Maximum Age for Spanking


Is it true that the Talmud says you can spank a child up to age 24? I vaguely recall having learned that.

I am asking because we have an 18-year-old son who is heading off the derech. He has lots of problems. It’s a long story.

This is a last resort, be we have tried seeking help from every resource in our community, all to no avail.

The law of the state where we live permits spanking of a child up to age 21. If both civil and Talmud law permit spanking of a child his age, can we do so?



  1. Halachically, the maximum age for ‘smacking’ a child is Bar Mitzvah. Post-Bar Mitzvah, it is forbidden because of the concern that the child might hit the parent back, which would be an Issur Dioraysa.

    Please allow me to make an unsolicited comment that is not Halachically based. I appreciate that I do not know your son and I do not know your family dynamics, but it is difficult to imagine that “spanking” an eighteen year old child could have any kind of a positive effect on them. Rav Chaim Velozhiner wrote, two hundred years ago, that smacking children is not recommended as it normally has the opposite effect. Now, two hundred years later, I believe that his words are perhaps even more prescient than they were then.

    I truly apologize if I have overstepped the boundaries of propriety with what I have written.

    Best wishes from the Team