Should Parents Intimidate Their Kids?

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    More specifically, is it ok to hit kids? How about screaming at them so that they will obey, if they otherwise wouldn’t? How far should you go in efforts to make kids listen?


    How about consequences/punishment?


    If necessary then it’s better than no boundaries and hefkervelt. But it’s not ideal or healthy, on a regular basis, especially today.


    Ideally kids should have respect for their parents because they’re mentchen themselves and respect their children as people and Hashem’s children (obviously not the same level as respect for parents or even equals). If the only way to get kids to listen is by coercion, the parents need help and it won’t be healthy for the kids. But it’s still better than no discipline. People suffer much more from that for much longer.


    Its not about making them obey ,its about molding them to be able to be a productive member of society


    Yelling at kids and hitting them generally shows lack of restraint and weakness. There are exceptions, but parents should be calm in general, and avoid hitting children.


    Do Dovid HaMelech, Tanach and the Halacha in Shulchan Aruch were wrong or questionable?


    I love these posts
    All about what not to do
    What do you do to convince a recalcitrant child to
    Go to school
    Get dressed

    Please don’t respond with what not to do.
    I get that
    I want clear instructions.
    You wake your child at 730 for an 830 bus.
    At eight child is still sleeping.
    All your sweetly asking your child to wake up has so far produced is pleasant dreams in the child.
    Child needs to go to school and you need to make the 846 train for work two blocks away.
    Describe how you make this work with
    No screaming
    No hitting
    No coercion
    No punishment

    Please give specific instructions. Not generalities.
    Well I for sure wouldn’t hit
    well if you scream they will be…

    Clear direction to make the morning work.
    Feel free to back it up to start with wake-up but provide clear check list of how to accomplish it
    remember your dealing with a child who wants to stay in bed and if they respond to you, is saying no. Or just a few more min.


    by yelling or hitting you might succeed getting your children to listen and obey, but you are causing them to have a negative attitude to that thing you wanted them to listen to. you want to educate them in a certain behaviour but by yelling and hitting or even forcing them to do something you are accomplishing the exact opposite. plus it creates a distance between parents and children. parents must learn other ways how to educate children.


    Klugeryid, it is better not to send the child to school.


    Look at that.
    Even as a presumably adult, knaidlach , is unable to follow simple clear instructions.
    I specifically asked don’t give me advice on what not to do. Don’t tell me why or what the negative results of wrong behavior will be /do / cause.
    And what does knaidlach respond?
    the negative aspects of hitting yelling and coercion.
    And this vague amorphous statement
    ”parents must learn other ways how to educate children.”
    Well genius I’ll ask you again.
    Obviously you’ve figured out ”some other way ”because for sure you are not yelling or hitting or coercing your children.
    So how’s about you share some of your tricks for those dumb ones like me who can’t seem to figure it out.
    I’m trying to learn but all im getting is don’t do this don’t do that this won’t work that is bad.
    Is that the positivity you are giving your kids??
    Don’t don’t don’t?
    How about you teach some adults how it’s done, while doing it in the fashion you are advocating parents do it to their children

    And as to the second to last statement of yours
    ”plus it creates a distance between parents and children”
    I think as a Torah Jew, that is a good thing.

    Uncle Ben

    Klugeryid; How old is the “child”?
    Some aitzos; Encourage an earlier bedtime if necessary. Pull child out of bed if he/she doesn’t get up after specified number of minutes.
    If child is depressed seek professional help.


    1) anyone here can post whatever they want. no one is obligated to respond the way someone else wants.
    2) when I wrote my comment, your comment was not yet shown. so I responded to avocado’s original question about hitting and screaming.
    3) what I meant that it creates a distance between parents and children, was a much greater distance then according to torah. the torah wants a distance based on respect and awe. I’m talking about a distance that the child is scared to discuss things with parents, to open up to them, to love them, to care for them.
    4) for NOW, I will tell you another thing you should not do. you took apart my comment, made fun of me for writing some things. DONT DO THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN. your children might respond to you, not in the way you want them to, DONT MAKE FUN OF THEM, all you have to do is, repeat the question in a soft tone. talk to them in a way that they should want to talk to you and discuss things with you.
    5) it’s late now, maybe tomorrow or after shabbos i will come back here to give you posotive thing to do.


    Encourage? an earlier bedtime?
    How? The child says no! I want to keep playing.
    How old? It’s a hypothetical situation. I’m mixing all standard childhood issues to illustrate the ridiculousness of the stated position

    Pull the child out of bed???? Physical force? Might makes right ???
    Are you for real?
    You can create a bully. You are modeling for your child that if I don’t get what I want I can just take it. That’s terrible.
    And it can lead to your child becoming a molester by showing its OK to touch someone else.
    No no no. That idea is totally out.
    Sorry wrong answer
    Try again

    Mariana Santos

    1. Come nicely into room and tell child it’s time to get up and start their day
    2. After five minutes go back into room and inform child it’s time to start the day

    Consequences of which child is fully aware will take place, begin and take place the first one after five minutes, all the rest, after three minutes each. After the sixth consequence nature takes it’s course and no further consequences have ever been required

    3. Lights are turned on
    4. pillow is removed
    5. blankets, sheets and anything else making the bed comfortable to sleep in is removed
    6. all available younger sibling are sent in to roust the recalcitrant


    #negative association



    1) of course one can. My point is I don’t believe that one can write off the negative side of instruction and still be effective. I don’t believe there are answers that suffice. And your comment as posted in that order seemed to reinforce my point. So I wasn’t taking you to task. Rather pointing out from your comment, that it can’t be done. Sorry if it came across too forceful.
    2) understood. Valid point
    3) OK misunderstood
    4) valid to a point. There are times when necessary. When you have let us say a teenage child who resists desisting from a specific negative behavior, and constantly depends themselves with the same tripe, there comes a time when a parent can and should sit down with the child and say shayfeleh, you know what. Let’s have a discussion. You will tell me why you do this and I will explain why it’s wrong.
    I will give you opportunity to say whatever you want and we will do it over ice cream in the ice cream store. No anger no yelling and no punishment for your beliefs or feelings. But I will clearly explain why it’s wrong.
    In that setting , there is nothing wrong with proceeding to do as I did which is to shred every argument so they have to admit even for a moment that you are correct and they are wrong.
    Of course you can only do it if you are actually correct.
    But it’s an illustration of the debt that most things, even supposedly negative ones, have a place in a parents arsenal


    Re bedtime. Yes, kids who are playing will want to continue. Set a timer or give a clear warning- you have 10 more minutes to play, and then clean up,. and then bedtime. This way, they have notice and don’t need to stop on the middle. Then, make bedtime fun and something to look forward to. Get them into bed earlier than you want them asleep, then read to them, tell them stories, let them read if they are old enough. This way, they wind down and look forward to special time with Mommy or Daddy. Lights out are at a set time (can even be put on a timer) so the routine does not continue beyond the desired bedtime.
    If getting enough sleep still doesn’t help your kid get out of bed, then Mariana’s advice is good. Set alarms or wake up, open shades and lights. If they’re still not up, pull off blankets, pillows, play loud music. If that doesn’t do the job, for a younger child, come up with a chart/reward system- every day they are up without struggle by a certain time, they get a check/sticker. Enough checks/stickers earns a prize. Preferably prize should be related to waking up- maybe a new clock, pretty washing cup or towel, cute slippers. whatever works for the kid. It could also be an incentive like an extra 10 min of playtime or extra story before bed. If it’s an older child, and he can get to school by himself by walking or taking a bus, then letting him face the consequences of getting up late and missing his ride, so that has to get to school the hard way, may also work.

    Showing parental authority does not mean you are modeling bullying, and a parent touching, restraining, or pulling a child does not teach him to be a molester. Sometimes children do need to be pulled- for example, kids are fighting, a parent could/should pull them apart.


    Mariana Santos
    Al of which are classic bullying
    I don’t see why bullying is better than screaming
    The only thing I can hear as being better is natural consequences. Such as if the child doesn’t get up when you tell them to, you won’t wake them up and they will be responsible to go to school on their own. Which may result in the child staying in bed all day cause they won’t care. Which will result in a spoiled illiterate child when carried to its extreme
    Besides which you have just replaced one negative with another.
    Now who needs to put the sheets. Back on?
    The parent? So you are punishing yourself and likely will not last especially if you need to work
    Or you can make the child put the linen back on which starts another battle and who says the child doesn’t resent putting on linen more than a tongue thrashing?


    Mariana Santos
    Besides some kids can sleep just fine with no bedding and younger siblings?
    What if there are none?
    What if they are also not getting up?
    What they need to get ready for school and are not available to play in the bedrooms?
    I need more consistent advice. Sorry


    Winnie, I agree with everything you said. That is what a great parent should be doing and when done correctly and with patience (which admittedly is difficult) that usually works.
    However let’s revisit what the original question was

    ”How about screaming at them so that they will obey, if they otherwise wouldn’t? ”

    (hitting was also brought up)

    So the question in simple form is, is hitting and or screaming
    At your children ”verboten ”
    I don’t think it was a question of
    Is the right way of parenting to be a raging tiger to your kids.
    So we return to the question.
    If after trying all the wonderful and correct ways Winnie so eloquently laid out your child still won’t confirm, what do you do now ?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    wow, there are so many things here that just don’t sound right at all.
    Klugeryid – I agree with you completely that dragging a kid out of bed is a very bad idea. Regarding the rest of your comments and questions tho, I have to say that I don’t know you AT ALL and don’t know how you are in real life but I find your tone to us here very impatient and intimidating. If this is how you are with your kids, not much of our methods will help you. There needs to be a shift in attitude and empathy.

    For example:
    . Let’s have a discussion. You will tell me why you do this and I will explain why it’s wrong.

    think about that as an opening line of a conversation with ANYone about ANYthing. Not very inviting, not very validating. Tell them you want to hear them and then you can explain why it may not work, may not be productive, may not be responsible etc. But to say “share your feelings with me so I can invalidate them” won’t bring much trust.

    and then there is this:
    Which may result in the child staying in bed all day cause they won’t care. Which will result in a spoiled illiterate child when carried to its extreme

    This is the saddest thing you’ve said. A child staying in bed all day will not result in a spoiled illiterate child. NO HEALTHY CHILD would EVER chose to avoid a SAFE environment by staying in bed all day. If this child does make this choice, then they need to be checked seriously for a metabolic/sleep/other physical issue. When that is ruled out they should be checked for possible depression. They can simultaneously be evaluated for other reasons why they feel safer in the absence of their life than in participating in it. It could be small, fixable issues that they don’t have the strength or skills to face and fix. Or it could be that there are learning/social issues in school that are too much. Or they can have an emotionally unsafe homelife.

    Some of these things are an easy fix, some not. But if you see a huge red flag like this and your only concern is that the child will be spoiled and illiterate then there may be a huge disconnect between you two.

    Mariana Santos

    Oh Klugeryid, you entertain the living daylights right out of me and if I’m not careful I’ll end up spending my entire day engaged in trying to finally get one over on you.. which will probably not happen so I should probably attend to my other responsibilities first.

    My eldest son was the most stubborn, go his own way come heck or high water kid on the face of the earth and my own parent’s wish come true when in exasperation they said to me, “I hope you have a child just like yourself some day”. If there was a more stubborn, kicking, screaming and protesting harder way to do anything my son then it was my son who signed the artwork on it. Fortunately, his mother had already signed the copyright on the book to it.

    Parenting isn’t about winning. It’s about being grateful for the gift of a child, loving that child unconditionally and having respect for that child. It’s taking a leap of faith and because the day will come when you run out of answers, it’s about placing your trust in Hashem that His hand working through your hands and His voice speaking through your voice is going to see this kid turning out alright even after having the most imperfect parents possible.

    My son turned out just fine. Better than fine actually. He is 23 and married to a girl he knew all his life. Together they have a daughter and expect another baby later this year. I tell my son the same thing my parent’s told me, “I hope you have a child just like you”. What I don’t say out loud is that along with finally understanding your parent’s pain comes the understanding of your parent’s blessing.

    p.s. he still hates getting up in the morning, not my problem anymore, he has his own house and a baby he loves more than his bed… sometimes things work out perfectly


    There are two types of hating getting up in the morning, and it is important to distinguish between the two. One is simply still being tired or cold and wanting to stay in a warm, cozy bed. The other is literally not wanting to get up and face the world, wanting to remain asleep or unconscious for as long as possible.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Maria – I love your last post! Rings a bit familiar…maybe we both authored similar books?

    Avram in MD


    How old is this child, or are you writing about a hypothetical situation?




    Glad I brought a smile to your face and it’s nice to have a real conversation


    Syag ,
    You quoted me as saying
    ”For example:
    . Let’s have a discussion. You will tell me why you do this and I will explain why it’s wrong.

    think about that as an opening line of a conversation with ANYone about ANYthing. Not very inviting, not very validating. ”

    Now while that pull is totally accurate, it’s clearly ignoring the context.
    Go back and look where it was placed

    When you have let us say a teenage child who resists desisting from a specific negative behavior

    , and constantly depends (SHOULD HAVE SAID DEFENDS) themselves with the same tripe,

    there comes a time

    when a parent can and should sit down with the child and say shayfeleh, you know what. Let’s have a discussion. You will tell me why you do this and I will explain why it’s wrong.
    I will give you opportunity to say whatever you want

    so let’s reconstruct
    We are responding to a question of when a child has not responded to most or all other methods, and you have already gone through the issue verbally many times. The child knows you don’t agree with their position. What you are now doing is saying, shayfeleh, let’s sit down and I will explain to you why I am telling you what you need to be doing.
    Yes I am telling you.
    I am your parent and you need to listen to me no matter what.
    But I will gladly explain it to you rationally as well.
    And I am even willing to explain to you rationally why your position is wrong even had I not been your parent. However yes, underlying it all is the context of, I am your parent and you need to listen to me because that’s what the Torah says.

    As to your comment on staying in bed all day….
    OK I was to terse.
    I meant to say
    When a child knows that there is ultimately no real negative outcome to their actions, In their terms (remember a thirteen year old doesn’t always care that they won’t learn what’s being taught if they don’t attend school), then they will just do what they want. Ultimately leading to a very spoiled adult tree used to doing what they want without thought of consequence.


    What I have been trying to bring out is that of course corporal punishment , should always be a last resort. But it must be something that is within a parents arsenal, that the child knows can be used. Of course the parent is subject to regulations when it may be used. It should never be used out of anger for example, but it is decidedly not off the table. And In some instances it is warranted and a parent would be derelict to not use it.

    Remember the question originally asked was about a child for whom all other ways have not worked.
    I was trying to bring out that ultimately you either report to corporal or you are done.
    Of course there are instances when corporal also does not work and then you are done. But at least then you can say I tried everything.
    If you remove corporal than you have not tried ”everything ”and you have not fully discharged you parental obligation.

    It is worth noting
    חושך שבטו שונא בנו
    It does not say one must use his stick
    It says one who recuses his stick
    Perhaps it’s telling us. Don’t be going about beating your children.! But your children should know that it’s not an impossibility to get hit by their father.
    May Hashem give us all the wisdom to properly raise our children with health wealth and happiness


    A great book is Make Me Don’t Break Me by R. Moshe Gans. Please don’t take anecdotal advice from unknown entities. Find an experienced mechanech who can guide you from his extensive experience and research.
    Corporal punishment works. It also has many negative effects. Some experts will say NEVER (R. Sholom Wolbe, R. Ginsberg and others, while some will say under extreme circumstances. If you hit in anger you are transgressing “pen yosef” that you may not hit someone.
    When I was an inexperienced parent I sometimes hit my kids. I now create charts and rewards and at times will punish but never hit.


    Kids want to have choices. If you let them make decisions for themselves (within reason), you might be surprised at how much more cooperative they’ll get.
    An example would be letting your kid decide what time he should wake up for the bus- sit down with him and encourage him to make a schedule (by himself with your help only when asked for) for the mornings- what time will he wake up, eat breakfast etc.
    You might be surprised.
    Kids just want to feel independent- a feeling we can all relate to i think

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Yes, i agree with your point about that conversation and i understood and agreed with the context. I was trying to point out that no matter how right you are, or hoe respectful your tone, if those words were part of the presentation to the child (instead of just a description to us) than you “blew the whole thing”. That opening will not elicit a real conversation of the type you described you would be having with the outcome of making changes.


    I hear
    It’s probably better to just say come let’s talk


    Of course not.
    The mature of kids being raised by their parents, gives the parents an inherint respect and obedience. U can only loose that in todays day and age by hitting them. There are much better methods of raising kids well today and if u hit ur kids as a method of gaining respect or disaplin u have very big issues to deal with and more ur own than ur kids.


    i was thinking the same about giving kids the choice to make.

    I was thinking about חושך שבטו שונא בנו. I think that it’s OK when the hitting is PURLEY a tool for educating. unfortunately, today, in many or most or all cases its an expression of anger, on not being able to tolerate etc. or at least part of it is anger etc. then it’s not allowed. when you are angry you are not fit to deal with disciplining children


    Spare the rod, spoil the child. There is nothing wrong with disciplining him or her in a loving manner. Many of my friends told me that I was too strict with my toddlers (stopping/ scolding them for misbehaving) and should just let kids be kids while they were all running around. By the time my number a few years older, they were also the only kids that consistently obey their parents.

    If they are too old for this, and you know you’re going to have a problem getting your son out of bed in the morning, start the night before. Explain what the consequences will be if they cannot do when we get up, and then follow through with it. This way they’ve made the decision knowing what will happen.


    Mistykins- I believe you that your kids are the most well-behaved. Are they also the happiest kids? The most confident? Most loving?
    What is really most important?


    Why are kids that “consistently obey their parents” a sign of happy and confident kids?
    I speak from experience being the child who’s mother forced her to consistently obey. Let me tell you that it took years of therapy to make me feel good about myself and a little bit happy.

    The little I know

    There are so many myths, some of which are pushed here in the CR, about the obligations of chinuch. So many abuse the posuk חושך שבטו שונא בנו, and I am quoting this directly from Rav Wolbe ZT”L. Hitting is not chinuch, and never was. It is untrue to attribute this to שלמה המלך. He never said that.

    Chinuch is the raising of child to be a true Oveid Hashem. That has nothing whatsoever to do with discipline. It has to do with teaching. And the greatest amount of true teaching and learning occurs by modeling. We have a fundamental obligation to teach our children to WANT to fulfill mitzvos. Anything that scares them straight is NOT chinuch.

    Yelling, spanking, and all other punishing interventions do not produce better Ovdei Hashem. They do promote compliance, and make the lives of the caregivers (parents and mechanchim) easier. But these methods do not teach and do not constitute chinuch.

    As usual, i will read followup comments that are vehement and toxic, how dare anyone say this. I will only refer to the many seforim on chinuch from Gedolei Yisroel. After someone has reviewed those, and still wishes to disagree, we might have a debate. Meanwhile, one who wishes to use discipline must be fully aware of the true chiyuv of chinuch, and exactly what is accomplished with the use of these disciplinary tools.

    Mariana Santos

    I do not wish to be vehement or toxic with anyone as I genuinely like, appreciate and enjoy everyone posting here in the Coffee Room

    I did have to get physical with my eldest son, twice, after exhausting all other avenues. The first time he was around three or four and would not stop playing with matches. We spoke with him, removed and hid all the matches in the house, put the matches in protective custody… he waited for his opportunity, pushed a kitchen chair to the stove, climbed onto the stove and onto the top of the fridge where he accessed the matches from their plain box within another another plain box from behind a box of old mail in the cupboard behind the fridge near to the kitchen ceiling. He then waited for me to get busy with something else and sneaked himself off downstairs to the fireplace where he thought himself well and truly out of sight for his nefarious little games.. Thankfully he forgot to factor in the smell factor and I laid a spanking on him with my own hands that neither one of us has ever forgotten. I had to. I was so afraid he would seriously injure or kill himself by setting himself or his clothing on fire that I had to make sparking up matches for his amusement entirely un-amusing and making the consequences sufficiently not worth the risk of continuing to defy us.

    The second time was a chilly, windy, late autumn day and he got it into his head he wanted to go swimming. No. Tired of being thwarted he took off out the backyard gate and hit the sidewalk with the announcement he was running away to a place where he could go swimming. Ya. Not in my house. That’s not how we do, we don’t run away in search of greener pastures when we don’t get our way, we deal with it until it’s dealt with. I didn’t spank him but I didn’t walk him back home any too gently either. I guess he was around five at the time. There is a dangerous world out there just beyond the backyard gate and you don’t just get to make a run at it when things don’t go as you think they should. He learned.


    Rav Avigdor Miller on Child Abuse Committees
    Should parents hit their children?

    Let me tell you something. What I’m going to say now is my own opinion. But it says in the tanach that if you love your children, you should smack them. Of course today, unfortunately, it’s a wicked world. A meshuganeh world.


    I want to tell you what worked for me. In the morning when my son didn’t want to get up after I tried getting him up, I sat down and said tehillim asking Hashem that my son should get out of bed until he got up. Sometimes I started before it was time to get him up. I no longer have a problem getting him out of bed in the morning BH.


    I agree with you Mariana that physical force is warranted to protect a kid from danger.
    – smacking a child’s hand as he reaches for a hot pot on the fire
    – yanking and pulling a kid as he runs into the street towards an oncoming car
    – holding down/physically restraining a child who is beating up his sibling
    in these circumstances, talking nicely and discussing consequences just won’t do the trick when it is needed, although they can be used afterwards to avoid repeat behaviors.


    We’ve brought up the elephant that I did not want to be the one to bring up
    I think all would agree with Mariana and Winnie
    So it comes out that there is always a line,past which smacking is justified.
    To paraphrase Winston Churchill
    We both agree, we’re just haggling over price.

    So now the question is what’s worse
    A child playing with matches or a child being מחלל שבת?


    The real examples Mariana gave for a serious spanking of a child is not only the correct and proper approach and the best approach (among other measures), it is difficult to conceive any sane parent reprimanding or disagreeing with how Mariana correctly handles her situations.

    Avram in MD


    “We both agree, we’re just haggling over price.

    So now the question is what’s worse
    A child playing with matches or a child being מחלל שבת?”

    Nope. I agree with WinnieThePooh, but couldn’t disagree with you more.

    The use of physical force in each scenario WinnieThePooh described is intended to stop the dangerous act as quickly as possible, not to provide chinuch. Smacking the hand away is the quickest way to prevent it from getting burned on the stove. Yanking the kid away from the street is intended purely for protection, and physically separating fighting siblings is to prevent injury.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    it isn’t about what is worse, it is about which one would be helped through use of force. Using force isn’t an end all solution for all bad things, as if they can all be lumped into one. it serves a specific purpose and is useless if not harmful when applied the wrong way or for the wrong reason. I guarantee you chillul Shabbos is the wrong reason. Would you give someone chemotherapy for depression? no shichus. it isn’t about strength, it’s about appropriate

    Avram in MD



    Whew. Because it seems that the assumption in your hypothetical is that a parent child relationship is purely transactional, and that is not healthy.

    The little I know


    You wrote: So it comes out that there is always a line,past which smacking is justified.”

    Translating this into the vocabulary I chose, there are times when compliance is so critical that teaching is secondary to compliance. This doesn’t teach the child safety, which still needs to be done.

    Bottom line is that discipline rarely teaches. It controls. And in instances of safety risks, that is appropriate.

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