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#1 of 17 Old 03-26-2005, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is a question that I have heard my nephew ask me . A little background I have a nephew who is almost 5. His father (my brother) does not have a role in his life, as of the last year or so, I have made an effort in getting him to get to know our side of the family.

I am not able to bring him over to my home, as much as I would like to as I'm a single mom, who works out of the home. But when I am able to I do bring him over for weekend, overnights or just an outting with my son who is 5. On one occasion (back in Feb) when they were getting over excited I clapped my hands to get their attention, that is when he asked me if I was going to slap him in the face? At first I was shocked, then I realized that he probably gets hit in the face. So I apologized if I had scared him and told him that I had only clapped to get their attention and reassured him that I would NEVER hurt him, and that its not okay to hit others.

Fastforward to yesterday, a few things happened. He was playing with my son and got hurt. When my son came to tell us (Grandma, other aunt etc.) that he had gotten hurt, he hid under the table and would not come out until he felt sure that he wasn't in "trouble" for getting hurt.

When I gave him a bath last night he acted scared, not wanting to get in the shower, avoiding shower head etc. Anyway we were talking and he told me that once he fell in the tub. I asked what happened and he told me that when he fell his mom took his belt and hit him on the back with it and that she also hits him with a belt on his back when he won't go to sleep!

This is obviously a horrible situation for him to being in, and I don't really know what to do about it. Speaking to his dad is of no use (he does not have a role in his life, and to top it off he's a spanker ) and his mom and I are not close we have had arguments in the past and now only speak when I am aranging to pick him up, drop him off etc. When he makes comments about hitting I tell him that hitting is not ok and that is why we do not hit, apart fromt that I don't know what else to tell him. And to top it off when he hurts my son, he just tells my son to stop crying and to stop acting like a baby! (Gee I wonder where he's hearing that).

Should I speak to his mom about it (although I'm worried that she may hit him more for telling me) and risk making the situation worse. Or that she may not allow us to see him.

And how should I explain to my son the reasons that his cousin act's that way he does. Thanks in advance to all.
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#2 of 17 Old 03-26-2005, 10:45 PM
 
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Hard situation, but I want to offer you a few ideas, first off some 5 year olds are remarkably clever at manipulating situations and seeking attention.. he may have many issues because his father is not involved. I guess ultimately you have to decide what you want to do..however I am familiar with your region and I know how CAS is run in those parts... they will remove him from his mother and ask questions later.. and the state of fostercare in your area is HORRIBLE I know of parents whos kids have actually BEEN abused in "care" now that said.. if he was being beaten would his school pick up on it? or would they not notice the kind of behaviour that goes along with it? they are mandated reporters.

Lastly as much as it totally sucks to GD parents like myself and I assume you.. spanking is not illegal or even considered an infraction worthy of investigation in this province it was upheld as a parents right in the supreme court of Canada, if I recall for ages 2-8 :

Anyhow you also have to consider that you may not know the whole story.. or maybe your feelings towards his mother are clouding your judgement and maybe it would be wise to sit this one out? or wait and watch?

Again your call and I have no opinion one way or the other and would never tell you what to do.. I just wanted to bring some other aspects to your attention.. being familiar with helping people involved in the system I am fully aware things are often not as they "appear"

I hope things work out for you and your nephew.
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#3 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 12:24 AM
 
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I also vote for sitting still, for now. The mother doesn't sound very reasonable. And this boy will need someone to be there, and possibly advocate for him, if things take a turn for the worse. If you bring it up with the mom, and she gets all huffy, you won't see the boy again, and nobody will be there to take legal action or help the boy, if need be.

At the very least, even if there are no repeat incidents, he will be soooo much better off to have had a good relationship with someone in his young life. So do whatever you have to do to stay close. It looks like you're 'it' for the sanity in his life.

And while I agree with MarsupialMama that children can make up things and be manipulative, all these stories you present ring true to me.

I'm so sorry for this boy--how does the child protective services work in your area? I'm sure not ALL foster families are awful--maybe there are even MDC people on the list in your area... He sounds like a sweet kid who just needs a little gentleness.

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#4 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lioralourie
I'm so sorry for this boy--how does the child protective services work in your area? I'm sure not ALL foster families are awful--maybe there are even MDC people on the list in your area... He sounds like a sweet kid who just needs a little gentleness.

The OP lives in a province where the system is heavily corrrupted there has been several children die in "care" in the past few years and inquests to go along with it..yet the machine steams ahead its far to huge of a cash cow for the government right now how its set up :-( there may be the odd fosterpeople meaning well, but in the end they are manipulated by the CAS anyhow and basically are to do what they are told or they risk losing whoever is in their "care" and possibly undergo scruitny of their own kids if any.. its all very sad
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#5 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses.

"And while I agree with MarsupialMama that children can make up things and be manipulative, all these stories you present ring true to me."
The part that makes it difficult is the fact that I really do believe his mom is hurting him. I say this not becuause she and I have not gotten along in the past, but becuase I know that that is how she was raised (not an excuse I know) and because she is going through a really difficult time in her life, as we know a lot of people take their frustrations out on their kids.

Calling CAS is not really an option for the same reasons that Marsupialmuma has already stated. I also know people who were severly abuse in CAS care as children.

Now that I think about it it probably would make the situation worse if I do mention it to his mom. So I think that I will sit still, hope for the best, and bring him over to my home as often as I can. It's frustrating knowing that kids are in bad situations and that there is not much that I can do about it

Once again thank-you for the responses.
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#6 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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I was sent this link from a friend of mine. My advice to you is this. Step aside and don't get involved... at least at this point. Even though the little one has said this, have you seen anything to back up his accusations? I have to agree to Marsupialmuma. Children have the amazing ability to manipulate the situation. You do not want to get CAS involved at all. It is all a cash cow. They are the type of people to cause alot more harm than good. Too many times they walk into a families lives that have absolutely no issues and screw them up and leave the ones that should never have had kids. It is true they take first then ask second. If you fight them they will make ur life a living hell....Even with nothing to hide. You stand up for your rights, and they make u look like a monster. They are not the type of people to get involved with. See once you get them in they stay in. They would even go as far as looking into your history even thought you have nothing to do with the report. Please stay away from them at all costs. Best thing to do at this point is to just sit back and watch. Be a friend but try to keep a distance to avoid feelings from getting in the way. I mean try to be objective no matter how hard it is to hear about these "horrid" tales. It is probably not as "BAD" as it seems. I have no issues with punishment but not to this "extreme"!
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#7 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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I am going to agree with Marsupialmuma.

I think at this point sitting back and being a source of love and stability might be yours and his best options.
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#8 of 17 Old 03-27-2005, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Although I know that CAS is not the best option (I work with women in a shelter setting, many of whom have CAS involved). To not believe what he has told me is not an option for me.

I do know that children have are able to manipulate situations, but I don't see a reason for him to tell those things, particularly when he was not aware that I don't hit as a form of discipine. And to say that it may not be as "not as "BAD" as it seems" does not make hitting him OK, at least not IMO.

I think that what I will try to do is build some type of bond with his mom so that I can bring up different ways and options of discipling children etc.

When he is with me I will continue to teach him other ways of dealing with anger (talking about what it bothering him, as opposed to him lashing out physically) and of course providing him with love, and stability when he is in my care.
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#9 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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Here is another thought too, public school and a child that age is a prime opportunity for all kinds of exposure to different philosophies... kids who are raised differently ect, who's to say hes not had some slapping wars with kids in his class? I mean this does happen! or maybe he hangs around someone at school who is disiplined in such a manner that he is repeating things hes hearingl, I recently saw another thread here called "white lies" thats the sort of thing I am talking about, is VERY common in the 4-5 year old set, I have a son who is 4 and just the other day he told me he flushed my diamond bracelet down the toilet! this was because he had taken it off my dresser when he knew very well he is not allowed to touch it and then forgot where he had placed it and I was having him look for it (you touch it you find it type of thing) and he did not want to look for it so he made up the tale that he flushed it down the toilet! (sidenote I can always tell when this child is fibbing :LOL ) LOL I was pretty stunned, I found it a short while later under his bed.. I have also seen the same child bite his own arm and then tell me his little brother did it over a toy ect..

I am just saying its a complicated age group.. they have so much going on up there.. and factor in his dad is absent that has to weigh in on him at some point right? I have seen varying levels of this in all my kiddos I think its definately a stage..and sometimes its hard to sort the truth from the fiction kwim? as parents we have to go on gut instinct and past experiences with that child, I suppose there is no absolute defined "correct" answer here.
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#10 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 05:02 PM
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If you see any bruising that looks suspicious I would report it but if you think he is being treated badly but not illegaly by his mother you should not bring it up with her. He may be punished for acting this way or she may stop letting you see him. While it is hard to hear and deal with there is not a lot you can do besides modeling empathy and compassion and encouraging him to use those skills in your house. If you ever suspect abuse though you should report it, they do not take children away easily because there is not a lot of room in the foster care system for them so if he is taken from his mother it is likely abuse was occuring. I wouldn't talk to her about it though because this could cause her to keep things hidden and to threaten him with new and worse punishments for telling.
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#11 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 05:05 PM
 
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I don't think I would assume that the boy is making everything up for attention, either. I am disgusted by the child's fear of getting hit for getting hurt. Hiding under a table?? That poor child!

I probably wouldn't report the situation, not yet anyway. I think getting close to the mom and the boy and being a positive influence is an excellent idea

As far as explaining his behavior to your son, my son is only 2 so I don't have a lot of experience with 5 year olds, but so far explaining things in an honest but gentle way has worked for us. Does he know about spanking? If not, maybe that would be a good place to start.

Good luck, and thank you for making the effort to be a positive force in this boy's life.

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#12 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katallen
If you see any bruising that looks suspicious I would report it but if you think he is being treated badly but not illegaly by his mother you should not bring it up with her. He may be punished for acting this way or she may stop letting you see him. While it is hard to hear and deal with there is not a lot you can do besides modeling empathy and compassion and encouraging him to use those skills in your house. If you ever suspect abuse though you should report it, they do not take children away easily because there is not a lot of room in the foster care system for them so if he is taken from his mother it is likely abuse was occuring. I wouldn't talk to her about it though because this could cause her to keep things hidden and to threaten him with new and worse punishments for telling.
I understand what your saying but I am geographically local to the OP and am ultra familiar with the policies and funding for CAS in that region of this province.. its wonderful where you live that things are not like that! I wish it was like that everywhere. We have children who are abused here left and kids who are not abused taken on whims.
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#13 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 05:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama
I don't think I would assume that the boy is making everything up for attention, either. I am disgusted by the child's fear of getting hit for getting hurt. Hiding under a table?? That poor child!

I am not telling the OP to assume anything perhaps I should clarify I am simply stating that one needs to look at ALL angles when attempting to deal with a situation such as this. I understand your son is only 2 .. I am basing what I am telling the OP partially with my own experience being a mom to 8 kids ranging between the ages of 15 mos and 13 and families I have helped going through horrible situations like this. How do we know someone in his school has not hit him? or daycare even? its a lofty lofty assumption based upon these few incidents that its the mother .. does this mother have a boyfriend who could be hitting him? the ONLY thing I am advocating here I suppose is a childs rights to its natural parents and for people to not assume so much so fast.. its a very common theme on this board, as controversial and wrong as it is where the OP and I live spanking is very legal and a way of parenting for alot of people. I dunno should have stayed out of this thread I guess.
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#14 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Once again thank-you for the replies and different prespectives. Although I understand that children are exposed to different things (not all positive) in the school environment. I do believe that his mother hits him as a way of punishing him. I also know that sometimes when his uncles babysit they will "smack" him if they feel he is misbehaving. I say this because I've known her for over 6 years, and know that she thinks that hitting kids is OK. I also belive him becuase when he asked me if I was going to slap him, he asked it in a very matter of fact kind of way, as though it was almost expected. It just makes it so difficult for me to know these things and not being able to do much about it kwim? A problem regarding child abuse is that children are often not believed because they are children, too often people (adults) jump to the conclusion that they are lying.

As Marsupialmuma CAS does make the mistake of leaving children in horrible situations, while taking children out of homes where the issues can be resolved. I know both former CAS workers and people who grew up in care, having spoken to them about what the process is like, is why I have not called CAS. CAS does not have the well being of the children at heart, when I worked at a youth shelter, many of the youths there were CAS wards who were taken out of their homes and put in a worse situation.

As I said for now I don't plan to say anything to his mom, but if it continues it may be something that I will address, you need to remember that this is but my nephew and because of that I have some kind of duty to try to protect him. It would be horrible if he came to me years later and said, "I told you that she was hurting me and you did nothing about it."

Regarding my son the concern that I have is that my son is very well spoken and curious child, I'm worried that he might make his cousin feel bad about being spanked, if he questions him about why he is spanked. My son is aware of what spanking is One time we were visiting family and he saw my step mom hitting his aunt (who is a few months younger then him) and he flipped, he told her to stop hitting his aunt etc. to sum it up he embarassed her. I have had discussions with him about why some people spank their kids, why its not ok, and that it's not the child's fault etc.
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#15 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmuma
I recently saw another thread here called "white lies" thats the sort of thing I am talking about, is VERY common in the 4-5 year old set,
I agree with you as my son is also going through a stage of "telling white lies" LOL as a matter of fact I bought "Franklin Fibs" today, as way of opening up a discussion on telling lies with him. But in cases where a child is telling you that he is being hit and with a belt to top it off, I think that it is best to at least keep a close eye on it.
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#16 of 17 Old 03-28-2005, 11:57 PM
 
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Marsupialmuma, I didn't mean to contradict what you were saying, and your posts have given me alot to think about, as I don't know what it's like to have a five year old. I was only agreeing with Mami, that I wouldn't want to dismiss the boy's behavior. I probably could have worded it differently, and now when I go back and read what I wrote, it does sound like I was sort of ridiculing what you said. I wasn't.

I'm with you on a child's right to his or her natural parents and not assuming abuse quickly, although to me it seems like something is going on with this boy, whether it is coming from his mother or elsewhere.

Carrie
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#17 of 17 Old 03-29-2005, 12:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmuma
I understand what your saying but I am geographically local to the OP and am ultra familiar with the policies and funding for CAS in that region of this province.. its wonderful where you live that things are not like that! I wish it was like that everywhere. We have children who are abused here left and kids who are not abused taken on whims.
I live in the US, and in my area... the SAME thing is happening. I would be hard pressed to ever call CPS around here. They have done far more damage than good IMO.

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