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What should a mother do when her husband spanks their infant? - Page 2

post #21 of 90
Sounds like a man who I would never leave my child alone with.

My dh is not anti spanking but it would never, never, never occur to him to smack a newborn, or even a 6 month old. :

Your dh needs some help. Lots of good recommendations in that regard. I would also agree that just leaving him probably won't help, because if he gets visitation, that means your baby will be alone with him/his family and you won't be there to rescue her. Do start documenting, if you can, in case he does become dangerous. It's hard to say at this point if he's an outright, intractable abuser or if he has problems that can be fixed.
post #22 of 90
First, as someone else said, never leave your baby alone with this man. I would make it clear that he is never to hit my child again, under any circumstances. I would tell him that if he does I will be calling the police and have him removed from my home. And if he hits her again, do it. The excuse that he just can't control himself doesn't fly. If he has such a lack of control that he can't stop himself from striking an infant then he needs some type of help and shouldn't be in her presence. You can't let him keep doing this, I can only imagine what a wreck my little four month old would be if I started slapping him when he cried.
post #23 of 90
I am so very sorry you are in this situation.

He does not seem to be able to control his behavior and does not seem to recognize how serious it is. He needs help right this moment. Not next week, next month, "soon"...he needs help today. He is a serious danger to your child. The spanking is bad enough. What if next time he shakes her? Google shaking baby syndrome. It just takes one time, one snap, and the baby can be brain dead.

You need to leave this situation. Not necessarily forever but until you know your daughter is safe. I know that the idea of leaving is scary and might seem like overkill. However, please take strength from the fact that you are doing what is best for your child. Also, take strength from the fact that there are hundreds and thousands of women and men on these boards who will support you.

THe other thing is that you need to leave for your husband. He doesn't realize it, but he is on a very slippery slope. What if he does really significantly hurt her or even worse. He will be in jail for decades or longer. Do you want that for him? You need to remove your daughter from the situation to protect both of them. Your daughter from his abuse and your husband from the consequences of his actions.

Good luck to both you and your daughter.

post #24 of 90

[B]Do NOT leave your baby alone with him, even for a second!!!![/B]

You need to stay calm, gather your wits, document everything that's happened, and then leave him. The leaving him will be the hardest part- he may want visitation, and you've got to do everything possible so that if he does, it's not unsupervised. Do not stay. If you stay, and anything happens to your baby, your baby will be taken away from both of you, by CPS, because you were there and didn't remove your baby from the situation. He's losing control and then lying about not doing it again. If you don't intervene NOW, then tomorrow might be too late. Who's to say he's ONLY hitting her? Also, bring her to the pediatriion immediately to have her checked out, and ask for advice. That will hold alot of weight in court if need be, even if there's no physical damage.
post #25 of 90
That is so unacceptable in mainstream circles that I would expect supervised visitation.
post #26 of 90
He needs help. I would not be surprised if that was how he was raised. He sees nothing wrong because that was how he was treated. I would give him an ultimatim. He get help or you leave.
post #27 of 90
odester, I want to tell you about the tenderness of fathers and newborns because I want you to have a sense of what is normal/usual.

I worked for a number of years in maternal-child health, in the mother-child unit of a hospital. Those early days as a family in the vast majority of cases are about as tender, about as sweet as they get. Men are brought to tears when someone comes to poke and prode their sweet newborn babies...when the babies cry, the daddies want nothing but to rush to pick their children up and comfort them. If ever there was a time when first-time mothers fall in love with the fathers of their children in a whole new sense of the word, it is in these early days of having a newborn together. There is more than a joy, but truly a reverence for this new little life that they have helped create. Reverence inherently precludes the possibility of violence.

*This* is instinct. Instinct generally encompasses those things that help propel a species toward survival.

Of course, there are plenty of us who have trouble with babies crying...who find that for some reason, we have a low tolerance for it. We need to take breaks, to ask for help from our partners, to plan survival strategies for those late nights.

But those tiny little cries early in the morning/late at night when a child has first been born? It is not usual or typical to have an irresistable urge to snap our fingers in our babies faces as soon as the cries start. And it certainly is highly unusual not to be able to control that impulse (notice I say impulse, not instinct).

I say all this because I think it would be easy, especially with the responses regarding leaving your husband, to think "perhaps it sounded worse than it is," or to otherwise need to return to a sense of normal and brush off the real concerns expressed here.

I really understand why some here are cautious about advising you to leave your husband for this alone. Indeed, even with highly abusive parents whose children are in foster care, I know as a foster parent that the plan is never supervised visits *forever.* As the child grows to an age when the parent behavior is less risky (for example, as shaken baby is less of a risk), and/or as the parent demonstrates that during supervised visits he can control himself, visiting restrictions are weakened. Eventually the plan is always for normalcy in this parent-child relationship, which would mean custodial care or at least unsupervised extended time together.

And even though hitting an infant is not even accepted in "mainstream" parenting, as your baby grows in the months to come, a greater and greater percentage of people-- including judges, social workers, etc.-- will see the practice as more and more "normal," even if not ideal.

So I do think leaving, if for this reason alone, is a decision that should be considered with great caution.

That said, I wouldn't leave my child alone with him ever, at all, for even a few minutes. And that is a terrible burden for you to face over the longterm. Hopefully in the meantime you can influence him to seek some therapy and parenting classes. I encourage you to think about what approach you might take in that regard...to what kind of approach might he be most receptive?
post #28 of 90
Thank you, sierra, for a very helpful post.

I'm worried about OP, and wanted to say that there is support here even if you don't immediately spring to action and leave your DH. Please don't disappear.

I would seek professional help--start perhaps with your pediatrician, or a women's center in your community. There are people who in your community who are devoted to helping families in tough spots or with very difficult and painful issues. The first steps are difficult but certainly much less tough than what you are trying to deal with all on your own.

I would also not leave your baby alone with your dh--even for a few minutes. I think what I would do in your shoes in the short term is go visit a loving relative or friend with your DB while you sort this out. There is no need to alert DH as to why you are doing this.

Please send us word.
post #29 of 90
If my baby was an infant, I would definitely be worried and not leave the baby alone with him.
post #30 of 90
Originally Posted by stellimamo View Post
I would remove myself and my child from the household immediately. After getting to a safe place I would find a good divorce lawyer.

Spanking an infant is NEVER ok or excusable, period.

ETA. I would also take pictures of any marks that were left if they would be need for divorce proceedings or a future CPS case.
I agree completely. I would have done it the first time I saw him do it at a MONTH OLD. Holy cow. I can only hope that he has no idea that spanking means nothing to her right now other than that someone she loves and trusts is hurting her.

He would need some parenting classes, at the very least, before I would consider reconsiling.
post #31 of 90
You've gotten some good advice here. Just wanted to let you know that there is support here. Please let us know how it is going, how we can help. This must be so incredibly hard for you. I don't know if you of any particular religious faith, but generally those who advocate for hitting babies are coming from the Christian faith. If you identify with Christianity (of if your dh does and is using that as his reasoning) please visit


I will be praying for you and your precious baby.:
post #32 of 90
Oh mamma, I am so sorry you are going through such awfulness. You are likely scared and confused right now. I would be. But you should know that you have the ability in you to protect your child. You wouldn't have posted here if you didn't think about taking action.

I work in the mental health field and would echo the concerns others have shared that if your husband is spanking the baby, he will go onto greater harm. Most serious injuries and fatalities to babies are at the hands of their caregivers who lose control.

It is a heartbreaking decision to have to leave your husband that you love but your child can NOT be left alone with him. If I were you, I would seek a restraining order against him, which would have him removed from the home and from contact with the baby unless a judge decides otherwise. Even getting all that together can take a bit though, so in the meantime, if he won't leave the house, you should with the baby. If you don't have somewhere safe to go, like a relative's, then call a domestic violence shelter. They should be able to help you protect the baby.

I also grew up in an abusive family. My parents were very loving but they passively neglected me by not intervening when their were warning signs (and you have evidence beyond warning signs at this point) my grandfather was abusing me. I have struggled my whole life to deal with this and know as a mother to two beautiful dd's, I do everything in my power to protect them, which includes them not having any unsupervised visits with my father or his family. This has pained me deeply, because my parents love my children very much, but protecting my children is what I must do. I cannot trust them alone with them. You love your baby. Do what you need to do to protect her. Please get help. We are here to support you. Much love. You will be in my prayers today.
post #33 of 90
Originally Posted by stellimamo View Post
I would remove myself and my child from the household immediately. After getting to a safe place I would find a good divorce lawyer.

Spanking an infant is NEVER ok or excusable, period.

If he gets help, and does well with SUPERVISED visits after that, we'd re-evaluate.

I can understand (even though I disagree) why someone would spank a toddler or older child . . . and I wouldn't leave over that unless it was a consistent issue . . . but there is no excuse for hitting a baby!!!
post #34 of 90
We are not anti spanking in our home, even though it is rare.
Spanking an infant is not normal or acceptable, the baby is way to young and as the mama you are there to protect her.
I believe your Dh should never be alone with the baby especially if she may cry as it seems to trigger something in him.
You may want to start counseling with him if you would like to try and save the relationship and still protect the baby. I have never met anyone who would condone spanking/hitting a tiny baby.
I can only see how starting that so young would lead to the abuse getting worse as she ages. He is setting unrealistic ideas of what he expects of her, she is acting age appropriately and he isn't.
post #35 of 90
I think you should leave immediately and find a safe place for your child. I would also suggest that you insist that he get counseling on anger management. If he has been hitting her since she was a month old he there is a serious problem there that is only going to get worse as she ages.

You seem to be saying that this behavior is really not something that you would expect from him. That seems to indicate something deeper inside of him that is triggering this anger. I really think you need to do something to protect your baby even if you do love him very deeply. I think the most loving thing to do is to leave and insist he get help before going back to him. He deserves a happy relationship with his child that isn't shaped by psychological problems and your infant deserves a safe childhood.
post #36 of 90
If I were in that same situation, I would sign us both up for parenting classes. Or at the VERY least, get as many books, or magazines as you can find that support your veiw, and work WITH him on this. Don't just hand him books to read, work together on it. If he can't control this, I'd consider asking him to leave. If you aren't ready to go that far, just don't let him do any of the childcare unless you are right there. Babies cry. Eventually she's going to cry because he makes her afraid. He doesn't want her to be afraid of him does he?

I had a daycare dad who would spank his infant daughter.

She WAS very high maintenance... so, at first, mom figured he was just stressed out. But, it escalated.

He called me one day when he had "Agreed to watch her" and asked "What does she want!?!?!?" I asked when she had eaten last? He said "breakfast". Apparently he didn't understand that a three month old doesn't eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. SO, he fed her at 6:00 am, and wasn't planning to feed her again until lunch time.


Anyway.. he spanked her often, and on that day, he put her in a carseat and put her in the master closet, closed that door, closed the bedroom door, and went out in the kitchen to call me.

WHen he brought her back to me, she had little red marks up and down her legs.. he admitted to flicking her on the legs over and over because she wouldn't shut up and let him install a ceiling fan. Then, when he knew he'd lost control he put her in a closet. (actually, that was a good idea)

He never could control his anger towards her. Again.. she was a hard baby. Mom was working out of town WAAAY too much. (two weeks straight every month) He just couldn't do it.. not even for a day. He was never allowed to be alone with her after that closet incident.

He took classes, counseling, anger management, and I think he KNEW that being angry at a three month old was insane, but he just never could stop. He finally left, the house, and hopefully he lives in a childless enviroment somewhere.
post #37 of 90
Originally Posted by odester View Post
What would you do if this were your husband and child?
I'd show my husband the same compassion and concern that I hope he would show for me if the situation was reversed and assist him in getting the help he needs like therapy and some parenting classes. I would also of course do what I needed to do to protect my child which would involve not leaving her alone with her dad until I felt he was able to deal with her without hitting her.
post #38 of 90
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
I'd show my husband the same compassion and concern that I hope he would show for me if the situation was reversed and assist him in getting the help he needs like therapy and some parenting classes. I would also of course do what I needed to do to protect my child which would involve not leaving her alone with her dad until I felt he was able to deal with her without hitting her.
I agree 100%. This dad is clearly not able to control the normal frustrations of parenting a newborn. He needs professional help (of course while mom protects her baby).

I think if the situation were reversed, and this was a Dad posting about his wife spanking their newborn, many more posters would be advocating getting the abusive parent help. IME, PPD/PPP is not just for moms...
post #39 of 90
post #40 of 90
Please don't leave the forum because of the responses you got here. Everyone is just very concerned about your sweet darling baby.

But of course if you can't leave him or even don't want to that is ok, your choice and no one can judge you for that if you ake proper actions....those being:
~Get both of you into counseling today
~Never EVER leave DD with him, EVER EVER
~Talk to him STERNLY about what is ok and what is not
~Document this and anything else that happens
~Tell someone you trust what has happened

Please stick with us, we are here to help!
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