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What are your views on parents hitting young children as a means of punishing or disciplining them?


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Hitting or physical punishment is wrong wrong wrong. It doesn't accomplish anything but create angry and bitter adults.

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were you hit as a child? your saying its wrong wrong worng......indulge my ignorance for a monet if you will......is it safe to say that maybe just putting your child in a "timeout" is the answer to all problems? what happens when your child goes by the stove and tries to touch the flame? yes you might have an arguement that the child shouldnt be there, however, you cannot keep a leash on them 24/7. should they just be told "NO" and go sit in the corner? I think not, and that's MY opinion. I am not saying beat the crap out of your kid(s) because of every little thing, but, sometimes a smack on the behind or the hand to show them who is boss works. It worked for me, and it works for dog's. Please Please PLEASE comment back. thank you for your time

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My mother used to smack me and my brothers all the time because that was the way parents disciplined kids back in those days. Teachers also used to give us the strap at class, too. I can't even imagine that in today's society. I can't say, though, that being smacked made me turn out any better or worse as an adult.

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I wonder how prevalent hitting children as a disciplinary measure is in Japan. Yes, we read a lot of stories about parents who go too far and beat kids to death for whatever reason. On the other hand, most Japanese mothers I see in public seem to have only three expressions when it comes to disciplining children -- "Dame," "abunai" and "yamenasai." Is there anything in between?

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I concur with your comments. My whole point was, respect. When you have respect for your "elders/parents", your "elders/parents" have respect for you. In no way am I saying beating your kids because of a rough day at work, or any excuse therefore, however, there are rules. We all had rules. Kids must follow these rules. I am 35 years old, with 3 kids, and never NEVER have I had to hit them. They all have respect. Not fear.

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In Japan it is not mere slight punishment or discipline, it mostly results in Capital Punishment. Moreover, it can be either from parents to children of vice versa. Otherwise, it is limited to three words as Brainiac has said : dame, abunai and yamenasai.

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I was WEONG when I slapped my children and when they grew up they told me so. I watched the way they punished their children and I was impressed how much they accomplished by setting them down and talking with them and hearing their side of the story too,

It made me wish I could do it all over again as I love them so and I want to be like them.

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To stop your child from touching the stove, don't. Let them touch it once, they won't do it again - just make sure you're on hand with the love and cold water and that they only touch it lightly. As for hitting children, I can guarantee that all the bullies who hit other kids are hit by their parents. All that guff about "I was given the birch daily from the age of 1 until I left home at 13 and it never did me any harm" usually comes from reactionary rightists who constantly moan about "the youth of today" failing to see that things are better now than they were and constantly improving. OK, hit your kids,if you're prepared to have a big giant come along and smack you round the head every time you do, and if you want your kids to be unhappy and unfulfilled.

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Whether or not many of us who were physically disciplined as kids turned out better or worse because of it I cannot say, but I know from my past experiences, I am never going to hit my children as discipline.

I still remember when I was around 8 or 9 years old, and bawling my eyes out because I had a tummy ache and didn't want to get in the bath. Off came dad's belt and I was hit until I literally fell in the bath - fully clothed. He didn't hit me often, but it only took one beating to lose respect for him.

I don't want my children to have similar memories.

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I don't believe discipline of any kind is necessary. Discipline only teaches what to think, not how to think. We will not evolve if this idea of discipline is not discarded altogether.

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When you have respect for your "elders/parents", your "elders/parents" have respect for you.

Shouldn't that be the other way round? It's the parents/elders teaching the respect, not the kiddies.

...Isn't it?

I can't say I never hit my kids, but I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times it happened with lots of fingers left over, and every single time I was wrong. Sometimes parents hit their kids because they (the parents) are tired or angry or frustrated, not because they think violence is necessary to discipline a child. It isn't. Trying to get the message across to a child by laying into him does nothing but teach him that violence is a legitimate way to get the message across. If people don't listen to you, bash 'em. If that's what you want to teach your kids, fine, talk to them with the back of your hand. But don't be surprised when they try to talk to you (or others) in the same way.

The Marion - that's a lovely post.

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The real issue is how do you keep yourself from becoming angry with your kids. If you are angry and hit a child you are going to do a lot of damage, physically or emotionally. You are also going to feel terrible yourself afterwards for losing control of your temper. The art is to stay calm yourself and let your kid know where the line is.

Kids need to know right from wrong, but you can also stress them out with long or difficult explanantions. Keep the rules simple, let the kid have their own way most of the time and they will not freak out too badly when they either have to stop doing something or do something they don't want to do. Don't turn everything into a battle of wills. Timing and tone of voice are important.

When they do throw a wobbler let them get on with it, don't waiver, let them get it out of their system or distract them with something totally unrelated.

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Hitting as in just lashing out with a fist or palm of the hand in public and parents not talking to their children, asking them if they understand why they are being punished, no. Taking the disobedient child into a private room, asking him or her if s/he knows why s/he is being punished, and then administering the belt, paddle, or other instrument of discipline, yes.

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My older daughter I hit twice and do not regret it.

Once when she was seven she ran over a busy road in anger without looking either way. I caught up with her and explained that I wanted her to listen to me and learn, and that I would enforce the message with a hard slap on the back of her hand. Just once, and not in anger.

Another time she was angry over being refused something trivial (after watching J TV), and she pulled a kitchen knife out of a drawer and threatened her mother. I explained that she should always leave room/margin for error even in the heat of anger, so that in the future she would never look back and regret something she might have done in a fit of passion. I didn't think the message had really sunk home, so I told her I was going to reinforce the message with one sharp deliberate slap to the back of her hand.

I have never had to hit my younger daughter.

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no kid ever turned into a serial killer because of one or two well-timed whacks...i don't advocate beating the living snot outta them, although i've seen some kids who deserve it

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Spare the rod spoil the child. I was spanked (because looking back I deserved it) but not beaten. My parents were fair. If the situation called for a stern lecture, then it was given. If it called for "go get me a switch" then it happened. It was never done out of anger or heated passion for brutality.

I think kids who merit a spanking should get one. Nothing too harsh or with the clothes off, but discipline should be enforced by both ways (lecture and spanking). As children get older, if they have been taught properly they will learn about respect and to know that striking all of the time is not warranted. I think today too many parents try to be their kids friends, and not a parent of bad guy.

Don't get me wrong, I am best of pals with my parents now, but when I was growing up, they were mom and dad. As I got older, and began to be able to reason better, then it was time for them to be friends (and still parents too).

A good tap never hurt, and I would have no problem signing a waiver for my child's school to do it withing reason.

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Blue Tiger,

I agree. The former is abuse; the latter, punishment. As long as that punishment is followed up with loving support to help the kid improve, then I don't see a long term problem with it. The problem with the enforcement of any sort of consequences, corporal or otherwise, is that lack of support after the offence.


I don't believe discipline of any kind is necessary. Discipline only teaches what to think, not how to think.

Perhaps you'd like to reconsider your opinion. As I just suggested, discipline followed by support, including teaching kids HOW to avoid doing bad or stupid things, should be part and parcel of every parent's toolbox.

Maybe you just need to define more clearly what you consider discipline to be, as I can't imagine that you're suggesting we should not correct our kids when they, for example, hit another kid!

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I would have no problem signing a waiver for my child's school to do it

No. Way.

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I love it when my kids do something wrong, hear my footsteps and then put their hands up above their heads in blocking position. I did actually hit them a bit, but now I like tickling them.

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I think it's all in how you approach the punishment. If you spank your kid when you're angry, that'll do more harm than good. But when you set the rules ahead of time ("Do this and you'll get a spanking."), when the time comes and the child breaks that rule, you can sit them down and calmly remind them of the rule and the consequences. They won't like the spanking any better, but they'll connect it to their behavior and the consequences rather than thinking you're mad at them or love them any less.

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My dad was a beater. My brothers and I were always scared of him. He was a little guy, but meaner than spit when I was young.

My brothers and I learned from him how not to raise children.

I raised 6 children. I believe in spanking, but it has to be done with conversation about what wrong with their actions that required disipling. Younger meant swatting the but, older meant spanking, older meant no car or night out.

Disipline has dished out fairly based on the crime and the age of the committer.

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I generally think hitting a child is not an effective means of modifying their behavior. I'm not going to come out and condemn parents who do because every child is different but I do not hit my kids and they are quite well behaved. I have found that the stern look and raised voice seem to get their attention well enough.

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When I came to Japan I thought that smacking the kids on the head and not the butt was terrible. After living here for years and having kids of my own, I too smack them on the head, mostly for not thinking about a situation and causing harm to others (usually another sibling). I have given my kids a spanking but, like my mother, I am afraid to spank too hard as to cause bruising of lasting pain...I just want a sting and covey a message that they are doing wrong. I have found, however, that (once they of a certain age to understand) that words or a show of disappointment can be a parents greatest tool in preventing reassurances of unwanted behavior.

I have seen many good posts here and would never say that anyone is wrong for the way they raise their children, lest the spank turns into a beating, or as many have pointed out, in anger.

Good parenting to all!

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You should not hit your child under any circumstance and those who resort to that strategy should simply not be parents. It is the lazy approach to parenting that has no place in a modern world.

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It's hard to make a comprehensive case in the space of a forum entry, but for anyone interested in non-violent approaches to discipline and child-rearing (whether the violence be physical, verbal, or psychological), I would recommend the works of William Sears and his wife. Especially, "The Successful Child" is concise and applicable from children from infancy to teens. Of course, the question is not simply hitting as a means of discipline--there are many ways of "hitting" without actually making physical contact--but rather what consistent (yet evolving) system of child-rearing a parent chooses. My wife and I are believers in Sears' attachment parenting--it has allowed us to have wonderful relationships with our 2 beautiful children. Oh, and to answer the question, there is never a need to hit a child. As a Christian parent, I'm also concerned how the "spare the rod" verse is misinterpreted as a mandate to use physical punishment on children. To answer that, I would recommend a good work on Biblical-based child rearing, "Heartfelt Discipline."

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Everton2: the modern world you are speaking of is the same one responsible for divorce, separation, erosion of family life, both parents out at work, too many pressures too early on children, and a dozen more things that contribute to less time being spent with kids by less members of their immediate and extended families.

I hope that your black and white approach to the occasional smack means that you have paid strict attention to all these other areas of life?

There are a lot of reasons why I would agree with you - about certain people not being fit to be parents. The odd smack is not one of them though.

My kids have had - on very rare occasions - a smack across their hand or the back of their legs when nothing else had worked. Balanced out with all the other things I, my wife and our extended family do for our children I dont see that rare smack is a reason to have me struck off as a parent.

Surely, like pretty much everything in life, it is question of balance. Use something all the time and its effect is non-existent. Use it very, very rarely and it can be useful in reaffirming the location of the line that shalt not be crossed.

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Alfie_in_Tokyo Whichever way you want to look at it hitting a child constitute and act of violence against that child who is incapable of defending his/her self. Someone perhaps should smack you on the back of the head or hand with a comparable strength in relation to your weight and see how you like it. My experience is that soon or later that child will start to hit others as a result of examples you have set. Lay off the kids!!

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Some did that already. Alfieintokyo's parents.

My experience is that soon or later that child will start to hit others as a result of examples you have set.

I have yet to see a kid spank another, or give them a slap on the back of the hand. Punch, kick, headbutt, etc., yes, been there, done that, when I was a kid. It wasn't because my parents spanked me though, it was because I was a kid, and I was angry. In fact, my parents taught me in no uncertain terms (you know what I mean)that hitting other kids was wrong. And you know what, I stopped doing it partly because I knew how much it hurt. The old warning "let's see how you like it" is a pretty good way of teaching kids a little consideration for others, I suspect.

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someone did that already, damn it.

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If the rule in your household is "I'm right because I'm bigger than you and you can't defend yourself," then you will lose the respect of your children the moment they grow too big for you to beat them anymore. And don't give me this "spanking is not beating" BS. Assault is assault is assault. If you can't think of any way to deal with your child's misbehavior other than violence, you are not patient enough or intelligent enough to be a parent.

Children will learn how to behave by watching how you behave. If you want your child to smack his schoolmates whenever things don't go his way, then smacking him when things don't go your way is a good way to teach. And don't be surprised when he grows up and abuses his girlfriend.

I'm sure that a lot of people out there will say "I was spanked (or that horrendously offensive term 'tapped') as a child and now I'm the paragon of maturity that has never committed violence against another human being (except my own children)"... and yeah, I'm sure you turned out just fine. And I'm sure many many other people are just fine too. But that's like saying that because you spent a few days sunbathing and didn't get skin cancer means that people shouldn't worry about it. The equation is a bit more complex; results will differ.

Somebody mentioned the modern world as being the cause of rising divorce rates, crumbling families, etc - with the implication that these things are somehow related to the "modern" idea that it isn't okay to beat your children. Quite the opposite, in fact. Families are falling apart because the people starting them grew up in families where they never learned how to have a functioning relationship with another human being. When your husband does something you don't like, you can't just start smacking him. If your wife doesn't act they way you want, you can't bend her over your knee and give her a spanking. "Well yeah, she's not a child" you might say, but the real reason is because she's a human being and that's not how human beings have functional relationships with each other.

I'm not saying you shouldn't discipline your children, like Ned Flanders' beatnik parents. But violence is the easy way out, and it IS damaging, and it does NOT work. Many in favor of violence have spoken about how you need to talk to your children afterwords so that they know why you did it and that you don't hate them etc - well have you tried giving them the talk WITHOUT violence? Or trying some other form of punishment in conjunction with talking to them?

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I sat each of my little twats down and told them: You do X,Y and Z and you get a beating. Not a spanking, a full-on beating. You will not walk for a couple of days, you will pass blood. They understand the consequences of doing what they shouldn't, and after a couple of beatings they realized it wasn't worth it. Same with the wife. When the kids misbehave it is her fault, and they have to watch her catch a beating. It is their fault.

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My father died when I was three, never took a beating from him. Mom and the step dad on the other hand had a rule. Beat them first ask later. There once was a time I lied and the step dad put his boots into my ribs and head. After a few days I woke up, and learned not to lie.

I have three kids during the terrable two's they would get firm swat ( anybody with kids knows what I mean) My youngest two are 11 and 6. Its a silent count to 5 on my fingers. Thats all it takes. I also dont talk down to them I talk with them. I ask them why, and I take the time to listen to their explanation. Then I tell them about how I did the same damn thing and what I got for doing it. I didnt turn into an abusive parent I did turn into a parent that takes the time to listen, and sometimes debate with my kids. Am I against a spanking HECK NO. And maybe if you look at the kids roaming the street right now you non spanking parents might realize they have you fooled. I know we as parents dont have rights in the states anymore. And how some kids actually bring on abuse knowing the consiquences fall on their parents.

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There once was a time I lied and the step dad put his boots into my ribs and head. After a few days I woke up, and learned not to lie.

You learned not to get caught out in a lie. Not the same thing.

Its a silent count to 5 on my fingers. Thats all it takes.

To do what? Cow them into submission?

maybe if you look at the kids roaming the street right now you non spanking parents might realize they have you fooled

What makes you think the kids 'roaming the streets' all have 'non-spanking' parents? Maybe they're out on the streets to get away from the violence at home. I never hit my kids (apart from the couple of times when I lost it, and for which I will always be ashamed). They never took to roaming the streets, and grew into young adults who are a boon to society.

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cleo i agree with you

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I have never struck my daughter. She is 10. I have felt like hitting her, but never have. From extremely early age, she has been taught what is right and wrong and what is expected of her. She gets punished by losing privileges, such as TV, DS, playing after school, or, her least favorite, sitting on the stairs leading upstairs for varying lengths of time.

DXXJP, I too never talk down to my daughter and also use a silent five count on my fingers. She knows what happens at the end. She loses something she wants to do. What I find most interesting is that, in my experience, my daughter and her friends whose parents don't hit them are much better behaved than her friends who do get hit. As an adult, I can reason with them and explain why there are certain rules at our house that are different from the rules at their houses. I almost never have a problem with these kids. The other kids are often shown the door after repeatedly breaking our house rules and are not often welcomed back. The only thing these kids seem to respect is a smack.

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You're all wrong. None of you have any proof whatsoever.

Parents have less influence than peers, in my opinion, though, in shaping our kids.

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anderstungtwist -

Don't need no 'proof'. The question asks for 'views'. So what's your view?

I agree that peers are important, but only more important than parents once junior hits the teen years, give or take a few years. Parents have 10+ years until then to instill into him what will dictate in large part what influence the peers will have - and who he chooses as his peers.

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Sorry cleo dosent matter if I got found out I learned not to lie the him.

Yes by the count of five they know the fun and games are over. Maybe they have to go to bed early or dont get their play time what ever I dream up they know they are not going to like it and they get with the program.


Tell me about it the neighbor kids are off the leash. I came in one time and two of them were jumping on the couch. I asked them if they had a couch, they said yes. Then I asked where their house was, they asked why, I told them so I could go jump on theirs. So the girl says " my popa will get mad at you" so I told here if your popa would be mad at me for jumping on yours then why are you jumping on mine. I never saw those kids in the house again.

Kids are not stupid if you keep your patiance and speak to them you both get what you want.

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You learned not to get found out lying to him else you would get a hiding. You didn't learn not to lie to others who were not in a position to give you a hiding.

So your kids know they have to behave themselves when you count to five. Great. What do they do when you're not there to count for them? Who will count for them when they're thirty, forty, fifty?

Like the kids on your couch - they knew they couldn't jump on the couch at home, because their papa would 'get mad' at them. Did it stop them jumping on your couch? No. Papa's 'discipline' didn't work, except as a stop-gap measure to prevent them jumping on the couch when papa was there to stop them.

Threatening kids with violence doesn't teach them long-term how to behave as responsible human beings, only how to avoid a hiding in the short term.

If you respect your kids, you don't hit them. Hitting them teaches them that you - who know them better than anyone else - consider them not worthy of respect. If you don't respect them, how can you expect them to respect themselves? And if they can't respect themselves, how can they have respect for others? If they learn that violence is the way to get people to obey, what's to stop them using violence in their own relationships?

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Cleo how many kids do you have?? In my post how many times did I say I beat my kids. Sorry but I don't. And yes when I'm not around they are on their toes. They know their manners, they respect other peoples things, and they never get in trouble.

My daughters are 19, and 11, my son is 6. I can take them anywhere and know they wont act like the monkeys around them.

Do you think because your a women you are better at controlling or disciplining children. Sorry that might work for the guy down the street but I have been their every step of the way for my children. I love them more than life and I don't have to threaten them with it. I never get to five. Usually they are well mannered but some times siblings will provoke the other. They get till 5 to hug it out and apologize or they both have to stop. They don't embarrass me or them selves when their out of my sight their better than that and they know it.

I don't know what your reading into my post but your wrong. Go ask them ask them how many times they got a swat from me. Ask them who raised them, helps them with their school work, cooks meals for them, and basically is there hand a foot for them.

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An intentional spanking on the rear end or a smack on the hands (after a firm warning)yes. Parents should have the right to do such things should they choose to do so.

An intentional slap, kick, punch, whack on the head, shove, bash or throw, NO WAY!

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DXXJP - Two, aged 25 and 22. I'm extremely proud of the pair of them.

Where do you get the 'because you're a woman' thingy? Totally irrelevant.

Maybe I am reading your posts wrong: I hope I am. But you started out telling us that your stepfather beat you unconscious, and seemed to suggest that you thought that was a good way to teach a child not to lie (or get caught out lying).

Then you told us 'they would get firm swat..... Its a silent count to 5 on my fingers. Thats all it takes'. I read that to mean if they don't submit by the count of five, they get what you call a 'firm swat'. Isn't that a threat of violence?

who raised them, helps them with their school work, cooks meals for them, and basically is there hand a foot for them

Isn't that what parents are supposed to do? (You'll be pleased to know the 'hand and foot' bit fades as they learn to stand on their own two feet! :-))

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Cleo I have always loved your posts and we usually see eye to eye. Maybe we both misunderstood each other. Yes parents are supposed to raise their children but its usually just one in the home caring and nurturing the other is out trying to make a living. Me and my wife both work and we both share the responsibility. I live in japan as do you so how many fathers do you know that completely get involved and not just on Sunday.

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you will lose the respect of your children the moment they grow too big for you to beat them anymore. And don't give me this "spanking is not beating" BS. Assault is assault is assault.

When you say "children" I assume you mean all ages, however, I believe three-year-olds and under don't really have much ability to discuss what is and isn't good behavior. They do understand that pouring milk on the floor results in a smack on the head. Would you say, "Hey, you're going to lower the resale value of our house!"

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You could try just taking the milk away from the little perisher. You chuck the stuff on the floor instead of drinking it = you don't get to hold the cup yourself like the big boys and girls do. Little kids instinctively want to be big kids. Using their instincts is a lot more effective in the long run than smacking them on the head.

The suggestion that it's OK to assault little kids because they don't understand anyways always strikes me as gobsmackingly stupid. The first thing you want to teach your non-understanding, open-to-suggestions child is violence is a valid method of communication??

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I would find out the situation first before taking any action. I was spank as a kid, but later my parents told me why I got the spanking. I would rather get spanked as a kid than to get sent to prison later. There has to be some discipline in the family. Sooner or later, the kid will get disciplined. If not with the family, then with society. Take your pick. You might think spanking is harsh, but look at it. I've never been in trouble by the law, other than a speeding ticket. I've never done drugs or overdosed on alocohol. I'm not, nor have I ever been in a gang. And, I've never "knock someone up."

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There has to be some discipline in the family.

Yes, there does, But it doesn't have to be violent discipline.

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Don't need no 'proof'.

Without proof, it's a pointless discussion.

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They need the belt back in schools, physical discipline has no substitute, kids are too stupid (for a lack of a better word) to comprehend all the social complexities of right and wrong, so a quick slap when wrong is done is far better than a long winded and wasted explanation.

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Thank you, curlygene....

The wors sentence my mother could utter to my older brother and me was, "Wait 'til your father gets home," and it wasn't because he was always hitting us, beating us, or abusive: Dad loved us then, and he lovesu s now. no, the reason those words were terrible is because we knew that we'd screwed up royally, and when Dad got wind of it, he'd faithfully administer correction (and he did without fail). Dad never spanked us in or out of anger: it was torment to my brother and me, but he always made us go and wait in his and Mom's bedroom. Years later, my brother asked him why, and Dad said "I didn't want to spank you in the heat of anger; I had to cool off first".

There came the time when spankings were a thing of the past (my brother and I often still speak about how we feel that groundings and restrictions were a worse punishment than spanking), but I personally realize now that Dad was helping both of us to understand that bad choices, breaking the rules, intentional "mistakes" and "accidents", and basically just not taking the time to think before doign something always brought about bad consequences. To often, especially in Japan from what I've seen (and in Korea, too, for that matter), children are not taught that disobedience and bad actions have bad consequences. This wil only cause greater harm to the children in the future...

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Initially I think it is not good but sometimes necessary. Hitting head/face is not good but smacking the hands or butt is pretty effective. You need to put fear into kids. That is the probably with kids today---no respect, no fear.

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You need to put fear into kids. That is the probably with kids today---no respect, no fear.

No you don't. Respect and fear are not the same.

Do you respect your husband? Do you fear him? Would you respect him if he hit you?

Why expect children to respect people who hit them?

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