-edited to add: As of right now, my husband and I have been disciplining in our own ways -- me distracting and explaining why things are wrong, him spanking (swatting, I guess you would say) and moreso yelling than discussing. I am afraid of what this confusion will do to our child and/or his relationship with his dad, but I absolutely refuse to spank him, so unless Chris decides to change, I guess this is going to continue.
I would highly recomend reading some Love and Logic books. the general L&L parenting book is Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay. The book I recomend you get right away are Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay and Charles Fay. Check your library or we bought ours from Barnes and Noble. They are so wonderful and explain so simply and logically and convincingly how your child needs logical consequences for their actions or else when they get to be teens when their mommy and daddy aren't there and really no longer can control them like a young child they will make all sorts of wrong choices and decisions. That's not a very good description...it's hard to describe. PM if you would like to know more specifics. It is just so awesome and loving and easy and even fun. It does not make the parents the bad guy....the poor choices are the bad guy. I think that a person like you describe your dh to be would even agree with it as using this philosophy has alsmot immediate results and it even explains in a very non-judgemental way why tactics like spanking don't work but actually do the opposite of what you wanted to accomplish. Please go and get a copy!!! And good luck. Pm me if you want.
Heidi : Married for 15 years, expecting our 8th baby in July!
I would tell your husband straight up that the swatting, popping, and spanking ends right now. Tell him that you are not going to tolerate him hitting your child just like you wouldnt tolerate him hitting you. Make it clear that you find his way totally disrespectful and that he is only detracting from the parenting style you have chosen to take. Advise him to read some books and give him a reading list. So what if he calls it bunk, tell him the hitting gives. He will either agree to stop or tell you he is going to continue -- if the latter is the case, he would have some serious consequences to his choice.
Frankly the fact that you have allowed the hitting to go on this far will make it even more difficult for you to put your foot down and put an end to it. Someone is going to have to give, and it needs to be him, since his ways is wrong on so many levels.
I'd tell your inlaws that on no uncertain terms are they to lay a finger on your child or you will file a report against them with DHR/CPS. And if they do, do it. My inlaws are big prospanking but they do not even discuss it in front of my children because I told them before I had children that if they ever touched my children in an inappropriate manner they would only see them in pictures.
I'm sure this sounds really harsh but I'm the mama bear.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
Fortunately, I was able to convince my dh about spanking being inappropriate. My change of mind came directly as a result of some of the things I read here at MDC.
I would have a serious talk with your dh about where his beliefs about spanking come from. Just from him own experience? The way some passages of scripture are interpreted? Thinking that everything is a power struggle with kids and you have to win? For me, there has been real fear about there being real consequences for behavior and thinking that spanking is the only one. He probably thinks that you are being very *permissive* if you don't spank.
I really suggest that you guys choose one book to read and discuss together. My dh is NOT a reader, but maybe you could read in the car or after dinner, before bed, whatever. And then be able to discuss it, and make it clear that this will be a "safe" time for him to talk openly and honestly w/o your judgement or putting his ideas down. I think he really needs to educate himself on, first, child development so he can know what to expect from your child, and second, the different styles of parenting and where you guys fit in. Then you can talk about how you are going to set and "enforce" the rules at your house--aka what other options there are than hitting. It alse would really help to get some "success stories" from people who don't hit their kids so you can both see that it can work!
are both good websites with LOTS of articles and research. the nospank one is very in-your-face, so be prepared to be educated!!
Good luck with this, and please let us know how things are going. You really really really should get this worked out with your dh ASAP so that you can be unified as things get tougher down the road. Choosing not to spank takes lots of guts and really makes you think and work as a parent. But don't you think it's worth it?!?
We're all behind you!
I will also try the books and websites that you all have recommended. The first book suggested seems really great.
I forgot to mention that DH is only home two weeks out of the month (he works offshore and is gone for two weeks, then home for two weeks), so that throws another kink in things. Just about the time I feel like I've got a handle on positive discipline, here he comes in the door wanting to spank. Argh. It's very frustrating.
Here's hoping the books & websites work!
For some of us, the issue of discipline is an ongoing struggle (as are many other things in marriage.) It is not something that can just be solved by making one statemeent or telling him to read something. What has helped with my Dh is to keep telling him why I think hitting is inappropriate, and to actually physically step in when necessary at those times when I think he's going too far with our son. Presenting a united front is an ideal that some of us have to create gradually.
big hugs, becoming (((( )))))! You are very brave to admit your struggle. Know that you are not alone.