We will be going a week long beach trip with my in-laws in two weeks. We had a picnic with the same in-laws this weekend where DS's 2 year old cousin was spanked for not sitting down on her chair. DS observed it (everyone did) but did not comment on it and I didn't say anything either. It was a very quick event. Cousin/niece was not sitting down. my SIL told her to sit down, and the next thing I knew SIL was out of her chair spanking the girl saying "Sit down!" with gritted teeth. The girl seemed completely unfazed by the spanking and just got down from the chair and walked away. They were sitting at a separate table and there was alot going on but I looked over at DS who was sitting next to me and he was observing what happened.
My concern is that since we will be sharing a beach house with SIL/BIL/Niece and MIL/FIL for a week, I'm sure that spanking will occur again. How can I explain to DS that we don't spank without putting SIL on the defensive? Should I address it ahead of time without DS bringing it up? I usually wait until he comes to me with a question or concern about something before I address it. That way, I can read his state of mind about it from how and when he asks about it.
My instinct is to say, "In our family, we don't hit people for any reason. Hands are for hugs and high-fives. We are gentle with the people that we love." Is that sufficient? I'm sure that if I say this around SIL, she will get defensive and try to start an argument about it.
I want to be clear about not hitting because DS has started trying to hit me when he's angry or frustrated that I'm setting limits or saying no. Whenever he tries (or succeeds because he's fast), I say "gentle hands, we don't hit people that we love. If you can't use gentle hands, you may go to your room". This usually works because he hates to be alone.
Thoughts and advice?