I always said I'd never smack my child. There must be other ways to teach a toddler not to do something. But earlier this year, after telling her several times to stop opening and closing the sliding door (if she closes it on her little fingers I'm sure they'll break) I ended up giving her a smack. It wasn't that hard, definitely more of a fright than actually hurting her. She cried, and I cried. It was the most awful thing.
Another mother said to me later that week when in guilt I told her of the incident that good punishments are the hardest ones to give. Or something like that.....
I don't smack very often, but occasionally when Emily is really testing me out and she's in danger of doing great harm to herself, I will resort to a smack on the bottom.
One cheeky monkey who is obsessed with opening and closing doors!
I've tried other ways, counting to three, sitting and having a stern talk, distracting her with something else. Honestly none of them are effective. She's only 20 months and she thinks counting to three is a game, won't sit for a stern talk and has a damn good memory as the distraction thing rarely works.
Today was a long day of sewing in preparation for next weeks market. Unfortunately whilst Emily is awake I can never get that much sewing done. I was almost finished a dress when she woke from her nap, so after getting her up, changing, feeding and playing with her for an hour and finally distracting her with ABC2 I thought I'd just finish the last bit of hemming and that would mean more time to sew another piece tonight.
No sooner had I begun than she wandered into my craft room and started playing with the dials on the machine (whilst I was sewing!) and then almost put her little finger under the moving needle. At least three to four times I sternly told her no. Each time she moved away, then slyly came back for more. In the end she was laughing at me. That was it! I gave her a little smack on the backside, told her "NO!" and moved her away from the machine. She looked at me with her big brown eyes, mouth quivered and then she lost it.
I felt terrible. I didn't pick her up, I didn't cuddle her, I barely looked in her direction....for about 30 seconds. Not even a minute after the punishment she came up to me, tear streaked cheeks and looking very sad. "sowwy Mummy" she whispered. I gave her a cuddle, told her I loved her and didn't want her to get hurt and she couldn't play with Mummy's machine.
Not long after she found a book and sat on the floor and flicked the pages telling me the story in her gibberish. The dress got finished and we spent the afternoon in the garden planting leeks and silverbeet and chasing the white moths that seem to have found a home amongst the tomatoes.
She wasn't damaged, she was OK. She was happy and she left the craft room alone for the rest of the afternoon. I still feel terrible that I had to punish her. Strangly I don't fee that bad about the actual smack, but i feel bad that she cried and was upset. I wish I could just let her do whatever she wants but that would be irresponsible. Why does being a mother have to be so God damn hard sometimes?!
How do you feel about smacking?