Medicating vs Spanking

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    I argued that spanking is not usually necessary. But, maybe it is sometimes a lesser evil.

    Some schools suggest or insist on medicating children that the school are not able to control.
    Spanking would be a better option. Maybe even now, schools that think spanking is more appropriate, do not medicate (as much)?


    It seems to me that spanking a child who needs medication (i.e. his erratic behavior is due to a medical issue) is rather cruel and obviously pointless. And medicating a child who acts out because he has not been able to absorb the concept of consequences resulting from unwise actions (i.e. perhaps spanking may help him) is equally unwise.


    Spanking is actualy a medicin, it just hurts but it is sometimes the best medication for naughty children.


    Another option is to, as our parents warned, put soap in the kids mouth.


    in our mekorot we do not find anything about mouth soaping, you can also put pepper or salt, you can tell the child to put his hands on his head for long minutes etc. but i think nothing is so effective and at the same time the least abusive then simple spanking

    ☕️coffee addict


    That was only for nivul peh

    catch yourself

    Spanking a child who truly needs to be medicated is like spanking a child who has diabetes. It’s cruel and abusive, and absolutely ineffective.

    If you want to help a child, give him medication if he needs it.

    As a Rebbe, I am loathe to ask parents to have their son evaluated for medication. I know that as a parent, it would be a difficult phone call to receive.

    I have seen the downside of medication in some of my students over the years. I know that overmedicating can completely turn off a child’s personality and make him somewhat of a robot. Nobody wants this, and doctors, parents, teachers and Rebbeim work together to find the right dose.

    Even so, I can tell you that the downside is far outweighed by the benefits.

    Schools, teachers, and Rebbeim do not want to medicate students who don’t need it, and they would be unable to do so in any case. The diagnosis of ADHD is based on a very large amount of data that is collected from parents, Rebbeim, teachers, therapists, and the child himself.

    Talk to a psychologist. You’ll find out that there is no real benefit to a child to withhold necessary medication from him.

    meir G

    a few points;
    1. its not one VS. the other its 2 diff tools that should be used when necessary with yishuv hadaas.
    2. a GPS teaches us to find our bearings & at times RECALCULATE.. that is the approach with meds & petch or anything else. ( i wish i could stay as calm as the voice on my GPS is when i keep ignoring her directions.)
    3. ALWAYS ASK- “schools that think spanking is more appropriate, do not medicate (as much)?” TOTALY FALSE- the chassidishe yeshivos were some level of petch still exist are the most open to pediatric meds ( this is a fact i wouldnt write it if i didnt know from the inside )
    4. when a child needs meds so depending on the severity is where the patch question comes in meaning you balance giving the child slack because of his weakness ( hyper.. mood..)& look away , & at times because of his condition he is not fully in control & might need the FEAR of a patch to keep him safe


    A school shouldn’t TELL a parent to medicate their child.
    They should provide information about the difficulty managing the child’s behavior and any helpful details. If it’s occurring throughout the day or during specific subjects it may point to academic difficulty rather than a focusing issue, if it’s during recess and with peers it indicates issues with social skills. The more detailed the information the easier it will be for parents to give a snapshot of the problem to an evaluating professional.
    Smacking a child for non-compliance is a leap towards trying to find a solution without actually knowing what the problem is. That kind of a “solution” can actually exacerbate the problem and cause mistrust with the child. Misbehavior is a call for help. The help a child needs might be better boundaries but not in the form of physical harm.
    It should start with getting to the source of why a child is acting out in order to find a solution to rectify the problem.


    You only get medicated you have adhd and I know it helps greatly first hand

    The little I know

    As a thread about spanking, I find the comments here quite rational, regardless of whether i agree or not. I commend the commenters here for maintaining the focus.

    Let’s repeat something stated in a few of the comments here. We need to match a solution to the problem if we expect a useful outcome. To fix a broken arm by amputating it sounds quite rash, and it is unlikely that we would recommend it. But once no longer part of the body, one would to need to fix the fracture anymore. If our focus is that limited, we can use any intervention we wished. we might eliminate the problematic behavior. But we might lose the child. And that doesn’t really solve the problem.

    There are kids that need medication. Treating that with bandaids will not correct anything. Petch provide a very limited window of effectiveness, and it has its place. The misappropriated potch is an assault on a child, and its a greater problem than most things kids can do.

    It is likewise difficult to address “medication” as a single approach. There are quite a few psychiatric diagnoses. The ones that are helped by medication are quite diverse, and different meds help for different conditions. The stimulants used for ADHD disorders may likely clash for others without those disorders. Anti-anxiety meds might help for certain kids, but might be contraindicated for the ADHD cases. Professional evaluation is critical, and this should be done by someone with specific expertise in child psychiatry or similar specialists. Schools can contribute info, but should never utter the common phrase, “Medicate your child or else keep him/her home.” That typically leads to parents twisting the arms of pediatricians who are often undertrained for child psychiatry to prescribe meds.

    Schools that insure their faculty have solid training in discipline and knowing when to reach out for professional consultation are to be commended. It’s as important to writing good curriculum.

    catch yourself


    FWIW, I am completely on board with your post, with a couple of notes:

    I think treating ADHD with spanking is like treating a broken arm by amputating the leg.

    If a school’s resources are limited, and the school is not able to provide the care that Yanky needs, I think it is a disservice to Yanky (and his classmates) not to acknowledge this fact. The administration should tell Yanky’s parents – in the most compassionate way possible – that the school is not equipped to give him the care and education he needs and deserves, and they should help Yanky’s parents find the right place for him.

    This is not about laziness, it’s about trying to make sure every student gets what he needs and deserves.


    Looks like my post did not make it. Short version, could you go through this check list:
    – is the kid bad with some teachers or all?
    – is the kid bad if left alone in a care of a nice person?
    – did you try behavioral ADHD methods?
    – do you have teachers trained in these methods?
    – did you try training parents in such methods?


    No post was deleted.


    Spanking an innocent child is wrong

    Medicating a regular innocent child is wrong

    Spanking a child who needs medication is wrong

    Medicating a child who needs a spankin is wrong

    So what is the question medicating vs. spanking ?

    I think the answer is that some parents believe that spanking is Always wrong, and they will rather use medication on their child then spanking, in my opinion thats child abuse


    False dichotomy. If the only way to control an unruly but mentally stable child is through medications or spanking, the teacher is doing something very very wrong.

    ADHD overmedication was more a thing of the past anyway. It doesn’t occur nearly as much and requires much more thorough methods and documentation before it can be shown that the kid’s problem is a chemical imbalance requiring drugs.


    You are not right. There are certain circumstances where a spanking is necessary and it is not the fault of the parent pr teacher.

    catch yourself

    Overmedication occurs frequently in the beginning of treatment, as the psychiatrist works to determine the appropriate dose.

    In all my years as a student (in the 1980’s and 1990’s) and as a Rebbe (the past decade or so), I have only known one Rebbe who hit a student. He was wrong.

    I know more than a few parents who hit, and nearly all of them are wrong, as well.

    It is an extremely rare situation that calls for corporal punishment in an educational setting (whether in school or at home), and even in such situations it is often not the correct course of action.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    catch yourself – so true. And so refreshing to read your posts.


    The Yeshiva I was in at one point had a name as a potching Yeshiva. Almost all the Rebbeim potched. I can tell you, there were two occasions where the kid definitely deserved it, but the Rebbi went overboard. Eight grade the Rebbe would give a little love tap that wasn’t meant to hurt as he felt we were too mature for potches. Most occasions were completely unwarranted. One Rebbi in particular was just awful. We had him for the last hour of the day and he was trying to quit smoking at the time. Constantly irritable and grumpy. About 30 minutes of the hour was given over to punishments. Every day would start off with one kid reading off the list of assignments that were due that day. “Chaim Yankle, ‘I will not talk in class’ 100 times. Shmuel Baruch, Mishna aleph through gimmel with translation…” Those kids would either hand in their assignments or be lined up at the front of the class to be yelled at. Repeat offenders were slapped. Every day there was probably between one to four potches given out. I’ve heard from people who were his talmidim later that he improved and was actually a good Rebbi, but I have a hard time getting over him even decades later.

    The little I know


    Here is where you’re wrong. Precisely who makes the determination that “spanking is necessary” in a certain circumstance? We are seriously deficient in being able to put our own emotions to the side, and to exercise a true, Torah dictated chinuch approach. First, who has the training needed to make appropriate application of discipline? Frighteningly few. It is rare that a yeshiva demands such training prior to being assigned a classroom. Even many menahalim are undertrained in that (although Torah Umesorah has led the way to reducing that).

    Next, repetitive of my earlier comment, everything, absolutely everything done with a student in yeshiva must be educational. Punishments that do not teach have no place in chinuch. Teaching to follow school’s rules is not the mission of chinuch. In fact, downloading Torah data isn’t either. It is the teaching of the basic skills of learning (how to learn), and the building of a connection to Torah (ahavas haTorah). The actual teaching of Chumash, Gemora, Halacha, etc. is just the vehicle to achieve the missions. A talmid that scores a 65 on a Chumash or Gemora test probably reflects a melamed that fared poorly in teaching him, not a talmid that didn’t care to learn. No, talmidim are not identical, and the cookie cutter stuff is not Torah based. Rather חנוך לנער על פי דרכו, oft repeated, but less often obeyed.

    I’m not attacking yeshivos. They have a mammoth task, complicated by cramming more students in a classroom than true chinuch that allows for על פי דרכו. Hence we have curricula that push agendas based mostly on volume of material taught. Challenge from a difficult student is seen as a threat to the rebbe’s authority. That is a tragic misinterpretation most of the time. It’s more often a cry for help and connection. But staffing to cope with the sheer numbers of talmidim is limited, and everyone suffers.

    The point of medication vs. spanking as a false dichotomy is extremely valid. Can anyone tell me whether Rabbi Trenk ever asked this question?


    tlik: medication vs. spanking as a false dichotomy

    thanks, finally!

    I fashioned the question following the “when did you stop beating your wife” adage. Number of people defending one or another exceeded my expectations!

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    You remind me of an old poster NC. Any relation?


    Not sure, maybe we had common ancestors … Was he for spanking or for drugging?



    Al pi tora has every parent and every melamed the right of potching within the right rules given in shulchan aruch, you can look it up. Maybe you try to say that today is different, but it seems you think that corporal punishment has not a place in chinuch at all, that might be right in modern psygology, but not al pi tora

    The little I know


    I am talking al pi Torah, not modern psychology. I will recommend you to peruse the library of authoritative compendia of mesoros from the great leaders of our current and recent generations. First, read what they say. All of them are far more knowledgeable of chinuch “al pi Torah” than either of us can claim to be. Check out what they say. Then we’ll resume our dialogue. Everything I said until now was based on my study of their positions, and often direct quotes.


    >> talking al pi Torah, not modern psychology.

    I understand what you are saying – that it is a possible way of action. But please note that mitzvot ben adam l’havero depend on how the receiving person accepts it. thus, it is possible, that “al pi Torah”, we should not spank. I am not arguing one way or the other. Just disagree with the notion that when a rishon makes a psak for his time, it is “al pi Torah”, and if we do it today, it is “modern psychology”. A Rishon used psychology of his time, and we – of our time. His was “modern” then, and ours will be “old” soon. Ein hadash ….
    Same goe for medicating. Yes, there are case when it may be needed. And, yes, in majority of the case, it is done inappropriately, and the perpetrators, both here and the ones I know IRL, can say lots of right words to justify themselves.

    catch yourself

    I haven’t researched the issue, so I don’t have hard statistics. In my experience, and based on conversations with the professionals that I know (psychologists and social workers), the incidence of inappropriately medicating is currently extremely low.

    What evidence do you have that “in majority of the case, it is done inappropriately?”

    crazy horse

    honestly i think medicating or spanking the adults is fine with me. my point is just because someone has a “position of authority” doesn’t mean their bad middos isn’t the fault of problem. as they say to drive a car you need to pass a test but anyone can have Kids!


    catch: What evidence do you have that “in majority of the case, it is done inappropriately?

    my evidence is that I see teachers that are not always very good and then they recommend parents to evaluate/medicate, etc. I see kids who behave badly in some classes, and not others. And I hear a similar testimony from a number of other people in my and in other cities. This in addition to researching the issue and finding out that criteria are pretty fuzzy. Good controlled experiment should come from parents who were pushed to medicate and then had kids at home for COVID. Hopefully, they stopped medication. Now, compare how these kids performed at home comparing with their peers.


    I haven’t researched the issue, so I don’t have hard statistics. In my experience, and based on conversations with the professionals that I know (psychologists and social workers), the incidence of inappropriately medicating is currently extremely low.

    Usually, the decision to medicate is done either in conjunction with a professional such as a psychologist or social worker or at their recommendation. So using them as proof that there isn’t inappropriate medicating is like asking the wolf to guard the chicken coop.

    That is not to say they are always or even usually wrong to medicate, only that you cannot use their words to substantiate your claim.

    The little I know


    Sorry, but your comment is irresponsible. The mental health field contains a wide variety of professionals with many different levels of involvement with different populations. Not all those who work with children are working in conjunction with the prescribing physicians, and not all are making specific recommendations. It is professionally prudent for these non-physicians to make observations and share them with a prescribing physician. yet the doctor remains in charge, and must be capable of performing a suitable evaluation. Collecting observations from teachers, family, and other professionals is part of the picture. You cannot broad stroke these professionals as the wolf guarding the coop.


    TLIK: You cannot broad stroke these professionals

    Professionals look at the case presented to them at this moment of time: if the test shows ADHD, they might recommend medication. They might not be invested in your child and suggest changing educational environment, parents learning musar and spending time individually with a kid. But this is something that we surely should be doing before medicating a kid (or, for that matter, spanking).


    BH I don’t know the process that takes place before medicating a child. Nevertheless, one thing I can tell you. I highly doubt the doctor that prescribes the medication is doing any evaluations of the child. He is prescribing based on the recommendations and evaluation of others. And if a social worker or psychologist is involved, then their opinion is going to hold the most weight whether the child should be medicated.

    A very important component when considering medicating a child, is not only the child should be evaluated, but the parents as well. That means checking if the parents respond appropriately to their children and are not in fact causing the issues. Asking the parents questions and the child too on what goes on at home. I don’t know if that is done, but I’m guessing it’s not.

    The little I know


    There are medical professionals and there are medical professionals. The ones I know are ethical, professional, and dedicated to their work. They receive the same fee for the office visit whether they prescribe or not. They are fully aware that medication needs to be required before prescribing. They are cognizant that all medications have side effects, and they are also aware that the knee jerk reactions to prescribe are sometimes bad guesses. Those are the ones I know. They have established the diagnosis by evaluation before intervening. Perhaps you are acquainted with those that lack these basics in professionalism and medical ethics. I do feel bad for you, and hope you receive your medical care from the ethical and moral ones I described above.

    It is legendary that health care professionals, especially in the mental health field, differ in their diagnostic impressions. I have yet to meet a psychiatrist who prescribes solely on the assessment of any other professional. Of course, the referring therapist has input. But to accuse the physicians of not doing their own evaluation is a serious allegation. Again, there may some that are lacking in their professional ethics. Those are the exceptions.

    Lastly, it is true that psychiatrists will focus on the need for medication, and not concentrate on the parental roles. It is assumed that this was addressed earlier. But they are not ignorant of it. Have you ever made a referral to a psychiatrist? What does this doctor ask you while accepting the referral? If he/she is worth their salt, they ask all these questions.

    I should call attention to your insinuation that the “parents caused it”. That’s remnants of the Freudian approach to psychology. While the concept has merit, it is overblown to drastic degrees. It comes from the drive to blame someone else for the problem instead of addressing the individual and helping them in whatever manner is effective to overcome the problem.


    I work in health care & have worked in Psychiatry.

    Yes, there are children who have ADHD & need medication. However, ADHD is vastly overdiagnosed, and many children are started on stimulant medications that they do not need.

    There are other things you have to look for. If a child is not getting enough sleep (should be 10 hours for a younger child), they will have symptoms that are identical to ADHD & hard even for psychiatrists (who don’t have the time!) to distinguish from actual ADHD. Electronics use in children also causes many of these symptoms.

    I suggest waiting and seeing if behavioral approaches work before rushing to put the child on medication.

    When my brother was 7, the school wanted him on medication & my parents said no. The school had to find another way to manage his behavior. Which they did, and after a few years, he was doing just fine & learning well.


    bshrag2, yes, I found support for this view in several books by Ed Hollowell. He mentions that this is only condition where you need to manage the positive side rather than just suppress the negative as doctors are used to. If you can find the right way for the child (person) to learn, then there is simply no need to deal with problems. As you mention, a big chunk of effort is in convincing schools to do the right thing. I found online education a brocha. I use school resources when appropriate. When the school recorded lecture is boring for the kid, we simply discuss the subject from a different perspective.

    There is also a “trick” for kids who can’t stay on the same subject: we start in a science class, switch to math, then mention some psych, then to related halocha .. much more productive to help a kid to learn than to spend time talking to a teacher about it.

    I wonder whether anyone else had similar experiences

    anonymous Jew

    20 years ago the yeshiva my great nephew told my niece that he was ADD . Basis for the diagnosis? They expected him ,at the age of 7, to sit at his desk from 9 to 6 with virtually no recess and 1 hour for lunch. To the school’s surprise by 3 pm he would get antsy, lose concentration and would get hit by the rebbe for not knowing the place.
    Instead of medicating, my niece found another yeshiva that was more accommodating and by the time he was 9 he had the zitzfliesh to sit and not get antsy


    >> and by the time he was 9 he had the zitzfliesh to sit and not get antsy

    it might be that he just outgrew his impatience, but it also possible that they gradually calmed his natural curiosity and made him accept the passive listening existence.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    aaq – you don’t seem to have a lot of positive comments toward jews, judaism unmodified, or the mesorah of rabbinical authority. I hope there is someone in your life who can help you reverse that, and I hope there isn’t someone in your life encouraging this.
    Mazel and brocha.


    If kids act bad don’t give them kugel that Shabbos….simple solution.


    syag > you don’t seem to have a lot of positive comments

    You are not reading my comments correctly. I may sound more negative than I am because I am sharing my concerns here. I have a great view from my windows, would you learn anything if I shared that with you!?

    I have a lot of positive feelings towards teachers in Jewish schools who are underpaid, many care about kids, and many are not well prepared for their jobs I have even MORE rachmonus for those kids, that is why I am sharing my own concerns and concerns that I learned from others and sharing them with parents and teachers who might find some of it useful.

    I always appreciate those teachers who were great to the kids and or at least tried. say, a teacher who put herself at some risk to recommend to me to take a kid out of a class she said is very bad. When I thanked her and said we are taking her a class up. She opened her eyes wide and said – no, you should take her a class down. The kid went up and is doing excellent, bli ayin hara. She obviously cared, but did not understand how the kid learned. What if we listened and sent a kid in a class 2 years below his ability?


    My kid got a scrape on the knee. I spanked him and the scrape healed in a few days.

    The little I know


    How fortunate it was only a scrape on the knee. Had it been the common cold, it would have taken 7 days.


    huju >> My kid got a scrape on the knee

    I am slow today, is this in response to the kid who went a class up? so, you are saying if a kid is capable of going a class UP (not to another school), it would have been fine to keep him a year back (i.e. 2 years behind his abilities?).

    A case similar to your would be when our wonderful pediatrician gave antibiotics for a baby because “it is impossible to watch that eye all the time to determine when you would need it urgently”. At the next visit, he looked smartly and said “see, how well it worked!” but lost the smile when my wife gave him the antibiotic back unopen.

    eishis chayil

    coffee addict, ujm,

    only for nivvul peh??

    how about lying?? answering back?? chutzpah??


    All of the above.

    eishis chayil

    so one second, do you have so much soap in your house?

    i hope your kids really hate the taste of the soap so they dont get it often.

    just curious, do you use liquid soap, dish soap or do you make them lick and scrape with the teeth bar soaps??


    No need for so much soap. After one moutwashing it will usualy help for months and even years, though i am not a fan of mouthwashing, instead a good quick spanking will be most effective for nivul peh, and will also help for months and even years


    Consider neither drugging nor physically assaulting children.

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