The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 that Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Dr. Benjamin Spock said, "Physical punishment certainly plays a role in our acceptance of violence. If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start."
Thanks to Mr. Spock's teachings, an entire generation grew up unacquainted with the thwack of a paddle. In the 1950's, we had Leave it to Beaver, conservative values, and a high regard for morality. In the 1960's, when the new parenting strategy was introduced, society's pendulum swung the other way. We saw an increase in drug use, the sexual revolution, Woodstock, the 1970's Feminist movement, Roe vs. Wade, etc. Am I saying the decline of morality falls on the shoulders on Benjamin Spock? No. But I am saying that it played a part.
My husband and I are striving to raise our children by Biblical principles. We believe in the supremacy of Scripture and its authority over our lives. There have been many questions asked regarding how we discipline our children. Do we spank? Do we use the "time out" method? Do we let them exert their independence and encourage them to express themselves how they choose? In short, we do spank. We discipline based on the offense and sometimes that includes a swat to the bottom. And we believe it is Biblical.
Ken Gallinger said, "The Bible is simply wrong on spanking," (Toronto Star, 2007)
This is a hard quote to swallow for any follower of Jesus Christ because the Bible gives us clear instructions on how to discipline our children. And, yes, that includes spankings.
Proverbs 29:15 says, The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Proverbs 29:17 adds, Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Now, let me be clear. It is vital that we separate spankings from beatings. A "swat" to a child's bottom is in no way the same as a fist to the face. A firm lick with a paddle is not in the same category as bruising and scars. In no way does this post advocate abuse of any kind. We are talking about parental discipline, not bullying or physical harm. And it's important to note that when a parent chooses a spanking to discipline their child, it must be done with an attitude of love, not fiery wrath. Somewhere, the line was blurred and the definition skewed. If the Bible is the authority, then it reigns as absolute truth. Those who do not believe that God's Word is infallible and without flaw will no doubt have a difficult time believing that it is possible to raise children who receive spankings, yet who are secure in the love of their parents and who are all-around good kids!
Since becoming a parent, I have asked myself numerous times (usually on those really hard days) why God instructs parents to discipline their children this way. For me, it hurts. I do not enjoy one minute of disciplining my child. But through much study and prayer and by watching the example of my parents and other families who practice Biblical discipline and parenting, I have discovered three ways that spanking not only rears well-behaved children, but actually plays a major role in bringing them to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Spankings teach that there is a higher authority. I tire of teenagers who have no regard for any kind of authority, be it government officials or those in Pastoral leadership. This begins at a young age when parents allow their children to rule the roost. This is not Biblical. By Biblically disciplining your child, you are teaching them that you are the parent, the one God placed in authority over them. This gives them a beginners' knowledge of God, who is over all.
- Spankings teach that there are consequences. I don't spank my children to prove I'm bigger and stronger than they are. That's not parenting, that's bullying. And it can be a form of emotional abuse when we spank just because we can. I spank my children when they are disobedient, defiant, and when they willfully disregard my words. When we spank our children, it teaches them that there are always consequences for wrong actions, whether you are two years old or two hundred years old. Spiritually, this teaches them about sin and the payment for it. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
- Spankings teach grace, love, and forgiveness. Again, we are not talking about abuse. Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." This verse tells us that if we love our children, we will spank them. If we don't, we won't. Simple as that. My Dad was the best at implementing this. When a sin was committed, we were spanked. And no matter what the offense was, I always saw the hurt in his eyes. As soon as the sin was confessed and forgiveness was asked for, it was done and over. Forgotten. There was always an atmosphere of love. This taught me about God's saving grace. His corrects us, disciplines us - not to make us rebellious and angry - but to give us a desire to grow into maturity. When this mindset is demonstrated by God-fearing parents to their children, it will work. And it will fulfill Scripture by delivering their soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:14)
There are other forms of correction we implement, regularly using our Clean Heart sheet. Recently, I put together a correction chart that I am sharing with you today. We have to understand the power of prayer and using Scripture to teach and instruct our children. As I mentioned before, we mustn't bully our kids, we must teach our kids! And our goal as parents should always be to point them to Jesus Christ, and teach them principles of Scripture. For if we train up a child in the way he ought to go, we are promised that he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.