To smack or not to smack?

After reading this BBC News article about a Father in the UK who was arrested for smacking his son, I was encouraged to write about this here.

From a personal point of view I have always seen smacking as a last resort, but as Rémy has grown I now see things rather differently. Not that I’m going to instantly smack! He will be 18 months old the day after tomorrow and as he is now walking and running he is started to be mischievous. It’s that age – or so everyone tells me.

He has a new found freedom and loves exploring, including touching things he shouldn’t or trying to take things that are not his. High on that list are TV/DVD/Freebox remote controls – but very occasionally he’ll take an important piece of paper from my desk or even once my camera! Not really smacking offences in my mind – he usually gets told off.

Over the last few weeks I have smacked his wrist for other things.

He has a tendency to lose his temper if he doesn’t get his own way. Much of the time he is fairly calm – but if he takes something he shouldn’t and you take it off him he just goes ballistic and throws a tantrum. It can get pretty bad if you pick him up – he tries to get away. With Thumpah he has been known to hit and smack her in the face and there is when he gets a smack.

The other occasions have been at meal times. The starter goes down fine (usually cherry tomatoes or cucumber), so does cheese and fruit. But the main part of the meal – usually meat or fish like salmon (no bones) with veg doesn’t. Today it was fillet mignon & jardinière – he had about 4 spoonfuls and then refused flat to eat any more. Normally he likes it. So after trying over and over again to give him one more spoonful I said “Right, either you have this one spoonful or you get a smack on your hand”. I showed him what I meant with my hand and he still refused. So he got a light smack on his hand. After that he ate most of the bowl of veg and meat – but refused to eat the last 3 spoonfuls.

As usual the cheese went down on it’s own and he ate half his fruit salad.

So in conclusion I will smack, but sparingly – it’s not as if I hurt him, but it does seem a way of telling him that “this is the limit”.

Oh and yes, I don’t like doing it.

His latest thing is to throw things from his bed after I’ve put him down for his sieste. Normally he just gets told off – to let him know that I’m not happy and that he shouldn’t do that. That is usually enough for when he touches things he shouldn’t – but it’s been a couple of weeks now and he continues to throw his toys, cover and pillow from his bed. This includes his Bengy “doudou” – and of course when he is without that he cries.

So this afternoon he did the same thing, and started crying in his room. I left him for 10 minutes or so, then went to see what was happening (his cry wasn’t one where he was upset – more him crying for attention). Of course he had thrown everything out of his bed. So I rearranged everything – telling him I wasn’t happy with him. Then as I was tucking him in he lay there grinning at me. So I said “Right, you find that funny? Well I don’t! If I come back later and find everything outside of your bed again you’ll get a smack [meaning on the wrist]”. He stopped grinning and gave me a serious look. I told him to get some sleep and I’d be back later.

That was about 30 mins ago – and since then I’ve not heard a peep from him…

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