To Petch or not to Petch

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    I have a problem that I want to fix. I feel I hit my kids out of frustration one too many times. I want to stop completely. I am a caring and loving father, and always striving to be even better. Yet, sometimes when they misbehave and I tell them politely yet sternly to stop, they sometimes flash me a mischievous smile and continue being bad, totally ignoring my warning. I need some chinuch tips at this step: what do I do now? I do NOT want to resort to a petch. I want them to be instilled with the degree of respect/fear/love for their father that I had with my father. How should I react?

    Dr. Pepper

    Check out this==> thread<==.

    In my opinion- if you’re hitting your kids to let out frustration then you’re wrong, if you’re hitting them out of love so that they will know that what they did was wrong and try to not do it again then you may be correct.


    Try sitting them down and with a super super serious tone talk quietly about how bad it is to act with bad middos and how important it is to listen and how if they don’t they will get in big trouble make it loving but very firm and the best would be if your wife joins with the same attitude. Also only potch when calm. Hatzlacha.


    Technically I agree with the Doc. But nowadays many Rabonim have said one should not hit their children.

    Either way, show me someone that hits their child out of 100% love and 0% frustration and I will….uhm, dont know, but it not gonna happen anyway!


    Tell them you are counting to 3. If they don’t stop by 3, you send them to their room for a timeout. If kid is 5 yrs old, they have to be in the room alone for 5 minutes. For 7 yr old, 7 minutes. For every time they come out of room before time is up, give another minutes.


    I have to say that i believe in “spare the rod and spoil the child”, i did potch my children at one time, but i stopped because my husband told me about how wrong it is to hit out of anger. I know that when i did potch there was anger there too, otherwise i wouldnt want to potch. B”H i’ve worked on myself and i can say that i have learned to control myself. I hold their hands together and tell them to look at me. Then i talk quietly and firmly (like littleapple metioned) and tell them that what they did was wrong and that they made mommy very disappointed. Then depending on what the child did, i’d either give them time out, or send them to their room to think about what they did. (yes my kids are very young but i tell them what they did was wrong and that it makes mommy sad/disappointed and how they can make mommy happy. Then i send them to their rooms telling them to think of ways to make mommy and totty proud.)


    dont hit when your mad. but hit.


    Do NOT hit them out of annoyance/anger -they will remember it forever. I promise its not worth it.


    o.k., with all due respect, I am not a mad man or an angry person who goes around hitting my kids from frrustration every day or anything like that. Nothing like that! I would say i petch my kids on their bottom about once every 2-3 weeks. I feel man enough to admit my bad midda, and wish more than anything else to FIX this. I will be speaking to my rebbi about it for help IY”H. Until then, I am looking for pointers and proper chinuch techniques from you posters, not criticism and mussar shoozen on how bad it is to petch when upset. I love my children more than anything else and recognize my fault openly. Constructive criticism is fine, but right now I am seeking alternatives and advice.


    my title should have been ‘Trying to stop Giving Petch’

    MODS can we change it, please.

    sem graduate

    How about requesting a written apology from the child. It will require that he/she sit down to think about what they did, and nobody likes apologizing… so they hopefully won’t do it again. If they do the “crime” again, show them the previous apology letter, ask them what happened to what they wrote, and have them come up with a method to ensure the issue will not arise again.


    I have the same problem as you, BaalHabooze. I’m not against giving petch (I think it has its place) but I get upset with myself when I give my kids petch out of anger.

    I find it important to keep my cool. Children are good at getting us worked up. If I keep calm, most of the time I realise that my children are just hungry/hyper/tired or just behaving like children, not purposely getting me upset. In that case, I just try to distract them.

    When necessary, warn them calmly of a punishment (which suits the crime) and follow through.


    Hitting children teaches them that it is OK to hit and be violent. Hitting/violence is never the answer and a parent needs to role model how to use words in any given situation to work things through and to find solutions to difficult situations. Hitting in anger is YOUR problem not the children’s. It shows that YOU are out of control NOT the children and it is you that have the problem not the children. It seems that YOU have coping issues and you have to work on that. When the children feel that you are IN CONTROL they will feel more settled and trusting of you. Right now they know they can push your buttons and send you out of control. Why would they respect your for that?

    Don’t let the situation build up to where YOU feel out of control.

    If YOU feel you are losing your patience, remove yourself from the situation. Give yourself a time out before you deal with it.

    Separate the kids or remove the item of contention.

    Give each child an opportunity to tell their side of the story before judging the situation. Then you can say, you are all “right” and you are all “wrong” because you should have figured out a way to avoid a fight so you each have to apologize. Validating their feelings is the key to calming them down.

    Set the house rules with your spouse when things are calm and happy and let the kids know what the rewards and consequences are. Teach them about time outs and how that works and how it is a mitzva to listen the first time. And how they will lose a privilege if you or your spouse have to repeat yourselves over and over.

    For instance. If you have to tell them ten times to get ready for bed, the next night you will send them to bed 10 minutes earlier. Each night that they don’t listen, you will have to start bed time earlier and earlier, until they listen the first time. When they listen the first time for a whole week, you will all go out for ice cream on Sunday, or the one who listened the first time a whole week will go out with you for Ice Cream on Sunday. Or if they listen the first time there will be time for a story. If they waste time, there is no time for a story.

    If you have trouble in the beginning, keep your hands behind your back or in your pockets. Never raise your voice. If you find that you are raising your voice take two deep breathes before you continue. Each time you find that you are raising your voice stop and breathe.

    If you have to pick a child up and carry them to time out or to their room, then do so but don’t hit and don’t say angry words. Just say “you just earned a time out do you know why?” if they say no. Just say “you can think about it while you are having your time out and we will talk about it when I come to get you”. Then when the time is over you ask again, why did you earn a time out? Discuss what happened and then let the child apologize to whomever he needs to. If they leave their room or the designated time out chair, put them back and start the timer again.

    This is a learning process for both you and your kids.


    real israeli: I like your idea.


    “To Petch or not to Petch”

    Translation: To slaps or not to slaps

    Sorry I couldn’t resist.


    thank you so much littleapple, flowers, miritchka, chocandpatience2 for your advice, much appreciated!!

    real israeli: that was great! My kids however are too young to write apology essays and are all under 7 yrs. But thank you for your post, and maybe it will come in handy one day.

    aries2756: Thank you for your time to post all that, I read it and then reread it a second time. So poignant and practical! I already began yesterday lowering my voice and consciously held myself back from hitting and I’m trying to use words instead. It IS, as you said, a learning process for both the children and myself. Thank you again for your golden nuggets of wisdom on chinuch techniques!


    The whole notion of spanking with love is foreign to me how is that done?


    hmmm…good question Goq. I think it’s when you don’t react to a situation on impulse and out of anger. Rather, you witness bad behavior, take a few seconds to calm down and conscioussly make an effort to handle the child in a rational and loving way. i.e. even if you petch it is done with ZERO anger and only as a lesson for the child- but the child has to KNOW that the petch is coming out of that love and not through anger.


    Well when my dad took off his belt i didn’t see any love in his eyes but then again i rarely did.


    Goq- there’s a huge difference between hitting a child because YOU ARE MAD, or because a child did wrong and you must teach him a lesson so he’ll grow up to be a mentch.

    Yeah, but most parents who hit do hit more out of anger….sadly.


    “they sometimes flash me a mischievous smile and continue being bad, totally ignoring my warning….”

    Your method of dealing with the children does not seem to be working. In fact, you may be encouraging the very behavior you want to stop. Time to try a new approach.


    Goq- that’s so sad. I’m sorry. I remember the only time I was ever hit. I had done something really bad and my father told me that he would wait a few hours before he potched me because he wanted to make sure it was out of love, not anger. I think I’ll always remember that.

    I do not feel that hitting is helpful in any way. How does hitting teach anything but violence? Hitting can scar people for life. But that’s just my opinion and evidently there are people who believe that hitting is beneficial. If you do feel it’s absolutely necessary to strike your child, count to 30 and make sure there’s not one ounce of anger in the slap. Because if there is, it’s not discipline, it’s violence.

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