Post # 1
I am childfree, but I am also the proud aunt of three nieces. They are 10, 4 and 3 years old.
I often take my four year old niece for the weekend. It gives my brother a break and helps my niece and I build a relationship. I love her to pieces and we get along great.
My niece is a well behaved child. However, she has the tendency to weep profusely if she doesn’t get her way or if she is scolded. As much as I am an indulgent aunt, I will not tolerate such behavior from any of my nieces while they are in my care.
My family of origin believes in corporal punishment. Because of this, my brother says that I can hit my four year old niece if she is misbehaving. I never do it because she gets hit by so many other people. My niece doesn’t need her aunt hitting her as well.
When my niece throws a tantrum, I tell her that she will not get what she wants by crying and then I ignore her until she stops. I don’t know if that is the right thing to do…I just know that I don’t want to smack my niece. I hope that it never comes to that as long as I live; I know how it feels to be beaten and hit by authority figures.
What do the mothers on WeddingBee think? Am I doing the right thing when my niece cries because she doesn’t get her way? How would you handle that situation?
I hope that I have not said anything to offend anyone. I don’t want this to become a group attack. Life is hard enough and we don’t need to fight. Thank you in advance for those who are honest without taking shots at me.
Post # 3
The poor children. In my opinion no child should ever experience violence.
I think what you’re doing is absolutley right and exactly what I would do and do with my daughter. It’s great that you explain why this behaviour will not work and then ignore it.
Post # 4
I think you do the EXACT right thing!
I work in childcare, so obviously hitting the kids isn’t an option.
But when a child throws a massive fit (and not because they’re tired or hungary, but because they’re being rotten), I will seperate them from the other kids and ignore them “until you feel better”.
Post # 5
I think you are doing the exact right thing. While I have lightly swatted my own children’s behinds on very rare occasions, I would NEVER spank my nieces and nephews and I would not have my own children spanked by anyone other than me and DH. I think it is a very personal thing and should be saved for very serious situations- not just when a child cried for not getting their way.
Post # 6
@TakeTwo: I work with teenagers, so, very different, and have little experience with smaller children, but what you’re doing sounds spot-on to me.
I do not believe personally that smacking is necessary; you should be able to discipline a child effectively without resorting to physical violence. While I don’t think the occasional smack will harm a child long-term, I do find it pointless; a good parent should be able to instill discipline without the threat of violence.
So, in your case I would likely do the same; though I’m perhaps a bit harsher as I would likely also say she is being silly, and then say that she will not get anything by crying. I would also possibly threaten to withdraw a treat if she didn’t stop crying (eg ‘If you carry on crying not only will you not get ice-cream, but we won’t go to the cinema’), and then follow through if she continued, as I think that some form of punishment for such behaviour tends to be quite effective. Again, I work with older children but if they misbehave, they are threatened with consquences, and if they continue, I follow through. Works like a charm.
Post # 7
I was smacked as a child, I had to hold out my hand and wait for my parent to slap the hand. It stung but it didn’t really hurt, it was more about the self-control of holding my hand out and the embarrassment of having been SO naughty that this is what it came to.
BUT this only happened about 3 times in my life. Normally I was ignored until I could calm down, then I was spoken to about the issue.
I do hope that when you say they “hit” your niece, that you just mean “smack”. The word hitting normally implies a lot of force is used and not on the bottom or hand (safe places in my opinion). Smack normally implies enough force to scare a child but not enough to actually really hurt them and normally applied on the bottom or hand. From that, I normally say that hitting is bad but smacking is ok. BUT some people use those words to mean the same thing.
I hope that made sense. :/
Post # 8
I absolutely think you’re doing the right thing! I don’t think it’s right for anyone but a child’s parent to use corporal punishment, and even then…I don’t always agree with it. I was spanked as a child but my aunts never spanked me. I know someone whose parents allowed all of his relatives to spank him whenever they saw fit and he grew up to be very resentful and full of anger about that.
I think that ignoring the crying and letting her know why that won’t get her what she wants is the best course of action and what I’d do in your positions, too. 🙂
Post # 9
Thanks all. It is good to hear from parents that I am doing right by my niece. My aunts and uncles never hit me, even though they were given permission by my parents.
I think that a child who is spanked should have some adults in their lives who don’t do so. I want my niece to feel that she will always be able to talk to her auntie. Her parents believe in instilling fear so that she will obey them. That kind of childrearing is not healthy for kids at all; it is the way I was raised and I am all kinds of screwed up.