Is It Legal To Hit Your Child In 2024

In most countries of the world hitting a child is not legal. for a parents or anyone to physically hit a child not alone hitting a child with an object is considered child abuse and might lead to more distant parent-child relationships.

In 2006, The United nations committee on human right of the child has recently made a call to abolish every form of physical abuse on child in the act of hitting, spanking.

This is so because it has now been realised that hitting a child in any form of discipline is not effective enough to correct a child and such act can end up making that child to be more hardened and aggressive later on.

Is It Legal To Hit Your Child

To teach children appropriate behaviour on how to conduct themselves other alternative methods needed to be fully explored. Although parents sees this act of hitting as the best and quickest ways to put to an end some ugly behaviour children display but research proves this wrong.

Most countries have now set laws that makes it a crime to hit a child with any physical objects because such actions is considered child abuse and child abuse is punishable by law and as such children have right just as adult and they need to be respected and also protected.

More also hitting a child with an object or by hand can cause injury, anxiety, fear to the said child and will not in any way solve any problem rather it might make such a child become hardened and as such develop an aggressive behaviour.

Although there are law that prohibits any physical use of force that might endanger a child, many states in the United States have not made strick law that prohibit spanking a child.
In the united state for instance the law recognised spanking of children in about 50 states. This means that 50 states in the US does not have any law that prohibit spanking a child as long as there is no injury sustained. So the law seems divided here in the state


What does Americans think about hitting a child?

Americans don’t think twice when it comes to hitting of kids, they see it as a way to correct a child for wrongdoing. In 2012 for an example, about 70% of Americans sees hitting a child as a necessary thing to do in other to discipline a child.

Which ever divide you are, one thing is certain; spanking or hitting a child over an extended period of time has some long term consequences because there are chances that children that are spanked often risk of developing mental health problems.

This children could go into depression and often embrace the use of drugs, alcohol and other hard substance. In fact a research conducted in Hong Kong says child who have gone through corporate punishment resort to the use of drugs and other hard substances.

In the conclusion of the research, it was proven that physical punishment has a direct relationship with
drug-related attitude and behaviors.

Fine Line Between Discipline and Child Abuse:

There seems to be a thin line between discipline and child abuse in the eyes of some people . Most people who where abused when they were a child sees no difference and end up justifying the act of child abuse.

Today we are seeing an increasing demand for parents to stop hitting their children all in the name of child discipline because this act has negative impact on the child or victim.

Why you should not consider hitting your child

Hitting or Spanking a child have effect on child behaviour : victims have higher chances of developing mental issues and as such seeking solace in alcohol, drugs etc. More also research has linked this act to an increase violence amongst victims.

Hitting or Spanking has effect on Child Skills: research found out that children who are spanked often are likely to experience decreased cognitive ability while same research found out that there seems to be an increase cognitive ability in those kids who didn’t experience spanking.

Discipline versus physical abuse

In the United States there seems to be a confusion when it comes to differentiating between child abuse and discipline.

  • Discipline is probably excessive if: Child is injured physically and this has to do with sustaining physical bruises, swelling, broken skin.
  • A situation where medical is needed to help to situation.
  • When disciplining a child fails to educate rather it instill fear in a child
  • When parents couldn’t control themselves while in the act of disciplining their child.
  • While disciplining a child, any action that the parents exhibit that is seen as not appropriate for a child at that age

Do parents have the right to hit their child?

No, parents don’t necessarily have the right to hit their child. Hitting your child is seen as physical punishment and this has to do with slapping, hitting or spanking.

One question you should ask yourself is how effective is this method? If you want to discipline your child for wrong doing, slapping or spanking is not the right way to go because such act is very capable of causing bodily and emotional harm to your child’s mental development.

It has been proven over and over again that children are quick learners and they learn faster when they are praised and when they act or behave well but not the other way round which is through punishment.

If you permit us to go further, we will exhaust all day, but have it in mind that crude method of correcting kids don’t work in the long run rather you can get the best from your child if you show them love, adopt better ways to correct them such as you setting up clear boundaries and expectations, letting them know consequences of misbehavior and adopting ways such as non violent ways to correct a child

Can you go to jail for hitting your child

There are several factors that might determine if you can go to jail for hitting your child and this varies from place to place and local laws plays an important role here.

First, if as a parent hitting you hit your child in a way that is against the law then one can face the law. If you are hitting your child in an unreasonable manner that contempt local law then such a person will face the law or might be charged for offence ranging from domestic violence, child abuse, battery etc.

Let’s take a look at Wisconsin law on child abuse

Intentionally causing bodily harm – when you physically cause any kind of injury on a child that could put that child’s life at risk of death or at the risk of being disabled then you could be fine and also face prison term of 6 to 40 years and 10,000 to 100,000 dollars.

Recklessly causing bodily harm: putting a child in any form of risk that might put the child in any form of risk

Failure to prevent bodily harm – when parents or those who are supposed to take care of a child fails in that responsibility and thus put the child’s life at risk or fail to protect the child from someone they knew could cause harm to the child

When Does Discipline Become Abuse?

Discipline becomes an abuse when an act of discipline is capable of causing injury or causes bodily harm to the child or that put the child life at risk or at risk of being disfigured or disabled. All this are considered child abuse.

Again discipline will be considered child abuse if the very act of discipline causes any form of emotional or even physical harm to the child.

When we talk about physical abuse we are referring to any act that parents indulge in that could cause physical harm such as hitting the child, pushing or slapping the child all this are classified as physical abuse.

While on the other hand emotional abuse are those behaviour from parents that are aimed at intimidating, control the child through various mcrude means like fear or eveb degredation.

Note: there is a clear difference between discipline and child abuse. They aren’t same thing

While discipline is seen as an act to correct a child with love with the aim to teach and also guide the child against certain act. While child abuse or punishment is the voluntarily use of force that could inflict some degree of pains on the child which serves as a deterant.

Allowed in HomeAllowed in SchoolConditionsSelected Evidence on Prevalence**

(from poll or study)

North America
United StatesYesDependsUnlawful in 31 states81% of parents say that spanking their children is sometimes appropriate.
CanadaYesNo “Force does not exceed what is reasonable under circumstances”35% of children experienced some form of corporal punishment at least once per year.
MexicoYesYes“Right to correct”26% of men 18-59 reported having been spanked or slapped by parent as a child.
South America
BrazilNoNoBanned as of June 2014N/A
ColombiaYesNo“Correct and sanction moderately”61% of women report hitting, beating, spanking, or slapping their children.
ArgentinaNoNoBanned effective January 2016N/A
GermanyNoNoBanned as of 2000N/A
UKYesNo“Reasonable punishment”41.6% of parents physically punished or “smacked” child in the past year.
SwedenNoNoBanned as of 1979N/A
ChinaYesNo“Strict discipline”50-60% of parents reported using mild corporal punishment in the last month.
IndiaYesDependsUnlawful in some states65% of parents said they hit their children.
RussiaYesNo“Reasonable chastisement”N/A
NigeriaYesYes“Correct…for misconduct or disobedience”91% of children experienced “violent discipline” in their homes.
EthiopiaYesNo“For the purposes of proper upbringing”Only 1% of children reported never having experienced any type of corporal punishment.
EgyptYesYes“Right to discipline”81% of children experienced moderate physical discipline.
AustraliaYesYes“Reasonable chastisement”85% of parents admit to smacking their kids.
New ZealandNoNoBanned as of 2007N/A

** Evidence is not comparable

Countries where corporal punishment is illegal

Here are countries where corporal punishment is illegal, are Georgia, the Republic of Kosovo, Nepal, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, Colombia, Cape Verde, South Africa, South Sudan, Kenya, Paraguay, Tunisia, and the Benin Republic, Peru, Japan, Seychelles, Guinea, Montenegro, Paraguay, SloveniaIreland, Estonia, Nicaragua, Malta, San Marino, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras, North Macedonia, South Sudan, Albania, Congo, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Republic of Moldova, Portugal, Costa Rica, Togo, Spain, Poland, Venezuela, Uruguay, New Zealand, Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Iceland, Turkmenistan, Germany, Israel, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Denmark, Cyprus, Austria, Norway, Finland, Sweden.


Spanking, hitting or beating your children should not be in any option deployed when trying to bring the best out of your child. There are numerous ways we have listed in this article, do try your best and apply them so as to get the best result from your child.