Smacking children

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stonemonkey | 14:11 Mon 19th May 2008 | Parenting
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First off, I'm not a parent, but I was sickened by this.

My neighbour, who has 4 children, took me to meet a friend of hers. This friend has 2 children, and the youngest is a boy. He's like any other boy of his age (4) and gets up to mischief, but nothing terrible. When I was at this woman's house, her son was playing with stones near the path. He wasn't throwing them, just making small piles. She asked him to stop twice, but he didn't so she picked him up by one arm and started smacking him so hard I thought his arm would break. My first reaction was to stand up and get him away from her, but I stayed seated. She took him inside and kept smacking him. My neighbour's not happy and says it happens a lot but she never interferes. I asked if we could leave and she said yes. Her friend comes back out to the garden and says, "I'm surprised he didn't cry buckets. I was really smacking him hard." We got up and left just after that.

Is this as shocking to others, as it was to me? What the hell is she teaching that poor boy? Should I have said or done something? It's the age old argument of how can someone without children understand. That's one of the things that stopped me intervening. I still feel some guilt.


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That's really shocking. I would have been upset. I think I would have tried to stop her. But then you wonder if you'd stopped her, that she would've felt embarrassed and then taken her embarrassment out on the little boy after you'd gone. Perhaps she should be reported to the NSPCC.
Oh that's horrible :-(

I'd have been just as devastated as you appear ot be if i'd witnessed that and I do have children, so no, you're not in the "don't have kids, dunno what you're talking about" camp.

As to how I'd have tackled it in your situation, i've no idea, but I think like you I'd have sat in stunned horror then quickly made escuses and left pretty bloody pronto!

I've a 3yr old myself, and I know exactly how children can 'press your buttons' but to beat her, and your example DOES sound like a beating is totally alien to me. Yes I've smacked her, but in my defense (?) It's always been one smack on her bottom and never with any real force.

Don't go to that horrible womans house again is my advise!

It is shocking stonemonkey and isn't it also illegal? I've got 2 daughters and couldn't contemplate such behaviour. I can perfectly understand why you did nothing and still feel a bit guilty. Sometimes the shock of seeing something like that can be paralysing. I certainly think you'll be doing the boy a big favour (and possibly his mother) if you were to have a word with social services, after all if she's like this in front of guests, who knows what she's like behind closed doors.
some people agree with smacking some don't
as a child i got a smack so did not do that again, my friend got a good belting ( big leather one ) off his dad so that he would not do wrong again.example would be riding blke in park , the parky gave a warning if you rode in the park again you got a smack so that you did not ride your bike again.nowadays the parkeeper would be sued , sack from his job and put on the sex register.
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I feel it was abuse of the poor little boy. I've seen him at my neighbour's house a few times, and she looks after him 2 or 3 times a week. Only once has she ever had to put him on the naughty step. My neighbour never smacks her children, but she swears that the naughty step works wonders. This friend of hers, who smacks the boy, has tried the naughty step, but ends up smacking him hard because he won't stay on it.

She came to visit my neighbour yesterday, and I pretended I hadn't seen her so that I didn't have to speak to her. I never normally behave like that, but she's sickened me. I feel like reporting her to the NSPCC.
Can you report anonymously? If so I'd be tempted to do it in your place.

Yes it might be a case of overkill, but i'd rather (personally speaking here) know he and the mum were checked out and OK'd than to have serious damage inflicted on him in the future from a mum who's gone beserk.
in my opinion, a person who smacks ANY child cannot control their anger.
i wouldn't approach anyone who is smacking their child.
thats their business.
but being a person who can't keep her mouth shut (me) i would show concern that the parent is unable to control her/him-self and say that (the incident) she/he went too far.

if you see that sort of thing again (if I was you) report it.
in my opinion that child is being abused.
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In a way I wish this mother was my friend, and not a friend of a friend. Don't know if that would make it easier, but I don't want to upset my neighbour, which seems pathetic given that a boy is being hurt.

I'm godmother to a teenage girl, who I never see now. The reason for that is that I stopped her Mum kicking her when she was very young. She'd got hold of a lipstick and had drawn on the wallpaper, and her Mum lost it and started kicking her. I stepped in, was told to FO and I've never seen them since. Because of that incident, I know think twice before getting involved.

I think I'll talk to my neighbour and see what we can do.
If you feel so strongly, perhaps you should say something to the woman and warn that if you see her doing it again, you will report her to the police and social services, never mind the NSPCC.

We all, (including me!) try to avoid difficult situations, but if it was as horrifying as you say, is that not the time to stand up and be counted? The problem is, I suppose, that you don't know if it will just drive the behaviour underground, so she does it where nobody can see and the bruises don't show.

Once many years ago, we lived in an upstairs maisonette and going out, heard a commotion in the downstairs maisonette and looked in to see our fiery downstairs neighbour laying into her 5 year old boy with a Prestige Fish Slice. We didnt need to say anything as she stopped as soon as she realised we had seen what she was doing, but I often wondered if we should have reported it, and if she ever took it out on him later when nobody knew.....
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Ah Mamjet, it only works when people don't know you are inflammatory and a wind-up merchant!
It annoys me when people talk about witnessing child abuse and just sit by, watch and do nothing. This woman needs to be reported to social services as this kind of treatment is pure and simple abuse.

Stonemonkey, if this woman eventually kills her child, imagine how much more guilt you will feel for not intervening. I would have been on that phone to social services as soon as I got home. If anything, this mother obviously cannot cope with being a mother and needs help.
There's a diffrence between disciplining a child and abuse, most parents can tell the diffrence, some, like this lady cannot.

Child abuse is a criminal offence, she should be reported forthwith!!!
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There's a huge difference between smacking and murder. I've spoken to my neighbour and something is going to be done. Children are sometimes worse off in foster homes. That shouldn't be the case. but it often is.

Disciplining a child by hitting it 4GS?

It's not that long ago you could legally beat your wife as long as the stick was no thicker than your thumb ("rule of thumb")

Some people still seem to think it's OK for children - I guess women have the vote now and children don't
No smacking isn't murder, but how far will this physical chastisement go?

Eventually, the child will become use to being smacked hard and it will appear the effectiveness no longer works. You said yourself Stonemonkey, the mother came out and said "I'm surprised he didn't cry buckets".This shows the boy is becoming accustomed to being hit hard.

Surely at some point the mother will start to hit even harder, possibly punch, shake and kick. When this starts happening, then it sometimes does result in murder.
some wouldnt like my answer . that is . i would have invited her round my home on her own .. told her to come in .. then i would have smackt her and shouted at her and i mean smack her hard ...

then after she is screaming "what the hells that for "

i would have said. " well you do it to your son and i did it cos you didnt wipe your feet when you come into my home lol lol...

i am one parent of 4 grown up kids .and a granfather to 4 children .. i would never hit them . i would only shout

you will find out 9 out of 10 parents only smack there kids coz there parents beat them when they were kids...and they say it done them no harm !!! .....i say !!! is that before you beat the **** out of your own kids or after..... i rest my case !!!!
That is terrible! I dont understand how anybody could hurt a child!! If i was to witness this i would have probably give the woman a smack and then asked her how she liked it!!

This sort of thing needs to be reported!! Kids will be kids and they dont need to be treated this way!! You should try and help put a stop to this and if nothing comes of it at least you know you have tried!
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oh that sounds awful- if she is happy to treat him like that in front of other people what must she be doing when no-one is around. It is sad - he will probably turn into a violent little boy and she will not accept any responsibility for him!! I am sorry dont know what to suggest you do ..........

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