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What Do You Do When Your Toddler Slaps You in Public?

Photo by: iStock

There is a lot of hype about a new show called The Slap. I watched a preview, but I have not watched the show because I am a mom and watching TV is a luxury, therefore I choose my shows wisely. I know the show revolves around an adult slapping another person’s child that causes drama throughout their circle. Pretty bold move if you ask me but that is another blog post for another night.

It got me thinking about the slap I recently experienced while watching my stepson’s soccer game. The slap was not from another parent and will not be aired on YouTube or the news. The slap came unexpectedly from my almost 2-year-old toddler.

I was taken aback. Don’t let those little, cute hands fool you because it hurt like hell.

My sweet, angelic daughter flipped like a light switch when I stopped her from sprinting into a parking lot. How dare I stop her from having fun!?! Sorry my dear, but safety always comes first.

Immediately she kicked and screamed as I held her tight to walk closer to the soccer fields.

It was then she looked at me with anger, her eyes watered, her lips pouted. I tried to reason with this notorious head-strong, but adorable, toddler. She paused, and I thought she understood. Yeah, I was winning this battle. Then out of nowhere…

SLAP! Right on my cheek and nose. It was a hard hit! So much so my eyes started watering. I froze in shock.

I don’t know that I have ever been slapped in the face, but it’s an experience that stops anyone in their tracks no matter how old or strong you are.

Before I could grab her hand again, she slapped me again! Round 2!

What happened to my sweet baby? Doesn’t she know that I saved her from getting hit by cars? Shouldn’t that count for something?

That is when mean mommy came out. I was surprised my first reaction was to slap her back, but something held me back. I feel I would be teaching her that hitting is okay, and it’s not okay to hit anyone, in my opinion. How do you reason with a toddler that hardly understands a sentence?

We have recently started time-outs, but how do you have a time-out session in the middle of a soccer field when there is no where to hide? There are no trees, no sound barriers and no toys or food to bribe your child with.

I was that mom in public with the rowdy toddler struggling to keep my cool and look like nothing was bothering me. I got this! Yeah right.

I looked as defeated as some of the soccer players who couldn’t quite get to the ball.

As I walked towards the bleachers, I could feel the other parents’ eyes on me. Perhaps, it was my own insecurities. Surely these soccer parents have been through the terrible toddler experiences, right? But since, I have talked to several moms who said their children never slapped them in the face. Perhaps they are lucky… or just big, fat liars!

I am at a loss for this new-found behavior. Hopefully it will pass and prove to be a fluke, but slapping is NOT okay in my book.

I got to thinking, how can we teach our kids that it’s not okay to slap or hit others if we are slapping or hitting them?

Pre-kids I was pro-spanking, but have since found myself debating this form of punishment. (No judgement either way from me, just sharing my thoughts). I think it all depends on the kid and finding ways to discipline the individual child, but this is all a learning experience and I may change my mind down the road.

I am a problem-solver control freak, so when I fail at calming my child down or being able to reason with a small human I feel defeated. I remind myself that everything will be okay and that I am dealing with a toddler who is a force to be reckoned with, but also, the love of my life. She is strong-willed and independent, much like her mama.

Just when I think I’ve gotten it all figured out, I am humbled and thrusted back into the reality that I have no idea what I’m doing. But I am having fun figuring it out… at least in hindsight when the sting is gone and I can laugh about it.

What age have you found the most challenging to discipline? I would love to hear your take on this but if you tell me your kid never hit you, I will have to call you a liar… or just very blessed!

In between juggling a toddler, a teen stepson, a mellowed out husband and a crazy Labradoodle, Michelle also works full-time in event planning for a North Texas suburb. Read about family, food, fun and then some on her blog Mind of Meesh. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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