What should a parent do with a child who who doesn’t speak nicely and doesn’t seem to be getting better?
It depends. But you can’t wait too long. Don’t wait till he’s a big boy when you can’t hit him anymore. A child must be taught to speak nicely when he’s still young. So first, as I said earlier, give him a caress on his cheek with your hand and say, “Chaim’l, you’re a nice boy. And if you speak nicely then Hashem will like you. And people will like you. Everybody will like you.” Say it to him again and again. Little by little, it’ll enter into his little head.
Sometimes however, you will have to tell him like this. “Chaim’l, I must give you three petch. But because you’re a nice boy, I’m going to give you only two petch.” And then give him two good petch! So he’ll know that it’s al pi din. He won’t be angry at you. He knows it’s justice. After all he was supposed to get three. So of course you must use diplomacy but sometimes you must hit. Forget about the meshuganeh world. Abuse of children?! If you don’t hit your child when he needs it – that’s abusing your child.