It’s Just a Smack, Right?

Seriously, is that not the most dramatic-looking tantrum face you’ve ever seen?

Driving home, after picking up The Kid the other day, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: “how was your day at school, my love?”

The Kid: “mommy, I play with Teagan. I play with Teagan and Shaelynn. I ate all my lunch. I shoot Shaelynn and Shaelynn shouted and Sunna smack me.”

(Side note: a) I was amazed at the length of the sentence and the construction of all the events that occurred during the day into a logical order. b) ‘Teagan’ and ‘Shaelynn’ are two of his friends at school and ‘Sunna’ is what the kids call their daymother.)

Now, when the Kid was about 7 months old, we made the decision to find some sort of day-care for him. Just for two days a week, so I could study and have some alone-time during the day. We searched and searched, visited many nursery schools and creches until eventually it dawned on The Boyfriend one day that his friend’s mother is a daymother. That she lives in our area and has been looking after children ever since he could remember (he’s been friends with this guy since primary school, apparently). And that many of our friends send their kids to this daymother as well.

So I went and met her, checked out her facilities, had a long chat with her. Absolutely lovely lady. Trusted her from the moment I met her. Which is a good thing, when you’re placing your child in someone else’s care. Our routine commenced. The Kid went to her twice a week, from the age of 8 months. Before he could crawl. She taught him to crawl. She looked after him, she changed his nappies, gave him his meals, and played with him. Loved him and built a bond, a friendship and a relationship with him, just like she does for the handful of other kids she looks after.

My Kid gets excited when I tell him in the mornings he’s “going to go play at Sunna’s house”. His face lights up when he sees her. She has absolutely no problems getting him to eat – he eats everything she cooks. With me, it’s a different story. In short – she’s the best decision we ever made in terms of alternative care for our child, when I wasn’t able.

He now goes to her five days a week. From eight in the morning until four in the afternoon. He gets to play with his friends, paint, draw, play in the garden and basically have as much fun as small children can have. He gets individual attention, and he’s not just one in a group of many. He’s happy, he’s well-adjusted, he has no problems sleeping at night and he is a friendly, loving child. (Loving = if you bribe him just right) πŸ˜‰

This is not the first time he’s told me he’s gotten a smack from Sunna. I’ve also heard him say that other kids get a smack too. But I dont hear it often and these statements are generally prefaced with “I kicked Shaelynn” or “Teagan shouted at me” or “I wouldn’t share my trucks with Teagan” – so he gets the whole point of the smack. That the smack was because he or his friends did something wrong. That it serves a purpose, and a disciplinary one at that.

Am I right in feeling totally okay with another person (the person I decided worthy of raising my child in my absence) disciplining my child in this manner? I think I am. After all, if I’m not around to do it, why shouldn’t she?

After all, it’s only a smack*, right?

*Let me be clear on what my definition of a ‘smack’ is:Β  my hand applied to my Kid’s backside (which is nappy-covered) with just enough force to generate a ‘smack’ noise. It doesn’t hurt (his backside is padded) and I by no means practice/endorse any form of child abuse/beating whatsoever.

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25 Responses to It’s Just a Smack, Right?

  1. flarkus says:

    Your boy is learning to understand the repercussions of his actions, which is crucial. If you ever have the slightest suspicion that the punishment is more than this, abusive, or violent, then you can take action against the other party. But whilst she is trust-worthy and your child shows no signs of fear or anxiety about being with her, then I would also be perfectly fine about having someone else disciplining him.

    If it bothers you, discuss the issue with the daymother and ensure that there is a clear understanding. Some folks expect a report from the person when punishment has been given, but that’s probably paranoia. IMO, if the smack doesn’t traumatise the child and they’re learning a valuable life lesson, then it’s not worth stressing over

  2. mommanats says:

    I am a great believer in a smack(your explanation of a smack)every now and then.

    Megan sits on the naughty chair (which she also learned in playschool) and when the naughty chair does not serve it’s purpose I give her a smack. It usually opens her ears immediately followed by the desired action (delegated by me of course).

    She is now in the If-I-ignore-you-long-enough-you-will-go-away phase of terrible two’s. Too bad for her I ain’t going no where!
    .-= mommanats´s last blog ..Our 8 month journey…. =-.

  3. betenoir says:

    as a kid who was occasionally smacked by my mum, I can tell you it does no harm, other than being a bit embarrassing and reminding you not to pull that stunt again.

    I feel far worse for my male friends who suffered corporal punishment- being beaten with a stick in front of the whole class during high school ffs.

    there’s a difference between smacking and beating IMO and since your kid seems happy and well-adjusted i think that Sunna sounds great!

  4. Jeanette says:

    I would have a problem with it happening at school. I give my kids smacks sometimes too, but if it’s someone else you cannot have an idea about how hard that smack is.
    There are very many other ways she could have disciplined him… and she’s retaliating to the violence with another form of violence… never a good thing in my mind!
    .-= Jeanette´s last blog ..73/365 – Silly boy =-.

  5. StevenMcD says:

    Lana and I believe in the same thing. My rule for Tatum or when baby sitting my niece has always been:

    1) Ask nicely
    2) Tell
    3) Smack on the bum

    everyone is fine with it and it teaches the child that when an adult asks nicely for something to be done, that it gets done.

    Sounds like you have an awesome daymother πŸ™‚

  6. ExMi says:

    @flarkus: i have no concerns with her, and my child seems absolutely fine. thanks for some sound advice, china πŸ™‚

    @mommanats: naughty-chair doesn’t work for us – he has a timeout in his cot, though.

    @jeanette: the point is – it’s not a school. she’s a daymother, she’s basically my substitute. she looks after 4-5 other kids, in a home environment. if this had to happen when i send him to a nursery/play school, then i agree, it would definitely be a problem.

    and from the sounds of it, the smack is usually a last resort. she’s not the kind of person to resort to a smack lightly. she has the patience to talk it out with the kid first. but i gather that the smack really is the last resort ito discipline/punishment.

  7. blackhuff says:

    If the Kid is not traumitised with the Smacks he get and do learn a lesson out of the smack, then I see nothing wrong with it. I myself believe in a Smack to teach a child a lesson, my own children gets their occasional smack to teach them a lesson.

  8. Boobah's Mom says:

    We smack Boobah. If, after I’ve 1. said No, because [insert reason], 2. counted 1,2,3 and 3. you know damn well good that you should NOT be doing xyz, you still proceed with being naughty, you will get a smack. End of story. I was raised with smacks (being Afrikaans and all) and I will raise my child with smacks. And I expect his care-givers (in this case paternal grandparents) to raise and discipline him accordingly.

    I agree totally with what flarkus said!

    Also, Boobah doesn’t like being smacked OR sent to the naughty corner, so now the mere mention of either is normally enough to get him to stop his bad behavior.

  9. Taryn says:

    I’m not a mom, but I’ve been around and pseudo-raising friend’s kids, being a second big sister and whatnot. As a child that got a damn good hiding until I was 14, I approve of a good smack on the bum. I was one of the only of my friends to receive hidings, and if I look around at my friends, I’m the most well-adjusted. I know a lot of moms have issues with other people disciplining their kids (just saying “no” is an issue for some) and I think that if your child does something wrong, as long as it is someone you and your child trust, then someone has to discipline him – as long as it’s all in moderation.

  10. ExMi says:

    @blackhuff: exactly. exactly.

    @boobahsmom: haven’t reached the point where the threat of a smack or time out is effective. hoping to get there soon!

    @taryn: i was also the recipient of smacks until i was about 11. nothing wrong with it. as long as it’s a last resort form of punishment, in my opinion.

  11. ExMi says:

    @betenoir: thanks china πŸ™‚ and i agree with the corporal punishment thing – that shit’s just not on.

    one day soon, when i smack the kid he’s going to turn around and laugh at me. and before i know it he’ll be taller than me and a lot harder to smack. so hopefully i get the basics done before he outgrows me!

  12. LiLu says:

    From the way you described it, that is *exactly* what I would want done and *exactly* how I will do it someday. When people shake their heads and say “kids these days,” you’ll be able to rest easy knowing they’re not talking about yours. πŸ™‚

  13. Louisa says:

    I don’t have a problem with an ocasional smack if needed, but I’d prefer to be the one doing the smacking.
    .-= Louisa´s last blog ..65 – 71 of 365 =-.

  14. Craig says:

    I’m not a dad, but I’m an uncle many times over. I’ve seen the “spare the rod spoil the child” principle in action and it ain’t always pretty. I was brought up getting hidings and it didn’t scar me for life. On the contrary it ensured I understood that I was not behaving and that actions have consequences.

    On a side note I believe the person supplying the smack should always be in a calm state of mind – not angry and retaliating.
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Photos from the Johannesburg 27dinner =-.

  15. Fairy Girl says:

    I don’t disagree with smacking a child, I was raised with hidings and their is nothing wrong with me πŸ™‚ However, I am not sure how I would handle it if my nanny gave one of my kids a hiding, a tough one – hopefully I’ll never have to cross that bridge.

  16. saaleha says:

    How is it that I totally missed your web-move and everything? Whoosh, right pass my ear.
    Agreed, nothing wrong with that type of discipline.

  17. Bobbi Janay says:

    Ian has received a few smacks in his days and will continue too. I agree with you that others can discipline my child like I would, that way there is the same rules everywhere.
    .-= Bobbi Janay´s last blog ..FlashBack Friday =-.

  18. Angel says:

    Like you, I didn’t have a problem with someone I knew and trusted disciplining my knucklehead. But that was where I drew the line.
    And clearly this woman is doing something right with the kid.
    .-= Angel´s last blog ..Blog Challenge =-.

  19. Joyanne says:

    I sent my boy to a small play school run by a friend of mine. At the time she had an assistant, an older woman who we all liked, still do. But when I heard that she (the older woman) had smacked Raph for not sleeping during nap time (he wasn’t jumping around or anything, just lying with his eyes open) I was mad and had to tell my friend that I did NOT give permission for anyone at the school to smack my child. Please note I am not against smacking in certain circumstances -I did administer smacks to the bum as and when I felt it needed (specific incidences only) but that was MY prerogative. I was actually angry that they had done this without telling me.
    .-= Joyanne´s last blog ..hats off =-.

  20. my kid comes home from school everyday as says the same thing to me: Mommy I coloured, I played, I ate fish fingers for lunch, I slept and I did karate or whatever activity he’s got on on that day activity (I SWEAR he even rolls his eyes at me).

    Then one day last week he got into the car and told me this long story about this girl in his class’ fanny. I was all: EASY UP THERE LARRY FLINT. So I went to have a word with the teacher about it (I mean GOD, someone is teaching my kid to say the word fanny – EEEEUW) and she was “awww dear, I think it’s time for the girls and boys to stop going to the bathroom together.

    Anyway, my point is this: I WISH IT JUST STAYED AS SIMPLE AS WORRYING ABOUT A LITTLE SMACK ON A NAPPY.

    But good on you for opening up a minefield here. xxx
    .-= the jackson files´s last blog ..Meet me in the summertime we can move the air =-.

  21. my kid comes home from school everyday as says the same thing to me: Mommy I coloured, I played, I ate fish fingers for lunch, I slept and I did karate or whatever activity he’s got on on that day (I SWEAR he even rolls his eyes at me).

    Then one day last week he got into the car and told me this long story about this girl in his class’ fanny. I was all: EASY UP THERE LARRY FLINT. So I went to have a word with the teacher about it (I mean GOD, someone is teaching my kid to say the word fanny – EEEEUW) and she was “awww dear, I think it’s time for the girls and boys to stop going to the bathroom together.

    Anyway, my point is this: I WISH IT JUST STAYED AS SIMPLE AS WORRYING ABOUT A LITTLE SMACK ON A NAPPY.

    But good on you for opening up a minefield here. xxx
    .-= the jackson files´s last blog ..Meet me in the summertime we can move the air =-.

  22. whoa. sent that one twice. sorry. just call me spammy.
    .-= the jackson files´s last blog ..Meet me in the summertime we can move the air =-.

  23. Kerrryn says:

    At the end of the day what it boils down to is that YOU are okay with it. If you weren’t okay with it, it’s another issue entirely.
    I was the recipient of some rather vicious and unfair corporal punishment as a young child, so I have my rules (but they are mine, and don’t apply universally). My mom is the only other person (other than her dad or I) allowed to smack Ciara. But that is what I’M okay with.
    So as long as it’s not sitting wrong with you, and The Kid is obviously okay, and understands why he got a smack, then all is well.
    I hope no-one is giving you a hard time about this!

  24. cath says:

    I aint a smacker. At all. But i have no issue with discipline by a trusted adult. Just as, for me, It’s okay for Cam to be sent to the naughty corner at home, it’s okay for her teacher (who we’ve known since she was 18 months old) to enforce rules in the way that fits with her schools rules.

    That said, if someone we did not know or were not close to, tried to discipline my child, I’d kill them. Thats all.

    I like that the Kid understand that actions have repercussions and I think that this an awesome daymother you have here.

    Thats my 2cents
    .-= cath´s last blog ..there’s =-.

  25. Zoeyjane says:

    I dunno. I think I might be alone in this, but I would have a problem with it, for two reasons:

    a) the person providing the corporal punishment is a hired ’employee’, and from yours explanation, never received permission to treat your boy with these kinds of punishments – just made her own decision to do so, which you’ve accepted.

    and

    b) I have a hard time agreeing with the premise is sound that smacking a kiddo will teach them not to smack, kick, balh blah physical violence toward another is wrong blah. But I’m a hippier kind of chick, who generally goes with a ‘the rules for me are the same as they are for you’ idealism.

    To each their own, though – this is obviously a very personal decision.
    .-= Zoeyjane´s last blog ..On being the person, not just acting the role =-.

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