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What should a mother do when her husband spanks their infant? - Page 3

post #41 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelsprings View Post
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...
But if it were PPD, that would be something curable. Being abusive more often that not is *not curable* even with therapy. If there is an underlying condition leading to his abusive behavior such as depression, that's one thing. If he was raised this way or otherwise has a problem controlling his anger, that's a completely different issue to deal with. My xh yelled shut up at our newborn the first night in the hospital when he started crying while I was changing his diaper and also used the excuse that he was half asleep and didn't know what he was doing. I slowly began to realize that my xh was NOT normal and the way he treated our son and myself was not right. With the help of my therapist, I found the strength to leave the situation and have not regretted my decision since. Abusive people rarely change. My xh had 13 years of me pleading and asking and educating him to change. He had therapy and couseling but still he did not change. So I had to be the one to make a change that was best for me and DS. My advice to the OP is to not give her DH 13 years but to give him a much shorter time line and if he doesn't change with therapy, leave.
post #42 of 90
Oh my honey pie....first of all, I'm so sorry. It is never anything short of a nightmare, for a mother to think that her family is stepping into a bright new future as a real family with kids....only to see her partner turn into someone she doesn't recognize. I'm so sorry, I know this must be so scary and confusing for you...and I do not envy the road you are headed down...I'm just really really sorry, this is not how it's supposed to work. This will be hard work, but don't let anyone make you feel like this is not something that can be worked through...maybe, just maybe it IS!

This situation scares me a lot, because, either:

A. He really isn't doing it mindfully and it is his knee-jerk reaction to hit when the baby cries. This is a sad, but also very scary situation...because it would make this man a prime suspect for potential baby shaking. A person who has about two seconds worth of tolerance for crying...is going to move quickly from a swat on the behind to a "SHUUUUT UPPPP!" - and hard shaking in NO time, if left alone with this infant...and my darling...it only takes ONE SINGLE MOMENT, ONE HARD SHAKE, for your world to go from bright and full of possibilities...to the agony of seeing a child, clinging to life on ventilators..or, coming home from a quick run to the grocery store to find your baby dead and your husband endlessly sorry....but forever guilty of killing your precious child. Shaken baby scenarios are nightmarish, to say the least...if you haven't ever seen much about this...please look on the internet...to see how serious this is. I'm actually GLAD that he has been swatting her, instead of shaking her...I mean, spanking, I can grab my baby and run away from...sadly, with shaking, too many babies never come back from that..or do, and never become the person they were born to be.

B. He is lying, is not doing this out of a knee jerk reaction and is an abuser who need to become your ex-husband immediately. If the man is an abuser, especially considering that this all started in infancy with your child, this just needs to end. The fact that this is behavior that you've never seen in him before...scares me even more than if you had seen anger, etc in his personality before now. THe fact that stepping into a parenting role has brought this out in him, sends up bigger red flags for me....it more than frightens me, when people develop violent tendancies out of *nowhere*...that, to me, signals some sort of past trauma that MAJORLY needs to be worked on.

So....I think first, you need to start *really* thinking about what you know of this man. Is this behavior coming out of nowhere...or is there something you've missed? Either way, he needs to be in therapy immediately. Also, this therapist needs to agree to giving you feedback...this therapy in the long run, will be to help him overcome whatever it is that is creating this bahavior...but in the meantime, is on an emergent basis and to help you to determine if this man can be around your child AT ALL. Obviously he can't be alone with her for a moment...but you need to know if you need to leave, or if this is something which will begin to improve, if he has the support of therapy...someone who is meeting with him weekly AT LEAST to support him in becoming the father he needs to be...the father your baby deserves.


I have no idea how I would handle this situation as far as leaving or staying...I would rather see him leave the house and crash on his brothers couch, or something...that see you leave your home. You haven't done a thing wrong here and your baby CERTAINLY doesn't deserve to be uprooted. If you go to your husband, explain to him that he needs to leave...and his reaction is one of "Oh come ON, its not THAT serious" - then you DO need to get out because he's not tkaing this seriously. BUT...if his reaction is more along the lines of "I don't want to be dangerous, I really won't do it again, I promise" and then you say "I know, but what if, in a split second, you lose it and shake her hard once...that's all it takes to seriously injur, kill or permanently disable her, I'm doing this to protect her" - and he says "I want her to be protected, okay, I'll go, I'm so sorry this is happening" - then you know that he understands that this is SO not okay and that he has a problem...that would indicate to me a much better chance that he's got a REAL and VALID issue that he just needs help in sorting out....and that he's not just an abuser.


To the other posters on this thread, who are saying "leave NOW" - okay. I understand. I really do...an I get, that when you have a baby, your priorities shift and no matter how much you love your spouse, you do what you must at all times to protect your child. HOWEVER...please imagine this womans nightmare. This woman has a DH she loves...they have a history, are building a family...and the next thing she knows, he's hitting her kid! Oh my gosh my heart poiunds just thinking about it....she says he hasn't ever shown signs of violence before and that he doesn't mean to do it, doesn't want to do it. This man is probably sitting there thinking "What's WRONG with me, get ahold of yourself, Jim..." - or something similar. He probably feels guilt, rage, powerlessness..all wrapped into one agonizing moment of realizing that he;s done it again. There could be something REALLY wrong here...this woman has a duty to her child to protect her...but she also has a duty to this child and a duty as this mans wife...to try and help her spouse get to the bottom of what this is all about.

If he's an abuser....she's got to walk and not look back....but let me tell you something. **I** am the product of an insane childhood...I wen through INSANE amounts of therapy to overcome my issues, to prepare for being an adult and, someday, a mother. I had no good mother figure and only abusive men to serve as male roll models. I had an idea in my head of the family life I wanted...but I didn't have the tools. I didn't want anything more than to be a good mom, so I worked on it. Now, I'm the wife to a FABULOUS man and the mother to a one year old and a little one on the way! There is *NO* hitting in my house...as a kid who was constatnly hit, etc...I won't tolerate even, like, pinching or anything that resembles physical touch that is not playful or loving....but in the back of my head....every once in a while...there's that voice. That ugly, sick, twisted voice of my angry mother..."SHUT UP, you are BAD, why do you always mess everything up! You've ruined my whole LIFE!" - saying terrible things. I'm sitting there, holding my precious baby, doing all the right things as she cries...I rock her, hold her...pour my love into her...but there's that voice. It hardly ever comes, but it's there. Some residue on the back of my brain...some recorded message that is still persitent, still not compeltely faded away.

I brush that voice off and move on with my day. It's not something I *feel*...it's just from year and years of hearing it as a normal response to achild in distress. I can't help it...I've done the work...my home is happy, it's just something I have to disregard. I'm not her.

I share that bit of my story....because when I hear what this man has done, it strikes me that, maybe he didn't know that he would be so effected by whatever it is, that planted this seed of rage in him. Maybe on a deep level, he doesn't feel like he has what it takes to be a good dad and feel powerless and snaps...maybe he was also a victim of abuse...I'm saying, it is quite and entirely possbile, that like many many many people (especially men) who edure something traumatic, he tucked it away in the back of his head and never thought about it again...and that it is now rearing it's ugly head...and really, only serving to worsten the situation by reinforcing this idea that he is stupid, doesn't know what he's doing, etc.

I'm not saying this mother doesn't needtp put her childs safety first....I'm SAYING...that this man doesn't need to have the book thrown at him first thing. Maybe he's a real creep...maybe he;s an abuser and she didn't know it...or maybe she should've seen signs but didn't...who knows, who knows what the situation is.....but if he is a loving, good man, who just has something creeping in his past that even HE doesn't understand...he AND this family, deserve the chance to survive this intact...before he's sold down the river as the worstguy who ever lived.

Sending the idea to this mother, that this man is a disgusting creep who can never be forgiven, will only serve to make her feel more alone, more betrayed and more hopeless than she already must feel.

So..OP..sorry this is long and weird and disjointed....but the bottom line is this:

1. Immediate space
2. Immediate therapy
3. Immediate s for you, because this sucks
4. Don't give up or feel like there's no coming back....in your life asa married person, you and your spouse will have so many ups and downs, so many things to overcome...this is a tough, tough tough one...because it involves your child being hurt. But please have hope, unless there is something major or really bad that you don't know or that you just haven't told us....I think that your husband is probably also really upset and may not have a clue as to why he can't cope with a fussy baby. If you determine that he is a safe guy, with an unsafe coping mechanism...as apposed to a straight abuser, than there is definitely something here worth salvaging.

GL and KUP....we're rooting for you, your precious little one and your marriage.
post #43 of 90
OP - hugs, a dump truck full, to you. I don't know what else to say at this point...
post #44 of 90
Quote:
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.
This.
post #45 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelsprings View Post
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...
Exactly. Dads can get their own form of PPD. Here's and interesting article about it:

Do Men Get Postpartum Depression Too?: Study Shows 1 In 10 Dads Has Moderate To Severe Postpartum Depression

Quote:
Paulson says that research suggests that signs and symptoms of postpartum depression differ between the sexes.

Women are often sad or withdrawn, while men may become irritable, aggressive, and even hostile, he says.
post #46 of 90


I am so sorry you are dealing with this. You got some great advise. No matter what you choose to do, medication and therapy, parenting classes, leaving, well, don't leave him alone with the baby. At all.

And I am praying and sending good thoughts to you during this hard, hard time. I can't even imagine....
post #47 of 90
Hmm well if he is sincere in saying that he tries to stop but can't, that would be a red flag for me.

It sounds like he isn't practicing parenting, but suffering from an issue and in need of help.

If you are sure that the incident is restricted to the stress from hearing an infant cry, I would simply make sure he was never alone w/ her or able to physically reach her when she is crying.

Then I would make sure he started intense IC and I would start marital therapy as well.

Then I would see if I could get a 3rd party/gal to supervise visitation with him while I'm gone to see how he handles it.

No improvement would be an immediate dealbreaker.


PS: document document document! You need photos and dates as well as a brief description of the incident, preferably on 8x11 lined paper. Save everything.

If you think this is a serious problem that won't be rectified through counseling then seek a pediatrician to get an official exam and records. The ped will call CPS.
post #48 of 90
Quote:
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.
This.

odester
post #49 of 90
Huge hugs mama. What a terrible position to be in, for all 3 of you.

I don't really have much to add, except to reiterate that you must never leave him unattended with your baby, EVER, and that you need to get him help. It's scary to me that he knows intellectually that it's wrong, yet seems to be unable to control it.

I hope that you can work through this.
post #50 of 90
Quote:
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)
I hope you called CPS the moment he left.
post #51 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
Hmm well if he is sincere in saying that he tries to stop but can't, that would be a red flag for me.

It sounds like he isn't practicing parenting, but suffering from an issue and in need of help.

If you are sure that the incident is restricted to the stress from hearing an infant cry, I would simply make sure he was never alone w/ her or able to physically reach her when she is crying.

Then I would make sure he started intense IC and I would start marital therapy as well.

Then I would see if I could get a 3rd party/gal to supervise visitation with him while I'm gone to see how he handles it.

No improvement would be an immediate dealbreaker.


PS: document document document! You need photos and dates as well as a brief description of the incident, preferably on 8x11 lined paper. Save everything.

If you think this is a serious problem that won't be rectified through counseling then seek a pediatrician to get an official exam and records. The ped will call CPS.
^ THIS...all very good, especially the documenting of EVERYTHING....sadly, we cannot always tell, right before things go from bad to worse and when it comes to our kids...we must be beyond prepared for the possibility.

The only part I don't agree with...is the 3rd party supervisor person. As far as I'm concerned...if you can't be trusted alone with my DD, you can't be trusted out of my sight with her, even if someone else is around her. That person is not going to watch you, like *I'm* going to watch you, if you are truly a danger to my kid.

Also...riverscout is speaking truth. Yes, yes.
post #52 of 90
If you want to know what I'd do, well, I'd kick him out. If he wanted back in, he would be signing up for therapy and showing me very tangible measures he's taking, so that this never happens again. But I'm not you.

You have to decide what you want to do. But here is some food for thought. What you need to do is to find a way to keep that baby safe at all times, which means he can't really be left unsupervised. You need to document everything. You need to be aware that in many areas if the state finds out, they will remove your baby. You should try to find some information anonymously from someone who works in a shelter, crisis line, CPS what your rights and responsibilities are. You need to have a safety plan, a way to get out in an emergency, some back up funds if possible and a safe place to stash important documents and personal items.

This isn't going to get better without some serious help and intervention, so you and he need to decide what that looks like. You need to decide what your dealbreaker is. You need to find people who you can trust and who will support you, which is a burden on you and them for their instincts might tell them to run to CPS, so chose wisely. That said, do not let yourself get isolated IRL. You need to reinforce yourself because this is a long hard road.

This change has to come from him and you, be prepared he may not change, in which case, you will have to to protect your baby. I wish you all the best, good luck mama and stay safe.
post #53 of 90
I'm honestly really surprised in this thread how many people seem to not know how frequent -- not how common, but still how frequent -- it is for a person's "wiring" to be crossed with regard to how to handle that powerful instinct to stop a baby's cries. There is a reason there is so much effort put into teaching new parents to put their babies down in a safe spot and walk away when they feel overwhelmed. While I agree that if he's unwilling to seek help the OP should leave, and that he should not be left in charge of the child until everyone is confident he has learned how to control himself, still there is help available. And I think it's important for all parents to know that -- that if they feel like they can't handle the crying, there are resources for learning how to. That admitting a need for help does not automatically mean losing one's whole family.
post #54 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by AverysMomma View Post
^ THIS...all very good, especially the documenting of EVERYTHING....sadly, we cannot always tell, right before things go from bad to worse and when it comes to our kids...we must be beyond prepared for the possibility.

The only part I don't agree with...is the 3rd party supervisor person. As far as I'm concerned...if you can't be trusted alone with my DD, you can't be trusted out of my sight with her, even if someone else is around her. That person is not going to watch you, like *I'm* going to watch you, if you are truly a danger to my kid.

Also...riverscout is speaking truth. Yes, yes.
GAL purposes are to document change through psychotherapy...not to replace my watchful eye. I would want tangible, evident change before reconciliation and unsupervised time.
post #55 of 90
I would be more worried about him saying that he can't control it. This is what I hope I would do:

I would tell my child's pediatrician, and I would either call CPS or one of the abuse hotlines for my state: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/help/ca.htm

They can actually help get your spouse into low-cost anger management or parenting classes, and even counseling. Honestly, it sounds like your spouse really needs counseling to work through this.

I would tell him that I will not allow my child to live with someone who cannot control hitting an infant. I would tell him that I would consider getting back together when he has seen a counsellor and attended parenting and/or anger management classes, and that I would start attending parenting classes, too.

Then I would leave with my child. I would try to find somewhere safe to stay for up to several months. If he really seems to be getting his stuff together, I would consider taking him back. I know that lots of mamas on here will disagree with me about that, but I feel that there are plenty of moms and dads both who started out hitting and learned how to stop.

I would also try to find a low-cost counsellor for myself through my doctor or social services. I would certainly need to work through what had happened, work through trusting him again if I did decide to take him back, and work through figuring out how to stand up for myself and my child quickly and as forcefully as needed.
post #56 of 90
It bothers me that he doesn't know why he is spanking and he is reacting instinctively. He needs to first recognize that this is an issue, which can be controlled. If he doesn't hit or act violent when he is angry normally, I think there is a very good chance that he can learn to recognize that he wants to hit and then not do it. I say this because I want to hit all the time. ALL THE TIME. Especially when I am frustrated or annoyed, which are two emotions that newborns have a tendency to bring out. He needs to learn to recognize that he is getting frustrated or annoyed and then redirect his emotions into something else besides hitting. I make a lot of aggravated noises. I sound stupid, but it works.
post #57 of 90
This must be so hard for you momma. I'm so sorry. It sounds like maybe your DH is having a hard time with fatherhood and needs some support. Since you say he has never hit you, this must be very odd behavior for him.

Counseling is a good idea, but since many people dig their heels in on therapy, I would see if he has a friend who is a father who can give him some guidance.

I would also be sure he understands how baby's develop and why they do what they do. The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD is good for the newborn phase. I highly suggest watching the Unconditional Parenting DVD together. I like DVDs because you can watch them together and discuss them which may be very helpful.

Continue to let him know this is inappropriate behavior but also give him suggestions on alternatives. Since it sounds like he's been a good partner up until now, don't give up on him just yet.

Also, can your mom come help? Can you go visit your mom or his parents and give him a break?

Obviously if things escalate though, you will have to consider leaving. And I would not leave him alone with the baby.

Good luck OP.

V
post #58 of 90
You said you didn't notice him hitting her for a couple of months...do you think he was doing it but hiding it from you? Or was he able to control himself for those months? Or was he not stressed out enough?

I'm really sorry. I hope you can go somewhere with your baby where you will get support and love (like a family members' or friends' house) in this difficult time.
post #59 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amylcd View Post
I hope you called CPS the moment he left.
I did. But, the marks only lasted another 20 minutes, so CPS said that unless it leaves a mark, it's not really child abuse.

The police eventually had to get involved, but that was three months later.
post #60 of 90
I have not read the other replies.

I would absolutely make sure to separate your baby and your husband in any way that you can - hopefully there would be a home you and your baby could go to, a family, a friend, a church member. Abuse is always dangerous - you never know when the next level will arrive. He is violent towards your baby and babies are just so delicate - he could shake her or damage her irreparably in any number of ways. You must protect your child.

I would also call CPS to document this behavior, after you were safely away. If you so choose, you can enter into counseling with your husband. You may want to see this as a marriage-ender/deal-breaker, and if so that is your right to do! No one should be expected to "try" in a violent situation. But if you want the marriage to work, you can do couples counseling with him and require him to do individual/parenting work as well.

I am so sorry this is happening to you and your family.

Gen
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