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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really don't believe in hitting... I do love and nurture and talk with my children. But there have been some occasions that I have resorted to a swat or two. For example: The toddler really wants to play with the power cords. I have redirected all day long, all week long, and she's over there again, behind the couch, just about to pull the plug out of the wall. I go over and pull her hand away and tell her "NO! Katie, that is dangerous!" She looks up at me and grins and giggles because it's.... such a neat new game to her or something ! So I swatted her hand; I don't think it was hard enough to qualify as a slap... Well, that got her attention, finally. Since there are no barriers in my house, or playpens or cribs... She has to learn early that some things can't be touched, right?<br><br>
My question is: Is even a swat on the hand too much? Is this completely outside the bounds of AP? If so, then someone please tell me that they have found someway to impress upon their babies that don't talk yet but have the run of the house which things they are not supposed to touch. What has *actually* worked? I can redirect and remove objects all day, but she's always going to come back to those eletrical cords... or am I supposed to let her play with those?<br><br>
I always get the message from other APers that absolutely no form of a spank is okay. In reference to this, is a hand swat okay?<br><br>
Has anyone else had to do this? Does anyone think it's okay?
 

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Hitting on the hand is worse than a hit on the bottom. Tiny hands are very delicate. It is easier than you can imagine to do real damage.<br><br>
For dangerous things I took a page from Dr Sears. Watch for baby to go near the thing... the cord, or whatever... as soon as she goes to touch it run towards her with a scared and shocked look on your face. Make a loud, frightened sound. Basically behave as you would if you saw her put her hand in a fire. Scoop her up and examine the hand closely with great concern. If you can, cry. Basically you are conveying to her that the cord is VERY SCARY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am very serious in saying to you that I have not hit my little babies hand hard enough to hurt it in anyway. You talk like I am beating her hand, and that is very much not true.<br><br>
I have this book, and I think I tried exactly what you have written with my first baby... it worked right that minute, and for a few more times, and then she decided it was a game too.<br><br>
Has Dr. Sears' method worked for you? If not, what methods have worked for you?
 

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No, no, no! I don't mean that at all. What I am saying is that a moderatly light slap can cause harm... not that you are whomping them. There are just so many tiny bones in the hand... I remember my mother, who did not disapprove of spanking, talk about how dangerous it is to hit a babys hands. That's all I'm saying.<br><br>
And yes, the method I just described did work for me. I hope you find something that works for you, too.
 

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In these sort of instances I saw it as my challenge to figure out a way to keep the world safe for my dc to explore. If I couldn't rearrange the furniture to avoid the problem (you should have seen how my living room was arranged at that age) I would have taped the plug in firmly with tons of electrical tape.<br><br>
I agree that swatting hands is especially a worry, though for me not so much because of a fear of physical injury. I agree with Maria Montessori that the hands are the teacher of the child. So anything I did not want her to touch, I made a physical impossibilty for her. Too high, blocked with a stout object, put away.<br><br>
I did use a baby gate between the living room where we spent 90% of our waking time and the rest of the house because she was *fast!* I put her in a playpen to carry groceries in from the car and to confine objects that I had out and needed her not to mess with.<br><br>
For her safety, I need her to listen to my words. Creating a safe space early meant that later when I am explaining why she needs to hold my hand or be on my hip in parking lots she gives what I say good attention.<br><br>
Hope that's helpful.
 

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I guess the biggest reason is I don't think it fixes any thing. Is she now outlet safe, you don't have to watch her around them? Or is she just giong to learn that she has to be quicker or do it somewhere mom can't see?<br><br>
This is just the beginning of the things you are going to have to repeat 7 million times. She really has no controll over avoiding interesting things. It is so easy to get into power struggles with our children. I would also just block them off.
 

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1) She is going to learn that hands are for slapping with, and at some point *she* will start slapping/smacking when she is unhappy with something. You will want to tell her to "use her words" but at that point, you will not have much ground to stand on.<br><br>
2) She will not respond as well to other methods. A slap on the hand will become the only thing she takes seriously, and she will learn to wait until you reach that point to respond to you.<br><br>
3) She may become angry toward you over as she gets older. Its a breech of personal space and dignity, its a severely cohersive way to control her behavior, and little kids are sophisticated enough to respond to it with internal angry and a sense of violation.<br><br><br>
If you discipline creatively, your children will not only learn discipline, but more importantly they will imitate your creativity in problem solving. Discipline methods are so important -- not just because of the behavior they illicit, but because our children internalize the methods themselves, and they become a part of the child we are raising. She may not touch cords anymore, but she will learn that hand-slapping is something that humans do to each other.<br><br>
I would move the furniture so it becomes more difficult to access the cords. I would buy the sort of safty outlet coverst that screw in place over the plugged in cords so that she cannot actually hurt herself. And then I would continue staying right on her tail and supervising while she explores. Moving her back, telling her "not for touching," etc...
 

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I agree with many of the responses so far, but I would like to add a little of my own.<br><br>
I let my 17 month old dd have the run of the house. I feel it is important to let her explore on her own, so I do not use baby gates or play pens, and I do not have every square inch of the house child-proofed. I do let her climb onto the couch or chairs if she feels like it, and if she pulls all the clean laundry out of the baskets, then I just have her help me put it back.<br><br>
I agree completely with the Montessori idea that the hands are her teacher, and I think that even if it is not physically damaging to the hand to slap it, it could be developmentally damaging, because she uses her hands to explore and learn. That is why I feel it's so important to let her have the run of the house and use those little hands. BUT (big,"BUT" here) *within reason.*<br><br>
In other words, while I do let her have the run of the house, I also have minimal child-proofing in my house. The really dangerous things are out of reach. I block off outlets with furniture or those plastic outlet boxes. I keep pills and cleaning objects, etc. up high and closed off where she couldn't get them even if she climbed. These very minor things have basically eliminated power struggles in my house. I've accepted that if she tears apart anything she can reach, I can live with that and maybe use it as a chance to teach her about cleaning up afterwards. (She already loves to help with the dishes.)<br><br>
So I think there's a balance that can be reached between keeping your house completely babyproofed, and completely un-babyproofed. I think that's a more productive approach than any hand-slapping could be. Because, really, toddlers do not consistently have the skill of self-restraint. And until they do, they will not likely make the connection of punishment to the crime, or even if they do, it doesn't mean they'll be able to control themselves the next time the temptation comes around. Better to just eliminate the temptation, IMO. HTH.
 

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I don't think slapping a toddler's hand is a good idea. As others have said, it doesn't teach anything good, and it might be teaching something bad.<br><br>
Sure, it may stop her from touching the cord, but only if she knows you are watching. If your goal as a parent is to help your child grow into an individual who can make independent, smart choices about her behavior, then it is easy to see why hand-swatting, or any other kind of punitive discipline, is not a good idea.<br><br>
Plus, I can see how hand-swatting would make a child afraid to explore her world, and what a shame that would be, if she were to hestitate to touch things and learn about her world because she might get a slap.<br><br>
A toddler does not know how to keep herself safe, so in this instance, you can't make her responsible for her own safety. Get outlet covers that work when things are plugged in, such as these:<br><br><a href="http://www.perfectlysafe.com/shocguaroutc.html" target="_blank">http://www.perfectlysafe.com/shocguaroutc.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.perfectlysafe.com/66200-lrgoutletcover.html" target="_blank">http://www.perfectlysafe.com/66200-lrgoutletcover.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.perfectlysafe.com/powstripcov2.html" target="_blank">http://www.perfectlysafe.com/powstripcov2.html</a><br><br>
Use repeated redirection and distraction when she tries to touch things that she shouldn't, and with dangerous things, add a strongly voiced, "HOT!" with a serious face. Expecting a child this age not to touch dangerous things is developmentally inappropriate. I find that most spankings, hand swats, or punishments are often the result of a parent expecting something from a child that is truly unreasonable for the child's age.<br><br>
Please don't think I'm criticizing - just offering the help you seemed to ask for! Good luck with your little one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Our ENTIRE house is pretty much baby safe. She is free to go everywhere, except the garage. I let her explore and make messes to her little hearts content. But, I can't move the locations of the electrical outlets UP the wall and some of them have to be in use, and they aren't all right behind the couch, that's just the one I used in the example. As many as we could manage are hidden behind furniture... Unused ones are of course plugged up.<br><br>
mamaduck: I didn't think to buy the big cover pieces for the outlets... that a good idea. I competely forgot they existed. I haven't been to a baby store since we moved to this little town, but I'm sure I can find some on the internet.<br><br>
I do give her a good talking to about the electrical outlets. She's old enough to understand me pretty well. I haven't use the hand swat in a while, actually. I never did on a regular basis. In the situation mentioned I have swatted my daughters hand on only a few of the occasions.<br><br>
Mallory: She isn't now outlet safe because she is only 17 months old... I don't think any child becomes outlet safe until they are old enough to understand how to use one safely. What is that? 4? I know that I have to watch her until then. And, she will probably learn to be quicker with everything she wants to do because that's the nature of babies; they grow up and get fast. I am not in any way expecting to just be able to hit her and then assume that that "fixed" her curious nature in some way.<br><br>
mamaduck: 1.) She already knew her hands were for slapping... she's been hitting things since she could direct her little fist. (I've never seen anything like it. I swear she was born to bang on something. Yes, she does have a drum!) I think she just liked the noise it made at first, but then she discovered that it was a great way to get a reaction out of the big sis. She been hitting her sister when she feels rivalrous for about a year now, and certainly way before I ever gave her a few hand swats in the last few months. She does understand No and it is getting better as she gets older and understands more words and concepts. I am working on her use of hitting and hope to have it eradicated by the time she's two.<br><br>
2.&3. I would agree with you if I hit her a lot... but I don't hit her for anything at all except exactly what I mentioned.<br><br>
Ok. But I am hearing you guys. Even a swat isn't ok.<br><br>
Wonder what my husband is going to think of this... He and the ex raised all of his other kids very differenlty (crib, bottle, spank, ignore), so I have to be very pro-active with him. I've got him on my side for most things, but sometime it's quite a struggle to convince him. I didn't even know myself, before I had my own children, that I would end up an AP. I guess I'm not all the way there yet....
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by tausborn</i><br>
She already knew her hands were for slapping... she's been hitting things since she could direct her little fist. (I've never seen anything like it.<br>
She been hitting her sister when she feels rivalrous for about a year now, and certainly way before I ever gave her a few hand swats in the last few months. She does understand No and it is getting better as she gets older and understands more words and concepts. I am working on her use of hitting and hope to have it eradicated by the time she's two.<br><br>
... [/B]</td>
</tr></table></div>
I can relate to this....my 2.5 yo dd never needed me to teach her that hands can be used for hitting. I have NEVER hit her, and she hits me very deliberately when she is angry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br>
Now my mother (a semi-reformed spanker) says that this is evidence against the "spanking teaches hitting" theory. I explained, No, hitting may be innate. But we must teach them not to hit....and one very powerful way to teach is through example. If I hit my daughter, I would be sending mixed messages, and would have an even MORE difficult time teaching her not to hit, because the message would be that hitting is sometimes ok.<br><br>
In regard to learning some things can not be touched....as you said, they need constant supervision anyway until the age of 4 or so. Small children may "know" that they are not to touch something, but the temptation is just too strong...the curiosity is overwhelming. IMO, leaving tempting things in reach of very small children is setting them up for failure....and inviting a struggle. Better to remove the temptation, and enjoy a peaceful home <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You know, in our house our mantra is 'we are a no-hitting/no-biting/nosqueezing/no-whatever family". We say this frequently, and follow up with 'Mummy doesn't hit/bite/squeeze; Daddy doesnt' hit/bite/squeeze, dd doesnt hit/bite/squeeze, and so on and so on."<br><br>
Now, the reality is that sometimes dds <b>do</b> hit or bite or squeeze! They are only babies, and are learning about appropriate behaviours. They certainly didnt learn these behaviours from us - we've never bitten dd#1, but she sure as heck bit dd#2 many times before we sorted that habit out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br><br>
My point is that, while the idea that they only learn violence from example is clearly untrue, it <b>is</b> true that they learn from the example of gentle living. That takes time, but in the end, they learn from your example. Your example needs to be non-violent, otherwise, how can you look your child in the eye and tell her that violence is wrong?<br><br>
I'd get those outlets as child proofed as possible, and then expect to tell her a million times not to touch. I'm telling dd#2 a million times a day to sit on her chair, not climb onto the table. It is a long, hard process, but in the end she'll get it, and she won't have been given a bad example of a big person hitting a little person in order to learn what is appropriate.<br><br>
Good luck! HTH. It sounds like you are really on a positive track towards 100% gentle parenting! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I think even hitting a hand gently sends the wrong message. When Goo grabs a cord, I literally unwrap her fingers from the cord and tell her it is dangerous and move her.<br><br>
When you hit someone, it tells them that it is acceptable. Ok- so she knows HOW to hit. We all can figure that one out, the key is to teach that it is not acceptable to hit other people and that means even a swat on the hand is not acceptable. KWIM?
 

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I think everyone has given you really good advice and information. I just want to add something that helps me:<br>
When I think about something I do to my child, I like to ask myself "how would I feel if dh did this to me?" That tends to be a pretty clear thing for me.<br>
It would NEVER be ok for dh to slap my hand!<br><br>
This works for pretty much everything. It may seem fine for me to just grab ds, put his shoes on, put his arms into his jacket, get in the car and go. It wouldn't be fine if dh did this to me, with no notice or anything, I can't just dtop what I'm doing for him like that! Now, if there is notice given ("we're going to be leaving soon, so finish up/say goodbye/have something to eat, etc.") than it would be ok. See what I mean?<br><br>
In our society is it pretty much accetable to hit a child, but certainly not an adult! It used to be prefectly fine for a man to "put that women in line," and often by hitting her. Just because it may seem ok in compareson doesn't mean that it is (not that you were saying "because everybody else does...." at all, but some people feel that way.)<br><br>
HTH
 

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I totally 8understand what it is like ot parent a child like you mentioned. None of the normal tricks work. unfortunately even pain stimulus sometimes isn't a deterant either. I totally don't blame you for trying a little swat on the hand. I am glad it fixed the problem because now you guys can move forward past it. my second one who is a lot like yours, is the kind of kid who would think "I will get a spanking for touching that. Worth it !!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/FIREdevil.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="devil"> " and then go do it. It is totally nuts. And she dopesn't gret hooked on things for s day or a week or even a month. She has gone several months at a time being obsessed with doing somehting she wasn't supposed to/couldn't do. I often use isolation with her when she can't control herself. I have also used the hand squeezing thing. Not to hurt her but as a physical stimulus to trigger "my hands are about to do something they aren't supposed to" that worked when my older dd was biting her nails. she would get a squeeze every time I caught her. it would remove her hands from her mouth and she would *feel* that I was reminding her not to do it. She was old enough to tell me she didn't mind the squeeze.<br><br>
Perhaps (sorry this post is so scattered) the next time she goes for the cords you can puther in an enclosed area. If she can't handle the freedom of roaming then she earns a smaller place to roam. A gate is wise investment for babies like htis. No one likes to be told no. If she keeps doing something that keeps getting her told nohow much better to buy a gate and say "here you can do whatever you want. Hre is where you will not hear no. when you can do as I ask you may have more freedom. We will try again ina few minutes."<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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I think the negative attention being paid to the chord outlet is what's fueling her. Put the cover on (the kind that goes over the chord) and it will put your mind at rest, if not deterring her for a while. Try scooping her up quietly and bringing her over to an appropriate toy. She'll get the message. I know it's hard to have to do the repetition thing but it's unfortunately necessary at this age.<br>
I also wanted to add that young children learn by imitation. Constantly. If you want her to hit, hit her, she'll show you later how it's done when you do something to tick her off. Spend your "repetition time" showing her what she CAN do and that's what she'll eventually imitate and do.<br><br>
~Melissa
 

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ITA, glad2bhome. Ds is much this way as well, and I've found that attention at all (be it good or bad) is enough to cause a problem where there might not have been one. I like to be calm about it, and just show ds what he CAN play with, without making a big deal. <b>Then</b> if the problem persists I try making a big deal of it (as was mentioned befor.)<br>
I think the best bet with anything is to close it off, if you can. It's so hard for little ones (well, for everyone) to have "off limit" things.
 

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I believe that a slap on the hand is still a slap and to hit anyone is wrong. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I believe that I should treat my children as I would wish to be treated but with the understanding that I have a little more knowledge/wisdom than them at this time in life. (ie. I will not hit them, but since they don't understand the dangers of electricity I am responsible to keep them safe even though they really want to play with cords)<br><br>
I think everyone else mentioned some really good ideas afa keeping your dd away from the outlets. I'm wondering though, have you stressed that it's unsafe for her to touch them? Even for young toddlers a word like "Danger" can be understood.<br><br>
Good luck! It's tough sometimes finding ways to discipline creatively.. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Well said, Diddybug. ITA that explaining things to children is the BEST way to get your point across, and get the actions you are looking for. Even very little babies (i.e. from birth on) can understand much of what you say! It's really amazing how much of what you say and do these little ones understand; it's SO much more than what we think.
 
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