On Tuesday I wrote about the possibility of hitting my son.
Mostly because, lately, he won’t seem to stop hitting me!
This is on my mind because my son has recently developed a swatting problem. And I don’t mean in regards to flies; we taught him to catch them with chopsticks, Miyagi-style.
He swats at other kids who get too close on the slide, he swats at inanimate objects that displease him, he swats at his mom and dad. There is nothing more infuriating than picking your kid up only to be rudely and abruptly slapped in the face for no reason.
As I discussed in the aforementioned post about spanking, the modern parenting handbook calls for the “time out” approach, which, to this dad, is proving about as effective as the NFL’s replacement officials.
Sometimes, like when he actually lands a powerful swat, or when he won’t stop whining and swatting in unison – which is essentially the starter version of the dreaded tantrum – it can be hard to keep cool. (What can I say, I’m only two years in to this fatherhood thing; I’m a work in progress.) And then I yell a bit too loud, or find myself getting a bit too angry at him, and I feel like crap. So I search for another solution. But the fact is – at least I hope the fact is – he’s just in a phase.
It’s clear he picked up the habit somewhere: he saw some other kid swat, or he saw me slap my wife (she deserved it), and it looked like a fun thing to do. He’s just figuring things out, and, hopefully, we’ll quickly disabuse him of the notion that swatting is an effective way to get what he wants. To that end, I’m not sure swatting him back is the best approach, but it wouldn’t be the first time I used two wrongs to make a right. Sometimes that actually works!
He is not yet in school, and we haven’t seen him actually smack any other kids yet – he mostly just swings his arm a bit. But it’s still a problem. And we’re trying to solve it. Suggestions are appreciated, but if you tell me put him in time out I’ll put a bounty on you.
It’s all part of the learning process, for him and for us. I’m just thankful a biting problem hasn’t surfaced. The last thing I need is a call from a teacher or another parent that my kid is using his teeth. Because I don’t care how old you are or how tough you are; biting hurts like a bitch.
Even Batman will cry if you bite him.