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DH slapped our 12 year old son on the head tonight.I am very upset about this. AM I overreacting?

(116 Posts)
respite Wed 31-Aug-11 22:55:01

we have 3 kids, oldest is 12.
Minor squabbling at dinner table tonight, dh thought (wrongly) that 12 year old son was stirring things and as he walked past him he slapped him on the top of his head. Not hard, but not soft either.

We all looked very shocked and ds's eyes filled with tears, and once I had overcome my momentary speechlessness, said asked him why he did it especially as Ds had done nothing wrong but even if he had he should NEVER slap him on the head.

DH said sorry and left the room , he was obviously angry and came back a minute later and ranted at us all, said he was sick of the squabbling blah blah blah. I repeated "you don't slap someone EVER , for any reason" he said it was hardly a slap...then he went out to the gym and I went to bed early to avoid him.

I am VERY upset by this. I took ds aside later in the evening and asked him if he wanted to talk about what happened earlier. He said he was fine, daddy had not slapped him hard, and he did not want me to bring it up again with daddy shock sad

I welcome all comments.

GypsyMoth Wed 31-Aug-11 22:58:26

Is your 12 year old growing well? He'll be bigger than his dad soon, will his dad be scared of him? Cos it sounds like your son is now scared of him and scared of causing anymore conflict

Oh dear.

Tortington Wed 31-Aug-11 23:04:49

whilst the act itself is wrong - i don't think this can be disagreed with.
he said sorry

i think apologising is often missed and is hugely underated, and this should be acknowledged.

actually not a lot of parents that i know or have dealing with actually say they are sorry to their children and admiot that they have been wrong.

i also don't think you should have 'pulled' him infront of the children. this will have served to undermine his authority and show a parental divide. it also shows you in a parent position with regards to your husband...shouting at him.

he knows he has done something wrong

he is sorry

i am sure a lot of other mumsnetters will back up your assertion that he was wrong. so please be careful not to simply use this as power play. he apologised for an act he accepts as wrong.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 31-Aug-11 23:04:57

The worst part is not that your DH did it, but that he thinks it's ok to have done it.
How do you normally discipline your DCs? Do you agree on whatever method you use?

cestlavielife Wed 31-Aug-11 23:05:37

is dh always angry at kids being kids?

FabbyChic Wed 31-Aug-11 23:10:56

Tell him you will not tolerate any kind of violence in the home that there are other ways to deal with things, I'd tell him that if it happens again he can consider the marriage over.

garlicnutter Wed 31-Aug-11 23:13:44

I'd agree with you, Custardo, if he hadn't come back in to tell his family it was their fault he hit his child. That doesn't just undo the apology, it turns his behaviour into abuse.

OP, I hope you're able to have a calmer discussion with DH soon, because an genuine and unreserved apology to the boy can fix it completely. Hope it works out that way!

thereinmadnesslies Wed 31-Aug-11 23:14:29

I think that your DS will respect that you stood up to DH - my father was violent but my mother never once seemed to be on 'my' side. The memory of her behaviour hurts more than the violence sad.

Fairenuff Wed 31-Aug-11 23:16:43

The trouble with adults hitting kids is that the adults say they can't help it. It was the child's fault for making them angry.

What does he do when adults in his life make him angry? Does he hit them? I am guessing not. I suspect he has the self control to ignore or walk away. So why is it OK to hit the children?

If he did it because he was out of control, what is he going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again. How can he promise he won't do it if his hand movements are controlled by his child's behaviour.

You see what I mean? Either he did it because he chose to. Or he did because he has no control. There is no other reason. So, is he chosing this behaviour or does he need to learn strategies to stop it happening again.

That's my take on adults hitting kids.


Message withdrawn

respite Wed 31-Aug-11 23:19:27

tiffany - he is a small skinny 12 year old. DH is a big burly bloke.
Custardo, I too was impressed with the apology , but it was retracted when he came back in the room guns blazing with his " why am I the one who is always made out to be in the wrong " speech.

I normally never pull him up in front of the children but we were all just sitting there in shocked silence that and ds was beginning to cry and I felt I could not on this occasion be seen by the kids as thinking what he did was okay. Not sure why you inferred I was shouting at him - I was speaking in a normal voice as I was very keen not to inflame the situation. He however was shouting

lesser I agree. he is most annoyed at me for pointing out I slapped ds, making it out that I am being unreasonable and using this as an opportunity to have a go at him.

We don't have much disciplining of the kids needed these days - withdrawal of computers mostly. We have never smacked them

cestlavie, not always but often

mamas12 Wed 31-Aug-11 23:24:53

you were most definitely correct on pulling him up on hitting your son on the spot.
It is unacceptable behaviour and the dcs need to know that at once as soon as it happens.
Well done for sticking up for non violence in the home. Now you need to tackle the bullying tactics employed by your dh

garlicnutter Wed 31-Aug-11 23:27:31

I completely disagree with those who say respite was wrong to speak out in front of DS. This wasn't a dispute about eating your greens, it was violence to a child. Do you all want the boy to assume it's okay to be hit, since the grown-ups said nothing??? [disbelief]

Supporting your husband does not extend to supporting his violence.

Fairenuff's summary is absolutely brilliant, imo: If he did it because he was out of control, ... how can he promise he won't do it if his hand movements are controlled by his child's behaviour?

He had a choice and did it. That was wrong. All your DC now know that, if they make daddy cross, daddy might hit them.
This is not a good precedent.
DH really needs to apologise unreservedly, and make it clear to the children they did NOT make him do it.

respite Wed 31-Aug-11 23:28:44

fairenuff "Either he did it because he chose to. Or he did because he has no control."

i completely agree but if I were to say this to him , tomorrow, in a calm moment , he would flare up again and say "why do you always have to make a big deal out of everything? WHy is everything always MY fault?"

he is pretty hard to reason with

respite Wed 31-Aug-11 23:31:20

I am also very surprised some of you think I should not have pulled him up in front of the children, on this most unusual occasion.

He hit my child. It was very important to me to calmly point out at that exact moment , that it was unacceptable.

elastamum Wed 31-Aug-11 23:35:20

Well done for telling him off. It is wrong for him to hit your son and it is important that you make it clear to your children where you stand on this. He is trying to bully you. I hope he wakes up and apologises again.

Fairenuff Wed 31-Aug-11 23:43:09

He hit my child . . . it was unacceptable

That's all he has to understand really.

He will be defensive no doubt but he can surely see your point.

"why do you always have to make a big deal out of everything? WHy is everything always MY fault?"


"It didn't hurt him"
"It was just a tap"
"I hardly touched him"
"He's OK"
"He was playing up"
"He made me angry"

All of the above are irrelevant.

Just tell him, "OK we can talk about how you feel about that later but right now I want to talk about this. Never mind the reasons why. You slapped ds. You were wrong. You should apologise unreservedly. Not I'm sorry but . . . "

It won't do him any harm also to let him know that if he threatens the cub, the lion will roar. It's a mother's instinct. It's there for a reason.


Message withdrawn

Fairenuff Thu 01-Sep-11 00:04:42

The trouble is MJ that DH has not yet apologised.

Saying "I'm sorry", flouncing out the room and storming back in again one minute later to rant is not an apology.


Message withdrawn

Fairenuff Thu 01-Sep-11 00:13:23

Sorry if I misunderstood your post there MJ

I do have a question for you though.

Perhaps if the OP had said nothing, DH would have apologised of his own accord

If an adult male hit you out of the blue would you say nothing and wait to see if he apologised of his own accord?


Message withdrawn

GypsyMoth Thu 01-Sep-11 00:26:50

Op contradicts herself slightly with last 2 posts

He flares up, he's difficult to reason with....... He is now violent. The teen years are ahead, hd doesn't sound like he's up for the challenge

Fairenuff Thu 01-Sep-11 00:28:04

DH hasn't raised a hand to me either but if he did you can be sure I would not 'say nothing and wait to see if he apologised on his own accord'.

Are you serious? You can't say what you would do?

Imagine the scenario. You are sitting at the table with your children. Your DH slaps you round the face. Your children stare at you in shock. You calmly wait, with a reddening face, for your husband to apologise of his own accord, or for a quiet moment away from the kids to speak to him about it?

And this is the example you set to your children of what to do when someone slaps you shock



Message withdrawn

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