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Advise with smacking dss... Or am i just allowing my previous experiances to cloud my judgement making me over sensitive to the issue (Has just turned into a essay, sorry)

(10 Posts)
toddle Sun 10-Jul-11 13:17:45

Before i go any further it is not me, nor will it ever be me smacking my dss. My dp has smacked him (his son) a couple of times now in my presence and its making me feel increasingly uncomfortable and i dont know how i should be handling it if at all.

I have issues with any sort of physical punishment where children are involved. I have been that child. My mother was physically abusive, emotionally abusive, neglectful basically anything that could be wrong was wrong. I felt the physical punishments myself up untill the age of around 10. Then i moved out with my grandparents then saw this punishment, neglect etc shift onto my younger brother who was eventually removed (twice actually) from my mothers 'care' into a foster placement. I have then seen this happen again with my younger sister. It actually kills to see this and now how they have felt/feel. I wasnt sure if my Dp quite understood the extent of my feelings towards my mother so the other day i sat with him and reas through my case file. Hitting obviously came up on there and he mentioned it and i told him how i feel and why i feel it.

As i was alot older when my sister was born i took on a huge role in her upbringing and due to my mother being how she is i have my younger sister most of the time. So much so i will often get a phone call from my mother at her wits end saying 'sort your f'''ing daughter out' then it clicks 'no sorry sister'. So i have seen the rough times of looking after children/parenthood. Im aware its hard, tedious and at times i have felt like a situation would never change or get better but i have never smacked her. She is 2 years older then my DSS and she is with me everyweekend as is he. I now feel amazingly proud to have played a massive part in her upbringing, too see her now she is a wonderfully polite happy little girl.

Issues have arised in the past with how pareting styles and rules differ between us and im glad to say we have made comprimises and are about there smile. However DSS is 8 but has tantrums, fits, screamy, whiny behaviour that i would expect from a 3/4 year old. I have not had to deal with this behaviour in many years eg. We took them to haven at easter asked him to carry a drink to our table as dp couldnt carry them all as me and sister were in the loo. He had a fit threw himself onto the floor, crying, screaming the whole lot. Anyway the drinks came back to the table and DSS was still paddying on the floor. If that was me i would have left him there, we could see him he knew where we were all is good in my eyes. But DP in these situations goes up shouting get of the floor etc trying to pick him up and its slightly embarrasing to say the least. It has been a shock to my system and also my sisters who has picked up on this and has asked me questions about why he still acts the way he does etc.

Anyway Sat he was having one of these episodes playing up in the hairdressers after he had been waiting a while, kicking dp, spinning on chairs and pulling the wall mirrors was asked not to by the owner too. Then decided he would not be having his hair cut as DP would not walk to the shop to buy him some chocolate after he had just left half a muffin at a cafe maybe half a hour ago. Que us walking out him kicking the wall etc on the main highstreet with many people stood around and cars queing at traffic lights dp shouted at him then smacked him on his bum. He did not horrifically whack him or anything but i cant seem to stop thinking that he shouldnt have done it, especially in such a public place. He is old enough to verbally understand the words pack it in or such as and violence does not need to be used as a negative reinforcement at his age especially. Not only that but maybe im over thinking things, I work at the local childrens centre and when people who see all these episodes happen i would hate for them to think this is something i agree with/condone. Ive had comments from a collegue at work when she has seen us out and he has shouted at him. So it hardly looks like i practice what i preech when one of the familys see this.

Sorry for the mammoth post but if anyone has any help, advice or opinions i would be hugely grateful. I feel like i need to say something but should i? If so what?

Thanks in advance.

redfairy Sun 10-Jul-11 14:45:53

Hello Toddle,

Can I ask if your DSS lives with you permanently or not?

I'd be very interested to see what other peope make of this one as I could be the mother of your DSS. My nine year old has very challenging behaviour and her father has used physical punishment to chastise her to the point where his own DP gets frightened of what damage he may do. I have now stopped unsupervised visits. I'm guess I'm asking what does DSS's mum make of this and does she know or approve of the way your partner parents?

If you are so against smacking is thst something you and he would be able to work out in the future if you have children yourselves?
I certainly wouldnt worry about about your experience clouding your judgement as we are what experience has made us.

toddle Sun 10-Jul-11 17:14:18

Hello redfairy.

No not full time. Everyweekend, all half term holidays (1 and 2 weeks) and half of summer holidays.

Sorry to hear about the situation with your daughter and ex. Im not frightened of what damage he could be doing as it really isnt that major but i obviously still think something against it otherwise i wouldnt have just wrote out a mammoth post after stewing on it for a day. I no that she has recently been having issues with him also.

Yeah we are currently TTC which i guess didnt help how i was thinking. No it has been very rarely and have faith that he would stop this as obviously i will feel in a better position to ask him to bloody well stop when it is my own child

Smum99 Sun 10-Jul-11 18:05:34

Have you tried talking to your dp and suggested other parenting methods? I think your DP needs assistance managing the behaviour of a challenging child. Smacking is often the instinct when a parent who doesn't have any other skills or tools. I was smacked as a child - along with most children of my generation however I made a decision never to smack my child and had to find other parenting methods.

For me it would be a deal breaker as I don't think you can co-parent (if you are ttc) when one parent smacks and the other doesn't. It would lead to much conflict. Does your dp understand that smacking isn't effective in the long term?

toddle Sun 10-Jul-11 20:41:17

Smum99 Yeah we had a disscussion in the week about my mother and i maybe had a inkling that he didnt quite get why i felt the way i did/do about my mother on some subjects. I had all my paper filling on the bed looking for passport so decided to sit and reads through my old social services file and there was many incidents of me being punched, black eyes etc. A quick convo after this lead to him bringing up smacking DSS and i said then i wasnt comfortable with it and why. I did try then to suggest other behaviour management skills as i have a wealth of them due to the job im in, the training for that and the degree i have just done is very closely linked.

I guess your right and if i step back from the situation i would think the same as you so thankyou very, very much for your input. Maybe i just need to keep 'working' with him and trying to support him in suitable ways. Things have got much better recently just prior to this there would be a episode like the above but then he would be treated to new trainers or the cinema etc where as this has been getting much better.

Yeah i guess if he was to caryy on and even occasionally smack our child it would be very very close to a deal breaker. So do you think i would be unreasonable to bring this up and question him on it again?

NanaNina Sun 10-Jul-11 21:16:02

I wonder what is the cause of the boy's challenging behaviour. Is he like this with his mother - was there a long drawn out "fight" for custody of the children. This boy is obviously angry about something - that is usually the reason for tantrums, which are in my view quite unusual in a child that age. Has he been over indulged? How was your DP parented - was he smacked.
To be honest I think you and DP and the boy's mum need to get together to see how he can best be helped. The smacking is a NO NO and DP needs to be told in no uncertain terms.

Given all you have been through and what a wonderful substitute mum you have made to your little sister, and are TTC ing, the very very last thing you need is a P who thinks smacking is ok........YES you need to have a very direct talk with him NOW. However regarding the boy I think you need to try to understand what is behind his behaviour and get him the help that he seems to need.

toddle Sun 10-Jul-11 21:30:30

Nananina No everything is suprisingly good between dp and ex. Over indulged doesnt begin to cover it. Up untill dp meeting me he was living back with his parents. They were very undermining with dp and dss would get anything and everything all weekend. So all the time that dss spent with his dad he also spent with his grandparents so i am aware its a toughy atm.

I think he may have been smacked but not so sure. I will have a discussion with him later tonight but just wanted some opinions as to whether i would be crossing the line in doing so.

brdgrl Sun 10-Jul-11 21:38:23

Hmmm, I think you need to make this a deal-breaker! DP either commits to no-physical-violence, period, or that's it. You have your wee sister AND a possible future child to think about, too, and it seems to me that it is important that they see you having a NO TOLERANCE attitude about this, especially given your past and your work.

That is not to say that what DP is doing necessarily constitutes "abuse" - but it doesn't have to reach that level to be damaging and clearly something about it is sending up red flags with you, Keep in mind that rather than being 'over sensitive', your past may have sort of pre-programmed you to make allowances and accept behaviours that you otherwise wouldn't (although you sound very self-aware about it all!). If this behaviour (by your DP) is making you even slightly uncomfortable - pay attention to that.

NanaNina Mon 11-Jul-11 23:12:29

Given that the boy's grandparents totally over indulged this boy, there is little wonder that he is kicking against the new regime. Maybe he thinks if he is bad enough, he will get to live with them again. Sounds like he is punishing his dad for taking him away from his doting grandparents. Does he still have contact with them? What is his behaviour like with his mother. Presumably the boy remained with his dad rather than mum on the separation. Is there a reason for that?

toddle Fri 15-Jul-11 13:40:30

Sorry been away for a few days.
brdgrl some food for thought in your post thankyou.

nananina yeah i agree that is something that has already crossed my mind. We are about to move into a new house also so i have told dp to brace himself for some poor behaviour and attitude untill he adjusts to seeing less of his grandparents. Im expecting him to want to kick up a fuss about rules and reigimes in our house when he could be with grandparents and have what he wants, when he wants it on tap. No he is with his mum in the week. I guess i feel for the poor little thing as well. I know this isnt his fault, it must have been difficult to say the least with a confusion of authorities for such amount of time. Fingers crossed the only way is up smile

Well im ever hopefull smile May try to have a chat with him over the weekend

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