Feeling Guilty After Smacking My Child! What Should I Do?

The internet is filled with mixed feelings from parents who have smacked their children once and those who haven’t laid a finger on their children, but the truth lies in what you believe in and what you want to teach your children. Smacking them once because you lost your control doesn’t make you a bad parent, but raising your children in an environment where violence is the solution for every misbehavior is a cause of worry.

Hi dear, guilt-ridden parent,

We all want to raise our children in the best possible way and want them to grow up to be kind-hearted, empathetic, and loving, and although it’s easier said than done, there come times when your overtired, overstressed kid might make you crazy and test your limits and at that time the 24-hour job of raising a kid has already taken a toll on you, making you lose your cool and you might have smacked your child’s bottom.

Most parents are instantly guilt-ridden and cry internally while their children wail loudly. It’s normal for you to feel this way and in a way, this is good, guilt is good because this means the chances of you repeating this behavior becomes very rare.

The reason you’re reading this means you want what’s best for your child and you know violence isn’t the solution for anything, and you’re 100% true.

Raising children in a violent environment will not only make them unempathetic and distant but chances are because of their bad childhood they resort to violence too as a means of obtaining something.

Rarely you’ll come across criminals who had a happy and loving childhood and didn’t face anything similar to the crimes they have committed in the present.

But, hold your horses. This is just one side of the coin, and there’s another side that is completely different from this.

Many mothers believe that avoiding smacking their children on those rare occasions when they pushed us to our absolute limit (and beyond that) will make them spoiled brats, disobedient and ill-mannered.  

Should you smack your child or not?

An angry father is talking loudly to his toddler daughter who looks to be crying.

If you were brought up in an Asian household, chances are you were smacked on multiple occasions. ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ is the motto for Asian parents and nobody believed in ‘gentle parenting’.

If someone sees a misbehaved child in public, they quickly come to the assumption that that kid wasn’t smacked by his parents when he was young and that’s the reason for his misdemeanor.

There’s a study done in the U.S. which revealed that children who were smacked before the age of six not only performed better at school but also were more likely to do voluntary work and want to go to university than those who have never been physically disciplined.

To share my story, my brother and I have been smacked by our parents so many times. You get bad grades- you get smacked, you lie- you get smacked, you do what you were told not to then you get smacked.

Ironically, if you fall and get hurt, Asian parents will first smack you on your bottom and then tend to your wounds.

It’s hilarious if I think about it. But, does that mean my brother and I are criminals or the kind of people who resort to violence to achieve anything? Absolutely not.

Both of us today are happily married, have children, and are good and helpful citizens in our community, and this is not the story of just my household.

There are so many people, successful and well-recognized people in Asian cultures who were smacked by their parents in their childhood and yet they have grown to be good, and kind-hearted adults.

Truth to be told, once my brother and I got to know how it feels when we were smacked, we don’t repeat the action, and please don’t think that our parents didn’t love us.

They loved us immensely and did everything in their power to bring us up to be loving, good, and mindful adults and provided way more than we needed in our lives but also, they weren’t hesitant to correct us when we were wrong.

The act of being hit made us mindful of our actions. So, the next time a look or a raised voice from our parents was enough to let us know that if we cross the line, we should know what will be in store for us.

Having said this, I don’t personally believe that hitting your child for every misbehavior is the solution. There are many other ways to deal with the situation instead of raising your hand on your kid.

But I’d be lying if the thought of smacking my child on the bottom just this once, hasn’t crossed my mind. Does that mean I’m a bad parent? I don’t think so.

Our children very well know how to push our buttons. If their behavior is a result of being overtired, overstressed, and out of control at times, then parents who’re looking after their children 24×7 can lose it too sometimes.

What will you do if your child keeps biting his little sister’s arm and continues to do so even when you have threatened to take away their privileges or threatened to give them a time-out multiple times, and they still do it and nothing is happening except the little sister crying in pain and the elder brother continuing to bite her?

Sure, smacking your child shouldn’t be the first resort you turn to, but what about after attempt 25th where you’ve pleaded with your child, begged him, bribed him, threatened him and he still misbehaves. What if the little smack quiets him down and chances are he might not do it again.

What will you do when going to the nearest shopping mart becomes an over-the-top crazy situation every time you try to strap your child in his car seat?

Will you stop ever going to the grocery store or do you think after hours of pleading him to settle down, a smack on the back of his hand will make him settle down?

Being a parent to a very mischievous toddler, I’m still diplomatic. I don’t know whether smacking my son on very rare occasions will do him good in the future or trying to talk to him and make him understand about his misbehavior even though he keeps kicking me in the face will be better.


There are a lot of parents out there who have children who’re already well-mannered since the time they were born, and mostly these are the parents who become shell-shocked and criticize other parents who might’ve raised their hand on that rare occasion.

There are parents you’ll find who is absolutely okay to smack their child once in a while and truly believe that their child now has become well-mannered and thoughtful about their behavior while there are parents who believe that smacking or hitting children is abusing and humiliating them and they will learn that when somebody does something wrong it’s okay to hit them.

You can’t win all these parents or behave as the book says or what other parents tell you to. My advice to you will be, do what you think will be better for your kid. Nobody is living your life for you, nor are they sharing your responsibilities and experiencing the same with you.

So, parents who are quick to jump on the judging-other-parents wagon should stop themselves because you don’t have a single clue what the other parent goes through in their life, and parents who feel guilty about smacking their child, know that it’s okay to feel this way and try to forgive yourself, but going forward try to adapt other and creative ways to calm your child down.

All I can tell you is, dear parent, learn to forgive yourself and overcome this guilt. You did what you thought was right at the moment but from here on, teach your little one that it’s not okay to hit anybody and it’s better to use words to talk about their feelings.

And if you still can’t turn the situation around, consult a counselor and talk to them about your situation.

Meanwhile, parents comment down below and help your fellow parents on the ways you’ve tried to discipline your child.

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Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not busy cooking and running after her kid,  you can find her in a corner reading, or penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best'.

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