Disciplinary Violence

Disciplining, or hurting?

UNICEF/Egypt 2019

Many children in Egypt are being subjected to violence at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and nurture them. This violence, some of it extreme, is too often condoned and normalized by the adult perpetrators and even by the children themselves. 

Here are some misconception by many caregivers on parenting and discipline

We were all hit as kids and it didn’t affect us negatively

We were all hit as kids and it didn’t affect us negatively
  • While some of us might be lucky to have been minimally affected by hitting as children, many of the adults who were hit in their childhood develop low self-esteem, show signs of depression and anxiety, become violent and have negative feelings towards their parents.  
  • All research on hitting showed only negative results on children. Hitting increases the probabilities of mental health issues, criminal behavior, the child being physically abused by others in the future, negative effects on the child’s brain development, low self-esteem & self confidence. 

Hitting and yelling will teach my child to better behave

Hitting and yelling will teach my child to better behave
  • Hitting and yelling scare and stress children affecting their learning skills. They might behave better for a very short period, but on the long run they might become aggressive and unhappy. 
  • Hitting and yelling affect the trust between the children and parent, which pushes them away on the long-term and encourages them to hide rather than share their problems to get help. 

Hitting is the only form of violence against children

Hitting is the only form of violence against children

Contrary to what some believe, hitting is not the only type of disciplinary violence which include: 

  • Physical violence: using physical force for abuse and intimidation, such as beating with hand or an object, kicking, spanking, etc. 
  • Psychological / emotional violence: such as insulting, intimidating, threatening and mocking the child, and subjecting him/her to family dispute. 
  • Neglect: such as failure to meet the child's physical and psychological needs or protecting him/her from danger. 

Being firm means that I have to be harsh: yell and hit my kids 

Being firm means that I have to be harsh: yell and hit my kids
  • Being firm doesn’t mean to be violent. It means setting clear boundaries, rules & sticking to them. 
  • Effective parenting methods require a balance between bringing structure and rules to our family and showing love & kindness. 

It is too late to try an alternative way than hitting or yelling 

If I have been hitting or yelling at my kids since a while, it is too late to try an alternative way
  • We are always trying to do the best for our kids; it is just that sometimes we don’t know how.  
  • Although it is always better to start early on, research has shown that parents who start applying positive parenting methods at any stage see great positive impact on their children’s behavior & wellbeing. 

Learn more about the forms and effects of violence from this video 

Link to video on it's hosted site.
UNICEF/Egypt 2017/Bee Media

Need an alternative to raise your children?
Learn about positive parenting!  

UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Bee Media

Positive parenting is focused on building a strong healthy relationship between the parent and the child. It offers solutions to the daily parenting problems and challenges in child behavior based on well-researched & applied methods that brings the best out of children. It focuses on bringing up a child who is self-disciplined through connecting and listening while at the same time setting clear boundaries and structure.  

As much as there is a part of parenting that requires instinct, there is a lot of knowledge to be learned.  Parenting education is based on decades of research & application on thousands of children to see what are the best strategies to bring up healthy, happy and successful children. 

Parenting education does not tell us how to raise our children, but rather equips us with tools and techniques that help us be more efficient and impactful in raising our children.


Raise children who don’t make mistakes 

Raise children who don’t make mistakes and are perfect 
  • Everyone makes mistakes, including parents. Children need to learn that it is ok to make a mistake but they are responsible for fixing their mistakes and trying to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. 
  • A parent’s job is not to help a child be perfect, because no one is. One of our jobs as parents is to help the child learn to be responsible for their mistakes and develop alternative strategies to avoid them in the future. 

Provide one method that fits all children

Provide one method that fits all children
  • Children are born with many differences in their characters, abilities and preferences.  
  • The more we understand the uniqueness of our children, the more we will be able to help them by choosing what works better for them. 

Spoil children and make them do what they want 

Spoil children and make them do what they want
  • Positive parenting entitles having a balance between being firm and kind at the same time. It teaches a child to be responsible for their choices and actions without using emotional and physical violence that negatively affects their wellbeing. 
  • Positive parenting encourages having very clear rules agreed on by parents and children. It encourages parents to allow children to handle the consequences of their actions without jumping in to rescue them. 

So, what is expected from raising children using positive parenting? 

  • Be self-confident and develop a healthy level of self-esteem and respect 
  • Love their parents and caregivers whether they are teachers, trainers or others 
  • Talk to their parents and caregivers on the challenges and problems they face 
  • Appreciate values of their family, school and other communities 
  • Have better relationships with others in the future
  • Be less effected by external factors such as trends or peer pressure 
  • Be motivated to always try their best without the need for bribes & threats 
  • Learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions 
  • Listen to advice and cooperate to materialize them  
  • Learn self-discipline and do what they believe is right even when no-one is watching 


6 Golden rules for parenting 


  • Talk to them everyday. Tell them how your day went, your small achievements and challenges then hear them out as well. 
  • When you make a mistake, lose your temper and lash out at them for whatever reason, make sure that you apologize. 
  • When we humanize ourselves as parents, we start to become more relatable to our children.  

Set rules together 

  • Engage them in putting rules and expectations that are attainable and realistic. 
  • Agree together on the action to be taken if they do not follow rules. 
  • Hold them responsible for the consequences of breaking these rules rather than punishing them. 


  • Make sure that you listen more than you talk. 
  • Respect their opinions and choices even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.  
  • Show them that their opinion matters and that they count.

Be a Role Model 

  • Fathers: role model to your son how a proper man treats a woman with genuine respect and trust.  
  • Mothers: role model to your daughters how a woman should be independent and an integral part of their families and communities. 
  • Separated parents: Keep children away from the conflict and do not talk negatively about your ex in front of them. Always tell them that both your ex-spouse and you love them but in a different way and nothing would change that. 


  • Have their backs when they need it. 
  • Allow them to explain and express themselves freely. 
  • Take actions to develop their talents and encourage them. 

Love unconditionally 

  • Make sure that your children feel, and are reminded that they are, loved. When children do not feel loved or feel like they belong to a family, their self-worth starts to falter.  
  • Small gestures such as hugs and “I love you” for no reason go a long way. 

Learn more on specific age groups

Younger children (0-13 years) 

Adolescents (13-18 years)