What age will it be okay to smack a babies hands?

At what age do you think it is okay to start disciplining your baby with a light smack on the hand?

40  Answers

0 1

This is the first time I'm posting on Circle of Moms in the almost two years I've belonged to it -- that's how strongly I feel about this issue. I notice that almost every comment against corporal punishment has been voted down -- maybe the parents who are smacking their kids are feeling judged and defensive of their parenting strategies. So let me say this: I don't think your kid is going to end up delinquent and in jail because of a smack on the hand once in a while.

But I also don't think smacking is a necessary, or effective, parenting strategy for *any* baby, toddler, or child. *Every* child can be disciplined without violence -- and yes, even a tap on the hand is violence. Heck, I count even shouting/threatening a child with violence as violence. You may think of it as "making them associate a certain thing with a reaction they don't like," but that reaction is physical, and it is coming from a *parent,* who is the person they most trust in the world. The reason it "startles" them is because they're not expecting their parent to hurt them intentionally. When you see that startled look, they are not just rethinking whether they should be touching the forbidden object; they're rethinking their relationship with you, based on the new evidence that you will intentionally hurt them in certain circumstances.

There are many, many ways to discipline babies and children without ever needing to "tap" their hand. It just takes more imagination to figure out other solutions and more time/effort to implement those soltuions. Distraction, explanation (yes, it can work, even at 6 months), removing the object. Being hit by mom is better than being hit by a car or being burned, someone here said? I'm sorry, but it's our responsibility to watch them closely enough to ensure that they will not be hit by a car or burned. They're babies! And honestly, if you need to hit them to make sure that they won't get burned in your kitchen, all you're teaching them is not to touch those things *while you're around.* You can either babyproof your house or watch them more closely. We chose the latter method, partly because we believe that a child's curiosity is precious and should be encouraged -- there are enough things/forces/people in this world trying to squelch children's curiosity. As far as possible, we let our daughter handle anything she wants under close supervision (by "close," I mean she's sitting on one of our laps): sharp objects, fragile objects, whatever she's interested in. We show her how to handle them and tell her repeatedly what will happen if she's not careful. If you let them hold something, they lose interest anyway after a while, when they see it's not interesting; if you hit them for touching it, it becomes an obsession and a challenge for them to touch it when you're not watching. Why do you think so many toddlers lunge at high speed towards the very things they're not supposed to touch? They know they've got to do it as fast as possible before they're smacked or taken away. Of course there are some limits: you can't let your child touch a boiling hot saucepan or put his finger in an electrical socket, even under supervision. In such cases, we've found that repeated explanation and close watching works.

Like I said, if you're smacking your child's hand, it's probably not the end of the world. Your child is probably going to turn out fine anyway. I was hit as a child, and my husband wasn't; neither were his two siblings, one of whom was *extremely* high-energy, *extremely* curious and strong-willed and fast-moving. My MIL believed categorically that corporal punishment was wrong, and never used it. My husband and I, raised in opposite ways, both turned out fine, but I will say this: my husband and his two siblings are calmer, less likely to get flustered in challenging situations, and less likely to be tempted to use violence or violent language in a conflict. They are also curious about/interested in everything, whereas I tend to shut down and develop a mental block when something is difficult for me. Make of that what you will -- it's only anecdotal evidence, and I don't have a large enough sample for it to be reliable, I know. But still. It's enough for me to have decided that I will never, never hit my child, however lightly. As a child, I got into trouble for hitting another girl at school, and once also slapped my mother. I am 100% with the parents here who are saying: if you don't want your child doing it to other people (or to you!), don't do it to your child. Practise what you preach: otherwise, you're just teaching them that hitting is okay as long as the other person is smaller/weaker.

103
2 16

I'm fully in agreement, therefore a big thumps up! :)

View More
5 15

I used to teach my daughter by giving her a tap on the hand and guess what? She doesn't get into things she's not supposed to. The only time I tap her hand now is when she's REALLY not listening otherwise I use time out. I don't leave her little hand red or bruised, ever. I tap hard enough to get my point across. Is this abuse? No, she never had a mark on her, temporary or otherwise. Does it work for me? Yes. I transitioned into time out when she better understood the concept. Call it what yu will, but I call it sucessful. I started at 6 months by the way, to answer the original poster's question.

62
17 17

I agree whole heartedly with you.

View More
2 16

In Finland (Europe), where I live, it is against the law to abuse children physically, and smacking a baby's hands falls right into that category. It is quite unfathomable to me why anyone would even want to do it? A baby does not have a 'conscience' as such, they do not 'challenge' their parents but are, as someone already said, only learning about the world. By smacking their hands while they're exploring, you are sending them a very concerning message - the one they are supposed to trust tyo take care of them is punishing them for their natural curiosity, making them feel pain. That is not what I'd want for my children.

We have an extremely active (and at this age, challenging) 3-year-old and a 5-month old just starting to explore, and I have not once smacked, hit or otherwise abused either one. I wouldn't want to hurt the ones I love the most.

35
2 0

I agree whole heartedly with your statements, however, if it's the difference between your child learning that trying to touch a socket will hurt them, or letting them get electrocuted trying to explore, most parents will tap their child on the hand. HOWEVER there are so many other ways to keep your child from the danger in the first place. I just thought if I addressed this, while agreeing with you, you wouldn't have someone trying to argue with you because you are absolutely right. It's more teaching your children they can't trust you not to hurt them. Which is a scary thought. Fortunately for parents who have tried the method, and decided against it, their children do not seem effected too much. I trust and respect my father, and he spanked me once while I was still in diapers, and I have never felt he is in any way abusive, nor have I ever had trust issues with him. I also have never been afraid to explore, and I think for myself. :) But once in awhile is not what we're talking about here.

View More
2 20

Really? I am surprised to even see this question. What age? Assuming everyone will be smacking their babies at some point and it is just a matter of 'When"...this makes me sick. Oh and my answer...NEVER - come on people, evolve already!

34
0 0

agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

View More
52 17

My son started standing up and "cruising" the furniture at a very early age. This meant everything had to be put higher. But some things that are still within reach (like coffee on a coffee table) need to be taught in a way they understand. Just saying "no" wasn't working. If I distracted him with a toy, he'd go right back to the fascinating thing he wasn't allowed to touch. You don't "smack" their hand, you "tap" it. Just enough for it to make a little noise, and say "no!" It's it was enough to startle him. Its not about hurting your child or frightening your child. It's about making them associate a certain thing with a reaction they don't like. Once they make that association as they get older, you won't need to slap their hand anymore, they will have learned that "no" means stop!

27
17 17

I agree, it's not like we are saying it's okay to beat them black and blue, we are not. we are just saying a tap on the hand can be benificial in disaplining some children.

View More
1,738 8

Never... 1) Children learn by modeling what they are shown and I never want my baby/toddler/child to smack my hand (or another child's hand), 2) I do not believe in the "do as I say, not as I do" way of parenting, and 3) they are BABIES. My daughter is definitely high needs and has been testing her limits since birth (so it seems!), and there have been many non-violent/non-aggressive ways she has learned appropriate behavior.

26
7 5

There was actual study done with hand smacking. I got this from the Dr. Sears website..
Maria Montessori, one of the earliest opponents of slapping children's hands, believed that children's hands are tools for exploring, an extension of the child's natural curiosity. Slapping them sends a powerful negative message. Sensitive parents we have interviewed all agree that the hands should be off-limits for physical punishment. Research supports this idea. Psychologists studied a group of sixteen fourteen-month-olds playing with their mothers. When one group of toddlers tried to grab a forbidden object, they received a slap on the hand; the other group of toddlers did not receive physical punishment. In follow-up studies of these children seven months later, the punished babies were found to be less skilled at exploring their environment. Better to separate the child from the object or supervise his exploration and leave little hands unhurt.

25
0 6

yes for sure. I feel bad that I spanked my kids from time to time. However, even then I did not smack a hand ever. We know it can cause arthritis when older. Thankfully I have second chance with grand babies. Love disciplining in a positive manner. --No hits from this gramma.

View More
51 13

Depends on the child and their temperment...our oldest was challenging us at 6 months when we'd say no so we started slapping her hands then if she touched things that were dangerous, etc...they are way smarter than most give them credit for and she responded in a way that we knew she understood what we were saying. Our second was much mosre easy going and listened to "no" or the tone in our voice anyway so didn't start with her until much later. If they are touching things that absolutely must not be touched, they need to be taught not to touch those things...it doesn't teach them to hit, it teaches them that there are boundaries!!

24
2,096 19

Challenging at 6 months? They aren't challenging - they are LEARNING. How do you expect them to learn about their world? They want to see, taste, touch, experience EVERYTHING. Instead of smacking them, try moving them to an area where it is safe to explore.

View More
0 4

I clap my hands or knock on the wall or make a noise and she tries to copy me and that's the end of her doing what I don't want her to do and if she still won't stop I pick her up and walk away from the situation

22
73 31

i really like your idea about knock on the wall...might be something to try, even with my older one whos 5 1/2. just as a method of letting him/her know what they are doing is wrong and to rethink it :) thanks

View More
201 12

Wow!!! You are so articulate and use proper grammar and punctuation and you make such a coherent and convincing argument. I agree with everything you are saying and so does all the research on child development. I have never read a study that could prove the benefits of hitting or smacking your child.

In Canada, it is now illegal to spank or hit your child. And there is already a precedent in the courts upholding the law. I was and now have a child with very very high energy and a very stubborn disposition. He challenges everything and is always full of energy but we have never resorted to hitting in any way. We started using time outs when he was 3 and have used them consistently. We haven't had to give one in a couple of months. I have even given them when we are out in public and they work every time. My mother and MIL have both said they feel that sometimes a little spank is necessary but so far, we have proven them wrong.

Thanks for sharing your answer; I hope others will read it and realize that corporal punishment is not necessary and should never be used.

20
22 9

Lisa, I pressed the wrong button and accidentally voted you down, sorry! I actually agree with everything you say x

View More
5 0

At whatever age you think its appropriate for your baby to smack YOU back. Because isn't that what smacking/htting/spanking is? Teaching them that its okay to use physical behavior to get your point across?

18
36 15

Exactly.

View More
8 13

We have never smacked our sons hands. By smacking a child's hand it is teaching them that it is okay to hit. We teach him by telling him no and showing him something new. He is almost 2 and when he sees something we have told him no he says no, no and leaves it alone.

18
51 13

What if he didn't listen to "no"? What would you have done to teach him? I'm interested to know...

View More
29 11

I do not use violence on my children.

Ever.

Period.

17
1 0

The definition of violence is "force used to injure or abuse". I don't think we are talking about violence here...

View More
178 68

thank you for posting this. you did a wonderful job and i fully agree with you! I know that mainstream parenting is more comfortable with with things like smacking but i am not at all comfy with that. I never have been and i never will be. I was spanked as a child by my parents and they gave permission to anyone who watched me (grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, babysitters, etc) to also spank and altho i turned out fine there are definate scars in terms of also shutting down and trying to get myself out of trouble and getting very defensive and feeling like i am under attack when i may not be so i apprevciate your corrage in posting this.

16
0 22

It is NEVER ok to smack anyone especially a baby!! I am a preschool teacher and a mom for 2 girls ages 9 and 11. Tell them no and redirect. Praise for good behavior, redirect for bad.

15
0 0

how about NEVER?

14
13 22

On page 148 of The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears, he talks about the studies that have been done on babies that had their hands slapped as discipline. They found that the punished babies (those that had their hands slapped) were less skilled at exploring their environment only 7 months later. "Better to separate the child from the object of supervise his exploration and leave little hands unhurt."

14
3 28

This dicussion is outrageous and I would have hoped that American parents had come further than this. Preeta has the response you need to read. I just wanna add one thing: No matter how you justify your "smack on your babies hand" with her/him not showing any mark, not crying or showing fear; WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS STILL ILLEGAL IN 26 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD AND THAT'S FOR A REASON! It is abuse!
I live in Sweden where hitting (yes, that is what you are doing, no way around it!) has been illegal for more than 4 decades.
More than that it should be illegal, it just simply doesn't work! Be better than this; read the excellent Danish child psychologist Jesper Juul "Your competent child" for a whole new way to look at the relationship between parents and kids, better ways to relate to one another and for tools to turn to when you're at the end of your rope. Because we all get there, it's part of being a parent, to let our kids know that even when they challenge us the most we still love them enough to be responsible and mature enough to not hit them.

12
306 0

Oh Anna, please don't think that all American Parents are this ignorant. Some of us are enlightened. I could only wish and hope for a time when those in this country placed as much value on a child as those in your country do. I agree with everything you posted. 26 countries. Someday we will get it right here. I blame it on our Puritan Roots. And the so called bible belt of our country. (mostly the south) The West Coast is much more open minded. Please know there are those of us with reasoning skills, who are smart enough to deal with or out smart a BABY. Without smacking it. Only the uneducated or the religious right stick to this form of child control. Bully's at heart. Might makes Right. Sad but true.

View More
0 20

Wow, I must be the only older mom on here! I grew up in times where spanking was ok and slapping your hand was fine and most people in my generation turned out just fine with no depression, violence, drug issues, etc. Now parents can do anything to their kids to punish them or it it considered violent or wrong and you wonder why kids now a days have no manners, no respect for their elders or anyone for that matter, they steel, they do drugs, RESPECT AND MANNERS are huge in my book and with my family. If I have to tap my kid on the butt or hand because they are disrespecting me or not listening to me, I will and there is NO one that can say I am a horrible person for molding my kid the way they should be molded. I have never put a mark on my kids nor will I ever but I will not let them get away with bad manners or disrespecting anyone.

11
0 10

I TOTALLY agree with your comment.

View More
0 5

Never. It is our job as parents to model appropriate behavior. A child cannot comprehend having nice hands when that is not the example that is set for them. We can't hold a double standard & then get upset when a little one gets confused. A child who is hit, is a child who hits.

11
11 7

Your statement " A child who is hit, is a child who hits' doesn't hold true in all situations. My grandson bit us several times when a toddler, do you think we bit him? I can assure you we NEVER bit him. And since we were the primary caregivers, no one was around him to teach biting. So where did he learn that? Not from us! I'm more concerned with the attitude of the parent doing the discipline than I am their particular method. I'd much rather see someone discipline in a calm, loving manner even if it was a swat to a well-padded behind or a swat to the hand than them to angrily put a child in time-out. Disciplining in anger, frustration or to appease someone else seems so very wrong to me. I have had kids, step-kids, foster kids and grandkids and consistent, firm, loving discipline has always worked best for me.

View More
17 17

Time out will only works for some children, my daughter used to respond to time out and it would be effective as she always wanted to please. My son on the other hand if you put him in time out he thought it was a game and he never learnt a thing from time out. I occassionally smack my children i give them 3 warnings and then they will get a smack on the hand. my children learnt a lot from this, 1 mum says what she means, 2 mum means what she says and 3 if i do it again i will end up with another smack. Now i get to 2 and the behaviour has stopped and they rarely get a smack.
At a very young age "No" means nothing to a child whereas a tap on the hand does, we are not talking about beating your child black and blue we are talking about a tap on the hand. I never put anything up out of the reach of my 2 kids, they got told in a firm voice to stop, and if they continued to touch it they would be told NO with a tap on the back of the hand so they learnt that th word "No" had consiquences.
You can hate me for my opion but neither of my kids who are now 10 and 5 have ever been violent towards others or are scarred by the fact that they get a smack now and again if they are really naughty.

11
22 9

you are certain you haven't done any damage? the research says otherwise http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6188692/Smacking-makes-children-naughtier-research.html

View More
3 20

NEVER!!! What for? Why would one even consider smacking a baby's hands as an option? There is no need for that. Parents can use words to teach a baby what is right and wrong. "Smacking" a child only teaches them that hitting is an option that they can use later on in life. I am a teacher and I know what I am talking about. I never raised a hand to my two wonderful children and they knew their boundaries and grew up to be well adjusted and happy young adults. No SMACKING necessary...EVER.

10
1 11

super inflammatory topic. all children are different. some are so easy to teach and they listen. others are so head strong and argumentative (even as babies, yelling and yelling). the parents with the easy kids think it's their parenting and pat themselves on the back - but maybe number 2 won't be so easy or no. 3. the parents with the tougher kids to handle, wonder if it's the child or them........you can't have a hard and fast rule, because children don't come out all the same. family's situations aren't all the same. so everyone do what you think is best. love your child, and they will turn out just fine. i can say some situations require immediate reaction and for the woman who said you should watch your children closely - i hope you never get something in your eye or sneeze or distracted for a moment - because that's all it takes for a child to bolt their way into danger and the most important thing to do in that situation is grab them and hold them still - talking doesn't work here - like i said situations are different and people shouldn't think they have all the answers for everyone at all times. acceptance is the key.

9
2 24

Preeta, your answer was beautifully written. Either I agree or not with you or anybody in this forum is not the point. I tend to read the answers and take advice and points of views on the different topics discussed here. This is the second time in less than a month that I read someone asking or mentioning about corporal punishment.
Like the first time I read a similar post, I was VERY surprised at the amount of judgement that was passed here. I am sure that people that ask questions or ask for advice are not looking for anybody to tell them how wrong or right they are. I certainly am not. Respect for other people's opinion is something that I try to teach my children.
Children, every single one of them, are different. Medically, socially and in all other aspects DIFFERENT. What works for one might not work for another. I have a special needs child and one normally developing. Totally different education. One more social than the other (the special needs one is the more social) and one listens to me more than the other. My parents had three kids. Raised the same way and one of them turned out completely different. Not better, not worse, just different.
I have seriously considered leaving the forum because I didn't like that people were so judgemental and mean to others that had different beliefs. I believe in respecting and accepting and agreeing to disagree when I am confronted with a different opinion than mine. My husband and I have different opinions on a lot of things. My parents did too. I was allowed to listened to both of them and come up with my own conclusion.
What you teach your child is up to you. You, the parents, know what is best for your child. You know them the best. Not everyone else.

9
0 2

agree

View More
99 48

How about NEVER? And ESPECIALLY since that BABY is in the CRUCIAL EARLY LEARNING STAGE(S) of his/her life? You want to teach a child that that's how you discipline? Why doesn't a FIRM NO!! work? It should. That firm NO! has to include a WHY, however. What happens if you tell a child JUST no? They keep doing it, because they don't understand why. And you know why they don't understand? Because NO ONE tells the child why. So they already know that that's all that will happen. Also, you have to TAKE AWAY whatever it is the child/baby did wrong. She threw her plate? Oh ok. Except it's NOT. Tell her NO! OUCH! Throwing hurts! And take away the plate IMMEDIATELY. Babies aren't stupid. We are the ignorant ones for not showing them the correct way to handle these things. Once the baby/child has mastered that "throwing things hurts", then you can teach him/her that it's also RUDE to do so. One step at a time with the babies mama....they are smarter than we give them credit for! Have patience. You can do this!! :P

8
2 20

There is a HUGE differance between spanking an abuse, Abuse leads to very insecure children, Spanking in LOVE leads to very secure children..All we have to do is look around at the next generation that is coming up, Kids throwing tantrums, falling on floors etc as the parents try to regain control....I can guarantee in my childhood you wouldn't have seen half what you see now, Thats the problem with America is the parents are not the respected authority figure anymore..Interesting story of a family that was eating at a fast food restaurant, The child was acting up so the dad to him out in the van an disciplined him, That fast someone called the police, When the police arrived the dad nicely told them if I don't deal with them now, you'll deal with them later..If you have a thing against spanking or tapping your childs hand that is totally your right,but don't try to make the moms that choose a differant form of punishment feel guilty..Thats the beauty of living in America is freedom of choice, freedom to parent the way you feel you should! There are, sadly, abusive situations, for these children there SHOULD be intervention, but if you are loving your children an disciplining them in love then it really is no-one else's buisness..

8
2 0

I do not think we are trying to make people feel guilty. I have said it before and will say it again. The issue is not how a child is disciplined, these days, but that most parents do not even attempt to discipline them at all. In richer societies, parents don't even raise their own children. I can not speak for others, but my intention is not to make parents who choose to hit their children guilty. Just to explain that there are other solutions. There always are. With everything in life. My significant other and I were raised differently. I had been spanked, only once, and he never was. He has less of a temper than I do. Coming from someone who worked in a daycare, I can tell you absolutely that parents are respected as THE authority figures. The only people who have more authority over the life of a child get involved if the child or the parent are doing something illegal. How can you justify hitting someone because you love them. That is like saying my ex was justified in hitting me with a shoe rack because he loved me and didn't want me to endanger myself by getting between him and our mutual friend when he was attacking him? I mean after all, I had to learn my place right? I am younger than him, I made less money. It's not a valid point when you're talking about children either. You do not hit out of love. If it is against the law to hit a child, then by living in that country, province/state, city whatever the law is, then you should abide by that. We aren't saying that people who spank their children are evil. Just that there are other solutions. People who tap or spank their kids aren't always in the same category. Spanking is another issue altogether. But the point is, we are trying to say there are always other options. There's more than one way to skin a rat... or however that saying goes.

View More
65 28

Oh my God!!! Smacking, slapping, hitting, What is wrong with people???? Just move the child from the situation that can be harmful to him/her. and talk to them. They are smarter than you think!
There is no reason to be putting your hands on any child except to hug and caress him/her. Let me slap someones hand that agrees with this and you tell me how you feel. I am disgusted!

7
15 64

We used to slap hands when our kids were young, but quickly stopped. Their hands are their way of exploring things. If they are getting into something they shouldn't, tell them no very firmly and then move them to a safe place. Give them some toys to play with. That's for babies. As toddlers they know they are doing something naughty and putting them in time out is appropriate. I think that slapping hands makes them timid and scared to get out there and be confident.

7
10 0

Some kids maybe but other kids nope not at all. My son got wee smacks sometimes when he was about 1 onwards. He is 3 now and you could not meet a more social and adventurous wee mite. :) But as i say all kids are different

1 10

for me personally i feel smacking a child at all is wrong! my son who is now 18months old has tried to push the boundries and yes i have felt like smacking his hand but i never have as i feel if you have to resort to violence to teach your child right from wong then you are not setting a good example. i have had this argument many times with my own mother and mother in law and have stated very firmly that they are not allowed to smack my child. i use the distraction tecnique and i remove his toys if he continues. my little boy is pretty good and now knows if he misbehaves then he loses what he was playing with. he hasnt always been good and on many ocasions has really tested my patience but with a little time and firm talking he normally calms down. im not here to judge but i always look at it like this if you start to tap or smack a 6 month old childs hand when he or she reachs 2 and that no longer has an effect you will proberly smack harder to get the same effect and then where does it stop?? im not saying that you all beat your kids. i no doubt believe that you love your children very very much and are doing your best by them. this is after all just my opinion and i dont wish to cause offence but i truly believe that smacking is wrong and vilolence will never solve a problem. ive seen it many times before at baby group. if a child hits another child is it then okay for the childs mother to hit them to teach them a lesson?? of course not. your now telling your child thats its okay to hit people because mummy just did it to you. the same with biting. ive seen mothers bite thier own children to teach them it hurts when they bite people to then see that child doing it more. children learn from our behaviour and we must always set a good example and control ourselves. 2 wrongs do not make a right.

6
26 0

NOT EVER! I didn't know people still did this openly. I thought this was a thing of the past.
I hope any mother who does not know better, will rethink doing this.

6
19 18

It is, of course, a personal choice for all of us. I believe that a good age is when they are old enough to understand cause and effect. (IE: if I touch that, I'll get hurt.. I don't want to get hurt so I won't touch it) Most of is were given more than just a tap and we turned out just fine. I think my Grandmother worded it best as 'applied psychology'. She says 'A little psychology applied low enough, and firm enough, is good enough for anyone'.

6
4 60

Oy. I've been an Autism specialist for 15 years. Yes, there is some merit to the surprise of, what we have been referring to as, "a tap", but even if the behavior that creates anxiety enough in you to make you want to "surprise" your child with this type of intervention disappears for the moment, Preeta made an excellent point about turning the activity into a challenge, and it's likely that your kid is going to find a way to meet that challenge. ANY NON-VERBAL child responds to your facial gestures and your tone of voice. If you don't want your kid to do something DON'T make a big deal out of it, and by that I mean reserve your "animated self" for the things you DO want to see more of! For example, when my kid gets too close to something dangerous, I redirect him, without making loud or exasperated noises, to something else, and thengive him a big smile. The more you "change" from your normal neutral self, whether it is what you consider to be positive (laughing, smiling, enthusiastically spinning your kid), or negative (screaming, making grand gestures with your body or face) the more you can count on your kid trying to illicit that same response from YOU! It's not about wanting to touch the hot stove, it's about wanting to see mommy's face do that funny thing again, or hear her voice change to that high pitched shriek. Those changes in you are what we call in the autism field "reinforcing". So what does this mean? This means that when you think that your kid is "trying to make you nuts", well he might be, but not because he doesn't like you, or because he has any sort of meanness to him, it's because when you change/contort/show reactions on your face and in your voice, it is exciting to him! It is in some way a reinforcing agent.

Take, for example, the kid who found a recorder (musical instrument) and blasted a loud note on it. The response of everyone in the room was to put their fingers in their ears and make faces that conveyed displeasure. Go look at a mirror and do what I just wrote about. Doesn't your face look funny? And your fingers are in your ears!! That's so silly!! THAT is what your kid is responding to! So, next time you deliver a big (or animated) response to your kid, know that it is your response that they are going to try to recreate: not their actions, but YOURS. Try to remember that babies are little processing machines!! They don't understand language until they have enough experience with it to be able to make associations that are meaningful to them. Do your best to use as little verbal language as possible (that actually helps them to understand the important language, like "dangerous" or "gentle") and take stock of how you respond to each behavior.

Like Preeta, I have been getting these emails for years and never felt the need to respond, but seriously, hitting your kid, even a light tap, in this generation is simply not "cool". It probably won't hurt your kid, or present any significant challenges in his future, but (a) it's not nearly as effective as awareness of your animated-self, (b) if you DO accidentally leave a mark of some sort, you're now involved with child protective services, a burden to the social services system and an unfortunate way to spend a few years for something as silly as a little smack to "keep him safe", (c) it can effect the trust relationship that is developing between you and your kid, and (d) while some moms say that it works and they are pleased with the results, I don't know any moms who don't loose a little bit of themselves when they actually strike their children. For me, I'm still haunted by one moment from when my preemie was still under 5 lbs and I put him hastily into his bassinet - he bounced. Oh my goodness, it is now like a nightmare to see his tiny little face looking so surprised!!

Last statements on this: (I'm copying this straight from Preeta!!) I am 100% with the parents here who are saying: if you don't want your child doing it to other people (or to you!), don't do it to your child. Practise what you preach: otherwise, you're just teaching them that hitting is okay as long as the other person is smaller/weaker.

5
7 5

no one is teaching that hitting is okay and that spanking is bullying. I swear I bet all of you saying that have the kids that I would never let my child play with. The kind of children that are bullies and bully other children at school. Children with no discipline by parents that give them everything and try to rationalize everything are at a huge disadvantage. Everyone wants to say that it is teaching them this and that and it's not how the world works but um.... when people commit crimes, they end up in prison, jail, work farms and death row. If those are not all bad realities then what are they. These punishments are 'not talking and rationalizing' as all you people keep saying our world does. What is wrong with you people? It is this attitude of non-discipline that is creating a new generation of people that don't know the meaning of the word 'no' or what real repercussions are.

View More
3 7

Instead of smacking, when my child was probably about 6 months' age, and he got into something he wasn't supposed to, I'd clap my hands really, really loud. This creates the same negative reinforcement (and startles him) like you guys talk about, but without striking them. It's still working now, and he's two and a half.

5
9 0

Some people would say that you are cruel to your child by scaring him and probably scarring him for life, that he'll probably grow up socially maladjusted and afraid of everything. I'm sorry, but just because the "my way is the only way moms" don't spank or tap, that does not prove that ALL children will respond. I was spanked, I do not spank, but honestly, I have a child who is easy going and compliant. If I needed to use slight physical discipline, I wouldn't feel like a bad Mom.

37 7

I'm sorry, but I'm hearing a lot of things I don't like on here.

Firstly, a smack to a child to deter from dangerous behaviour when the child WILL not take no for an answer is not violence. Let's just get that out of the way. We're not talking smacking a child round the ears or kicking the child. Most of us here are of the age where a smack was encouraged, would you call your childhood abuse? Has anyone noticed the behaviour of teens (particularly in the UK) or children in school and linked it to the fact that we're not supposed to smack our children anymore? I have.

Secondly, it does NOT teach the child to hit, I was raised with a smack and never thought I could hit others because I got a smack, I knew the smack was for my behaviour and I souly was to blame for it.

When I was a child, there was an open fire in the front room, a large woodburner in the kitchen and none of these could be moved for me. Furthermore, what does that teach a child? Only touch the things that are available to you? Great, until you go to a friends house, then it's sockets, fires and wires aplenty? My mother moved nothing, I have moved nothing, I modify the behaviour of my children and I can take my child anywhere, I don't (as friends of mine who co-incidentally don't believe in smacking do) allow my child to run round touching whatever they please in the homes of others, expecting them to move things for my child.

This is important, there is danger here and it is GOOD parenting to ensure that your child is safe and understands danger.

What works for one child will not work for another. My first child would sit in a room with a pile of toys and not move whilst I got washing/dishes and sorted out the kitchen, my second cannot be left for 10 seconds without sticking his head in the oven. Those who smugly announce that they raised their child without a smack have won the kiddi lotto. As I did with my first. If I'd have stopped there, then rubbed it in that his behaviour as a tot was exemplary, you'd all be rolling your eyes. Why is it different for you?

5
22 9

Angela, please see Preeta's eloquent response above about "I was hit and it didn't teach me to hit", if you smack your children then it HAS taught you by example to hit others. There are also some great examples of using the proximity of dangerous items as an opportunity to teach your child without needing to resort to physical punishment. There are sadly many parents who do not take the time to parent their children at all, not smacking is not the same as not disciplining and I believe there are many complicated reason for the current problem with youth but I doubt that a lack of smacking is the problem. Extreme poverty and a rampant consumerist culture butted up against each other is becoming a widely respected theory. Lastly please don't confuse a desire to find alternatives to smacking with a smug attitude to parenting or that those of is that parent without corporal punishment have easier children that don't need discipline, it is just that we have explored other methods and found them effective, personally I have a wide experience of seeing these methods work with all kinds of children with a range of challenging behaviours.

View More
6 8

I think it's a little ridiculous that so many people are being so rude. There is a way to share your opinion without bashing others. I was raised in a very loving household in which my siblings and I were spanked. I see no problem in lightly smacking your child's hand or giving them a quick swat on their diapered behinds when reasoning or redirecting are unsuccessful. I had a great childhood and of course I do have memories of being spanked, but I do not feel as if I was traumatized or suffered any lasting psychological effects.Once my parents felt that we were old enough to understand consequences and listen to reason, they stopped using spanking as a disciplining tool. I can count on one hand the number of times I was spanked, and most times just the threat of a spanking was enough to stop the bad behavior. I never hit anyone or lashed out because I was spanked. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My parents were constantly being praised for the fact that we were incredibly well behaved in any situation and very respectful. My daughter is 19 months old, and my husband and I both agree that in certain situations, a quick swat on the butt or thigh is perfectly reasonable. My daughter is incredibly strong willed and sometimes chooses to ignore any kind of reasoning. Now having said that, she is one of the happiest children you will ever meet. She is very well behaved and loving towards her father and I despite the occasional spanking. She also has never intentionally hit anyone. Her pediatrician has even commented on the fact that even when she's been very sick, she is happy and smiling. I do think it's the parent's choice to decide how to discipline their child, and no one should call them a bad parent. just because they disagree. There is a HUGE difference between spanking and abusing. Both of my parents came from abusive households, and they made sure we never were subjected to anything of an abusive nature. Most of our spankings were followed by a hug or cuddle and them telling us how much they loved us. As long as you don't take spanking too far, it can be a useful tool to stop bad behavior. I personally don't smack my daughter's hands because I feel like hands are too sensitive, whereas a diapered behind or a clothed thigh doesn't really cause much pain so much as it just gets the child's attention.

I know many people may disagree with my point of view, but it's just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions; they're like buttholes. Everybody has one and they're all full of crap.

5
2 3

Lol, I made the same comment about opinions :D That being said I agree with you whole heartedly... My son is 28 mths, and can be *increadibly* stubborn & determined, so when he sets his mind on something he doesn't let go of the idea very easily. A lot of the time my husband and I can avoid a spank with a lot of reasoning, diversions or simply moving him away from temptation, but there are times when a spanking as a last resort can be neccesary to get his attention, and like you, I avoid smaking hands and only lightly a nappied bum.

23 21

NEVER! I made that mistake with my first son and he still has a hitting problem. I have sense then learned attachment parenting and physical discipline is never necessary nor the best solution. Physical discipline can lead to bullying.

5
23 21

Most would argue that physical discipline works, which it can, but with long term consequence. it does not lead to healthy problem solving nor closeness between parent/child.

View More
3 0

That depends on how early you want them to learn to hit. "smacking" and "spanking" simply teach a child that it's ok to use hitting as a form of communication. They do something wrong and you smack their hand. If you do something that they don't like, and they hit you, they get in trouble. It's confusing and not necessary at all.

5
0 20

Babies are not developmentally able to understand that they are touching something dangerous and that's why you are telling them "no." It's not their job to try to keep track of which things they can touch and which not. It's YOUR job as a parent to remove dangerous items from their reach and/or remove them from a location where they might get into something dangerous. Then there is no need to smack/slap/tap a baby's hand.
If you want to get their attention about something dangerous in a way that doesn't model that hitting people is okay, many parenting books give good alternatives. Even when our strong-willed oldest was a baby, we had good success using the "clap-growl" method in "The Happiest Toddler on the Block."

5
0 30

Absolutely! Well said.

View More
7 22

never

4
8 9

Does your boss smack you on the hand? Parenting is about preparing our children for the world

4
37 7

Your boss is not your parent.

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms