how to UNDO the spankings... - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to admit to not being totally GD the entire time. I have lost it and been not GD...and spanked...I'm ashamed of it and I vow every time it'll NEVER NEVER NEVER happen again. But, well, it did about a month ago and DS still remembers...and when I'm talking to him about his behavior, whatever it may be, and I get to the part about what mommy does when/if he does something, he says, "then mommy spanks me"....crap...I've ruined my kid. He's going to remember me as an abusive mother...I don't want to be a spanking parent, but it has happened. I just want to know how to UNDO what I did. I always appologize if I go over the top (and I can't even think of anyone who hasn't at least once) and that seems to nix any bad feelings he may have from it...so is that the way around being remembered as a horrible parent? I just remember being yelled and yelled and yelled at by one of my parents that it over shadows any and all good things that the parent does... I just want a different relationship and I know what I need to do to control my emotions. I just want to know that these few times won't hurt my relationship with my DS... :

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#2 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 01:25 AM
 
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I think apologizing goes a long way to helping -- my parents never, ever apologized when they were in the wrong. You've done that, and I think it's great.

Spending time together - 30 minutes a day if you can - where you follow your son's lead is a great way to foster/repair a relationship. ("Floortime")

Deciding what you'll do the next time you lose it helps too.

Talk to your son about the spankings another time -- if he says "and then mom spanks me.." say "I know that spanking isn't a good way to react when I'm angry. I'm sorry I spanked you, and I'm working very very hard so I control my actions when I'm really angry."

Finally, forgive yourself. No one's perfect. The very fact that this bothers you is a good thing. Use that guilt to work toward being better. It's all that any of us can do. I lose it. I yell at my kids more than I would like. I've spanked both of them once or twice. Always when I'm angry, tired and overwhelmed. It's not an excuse, but it does give me insight into what I need to do to avoid that situation again.

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#3 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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Thank you for posting this. I, too, have been wondering about this, and I've been too chicken to ask. :
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#4 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
I have to admit to not being totally GD the entire time. I have lost it and been not GD...and spanked...I'm ashamed of it and I vow every time it'll NEVER NEVER NEVER happen again. But, well, it did about a month ago and DS still remembers...and when I'm talking to him about his behavior, whatever it may be, and I get to the part about what mommy does when/if he does something, he says, "then mommy spanks me"....crap...I've ruined my kid. He's going to remember me as an abusive mother...I don't want to be a spanking parent, but it has happened. I just want to know how to UNDO what I did. I always appologize if I go over the top (and I can't even think of anyone who hasn't at least once) and that seems to nix any bad feelings he may have from it...so is that the way around being remembered as a horrible parent? I just remember being yelled and yelled and yelled at by one of my parents that it over shadows any and all good things that the parent does... I just want a different relationship and I know what I need to do to control my emotions. I just want to know that these few times won't hurt my relationship with my DS... :

First, I don't think that your child and relationship with him is ruined because of this. I think over time, if you replace those "spanking" memories with other memories, he'll probably mostly remember the good stuff.

Second, I think a vital part of any "gentle discipline", is being gentle with YOURSELF. We can all very easily sit around here, talking about GD...but in the moment sometimes we make mistakes. And you need to be as gentle with YOURSELF as you are with you child. If you try to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time, that's not fair to you. I mean sure we strive to be the perfect parent, but just know that sometimes we ALL fall short and it's not the end of the world, ya know?

When I've done something that's not exactly "gentle" with Evan - whether it be raising my voice, a quick reflex tap on the hand, handling him roughly when I'm frustrated - I always apologize. Even when I'm sure he doesn't really understand "i'm sorry", I say it anyway.

It's okay to make mistakes as parents, it's inevitable.
But what will define the long term effect of those mistakes is how we as parents deal with them, and how we work through them. I think it's vital that our children hear us say "i'm sorry, mama was wrong" or "i'm sorry that i did that to you, it was NOT right, let's work together and figure something out".

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#5 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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I do think that apologizing when we mess up goes a loooong way.

I have a childhood memory of my father yelling at me for something my brother did. I ran off in tears and my dad followed and gave me a heartfelt apology. I don't recall the details of the yelling but I do recall the details of that apology -- how he explained that he'd had a bad day, it was wrong to yell, it was nothing to do with me, he loved me etc. It's actually one of my (many) favorite memories.

So apologize, do your best and move on. You are not "ruining" your son. I think he's lucky to have a mom who's thoughtful, cares so very much and is obviously working very hard to do right by him. Gentle with your son, gentle with yourself.
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#6 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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I have a childhood memory of my father yelling at me for something my brother did. I ran off in tears and my dad followed and gave me a heartfelt apology. I don't recall the details of the yelling but I do recall the details of that apology -- how he explained that he'd had a bad day, it was wrong to yell, it was nothing to do with me, he loved me etc. It's actually one of my (many) favorite memories.
How wonderful!

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#7 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 01:54 PM
 
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Big sigh of relief! I have spanked and I cry afterwards. I apologize and tell them how much I love them and it was wrong. I need to take a time out when I start to feel overwhelmed. I went a yr without one spanking and then my daughter was born and now when she is crying I have a hard time. Not with her but my others. It happens probably once every 3 months with daughters. My 3yo was in the tub and she first threw a wet washcloth at me because she was upset. Then she threw a cup of water at me and in a split second I spanked her bare bum : I felt soooo awful!! I worry so much that they are going to look back and remember how mom spanked them or was too rough with them. I love my children with everything that I am but sometimes...AHhhh! lol.
Thank you for posting this. I feel the same way!
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#8 of 27 Old 11-04-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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I totally know what you mean. We can only do our best and try to keep doing better. Children are so consuming it's easy to lose yourself.
The worst is when ds yells at me "stop yelling" or awhile ago "don't smack me!" My God, it's enough to make me go crazy with guilt.
If your ds remembers the spanking, hopefully he remembers to apology too. I think trying to be as emotionally open (without scaring them) with our children will help keep them from festering their bad memories inside (hopefully).
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#9 of 27 Old 11-04-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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I have spanked DD (actually, it was one whack, but it was on her back, not her bum... exactly once. She brings it up A LOT. ("Remember when you hit me, Mama? I didn't like that. Let's never hurt each other. I don't want us to hurt each other.") Not in fear that I will do it again, I don't think, but it seems to have been a really powerful experience for her. Apparently, she's still processing it. I wonder if the same is true for your DS. Of course it's hard for me to hear this dredged up again and again, but maybe if you look at it as a learning moment it will help. I know we have talked at length about how I shouldn't have done that--she seems to need to hear this repeatedly. I hope that what she will remember, if she does remember this, is that I knew it was wrong and said I was sorry.

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#10 of 27 Old 11-04-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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I have never spanked but when I really lose it I yell. I usually apologize for yelling and then explain that I was really frustrated by X. Sometimes I think we all do things we don't like as parents. I probably fall on the looser side of GD because we do time out and I know that is a no-no for lots of people on this board.
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#11 of 27 Old 11-04-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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You know, it's hard to say that you'll never do something like spank. Those are the words you always end up eating I think. If you mean well and you go into mothering meaning not to harm your child, I think that's the best thing you can do. We all make mistakes. We have growing to do as parents and people also.
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#12 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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You know, it's hard to say that you'll never do something like spank. Those are the words you always end up eating I think. If you mean well and you go into mothering meaning not to harm your child, I think that's the best thing you can do. We all make mistakes. We have growing to do as parents and people also.

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with this. I think the OP vowing never to spank again is admirable, and her goal is attainable. I think that she and her children will be better off because of it. Saying that she may eat her words doesn't doesn't seem very encouraging, IMO.

But yes, we all make mistakes. I feel I have much to learn as a parent, and realize I must grow in many ways along with my children.

What I'm really trying to say is that once a person makes a conscious decision not to do something, it is easier not to do it. I have never spanked my children, and I never will.
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#13 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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I'm sorry, but I don't agree with this. I think the OP vowing never to spank again is admirable, and her goal is attainable. I think that she and her children will be better off because of it. Saying that she may eat her words doesn't doesn't seem very encouraging, IMO.

But yes, we all make mistakes. I feel I have much to learn as a parent, and realize I must grow in many ways along with my children.

What I'm really trying to say is that once a person makes a conscious decision not to do something, it is easier not to do it. I have never spanked my children, and I never will.
I agree with ms.pearl-- I have also never spanked and never will. It's actually a promise that DH & I made to each other and our children. To me it's like a vow of fidelity--I will keep this vow.

I have been really angry and felt like getting it out physically, but not on my kid. It just wouldn't help anything. I know it'd make it worse.

Just so I don't sound all high-and-mighty, let me confess I am a yeller. I know that is damaging, too. I try really hard not to yell, and I do apologize to ds when I do. I also try to remove myself from the stress before it escalates.

OP, you can make a decision to never do it again. You know it doesn't work and that spankings are not helpful in discipline, plus they make you and your child feel bad. Ask him to forgive you & let him know he can count on you not to do it anymore.
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#14 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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I think as you apologize you may need to talk about it again and again. Allowing DC to bring it up, and hear the apology as many time as he needs is important and helps them process the healing.

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#15 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 01:03 AM
 
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Whether or not your child will hang onto the spankings as an important memory depends a lot on the child, as well as on what you do (or don't do) in response. Children have differing responses to touch, language, etc. To a child who expresses and feels love primarily through touching -- cuddling, hugging, stroking -- a spanking will have a highly negative impact and the memory may linger for quite a while in spite of a parent's apology. But for a child who puts great emotional weight in, say, words -- the kind of child for whom a compliment makes their whole day -- an apology after the spanking would go a long way toward putting the incident behind them. For this latter child, being put down verbally or yelled at might actually be more emotionally devastating than a spanking.

Discovering how your child expresses and feels love (their "love language") is important to "undoing" any discipline mistakes. If you do have a "touch" child, you need to get the verbal apology done, then focus on giving him or her lots and lots of positive, loving touch. (And really, seriously, never spank this child again. You should never spank any child, of course, but it's most emotionally damaging to a child who thrives on touch.) If you have a child who craves time spent with you above all else, you might make it up to them by taking them on a one-on-one outing "just because". There are other ways children feel love as well. Pick an expression of love that you know is important to your child and do that.

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#16 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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A very wise person told me once: "The best way to fix a mistake is to stop making it."

You can't make your DC forget being hit (unless you have some memory erasing technology but then we gotta talk! i've done some things i'm not proud of too..). What you can do and already are doing is showing that what happened isn't what you're *really* like. That it was a fluke and that it won't happen again. When it gets brought up, explain that you won't ever do it again that it wasn't something you really wanted to do. I think kids get that part because kids often do things that they wish they hadn't.

There is something here about giving up a little bit of power too. A kid might see this as a blackmail opportunity if the rest of the parenting pushes him or her to do it. I don't think AP parents are in danger of this happening but I see plenty of mainstream parents that will never apologize because their kids would hold it over them for a long time. "Remember when you were a bad mommy? I was so sad! Now buy me this toy." Modeling by example, offering apologies and a restitution if possible is the best way to go.

One last thing. Guilt has its place but if you feel too much of it, your kids start to pick up on it and it becomes something that they carry for you too. Try to look ahead instead of looking in the past and dwelling on something bad. You've already decided to make the change. This is advice that I should take myself more often but that's probably why I can give it so well... :
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#17 of 27 Old 11-05-2007, 07:16 PM
 
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I am reminded as to why I hardly ever post on Mothering anymore. Well you'll never have your ap card revoked and you should be very proud of yourself.

As for those of us living in the real world, all I'm trying to say is to not beat yourself up over a mistake (and that's what I believe it is, a mistake) and don't let others make you feel bad for making mistakes, because trust me my dear, they make them too.

Let the flaming begin. Ta ta.
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#18 of 27 Old 11-06-2007, 10:41 AM
 
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Thank you for posting this. I, too, have been wondering about this, and I've been too chicken to ask. :


Me too
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#19 of 27 Old 11-06-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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Just for the record- I think your son will be just fine, and I agree with the mom who talked about love language-even tho I don't even know what that is- and a touch sensitive child. My first, my DD now 10- was so incredibly sensitive and I was a I will never spank person and lost my cool and flicked her on the hand and she was humiliated- this little gal is very very touch oriented and I never spanked her. So 8 yrs later I again vowed I will never spank- and guess what- I have. And then as a family, myself,DH and DD decided no spanking the baby!!! He's almost 3 and I have maybe spanked 3 times- but it has never been useful- tho' I have to admit it also didn't seem to bother him much and he actually has stuck his bum out and said are you gonna spank me with a big fat smile on his face. So here it goes- "no we do not hit each other in this family- just like we don't throw things at each other or yell at each other." And we all do our best to maintain a peaceful, loving and expressive and passionate family.
I also want to say that I think yelling can be JUST AS damaging as spanking. My son cannot handle any loudness in my voice- he immediately puts his hands on his head and says I am hurting his ears, and this is just when my voice goes up slightly! No yelling for this little guy.
We all have to try as hard as we can- but be nice to each other!!!!!!!
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#20 of 27 Old 11-07-2007, 01:13 PM
 
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I hope this isn't off topic but I think we are all working through how we were parented too and that is another layer of difficulty. I have spanked my son about 3 times. First 2 not so he noticed, 3rd time left a mark(about 7 months ago). If ever I get angry enough to want to smack (as I was as a child) I remember that mark. I genuinely don't think I'll do it again as the thought of that mark makes me feel sick. We all have a point we reach, I think, where we find a way to say, not again. I never thought I would smack at all, but I was simply replaying what I had learned. I fell back onto what I had experienced. Learning new ways is tough.

I had confessed my failings to a friend of mine whose ds is about 6 months younger than mine. She was pretty clear that she thought I was waaaaay wrong and not very sympathetic - not that I felt I deserved sympathy! Until a few months later (when her ds was at a similar stage to the one mine had been in when I had smacked him), she told me she smacked her ds across the face. This was something her mum had done to her and it happened before she even knew it. We all have these watershed moments, realising the stuff we are repeating and replaying.

I agree with what pp have said. Recognise that we can't always live up to our own expectations, forgive ourselves when we screw up and try to begin again with a genuine feeling of enthusiasm and hope. Guilt, to my mind, makes it more likely that you will become so distressed you will repeat what you feel guilty about. That has been my experience anyway. I totally believe that I won't spank my son again, and I am happy to be in that position. I think that we are all fallible, but that sometimes we can draw a line in the sand and say "That's that."

I found ALL of the posts on this thread really valuable and found something kind in each one.
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#21 of 27 Old 11-07-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gentle with your son, gentle with yourself.
this I need to remember I've actually been taking my own time outs - go into my room, close the door, and lay down until I cool off and can think straight. 3 is hard and it's not his fault. I just can't be perfect 100% of the time and that is OK! I will keep reminding myself of this

I think the apologies, for whatever reason, are always great and bring us closer together. I never NEVER got those growing up...or even now...I think that is what was missing all along (and still). I can see it in my DS's face and body, the moment I or someone else apologizes for whatever reason, it totally releases all the tension in him and he can feel close and safe again with that person.

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#22 of 27 Old 11-07-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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I like this thread because it is a very real genuine topic, I was taught at some point that guilt comes in 2 varieties and one is motivational guilt where you are moved to change a behavior or act. The other kind is the one that is not productive and makes you feel like s*** all the time. The productive, motivational realization that you can do better better all the time can be very inspiring and exciting. I find this re-evaluation particularly important with my older child as it gets more complicated and mistakes become more subtle and difficult to distinguish or resolve.

mommyhawk- I call those moments "time-ins" and my kids both know that if I shut myself in the bathroom or bedroom or outside with a request for "a minute to myself" it's for everyones benefit. I love time-ins.
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#23 of 27 Old 11-08-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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thanks for posting this.

I feel like a terrible mom when I get upset with my DS, and it's all usually because I am overwhelmed with being a SAHM for my 2 boys. Not to many times, but it does happen...the yelling and spanking.

What can I do? I can't exactly put on a happy face 24/7 now can I?
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#24 of 27 Old 11-08-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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thanks for posting this.

I feel like a terrible mom when I get upset with my DS, and it's all usually because I am overwhelmed with being a SAHM for my 2 boys. Not to many times, but it does happen...the yelling and spanking.

What can I do? I can't exactly put on a happy face 24/7 now can I?

I think the first thing you can do is recognize when you need a break/some help/more sleep/etc. I've found, as you describe, that when I get short with my oldest, it's because I'm running at a deficit.

I don't think putting on a "happy face" works very often. And, I'm wondering if that's what we want to model for our kids. We all get tired or cranky and need to take care of ourselves to recharge. I think this is an opportunity to model self-awareness and self-care for our kids.

This has taken me a long time to work through with my own kids. When I had my second, the sleep deprivation from all-night nursing really challenged my ability to be patient and not lose my temper with my oldest. When I would get to the point of yelling (and my child feeling very scared and crying), I realized this is not ok. So from that point on, we all talk about our feelings and self-care a lot. We've always talked about feelings, but now it's more about these more negative feelings and how to take care of ourselves during those times. It's been a really good learning and growing opportunity for all of us. I, of course, struggled with a lot of guilt but realized that I'm only human and by talking about it (that must be my kiddo's love language!) and recharging when I need to, it's all brought us even closer (I never thought this was possible!).

Honestly, it's the tough times and rocky roads that really pull us together so tightly. I feel that the agony of sleep deprivation is a lot of what really bonded me with my babes...we were in this together and it was challenging but a real labor of love. Discipline is the same. We hit those tough times, but we walk the road of it together and come out more self-aware. I think the important thing is to face what happened, learn from it (that might mean looking back to one's own childhood) and moving on with a plan to make sure we don't repeat our mistakes.

Don't beat yourself up. You're human. And the important thing is that you are sorry and don't want to do it anymore.
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#25 of 27 Old 11-08-2007, 04:11 AM
 
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I second and third the pp's who have said to apologize. It really does go a long way - it's something my mother always did when she was wrong (wasn't often, but still... ) and I really admired her for it, and I still do. It's also something my father NEVER did and there were lots of times we would just get locked in a battle because of it. I'm sorry are two little words that really go a long way to heal wounds

I know you will be able to make a change for the better - and it obviously took a little bit of courage to make this post and ask for help/suggestions. We do all make mistakes - there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and admitting them and wanting to change is a point that most people never even get to. I'm certainly no AP/NFL saint myself... but hitting my child is one thing on a short list of things that I have vowed never to do for many, many reasons. It is tough to control anger and impulse sometimes, and I think being able to control your own emotions is one of the hardest things to do
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#26 of 27 Old 11-08-2007, 10:24 AM
 
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Haven't read all the replies, but just wanted to touch on the "happy face" part. I think it's a disservice to do that, also. I struggle with the urge to hit and have hit before. But one of the things that I think works well when I get to that awful place is to tell my kids, "I am REALLY angry right now and I totally feel like hitting. Please move away from me as I try to calm down." I did this a lot after my second was born and it generally came out through gritted teeth, but my son watched me "use my words," try my best to protect him (and mostly I would have him move when I was nursing the baby or immobile--otherwise I walk away), and practice some breathing/calm down techniques. And that's been very useful for the times when he's been angry and wanting to hit--he's seen how anger and feeling like hitting can happen and how we can deal with it in a way that (hopefully) spares those around you. And then we talk about it and apologize and discuss how/why we were SO ANGRY in that moment. And he knows that our parents (dh and me) hit us and we are REALLY trying to not hitting them--even if sometimes we FEEL like it.
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#27 of 27 Old 11-27-2018, 04:10 AM
 
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Wtf does GD stand for, in this scenario? I know it isn't Gestational Diabetes, and there is NW in HH that I'll be getting any SE until I have this awful, lazy, acronym BS out of my FH. So FS, just type like normal people, you FR.
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