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Stop Hitting - Get Help Now

answered 10:05 PM EST, Sat November 02, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
I snapped and hit my children last night when they were misbehaving at Mcdonalds’. Another man came over and asked me to stop and I screamed at him to mind his own business. The woman he was with said she would call the police so I did not do anything but grabbed my kids and walked away. I was furious at him for getting involved even though I should not have done what I did. I did not hit them hard like it was child abuse but that is not the point. The point is I do not believe in hitting children but when I get angry enough I go back to the example set by my parents which was to scream and spank. This probably happens once a month that I lose my cool like this and it is usually when I am really tired and stressed out. Afterwards I am furious with myself for what I did. I don’t want to be like this but when I see red I have never been able to stop myself.

Delisted Expert Says...

If you do not want to hit your children, then seek help immediately.  If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program, if they offer free, confidential counseling that can be a resource.  If your health insurance covers counseling, call them for referrals.  If none of the above, you can call your local crisis hotline for referrals to local resources.  Whether you consider it abusive or not, the laws in your state may call it child abuse, and that can land you and your children in places where none of you want to be.  

If you want to hear that everybody has a bad day, we all have stress, and at times we all want to yell and smack our children, well, I could tell you that.  However, we, as adults, must set the example - often times we must set a "new" example, different than the one our parents set for us.  I do not know how old your children are - but it really doesn't matter.  Hitting, screaming, and spanking are rarely effective long-term parenting techniques.  

You may also want to consider calling your local family services or children's protective services department - yes, call yourself.  If you go see any counselors anywhere, they may be under legal obligations to report anything that falls under your area's legal definition of child abuse --- if you can tell them that you have already called to ask for help, that will already be "on record" and it can only help you look like a parent trying to do better - which you would be at that point.  If you think that avoiding counseling will help avoid anybody who may be subject to "mandatory reporting" laws, be aware that in some states, EVERY citizen is technically required to report any suspected child abuse or neglect - "suspected" - so there only needs to be a thought that abuse might have occurred.  The best defense is to take care of it yourself (and this is only an opinion).  

Before you run away from my response, let me say that when I worked in a domestic violence program, we made hundreds of reports each month, and we always encouraged parents to do the calling - because if you are already seeking help, that means that if any other professional or person - teacher, nurse, person at McDonalds - makes a report, the social services department can already see that you are taking responsibility for your actions and seeking assistance.  Also, we were only one of hundreds of agencies, compelled by laws to make mandatory reports.  As such, I can tell you that hundreds of reports do not progress into anything significant.  

Now, with all that in mind, the important factor here is that you are using parenting methods that research has shown are ineffective and often yield negative results - and you don't feel good about that. You are describing the "cycle of violence" that is the core of abuse that goes on for generation after generation.  You can be the one to stop it all.  That you feel like you have never been able to stop yourself means that either your children are relatively angelic, or more likely, you do not see the ability you do have to stop yourself.  You deserve to feel confident that you are in control of you and your body.  You deserve to feel like a good parent.  If you want to do better, feel better and be better, then the important thing is that you seek and find help.  Find help now.  You can be the one to show your children that there is a better way, that people can change, and that there is hope for a happy and peaceful life - perfect, no; peaceful, maybe; loving and non-violent, absolutely!  


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Page last updated Nov 02, 2013

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