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just spanked my 3 y.o., feeling terrible :(

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

At my wits end today.

It's hot. I was hungry. I'm running on little sleep after being up all night with his sick sister.

I totally lost my cool.

And now he's guarding himself whenever I approach him.

His defiance has been getting to me for weeks now.

I'm sick of repeating myself over and over and over and over and over and over and ....

going to him and trying to gently and physically direct him and he gets all weak bodied on me like he's unable to move for himself.

He just doesn't want to do what I say, or any adult for that matter, no matter what it is.

He ignores me, my husband (his father), his grandparents, the teacher at the school we toured today.

Just plain ignores. Pretends he can't hear. I know he can! (If I whisper the word "candy" he suddenly hears perfectly)

He ran out into the parking lot today as I yelled for him to "STOP", "Come back this way", "You need to be near mommy around cars" and his 15 month old sister was taking off in a different direction. So embarrassing.

Then we come home for lunch. He won't come to the table for lunch after being asked nicely 3 times. He sat in the living room smiling and looking at me. Testing me.

Then nap time. He creeeeeeeeeeeepssss as slow as a slug up the stairs when I'm behind him holding his sister asking him "please go up the stairs a little more quickly. Let's see you do quick like a bunny"

I'm tired of getting crafty with my wording.

I'm tired of warning and threatening

None of it works anyway. I end up walking away and trying again later

Today, I had enough. He can't always rule the roost around here.

How do I show him I'm in charge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I smacked him. hard. on the butt.

and he still wouldn't listen after a cooldown by himself and an explanation and appology from me. He STILL would not listen!!!!
and I smacked hiim again.

and now he's scared of me.

and what did this teach him besides to be scared of mom and it's ok to hit??????????????????????????????????????

GGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I'm envisioning myself with a wiffle ball bat, smashing trees and cement as a realease.............
Please comment.

Please give me advice!!!!!!

post #2 of 22

Frustrating little stinkers, sometimes, aren't they?

 

*hugs*

 

It's okay.  You aren't a monster.  You are human, and at the end of your rope. 

 

To me, it sounds like he expects there to be no follow through.  To him, so what, you upped the ante and you spanked him.  Does this addition of frustration REALLY mean that mom means business?  Or can I still do what I want?  To him, while he may be temporarily afraid of you flipping out again, it still doesn't mean he has to do what you say.

 

So, first...go eat a cookie and drink some lemonade.  In the bathroom.  Alone.  Lean against the wall and close your eyes and count to however high it takes for you to realize that you are totally focusing on counting and not thinking about anything else.

 

Then, think about how you respond when he doesn't do what you ask.  Think about what a respectful interchange would look like between two adults.  IMO, that's what we should be teaching our children.  If you haven't been requiring that of him, it isn't too late to start. 

 

He is behaving towards you the way his is because that is what you have set before him as normal.

 

I have a lot to do today, and everything I type just sounds like training a puppy.  Lol.  It's on my mind a lot lately because I'm working with my puppy all the time.  I keep deleting long paragraphs, but I really gotta go. 

 

So, in short, you need to decide what normal is supposed to be, and be annoyingly consistent about it. 

 

Maybe I could answer specific things easier?

 

 

 

post #3 of 22

I couldn't read and not reply. I don't have much advice, except to say be say be gentle with yourself over this, and move on.

 

I think it's easy to take the three year old behavior personally, but trust me when that most three year olds go through this phase. Next time, take you and your daughter into another room for a few minutes to cool down before you handle it.

Sending you out some hugs...

post #4 of 22

Firstly don't beat yourself up for hitting your child. You think horrible thoughts about yourself and there is no kindness in that for you. Then there certainly won't be any kindness for your child either.    Have some compassion, you feel awful and so be gentle with yourself.  Forgive yourself.  You were simply acting in that way because you were believing your thoughts.   You feel awful because you would love it to be different.  

 

I would suggest to take the time out next time.  Just get a breathing space. When you get a moment to really question the attachment you have to being the one who is right  or the one who is in control.

 

I notice when I want to direct or put a timing on my children, to get them to do what I want them to do I tighten up as soon as I think "They MUST..."  however if I approach it as a request and  I state my needs as an "I" statement and I am willing to listen to their point of view we can have a lot more respect and understanding.  And this is with a 4 and 8 year old.  And I've been with this approach since they were little. "I would love for you to come to the table now" and he may or he may not.  He's only three.  Learning table manners may take a while.

 

Children learn by modeling.  Believe it or not they want to follow us and do what we do. If I'm sitting at the table and there is some delicous yummy (healthy) food and I'm having fun sitting there then he's going to want to join me.  If I am shouting for him to come to the table. Make him sit up and sit still and demand he eats all his food, it doesn't feel like a very attractive place to be.  He may sit on the couch defiantly because it ain't much fun up at the table.  

 

Naomi Aldort's book Raising Children Raising Ourselves is a brilliant place to begin. 

 

hugs to you and your little ones

 

post #5 of 22

I'm hoping you are feeling better.  I look forward to hearing how you resolved things...

post #6 of 22

I just read and wanted you to know you have my heart and hugs hug2.gif

 

I have an almost 10 m/o, and I get real aggravated with her biting. I can't even IMAGINE what kind of patience you must to do what you do, on a daily basis with a 3 yr old who 'knows' better. Try not to be too tough on yourself, you're doing your best! 

post #7 of 22

My DD can be this way.

 

What i do is make my buttons unpressable.  If she's dragging herself slow at bedtime i go straight past her and focus on the baby - there is no dialogue/attention for being obstructive.  If she won't come to bed i ask "do you need me to carry you up the stairs" and if she says yes i do so, put her straight in her bed, say night night and leave her room within 20 seconds and when she complains i say "oh sorry!  you spent all the story time on the stairs, maybe tomorrow we can make it up here in time for stories".  If she wouldn't come to the table for lunch she does not get lunch and she did not get a snack for at least 90minutes after lunch would have been.  In carparks she holds my hand or i hold her wrist (i wear the baby a lot though, which makes this easier, not having 2 to chase).

 

I try to give her some focus every day too, i think a lot of her button pressing is to do with having to share me with a sister.

 

She's a work in progress to be sure.  Hang in there!

post #8 of 22

Oh mama, I'm going to echo the "go gently on yourself" because it's soooooo true. I've been there. I'm there. It's so hard. Especially when there is more than one child. I don't have any *real* advice except to do some soul-searching (and prayer, if you're into that) - the only answer that will work for you lies within you.  You know your kids and you really do know how best to handle those situations you described. Maybe you can't always put your finger on it in the moment, but the answers are there inside you because you know and love your children best. I find often that once I get a moment to breathe and think about what's going on, I'm able to make connections that I couldn't in the moment.

 

I have found that a lot of GD-related resources are fabulous if you only have one child. Or if your children are 3 or more years apart...the suggestions become less practical when your 3 y.o. is trashing the bathroom when you're in the middle of changing a poppy diaper...

 

I have to agree with GoBecGo, too. I give choices whenever possible (do you want to walk back to bed yourself or do you want me to take you) and then I enforce (i.e. if no decision is made within a reasonable time, I make it for them - "you have until I count to 3 to decide and then I'm going to decide for you"). Today, my 2 y.o. came in while I was nursing the baby to sleep. As he was leaving  I said, "B, close the door on your way out, please". He turned and said "No", grinned and ran off. I did go get him and we had a "do over" where I responded "yes, mommy" in his place after I asked him to close the door. He complied and then ran off happily to watch a video with his dad and brother. Some would say that closing the door is my own issue and why should he be bothered...well, we all live in this house and one thing that makes life more pleasant is to do favors for each other to help with the smooth running of the household. I give them a good example by cheerfully doing things for them all day. But kids sometimes need more than a good example - they are trying to figure it all out and it's up to us to orient hem and show them sometimes in very specific terms.

 

Also, FWIW, when it comes to running in parking lots/streets, there's no such thing as GD. There is "Petrified Mommy" and the yelling and/or whack to he backside that come with that will hopefully make the experience memorable enough that parking lots/streets will be taken seriously in the future. I once managed to halt every pedestrian within two blocks when my 2 y.o. broke away from me to go see the doggy across the street. I still don't know where that particular mommy voice came from, but boy did he stop in his tracks...now back to your regularly scheduled GD programming...

post #9 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post

Also, FWIW, when it comes to running in parking lots/streets, there's no such thing as GD. There is "Petrified Mommy" and the yelling and/or whack to he backside that come with that will hopefully make the experience memorable enough that parking lots/streets will be taken seriously in the future. I once managed to halt every pedestrian within two blocks when my 2 y.o. broke away from me to go see the doggy across the street. I still don't know where that particular mommy voice came from, but boy did he stop in his tracks...now back to your regularly scheduled GD programming...

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I really feel like I need to say that even if you child runs away from you, hitting them is unacceptable.

 

Of course, expressing your fears with a loud voice is appropriate, grabbing them out of traffic is appropriate. "Whack to he backside" is absolutely unacceptable. Hitting is wrong and bad. Every.single.time.

 

It's another thread for ideas for runners. I asked my 2 year old to hold my hand or pocket in parking lots and to touch the car getting in and out. GD is *not just for only children and well spaced families. There are great families here that GD with many.

 

To the OP: feeling bad for hitting is okay. Take some time for yourself to hurture yourself and figure out how you got there, back up, apologize, spending some time remembering every single thing you love about your little one. Having a baby in the house is a strain for the 3 year old, too. Apologize and let them know it's your fault, not theirs. Then get back in the groove of really modeling slowing down and listening to each other.



 

post #10 of 22

When you get to that point of rage, it is very hard to control yourself. You are no longer practicing gentle discipline. The key I think is to avoid getting there. But, you say, he triggers it by his defiance! Of course! What has worked wonders for us is the approach 1-2-3 Magic. It is very simple. You calmly, matter-of-factly, count bad behaviors. At 3, child gets a time out. Time out is in their room (or somewhere else if that works for you). You probably have to enforce it with a lock on the door in the beginning, or a child gate, or a child-proof door handle on the inside of the door. They get one minute per age. They will test you at first, to see if really, every time, they do something bad, they are sent to time out. If you do this, you will be amazed at how easy it is to keep your cool! It's like, you know there is a consequence, so you feel calm. They know there is a consequence, and eventually learn to stop at 1 or 2. Note, this approach only works to eliminate bad things, like back-talking, or hitting a bat on the furniture, etc. If there is physical violence like hitting someone, it's an immediate time out.

 

I also try to implement gentle discipline, but I think some children will push and push to see how far they can get, and they need to get a consequence. My son (3) was doing the same and I was starting to lose it! This technique really, really helped us. Now, I have credibility, and he does what I say. I rarely have to count anything anymore, and he always stops at 1 or 2 if we do get there. Part of the reason I rarely get to count is that I can implement more of the gentle discipline approaches, and they work, since now I have the credibility, I can keep my cool and be matter-of-fact, and deal with his behavior so much better.

 

For the approach of getting them to do something, I have been doing positive parenting which works, well, some of the time (!). That is, state the consequence if they don't do it, in advance, also matter-of-factly, not like a punishment. Then, tell them they have a choice. Consequence should be related to the action.

 

As for you, forgive yourself, but start to work on your relationship with him again. Go to him and tell him you made a mistake, that it is not okay to hit, that you were wrong and are very sorry, that you are going to do things differently next time. Maybe describe to him the 1-2-3 approach so he knows to expect (if you want to try it). It will take time to earn back his trust, but he needs to know what you know -- that it was not the right choice on your part.

 

Best of luck!

post #11 of 22

grouphug.gifThree year olds are very frustrating little people!!

 

It sounds like there are a lot of power struggles going on here. Pick your battles, only "fight" on the big issues, let the rest slide. Coming to the table at a specific time, going up the stairs at a specific speed, whining, and a few other things you mentioned really don't seem to me like issues big enough to "fight" over. He needs lots of choices, it's not letting him "rule the roost", it's letting him exercise his need for independence. Check out NVC, it's a way of communicating with people, based on the belief that feelings/needs are at the root of behavior, and you need to resolve those issues to effectively handle behavior.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Nonviolent-Communication-Language-Marshall-Rosenberg/dp/1892005034/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307034208&sr=8-1

 

http://www.amazon.com/Respectful-Parents-Kids-Conflict-Cooperation/dp/1892005220/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1307034208&sr=8-14

 

Here are some things we do, may'be it will give you some more ideas:

 

*Walking across road/parking lot: You can hold either of my hands, your sister's hand, or my shirt, your choice but you must hold on to something.

 

*Repeating: Only say it once, then have him repeat it back to you.

 

*Talk, and review rules before you go somewhere.

 

*Tell him some stories about other boys in similar situations and what happened to them, this can be real or imaginary. We love this book.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Stories-Challenging-Behaviour-Perrow/dp/1903458781/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307034770&sr=8-1

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post

 


I really feel like I need to say that even if you child runs away from you, hitting them is unacceptable.

 

Of course, expressing your fears with a loud voice is appropriate, grabbing them out of traffic is appropriate. "Whack to he backside" is absolutely unacceptable. Hitting is wrong and bad. Every.single.time.

 

It's another thread for ideas for runners. I asked my 2 year old to hold my hand or pocket in parking lots and to touch the car getting in and out. GD is *not just for only children and well spaced families. There are great families here that GD with many.

 

To the OP: feeling bad for hitting is okay. Take some time for yourself to hurture yourself and figure out how you got there, back up, apologize, spending some time remembering every single thing you love about your little one. Having a baby in the house is a strain for the 3 year old, too. Apologize and let them know it's your fault, not theirs. Then get back in the groove of really modeling slowing down and listening to each other.

 

yeahthat.gif
 

 

 

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post

I really feel like I need to say that even if you child runs away from you, hitting them is unacceptable.

 

Of course, expressing your fears with a loud voice is appropriate, grabbing them out of traffic is appropriate. "Whack to he backside" is absolutely unacceptable. Hitting is wrong and bad. Every.single.time.

 

...

 

GD is *not just for only children and well spaced families. There are great families here that GD with many.


For your child, this may very well be true. I'm not here to argue the merits of spanking as regular discipline for I feel there are none. In extreme circumstances, if it gets the message across to that particular child, so be it. A few years ago a 7 y.o. child in my town died from head trauma sustained after running into traffic. Apparently running into traffic had been an ongoing problem for the child for quite some time. I have no idea how the family dealt with it previously - I'm sure in the very best way they could for the child. But, this tragedy still occurred. I have to do what I feel is best for me individual child to prevent a similar tragedy. I don't expect you to agree with me and so there we are. Of course teaching your child to hold your hand/stroller/whatever is a good practice and I'm sure the OP does do that as would any parent. But young children are, at times, unpredictable

 

Also, if you read my previous post carefully, at no point do I state that GD only works for only children or "well-spaced" families (what kind of judgemental phrase is *that* anyway?). I said exactly "I have found that a lot of GD-related resources are fabulous if you only have one child. Or if your children are 3 or more years apart...the suggestions become less practical when your 3 y.o. is trashing the bathroom when you're in the middle of changing a poppy diaper..." There really aren't many resources out there that give strategies for dealing with more than one child at a time. For example, one GD-friendly discussion list I'm on advocates sitting and listening to your child as they cry/rage/tantrum. I don't disagree with this advice BUT what should I do with the other children while I'm spending however long listening to the upset child? No one had a great answer other than "try your best". Ok, so someone needs to be out there stating that GD with closely-spaced kids is very hard. It's worth it, but it might drive you to the brink of sanity before you figure it out - and it's really up to YOU to figure it out anyway because, whether you like it or not, the books/websites don't really deal with it.

 

And, just out of curiosity, how many kids do you have, chfriend? Do you write from familiarity or merely inexperienced judgement?

 

Sorry your thread has been hijacked, OP. I hope you are feeling better.

 

post #14 of 22

I had a non-GD but effective moment yesterday.

 

I was in a dvd store with DD1 and DD2 in an ergo, with XP, getting a birthday gift for DP.  DD1 hid.  She's been doing it recently.  She thinks it's so fun, but of course doesn't get that just because SHE knows she's ok and just hiding, i DON'T know that.  So anyway she was hidden.

 

I am hormonal at the moment, being premenstrual, and when she vanished i felt frantic.  The shop we were in was on a main shopping street in a major city.  The store across the street was having a fire alarm and there were literally 1000 extra people on the street outside.  I could NOT see her.  I looked outside into the dense crowd, XP looked around the store we were in.  The panic began to rise.  I shouted on her, louder and louder.  XP shouted too.  Other shoppers began to look at us, then glance around too.  She appeared after a year (maybe 2 minutes) from behind a pillar, with a big daft grin on her face.

 

I marched over, grabbed her arm roughly, bent and YELLED into her face "that is NOT funny!", pulled her into a hug, burst into tears and sobbed "i thought you were gone!".  Was that gentle?  No.  But i bet she'll remember it better than she did my last deep-breath-stay-calm-explain-rationally moment.

post #15 of 22

No one is saying the non-GD parenting doesn't make children behave in the short term. It's the long term effect that's generally the focus and that it's not how Mothering advocates living. When one has a non-GD moment, the question is how to mitigate damage to you, yours and bystanders, not whether it's justifiable and effective.

post #16 of 22

Elisheva, I am the second oldest of six children born in 7.5 years. I grew up in a community where very large families were the norm and spanking was not. 

 

There are hundreds of way to teach your child that running into traffic (or 1000's of other things) are dangerous. There are hundreds of ways to deal with a 3 year old upset about a younger sibling.

 

Honestly, the most effective thing most moms of many do is lower her standards, not in her acceptance of violent reactions, but in slowing way down in those moments and getting everyone through. Many is the time a poopy baby had been plunked in warm tub with a ducky, while mom and 3 year old sat next to the tub talking and playing.

 

Many and closely spaced has different, but not necessarily bigger, challenges.

 

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post



Also, if you read my previous post carefully, at no point do I state that GD only works for only children or "well-spaced" families (what kind of judgemental phrase is *that* anyway?). I said exactly "I have found that a lot of GD-related resources are fabulous if you only have one child. Or if your children are 3 or more years apart...the suggestions become less practical when your 3 y.o. is trashing the bathroom when you're in the middle of changing a poppy diaper..." There really aren't many resources out there that give strategies for dealing with more than one child at a time. For example, one GD-friendly discussion list I'm on advocates sitting and listening to your child as they cry/rage/tantrum. I don't disagree with this advice BUT what should I do with the other children while I'm spending however long listening to the upset child? No one had a great answer other than "try your best". Ok, so someone needs to be out there stating that GD with closely-spaced kids is very hard. It's worth it, but it might drive you to the brink of sanity before you figure it out - and it's really up to YOU to figure it out anyway because, whether you like it or not, the books/websites don't really deal with it.

 

And, just out of curiosity, how many kids do you have, chfriend? Do you write from familiarity or merely inexperienced judgement?

 

Sorry your thread has been hijacked, OP. I hope you are feeling better.

 


I think this might be a good topic for a spin off thread.  GD can be more difficult with a gaggle of closely spaced children, but it isn't impossible and I don't know that it is any more exhausting than non-GD parenting.  The literature might not address it but boards like this are a great resource. I think the key is being proactive as much as possible - lots of family "rules" have worked for us, prepping kids for success, putting in place routines and rhythms to help make things workable,  keeping our own parenting reserves filled as much as possible.  A lap is big enough for 2 or 3 kids - even a tantruming one. I have 4 kids in 5 years with twins in the middle and I too am surrounded by parents of much larger families who also practise GD so I know that it can work.
 

OP I highly recommend the book Kids, Parents and Power struggles.  It also sounds like there may be lots of things going on at your house and what you both may need is some time to connect. It's extremely hard to parent in a GD way if you don't have a solid connection with your child because it rests completely on the relationship. If he's testing you he's not feeling secure/comfortable about where his boundaries are.  It also sounds like you could use a some time to recharge somehow. Can you get out with girlfrieds, take a yoga class or refill your tank somehow?

 

Best of luck

Karen

 

post #18 of 22

Awww ... I'm so sorry. I've been there too! I spanked my oldest son, now 4, twice out of sheer frustration during horrible, hours-long tantrums, hoping that if nothing else it might just snap him out of it. Of course, it didn't do that, and all it did was make ME feel bad!
 

But the good thing that come out of it is that now I KNOW spanking doesn't work, and the temptation to use it isn't really there.

post #19 of 22

I hope things have been better for you the past few days. (If so, PLEASE post as such, since I'm so there today!) DS has just been snarky and argumentative to the point where he'll say something mean, like, "You're stupid," and I'll say, "That isn't nice. That hurt my feelings." His response? "No it's not." This was our trip to Costco today, the ENTIRE TIME. He wouldn't even smile and wave at the old people, which used to be his favorite thing. I was ready to smack his smug little face. (I didn't, but by the time we checked out and got in the car, I was screaming mad. I told him I didn't want to hear him say anything else, since he wasn't saying anything NICE. He is now having "quiet time" with no TV.)

 

The arguing, the refusal to listen, the phony helplessness... It's all getting to be so old.

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

First- I want to thank you all sincerely for all your replies!

I'm sorry I am just now getting back to you! (Computer was in shop having virus removed). 

Since "the spanking incident" on the day I posted, things have calmed down. 

All on my part. 

My son is still acting like a 3 year old ;) and I still get annoyed on a daily basis. 

I think, on that particular day, I was, like I said, hot, tired, hungry, and hormonal!

I know this was no excuse to spank. I know. 

I came right to this thread for advice, knowing there are other ways of doing things. 

I did turn to some other GD sources for help as well. I do have the book 1-2-3 Magic and Healing Stories for Challenging Behavior as well as a really, surprisingly handy little pocket guide I picked up at the dollar store, of all places, called Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking that has been very helpful.

I think the first reply from Just1More was pretty right on. 

We struggle with consistancy in this house. 

I don't think he expects much follow through from us. Not because we don't want to but because we're still figuring out where to draw the line with specific behaviors and which behaviors require discipline. They're growing and changing so quickly and it seems like we have new issues to deal with every month. 

I am in the process of coming up with some "House Rules" that he will be helping us create a display for. 

Rule #1: Show love and respect at all times! (a good reminder for myself as well!)

#2: Help clean up messes/toys 

I only want 3 rules, as he is only 3 years old, but believe it or not, I'm having a hard time coming up with a realistic rule for #3 that is not already encompassed in #1. 

But, I'm working on it. And I'm working on enforcing these rules and discussing them with him now, before we present them at a "family meeting"

I am generally a very patient person and my husband is even more so, so I think our kids, although they really are well behaved, wonderful little people most of the time, don't know the boundaries like they should becuase they are lax. 

I came from a very different upbringing where my mother, although she stayed home with us, was not involved with us much and my father was gone most of the time but he was the disciplinarian  and when mom told him we had misbehaved, we got smacked or "switched" and screamed at and so we behaved because we were scared. And I feel like we (my brother and sister and I) have turned out to be good people despite that so every now and then when I'm feeling like there's no other way, I thinnk about how I was disciplined and how it was harsh but we turned out fine and so maybe it's not that bad....

I'm really trying hard to do what is BEST and what is RIGHT and in my heart, I don't feel like spanking solves anything and I don't like to do it. 

SOme days are a struggle and that's just life. 

All I can do is try my hardest to follow Rule#1!!!

swd12422- I feel you. I know where you were at. I hope things are better today! 

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