How young is to young to smack a babies hands?

Ashley - posted on 03/28/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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Noah is 9 months old and he pulls my hair out by the handful.Is he to young for me to smack his hands and tell him no?

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Judy - posted on 04/04/2010

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At that age, I would lightly swat their hand with a verbal que of "No, that's not nice, it hurts mommy." Don't be afraid to follow your instincts. No one can tell you how to punish/correct your child or their behavior. It is something that will come naturally. You aren't going to get your child taken away from you because you swat their hand or even their rear ends. Now I don't condone beating your child, but I feel that a good spanking when they do behavior that isn't appropriate is a fine way to try to correct that behavior. While I was growing up, I got spankings and I turned out just fine. I was afraid of doing stuff I wasn't supposed to because I would get a spanking. I learned that there are some things you just can't do because it either hurt someone else or could hurt me. Just go with your instincts on things, don't wait until you get too heated though or you might actually hit them harder than you mean to. Hope this helps at least a little.

Anne - posted on 04/04/2010

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If it's hard enough to hurt then it's harmful to them and if it doesn't hurt then it's a game so smacking seems rather futile.
Babies that age don't understand that what they are doing is bad or hurting you so they shouldn't be punished. They should be taught instead and the best way to do that is just persevere with the firm 'no' and the putting down if they don't listen. My little girl went through the biting stage recently and for about a week she would laugh at me every time I said 'no'. But then she quickly gave it up - no more biting. I know they were affectionate bites - she didn't know any better. She also did the hair pulling and that too has passed. Even though it really hurts you have to refrain from exclaiming because that just makes it seem like a game. The 'no' has to be firm but calm.

Katie - posted on 04/03/2010

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I don't personally believe that there is a need to smack hands. My daughter would pull my hair and I would grab her hand firmly and tell her in a very serious tone that pulling was not ok and if she did it again I was going to put her down. If she did it again I put her down and sometimes she would cry but it only took a few more times before she understood that I wouldn't put up with the pulling. Just firmly grabbing their hand gets their attention just as much as swatting without showing them that hitting is ok. Just be consistent and the phase runs its course.

[deleted account]

HUGELY ANTI-SMACKING!!!!!!! All it teaches them is that when they are exploring their world (eg what happens when i get my hands tangled in this lovely soft hair?) then mummy/daddy will hurt them. When my son went through his (very short) period of pulling hair, I just told him that it hurt mummy and then would put him down. If we were out and about and I couldn't put him down, I would turn him around so that he would be facing outwards (eg his back to my tummy).

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2010

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Sorry hugely against smacking unless it was the case that the child was in physical danger eg about to touch an oven, then it would be more of a reflex thing. If he pulls your hair tell him to stop, if he doesn't put him down, eventually he will understand. I dont get the whole smacking thing at all, we want to be good role models for our kids, we will teach them that it's not ok to hit their peers yet we contradict ourselves by hitting them when they have done something wrong, talk about way to confuse a kid! Children need to learn how to problem solve and to use conflict resolution skills through communication not violence. Talk to your kids, have consequences for negative behaviours. It is complete double standards. Plus toddlers use aggression naturally as a way of communicating because they cannot speak properly yet, hence they can get frustrated and lash out, so when they hit someone for not sharing what do you do? no you can't hit your friend but I will hit you for being naughty. No rational thought process surrounding smacking. Just my opinion, If you want to do it to your kids then that's your choice, I don't judge, Its just not for me. Also, between 9-12 months babies are just starting to understand what no means, so I don't believe they will be able to comprehend the cause and effect of smacking, I would worry that it would lead toy child not trusting me or being afraid of me. Regardless of whether or no you choose to smack your children, I really do personally believe that 9months is too early. Good luck with what ever you choose.

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Aimee - posted on 12/13/2013

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There is a big difference between spanking your child and beating your child. If you don't know the difference, then you should seek help.

Kelly - posted on 04/04/2010

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Well either way I agree with Judy..I think some of the other moms are thinking that what I was doing was an actual hard slap when I explained it. It was a light smack..nothing horrible. It's not a crime and it wasn't in a harming way. There's a big difference. That along with a firm 'no' and if anything,sometimes being put in his playpen worked perfectly fine with my son and that's all that matters to me. The punishment he gets when he's with his dad obviously doesn't work because that's all I ever hear from him. He thinks putting him by the couch and making him stand with his hands at his sides and his chin up..is going to do something. He tries to treat him like he's in the military or something. All it's going to do is give him a complex when he gets older. His father always insists that I need to do something about it when..he's only doing that kind of stuff when he's at his dad's house. He doesn't lash out over at my house now unless he needs to take a nap or head to bed for the night. He knows his boundaries at my house now I guess and doesn't feel the need to do anything like that anymore. So in the long run I guess he will continue to do things like hitting and scratching over at his dad's because he knows he can get away with it. There's nothing I can do to solve it over there.

[deleted account]

I agree with Meghan at that age just taking their hands away and saying No firmly should startle them enough....he is only 9 months old!!!! why would you want to smack him any ways?????

Meghan - posted on 04/04/2010

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Why do you need to slap his hands at all? A firm NO will startle him just as much to get his attention.

Jessica - posted on 04/04/2010

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Hitting your child for hitting you isn't going to work. ITs just going to go back and forth. You are stooping to their level... while for them its understandable, since they are children- for you its pretty immature. You are supposed to be the adult, the example. There is a certain amount of respect that has to go into being a parent- they respect you of course, but you need to respect them or that won't happen. Saying, "I can hit you but you can't hit back" undermines that.

[deleted account]

So Kelly... if you are allowed to hit your son when he hits you... does that mean that he is allowed to hit you when you hit him? Or are you going to hit him for hitting you for hitting him?

Kelly - posted on 04/03/2010

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A hard slap...is harming them. A little tap or swat on the hand when they hit you..isn't going to harm them. All it does is make them eventually realize that every time they hit you, they are going to get a little swat as well. It hasn't done anything wrong to my son. It hasn't made him not trust me or make him love me any less. He only does it now and then just to see if i'm going to do the same pattern and tell him 'no'. Each person has their own route of discipline and i'm leaving it at that. Each child acts differently too. Some of my friends that have tried the same route that I have in the past, got a completely different reaction from their kids. They were amused by it and kept hitting so they had to go a different route. Sorry but i'm not harming my son in any way and neither are a lot of other moms that I know have done the same thing. It's a part of learning boundary lines and discipline.

[deleted account]

Kelly, I'm sorry but I disgree with you when you say that giving them a smack is not going to harm them. I don't see how you can make that claim when there is so much research out there that says smacking is bad for children. I don't want my son growing up thinking that mummy will hurt him (because yes smacking does hurt, whether its physical hurt or emotional hurt). I'm a big believer in natural consequences (to an appropriate degree) - "if you do that, it will hurt you" rather than "if you do that, mummy will hurt you". (no, i'm not talking about letting themselves scald themselves by picking up a hot drink or anything dumb like that).

Kelly - posted on 04/02/2010

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My son did the same thing at that age and still tries to now and then(he's going on 2). Giving them a little smack on the hand and telling them 'no' or 'that's not nice',is not going to harm them. The only reason my son tries to do it now I think is to just see if he still gets the same reaction and to also in a way probably 'test me'. If you don't tell them something verbally along those lines,they won't pick up on the reason behind it. Once they start realizing there is a constant pattern going on each time they do that one thing,they will understand you better and start to know where their boundaries are with certain things.

Heather - posted on 04/02/2010

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Two is the age when they start trying your patience to see how far they can get you to go, you cannot back down or they'll know eventually you'll just give up. I smack my kids hands when they do something bad but I don't hurt them it's just something they don't like.

Jessica - posted on 04/02/2010

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I don't agree with hand smacking at all, but certainly 9 months is too young. My son is 9 months old too, but when he does something like that I hold his hand firmly and tell him no. I believe there were studies that looked at hand-smacking vs not, and the babies/toddlers whose mothers smacked their hands for doing things were less inclined to explore.

Another reason not to- one that I have witnessed firsthand- CHILDREN LEARN FROM YOU. My DF's nephews are 19 months old and their parents (and DF's mom when she watches them) smack their hands when they get into things they aren't supposed to. One day they were eating dinner and the one kept throwing food on the floor, and she kept telling him no. Well then he got frustrated and smacked HER hand and yelled no. I wonder where he learned to do that? DF and I had to try hard not to laugh because we know perfectly well the only reason he knows that behavior is because its been done to him. And how can you teach a child not to hit when you do it? I'm not saying don't discipline your kid or teach them not to do things like that- but find better ways to do it.

Liana - posted on 04/02/2010

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I think 9 months is to young to smack as you said he is a baby all you will do is frighten him or he'll think it is a game. Just tell him no and if he does it again move him away from you, not being close to you will have more impact than a smack.

Michelle - posted on 04/02/2010

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I'm not against physical disciple at all, unlike some mothers who never spank their children or anything. Yes, I'd say it's ok to lightly smack your child's hand to show him what is right and wrong. I'm still trying to get my 11 month old to realize it, but she just laughs and smacks my hands back. lol

[deleted account]

not at all as long as its not hard. just a light tap. i do it with ours when she grabs my hair sometimes. as long as it doesnt leave a mark or bruise its fine

Jessica - posted on 04/02/2010

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if he can crawl and get into stuff he shouldnt be into then he aint too young to have his hands smacked

Randi-Marie - posted on 03/28/2010

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I personally tried the tapping of the hand on my now 22 month old daughter but I found it to be very uneffective for she then turned around and started hiting my husband and I on the hand back. I have found it to be very effective to pry her hands off of my hair, then I put her on the ground, then I neal down to her to where I am eye level with her and tell her "no, dont pull mommy's hair. Its hurts mommy!" if that doesnt work and she continues to do it then I put her in time out for a minute and a half. No longer and no shorter of a time period. When it comes to time out it should only be one minute per age of the child.



Hpe this helps!! =)

Meghan - posted on 03/28/2010

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I would lightly tap my son hand at this age...now that he is a little older I have a trick where I kind of cover his hand and slap both of our hands at the same time...my hand gets a good smack to make a loud noise and kinda just tap his hand. It startles him and gets his attention

Casey - posted on 03/28/2010

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I used to smack my sons hand at that age when he would pull my hair and earrings, you don't have to do it hard at all but just enough so that they know that it's not on but like one of the other mums said make sure you use a verbal que as well like no or stop or something like that.

Theresa - posted on 03/28/2010

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Yeah, there has to be some point where they need to know that pulling is NOT okay; my 9mo old knows what he's doing hurts, and he knows when he's not supposed to do something. Because I've had to swat his hand, when I see him reach for a cord or something else he's not supposed to touch I get his attention and show him my hand and he'll redirect his attention elsewhere.

Brean - posted on 03/28/2010

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i would say smacking the hand is a unnecessary, but often used tactic to get what the adult wants and has no other means of getting. my sister would verbally communicate that it was not ok and use her own hands to pry open my nephews hands. it seemed to work much better than "smacking" them.

Trisha - posted on 03/28/2010

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Oh yes i do think its time to do that if he dosen't respond to verbal "no". My 9 month old daughter gets her hand swated at and she gets the hint bc i only do it as a last resort. I started that when she was like 6 months old bc she would yank at my hair comstantly, i had to do something!

Amy - posted on 03/28/2010

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I don't think so. He has got to ralise that there are things he can't do at some point in time.

Kaila - posted on 03/28/2010

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My son will be 2 next month and I just started smacking his hands but not very often. I feel guilty every time. At 9 months it may just be an instinct to close his hand on whatever is in it. I don't know if I would smack his hand just yet.

Tamara - posted on 03/28/2010

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I wouldn't say smack but to tap the hand to let him know it's a no no is okay to me. I had the same problem gently tap their hands to signal it a no no to pulls mommy hair

Ashley - posted on 03/28/2010

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oh no once they start pulling i wouldn't say it is a bad thing to pop their hand.. because we all know that hurts.. but make sure to tell him ouch or that hurts or no.. you know so he knows that is a no no.. now of course it will not work the first go around because of his age but if you dont stop him he will keep at it..

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