Could you enlighten me on the extent that a parent can go in regards to hitting their children for being disobedient as I find my husband doesn’t have the right attitude when it comes to discipline. He stays too soft up to the boiling point, then he explodes with too much enphasis on hitting them rather than being patient. Do you think physical punishment is the answer when all else fails?
The general rules when disciplining children are the following:
1. Do not hit them:
Imam Redha (a.s) has said: “لاتضربه و اهجره و لاتطل” (Do not hit him, instead desert him but don’t make it long) [Behar, vol.101, p.99] The only exception mentioned in the Ahadith (narrations from Ahlul-Bayt) is mild hitting as the last resort to encourage a teenager for praying. (Note that hitting children under the age of 7 is not allowed). Even then, there should not be any marks or bruises, or injuries left, otherwise parents are liable. Physical punishment usually has its long terms problems such as: forcing a child to continue his mistakes more secretly, lying, developing grudges, learning violent behavior and practicing it in the future against his partner, children, etc.
2. No discipline with anger:
Imam Ali (a.s) said: لا ادب مع الغضب “You cannot discipline (anyone) while you are angry and outraged.”(Ghorarul-Hekam, p.303).
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei