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DH wants to spank, need to offer alternatives to him

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My DD is almost 3-years-old (exactly 33 months today, actually) and my DS is 4-months-old. My DH is their primary caregiver since I work full-time (from home).

 

DD has been very challenging lately--more tantrums, whining, just not obeying, etc. DH has something of a short fuse, and occasionally he gets so mad that he spanks her. I empathize with him--she drives me so crazy sometimes too!--but we've agreed that spanking is not something we want to do. When he does it and I get mad at him about it, he always says that it works and asks me what the consequence for her misbehavior should be instead. I really have no answer for him.

 

What are some consequences I can suggest to my husband so he doesn't resort to spanking (very rare) or yelling at DD (common)?

 

I know the best approach is to tailor the consequence to the "crime," and we do do this when we can think of a matching consequence. But what should be the consequence, for instance, when her screaming wakes up DS? That's what happened today, making DH furious (she was supposed to be napping, so her misbehavior meant he missed out on his coveted "both kids napping at once" time), causing him to spank her, and causing me to post here today.

post #2 of 6

First of all, it's important not to get mad. Then the kid may try to provoke an angry reaction again. Stay calm and issue a consequence that she really cares about. I usually take away a favorite toy (maybe not a lovey, but something she's been really into recently.)  She can earn it back when she behaves for a while (e.g. after she takes a nap or the next morning--usually the toy timeout lasts for a few hours). This has worked for us so far and DD is also 3. That said, we try to be kind first and give choices rather than resorting to toy confiscation right away. 

 

post #3 of 6

I don't really think you can do anything about it as long as your dh sees dd's not obeying him as crime / misbehaviour that needs to be corrected or controlled. I was able to truly practice GD once I realized I can't control my kids and I can't make them mind.

 

At 3 y/o, your dd is still very young. What you are describing is normal behaviour. If she wants something, nothing will stop her (unless she's afraid - of spanking, punishment etc). So I can't really suggest a way to make her obey, I think you (or your dh) need to address the need behind her "misbehaviour". Does she need attention? Is she bored?

I'm not saying you need to give in to her. But you can't really control her behaviour unless you make her be afraid.

So maybe your dh can let her watch TV while your baby is napping? It's not an ideal solution, but it's definitely better than spanking.

 

My suggestion would be to ask your dh what would be the long term implications of his decision to spank. I firmly believe spanking works, because it stops the behaviour, but at what cost? How long will you be able to "make her mind"? I can almost guarantee it will work until a certain age, then she will rebel. Is this the kind of relationship he wants with his daughter?

 

Good luck, I know how it is, having a baby and a preschooler who doesn't want to nap.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

tangledblue, I think toy confiscation might work with DD. We need to try it more. And yes, of course not as the first resort. Thanks.

 

transylvania_mom, I totally agree with you, and DH agrees with the stuff you're saying too--when DD is asleep and he's not mad. :-)  But he needs something concrete to do in the moment, beyond just "tell her in a nice but firm voice to stop" etc. DH does do that, but we need ideas for what to do when that doesn't stop the problem (which it often does not). If we tell her to stop, and she doesn't, what's the consequence? She needs to learn we mean it. I know this is the age of testing limits, and I want her to learn that we mean what we say and she needs to listen to us. But yes, we don't want her to do it out of fear.

 

I know logical consequences are best (eg, if she's throwing toys, take them away, or in other words, stop her when she won't stop herself), but that doesn't work for all situations, like screaming--I can't stop her from screaming. Well I can, but I'm not going to tape her mouth shut. :-)

 

Example: DD chases the cats and holds them down to pet them. We've been telling her respectfully but firmly many, many times a day for two years not to do this. It usually stops her in the moment, but she'll do it again in less than a minute. And this is a behavior that does need to be stopped, because she's gotten bitten and because it's made at least one of our cats respond to the anxiety by peeing all over stuff and costing us several hundred dollars in property damage.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by zomigi View Post

 

 

transylvania_mom, I totally agree with you, and DH agrees with the stuff you're saying too--when DD is asleep and he's not mad. :-)  But he needs something concrete to do in the moment, beyond just "tell her in a nice but firm voice to stop" etc. DH does do that, but we need ideas for what to do when that doesn't stop the problem (which it often does not). If we tell her to stop, and she doesn't, what's the consequence? She needs to learn we mean it. I know this is the age of testing limits, and I want her to learn that we mean what we say and she needs to listen to us. But yes, we don't want her to do it out of fear.

 

 

What I meant was, instead of expecting your dd to change her behaviour, maybe your dh can work on changing his. Or maybe he can prevent the situation, or remove your dd when she misbehaves. At this age, I don't really think she "gets" it, it will take a while until she'll be able to empathise (understand that her screaming wakes up the baby, understanding that hitting a pet hurts etc.).

 

In my experience, at this age you still need to prevent and remove the child from the situation.

post #6 of 6

I agree with the PPs. A concrete example for you would be when she chases the cat, pick her up and carry her to another room away from the cat. While you're doing it say in a calm voice something along the lines of "I know you want to chase the cat but it frightens him. Let's chase this ball [read this book/colour in this picture] instead."

 

The screaming is harder because you can't actively stop her doing it. You could try speaking in a very quiet voice so she has to stop screaming to hear you. When my LO screams I sometimes tap her lips in a "shhh" gesture to get her attention but she is younger so it may not work for your DD.

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