Monday, March 21, 2011

The Hitting

I was totally ready for the Terrible Twos.  I was ready for meltdowns and tantrums.  I was ready for "no" in all of its glory.   Thankfully, we seemed to avert much of the biting that she was learning from daycare.

What I was not ready for?  Was the hitting.

I have physical boundary issues anyway.  So when my kid started ripping my glasses off my face and laughing about it, it tested my ability to not get angry.

But the hitting?

(Breathe.  1... 2... 3... )

I have read popular articles, and some of the scholarly ones also, that discuss how bad spanking is.  I was determined to be a mother that did not spank.  Okay, maybe a swat.  Only when necessary.  Reserved for life-or-death things like running into the street.

So when my kid punched me for the millionth time the other day, totally out of the blue, I reflexively smacked her on the backside.

It wounded her grievously and she cried pitiously in my arms.  My heart broke. Immediately, I was remembering everything that I read.  That spanking makes them emotionally withdrawn.  That spanking makes them hit more - how can you teach "no hitting" when you, yourself, hit?  That spanking breaks trust.

Spanking goes against every ounce of attachment parenting I have practiced for two years.

So ... what am I left with?  When my kid hits me, or steals my glasses, what do I do?  Other than breathe deeply and try to squelch the instinct to hit back, what is left?

I've tried stern.  I've obviously tried spanking.  (So has my dad).  I've tried time out, which she doesn't at all understand or comprehend.  I've tried just simply removing her to another room when she got so excited she hit my mom, and she was so wounded at that, she started to cry.

Other suggestions?  Is it just a phase? 

The good thing is, in the Great Car Cleanout, I found a book I had checked out of the library last summer about positive discipline for the under 3 crowd.  Since I probably already owe a hundred bucks in fines on it, I might as well re-read it and see if it has any suggestions.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Ah hitting. We have gone through I think three hitting stages at this point. Lately? It's hitting the cats, which I almost find worse than hitting me.

We do time outs - two minutes in the corner with a stern, "No hitting! Go to the corner." Followed by two minutes of total silence from me while he stands there. This is ended with me getting down to his level and explaining why he was in the corner.

We also had a talk about hitting by accident, touching and hitting on purpose. So we have a three strikes and you're out rule:

Hit 1 - Did you hit Mama or were you playing? Was that an accident? Are you sorry?

Hit 2 - Are you playing? Because that felt like a hit, and there is no hitting. Hit me again and you go in the corner.

Hit 3 - No hitting. Go to the corner.

After two or three rounds of this, we are generally hit free for about a month. We just went through this with the cats last week and he's been golden since.

Good luck!