Posted by: Me | 2008/06/04

Update - Husband smack 18mnth old

I went home last night after reading all your responses and told my husband that we should stop any form of smacking, whether its on the nappy, or lightly tapping, I want it to stop. He didnt respond, which tells me he doesnt agree, but I'm at a point now where all that matters is that he understands I dont think its acceptable for our son to be punished for just for being a baby who is learning and exploring.

We have the time out and naughty spot alternatives in place already so we will just keep doing that. What I realised last night since even I stopped tapping him on the fingers, is that it teaches me more patience, because tapping or smacking is a quick solution to what you think might be a problem, but if you just took the time to say NO firmly, and watch their reaction, you will see that smacking is not necessary at all. Maybe it will not just be once, maybe you will have to say it 3 times, but it teaches you to be patient with your child.

Thanks for all your comments, it helped me make the right decision

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Our expert says:
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Its always valuable to learn the virtues of patience ! Abd naybe when your husband starts to see your methods working, he'll feel more free to adopt them

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Our users say:
Posted by: Gracie | 2008/06/04

There are ways to punish a child other than smacking! I agree that every now and then a child needs a smack, but not everyday and not all the time. I have a 9 year old son who I have probably smacked 6 times his entire life. He is a well-behaved child and I only need to speak to him once and take away a privilege and it works like a dream. A 18-month old child is too young though to understand about privileges and I think the naughty spot/timeout spot may help. My own father used to hit us at the drop of a hat - he used an army or police belt and it left welts on our legs and butts! We were terrified of our father and I only outgrew my fear for him when I was already married with children of my own! I will never hit my child like that - I would rather punish him. I was always ashamed to go to school with blue marks on my legs and I can remember how I felt after a hiding and I will NEVER do that to my child. Anon - not all children who are not beaten into a stupor end up being delinquents! I think the chance that they might end up having psychological problems are greater if they are beaten when they do something wrong. Where does one draw the line and when is it a hiding and when is it child abuse? How can a child be happy when he/she is constantly screamed at or smacked?? There are ways to deal with a naughty child. If in doubt, do yourself a favour and watch the "nanny show" on DSTV sometime - her methods seem to work and NONE of them include smacking a child!

Reply to Gracie
Posted by: Some Info | 2008/06/04

From one year to two-and-a-half

During these months, your child's developmental clock tells him that it is time to stop being a baby and move towards being a separate person. If you treat him as a baby, he will fight you every step of the way and, in the end, he will win his independence because he must. But he will win it at a terrible price paid in lost love.

But that clock does not yet read "childhood", so attempts to manage and discipline him as you would a child will not work either. You will be faced with a lack of comprehension that looks like defiance, and every battle you join will end with love lost. So don't try for absolute control and don't join moral battles. Your toddler will be "good" if he feels like doing what you happen to want him to do and does not happen to feel like doing anything you would dislike. With a little cleverness you can organise life as a whole, and issues in particular, so that you both want the same thing most of the time.

Your toddler has his bricks all over the floor and you want the room tidy. If you tell him to pick them up, he will probably refuse. If you insist, a fight will be on and you cannot win it. You can yell at him, punish him, reduce him to a jelly of misery but none of that will get those bricks off the floor. But if you say, "I bet you can't put those bricks in their bag before I've picked up all these books", you turn a chore into a game, an order into a challenge. Now he wants to do what you want him to do, so he does. He did not pick up (most of) the bricks "for Mummy"; he did not do it because he is a "good boy". He did it because you made him want to. And that is the best possible way to go. Conduct your toddler through his daily life by foreseeing the rocks and steering around them, avoiding absolute orders that will be absolutely refused, leading and guiding him into behaving as you want him to behave because nothing has made him want to behave otherwise.

The payoff now is fun instead of strife for you all but the later payoff is seriously important, too. This toddler, who does not know right from wrong and therefore cannot choose to behave well or badly, is growing up. Soon the time will come when he does remember your instructions and foresee the results of his actions; does understand the subtleties of everyday language; does recognise your feelings and your rights.

When that time comes, your child will be able to be "good" or "naughty" on purpose. Which he chooses will depend largely on how he feels about the adults who are special to him and have power over him. If he reaches that next stage of growing up feeling that you are basically loving, approving and on his side, he will want (most of the time) to please you so (with many lapses) he will behave as you wish.

But if he reaches that stage feeling that you are overpowering, incomprehensible and against him, he may already have decided not to bother trying to please you because you are never pleased; not to let himself mind when you are cross because you are cross so often; not to expose the depth of his loving feelings for you because you have not always seemed to reciprocate.

If you ever wonder whether you are being too gentle and accepting with your toddler, or anyone ever suggests that it is time to toughen up, look ahead. If your child reaches preschool age no longer seeking your approval, not feeling cooperative, not confident of loving and being loved, you will have lost the basis for easy, effective "discipline" all through childhood. At this in-between toddler stage, a happy child is an easy child. A child kept easy now will be easy to handle later.

Reply to Some Info
Posted by: Anon | 2008/06/04

If you do not disciplie your child you will end up with a delinquent and you will only have yourself to blame, If I were your husband I would find myself another wife ASAP.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Me | 2008/06/04

Thank you John and CS.

Reply to Me
Posted by: John | 2008/06/04

It would be unseemly for me not to comment on behaviour which I applaud, since I was so quick to comment on behaviour that I did not.

Me, I think you have taken a step in the right direction. I think you have a little way to go, still, as your household needs to be united and unified in the way discipline is managed. But Well Done, and I applaud your seeing additional benefits for yourself, and for treating this exercise as a growing and learning point for yourself. You are endowed with a quality that will empower you throughout your life.

Lisa, I take your point about Abuse. I have no experience of parent/toddler discipline, except, perhaps, that of being the toddler many years ago, but it is my view that the line between abuse and discipline is too fine, and is easily crossed, and, therefore, physical violence (and lets face it, thats what it is) should not be condoned in any circumstance, particularly when the recipient is defenceless and innocent.

Reply to John
Posted by: Lisa | 2008/06/04

There is nothing wrong with the odd smack, dont stress so much about it. I was smacked as a child (NOT ABUSED, JOHN) and I turned out fine.
Relax, it will all work out.

Reply to Lisa

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