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How would you handle the situation if your sibling spanked your child?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

To cut a long story short, my sister smacked my child who was 2 at the time. My DC was being very trying (as 2 year olds are) and 'slapped' (if we could even call it a slap) my sister in the face. My sister then reacted immediately and smacked her on her bottom.

 

She apologised soon after and even shed a few tears as she does not believe in smacking other people's children (though she does believe in smacking if she had her own).

 

How would you handle it? I was shocked and didn't know what to do or think. I softly muttered it's okay thinking she felt bad enough, why make it worse? But now when I think about it, I just get angry and think she should have controlled herself better.. There is no excuse.

 

I should add that she has never really gotten along with this particular child (out of all my children) and often says the child acts very princessy and always wants her way. She has never smacked any of my other children.

 

So.. How would you handle this scenario? What would you have done if your sister or brother smacked your child in a heated moment?

post #2 of 18
I would let it go at this point. It seems like she knows she crossed a line and that she feels badly enough that it won't likely happen again. I doubt this has done any permanent damage to your dd, so I would not discuss it further.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your input mama.

 

Yes she definitely is aware that she crossed a line (it was even one of her personal standards - don't ever lay a hand on anyone else's child). I guess my concern is stemming from the fact that:

 

1. My DC doesn't like her and I wonder if that's what started it all. She was fine with her up until that point.

 

2. My sister is very negative about my DC. She refers to her as whinger/complainer/annoyance/princess in conversations involving DC and it's hard for me to remain neutral when this happens. It makes me wonder whether she is truly sorry for smacking her or just put the act on so that I wouldn't go off the rails (as she knows I don't believe in smacking). That in turn makes me wonder if perhaps I should have reacted harshly.

 

I don't know.. I guess it's very grey to me right now. 
 

post #4 of 18

Referring to my 2yo child as being "princessy" or "whiny" would bother me a lot - alot more than the smack, honestly, although the smack would bother me too.   Your sister might have some unrealistic expectations for a 2 year old.  It seems like she doesn't have any kids of her own, yes?

 

I don't think you can necessarily change how other people feel.  If your sister feels annoyed by something your 2 year old does, it might be unreasonable for her to feel that way, but you probably won't be able to reason her out of her feeling.  But I think that with family it's often worth it to try to set some boundaries about actions.

 

Since it's your sister (I assume you see her alot?), I might bring it up this way - maybe along the lines of, "What are you trying to do when you call DD a complainer?"  My guess is your sister somehow thinks she's helping by labeling your child.  :/   Then you could talk about positive ways to handle a situation where she feels like your DD is speaking to her in a "whiny" voice - maybe saying, "I like being asked this way" and remembering that she can teach you DD how she likes to be spoken to without labeling her. [for one thing cuz it's more effective.] 

 

Or, I might say, "It's really not ok with me for you to label DD, or for you to smack her.  I know you felt really badly about what happened, so let's talk about other ways to handle behaviors you find unpleasant." 

 

*edit*  Oh, and is she calling your DD a whiner to you?  I'd tell her, "Please don't refer to my daughter that way," and I might... just aggressively change the subject when it comes up.  If it was really bad, I might say I won't have conversations where she negatively labels my child.  I hope it goes without saying...This is all what I would do.... you might do different.  ;)

 

I think sometimes, kids learn more from how we respond to things that happen  (even when they don't see our response, I think they can often sense our emotions about it) than they do from the things that happen, even the unpleasant things. 

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much!

 

The labels do bother me. My DH has said things to my sister, along the lines of 'She is 2/3 years old - What do you expect from her?', 'Your expectations are unrealistic' etc and she will start on about how 'Not all kids are like this and she is just a princess who wants her way'. Instead of recognizing that perhaps she could do better, she puts the blame squarely on DD. She has a diploma in child studies and thinks she knows as much as a parent does, despite the fact she is not a parent. rolleyes.gif

 

My DD is now a few months away from being 4 years old and the comments haven't ceased. DD is not stupid, she can hear her words and tells me openly that she doesn't like her aunt or wants her to come over. I feel sorry for DD because no child should have to endure regular visits and sleepovers from a relative that they strongly dislike. My other children have no issue with their aunt.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

 

*edit*  Oh, and is she calling your DD a whiner to you?  I'd tell her, "Please don't refer to my daughter that way," and I might... just aggressively change the subject when it comes up.  If it was really bad, I might say I won't have conversations where she negatively labels my child.  I hope it goes without saying...This is all what I would do.... you might do different.  ;)

 

Yes, she says it to me or my DH. She has said it to DD a few times before and she does yell at her a fair bit too.

 

I should add that she claims she yelled at my other children and they didn't hold a grudge against her, so why does DD? Her answer was 'DD is just a princess'. 

post #7 of 18
Quote:
I feel sorry for DD because no child should have to endure regular visits and sleepovers from a relative that they strongly dislike. My other children have no issue with their aunt.

 

It would also be hard for me to have someone around my kids that criticized one of them all the time, too.  hug2.gif I'm sorry you and your daughter have to deal with that, and honestly, even if the other kids aren't being criticized, it's probably not nice for them to hear their sister being criticized either. 

post #8 of 18

Having been apologetic, to you, and to my child would be an outcome I'd be satisfied with in a situation like this.

 

 

If your dd does happen to have a personality that clashes with your sister, she's (your sister) really needs to recognize that she needs to work harder to keep herself from getting into a situation that will escalate like that (or that escalates to yelling/name calling even, ideally - that's not nice and probably not making their relationship any better).  

 

 

Even as a parent, I know my kids have certain behaviors or qualities that bother me more than others and I need to work harder on accepting that there's some need behind those things so we can understand each other and solve our problems.  Making the goal understanding what's really going on helps a lot.  

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

 

It would also be hard for me to have someone around my kids that criticized one of them all the time, too.  hug2.gif I'm sorry you and your daughter have to deal with that, and honestly, even if the other kids aren't being criticized, it's probably not nice for them to hear their sister being criticized either. 

 

Thanks mama. My other kids have picked up on it and then they start being mean to their baby sister, thinking that yes she is naughty/whinger and is deserving of this sort of criticism. DD is not the easiest to discipline but my sister isn't the most patient and understanding of children's behaivour either. My sister also has a huge beef with our mother and my DD is very similar in personality to our mom (as well as looks). So I am thinking if there is more to it than just DD being a trying 3yo. I've been thinking about this all night and decided that perhaps it was time to cease the sleepovers. I'm becoming a little tired of the stress involved in keeping both parties happy and frankly, I should only be responsible for DD's happiness. A visit for a few hours is fine, but I don't see why my DD should have to feel uncomfortable for longer than that. greensad.gif

post #10 of 18

It is to me very distressing that your sister is calling your DD names especially in front of her and your other children.  With her diploma in child studies she should be aware of how damaging that can be. The 1 incident of smacking I would just let go if you can. But the name calling needs to be addressed ASAP in my opinion.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post
I should add that she claims she yelled at my other children and they didn't hold a grudge against her, so why does DD? Her answer was 'DD is just a princess'. 

 OK, this would bother me since I don't think anyone should be smacking OR yelling at my children.  Is your sister with your children alone -- babysitting or such?  If so, then I think you need to have a conversation about your expectations for her disciplining your children when you aren't around.  If you are around, then I would tell her in no uncertain terms that you will deal with discipline issues and she is not to do or say anything but rather ask for your intervention.  IMHO, a relative has no business disciplining a child when you are present and should be expected to follow your directions if you are not.  You may need to emphasize that she may have a degree in child development but you are the parent and get to decide how things are handled in your family.

post #12 of 18

I would forgive her for the spank since it was in the heat of the moment and she apologized. However, I think there's a deeper issue here. She seems to be holding some sort of grudge against your daughter. I would definitely talk to her about it. She should not be calling her names, especially right in front of her. If it were my sister I would put it like hey, I know you feel that DD can be ornery at times but it hurts my feelings when you call her names and I don't want it to affect her self esteem. Most importantly, I want you two to have a loving relationship and I feel like that's being jeopardized right now.

post #13 of 18

I think that it would be appropriate for you to tell her that the negative comments about dd have to stop, pronto.

post #14 of 18
Some people choose a child to dislike out of a group. Your sister has done that. My prediction is the situation will not improve. That sister would not be invited to family gatherings at my house for a while. And she would get a firm lecture on acceptable behavior. This may not be popular among other relatives, if there are any. I didn't read all the posts, so I may have missed some info. If this continues, this child will be singled out for meanness from her siblings all through her life.
post #15 of 18

First I would think, if she were not happy with how I interacted with her child- how would I want her to tell me? Humans are naturally defensive. Our goal should be to change behavior, not make her feel bad. Just like with kids- shaming and blaming inhibit the growth and learning process. We can be right, or we can be effective- but it's often hard to be both at the same time when it comes to solving disputes. 

Second I would think, what does my child need changed in the situation? I would prioritize and focus on the most important factor or two first, nobody can change everything overnight- so being clear about one or two boundaries is a great start. 


Third, I would read the reversal language in "Raising Your Spirited Child" where you learn to effectively reverse negative language of behavior into positive language of behavior. This is good for your child to hear, and people can't argue with it. If they say demanding, and you say assertive and strong- they are forced to realize that what they see as a deficit is a benefit to the adult. They would have to choose to be openly belligerent in order to challenge the reversal. 

Fourth, I would be honest with my child (in private) that auntie so and so was working on their manners, and sometimes makes poor decisions. That you are talking to her and trying to help her learn to make better decisions. It may insult her adulthood a touch, but then she should have behaved like an adult. 

Lastly, I am a strong believer that blood is no excuse for poor manners. If clearly outlining boundaries does not work, I would not choose to be around someone who was routinely bad mannered and disrespectful to me, much less my child. Distancing would be a last resort after attempting effective communication, though. In terms of examples for our kids, if my child ever had a problem with how I was interacting with their child- I'd want them to choose effective communication before distancing. So that is what I am going to model, you know?

post #16 of 18

I agree with what the previous posters have said.  The smack was a one time mistake and she apologized, so I would let that part go with her.  I would

talk with your child about it and let them know that it was not okay and their aunt made a mistake, because sometimes even grownups have a hard time controlling their bodies.  The insults and antagonistic attitude in general is a huge problem though.  I would make it clear to your sister that it is not okay for her to talk like that to your daughter, and that if she can't control her adult body enough to stop that behavior, that she's not welcome around your daughter right now.  It sounds like a relationship that is currently harmful for your daughter.  If restricting contact is, for whatever reason, not an option right now, then I would correct her, in front of your children, every time she speaks like that.  "Aunt X, we don't speak to each other that way in our house.  We treat each other with respect."  And if necessary, "Please try to control your body.  Do you need some time alone to calm your body down?"  I wouldn't allow her justifications for her insults--I'd just repeat myself, every time, that we don't use mean words like that in our house.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post

To cut a long story short, my sister smacked my child who was 2 at the time. My DC was being very trying (as 2 year olds are) and 'slapped' (if we could even call it a slap) my sister in the face. My sister then reacted immediately and smacked her on her bottom.

She apologised soon after and even shed a few tears as she does not believe in smacking other people's children (though she does believe in smacking if she had her own).

How would you handle it? I was shocked and didn't know what to do or think. I softly muttered it's okay thinking she felt bad enough, why make it worse? But now when I think about it, I just get angry and think she should have controlled herself better.. There is no excuse.

I should add that she has never really gotten along with this particular child (out of all my children) and often says the child acts very princessy and always wants her way. She has never smacked any of my other children.

So.. How would you handle this scenario? What would you have done if your sister or brother smacked your child in a heated moment?

Since this happened almost two years ago (you mentioned your daughter is now almost four) I think you just have to let it go. Obviously it didn't happen again so it was a one time event.

If the name calling is bothering you and/or your daughter bring it up, she won't change unless you let her know it bothers you.
post #18 of 18

I'd let it go and forgive her, but my DC wouldnt be spending any time alone with her. 

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