Gransnet forums


I did something awful

(126 Posts)
JackyB Tue 27-Jun-17 11:46:46

We have just got back from a stay in California - a rare chance to spend time with DGS, whose third birthday was the day we left. (We celebrated it the day before, another flight date wasn't possible for various reasons).

Whilst we were there I was suffering from a tummy upset most of the time.

Then, once, while we were getting things ready to go for a swim, littl'un let out one of those screeches like they do, because he couldn't reach one of his swimming toys over the back of some stuff on the balcony. I was standing behind him and before I could stop myself, I slapped him.

I felt so awful - it was a reflex and I don't know what got into me. The usual policy when he screamed like that was just to ignore it. I don't know if my DiL saw it. She never mentioned it. It would be a bit late now to say anything.

It brings tears to my eyes when I remember it. I don't think I ever did that with one of my own DC.

Are we less patient when we get older? How could I have stopped myself?

After the event, however, DGS was fine with me, and enjoyed cuddles and stories just as much, if not more. When we were playing together, he said something like "I am noisy" - I answered that all boys are noisy. Will he forget it? Will he mention it to his Mum?

I'm sure if I had been fitter, I would have had better control over myself. I am now enjoying my first meal for two weeks - the tummy trouble has only just died down.

Serkeen Tue 27-Jun-17 12:04:25

Well my first reaction to this post was Shock I must admit.

Saying that you slapped your grandson because you had a tummy upset is really not a good enough reason, there is never a good reason to raise your hand to a child, as you took your pain and discomfort out on the boy

I am so sorry but its not ok

I hope you were prepared for honesty

This is my opinion, I don't know how others will reply but me personally I do not think that slapping a child achieves anything at all.

However you do sound sorry for your actions and perhaps you could forgive yourself if you were sure that it would never happen again.

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:07:54

Are there any other things going on in your life apart from the tummy upset as being ill on top of anything else may have been enough to push you over that edge

I have to deal with all my stuff that's bothering me otherwise it builds up and if anything else happens on top like exhaustion or illness it is too much to cope with and as it is I have shouted at my Grandson a couple of times when very stressed and either ill or fatigued on top of it and I feel devastated afterwards but have to say sorry to him and forgive myself , then take a break if needed ( or ask for some help ) but also know that the illness on top of everything else makes your resistance pretty low

I have found I have got more patient over the years but I have to be and yet I tell myself that shouting at him once a year which is what it boils down to is pretty good going when I ever feel bad about it sometimes and I would just see it as a one off but possibly look at anything else on top of the illness which may be stressing you out ( not saying there is but if there is it is good to get that dealt with tbh ) x

Luckygirl Tue 27-Jun-17 12:13:49

You are human. You were under the weather. That is all. You did not systematically beat him up; you flipped because he was being a pain. Not good; far from ideal; not what you are meant to do; not what you would have wished to do; but not the end of the world.

We all do things that we wish we had not.

He was not permanently traumatised by this as evidenced by his subsequent behaviour.

I think the biggest problem here is that you are worried he will tell your Son or DIL - if you cannot cope with this uncertainty hanging over you, then you could just fess up; but I understand that this carries its own problems. I am afraid you may just have to live with that uncertainty.

You have to forgive yourself and move on. It will not happen again.

Luckygirl Tue 27-Jun-17 12:19:03

By the way, I was a SW and when I behaved in a way towards my children that I was not proud of, I had a yardstick to measure my failings by. I had seen REAL child abuse of all kinds, so my occasional shortcomings were very much put in perspective.

You could spend a lot of time agonising over this and it would achieve nothing. Your DGS has a loving grandmother with whom he enjoys cuddles and stories and no doubt skyping and receiving loving messages. His grandma is human; that is all.

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:27:09

I only say shouting at him once a year is 'good going' under the circumstances of his sometimes challenging behaviours due to hs Autism eg he was having violent meltdowns and attacking me , scratching me , sometimes has 4 meltdowns in a row or has had ones which lasted up to an hour , does very high pitched screeching which reaches excruciatingly high decibels and actually hurts my ears and causes them to ring , so it can be quite demanding and he has been described as having challenging behaviours etc but on the whole I have been patient and calm with him but mainly like I said it's because I make sure I 'sort out my own stuff' seperately so I can cope with it all as calmly as possible plus also understand he is not actually being naughty and there are reasons for his behaviours and his life is difficult enough as it is bless him and I want to ease things for him as much as possible and not make it / his life worse! confused x

Luckygirl Tue 27-Jun-17 12:30:30

nannynoo - I am sure you are a wonderful substitute parent for your GS and well done - I am less sure that the OP needs to hear this just now!!!

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:37:27

Maybe you are just 'not used to it' as well so it was a knee jerk reaction?

If you get used to peace and quiet then even screeching can be grating and I have had quite a few ''shushes'' and ''shut ups'' from strangers re my Grandsons screeching which he can't help as that is how he gets his feelings out as he cannot talk fully at 9 years old but I am used to it as he lives with me but other people are not and I have to say it is mainly / usually older people who have been intolerant of his 'noise' because they have become used to the peace and quiet in their daily life x

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:41:35

I just wanted to explain the circumstances of me 'doing well' by shouting at a child with a disability which I feel bad about , the same as the OP

I doubt she will do it again and has never done it before so it was a one off , not something which happens often , which is what I was trying to say which was in a way which looks like I was rubbing it in but I do know about how hard it is to be patient!!!

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:46:55

Sorry to upset you JackieB , we are all under pressure at times and wanted to share how I cope in extremely trying circumstances hence asking if there was anything else on top of the illness troubling you as I know that is when it becomes harder for me to cope

I see Serkeens reaction was not told it is not what the OP needs to hear! wink

nannynoo Tue 27-Jun-17 12:50:18

I will come off this post now , am not perfect myself but do try hard to stay calm which is difficult at times but it is possible!

Crafting Tue 27-Jun-17 13:02:03

I once pushed my son away (he was 3) because he was getting in the way of bathing his baby brother. He fell and cut his head a bit. That was 40 years ago and I have never forgotten it. We sometimes do things as a knee jerk reaction. I love my sons to bits and wouldn't do anything to hurt them but sometimes you just react without thinking.

nanny I have read many of your posts over the years and know what you have achieved through your excellent care of your grandson. I understand exactly the point you were trying to make. smile

Serkeen Tue 27-Jun-17 13:02:03

Sounds to me like you are trying your absolute best in a very bad situation and shouting just once a year, well that's not bad going is it

Serkeen Tue 27-Jun-17 13:02:59

Sorry, last post was for nannynoo

Ilovecheese Tue 27-Jun-17 13:07:17

Forgive yourself. As Luckygirl says, you are human, that is all.
If you have spoken to your son since you got back and he has not mentioned it, then either your grandson immediately forgot about it,and didn't tell his parents, or your son does know and decided to let it go. You don't need to be told it was the wrong thing to do, you already know that. You must have been a very patient mother if you never smacked your own children.

Grannyknot Tue 27-Jun-17 13:31:13

jacky you don't say what happened when you slapped him - as you don't say that he screamed more loudly, or cried, or ran to his mother, it seems as if he was largely unaffected.

Stop feeling guilty, luckygirl is right, there's abuse and there's occasional lapses.

Nandalot Tue 27-Jun-17 14:23:53

Be kinder to yourself. It sounds like the little boy was loving and unphased by it the next day. You sound as though you had a really tough time with your tummy upset and were well below par and that does make one more inclined to be on a bit of a shorter fuse and act without thinking. Your dismay at what you did shows it was really out of character. Glad to hear you are feeling better now.

Luckygirl Tue 27-Jun-17 14:50:02

Just to put it in perspective I once dislocated my DD's elbow when she was about 4 whilst I was swinging her round - no way did I mean to do it, but it happened.

And when DD3 was a few days old I cut the end off her finger!! - truly; I was cutting her nails and my hand slipped - I did not mean to do that either! By the way - it grew back! Phew!!

The fact that you feel so bad about it says it all. A lapse; that is all.

Nannarose Tue 27-Jun-17 14:56:56

My heart goes out to you, JackyB.

Whilst sympathetic to what serkeen says, I incline much more to the 'we are only human' approach. You didn't smack because you had a tummy upset, you smacked because you were not coping well. You probably also felt the pressure of feeling unwell during such a precious time.

In principle, when we can't quite cope, we admit so to the parents (or in my case, DH who helps with the GCs as well). However, life is not perfect, sometimes we think we are just about coping and something suddenly happens to show us that we are not.

Like all parents and all 'hands-on' grandparents, I have one or two 'not quite coping' stories. Like luckygirl, I have worked with children and families for my whole working life, and agree that we must put these occasions int perspective.

I genuinely think that children pick up the real love and care that is shown to them. Your GC, at a very intuitive level, picked up your love, please cherish that. I doubt that your DiL saw it - as she would probably have just called or jumped as an immediate reaction. If by any chance she did, she too has decided that your love & care counts highly on the positive balance.

My own advice would be 'learn from this'. Put it behind you as much as you can - but another time you are 'under the weather' say so, and apologise for not being quite as able to handle things - that means others will step in sooner.

I told DH this - on a day that both GCs were fractious and not good at responding well, DH had promised to do some DIY work around the house, to help (we go to GCs' house to do childcare). After the kind of day that I'm sure all grans can imagine, I decided that youngest child was teething - and accidentally gave him too much infant paracetamol.
I went to the prescribing website to check, and going by weight (rather than age, as on the bottle) I had just about given him an OK dose. So there was no danger, but my 'mistake' remained. Later I told DH that we must not promise to do that sort of work whilst doing child care - fortunately our relationships are such that is not an issue.

NfkDumpling Tue 27-Jun-17 18:00:06

If it was a small tap of a smack to make him take notice and stop screaming his mum may well have not noticed - or may have done it herself. If it was a cracking solid thwack which made a slapping noise on his bare thigh (or worse) then she probably did notice and was being polite!

Posting your guilt on here is proof that either way, it was a one off and you will never, ever do it again!

(At the end of my tether I once slapped DD1 on her bottom when she was 18 months old. I forgot that she wasn't wearing a nappy! Three DC and that was the only slap - but the guilt still haunts me!)

aggie Tue 27-Jun-17 18:12:28

I slapped DD1 on her bare leg just as the choir stopped , it was during Mass and she was messing , the. slap was only a tap but it reverberated round the Church like a drum roll ! She took full advantage with loud sobs till her wee brother laughed , I had to go to a different Chapel the next week

aggie Tue 27-Jun-17 18:13:24

40+ years later we are best friends smile

FrodoVagins Tue 27-Jun-17 18:31:41

You should have told his parents immediately. It's still not too late. Imagine how much damage you will cause the relationship if they have to find out you physically abused their child from the child.

Call them immediately and apologize for your gross overstep.

NfkDumpling Tue 27-Jun-17 18:53:55

I think that telling the parents very much depends on the relationship with them. Perhaps mention it to DS if the relationship is good and will take it, if it'll cause friction and jepodise future visits, keep quiet. I feel sure if the mum had thought it was such a hard slap and damaging to her child she would have said something.

rosesarered Tue 27-Jun-17 18:54:30

Jacky..... forget about it, your DGS has done already.