Have you ever bruised your child? m

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Have you ever bruised your child? m
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 1:07pm
I am so mad at myself, and frustrated and angry that I haven't been able to think of anything else all day! Last night DS got completely out of control in the bathtub ( over a bathtub toy). He was very tired, and whinny and just unmanagable. Well, to make a long story short, he started screaming at the top of his lungs, and kicking/hitting at me and trying to bite me. I'm 7 months pregnant and was trying to keep him from hitting my belly. I gave him several chances to calm down, and gave him a slight slap on his bare bottom to see if I could get his attention. Every once in a very great while, he will get like this and nothing calms him down except time. I should have remembered that. Anyway, I told him that he had one more chance to stop screaming at me or I was going to slap his mouth ( my ears were ringing he was screaming so loud). He didn't, and I raised my hand to slap him. At the same time, he threw his head against my hand as it came in towards his mouth and I ended up hitting him very hard on the side of his right temple. This morning he woke up with a huge black and blue bruise on his face from my hand. I knew as soon as his head hit my hand that it was too hard from all the wiggling he was doing. Needless to say I feel sick, have almost thrown up over this. I talked to my husband who was supportive, but not happy about it. I feel like a child abuser, like I purposely beat up my child, even though that isn't at all what was intended. We don't spank often, but I will give him a slap on the bottom when he gets too sassy or tempermental. I will also slap his mouth when he screams at me ( which he seems to do more and more often these days). Otherwise for lesser infractions, we have time outs and take away privledges.

Thanks for listening this long! I just feel so, so aweful and wondered if this has happened to anyone else? DS and I have talked and talked about this and i have apologized and told him it was wrong to slap him and that i had no right to hurt him like that. He seems to understand. I didn't explain to my baby sitter what happened, though I'm sure she can figure it out. What do I do? Have I emotionally scared my child for life?


Avatar for imomtojd
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 1:39pm
I can totally understand how you feel but everyone makes mistakes. I can't tell you how often I'd love to slap DS5 like that. Being a parent is wonderful but can also be soooo frustrating. You have talked to your husband about it and apologized to DS, so now I would forgive myself and just make sure I kept my cool next time (and there will be a next time LOL). I've found that walking away from the situation (for just a minute in the bath) helps. Anyway, take care. Lisa
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Registered: 06-18-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 1:42pm
Lisa, you are no child abuser. You are only human and there is no need to beat yourself up over this. Firstly, what happened (as you describe it) was an accident. Secondly, and more importantly, your boy pushed you beyond the limit of most peoples' tolerance, let alone that of an overwhelmed, pregnant mother. Of course it is not right to resort automatically to physical means of punishing your children, but you didn't. What happened was an accident. You are beating yourself up over what you felt were your intentions (which you successfully restrained) not your actions (which were blameless).

Yes, small children are relatively helpless and utterly dependent but this does not make them morally exempt from the consequences of their actions, even when they are little. You are only human. You are not to blame.

A friend of my lovely four year-old son's came to play with him the other day. This friend is a notorious bruiser, a sweet enough little fellow but a bit of a terror. When it was time for him to go home and his mother insisted on leaving in spite of his protests the little boy set about beating his mother up -- seriously -- he hammered the living daylights out of her, it was like watching a mugging. What she needed to do (in my opinion) was physically to restrain the boy until he stopped kicking and punching her. Instead she did nothing, so she had to suffer considerable public humiliation as a parent, a certain amount of physical discomfort and the little boy learned no lesson whatsoever.

I'm telling you this because, like my son's friend's mother, you were being physically assaulted and whatever your noble aspirations as a parent (I have those, too), the point is that, as a human being, you were being assaulted. You reacted like any human being would to being assaulted. When my son (a long time ago) hauled off and slapped my wife hard on the face, I reacted like a husband, not a social worker, and spanked him just as I would have spanked anyone who deliberately slapped my wife, intending to cause pain. He never did it again and is the apple of my eye. Being a parent does not make you superhuman. Being a child does not always give you a "Get out of Jail Free" card like in Monopoly. You sound like a wonderful parent to me. So stop beating yourself up and take no guff from the little blighter, okay?

Edited 6/19/2003 1:52:19 PM ET by misterjenny

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 2:08pm
Hi there! First of all, please know that from your post, you are NOT a child abuser!!! Don't think that you are!

Second, while I haven't actually left a bruise on my DS's body, I have grabbed him hard and accidentally hurt him in other ways.

As your son was acting up, he was thrashing around, which made him a moving target for your hand. It was surely an accident, even though you actually MEANT to do something. Don't beat yourself up over this. Did you tell your son you were sorry? That's the most important thing. If you hurt him and you didn't mean it, he needs to hear the sincere apology. If you make a big deal out of it, so will your DS. So don't. Just apologize for the accident and move on. Your DS is young enough that he probably won't ever remember that moment in time. YOU will, but that's a different story. Mommy Guilt is a strong thing sometimes!

As long as your DS is OK, there's no reason for you to continually beat yourself up over it.

Loving wife to David (3-2

Avatar for kansascity
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 2:33pm
Yes, actually, I have bruised my child before. She bruises VERY easily (just like her mom and grandma - LOL!). I most recently (after giving her a several of options - and probably too many chances - to calm down) grabbed her by the arm to physically put her in her room. She ended up with a couple of "finger" marks on her arm. Like you, I apologized. And we talked about what we need to do when we BOTH get so "worked up".

Like everyone else has said, you are NOT a child abuser. I think you know it was an accident and followed up like you should with an apology and talking with your son. Now, you need to forgive youself. Easier said than done. I know. I think my DH would probably have reacted the same way your did, too, by getting a little upset with me. It's easier for him to walk away and remain calm in situations like this. Plus he doesn't spend as much time with the kids so I think the frustrations don't build as esily.


Kathy, Alexandra (6/19/97) and Christian (12/22/99)

Avatar for boymeetsgirl
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 5:50pm
Don't beat yourself up over this. No matter how good of a parent we are, there are times that we will lose our patience and our temper will get the best of us. We know that the right thing to do is to walk away and calm down, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, even that seems to be too much. From what you have said, it was an accident (in direct relation to a consequence). You do feel remorse, you apologized and that's all that is expected. I'm sure that mommy guilt will have you thinking a little more clearly next time, although that doesn't mean that you won't have reason to smack your child on the bottom again.

I remember when my ds was only a couple years old, he was on my bed early on a Sunday morning. He was standing and falling onto the bed. I was telling him not to do it, because he might hurt himself, when he fell unto my elbow. OUCH! He went to church with grandma with a black eye that morning, and mommy at home feeling sooooo bad.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 7:41pm
Lisa don't worry. There have been times when I have gone to spank my daughter on the bottom and she moves, so I end up hitting the small of her back. Needless to say, it leaves a small bruise. I get so frustrated with her sometimes I just don't know what to do. It definitely has not left any emotional scars. This is my my time on this message board and it's nice to know there are others who are going through the same thing. I thought I was the only one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 10:51am
How are you now, Lisa? Accidents will happen. The important thing is to learn from them. Maybe you can have hubby take over when youare getting angry? I know there are tiems when I have to walk away myself. It's only normal. HUGS! I hope you're feeling better.

Janet =)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 10:07pm
You know Lisa, several folks who have replied to this thread have said "Don't worry about it" or "It happens to everybody" but I'm going to take a different path. Should you feel bad about it, heck yeah. You are a grown woman who let a situation with a small child get so far out of hand that you smacked him upside the head and left a bruise. Sometimes guilt is a good thing, it lets us know when things are wrong and that they need to be fixed.

I won't launch into a diatribe about hitting (FWIW, I'm against hitting under any circumstances) but think about it this way, what you are doing for punishment just isn't effective, if the behavior doesn't stop. If you feel that there are occasions that you must spank your child, that's your decision, but please stop hitting your child in the head as a means of punishment. As you found out, when you are hitting out of frustration, things can get out of hand really quickly and there's a lot more chance of doing serious damage near the head and face than there is on the backside.

People do raise their children without ever hitting them. There's a wealth of information about alternative ways to discipline if you're willing to take the time. At the very least, think before you hit. Take five minutes away, get your composure and make your decision with a cooler head.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 10:40pm
I tend to agree with cryptikchik but I think I remember that the op said she was putting her hand up to lightly smack his mouth (which I completely don't agree with but isn't the same as smacking upside the head) and at the same time he fell toward her so the bruise itself was an accident and would not have occurred. I do feel spanking/hitting are unacceptable methods of discipline but I do feel it is best to let the op know that everybody gets frustrated and while she may have used bad judgment what ultimately happened was an accident and she shouldn't let the guilt overcome her and she should forgive herself, apologize to her child, and move on. I would always take the opportunity, however to encourage parents to consider that spanking is not (in my opinion) a healthy way of raising children.
Avatar for inmommyworld
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 7:37am
Here is my 2 cents from one Lisa to another Lisa. I personally do not think you are a child abuser. I think you were tired, you're pregnant and your ds pushed you to the breaking point, as small children can do!

Stop dwelling on it and feeling guilty, don't keep bringing it up to your ds, since it my upset him more. As long as you apologized to him and re-assured him that you were wrong and made a mistake and it will never ever happen again. And consciously try to not let this happen again. When you feel like you're getting to the breaking point, ask dh to take over, go for a drive, lay down in your room alone, go for a walk--anything to calm down. I got pregnant with my second ds when my oldest was only 6 months old and as the pregnacy progressed I was soooo tired and so impatient with my ds. But you have to take care of yourself and your baby.

Just let it go and promise yourself to never do it again. I think your ds will be just fine, and you need to forget aboit it and just prove to him that you love him and make him feel secure.