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How Could I have Handled This Differently? (spanked DS) - Page 3

post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by loonar View Post

Hi OP -- I'm so sorry for your loss. I just wanted to put in my two cents about the bearhug technique, coming from a different perspective. It startles and confuses me to see it described as abusive.

 

I was a kid with serious temper problems. When I got violent towards my parents, they did the bearhug thing with me, using their bodies to wrap around me in such a way that my limbs were contained and I could no longer lash out. They didn't try to talk to me or engage me at all because I was too far gone. They just remained calm and neutral and solid. I'd struggle for a long time but eventually gave up. Sometimes as I started to relax my mom would put a cool wet washcloth on my forehead.

 

The reason I mention this is that it's actually one of my strongest memories from childhood, and the way I remember it is a feeling of being completely safe and loved and relieved. I did not have the emotional resources to bring myself back from the brink once a tantrum began to escalate. I really needed my parents to help me find my way back to calm. I'm so grateful they could do that for me.

 

Obviously it won't work while you are still feeling physically tender. And as some PPs have mentioned, it may not be an effective approach with all kids -- surely there are some who need space to work things out on their own. But based on my own experience I do believe that it's worth a try. 



I wanted to second this comment.  The bear hug techniques works wonderfully with my daughter when she has a tantrum.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does I just wrap her up tightly in my arms, holding her arms down in the process, and talk soothingly to her until she calms down.  It almost always ends with her moving from screaming, to sobbing gently, to hugging me back.  I tell her I love her and she usually says it back, then she's calm enough to talk about what happened.  I actually see it as a very loving and kind way to deal with a child whose emotions have gotten away from them.

post #42 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post


I think what Devamajka is saying, if I read correctly, is that you are going to tolerate the choice of him hitting you.  It is not a acceptable option.  So you should not put it on the table as if it were an option you are okay with.  You should say "You may not hit me! NO!" and either put distance between yourself and him or embrace him in a bear hug.  It IS an option, yes, but it is NOT an option you are okay with, which is the point.  You should only present option you are really really okay with...on the other hand If you ARE okay with hitting, then a trade of toys for each hit seems like a cheap trade, ya know? IME, one of the best ways to teach people, children included, to respect you is to respect yourself. 

Ok, all of a sudden I totally get it! Not sure why I was having a stumbling block before.....thanks.

 

A couple of times this week he as upset (but not out of control) and he started hitting me. I calmly told him we don't hit and gently but firmly wrapped my arms around him from behind. He stopped and calmed down right away. That was really encouraging. He wasn't in full blown out of control mode, but so far it was really effective! And when DS and DH were wrestling, DH was hitting DS in the face with a balloon. DS said, "Stop Daddy, we don't hit!" In the calmer moments sometimes I think we all just may be ok!
 

 

post #43 of 55

My older child was explosive and defiant, so I know how you were feeling, OP. The way your son was behaving is how my son behaved almost every day for years. Sometimes several times a day. I made lots of mistakes with him. I read a lot of books, we saw therapists, etc. I didn't understand why his little brother was so easy to parent and he was so difficult. Sometimes I caught myself blaming him for causing so much stress in our household.

 

At that age, threats often don't work because the child is already so overwhelmed by frustration and anger. Nothing you are saying is really sinking in at that point. I agree with the PPs who recommended easing up on threats and punishments. If they worked, you wouldn't have to keep threatening and punishing.

 

Giving more time in between activities is a good idea. If he typically needs help with "changing gears," maybe a running commentary on the way home would help. "We're going to go home and have some lunch." Maybe telling him what's available to eat and having him choose something to look forward to.

 

With the car thing, you made it look like he had a choice when he really didn't. He could either get out of the car (which he didn't want to do), or you would remove him from the car (which he also didn't want). His anger was turning into a big, raging fire, and all of the talking you were doing was just feeding it.

 

If he needed to come inside and was refusing, giving him a so-called "choice" about how to do it is not helpful. You just gave him something else to be angry about. Making the house look more appealing than the car might have worked. "We're going to eat yummy-food-item and then go to fun-place. But we have to go inside to get the yummy-food." If he still refused to move, I would have simply picked him up and carried him inside. No further punishment is necessary, IMO....he's already been made to do something he didn't want to do.

 

Telling him that he's not allowed to hit you is good. Telling him you'll take away his toys if he continues isn't effective. He's already lost control; that's why he's hitting you. Making him more angry isn't helping him to regain control. The bearhug technique DID work for my son, although little kids can be really strong when their adrenaline is surging, and I'm petite, so it was not something I used very often. DS, at that age, tore off the screen door leading to the patio during a tantrum. Ripped it right out of the track. He would kick the walls and pull the blinds and curtains down. If he was put in time out, it was always where I could see him. Things might still be destroyed; I just wanted to make sure he didn't hurt himself. He never tried to climb out of a window, though. I don't know how to help with that.

 

I know this is rambly....I'm not feeling so well today. I also want to mention that I said I would never spank my children but DS was spanked more than once. I'm still working on forgiving myself for that, and the boy is 19yo now.

 

 

 

 

 

post #44 of 55

Dear OP,

I am so sorry for your loss! Being pregnant myself and being blessed with two very active and explosive children, I am wondering if you really need so much of different techniques (they are very interesting and thought provoking, though). You just lost two babies! Your son probably feels that not everything is perfect as well, he lost two siblings, and if he was not involved, he sure feels your pain and is afraid and acts out. And you are in a very difficult situation at the moment. I so feel for you! 

 

Please forgive yourself and maybe get a chance to get some more healing time! I am sure you are a very loving, gentle mother, and you are not superwoman (and even superwoman would grief!). 

 

I really do feel for you! 

Hugs, 

Trin

post #45 of 55

Wow, some of the posts on here are really revolting.  Talk about a lack of compassion and empathy from some of you perfect parents out there.

 

OP-- I am so sorry for your losses :(.  If there is ever a time to cut yourself some slack, this is it.  You are grieving and your whole family is experiencing stress.  Obviously that is going to impact your parenting because you're human. It doesn't make you any less of a mother or a less caring and loving mother.  It would have been a pretty big shock to me to have my kid crawling out the window and I might have reacted just as you did.  We're all human and nobody parents perfectly 100% of the time.  The fact that you get it right the majority of the time and clearly are a mama who thinks about her actions and parenting very carefully will be more than enough to let your son know he is loved and safe with you. 

 

As far as options in the future...I think the window lock is a really good idea.  I had a neighbor who also screwed in a thick piece of plastic over the bottom half of the window in her four year old son's room.  I never asked her why but I am assuming it was because he had tried to climb out.  That might work if he figures out the window locks.  My three year old's room is completely kid safe, I lock his closet with all his toys/clothes, etc, so you could do something like that if you want to use the room as a place to cool off in these situations.  Also, I see nothing wrong with the bear hug or the swaddling in some cases and can't believe the range of judgemental and ridiculous comments on it.  Of course, I think it really depends on how your son reacts to each.  If they make him hysterical and more angry, they probably aren't the right fit.  I've worked with a lot of kids though, and some really respond well to deep pressure and it is very calming to them.  Not as a form of discipline at all, but just as a way for my son to regroup, we have a weighted blanket that he likes to lay under with me.  The pressure seems to calm his nervous system and was suggested by his occupational therapist.  It is the same idea as swaddling and he also sometimes asks to be swaddled.  I don't think there is anything wrong with giving kids options on how to settle their bodies.  I also don't think there is anything wrong with saying that you can't allow him to hit you and will have to stop him, either by putting him in his room or by bear hugging him and keeping his arms from hitting you. 

 

And while you're cutting yourself some slack, realize also (which I am sure you do), that hopefully his behavior and his anger will improve over time as you all start to heal a little.  Be gentle with yourself.  Wishing you peace and healing. 

post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

 

And while you're cutting yourself some slack, realize also (which I am sure you do), that hopefully his behavior and his anger will improve over time as you all start to heal a little.  Be gentle with yourself.  Wishing you peace and healing. 


Yes, definitely. Ds2 was so so difficult right aftet my ectopic and for some weeks after. I "knew" that his world was in chaos and that it was likely the cause of his behavior, but I was still worried, iykwim. Looking back, it was totally related, and things are a lot better now. Obviously, too, my being stressed was reflected in his behavior.
 

 

post #47 of 55

too add just a bit, i think our kids are very perceptive.  my dd's behavior was off the charts awful when i was going through my miscarriages.  they know when your focus isn't there.

i too, think the taking of toys isn't a natural consequence and does seem like a bad tradeoff.  i'd try the bearhug if it worked.  it wouldn't with my dd, as when she's mad and in that state of mind, she does NOT want me to touch her.  i've even picked her up, angry, at her request, and have had her try to shove my hands off her (em.. i am HOLDING you.  it doesn't actually work hands-free, darling.) i will say NO hitting.  maybe let him vent?  give him something he can hit? 

i guess the best thing i see in your situation is to be mindful, and try a time in.  when the behavior starts.  and feed him like h. said.  and, it really does have much to do with him sensing your mind is elsewhere.  so sorry mama.

post #48 of 55


Agree.  I have not suffered a loss, but am experiencing a high risk pregnancy filled with countless complications and stress and it has definitely impacted my three year old.  He has caught on fast to the fact that I cannot lift him up and tested me for weeks and weeks on that.  Both with asking me to carry him and crying, as well as knowing he didn't really have to stop any behavior because physically I was going to be unable to stop him.  Not being able to pull him on my lap to settle him down or cuddle him has left me feeling helpless as to discipline and spanking definitely crossed my mind a number of times.  My relative emotional unavailability to him has definitely made things tougher for him as well.  The stress and limitations of the pregnancy have become the new normal around here though, and as that has happened and as I've become more emotionally healthy, his behavior has majorly toned down.  I expect it will for your son too OP. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

too add just a bit, i think our kids are very perceptive. 

post #49 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post


If he needed to come inside and was refusing, giving him a so-called "choice" about how to do it is not helpful. You just gave him something else to be angry about. Making the house look more appealing than the car might have worked. "We're going to eat yummy-food-item and then go to fun-place. But we have to go inside to get the yummy-food." If he still refused to move, I would have simply picked him up and carried him inside. No further punishment is necessary, IMO....he's already been made to do something he didn't want to do.

 

Telling him that he's not allowed to hit you is good. Telling him you'll take away his toys if he continues isn't effective. He's already lost control; that's why he's hitting you. Making him more angry isn't helping him to regain control.

 


Surprisingly enough, giving him a choice about how he wants to do something most often effective with DS. I always thought it was ridiculous to try and give him a choice about how to do something he doesn't want to do. I have found though, that it is a good parallel for life: there are lots of things we DO NOT want to do but have to do anyway; the only thing we have control over is the little choices sometimes. Usually DS responds to being able to choose...he seems to recognize when something is just not an option at that point in time. In this particular instance, however, it definitely did not work!

 

I see clearly now that taking away toys for hitting me was not a good way of handling it. He truly had lost control and was angry...no amount of logic or threats would work at that point (hindsight is 20/20 and all that!)

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

Dear OP,

I am so sorry for your loss! Being pregnant myself and being blessed with two very active and explosive children, I am wondering if you really need so much of different techniques (they are very interesting and thought provoking, though). You just lost two babies! Your son probably feels that not everything is perfect as well, he lost two siblings, and if he was not involved, he sure feels your pain and is afraid and acts out. And you are in a very difficult situation at the moment. I so feel for you! 

 

Please forgive yourself and maybe get a chance to get some more healing time! I am sure you are a very loving, gentle mother, and you are not superwoman (and even superwoman would grief!). 

 

I really do feel for you! 

Hugs, 

Trin


I think this truly was about my emotional resources being tapped out due to my losses and DS recognizing that all was not well with me. Thank you for seeing that I really usually am a gentle, loving mother. I know it's hard to really get a glimpse of a person's parenting style/personality through a single post!

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Wow, some of the posts on here are really revolting.  Talk about a lack of compassion and empathy from some of you perfect parents out there.

 

OP-- I am so sorry for your losses :(.  If there is ever a time to cut yourself some slack, this is it.  You are grieving and your whole family is experiencing stress.  Obviously that is going to impact your parenting because you're human. It doesn't make you any less of a mother or a less caring and loving mother.  It would have been a pretty big shock to me to have my kid crawling out the window and I might have reacted just as you did.  We're all human and nobody parents perfectly 100% of the time.  The fact that you get it right the majority of the time and clearly are a mama who thinks about her actions and parenting very carefully will be more than enough to let your son know he is loved and safe with you. 

 


Thank you for being revolted on my behalf! I'm trying not to be overly sensitive and am choosing to ignore posts that I feel are insensitive. I really am trying my best and I know nobody is perfect! Again, I really appreciate you recognizing my loving and gently perspective through my single example post. The root of this incident definitely is tied in with the season of our life and going through the grieving process.



Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post


Agree.  I have not suffered a loss, but am experiencing a high risk pregnancy filled with countless complications and stress and it has definitely impacted my three year old.  He has caught on fast to the fact that I cannot lift him up and tested me for weeks and weeks on that.  Both with asking me to carry him and crying, as well as knowing he didn't really have to stop any behavior because physically I was going to be unable to stop him.  Not being able to pull him on my lap to settle him down or cuddle him has left me feeling helpless as to discipline and spanking definitely crossed my mind a number of times.  My relative emotional unavailability to him has definitely made things tougher for him as well.  The stress and limitations of the pregnancy have become the new normal around here though, and as that has happened and as I've become more emotionally healthy, his behavior has majorly toned down.  I expect it will for your son too OP. 
 


It's amazing how fast kids "get" our impotency! (Whether it's emotional or physical) Thank you for your understanding. I wish the best for your pregnancy and your son's ability to deal with your limited capacity at the moment.

 

post #50 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstandlee View Post


It's amazing how fast kids "get" our impotency! (Whether it's emotional or physical) Thank you for your understanding. I wish the best for your pregnancy and your son's ability to deal with your limited capacity at the moment.

 



Thank you!

 

post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by loonar View Post

Hi OP -- I'm so sorry for your loss. I just wanted to put in my two cents about the bearhug technique, coming from a different perspective. It startles and confuses me to see it described as abusive.

 

I was a kid with serious temper problems. When I got violent towards my parents, they did the bearhug thing with me, using their bodies to wrap around me in such a way that my limbs were contained and I could no longer lash out. They didn't try to talk to me or engage me at all because I was too far gone. They just remained calm and neutral and solid. I'd struggle for a long time but eventually gave up. Sometimes as I started to relax my mom would put a cool wet washcloth on my forehead.

 

The reason I mention this is that it's actually one of my strongest memories from childhood, and the way I remember it is a feeling of being completely safe and loved and relieved. I did not have the emotional resources to bring myself back from the brink once a tantrum began to escalate. I really needed my parents to help me find my way back to calm. I'm so grateful they could do that for me.

 

Obviously it won't work while you are still feeling physically tender. And as some PPs have mentioned, it may not be an effective approach with all kids -- surely there are some who need space to work things out on their own. But based on my own experience I do believe that it's worth a try. 


 

Just wanted to say, I don't believe that it's abusive. I just think (as you intimated as well) that you need to know your child. If your child has extreme claustrophobia, the bear hug thing is going to be cruel and unusual and ineffective.

 

post #52 of 55

If you can, wrap him in a blanket tight and just hold him til his tantrum runs out.  

post #53 of 55

First of all, I'm so sorry for you loss OP!

 

I can completely understand why something would have snapped. We as parents aren't perfect and unfortunately these things happen. Cut yourself some slack, mama, its been a long rough road for ya.

 

I think you've gotten a lot of great advice, in fact I put a lot of the ideas into my own stockpile of GD resources! That said, I had a couple of ideas. You said your DS likes to have options as does my DD. Sometimes when she's in a funk like what your son was in, I'll give her a third silly option to break the tension. So it would go something like "Well, you can either get out of the car and go inside, or I can carry you in. OR you can pretend to be a mouse and pretend to dig your way out of the back hatch and scurry inside for some mousy food!" Something silly that generally doesn't happen but is doable. Then follow through and be mice all through lunch and until Daddy comes home and you leave again. Or however long he wants.

 

The other thing was that my DD does very well with a countdown esp if we are running on a tight schedule. I'll try to give her a ten minute notice, a five minute notice, two and one minute notices (doesn't always happen that way, but the more the better.) Then as we are getting into the car I'll rundown what we are doing and repeat it as we are closer to home and make sure she knows. I ask her if she remembers what time its going to be when we get home. Usually she does. It just goes smoother that way because she knows what to expect and when.

post #54 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post
Sometimes when she's in a funk like what your son was in, I'll give her a third silly option to break the tension. So it would go something like "Well, you can either get out of the car and go inside, or I can carry you in. OR you can pretend to be a mouse and pretend to dig your way out of the back hatch and scurry inside for some mousy food!" Something silly that generally doesn't happen but is doable. Then follow through and be mice all through lunch and until Daddy comes home and you leave again. Or however long he wants.

 


Oooh, I can see DS really liking a 3rd, silly option!

 

post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post

First of all, I'm so sorry for you loss OP!

 

I can completely understand why something would have snapped. We as parents aren't perfect and unfortunately these things happen. Cut yourself some slack, mama, its been a long rough road for ya.

 

I think you've gotten a lot of great advice, in fact I put a lot of the ideas into my own stockpile of GD resources! That said, I had a couple of ideas. You said your DS likes to have options as does my DD. Sometimes when she's in a funk like what your son was in, I'll give her a third silly option to break the tension. So it would go something like "Well, you can either get out of the car and go inside, or I can carry you in. OR you can pretend to be a mouse and pretend to dig your way out of the back hatch and scurry inside for some mousy food!" Something silly that generally doesn't happen but is doable. Then follow through and be mice all through lunch and until Daddy comes home and you leave again. Or however long he wants.

 

The other thing was that my DD does very well with a countdown esp if we are running on a tight schedule. I'll try to give her a ten minute notice, a five minute notice, two and one minute notices (doesn't always happen that way, but the more the better.) Then as we are getting into the car I'll rundown what we are doing and repeat it as we are closer to home and make sure she knows. I ask her if she remembers what time its going to be when we get home. Usually she does. It just goes smoother that way because she knows what to expect and when.



....and go inside for some mousy food. I LOVE IT. love this suggestion :)

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