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Did your parents hit you?

spankingI was sitting in my office this morning and these two Italian co-workers of mine were showing off to each other how badly their parents used to beat them up. They were showing off about how disrespecting their parents would get them the belt or the cane or they would get thrown into the corner (Italian style is similar to solitary confinement)

I am a child of the 80s and in the 80s it was still acceptable to beat your children, I’m not really sure if its still acceptable by normal standards, but the timeless “I’m going to give you a poch” is still alive and well in the frum community.

There are a couple of beatings I remember pretty well, in the 6th grade I would steal money from my fathers wallet to buy baseball cards (like a Herroine addict I had no control) One day my old man comes home infuriated, I figured he had just heard something real disturbing on Rush, but this time it was because he went to buy a coffee that morning and there was nothing is his wallet – he knew – and I was screwed. He gave me a good beating combined with loads of expletives. Then he said that if he ever caught me stealing from him or anyone he would “break my f–ing legs” while he waved a cane in my terrified face.

Then one time we were playing football during laining up in the ball room of my shul. I kicked the ball into this huge window, by huge I mean 6 feet by 6 feet and it came crashing through. I was sure my old man could hear it from shul and he came running up the stairs screaming at me how I am always destroying things and can’t ever be a normal kid – I was a very destructive kid.

There were many other beatings, none that I ever had to make up stories like that I fell down the stairs, but the phrase “I am going to give you a zetz like you’l never forget” rings in my ears to this day.

Did you get beat or hit as a child?

What do you think of this form of discipline?

{ 163 comments… add one }
  • JH July 15, 2009, 1:05 PM

    Yup – Hesh, you know my Dad has a temper!

    Now that I am a father myself, I understand the urge but try not to do it out of anger. Do I really need to perpetuate that kind of home?

    I believe reinforcing conduct with a smack makes sense only if it is done in a controlled way.

    • Moishe'la has spoken. December 17, 2013, 12:31 PM

      (Discussion with Moishela (with his family
      A Handicapped child
      (Teves 13 ‘5774 (Dec 16 ’13

      “I Looked Out the Window”

      I have for the last four days felt such a longing, such a longing to be close to Hashem. I felt not only longing, but the actual closeness to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. As I looked out the window, and saw the wind and the snow and the trees falling, I felt that this world of lies is coming apart, is falling apart, is disappearing in front of our very eyes.

      I felt that all the lies are coming to the surface, that this illusion called Olam Hazeh is becoming clearly nothingness. We are looking for truth. At least I am, but I dont have to look for truth, because I see it, feel it. I feel close to Hashem, and that is truth, and I look out the window and watch a mini destruction. This mini destruction is brought to us in order to bring us to the truth.

      Here we are, all of Israel, the State of Israel, dependent on electricity. We are dependent on electricity, for all of our materialistic needs, for everything. Isn’t it strange that in such an advanced world people are so foolish to depend on one thing to keep them alive, and the more they depend on it the more they build what to depend on. Everything is based on electricity, and now so many people are without electricity, which is putting their very lives in danger, their lives and their children’s lives.

      There are many places without water or any kind of heating in this terrible cold, without the ability to get out to buy anything, and of course very few people are coming to the rescue to help them. This electricity that we live on is all an illusion. Whoever controls the electricity, controls humanity.

      I look out the window and I see that Hashem is sending us a message. This snow that appeared so suddenly on the Israeli scene with such devastation, is a terrible warning about the future.

      Hashem is trying to pull us close to Him in every way, and one of the ways is to show us that only He can save us. Only He can give us sustenance. Only He can bring us our Parnasa (livelihood). Only He can keep us alive.

      Rulers have always wanted to control the water and the food. Water and food keeps people alive, and once you’ve controlled that, their Cheshbon (intention) is you control people. But they forget one thing, the Ribbono Shel Olam is the one that controls everything. They can die of starvation even if they’re surrounded by every type of food, and they can die from thirst even in a swimming pool.

      Hakodosh Boruch Hu decides all, and those villains that are trying to be instead of Hakodosh Boruch Hu, Chas Vesholom, still havent learned their lesson from all these generations. Very soon however, they will learn their lesson, and whether they learn it or not, they will disappear from existence.

      I am longing for Moshiach, to be together with Hakodosh Boruch Hu without Mechitzas (barriers); to bask in the light of the Kedusha. I feel it coming. I feel it coming very soon, and with it the longing to see that day is becoming stronger and stronger, until I can almost not bear it. I feel the Geula so strongly coming closer to us that I cry. I cry out in pain and longing. In pain, in pain because it’s so distressing to me not to be there yet. I look out the window, see the trees fall, see people falling in the snow, and I cry. I cry for this world of illusions that so many believe in. I cry for what’s going to be when they realize their big mistake. I cry because we still have so much suffering to go through, and what has happened here in Eretz Yisroel with the snow is not by chance. It’s to bring all the true Jews to that realization.

      True that once the danger is over, many people will go back to their silliness, but we will have more trials very soon, whether weather, or fear of war, or whatever it will be. However Hashem will do it, it will be meant to bring us close to Him. It will be meant to take away the Mechitzas so we can be very close to our Creator. This winter is still going to be very eventful and very difficult. I beg every Yid when you get into big trouble, remember Hakodosh Boruch Hu is the only Hakol Yachol. He is everything. Hold on to Him, and He will save you in every situation. Just be close to Him, and do His will. It’s not enough to try to use Him for your own needs. No, you have to be one with Him. You have to do His Mitzvos, do His Ratzon. I look out the window and I see my own reflection, and I’m so glad that at least I know the truth, but I’m so sad that so many do not.

      I cry at night because I’m afraid for the suffering we still have to go through. If this snow storm was difficult, we are going to be tested and taught in even more difficult ways.

      Each Jew that has grasped the truth from stage one of our difficulties and our trials will suffer less from stages two, three, four, etc. For those that quickly understand and
      accept the truth, each stage will be progressively easier.

      However those who ignore the tests that Hashem is going to
      z give us, and refuse to learn the right attitude and the right direction, will only suffer more and more at every stage.

      I look out of the window into the cold snowy night and see clearly that what I am seeing is very depressing, but I can also visualize beyond this scene the light of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

  • Ari July 15, 2009, 1:12 PM

    I am going to give you a zetz like youl never forget???

    that’s not very creative!

    How about “You’re buying yourself a one way ticket to potch city.”


    “If you do that, you’ll get an invitation to a potch party.”


    “You keep doing that. You must be a potch-a-holic.”

  • ipitythefoo July 15, 2009, 1:15 PM

    yeah, I got “patched” when I was growing up. Not for minor offenses – but when I broke something, hurt someone or endangered myself.
    I think it isn’t a bad idea if you keep it to a minimum,

  • judefolly July 15, 2009, 1:18 PM

    both my parents struck me repeatedly on various occasions when i was a child until about age 12; the culture that tolerates such abuse of, and contempt for, children calls it ‘spanking’ or corporal punishment. to put it succinctly, it’s the strong dominating the weak.

    parents and various authority figures rationalize violence in the most specious terms, asserting that children need ‘discipline’ or relying on such irrationales ‘if we don’t do this, godforbid, someday the police will’. i’m not saying children don’t need guidance or setting of limits, but far too often parents react to their children’s behavior as though defending themselves from their own childhood traumas.

    there are other ways of dealing with misbehavior. unfortunately they require time, patience and a steel-like determination. isn’t this the very least children deserve?

  • Yosef July 15, 2009, 1:19 PM

    I think the problem with society these days is that they don’t hit their kids. In the 80’s you don’t see the garbage you see these days. Stupid teenagers running wild like idiots, breaking into cars, and getting arrested. Beat your kids, they’ll become better adults.

    • Guest June 16, 2010, 10:41 PM

      But if you beat your kids, they will more likely build up their anger on you and then one day when they had enough, they would go all-out on you. Trust me. I have seen people do that to their parents.

      • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 12:17 AM

        I was only given a good spanking once. I don’t even remember why, and my stepfather refused to do it at first, but my mother insisted so eventually he did it. All I do know is given my family history (that is, I don’t have violent parents), I must have deserved it, and whatever it was, I never did it again. Now, supposing I DID do it again and again and got spanked again and again, but it made no difference; that would suggest I had a behavioural problem. Or suppose my parents spanked me regularly, for minor offences or even basically no reason; that would constitute child abuse (though obviously not of the sexual kind). I was also grounded only once (I was rather a nauseatingly golden boy as a child, and even talked my way out of a grounding another time). If all kids can expect is a good telling off, then sooner or later they are going to learn that all they have to do is wait it out until it’s all over including the shouting. It is a sad fact, (and you see it with dictators, who are basically overgrown problem kids, all the time,) that you have to stand up to assholes and often, the softly-softly approach just doesn’t work. Hit ’em where it hurts though, whether that means tanning their backside, banking TV for a week, upping their chores or withholding pocket money, and they’ll soon learn that unacceptable behaviour has consequences they find unacceptable. As a user of public transport, I can attest to the fact that much of the time, when you problem kids with their parents, the parents are often problem parents, too: they either can’t, or won’t, control their kids. Of course sometimes (as with the poor woman who wrote an article explaining how her kid is like the latest school shooter), that isn’t the case. But the point remains that failing to discipline your children properly leads (rather self-evidently) to them having no discipline, and later, to them being unable to disciple their kids too.)

    • hwjlfdhejlf July 13, 2011, 10:32 AM

      i reaserched what beating ur kids does to them when there adults and it SERTINLY doesnt say the are better adults it leads them to being violent adults!

  • Frum Satire July 15, 2009, 1:22 PM

    Judefolly – spoken like a true liberal – amen

  • Jeremy July 15, 2009, 1:31 PM

    Spare the rod spoil the child.
    A grandmother of mine used to always say, “There is a direct connection from the tuchas to the brain!”

    But remember, to much of anything is bad.

    Yosef, you are right kids these days are out of control most of them need a good beating so they learn that they are not indestructible.

  • Anonymous July 15, 2009, 1:32 PM

    Hitting is just a tool to discipline. A parent must never take out his anger on the child in a physical or emotional way. Most kids know when they deserve punishment and they accept it, but not if the parents’ other emotions are involved. If hitting is necessary it should be done in a controlled non-violent way to make an impression on the child. However, if there are other, better ways, they should be used first

  • s(b.) July 15, 2009, 1:45 PM

    I got hit twice – once for running out into the street when I was two (just a whack). And terribly in the fourth grade when I was caught doing something dishonest twice. I think parenting is one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs in the world, and that every kid is different. while I agree in principle with a nonviolent approach to discipline, I can only hope that I will be able to live up to it, should I be raising children of my own. In the dojo, kids who act out get to do push-ups, as discipline. That seems to work, in most cases. The comments re: kids these days are really interesting.

  • Miriam Tzipora July 15, 2009, 1:47 PM

    I’m a giuret; I grew up with an Italian dad. I got beat. Usually for things my younger sister did, really for not preventing her from doing them. We had a paddle, and my mom would threaten us with it, but she just didn’t have it in her to hit us. If we were really bad, she’d just seethe “you wait until your father gets home” and then we knew we were in for it. You see, mom’s father was abusive and she didn’t want to be like him.

    But my dad, he understood the role of corporal punishment. He had a way of knowing just how hard to hit to make sure we learned what we needed to learn (that there are consequences to our actions), and to prevent us from ever pulling a stunt like that again. As we got older, these sessions became much more infrequent. We understood the rules, we understood the consequences.

    To this day, there are some things I just won’t do because I fear the wrath of my dad if I were go get caught. I’m 28, so this is probably a somewhat abnormal thing, but I am relatively certain he would nearly kill me if I were to get, say, a DUI. Or have a child out of wedlock. Or smoke.

    How do I stand on the matter? It depends on the child, I suppose. When training my dog, I tried to avoid hitting her and stuck to “time outs”. She didn’t always change her behavior. When I started corporal punishment, she became a much better dog. Ultimately, it’s a matter of doing what you have to do to get the child’s respect.

  • Zvi Lampert July 15, 2009, 1:47 PM

    Do you have children?

  • Shalom, NJ July 15, 2009, 1:53 PM

    Judefolly– spoken like a non- parent.

    I strongly recommend the tapes or live lectures of Rabbi Jonathan Rietti regarding parenting. As the father of four, and having seen dozens of kids over the years that my wife watched in her child care business, I can strongly recommend some spanking for MOST kids if done in a controlled and limited way. In other words, on the hand (when small) or the butt, after warnings (generally) that make it clear that if there is a ‘potch’ it was the result of the kid’s choice to do what was forbidden. I don’t think that it was necessary with any of my kids after age 7 or 8, and mostly younger than that.

    Personally, my father just used his hand on my butt, and I considered myself very lucky as some of my friends had parents from ‘the old country’ who used a strap.

    The last time that my father hit me was probably under 9 or 10, except for once at the Seder when I was 16, and drank too much wine. I got a bit silly, he warned me, then smacked me on the cheek. I was a lot bigger than him, and it didn’t hurt much, and when I exclaimed ‘Dad, you hit me!’ he said ‘yes, and I’ll do it again if you don’t behave’, which seemed reasonable to me, so that was that.

  • kosheracademic July 15, 2009, 2:35 PM

    We were threatened, but not hit.

    I was a nice liberal parent opposed to “potching” until I had a child with ADHD. Not that I’m for it, necessarily, but I see that there are times and situations when it can be a useful tool (ie your kid runs out into the street — that is a *good* time for a potch). If used infrequently, and not in anger, it can be a learning-tool for your child.

    As for teenagers, well, there are other issues going on there. I doubt a good beating would solve all of our societal problems.

  • bitterwater July 15, 2009, 2:46 PM

    there really is a lack of respect and fear for parents. Teenagers run rampant and parents have close to no authority. ive had a few beatings till i reached the ripe old age of 12.

  • kp July 15, 2009, 3:02 PM

    i am old school.. totally endorse ‘hitting’ children if they call for it, in the name of parenting ofcourse… not in a abusive sense..
    i think kids these days have too much psychoanalytical b.s. and feel insulted/abused quicker than usual…
    oh also.. i m indian.. anyone who has indian friends or have watched russell peter know what goes on..
    heshy.. have u ever watched russell peters?
    p.s jeremy…well said!

  • shevers July 15, 2009, 3:14 PM

    When I was maybe 2 or 3 I tried to touch a hot burner and my mom smacked my hands. A much better way of learning that lesson than getting burns…

    • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 7:19 PM

      she couldn’t just take your hands away?

  • Material Maidel July 15, 2009, 3:18 PM

    I’m totally not pro-child abuse, but I don’t think spanking is all that bad.

    I was spanked – but only if I did something realllllly bad. And that wasn’t too often.

    Spanking a child is sometimes the only way to let them know that they did something wrong.

    Children under a certain age don’t always understand reason and logic. (how else do you tell a kid not to touch the contents of his diaper when he’s already created ‘artwork’?)

    • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 7:22 PM

      if we don’t teach kids from a young age reason and logic, they will never learn it and will resort to violence instead. spanking is not the only way to let a child know they did something wrong. if that were true, wed have no children left and screwed up adults.

  • Zvi Lampert July 15, 2009, 4:25 PM

    I’m pro-spanking as well, but a kid still in diapers is too young.

  • Frum N' Flipping July 15, 2009, 4:47 PM

    My dad smacked me on the bottom once, when I was 4. I was so insulted and hurt that he could do a thing like that, I didn’t stop screaming for hours. he never did it again.

  • Jon the A July 15, 2009, 5:02 PM

    My dad hit me till I was 11, and I misbehaved.

    Now I have two kids under 8 and I’ve never hit them…and they behave.

    I’ve never in my life seen anything productive coming from being hit, regardless of the situation.

    To all those of you who hit ‘for the good of the child’ I challenge you to wait ten minutes from the time your kid acts up till the time you hit.

    Then you’ll truly know that you’re hitting for the child’s benefit and not as a reaction to your own anger.

    What do you think?

    • Jordin January 5, 2013, 11:02 PM

      I was hit, and not just for deliberately misbehaving, but for errors like accidentally spilling a flowerpot’s contents. Since I was a clumsy child, mistakes like that frequently occured, and when I got hit I always knew that it was the parent’s anger, and frustrations from other areas of life that were being taken out on me and did not help ‘discipline’ me in any way. Rather, I was hurt and angry, and feeling misunderstood, and mistrusted and avoided being near that adult until my child’s mind was distracted by something else interesting in my world.

  • Anonymous July 15, 2009, 6:04 PM

    I used to get hit until I started defending myself, and I still misbehaved. Why would they put me through all those years of martial arts and then think I’ll just sit there and take it? Fools.

  • G*3 July 15, 2009, 6:26 PM

    Its interesting how everyone who is pro-spanking says that their parents spanked them as children. Could it be that you approve of it because disapproving of spanking would mean disapproving of your parents?

    The danger in spanking children is that while parents may have the best of intentions, it often becomes a way for the parent to take out their stress on the child. Punishment is also not a particularly useful way of teaching. At best punishment causes a behavior to cease for a short period. In the long run punishment just teaches people not to get caught.

    There are far more effective ways of teaching children proper behavior. Consistently praise them when they do something good. Dont just take good behavior for granted. Time out works beautifully, but only if used properly. It is NOT a punishment, its a method of causing a behavior to extinguish (end permanently) by removing the motivation for the behavior. If a child cries because he wants a candy, and he gets a candy, guess what hell do next time he wants one. If every time he throws a tantrum he gets to stare at a blank wall, hell learn that throwing a tantrum isnt worth it.

    Also, while there is no evidence for the axiom spare the rod and spoil the child, there is ample evidence that beating children can lead to negative outcomes for the children. Not in every case, but why risk it?

    • Any January 5, 2013, 11:04 PM

      I agree. Know from experience.

  • judefolly July 15, 2009, 6:33 PM

    jon the A, in shalom NJ’s estimation, you are obviously a non-parent as well.

    the moral problem of striking a child “within limits” (talk about relativism!) is judging when “too harsh” is too harsh: red welts? breaking the skin? if the child does not stop crying? i’ll wager that no attentively reared child ever died from lack of striking.

    i, myself, once thought physical force was justifiable. like the others who believe so, i couldn’t countence the reality that my parents didn’t love me for exactly who i was as a child. indeed, it’s the most difficult reality to acknowledge.

  • BURNT OUT July 15, 2009, 8:03 PM

    My parents were overly abusive. My father used to hit me over and over for no reason, without end. To this day I have no idea what I did wrong. He would hit me on my rear end repeatedly. I used to hate my parents, then feel guilty because of it. Now I don’t feel guilty.

    They totally destroyed my self-esteem. I used to be depressed and suicidal. Now I just avoid them at all costs. Like, if they are eating supper at 6 p.m., I’ll eat at 7:00, and so on. I also get invited out for shabbos meals to friends.

    I lived in absolute fear of my parents. When I became too old for my parents to hit me, that didn’t stop them from yelling at me. To this day my father blames me for everything. If I try to reason with him, he answers “Stop riling me up. You always rile me up.”

    He is a nice guy in public. Nobody would ever believe that my father treats me the way he does.

    I do believe in corporal punishment, but only for running in the street or playing with matches. And only one smack. A child should know that there is an end in sight, and that the punishment is predictable.

    I am engaged. When I get married, I plan on cutting my parents out of my life completely. I only use them for the free rent.

    • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 7:35 PM

      i know exactly where you’re coming from. unfortunately, my parents didn’t see me as becoming “too old to be hit” as a reason to stop. and my guilt has not stopped either. i hope people on here see our story as evidence not to use corporal punishment on their children. i was also severely affected by verbal abuse and have lived in constant struggle to deal with the effects it has had on me, especially in my relationships with others. children are so delicate and precious-please protect them!

  • Jacob da Jew July 15, 2009, 8:33 PM

    I give a potch if my daughter tries to run into the street or something serious like that. Otherwise, its to the corner for a timeout.

    Fact of the matter is, some kids need a whack and some don’t. My son will usually listen to what we say but my daughter doesn’t.

    In some ways, screaming at the kid is worse than a quick smack on the bottom.

  • Anonymous July 15, 2009, 8:54 PM

    The kids I grew up with that I knew were beaten by their parents — with some I’m talking serious black and blue beatings, are unfortunately broken as grownups, rebellious and bitter, and anything but religious.

    Beating up someone else’s child is a crime punishable with serious prison time, I don’t see why beating up ones own child should be any different.

    Call it what you will: spanking, patching, corporal punishment, hitting… whatever.
    Child abuse is child abuse.

    • Guest June 16, 2010, 11:16 PM

      You said it! That’s the right way to talk right there!

  • LearnedShiksa July 15, 2009, 10:50 PM

    I grew up with divorced parents. In the first part of my life I recieved regular beatings from my father, until they just didn’t phase me. It was my mother though, in the second part of my life that put the fear in me. She could lay out a dissertation that stung worse than the belt. Til this day I carry the regret and guilt of a pubescent teenager everytime I get the disapproving look (and sigh).
    I admire it, and hope to pass it on to my children.

  • Little Pom's Mom July 15, 2009, 10:57 PM

    Obviously, I AM a parent and I think that most of the “you are obviously not a parent, so-and-so” are cop outs to avoid addressing the actually CONTENT of their posts. That said, I do not believe in hitting, period. If it’s not okay for my husband to hit ME than it’s not okay for me to hit my child. Just because someone is bigger and think’s they’re right, doesn’t make a violent action okay. Spanking is domestic violence, pure and simple.

    • Guest #2 January 5, 2013, 11:07 PM

      I approve.

  • Anonymous July 15, 2009, 11:09 PM

    “The usual way is that when a child is stubborn they hit him and afterwards they give in to him. But I say: Don’t hit and don’t give in.” Rebbe Nachman, Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-91.

    Many people, myself included, have problems with the character trait of anger. Spanking or hitting is one thing if it’s rationally calculated as a discipline tool (and even then I don’t really approve), but I think a lot of the time it is just anger out of control. Without humility and tshuvah, people with bad tempers think there’s nothing wrong with them — just everyone else they’re mad at. We need to do hitbodedut every day that we rid ourselves of the terrible character trait of anger — and also arrogance and impatience. Hashem help us! And help those of us who have been harmed by the anger and abuse of our parents or spouses, that we may be healed and not do the same to our children!

  • kidsrus July 15, 2009, 11:19 PM

    When I was younger, my siblings and I used to be terrified of my father when he got angry. It was pretty scary: his belt would meet the tuchus pretty hard.
    I work with many children and I see that time outs do not work for some kids. Though, a parent should never hit a child in anger and it doesn’t have to be so hard.
    One thing that really bothered me one time was when a parent told me about their child’s biting problem and said that if he bit anybody I should bite him back (not hard though) to let him know how it feels so he would stop. I could kind of understand her thinking, but there must be a better way. I would never feel comfortable doing that.

  • anonymous July 16, 2009, 12:01 AM

    Kidsrus, I don’t thinking hitting a kid to stop them from hitting (or biting them to stop from biting) even makes sense. You are modeling the very behavior you want stopped.

    I come from a large family–one of the older ones. Yes, when I was a kid, I got hit, slapped a few times, etc. However, by the time my parents were older and were raising my youngest siblings, they’d changed almost 180 degrees. I don’t think the youngest ones ever got spanked even (maybe once!). I think my parents did come to regret how the older ones had been disciplined and they mellowed a lot.
    I guess, thinking back, what bothered me most about being hit was the anger I could feel emanating from which ever parent. It’s very scary as a little kid to feel that and feel totally powerless. And I do see how such a way of punishment gets passed down, unless you make a conscious decision to stop it, I think my grandparents (well certain ones) were very strongly European disciplinarian type. Which I guess was fine back in the first half of the 20th century in Europe, but now in America not so much.

  • Nameless Faceless July 16, 2009, 12:56 AM

    I can’t believe it: I thought tzedz (zetz?) was only a word in my family’s native language…my dad would say it all the time. If you know it too, it must be Arabic.

    At any rate, my dad — and my mom a few times — would really kick the shit out of us when we were little. I’m not talking spankings, although they’d start out that way…this was all-out break-a-wooden-cutting-board-on-your-ass, make-you-pass-out, bite-marks-on-your-face kinds of ass kicking. Mostly when we were really little, I’d say until 10 or 12, but there have been incidents until 3 years ago (albeit never to our two youngest siblings).

    I get why my dad did it (and I’ve posted only own blog about this), and I don’t think I could ever do it to my own kids — but every once in a while I realize just how messed up it truly made me and I wonder if my eventual discipline of my future children might get out of hand in a similar fashion….

  • eyekanspel July 16, 2009, 2:45 AM

    My parents hit me, but it did not have the desired effect. Why?
    ANY hitting done while under the influence of anger is CHILD ABUSE. Parents are human, and when angry will hit the child because the child made them angry, and not for the child’s benefit. Then they will rationalize this by calling it “chinuch”, and saying that they indeed had the child’s best interest at heart. I still remember getting slapped on the bare butt, which is degrading, and I even remember the one time my mother hit me with a belt. She was so angry at the time, that she doesn’t remember the incident at all, almost as if she was on drugs at the time (yes, anger is like a drug in that it is mind altering). Punishing a child in any way which is designed to degrade or scare the child into compliance is destined to backfire. Punishing a child while angry is even worse. It is no different than the kick a kindergarten aged child gives to his playmate for taking his toy truck, and provides the same (lack of) effect. My mother still likes to tell me about the time my sister was playing with a friend, and when the friend bit my sister, this friend’s mother BIT the child as a punishment for biting my sister. The irony is that my mother failed to realize that her own hitting was often just as counterproductive as that misguided mother’s biting. To finish off, the only kind of hitting I feel is acceptable is the slap-on-the-hand which is used when a child needs to know that the infraction is VERY serious and must never be repeated (like running in the street, playing with fire, etc. Not failing to make a bracha). For all those who are going to say that I write all of this because I am not a parent: You are right; I am not a parent (yet, anyway). However, I feel that what I have written is 100 percent correct, and is in line with what just about any respected Rav would tell you. And lest you ask how you can parent without hitting, it’s a little late to hear this now, but when a child is never hit in any way and feels only love and respect from the parents, you’d be surprised at how effective a little (and not even painful) “potch” on the hand can be.
    Wishing all you parents and parents-to-be lots of luck,

  • SF2K1 July 16, 2009, 12:02 PM

    I learned from my rabbi an important thing: A hit is different from a potch.

    How so?

    If a 4 year old kid is misbehaving, and you stop him and basically tap his hands, he will cry like you just smacked him across the face. Why? Because it’s about perception. If they’re perceiving a punishment, they’re going to learn a lesson, or at least realize what they did was wrong at some level.

    Same goes for the “Don’t scream at your kids” idea, just have a serious tone.

    So don’t beat your kids, although I’d say you deserved that beat down for robbing your dad’s wallet, so it can be tougher for more serious things.

  • kissmei'mshomer July 16, 2009, 1:53 PM

    I get upset when parents act as though they have a carte blanche to hit their kids.

    It’s one thing to do when you’re calm and rational – although personally I’m against that too – but I’ve seen too many parents who seem to feel that since they are a parent, they can hit their kids whenever and however and that makes it okay because they’re “allowed.”

    Also, it’s one thing to hit kids but “beating them up” should NEVER be okay, no matter how much they “deserve” it. No child, no matter how awful and annoying, deserves to be abused.

  • Puzzled July 16, 2009, 2:31 PM

    It’s one thing, I think, to grab a child who is running into the street, or tackle a child about to put a fork in an outlet, but hitting after the event to teach a lesson is something different. If the message is “I will teach you that such actions are bad by causing pain” can we really be surprised if the child grows up to think violence is an acceptable response to displeasure?

  • Yochanan July 16, 2009, 3:30 PM

    Jon the A:

    What method do you use? Time-out?


    Good point. Where do you draw the line? I don’t think a hand spank on the butt is as bad as a slap. And a slap is not as bad as a belt.

    I have a 2 year old nephew that says quite a number of swear words. The most I’ve ever done it tap or pinch his upper arm or shoulder. I couldn’t see myself actually taking a swing at child.

    Maybe before getting married it’s a good idea to discuss disciplinary methods.

  • Yochanan July 16, 2009, 3:31 PM

    Jon the A:

    What method do you use? Time-out?


    Good point. Where do you draw the line? I don’t think a hand spank on the butt is as bad as a slap. And a slap is not as bad as a belt.

    I have a 2 year old nephew that says quite a number of swear words. The most I’ve ever done is tap or pinch his upper arm or shoulder. I couldn’t see myself actually taking a swing at child.

    Maybe before getting married it’s a good idea to discuss disciplinary methods.

    Anyone remember that time William Shatner was on Family Guy and recommended hitting your kids with a sack of Valencia oranges because it doesn’t leave a bruise and lets them know who’s boss?

  • Yochanan July 16, 2009, 3:47 PM


    I haven’t walked in your shoes, but shouldn’t you ask a Rav about the correct way to do Kibud Av VeEm? At the the very least they were your sperm and egg.

  • kissmei'mshomer July 16, 2009, 5:49 PM

    I’m not in Burnt Out’s position and I don’t want to answer for him/her but…


  • kissmei'mshomer July 16, 2009, 5:50 PM

    In a nutshell, one does not have to honor abusive parents.

  • Yochanan July 16, 2009, 8:42 PM

    So, in essence, the abusive parents lose the privilege of being honored.

  • yeshiva dude July 16, 2009, 9:47 PM


    What you wrote explains a lot about your deranged life. Thanks for enlightening me. Oh, and you wrote that real well with NO spelling mistakes. You deserve a candy! Well that’s if you ignore the fact that you wrote a 500 word essay in 1 paragraph!!!!!! and you’re the one who’s monitoring everyone elses writing!!???

    Being that you’re so bored and have nothing better what to do with your pathetic waste of human life, why don’t you check out my response to you in the article with “entering into a church”. Maybe you’ll find some fun there editing my comment you bored soul!!!

  • kisarita July 17, 2009, 12:30 AM

    1. Yosef: What makes you so sure that the out of control kids getting arrested aren’t davka the ones that WERE beaten? Me thinks it very likely that they are.

    2. On the no hitting out of anger rule: So folks, you think it’s better to beat a child with cold calculation? In my book that’s a lot worse. Losing temper- every one does that now and then. But premeditated cruelty, designed and planned to hurt someone? way something else.

  • eyekanspel July 17, 2009, 2:47 AM

    @ yeshiva dude
    When I write a comment, it’s because I “have nothing better to do with my pathetic waste of human life”, but when you write a comment you are making stellar use of your time. When I write about sad experiences it means my life is deranged? Seriously dude, just shut up and go back to your learning (or jacking off, which is more likely what you do when you are not berating people on this “dumb blog”).


    The rule is not to only not hit out of anger. You should not hit to cause pain, PERIOD. People who use hitting and are truly successful give just a little slap on the hand, which does not cause any physical pain. It is only used to make a point to the child, and because it it is done out of love and not anger, and does not cause any physical pain, the child can learn a lesson from it. If the child feels the parent’s anger, the child will not learn to obey for the right reasons (he will obey out of fear instead of a sense of right and wrong). I agree with you though, that anyone who makes a calculation to physically hurt their child is doing more damage than the person who hits the child out of anger and then goes on to apologize. But now we’re heading into whether a parent should apologize to a child, which is an entirely different topic, so I’ll stop now.

  • yeshiva dude July 17, 2009, 5:26 PM


    If you call getting your ass whipped by your parents a simple “sad experience”, then that just enforces what I said about your deranged life. additionally, if you can say as a counter argument is “Seriously dude, just shut up and go back to your learning (or jacking off, which is more likely what you do when you are not e.t.c.” then it shows that you admit I’m right and you have no answer. You’re just beating around the bush. Being that there is no point in having an intelligent debate with an imbecile like yourself, I will try to ignore you from here on.

  • Yochanan July 17, 2009, 5:58 PM


    It’s called puberty.

  • Yochanan July 17, 2009, 6:01 PM

    Not to say every teenager steals cars, but that the rush of hormones causes people, especially guys, in that age group to do some incredibly stupid things.

  • Yochanan July 17, 2009, 6:07 PM

    judefolly said:

    “jon the A, in shalom NJs estimation, you are obviously a non-parent as well. ”

    This reminds me of the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy.

    It goes like something like this:

    Person 1: No Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.

    Person 2: Well, my Uncle Angus is a Scotsman and HE puts sugar in his porridge.

    Person 1: Ha! No TRUE Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.

  • D123 July 20, 2009, 1:42 PM

    children misbehave – my mother “just wait till your father comes downstairs.. (calls my fathers name)
    my father precedes down the stairs and demonstrates to us the sound the belt will make when it strikes us on the bare but.. and it did over and over.. and left quite a mark (which lasted for about a week)
    I believe in authoritative parenting. A parent must develop a close relationship with their children and simultaneously maintain a high level of expectations, rules & guidelines.
    I do not think there is anything wrong with hitting a child (potching) if it is for the means of education and discipline, and by no means done out of anger with loss of control. I can clearly remember how often my father completely lost control and how his anger consumed him completely.
    I am not a parent but was a teacher and I do understand the frustrations of educating a rebellious child.. but that is no excuse for that kind of “discipline”.

  • Arielle July 22, 2009, 2:00 PM

    My (adopted) Dad smacked me sometimes ALWAYS on my bare bottom but also had another way that didn’t need smacking but guaranteed an EXTREMELY sore bottom!!. Smacks were at first, when he first adopted me i didn’t know about discipline, i was used to his affection until one day i did something wrong. He had warned me and i had laughed so it was punishment time. He took me up to my bedroom and smacked my bottom 3 times, i cried and he said Daddy was the boss and if i didn’t obey him i’de get a sore bottom. His other punishment was he would lay me across his lap or over a chair, bare my bottom and with a small sheet of sandpaper rubbed my bottom, hard, for about 30 seconds, it didn’t feel too bad as he was doing it but after a minute felt like my whole bum was on fire!. Then hands on my head-always crying in a corner with my poor, rosy red, burning like mad little bottom!, waving it about trying to cool it down-never worked!. After half an hour Dad offered cream (which was SO SO embarrassing my Dad giving my bare bottom a good rub with cream)!! but i let him ANYTHING to ease the stinging!, infact i used to say “more cream Daddy” or “PLEASE Daddy give it a REALLY good rub an extra rub it’s sooo sore”!, he did but i don’t know what was more red-my face or my bottom!!. You could always tell if i’de been naughty cause i’de have white cream smeared across my bottom!!. Then “sorry Daddy” and i always wanted a cuddle (i loved him)…followed him everywhere. It taught me to obey him and he could take me anywhere, it worked a treat in keeping me in line!.

    • Anonymous January 5, 2013, 11:14 PM

      I’d like to apply the same treatment to your father for hurting you like that; see how he’d like it! What an idiotic fool. Yet how sweet a kid were you, forgiving and humble.

  • Frum Satire July 22, 2009, 2:14 PM

    That sounds like a bad attempt at porn

  • TRS July 22, 2009, 2:14 PM

    Holy cow Arielle, you were freakin abused!

  • shevers July 22, 2009, 2:19 PM

    Yeah Arielle let me turn your dad in please.

  • Jewish Side July 30, 2009, 7:03 PM

    I once wrote up on the topic of Discipling children

  • Anonymous December 29, 2009, 3:42 PM

    i belive that u should not
    hit or swear your child. u should listen and love them.

    • Guest #2 January 5, 2013, 11:15 PM

      I approve. 100%

  • SN January 12, 2010, 10:09 PM

    Shit my mom smacked me once for failing a subject, after years of taking her shit i went buck wild. I through her back right through the dry wall. She pushed me away and tried to run into of course she hit me full on because i thought i had one. But no i crashed right into the fridge, head smacked. blacked out and woke up to her leaning over me with spit on my face, and her leaning over me baby smacking my face got up she asked me wherei was going i said, to call dad. She said he wasn’t aloud to no about this, even if i didnt want him know about it there was a decently big sized hole in the wall. So i continued to walk on to the telphone. From the moment i picked it up she had thrown a can of axe at me i had laying around. It hit me right in the back of the head where i had just hit my head in the fridge. In raged with a hate, i picked her threw her onto the wall again said, “next time you ever lay a finger on me, it will be the last thing you ever do.”

    Sounds like a great story right? Not really in fact i quite regret it. My relationship never was the same with her. So no i think beating children is wrong. No one will win from it.

    • Mahla August 2, 2010, 3:00 PM

      WHOA! I’m so sorry that happened happened between you guys, SN. :^(

  • Meshuga Parent August 2, 2010, 2:19 PM

    Its hard to have a solid opinion about the effects of spanking if you were lightly spanked as a child and grew up okay without any animosity towards your parents.

    Ultimately I think its not okay to do. There are better ways to discipline children. The revocation of privileges usually does the trick. No computer, video games, dessert, etc.

  • lee November 18, 2010, 7:02 PM

    I hate my dad.my dad always yells at me for no reasen.

  • Anonymous January 18, 2011, 3:59 AM

    I’m 14 live in hollend And 2 daya ago My mom smashed bottle on My head ( i was realy fckt up after That) i keep thinkings Thats not right but What if Kid realy needs fcking punch ? I mean i smoke weed all day ( alot of teenagers smoke weed in Holland Its quite normal…like seriously) i don’t help in The household becouse im never at home. I have bin hit since the age of … Since i can remember But i keep thinking is there an other way???? I keep asking myself why should kids do What there parents tell you to ? We should retaliate i’m 14 And i can beat up full grown man no kidding ( THE youngsters in Holland are tuff believen me) Fuck parent there are inough kids to take over THE planet THE only problem we would become adult aventually And That would make it hard battle to win but still we kids should kill al of ya trying to tell is What to do Like slaves That get paid in natura with some food And shelter? While we Don’t have change to work for house till where adults well Fuck That shit WHERE LIVING IN A WORLD/ECONOMIE THATS BASED ON PAPER

    • woah January 6, 2013, 5:39 PM

      reach out to someone. your mom has no way to treat you that way. There is a better world beyond your scope of view!

  • Anonymous January 18, 2011, 4:01 AM

    Why do kids have no right

  • hwjlfdhejlf July 13, 2011, 10:34 AM

    listen. if u beat ur children they’ll hate u! do u really want ur children to hate u? didnt think so.

  • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 12:21 AM

    3 of my kids are old enough to need occasional punishments. My 6 year old gets a tap on his had for being disrespectful, and it really doesn’t need to be any more than a touch. My 4 year old daughter doesn’t even need the tap. You just look at her and take her hand and say ‘stop’ and she bursts into tears as if she’d just been punched in the head. It really just a much more effective way of conveying disapproval to a small kid than. My 3 year old just throws these horrible screaming crying fits. He needs a little slap on the cheek to get him to quiet down, and then he’ll sit on your lap and listen. Each kid is really different. If you were smiling or joking around with any of these kids, like playing “who can punch the lightest” or something, they would laugh and laugh after getting punched hard enough to knock them over. The same kid will bawl their eyes out from a single finger tapping their hand in disapproval.

  • Lili January 6, 2013, 4:19 AM

    My mother used to hit us frequently when we were kids. She also used to scream at us children every single day in order to deal with stress she was experiencing at work. At some point she tried to commit suicide – but some time after that incident we found out that she had hidden half of the pills (she had still taken enough to have an organ failure and my siblings and I were asked to test as possible organ donors). My dad was very abuse verbally – we could never talk about things that did really touch us. Result of such a childhood is that my siblings and I do have a close connection to each other, but none of us is finished with our professional education and we are all over 30. We all have to fight problems with depression, anxiety and lack of self-worth. And none of us is married. My parents would love to become grandparents – but there is always a price to pay…for each and everybody involved in such a family “philosophy”.

  • 2potchornot2potch January 6, 2013, 6:08 AM

    Is the parent hitting the child because the parent is angry and out of control or is the parent giving the kid a potch because the parent asked the child for the 20th time not to or to do something and all requests have been ignored? I’m not a fan of humiliating or harming children, but I am a fan of limits and consequences. I have seen the grown up version of people who never had limits or boundries. My kids had many timeouts, together with punishments such as no birthday present or a real crappy one.Those who are not punished for repeated misbehavior grow up to be self centered adults who do not care about consequences or about other people. Off subject, the most messed up kids I see at my kids’ schools are the ones who are considered to be the “victim” by their parents. Everyone else is the bully. These misfits wind up with no friends and with much animosity toward their parents. Kids need to know that they are loved, but they have to know not to push limits. They like to know what the boundries are and will test them and their parents. Good parenting takes much effort and much thought.

  • mb January 6, 2013, 8:39 AM

    u guys neede to get out of the caves ur in and realize that besides for hitting or aggresion being an ineffective way of parenting and shows weekness from the parent it isnt good mentally either tov have ur kid as a punching bag and u ppl thetv say ur hitting for the good of the kid that is complete hogwas because if u REALLY had kids best intrest u actually do some reasearch an clinically developed ways to parent developed by professionals not a bunch of bubies who ran daycares

  • anony January 6, 2013, 5:36 PM

    yes, my parents hit

    sometimes beat

    verbally abused

    I am taking a stand to raise my own children with no abuse, verbal or physical.

  • Serenity Rocha June 26, 2013, 6:53 PM

    Man my parent like hit me every day even .today im getting hit just for rollingy eyes it all happened when my dad bought a new pool my sisters were fighting so i tald my 2 sister to just let her get in truble her self and shes a big cry bab y ao she started crying so all my family came out side so my sister insted of telling the truth she lied and said that i called her a b word so thats when i rolled my eyes so she told me to get out and when i passed him he said he was going to kick my a word

  • anonymous October 15, 2013, 8:55 AM

    im 13 and my mom still hits my sister and i. my sister is 14. my mom had grown up in africa so she sees is as acceptable. my sister and i will be talking in our room at night and if she hears us, she runs up the stairs, and throws us around by our hair. if we get any grades under an A we get belted. she scares the crap out of me. she insults us for being tired in the morning, and being slow after we wake up. we are home schooled so there is no escape. she yelled at me because i had lice one time. she was mad at me for about a month because i asked her to stop hurting me. im scared out of my mind. im not allowed to pretty much have friends. i save up my money and i bought an ipod touch and she smashed it with a hammer. i think she enjoys being mean to me.

  • anonymous October 15, 2013, 11:10 PM

    What your mother is doing is wrong. It’s not your fault and there are people out there who can help you.
    What country do you live in? I will bli neder try to find help for you.

  • Anonymous December 24, 2013, 5:19 PM

    i tried hitting my parents but only made it worse

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