Spanked dd yesterday for first time... :( Looking for alternatives, Please don't judge - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So everyday (at at least some point during the day) for the past week has been pretty horrendous. My dd1 (3 1/2 yo) has been getting really angry or disappointed and not knowing how to deal without screaming. (DH and I rarely raise our voices to our children). Her episodes are filled with screaming, yelling, crying, hitting (me only) and general out of control behavior.  (I know 3 1/2 is a HARD age and most of this is age appropriate.)  I usually deal with the frustration/anger she shows by validating feelings (I see how disappointed you are.  You wanted x and you don't want to wait. etc) Her lashing out usually continues. Hitting starts.  I try to remove myself from her.  (I say I know you are really angry, but hitting is never ok.  I can't be near you if you are going to do this.) She clings to me and I can't get away. I finally manage to get into my own room (which I hate because I feel like 1. I am abandoning her/love withdrawl 2. I hate feeling like I have to 'run away' from my kid to not get beat up on).  When she finally calms down a little, I take her on my lap and try deep breathing exercises, which work at this point.  We talk about why hitting is not ok and better ways to deal with frustration.  Later in the day, she usually asks for a story about the incident and I retell the story and ask if she wants to hear how it could have gone better. Which she usually does, and I do.  Any suggestions on how I can deal with these outlashes?  They seem to occur over the smallest thing ("please wait for 3 minutes while mommy finishes dinner.  I will put the timer on. When it rings, I will come help you do that").  I really try to make an effort to watch out for her hunger, giving small snacks throughout the day used to help... But this week has. been. HELL!

 

As far as the spanking that happened yesterday, I really don't know what other options I had and am looking for suggestions.  dd1 was squeezing the back of dd2's (almost1 year old) neck. This behavior came out of no where.  She hasn't hit or shown aggression toward her baby sister since baby was about 3 months old.  I had just gotten up to stir dinner on the stove and turn down the heat. All of a sudden, I hear screaming.  I look over and see dd1 with a deathgrip on back of dd2's neck. As I am running over, I say "dd1 LET GO of your sister."  I get to the girls "Let go." She is still holding on tight, dd2 is screaming. I try to pull dd1's arm off. No give.  I try prying her fingers of dd2's neck.  Not happening.  This is when I spanked dd1 on the bottom and she let go. I immediately told dd1 to go to my bed (our cuddle place) and sat down with her and talked about it.  How I was sorry I hit her and hitting is never ok.  But also how it is never ok to hurt her sister and I didn't know how to stop her. We snuggled and kissed and made up. Was the spank hard? no. Was it a dire situation? yes. Is this all excuses and rationalization?  I feel like it is. I have always been against spanking or any physical power discipline...especially after I had kids. And now... I have actually done it. There had to have been a better way. What would you have done in a situation like that? Any advice  would be helpful.


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#2 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 07:43 AM
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I don't have much advice but I don't think you should beat yourself up over it.
When you first said spanking I was thinking like you pulled her over your lap and spanked her multiple times on the bum, or you really whacked her hard a couple of times, not desperately trying to get her to let go of her sibling you smacked her butt.

We don't spank here either, DD is only 20 months and I know exactly what you mean about running away when they are hitting. When DD is upsets she screams and then lashes out at me (only me) and tries to hit me. If I am not holding her I back away and say no hitting mama. Well she is still very young and isn't able to control herself well. She will whine to be picked up and then start slapping me.

Maybe this isn't GD enough, but I do physically restrain her hand from hitting me, especially if she running at me to hit me. I WILL NOT ever hide in my room to get away from my hitting kid. I think that is one thing I would do differently with your DD. Don't let her chase you into your room, now how to practically stop that I am not entirely sure. I personally don't have an issue with holding her hand firmly enough to stop her hitting without hurting her. I do this with DD if she runs at me and hits me I will grab her hand and hold it so she can't do it again. I will ask her to not hit me and explain that hitting hurts and we should never hit anyone. I will let her go immediately but if she tries to hit me again I will grab her and stop her. If she falls to the floor screaming dramatically (it happens sometimes) I will let go of her and crouch down to talk/comfort her but I DO NOT tolerate the hitting ever.

Goodluck, please don't beat yourself up, you were just doing what you had to do to diffuse the situation, none of us are perfect although sometimes it seems like that here on the boards.
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#3 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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I don't know what you could have done alternatively. I've raised one child, but no siblings, and my younger child is just a baby still (and still, no siblings). I think I would have used force of some kind too, even to just pry them apart.

Personally, I don't put what you did into the "spank" category. I put it in the "do something desperate to shock the child out of her behaviour" category. If you did it all the time, that would indicate a problem of some sort, but in the situation, I believe you did just fine. My own mother told me that once she threw a glass of water in my face. She wasn't proud, but she had to do something to stop me, immediately, from whatever I was doing and I was way too wound up to be reasoned with. She probably had the water in her hand at the time and that's why that course of action was taken, vs a smack. She said it worked. I don't remember at all. I was probably the same age as your DD1. Anyway, parenting is full of challenges and I wouldn't waste time beating yourself up over this. I love the recasting of the story later in the afternoon. That's awesome.
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#4 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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I just wanted to share my support, because I would have done the same.  I'm not a spanker either.  Parenting is hard--but we can't be afraid to do the neccessary to keep all our kids safe (even if it's from each other).

 

 

 

 

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#5 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post
Personally, I don't put what you did into the "spank" category. I put it in the "do something desperate to shock the child out of her behaviour" category. If you did it all the time, that would indicate a problem of some sort, but in the situation, I believe you did just fine.


This.  Exactly this. 

 

Routine, habitual spanking is using violence and fear as a misguided means of discipline.  What you did doesn't even come close to that.  If anything, I'd justify it a last-resort measure that you had to take to prevent harm to your other daughter.  It's totally not worth being hard on yourself over it.  hug2.gif 


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Originally Posted by jodieanneanton View Post

All of a sudden, I hear screaming.  I look over and see dd1 with a deathgrip on back of dd2's neck. As I am running over, I say "dd1 LET GO of your sister."  I get to the girls "Let go." She is still holding on tight, dd2 is screaming. I try to pull dd1's arm off. No give.  I try prying her fingers of dd2's neck.  Not happening.  This is when I spanked dd1 on the bottom and she let go.


As the pp's mentioned, it seems you did what was necessary to keep the little one safe.  A sharp tap to your older one's bottom was meant to startle her enough to let go of her sister's neck.  You weren't meting out corporal punishment in an attempt to hurt, shame, or punish your older daughter.  I was once in a similar situation.  A child too large to carry... a throw-down tantrum in the middle of a highway with a semi-truck fast approaching.  My brain acted faster than I could even think... time was fast and slow at the same time.  It seemed I was watching from the sidelines as I tapped his bottom, breaking his tantrum for just a second... enough time to pull him to the side of the road.  I have thought of this situation a million times since.  I used to question whether I had done the right thing... I mean I raised a hand to a child... but then I remember that, hey, this kid is alive and healthy today and doesn't even remember the incident.  The alternative... I just couldn't live with!

 

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#7 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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I'm sorry, but I do not believe you did anything wrong by rescuing your infant from a kid with a strangle hold on her.  I really do not think you should have apologized for doing that, either.  Your older daughter did something very, very wrong, injurious to someone else, and dangerous.  Preventing her from doing that was not wrong on your part, and not something she needs to "forgive".

 

I also think you are way over-guilting yourself about the other stuff.  It may be "developmentally normal" for children to go through a period of lashing out and/or seeing if they can get what they want by physical agression, but it is not healthy for that to continue.  That's something that needs to be taught/modeled/disciplined with a goal of change.  You are not a bad mother because of not wanting to be physically assaulted by an angry toddler.  If it were me, and my angry kid, and nothing else was working, I would probably go for gentle restraint.  IE: the instant the lashing out started, get the kid in a firm but non-hurtful bearhug, and sit down on the floor until he was finished with the rage and ready to talk.  You do not have to let your kid hit you, and you do not have to have happy feelings about your kid when she is doing that,  in order to be a good, loving, gentle mother.

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#8 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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I think you handled it well. I'm not sure what other options you had in the moment. I'm glad you are all in one piece, that is what matters.

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#9 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Completely agree with the PPs.  You didn't spank your daughter--you acted the way you had to to rescue your other child.  To have stood there trying to reason with her while she injured her sibling would have been irresponsible.

 

As far as the lashing out, I have a 3.5 year old too.  It is a really really tough age.  I go with the gentle restraint tactic mentioned by a PP.  When DD goes crazy, I pick her up and carry her to her (relatively safe) playroom, and hold her in a bearhug so that she can't hit me while she screams.  I tell her that It's okay for her to feel mad, but that I have to keep her and everyone else safe and when she can stop throwing things and hitting I can let her go.  Sometimes she says she will stop and I release her, only to have her throw things at me immediately afterward.  I restrain her again until she's ready to try again.  Eventually she calms down, we make up, and go on with life.  You really have to do what works for your own child and her personality though.  Some kids need to be left alone to calm down, and that isn't abandonment.  Some kids need you right there while they rage.  When my DD is ready to calm down, her preferred method is to go hide in a private place while I sit right there elsewhere in the room, out of immediate sight but where she knows I'm there if she needs me.

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#10 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW! Thank you for your support. I did feel super guilty about things, but am feeling better now.  I am soo happy to get kind words of encouragement from such like-minded ladies.  If I were to vent this stuff to friends/family... they would have jumped all over me for even having a child who would do such a thing, if I would just spank all the time this wouldn't have happened type talk.

 

As far as the suggestions about holding her so she can't hit/throw, I haven't tried that for a LONG time. (Probably since I had dd2 who is almost 1). I think that is because dd2 gets quite upset about the screaming of her sister and starts crying when dd1 begins screaming/crying and I have to hold onto her while dealing with a tantruming 3 year old.  I think I will definitely try this if I can in the future. 

 

Again, this behavior (the hitting) has just been occurring the past week.  Today was MUCH better. No outbursts to speak of at all!!!  :)


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#11 of 22 Old 03-02-2011, 10:14 AM
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I'm glad you found some good hints,

I wasn't thinking about the idea of another baby there too when I suggested the gentle restraining. Honestly that would probably be very difficult as you described, baby crying, toddler screaming, mom ready to run away and hide...Now I would want to hide too!

 

Maybe if baby is secure somehow and your DD is freaking and you want to try restraining her you can move her as far away from baby but stay in the same room? I don't know how that would work. DD doesn't need to be held for more than few seconds usually when I do have to restrain her so I don't know how it would be having to hold a child for a long period of time.

 

I hope you can figure it out, we are TTC and I guess this is stuff I should actually be thinking about too so I am going to start taking notes!

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#12 of 22 Old 03-04-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Perhaps a loud clap near her ear would have startled her or some other loud noise.  She may have just been "in a zone" and something like that may have gotten her attention the same way.


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#13 of 22 Old 03-04-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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No judgment here  :)  I'm just glad to hear I'm not the only one who went through *ell at 3 1/2 with a little girl!

 

Do NOT feel guilty for going away from your child rather than allowing her to hit you.   She may need to cry and scream and let some feelings out, but it is NOT OK to hit others.  We can't control other people--our kids--but we *can* control *ourselves.*

 

I know it helps me--IF I can be left alone--to cool down so I *can* deal with whatever my child does.

 

Could you have dealt with the baby-hurting incident differently?  Maybe.  But what I see there is a very natural instinct, to protect your smaller, defenseless baby.  You do *NOT* need to guilt yourself over it!  You knew it wasn't the best reaction obviously, you talked to her when it was over.  That ONE experience is not going to scar her for life....in fact, there could be hope that she *knows* from what came next that you won't do it again.  :)

And you're here, so while I'm fresh out of ideas, somebody will know how else to react to that dangerous situation if it should occur again....


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#14 of 22 Old 03-05-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

Routine, habitual spanking is using violence and fear as a misguided means of discipline.  What you did doesn't even come close to that.  If anything, I'd justify it a last-resort measure that you had to take to prevent harm to your other daughter.  It's totally not worth being hard on yourself over it.  hug2.gif 

 

I pretty much agree with this.

AND I hope this doesn't get me banned, but I think you did exactly the right thing. hide.gif It's what I would have done. And if the same situation happens again, I think you should do the exact same thing. I know that's not what you want to hear because you're asking for alternatives, but reading over your story....I personally didn't see any other alternative that wasn't more physical than what you did.

 

Your daughter is only 3 1/2. You tried reasoning, you tried commanding....you didn't have much of a choice.

 

 

 


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#15 of 22 Old 03-05-2011, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mom2grrls View Post

Perhaps a loud clap near her ear would have startled her or some other loud noise.  She may have just been "in a zone" and something like that may have gotten her attention the same way.



I really like this idea.  Could try that if it happens again...  Thanks.

 

 

 

 


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#16 of 22 Old 03-05-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

Personally, I don't put what you did into the "spank" category. I put it in the "do something desperate to shock the child out of her behaviour" category.


 

I do put what the OP did in the "spank" category. And based on that definition, while I agree with many concepts of GD, my husband and I also consider ourselves, as parents, pro-spanking. But it's all about how you define spanking. When I say spanking I do not mean the routine, repeated, habitual hitting of a child as a method of discipline. I mean a smack on a (only very young) child's behind, only in extreme (and rare) circumstances where nothing else is working and you HAVE to intervene to protect the safety of the child herself or of someone else. (In the OP's case, that would be the younger baby.) It's more about getting their attention and making them see that you're "serious" than it is about inflicting pain or violence on a child.

I know so many people....people in my family for instance...who hear spanking and think "beating" and that's just not always the case. If there was another word for what we believe in, we'd use it, but there isn't. But in any case, whenever you hear of someone being "pro-spanking" or not having a problem with spanking, etc., it'd be prudent to find out exactly how they define the word "spank" in their own households.
 


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#17 of 22 Old 03-05-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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I'm totally anti hitting but I probably would have done the same thing in this circumstance. From your description it sounds like your 1 year old was in immediate danger and your older dd just wasn't stopping. You did what you had to to protect your younger child. I wouldn't consider this spanking either, especially if it's a one time thing. This doesn't sound like normal typical 3 year old behavior though, I think what you have described needs some sort of evaluation, although I'm not qualified to suggest what kind.

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#18 of 22 Old 03-05-2011, 09:57 PM
 
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I agree that what you did made sense in the circumstances. I just wanted to add that my 3 1/2 year old is very similar right now. He is such a sweet kid, but seems facinated with the idea of hitting us when we set a limit (about a hundred times a day, it seems!). The other day he threw a book at me. When it's just me and him, I find it easier to deal with, but when I'm holding his baby brother (most of the time), it gets trickier. I do think it's a normal stage at this age, and I'm assuming it will pass, but in the meantime I'm modeling for him that it is never ok to hit, and that I can't be in the same space as he is if he is going to hit me. It's so hard right now! 

 


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#19 of 22 Old 03-06-2011, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This doesn't sound like normal typical 3 year old behavior though, I think what you have described needs some sort of evaluation, although I'm not qualified to suggest what kind.



I am interested to hear if more people feel this way.  Like I said in the OP.  This is only the second physical act toward her little sister EVER (not that any is ever appropriate) and about a week of really frustrating tantruming (which involves sometimes hitting me... although its been better for the past few days).  I know that according to Louise Bates Ames' Your three year old, three and a half is a bear of an age.

 

To be fair to dd1, I think she may be on the verge of a growth spurt considering how much food she is packing in these few days! You know they are really hungry when you say "If you are really hungry you can have celery, but that's all until dinner" when dinner is right around the corner and they opt for the celery.  haha.  This really could have something to do with the problem behavior. 

 

 

 

 


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#20 of 22 Old 03-08-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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We don't have siblings but my DD is very persistent with the whining and meltdowns.

 

I have been saying, "You can scream in your room with your loveys, this is not the place. You can come out when you are calmer."

 

So she goes to her room, snuggles with her loveys and comes down when she is ready.


Some may consider this a time out, but she controls how long she stays upstairs. I'm not mean about it, just clear that the behavior is not going to fly anywhere but in her room.

 

Does your DD have a safe place to go where she is allowed to scream and have a fit with no one yelling back?

 

Have you tried time ins?
 

It sounds like she's very aware of her emotions--her asking you to tell stories and changing the ending is a good sign. See if you can come up with some takeaway key phrases that you can use when she's spinning out of control to help her remember how to change how the story ends.

 

I often tell DD, You have a choice. You can be upset or choose to be happy. You can be happy by listening/by cooperating etc.. whatever needs to happen in the situation Sometimes that helps her focus on fixing her behavior before it gets bad.

 

 

Or even incorporate the stories "How can we have a happy ending? It looks like this is going to turn into a sad story, you can make it happy by doing xyz."

 

Also, 3yos don't wait well, at least mine doesn't. She still needs to be distracted. Today I made dinner and set up the kitchen sink for her to do dishes while I worked. That was really great.

 

When she starts to loose it, I go for 'go give the dog a hug, she's sad' or 'what do you think snack will be at preschool today' Just random off topic stuff that shifts the focus. This works well. I am not so good at finding the right questions in the moment, but when I do it's like magic.

 

HTH

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#21 of 22 Old 03-08-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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Add me to the crowd that doesn't see you as having done wrong.  You could either have tried talking her into letting go of her sister who she was hurting, or you could smack enough shock into her to get her to let go.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  She knew not to do what she was doing, and she was hurting another child.  

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#22 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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I don't think it was wrong either. And I don't think it called for an apology on your part, but rather on hers! in fact while I am generally not a fan of forced apologies a la Supernanny, whenever ds hurts dd (mostly accidentally through carelessness) I insist that he tell her "sorry" and give her a hug. I used to think that insisting on an apology would be fake and teach him to lie as many people here will say, but on the contrary I ahve found that he now will often say sorry and be genuinely empathetic to her, overwhelming her with hugs and kisses, without me even prompting him. So in your dd's case, I would have had her apologize to her sister. Even though they are babies, they also deserve respect and consideration as little people! And I know if someone did that to me, I'd want some sort of apology or hug or something! Certainly as adults we are expected to show basic courtesy and manners to others, and we are raising our children to function in the world. So I don't feel that we have to tiptoe around them all the time for fear of hurting of their feelings or upsetting them. Even if your dd WAS upset by the "spank" it was a natural, imo reasonable/instinctive consequence to her actions. My opinions would be very different if you had snatched her up, grabbed a belt and beat the daylights out of her. What you did makes sense in light of the circumstances.

 

I second the suggestions of a bear hug. We do this with ds when he gets out of control and it is very effective.

 

If she seems very hungry you could try filling a sports bottle or carry-around cup with a nutritious fruit smoothie. That is pretty filling and might help with her moods!

 

Just to make you feel better, one time ds in a fit of sensory overload suddenly came out of nowhere and bit DP's leg right down to the white meat. DP freaked from the shock (he was apparently reading  and totally engrossed) and smacked ds, who was not expecting the smack and went flying "across the room." I'm not sure how accurate the "across the room" part is, but they were both rather shellshocked when I came home from work, and they both felt equally bad! The point is, things happen, we get caught off guard, and it's ok. 

 

 


Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy bouncy.gif (12/07) one angel3.gif who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making divaenergy.gif(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. aabfwoman.gif (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my lifedp_malesling.GIF.  

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