Abstract A recent campaign launched by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children aims to prohibit the use of physical punishment as a method to deal with problem behaviours in children. Prohibition alone, however, is not enough. Parents and other educators need alternatives when dealing with difficult and unruly youngsters. On the basis of applied and experimental behaviour analysis a range of alternatives to physical punishment have been developed and prove to be more effective in changing problem behaviours and less damaging to the child. This paper outlines the, damaging effects of physical punishment and elaborates on alternative techniques in dealing with problem behaviours.