having trouble with my responses to physical 'attacks' - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-14-2013, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi-

   This morning DD (who is almost 6) was extra clingy and refusing to go to the bathroom.  I finally get her in there but the usual method "I'll race you!"  but once in she immediately jumped into my chest and wound up yanking my hair pretty hard (by accident).  This was maybe the 3rd or 4th behavior of this type this morning and i just snapped, saying "GET OFF!" "MY HAIR!!" and swatting her behind twice until she let go.  She started at me for about 5 seconds and then she started to cry.  

 

I immediately and profusely apologized.  I do not think it's ok to hit a child ever, but I will admit this does happen from time to time and it's always in response to her physically hurting me accidentally after a few warnings.  It's like a knee-jerk reaction on my part and I'm not fully aware it's happening until it's over.  

 

I feel terrible, I mean terrible about it.  My #1 priority in the world is keeping this kid emotionally secure and I feel like I'm failing her when this happens.  My mom went through a period where she hit/kicked me quite a bit (during my tween years when I'm sure I had a terrible attitude).  My mom and I were close when I was DD's age, and DD and I are SUPER close now. My mom and I were not close as I grew up.  I'm so worried I'm following in my mom's footsteps.  

 

Advice needed.  

 

thanks

Jen

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#2 of 6 Old 03-14-2013, 09:12 AM
 
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Most people, most animals, even some plants, have a strong instinct to defend themselves.  As she ventures out into the world, it is very valuable for your daughter to understand that if she hurts another person, or animal, there is the very real possibility that they will defend themselves, and that if she's attacked, she has the right to defend herself.  So, while I hope you can find a gentle way to get through to her that if you yell GET OFF!  she should immediately get off of you, I don't think that self defense is the same as some of the scenarios you seem to be comparing it to.
 

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#3 of 6 Old 03-14-2013, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Most people, most animals, even some plants, have a strong instinct to defend themselves.  As she ventures out into the world, it is very valuable for your daughter to understand that if she hurts another person, or animal, there is the very real possibility that they will defend themselves, and that if she's attacked, she has the right to defend herself.  So, while I hope you can find a gentle way to get through to her that if you yell GET OFF!  she should immediately get off of you, I don't think that self defense is the same as some of the scenarios you seem to be comparing it to.
 

Thanks.  "Attack" might be too strong of word, but hopefully you get the idea.  She sometimes is just ALL OVER ME.  The older she gets the less she does this, but geez!  

 

I can see how maybe it's not fair to compare this to what happened between my mom and I.  We were usually having verbal fights and she'd then hit me.  Once she scratched me with her engagement ring, then asked me the next day what happened to my neck.  I told her what happened and she called me a liar.  Ugh.  Her hitting ended for good after I knocked her on her ass one time.  Ahh childhood memories!  

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#4 of 6 Old 03-14-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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I understand that this is not an ideal reaction, but, I mean - you are human.  And what you're describing, as the PP stated above, is way different than a parent and child fighting and the parent hitting the child.  

 

I've foudn on issues whereI lose my cool regularly, I have to act sooner instead of giving more time/chances, even if it looks more strict/authoritative/punitive/whatever.  Gently/calmly/kindly but firmly enforcing a limit, even if it seems "mean", before I lose my cool in the end is much kinder than trying to hang on beyond my own limits to try to let things work out but then snapping and doing something that is even less ideal.  You know?  


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#5 of 6 Old 03-14-2013, 02:55 PM
 
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I've foudn on issues whereI lose my cool regularly, I have to act sooner instead of giving more time/chances, even if it looks more strict/authoritative/punitive/whatever.  Gently/calmly/kindly but firmly enforcing a limit, even if it seems "mean", before I lose my cool in the end is much kinder than trying to hang on beyond my own limits to try to let things work out but then snapping and doing something that is even less ideal.  You know?  

OP, I think this is a good suggestion.  If  she's playing too rough and hurting you, but you're not being clear that you want her to be more gentle, or stay off your hair, or whatever, then there's room for her to assume that what she's doing is fine, adding confusion to any other emotions she might feel when you've reached your limit.  I think that consistency is often the kindest approach,  because it's so predictable.

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#6 of 6 Old 03-15-2013, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for easing my guilt and for the suggestions.  I can feel when I am getting near the breaking point and I have to try stop the behavior there.   I think it's completely true that I am not being clear enough early enough.

 

Jen

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