlling your child's behaviour. It doesn't work. My parents smacked me as it was how they were brought up, I never got a beating it was disciplined smacking, but it just didn't work, I'd become immune to it in that I'd end up saying, 'go on smack me then, see if I care' so it actually has the complete opposite effect. I have known the 'sitting on the stairs' routine to work really well.
Best of luck with it.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 21-Sep-09 23:45:54

It also sounds like your dh is an actively harmful parent - smacks without warning, inconsistent, shouty.

This is doing your child no good and I think your dh could do with a parenting course.

If he refused I think you should think about removing your child from this abuse.

AcademicMum Mon 21-Sep-09 23:55:25

I think as others have said, being consistent is the answer, not smacking. Shouting and smacking is not effective long-term, much more effective is the realisation that bad behaviour might result in the withdrawal of a treat or being sent out of the room for a few moments (which also allows you space and time to calm down too).

I also think it doesn't matter what your parenting style, someone will have an opinion on it. Do what feels right to you and if your dh does things you really don't agree with, discuss with him (but not in front of your ds). Only what you and your dh thinks matters. Everyone else is just detail.

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