Hi WWYD: My ds1 who is 3 years old was 'helping' me make dinner. he likes to stand beside me on a stool while I chop/stir things and up to now just likes to watch. As i turned away for a second he picks up the knife and tries to chop something himself. I warn him that knives are dangerous and that only grown ups can use them. i asked him several times to put it down before i had to wrestle it off him. Anyway, the point is I got really cross and smacked his bottom for being so naughty (and immediately felt really guilty and upset). In the past me and dh have restrained from any smacking apart from rare occasions where we feel our son is endangering himself ie trying to get out of his car seat when we're on a motorway or running away near busy roads. I know that smacking is wrong and doesn't seem to work and I always feel terrible when I have smacked my child but sometimes I just get so worried/frustrated i feel that it is the only option. Sorry for the long post - please tell me what you think i should do.
Well I have smacked but I really don't think it is a good idea. I have smacked when I have lost my temper (and always after an extended period of no sleep) after severely challenging behavior from ds. I felt crap and apologised. It has happened about three times, my son is two and a half. I don't think it is effective or appropriate to do it, so I hope it won't happen again, and I will try really hard not to go there.
I have smacked my son in the past when he was a toddler and doing something really dangerous. I regret losing my temper, rather than using my brain. Violence doesn't teach children anything except violence. Although I doult a one off smack will do any damage. Children aren't perfect and neither are parents.
As far as the knives incident, I think distraction is best at this age. Your three year old was trying to learn how to prepare food. The desire to role play is very strong at this age. I would suggest giving a fairly safe but pointless task. For example you could ask him to "wash" vegetables for Mummy while mummy cuts other vegetables. Or you could let him use the knife with mummy holding his hands and supervising him.
With the car seat its a lot harder. Would your child respond to bribary. When they get older you can reason with them a bit more.
IMO no. It is never ok. Sometimes it happens in the heat of the moment but that doesn't make it ok. If he picked up the knife you should have taken it off him first and then explained why. He is too yioung to understand why copying you like that was wrong.
Nappyaddict, yes, I don't think even a 'soft tap that doesn't hurt' is wrong. The intention behind it is to shock the child into stopping what they are doing, so even if you don't intend for it to hurt, it is still a smack IYSWIM.
Too many threads on smacking atm, I must stop posting on them as they wind me up.
To give some constructive advice about the knife, buy him a specially designed knife which will cut real veg but won't cut him. The pampered chef do a great overpriced one, but I'm sure you can get cheaper models now.
I have smacked but only when I have been sleep deprived and lost control so I cannot and will not preach. Guilt inevitably follows and you end up being even softer on the child for the rest of the day
In clear headed mode, it never works....
But I can totally understand why you did it. I did it when dd1 ran into a road once... I just lost it, I was so mad that she could have nearly killed herself when she KNOWS (and she did know she was just running away from me being naughty) road safety. I felt sooo bad afterwards.