The papal admonition came during Francis' homily during a Monday mass in which he evoked Jesus' instruction: "If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also."
He said parents who scold children should never slap them because "the cheek is dignity."
Valerio Neri, Save the Children's general manager in Italy, said the pope made an important statement, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"Save the Children has been working for years to promote positive parenting based on dialogue and listening to children, and never the use of physical punishment. We hope the words of the pope are a further stimulus in this direction," he said.