Posted by: VERY WORRIED MOM | 2005/01/10



Hi There Doc

I am writing this with a very guilty conscience this morning! I am a mother of a very unruly 3 year old and yesterday I gave him a hiding which I think was a bit too hard. I think he cried more out of fright than pain (I've never really hit him before, given him a "smack" here and there! Anyway when he cried he sort of stopped breathing, turned blue around the lips and had what looked like a seizure. We were sitting at my mom's house, so everyone jumped up, put fans on and starting blowing on his face.
He came right about 2 minutes after that but I have never felt more ashamed about anything as I did yesterday! I feel absolutely terrible, I don't think I'll be able to forgive myself! It wasn't my intention to hit him that hard! Doc, will this have any long term effect on him? Please advise me if you think I need to have him checked out! I love my child dearly and would give my life for him, and right now I need to know if my smacking him will mentally effect him?

Expert's Reply



This sounds more like a "temper tantrum" that was probably triggered by your hiding. What you describe is typical for a 2-3yr old child. The most important thing is that your child is otherwise well (that these episodes never occur without emotional upset) and that you never give in to demands made when this happens, because that will encourage more of these episodes in future. All children require discipline and it is the parent's responsibility to draw the line very clearly, but always to do so with love and compassion. Your child will not have any detrimental effects from the smack he received (or teh episode afterwards), but the most important thing now is that you must be very consistent in your own behaviour.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: VERY WORRIED MOM | 2005/01/17

Thanx doc for your reply, he pulled the same stunt again this week-end and this time he didn't get a hiding , he just couldn't get his own way!!! My child is going to give me a heart-attack before I turn 35!!!! Is there no other way of preventing this???
If this carries on, I'll be too scared to discipline him!!!
How much longer do you think he'll do this? He can't do this his whole life , can he?

Now stressed-out-mom

Posted by: Just me | 2005/01/12

Hi Mom

My son went through a stage where everytime he didn't get his way or got a hiding he would scream and hold his breath, once until he passed out. I asked our doctor about it the next time we went for a visit and he said its just a temper tantrum and that we must not take any notice of it or make a fuss about it because they soon learn that it gets them the attention they want and they get their way. Ignore it else he will learn to use it. If he does this again remember a person cannot intentionally hold their breath if they pass out, he will start to breathe as soon as he does and ignoring his tantrum will show him that you are not impressed and he will soon stop doing it.

Reply to Just me
Posted by: VERY WORRIED MOM | 2005/01/11

Hi there CC

All these messages are really helping me and making me feel better. I wouldn't felt so bad if he hadn't turned blue!!!!!!

Not so worried mom anymore.

Posted by: CC | 2005/01/11

I agree with what all the moms above had to say. A good, timely smack does wonders. We, as children, got many hidings and have turned out for the better and also learned to respect not only our parents but adults and others in general. The bible teaches us not to "spare the rod and spoil the child". I have heard of many children who hold their breath and turn blue, including my brother. This is quite common and does not harm the child as they will never stop breathing long enough to do harm.

I'm sure that all parents feel bad about the odd smack, but don't feel bad about disciplining your child - it is a normal way of teaching your child respect and values. I'm sure that your child knows that you love him.

Reply to CC
Posted by: darma | 2005/01/10

I think you all got it wrong... she is more worried about the fact that the boy turned blue... not just the hiding he got. I don't have any advice on this matter for you.

Reply to darma
Posted by: Nuffing | 2005/01/10

I am fully of the opinion that children should be taught how to behave and have situations explained to them and be allowed to reason, however as a mom of 2 boys (5 & 3) I compltely believe in the value of an occasional well timed smack too.

So don't feel too bad.

Habitual smacking doesn't help, either you or the child.

But every now and again a good smack (not necesarrily very hard)does wonders to bring a child back in line. I do make a point of sitting down with them afterwards and discussing what happened and why they got the smack.

This allows the child some control over the situation and to know what will induce a smack so that they can control that and prevent it from happening again.

Sometimes no matter how much you talk they stop hearing you, and a smack gives them a fright and kind of resets their attention to you.

My mom never smacked us and I always thought she was soft and had little respect for her...

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: VERY WORRIED MOM | 2005/01/10

Hi there Sue

Thanx so much for this, I really appreciate what you have said.
I'm sure I will be getting a lot of negative replies from some other people. I am anxious to know what Doc says as well.

Still very worried mom

Posted by: Sue | 2005/01/10

I'm no doctor, just another mommy, but I just want to comment on your letter. Plse forgive me for doing so.

First of all. You are only human, and like everyone else, mothers can also take just so much from their toddlers. You have done nothing wrong by giving him a hiding. He's reaction to that might have shocked you (and him) but I think because he has not being smacked hard before, it could only be a "shocked reaction", nothing more. Every child has got he's own way of showing disapproval when being diciplined. I have seen from previous occations, children who are smacked (only when appropriate) respects their parents more than children who don't get diciplined at all. Please don't understand me wrong, I do not like smacking my little boy, but if he has done something that I feel I've told him so many times before not to, he will get a hiding. After that I tell him that I love him very very much, and I know that he understands that I love him dearly.

I don't know if this will help you, but please don't feel guilty. I know a lot of people wil disagree with me, but I feel smacking/dicipline is part of a child growing up. If we don't dicipline them, who will.

I would also like to hear what Doc says.

Keep well.

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