I volunteer in a charity where we help children do their homework, and today a kid (12 years old) misbehaved and I said I would call his parents. A few minutes later he came to me and said he wanted to talk to me in private. He asked me not to call his parents, because they recently told him that if someone complains about him again he would "pay for it". I asked him what did they mean by that and he said he didn´t know, but he looked kind of scared and shy, so I asked him if he thought they would hit him or something. He said yes and started crying. When I kept asking him about that, he said they had done it before although according to him they don´t beat him up too bad like other parents do to children, but they hit him from time to time when he misbehaves. He said he has never told anyone about it and he doesn´t want me to tell his parents. This caught me completely off guard and I wasn´t sure how to react. I first told him I hoped this wasn´t a lie to get away with what he had done because it was something very serious to accuse his parents of hitting him. I also explained that I can´t stop talking to his parents about his behaviour, but next time he misbehaves, we both could reach an agreement for a punishment (banning tv, not going out to play with his friends...) and I could then inform his parents about it and suggest that option as a punishment, so that they don´t hit him. He agreed. I´m not actually sure this is a good idea, but I couldn´t think of anything else at that moment. What should I have done/say? For what he explained, it´s seems to be the kind of hitting that some people would approve to discipline children, but he must have felt scared to have told me.