2 different occasions:
The first ds was goofing around and kicked my mom, she told him to stop, he was being rude/hitting/yelling, so she went put him in his room to cool down. (sometimes he just needs to chill for 5min and he will come out and be totally fine). As she tried to put him down in his room, he pinched her, so she smacked him on the butt
The second, my dad was trying to put ds's tie on, and ds kept pinching his leg hair (not trying to hurt or be mean), my dad asked him to stop. He did it again and my dad grabbed his hand and smacked it.
Both led to big arguments. I don't want them to hit my child under ANY circumstances. Hitting is not O.K.. Period.
I HAVE to live with them right now, I am working on my college degree and making it on my own (Im a single mom), but it will take time.
I've given examples of alternatives to smacking/tapping/hitting him, but this has happened twice in the past couple weeks. I don't know if its happened other times when I'm not around but it may have.
My parents think its ok b/c "it doesn't hurt him", and "its to get his attention", and "I'm not perfect".
Then they start talking about how I have "yelled at him" sometimes and yada yada. No I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I never ever hit him.
I've told them explicitly that its not o.k. to hit him. Even a 'light tap', it doesn't matter.
I am so mad right now and I don't know how to handle this.
I think there are two general ways to approach it, and only you know which will be most effective with your parents. I'd favour the first as a first try.
The first is to make them a nice meal or take them out, and have a very frank but loving discussion that goes something like this: I love you and I am really appreciative that I can live with you right now, and so glad my child has you as grandparents in his life, no question about all that. But I do feel that as my child's mother I have to have some control over how he's disciplined. Hitting is not okay with me, and these incidents to me are hitting. I am asking you to support me and respect my feelings about this, because I have to be free to make my own decisions about parenting. Maybe you guys remember what it was like to be a parent and have relatives do things you wished they wouldn't. I want to have a really good relationship, and to do that I really, really need you to humour me on this one thing and not tap my child. How can we work this out?
The second is just to lay down the law and then work it out however you have to - keep your child with you at all times; get a sitter for when you're out or find care you can leave him at.
In both cases you really have to commit to being on top of the parenting. I know that when I'm around other adults, sometimes I treat it a bit more like 'me time' and let them take the lead - like maybe when you're studying you have your parents watch him. That's fine normally, but in this case it sounds like if you can be home and aware, you could head off some of the conflicts before your parents are about to hit, and that you'll have to while they're readjusting.
I suggest telling them you will handle the discipline and then staying on top of things. I live with my family and have to be on top of things so they don't react too harshly with mean words (they won't hit her). I think the level of difficulty you will have with getting your parents to respect you as a mom will depend on how much control you give them over his day to day activities and how much support they are giving you. My parents allow me to live in their home with my dd and my mom watches my dd once a week so she doesn't have to spend the day in daycare. I pay utilities and support my dd fully (besides the free rent). If your parents are doing more for you it may take more discussion and more active parenting to get to that point with them.
I am dealing with something similar...
for me, the solution is to be more proactive. Don't have your mom be the one putting him in his room to cool down. Do it yourself. Put the tie on him yourself if he is resisting it. If you have any thought that he might be misbehaving, intervene and handle it yourself. The only way to be in charge of the discipline is to actually be in charge of the discipline. I realize this may not be possible 100% of the time, but the more proactive you are about your gentle discipline, the more of it he will receive. Let the grandparents play with him when he is happy and well-behaved, and if he starts to get out of hand, intervene and handle it the way you plan to handle it. They will see your example, they will see how effective it is, and hopefully they will learn from it and copy it for the times that they are alone with him.