That is the question.
There are times when our kids just would not listen and we are blinded by rage. That happens with quite a lot of us when we want our kids to just obey us and any other behavior seems unacceptable. Trust me most of the times it is our frustrations and anger when we act on the impulse of hitting our children. Would you have your children listen to you out of fear or respect?
Now, children do misbehave. We want to put an end to their misbehavior, surely a whack seems like a shortcut, but it does not fix the root cause. The other way of fixing the problem is long and cumbersome, but do you have the time? Hitting does not change the children, it only embitters them. Remember one slap can undo a 100 hugs.
It is also as painful for the parent as it is for the child. Parents feel guilty almost every time they do that.
You are always assuring your child that you are the protector but if you violate their trust and hit them physically or say hurtful things, you are not living up to the promise of being a protector. Children lose faith in you. They feel that they are weak. Such children often lose confidence and develop low self-esteem. If you hit your child then what will you tell them if they hit the ones that are younger than them?
A lot of people suggest that the bible supports it. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is often quoted, where rod is to be used for spanking. Different people have different interpretations. However, in Bible the rod is what the shepherds use to guide or nudge the sheep, not to hit it. You as a parent have to use the “rod of guidance”, “rod of reason”, “rod of love” and “rod of patience” to nudge your precious little ones to the right path. Develop a clear way to communicate with them about your expectations and rules. Be firm. Don’t give out mixed signals for your convenience. For example, if you have fixed the timings for them to watch the TV do not change the viewing time later according to your convenience. They will then keep pestering you all the time to be given permission to watch the TV. Sometimes you might get annoyed. It is always better to avoid conflict by sticking to rules yourself.
Shall we not hit and just threaten to hit? That is as bad as hitting, because you are scaring the child using an empty threat. You are sending a signal to the child that you are weak. You should rather threaten to take away a game or a toy until they realize their mistake and are ready to behave.
You have to be strict in that your rules should be followed but do so with a calm face, and let them know their misbehavior is unacceptable. That kind of communication you will learn, is much more powerful than any kind of threat, any form of hitting the child.