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Mom Says She Feels Like A 'Monster' For Threatening Her Toddler After He Slaps Her In The Face — 'We Both Cried'

Photo: PonyWang, Helena Lopes | Canva
mom and son both crying after having to set boundaries

A mom on Reddit’s “Breaking Mom” subreddit posted about a predicament she — as well as nearly all parents — have to deal with when raising children in the toddler stage.

She explained that her 3-year-old son has recently been giving her trouble in the form of physical violence, claiming that he “slapped me in the face, bit me and kicked me.” She’s unsure about how to manage it and feels as though her reaction may have been the wrong way to go about it.

The mom said she spanked her toddler after he slapped her and feels like a ‘monster’ for it.

She provided some well-needed context to her situation and claimed that the slap didn’t just come out of nowhere. “He didn't just do it out of reaction. I told him if he slapped me again, I would spank him,” she wrote in the post. “He looked me in the eye, smiled, pulled back and full force slapped me in the face.”

Trying to convey that it wasn’t OK to hit people, she decided on spanking as a form of punishment. “I barely touched his pull-up-covered butt. Barely tapped him. We both cried,” she explained. “This has happened since, but the activity (biting, hitting, slapping, kicking) temporarily stops.” But even the little pressure that she used made her feel terrible. 

“I don't know where my sweet baby went and I feel like a monster,” she continued. “He told me he didn't like me and I wanted to die. But I also don't know how to communicate [the] consequences for slapping someone in the [expletive] face. HELP!!!”

breaking mom spanked my toddler reddit postPhoto: Reddit

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For better or worse, a lot of toddlers will end up in a “hitting phase,” so to speak, where they will do things like slap, bite, and kick you. A common cause for this is that toddlers lack the ability to express their emotions and what they’re feeling, so they resort to using physical communication.

Considering her toddler apparently understood that she didn’t want to be hit, smiled, and wound up for a slap, there are a couple of other reasons that could have caused this, according to Healthline. The toddler could have been testing the limits of what is acceptable or simply didn’t understand why it was such a bad thing for him to hit her. He told her that he didn’t like her, but it simply could have been because she reacted negatively to the action he wanted to perform — the slapping.

Toddlers in their hitting phase may hit you for any reason, but it’s a teachable moment for parents.

Parents shouldn’t feel as though they have to suffer through this hitting phase — there are ways to manage it and teach your toddler how to express themselves in different ways.

Some of the ways that Healthline suggests dealing with a toddler in their hitting phase is to physically restrain them with a calm hug, remove them or yourself from the situation, teach them alternatives, redirect their behavior, or provide them with emotional support.

The solution may differ from situation to situation, but the most important thing to remember is to never hit or spank them. Spanking and other forms of physical punishment are known to have long-lasting negative effects on developing children. A study published in 2017 reached the conclusion that “spanking predicts a deterioration of children’s externalizing behavior over time.”

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As for the mom on Reddit, she was able to reach an amicable solution between her and her son.

“I apologized and told him I would try to be a better mommy, and he told me he would try to be better too (which I appreciate the sentiment but recognize he is 3),” she wrote in an update. “We're both going to try to do better, especially me.”

The next time he swung at her, she calmly said that she would not be hit and removed herself from the situation, prompting him to start screaming. When she returned later and asked if he was in a better mood, he apologized unprompted, and they hugged.

She thanked everyone for their kindness and words of encouragement, claiming they boosted her resolve to get her problem sorted out and ultimately resulted in the progress she made as a mother and in her relationship with her son.

RELATED: Mom Shares Video Of Her Son Begging To Not Get Spanked For Being 'Curious'

Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.