There is no reason to hit a child.


Physical punishment of a child is one of the most terrible forms of violence. Unfortunately, such cases are not uncommon even in our time, when the world stands up for the rights of children. This is not only ethically unacceptable but can also cause serious harm to a child’s physical and mental health. In this article, we will provide compelling reasons why it is not okay to hit children.

Is there a line between acceptable and forbidden physical punishment?

According to a statistical study conducted by the World Health Organization, about 60% of children aged 2 to 14 are regularly subjected to physical punishment by their parents. The risk is the same for boys and girls and equally applies to children from wealthy and poor families.

According to the Committee, physical punishment mainly involves hitting (slaps and smacks) with a hand or any object (a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon), as well as scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or ears, forcing children into uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced swallowing. In addition, other non-physical forms of punishment can be cruel and demeaning and, therefore, incompatible with the Convention. These include punishments that belittle, humiliate, stigmatize, threaten, scare or ridicule the child.

The international organization UNICEF insists that parents should not forget that protecting children from all forms of violence is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international treaties and human rights standards.

What are the consequences of physically punishing a child?

Raising a child from birth to adulthood involves many difficulties: tantrums, protests, conscious disobedience. Sometimes, the emotions of an adult cross all boundaries, leading to the practice of physical punishment. But are we ready to reap the fruits of our emotional outburst? Let’s figure out what happens when parents hit their children.

Beating leads to more beating

The child observes and models their own behavior, based on adults. Spanking gives the child the impression that it’s okay to hit others if there’s a good reason for it. If you’ve decided to discipline your child by spanking them, you automatically give them the right to hit those around them.

Devalues the parent

“Light slaps” are no different from full-blown beating. When a parent delivers a physical blow, they may feel satisfied at that moment. However, it’s important to look at the situation from the child’s perspective: the child will be afraid of the adult delivering the blows. Memories of being hit can leave scars on the joyful scenes of growing up. People often remember traumatic events more than pleasant ones.

Anger becomes the basis of behavior.

When parents suffer from anger, they unintentionally sow rage in their children. This means that the child is likely to have emotional problems in the future, in addition to physical abuse. As they age, the problem of losing control over emotions does not cease, but rather increases.

Parents lose control during beatings.

Beating a child can start as “mild punishment.” However, there is a very fine line between discipline and cruelty that can easily be crossed over time. For example, if the child repeats the mistake, the parent may start hitting harder until they feel that the child has realized their mistake. Therefore, it is worth considering whether it is acceptable to hit children for bad behavior when it is difficult to stop.

What alternative disciplinary methods exist?

We have established that there is no reason to physically harm a child, even if they have made a serious mistake. Now, let’s discuss what can be done about unacceptable behavior from a child instead of resorting to violence:

Express disapproval

The simplest and most effective way to change a child’s behavior is to let them know that you disapprove. Clearly state your objections and explain your reasons. When a child sees your disappointment or disapproval, they may change their behavior. Disapproval works best when it is expressed clearly, and only once.

Brief discussion

Open communication is all it takes to help a child change their behavior or ensure that certain mistakes are not repeated. Use your arguments to point out the consequences that may arise from improper behavior. Sometimes children need help seeing the chain of events and understanding why they happen.


When an adult’s nerves are at the breaking point and a child is intentionally behaving annoyingly, one useful tip for parents is to ignore the provocation.

Of course, never ignore serious problems. As a parent, you should understand when ignoring is appropriate. The success of this method is also based on the premise that your irritation will bring the child more satisfaction than being ignored.


It should be noted that warnings are not threats. Warnings are a signal to the child that such behavior needs to stop immediately, or there will be consequences. Warnings should clearly and calmly indicate the limit and the corresponding consequences.

Warnings only work if your child is confident that you will follow through. The most successful parents in warning their children are those who are not afraid to follow through on every warning. Be consistent – this ensures the safety of your child and guarantees that they will listen to you.

So, we have established whether it is acceptable to physically harm a child for behaving inappropriately. Remember that children are people, and they have the right to feel safe and not be subjected to harm. No child deserves to be hit, especially by someone who is supposed to protect and guide them in life.

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