5 Reasons Not To Hit Kids and 5 Alternative Ways to Guide Children’s Behavior

1. Children imitate their role models. They learn from their parents what is and is not acceptable behavior. Studies have shown that children who are hit or spanked at home are more likely to hit other children.

Source: https://tulane.edu/publichealth/pressroom/spanking.cfm

2. Despite the common myth that spanking and hitting helps children succeed, children who are spanked or hit do worse in school than their counterparts who are not spanked.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/how-spanking-harms-the-br…

3. Spanking or hitting children makes them MORE likely to be arrested, not less, like many parents hope. Source: http://www.newswise.com/…/study-finds-link-between-use-of-c…

4. Although many don’t consider spanking or hitting “real abuse,” it is nonetheless strongly linked with mental illness. Source: https://www.aap.org/…/Spanking-Linked-to-Mental-Illness.aspx

5. Children misbehave more when they are stressed, frightened, angry or sad. Studies have confirmed that children who are spanked are more poorly behaved. Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/…/spanking-hurts-parents-…/nrD77/


1. Mentally prepare kids for tough situations to avoid bad behavior. If you know your child misbehaves in a specific situation, talk about it beforehand. For example, if your child throws a tantrum when it’s time to go home from the park, warn them a few minutes before you want to leave. The child may still be upset, but often taking away the element of surprise will lessen the impact. If your child misbehaves at the movie theater, talk with them before you leave about how to make sure everyone has a good time such as sitting down in your seats and keeping your voices down.

2. Have children restore the harm from their mistakes. If a child makes a mess, have them clean it up. If a child upsets another child, have them apologize and do something kind for the other child. If a child behaves badly towards a pet, have them apologize and give the pet a special treat.

3. Show children that they have choices. For example, if you child starts using bath toys to dump water on the bathroom floor and doesn’t stop when you ask, you can calmly ask “do you want to stop dumping water on the floor, or do you want to give me the bath toys?”

4. Wait for the mood to pass. If a child is so upset that they really aren’t responding to your attempts to guide their behavior, sometimes it’s best to comfort them and distract them until their head is clear. If you’re at your stress limit, another approach is to just walk away for a while and say “we will address this later when you feel a little better.”

5. Empathize and do basic troubleshooting. Try to remember how things that seem trivial as an adult would upset you when you were a kid. Try to remember how your emotions just happened, rather than being a process with some warning and some element of control. Understand that basic things like hunger, fatigue and illness can cause dramatic shifts in a child’s personality and they might not know why they feel bad.

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