Is It Legal To Hit Your Child In 2022

Many parents, especially in Africa, believe hitting is the best way to prevent their children from being wayward or irresponsible.

They believed the pain the child felt or the scars on his body will play a huge role in preventing the child from repeating such attitudes in the future?

As much as such belief sounds like a good one, it’s far from being the best. It’s not a great way to train a child as it only inflicts pains and injuries on the child’s body.Is It Legal To Hit Your Child

Apart from causing physical damage to the child’s body, the law doesn’t permit hitting a child as it sees it as child abuse.

Talking of laws, let’s take a look at some countries’ stand regarding hitting their children.

Does hitting your child considered abuse

Hitting a child is considered child abuse in most countries of the world, while only a few countries don’t prohibit such actions. Sweden became the first European nation to enact a law that protects children from all forms of corporal punishment.

Georgia, the Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of Korea, Colombia, Nepal, and Mongolia all follow the same path by ensuring that parents have no legal right to punish their children by hitting or harassing them physically.

African countries are not left behind as Cape Verde, South Africa, South Sudan, Kenya, Tunisia, and the Benin Republic all enacted the same law to protect children from corporal or harsh punishments.

Therefore, hitting, slapping, biting, punching, and shaking your child in any of the countries above is considered child abuse and you will be charged to court if caught.

Unfortunately, some countries haven’t fully enforced or enacted such laws. The US surprisingly belongs to this category as corporal punishment remains a lawful practice in all the 50 US states.

Countries like Nigeria, Barbados, Botswana, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore don’t consider corporal punishment as child abuse. This explains why many parents in these countries see beating or hitting their children as the best way to correct their children’s wrongdoing.

Is Spanking Illegal?

What is spanking? According to the Merriam-Webster, “Spanking is the act of striking someone on the buttocks with an open hand”

Spanking is legal in countries, like the US, where corporal punishments are lawful practices. Many American and African parents see spanking as one of the most effective ways to help their children develop respectable and honorable attitudes.

However, some American parents don’t like spanking their children regardless of its legal status. They hate subjecting their kids to treatment that will affect the body or physical appearance.

Meanwhile, spanking a child is an illegal practice in countries that frown against corporal punishments. In summary, spanking your child can be illegal or legal depending on the laws guiding your country.

Do parents have the right to hit their child?

Traditionally, parents have all the rights to hit their children to a considerable level as part of disciplinary measures.

Parents must help their children develop laudable and responsible attitudes or behaviors by exploring different strategies, including advising them, being a good role model, and slightly spanking them when necessary.

On the other hand, parents don’t have the legal backing or support to hit their children for any reason in some countries. Beating a child, or inflicting any form of physical pain on your children is seen as a form of child abuse which is a punishable offense under the law.

In a nutshell, parents don’t have the legal right to hit their children if they reside in a country that does not support corporal punishment, or they are in a country that doesn’t regard traditional rights.

How long can you go to jail for hitting a child

The number of days you will spend in jail for hitting your child depends on many factors. What you hit your child with, the intensity of injury sustained, your child’s age, your country’s law, and the spot you hit all determine how long you will stay in jail.

You could spend a year or two in jail if your children sustained a few open wounds or bruises after hitting them.

Hitting an under-six child with a belt is illegal in the Northern Territory of Australia, and you could get 8-12 years jail term if caught.

Likewise, hitting your child with anything other than a bare hand will get at least a two-year jail term.

Hitting a child to death attracts a life imprisonment or 25 years jail term in Canada. Though you might regain your freedom after 25 years, there are some events or things you aren’t eligible to do.

When Does Discipline Become Abuse?

No law or government stops parents from training or disciplining their children. However, all countries ensure there are laws protecting the rights of a child and minors.

Discipline becomes an abuse as soon as you result in hitting, spanking, and slapping your children so hard that they are injured.

Discipline becomes abuse when parents physically attack their children, thereby inflicting minor (such as bruises) or major (such as fracture or burns) injuries on the kids.

Discipline becomes abuse when a parent or adult intentionally assaults a minor or child below 18.

In short, discipline is abusive once it becomes unbearable for the child; when it’s not a light one; and when it tends to damage the child’s physical, psychological and mental health.

Countries where corporal punishment is illegal

Let’s briefly explain what corporal punishment is all about before answering the question. So What is corporal punishment?

Corporal punishment is a type of punishment aimed at causing severe physical pain to the offender.

Also known as physical punishment, corporal punishment involves flogging, spanking, paddling, and other pain-inflicting actions.

Back to the questions, 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 be the last option when disciplining or correcting your child. First rebuke the children’s behavior via a heart-to-heart counseling session.

Let them know why they shouldn’t develop bad habits; tell them any helpful story or experience if you have one. However, don’t hesitate to (gently) spank them should they repeat the same attitude.


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