Why People Beat their Kids

Disclaimer, its late and Mama has had a long day. When those two things happen, I tend to get slap happy and nonsensical, so if my bad sense of humor offends you, get a coke and bag of chips and push on. Otherwise if you are a frazzled parent, who is finally catching their breath now that the kidlets are asleep, pour a glass of wine or make a cup of tea and commiserate with me as I kvetch.

Preschool ended for the almost 5 yo kidlet a couple of weeks ago and while in my mind I saw us sharing many tender Mommy-child moments together this summer, my reality has been um…exhausting. The kidlet has always had sleep issues from age 0-almost 3 she would only fall asleep if she were physically carried or attached to one of us. There was a good 2 year period where I forgot what the Spousal Unit looked like at night since around 18 months he took over nighttime duty for fear he wasn’t going to wake up one day due to his frazzled sleep deprived wife snapping. Turns out the man is far better suited to going without regular sleep than yours truly.

Even when she started sleeping in her room last year she still required a parental unit’s involvement at some point in the middle of the night (yeah, I know developmentally appropriate and when your firstborn got the hang of sleeping at oh 6 weeks getting a kid the 2nd time around who hates to sleep rocks your fucking world) so to be honest its safe to say she has always had issues around sleep. Kidlet will go to bed late and wake up early. I tried the consensual route at one point believing that she would fall asleep when she needed and get the sleep her body required. Bad idea, instead we had a kid who was constantly over tired and making our lives a living hell.

No, it took getting hardcore and regimented and having a consistent schedule that seemed to make our lives easier though we still never knew (know) when she will wake up. So imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when she started sleeping late, I am talking almost 9 am! I felt like a brand new person being able to sleep that late instead of hearing the call at 6:45 am…”Mommy, Daddy I am up”. But all good things must come to end and that week of heaven on earth (think about the best sex you ever had, shit so good it was like heaven, the moon, the stars..you get the point) has ended only to now return to super early wake up time and a kid who is always high energy having even more energy.

It’s that energy that brings me to today, we were out as a family enjoying our community and time together, all said we were out about 7-8 hours and after a long warm day outside we (the big people) came home and were wiped out. Yet the kidlet came home and had more energy that 5 yo triplets combined. “Mommy, let’s play store.” “Mommy, let’s play dress up”…after reading 3 long stories, “Mommy can you read some more”? It went on and on. Finally I said “Chile, how about we watch some tv (sue me, if your kid doesn’t watch tv, well you are probably a better parent than I, hats off to you now pass me a drink!). Here I was offering unfettered access to the idiot box and she said no, um…..NOoooooooooo!

It was in that moment I realized just how easy it would be for a parent with less resources and more pressures to just snap on the kid. It’s the reason when you are in places like Target and the evil Wal-Mart you see parents just snapping on kids. Kids push our buttons, thankfully the Spousal Unit came in and ran interference and after being left alone for an hour I was happy to hang out with her. But dammit for a split second it ran through my mind how easy it would have been when she was having that whine fest to do as the ole folks would say and just pop her and tell her to shut the hell up.

So while I am not proud of the thoughts that ran through my mind, I am glad I had the ability to get back on track and be the best parent I can within my reality but at the same time I realized why some parents spank their kids. Its less about the kid and more about how we handle stressful moments.

11 thoughts on “Why People Beat their Kids

  1. One of the things that strikes me is how engaging she is with you. It’s like you’re her addiction, and she’d rather be connecting with you than sleep. Because of this, I’m glad you didn’t hit her, although I can see why you’d feel that way.

    One way of looking at it – which might not be the case – is it’s as though she fears losing you, and it’s the anxiety that generates the energy.

    Another less invasive area I’d look into is food allergies, maybe to wheat. Since her sleep problems began in infancy, I’d try to joggle my memory for the formula she was fed (if any) and check the ingredients. Wheat? Soy? Whatever, the culprit may be found there. A food allergist could be very helpful and probably faster in determining this.

    Kids also change a great deal between age 5 and 7. She may a very different child in two years. If you can ride it out and she’s learned the art of self-entertainment, the new gray hairs will be worth it.

    LJ’s suggestion is also an avenue to explore, however I don’t know enough about melatonin, but the word hormones in the article makes me shy about trying it on a prepubescent child. Even though it’s an OTC med, I’d run it by a doc and read up on it a lot first.

    Well, get some rest if you can and good luck.

  2. We all have those moments, even those who don’t want to admit it.

    “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”. ~Viktor E. Frankl

  3. Kit, she was breastfed, didn’t start eating any solids till after age 1 on a regular basis. We have looked at food allergies, BTDT and no this is just who she is…a kid with a ton of energy. Oh she is starting to engage in self play, over the past 6 months she went from never playing alone to doing a fairly good job of playing alone as long as we are near by. I think that’s why my reaction after being out 7-8 hours of intense time together only to be hit with the Mommy please play with me thing was so visceral.

    I should probably add even though its TMI that I am officially perimenopausal and having PMS so right now I am already on edge, add my lovely hyper kid and it gets worse. I used to joke it seemed like her behavior increased during my PMS cycle, so the two together make for explosive Mommy.

    • Being breastfed (Kudos to you both being a nursing mom myself) whatever you ate, she got too. So if she had food allergies and you ate that food- it went to her. No guilt shovel here- all we can do is move forward. My son has autism so I have read a lot about gfcf diets other parents try with their children as well as the use of melatonin. All the best-

  4. I think that all mothers get to that moment, whether they’ll cop to it or not. Thank goodness that you were able to have a moment of peace and get yourself grounded. I hope that the sleeping situation gets better.

  5. Chi Chi, I may have to look into that tart cherry juice.

    @Mrs TDJ, I have heard from some women who are mothers who didn’t post on the blog but read this post and I think there really are more of mothers who have those moments. Yet in the age of uber parenting its not fashionable to admit we have bad moments, instead the Mommy Wars effectively make it impossible to share these thoughts.

    I am not proud of my thoughts but I am proud that I recognized them and didn’t act on them, parenting is hard work.

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