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DC saw his cousin spanked and I didn't do anything

2250 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Dal
I'm at a loss. I'm very sad about something that happened on Saturday. I should have done more, but I was too stunned to do anything.

My husband and I do not believe in spanking or any other form of physical punishment for our children (swatting a hand etc.) - we think it's just plain WRONG.

My sister, who I love dearly and am very close to, often threatens to spank her kids, but I've never actually witnessed it. It hurts my heart to even hear her threaten them with it. I've never said anything to her about it though. A few weeks ago, both of her kids were at my house. My niece asked me when/what I spank Trey for. I replied to her that he never gets spanked. She then said "oh cuz he's too little still" and I said "no...we never spank him. we think that it's wrong to hit anyone" - her brother then said "well when he gets bigger and he's naughty, you'll HAVE to spank him" to which I repeated what I told his younger sister. This whole conversation made me feel ill. I realized then that they were both probably (definitely) getting spanked at home.

On Saturday, we were over at their house for dinner. Nephew was not listening well at all (he's 7) and was frustrating everyone - myself included - with the things he was doing. We were sitting down for dinner, and his dad snapped
He picked him up, yelled at him and spanked him incredibly hard and physically placed him in his bedroom and told him to stay there. My poor baby (14 months) just watched with a terrified look on his face - he's never seen anyone hit before, and he's never even heard that kind of yelling. I didn't say or do anything. Neither did anyone else. As he was coming back from putting nephew in his bedroom, he stopped in front of DC and said "Just wait - you'll get yours one day" and laughed. My husband looked at me with horror on his face - but neither of us said anything. We finished eating and left shortly afterward.

I really feel like I need to say something to my sister about this. But I don't know how to bring it up. As it is, DC is seldom baby sat by them (I think twice ever) because we know that they yell at their kids a LOT and we don't want him around that - after Saturday's incident, we don't want him over there at all without us

I'm just not sure what to do or say. Thanks for listening and any advice you may have.
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That must have been incredibly hard to witness. I feel bad for you and your baby. (As well as your niece and nephew, but I think that goes w/out saying.)

I'm just going to lurk on this thread because I know it's just a matter of time before ds sees his two cousins spanked, swatted, smacked on the head, etc. Dh doesn't feel it's our right to tell them "how to discipline their child." I don't feel that it's their right to traumatize our child/ren because they don't have a good relationship w/theirs. So, I'll be listening to what all the wise mamas who post here have to say.

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Thanks for the reply

I'm still not sure quite what to do. I don't see my sister that often, but we do talk and email on a very regular basis. Parenting is an area where we've pretty much agreed to disagree on some things - although it's never really come up.

It's just so hard.
We're going over there again this Saturday - she's hosting a baby shower for me at her house. DH and ds will be there as well - if there are other men there, I don't foresee a problem (others were invited, not sure how many will actually attend since in my family showers are generally seen as 'for women'). However, if no other men come, it will put DH in the position of being the only man there other than sis's FH....which means he'll feel obligated to hang out and talk with him - my sister mentioned that if 'the boys' get bored, they can take the kids to the park. DH would rather pull his own teeth than spend time alone with him, especially after last weekend.

The whole situation just stinks.

I do know though, that I have to find it within myself to stand up and say something when things like this happen. I really regret not saying anything when he said what he did to my ds. I could have said something as simple as "don't talk to him that way" or "no he WON'T ever 'get his' because we don't hit our kids"

It's just so hard. I feel like when I do voice my opinion on these types of things - especially to other 'more experienced' parents, I am looked at as the new mom who doesn't know better.....if that makes any sense.

Sorry to ramble. I just don't have anywhere or anyone else to ramble too.
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This is one time I think you need to talk to Daisyrose (other member here) about what to do.

What really, REAAAAAALLLY would have steamed me up was the implied threat he made to your child, about "You'll get yours one day."

That would have made me pick up and leave. Period. Not meanly, not aggressively, just, "I'm sorry, but I think it's time for us to be going now," and GO.

No WAY would I ever have them babysit again.

So sorry this happened.
At his comment to your child, I would have said, TO YOUR CHILD, " Don't worry honey, mommy and daddy would NEVER hit you." Then I would have said my goodbyes, packed my family up, and left.

Oh, I also would have e-mailed your sister once you got home....

Dear Sis,
I'm sorry that we had to leave dinner like we did. I just felt that dc was too upset by what she/he'd just witnessed for us to stay. I respect your right to dicipline your child in your own home, but I dont' want my own child to witness violence like that. Please, if you aren't willing to take it to another room let me know so that we can have you over to our house from now own. As you know, our house is a spank-free zone.


Originally Posted by Treyson'sMommy
As he was coming back from putting nephew in his bedroom, he stopped in front of DC and said "Just wait - you'll get yours one day" and laughed.
That's a totally obnoxious thing to say. I would have a talk with your son, even though he's still pretty little, and just reiterate that he's never going to get spanked, by you or your B-I-L.

I don't know what else to do, we have a similar situation in our family. I just try to ignore it, and repeat often that no one is ever going to spank my kids.
The thing that really did upset me the most was what he said to ds. The way he said it, he tried (poorly) to make it sound light hearted - but IMO that's not anything to joke about.

We did talk to Trey about it, as best as we could to a 14 mo old - we told him about a million times on the way home that he never has to worry because mommy and daddy would never ever hurt him or yell at him like that and we'd never let anyone else do it to him either.

Originally Posted by Treyson'sMommy
he stopped in front of DC and said "Just wait - you'll get yours one day" and laughed
I am totally nausous.
That is such a sick thing to say.
I must say that i think that it is really detrimental to your babe to see an adult being violent twords a child.
I would have thrown all grace and tact out the window and got up and left right then and there- then given my sister an earfull later on.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this situation-
But have complete confidence in yourself, newer parent or not, to know that you are in the right about your non-hitting lifestyle and feel free to shout it from the rooftops!!
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I totally know what you mean about looking like the new mom who just doesn't know any better yet. I hate that. At my ds's 2nd b-day party my family and I had a big talk about my belief on not spanking and I was made to look like I just didn't know any better and I would wise up one day. My ds has witnessed two spankings. It was actually great the way he responded to them. His response made the people feel like real fools.

The first time he witnessed one it was because his nana didn't like something dn said to her so she hauled off and swatted her but once or twice and ds just lost it. He started screaming and crying in horror and I ran to him and picked him up. Nana was saying "I guess he didn't like that I was upset". I said "no, he didn't like seeing violence". He was about a year old (maybe a little older) at this time.

The 2nd time was at my cousin's house and my other cousin was trying to get her dd to put her coat on. The dd wasn't really paying attention to what the mom was wanting and walked away from her. My cousin grabbed her and swatted her butt a couple times. I tried to turn ds away from it but didn't make it in time. Then a few minutes later my cousin was wanting my ds to give her a hug bye and he wouldn't have anything to do with her. She couldn't understand why. I just laughed and thought to myself "he just saw you hit a little kid and doesn't want you to hit him, that's why he won't go near you". I didn't say anything to my cousin though. (ds was almost 2 at this time)

It's hard to try to protect your child from witnessing things like this because you just never know when they are going to happen. I always have a hard time finding the right thing to say when it's happening but think of all kinds of great things after. I'm sorry your family had to witness that spanking.
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It is so hard when its family, I have definitly kept my mouth shut to avoid a confrontation, but i have always regretted it afterwards.
How humiliating for that boy to be disciplined like that in front of others, i hope there is a opportunity for you in the future to say something.
I tend to feel like there isn't much that should be said when it comes to other people's children. My bro and SIL tend to yell a lot. We all tend to congregate at my mom's house. They will sit on the couch downstairs and yell at their children upstairs. I've had to ask them to please go in another room and yell like that because it scares Emma. And even though she's only 7 months, I make it clear that she will not be yelled at. I don't know whether or not you should say something to them about their own children, but I definitely think that you should tell them it was terribly un-called for that he made a comment to your son. Not only was it not his place to say something like that to your child, but your child wasn't the discipline issue anyway. I don't know what to tell you about your niece and nephew, but definitely stick up for your own child.
Hard situation, they were not breaking any *laws*
and it was in their own home.. however his comment to your son was out of line.

My reccomendation is that of another posters.. it would have been totally appropriate for you to leave, and then contact your sister later..with your concerns.

In terms of your son suffering irreperable harm from witnessing the event I tend to err on the side of hes just 14 mos, I dont feel that he has the long term cognition to be affected by what he saw, I also doubt he can connect the commotion to the actual act.. it was likely the loud noise and raised voices that garnered his attention I am not convinced a 14 month old can recall and store "what spanking is" in their mind especially if they are not exposed to themselves.

Family sucks some times!
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How horrible!!! Not sure what I would have done. I would have been boiling over with rage at the comment at my son and snapped something back immediately -- that much is for sure. It sounds like the comment might have been to "save face" for his son in a really demented way.

Maybe I would have just sat at the table and cried. That poor boy. This disgusting depraved violence was supposed to make dinner more enjoyable? You were supposed to sit down and continue your conversation as if nothing vile and offensive had just happened. OMG what is wrong with people? What did they think their boy was doing while they finished dinner? Feeling sorry for his rudeness or feeling completely and utterly humiliated and enraged hatred towards his parents, perhaps thinking of how he can retaliate in kind when he is stronger?

This is out there, but this thread makes me not want to have anything to do with anyone who does crap like this. It's just so unbelieveably disgusting. I'm able to maintain a friendship with a woman who I know spanks and yells because I don't have to watch her do it. However this is not a very good excuse for acting as though her behaviour is acceptable (by saying and doing nothing, or very little). Silence actually has a lot to say. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
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