A Concerned Father
Dear Concerned Father:
I agree with your ideas vis-à-vis childrearing, believing that parents should be loving and strict but must not hit their children. A chashuvah rav was once asked about his opinion on hitting in today’s world. He answered that in previous generations tzaddikim hit their children gently when they were not angry. Today, on the other hand, most parents hit their children to rid themselves of their own anger and frustration. Based on this the rav paskened that hitting in our day is prohibited al pi halacha, since parents are not allowed to hit their children while angry – but only when they are calm (for the purpose of chinuch). Since today’s parents are not on that madregah, hitting is not permitted.
If your wife is hitting the children to rid herself of her own frustration, she is violating halacha. Additionally, it is not a healthy parenting approach. Please help your wife deal with her anger by being more understanding and loving toward her.
Here are some questions that you should ponder: Does your wife need more help in the house? Getting help for her with the cleaning may be a good investment, as it will help her become more relaxed. Whatever you can do to reduce your wife’s stress can be helpful, as most people strike others when they are frustrated or angry. Those feelings often result from stress.
Perhaps your wife needs some outside help with her parenting. People generally do not just change overnight. Furthermore, your wife has to want to change the way she conducts her parenting, and must try to change in order for change to occur. There are some wonderful parenting classes and books that focus on consistent and positive parenting methods.
Finally, if you and/or your wife feel that she needs extra guidance, it may be worth it for her to see a professional for a few sessions. This may help her better manage the children, along with improving her own reactions to their behavior. Hatzlachah!