There is a type of son who will not listen to his father or mother. In all such cases the father and mother need to understand that since they know their children well and recognize that they are difficult and lacking in fear of G‑d and will simply not listen to their parents – they should not command them to doing any service for them and they should try hard not to express their anger to them and not irritate them and only to speak gently with them. Now granted not all occasions are equal and there will be times that the father and mother will not be able to restrain themselves from ordering their children to do something or getting angry with them or even embarrassing them or cursing them. They will gnash their teeth in frustration and their hearts will be faint when they see their children misbehaving. Nevertheless that which the parents have the power to accomplish they should do and they should try and minimize evil. The father and mother want to give merit to their children in that the children should fulfill the will of their parents and they should give merit to their souls by doing that which is pleasing to G‑d.
However what can they do since this is not a good generation and when the sons and daughters are with their parents they really have not much interest in this mitzva and they don’t consider it important. However when they go to Israel or to the cemetery then the children say if I only had a father or mother I would lick the dirt from the soles of their feet and I would faithfully serve them with all my strength. But if they want that G‑d should consider them at that time as if they had done it purely because they want to do it, then they should fulfill their obligation properly when they have the actual opportunity to so. It is only in such circumstances that when the deed cannot be done that G‑d considers the mere thought of doing good as actually doing it.
Since in these times when refined children who listen to their parents are in a distinct minority and in particular since they marry women who bicker with their mother-in-laws and thus it is difficult for the children to honor their parents as they are required – how wonderful it is for the father and mother if it is possible for them to separate from their children so that the children are not dependent upon their support. And similarly it is good for the children if it is the will of their parents that they separate from their tables. That is because the absence is better than a bad reality. It should only be that the hearts of the children should have the desire to honor their parents and they will receive a good reward in this world that they themselves will be honored from good children and the principle reward will be in the next world.
It is important to note that the prohibition of hitting is not only applicable to one’s children but it applies also all other people. In fact this is prohibited by is a negative Torah commandment of “don’t add” [concerning the punishment from the Sanhedrin which is understood that no man is to be hit even a single time without being explicitly sentenced to that blow by the beis din]. Our Sages (Sanhedrin 58b) said, “One who strikes the chin of another is as if he struck the Shechina. (Rashi explains that it means hitting any part of the body)... Rav Huna amputated the hand of one who assaulted others.”
It is fitting that all the leaders of cities punish assailants in particular those disgusting people who hit their wives viciously. Blasted are those that treat Jewish women as slaves. They attack them, hit them and rape them – and they feel no shame. It is a good idea for someone who has the possibility to punish them and if they can also to get their wives away from them if the wife wants to. That is because our Sages said that a woman cannot dwell together with a serpent and therefore it is a great mitzva to save them from these criminals.
And even to hit small child there is no permission except for a father for his children and a teacher for his students and a supervisor of children. And even concerning a teacher and his students it is appropriate to consult a beis din for what is appropriate in each case – but this is not the accepted practice. It mentions in Bava Basra (21a), “When you hit a child you should only hit him with a shoe lace”... if it is necessary to hit a child then only hit him gently on his foot without anger...
See also post Pele Yoetz - advice to abused wife