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Spanking Children

Staff Member
[center:c9edae5591]What Does the Bible Say About Spanking Children?[/center:c9edae5591]

Proverbs 13:24(KJV): "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

Proverbs 13:24(AMP): "He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son, but he who loves him diligently disciplines and punishes him early."

The practical wisdom found in these verses in the book of Proverbs covers the subject of child rearing and corporal punishment. Children who are not properly disciplined, are among the most miserable of children. Unruly and spoiled children are not the blessings that the Bible says they should be to parents. When a child is given no boundaries, they feel lost. If they have been given boundaries, yet those boundaries are not maintained, it causes great harm to a child, as they will not only be in dangerous territory, they will also lose respect for authority. This is where we find so many of the children and youth of today. They are rebels, who not only disrespect authority, but openly defy all authority figures such as teachers, policemen, clergy, and their own parents. The blame rests upon the parents of these children, if they have not heeded the advice given in this and other verses found in Proverbs.

This brings us to the subject of how we should discipline a child who disobeys the rules. There has been much debate on the subject of corporal punishment (the spanking of a child). Corporal punishment simply means bodily punishment while the definition of spank in Webster's Dictionary is: 1.) to strike with something flat, as the open hand, especially on the buttocks, as in punishment. 2.) to move along swiftly or smartly, a smack given in spanking. This is what the Bible says about spanking:

Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."

Proverbs 23:13-14: "Withold not discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the (reed-like) rod, he will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

First of all, discipline of children should begin at an early age, whenever a child begins to defy the parent. Remember the old saying, "He who spares the rod, spoils the child." Notice that the Bible says that all children have foolishness in their hearts. The Bible definition of a fool means one who is a rebel, so this is saying that all children have rebellion in them and when it surfaces, it is our duty as parents to drive it out of them. We are to do this by punishing them with a whack on the buttocks with a small reed-like rod. This rod could be a switch from a fruit tree branch or a willow tree branch or a small wooden spoon. It is not to be a large heavy rod or anything that would cause permanent physical damage. The purpose of a spanking is not to cause any lasting bodily harm, but to cause spiritual correction. A spanking should be swift and cause short lived pain that makes a point. That point is that the small pain they feel now will prevent them from feeling great pain by the act they are committing, which could cause them loss of their lives in some cases. (For instance, if a child tries to run across the street, they could be run over and killed.)

Some people say that all spanking is child abuse, but this is totally wrong. The real abuse to the child is not to spank them when they need correction. Of course, some parents, who themselves are out of control, can abuse their children by beating them in angry rages. This is child abuse, however, it does not justify doing away with spanking children if it is done properly, and for the right reasons. Parents who beat their children, need help themselves. They are sinful people and they not only will abuse their children by beating them, but will hurt them in other ways as well. Many times, these same children are left to go hungry and uncared for. They have no love. These kind of homes need the love of Christ so that the whole family can be healed. We are not to spank our children with uncontrolled anger, and thus hand out unjust punishment.

Proverbs 19:18(AMP): "Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not (indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and) set yourself to his ruin."

Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Godly discipline will keep children from being dysfunctional later in life. We are told as Christian parents to train our children in the ways of the Lord and when he grows up, he will not depart from that training. Notice it says "train" not "teach." Many parents teach their children right from wrong, but have failed to "train" them to obey. Spanking is part of the training. Many parents yell and threaten their children, but never follow through with the proper punishment and therefore their children get their own way. A disciplined child will bring great delight to parents, while the child left alone will bring shame to the home.

Proverbs 29:15 &17(AMP):

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.

Ephesians 6:1-4:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Having been a parent during the time in which spanking began to become controversial, I discovered that, while the Bible offers sage childrearing advice, it is not a complete parenting handbook. To be sure, despite modern notions to the contrary, children need to be spanked. Sometimes, children even need a good hard spanking. As one teacher at a Christian school frankly observed about a particularly vain, haughty, and obviously undisciplined cheerleader, "She doesn't need a spanking; she needs a whipping!"

Among the more stupid advice I've heard some believers give parents is that, when it comes time to spank, only a switch is in keeping with biblical precepts. The Bible warns against making fooling arguments. Claiming that parents should only spank with a switch is among them. Historically, the ancient Hebrews were a predominantly agrarian society living in a mild climate. Material for switches was readily available. That is most certainly not the case for Christian parents these days living in far less temperate urban environments.

One mother with extensive experience counseling parents with difficult preteen daughters suggests parents use something that really stings the bare skin of uncooperative children or through the underpants of cooperative offspring, and which only leaves temporary redness. Among her recommendations are a hairbrush, a thin paddle, and a rattan cane.

When properly used, spanking can be a highly effective parenting tool. At various times, depending on her age and circumstances at the time, my wife and I used our hand, a paddle, a belt, as well as a switch on our daughter. We found all of them to be adequate for the task at hand. My wife likewise assured me that being on the receiving end of her mother's hairbrush guaranteed proper behavior! Moreover, as I have witnessed on numerous occasions, just the threat from a parent willing to follow through if necessary can be a very real deterrent to undesirable behavior.

At the same time, it is worth pointing out that spanking can be overused and can even become counterproductive. If spanking is all a parent knows, it is like repeatedly playing one note on a piano and confusing it with a symphony. Children raised in this disciplinary environment are not only disasters waiting to happen, they also give spanking a bad reputation. Their parents are among those wringing their hands and lamenting, "But I tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works!"

More than one parent has made the mistake of trying to beat the devil of a child only to wind up driving him or her out of the church as well as out of their lives. Regretting her marriage to a weak husband, a hateful mother in our church became convinced that their son was a bad seed child. Even as a preschooler, the son said, his mother beat him with a belt as she berated him for being the spawn of Satan. Not surprisingly, this mother broke her son's sprit.

In addition to dropping out of school, the young man abused by his mother from an early age also became an atheist. He wanted nothing to do with his parents or their mean-spirited god. Instead of training up a child as in the way of the Lord, the mother created an angry young man devoid of spiritual fruit. By proking her son to wrath, this mother not only disturbed the world, it was also as if she pulled down her own house with her hands.

Both figuratively and literally, another couple of my acquaintance lived across the street from the malicious mother and her husband. Although the father was a Bible-believing minister, the wife trusted Benjamin Spock's infamous childcare treatise more than she did the inconvenient child disciplinary advice offered in Proverbs. Although both of her daughters received spankings even in high school, the oldest admitted that she never felt anything firmer than the palm of a parental hand where she sat down. She further confessed that, while those spankings were quite embarrassing as she got older, they didn't do what she really knew in her heart needed to be done to make her behave. Of course, as a typical teenage daughter, she wasn't about to tell her parents! Neither was her sister.

After graduating from high school, the elder daughter never made it past her first year in college. A few years later, her younger sister found herself pregnant without benefit of even an engagement ring. Although she didn't really love the father of their child, she married him anyway. That marriage was rocky from the start.

Because the younger daughter's pregnancy occurred at a time and in a place when these things were still scandalous, and because the second daughter's marriage was tumultuous, I was among several church members inclined to believe the wages of a daughter's sin combined with a mother's grief contributed to the preacher's wife passing before biblically allotted time on this earth.

Beyond disciplinary extremes, one of the great misunderstandings of modern and post-modern parenting is boys and girls respond differently to spanking after a certain age.

With the onset of puberty, boys tend to treat spanking as they would a physical assault. Consequently, they are inclined to fight back. While this does not mean that older boys should never feel the sting of a belt, or paddle on their posteriors, it does mean that parents need to be more circumspect in the application thereof as young men mature. Thus, in as much as possible, parents need to get their sons under control before puberty.

On the other hand, although they don't like being disciplined any better than do boys of the same age, girls are more disposed to accept spanking as an appropriate form of discipline. In fact, older daughters often know they need a spanking long before their parents get around to doing it. Furthermore, girls are usully more than willing to experience genuine pain in order to feel forgiven and clean inside. Fortunantly for parents, this combination means that teenage girls are much more likely than teenage boys to lean their lesson at the parental knee.

When it comes to girls, the good news is that, if parents are able to avoid the trap of political correctness, they have more time to make sure their daughters know how to behave. One of the biggest mistakes mothers with teenage daughters can make is retiring the hairbrush or belt too soon. Another is to deny an older daughter the embarrassment of being disciplined over her father's knee when the young lady richly deserves the experience.

On the other side of things, the bad news is that the anti-spanking controversy arose because a good hard spanking still produces the desired results even when administered to almost grown daughters. Not so many generations ago, parents used this to good effect. Before spanking became became the subject of disputations, promiscuity was rare. It was also almost unheard of for a girl and young women to be arrested. It's also why one older version of the well-known children's rhyme ended with (emphasis added):

What are YOUNG WOMEN made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice.

These days, just the very idea that a young woman should be held accountable unladylike behavior at the parental knee is considered to be abusive!

Another misconception is that spanking alone will make children behave. This is not the case. While spanking is typically more effective than any other form of discipline in stopping bad behavior dead in its tracks, that outcome is not permanent. Spanking must also be accompanied by guidance. That youthful energy that got the youngster into trouble in the first palace must be rechanneled into more productive endeavors.

While my parents were inconsistent in disciplining, my in-laws got it about right with their stair step brood. In addition to taking their children to church every Sunday, in addition to keeping them busy and giving them encouragement, my wife's parents also spanked. Although the thought would make many of today's generation cringe, both my wife and her sister were still subject to bare bottom disciplining when they were in college. Meanwhile, although her brothers sowed a few wild oats in their late teens, my wife's parents got their sons under control before their teenage years.

When parents get discipline right, it is like a light that cannot be hidden under a basket. Not only did my wife and her siblings graduate from college, none were ever arrested. Nor did they contribute to any prenuptial pregnancies. None of them smoked. Only my wife's sister drinks. All married members of the opposite sex and became productive citizens. One of her brothers became a missionary. The other is actively involved in the church he and his family attend.

As close as anyone I've ever known in my life, my mother-in-law embodied the spirit found in Proverbs 31. Although I am sure there were times they thought her the meanest mother in the whole world when they were growing up, my mother-in-law's children arose and called her blessed long before she went to be with the Lord.
We should never spank our kids when we are mad! Plus we need to ask the HOLY GHOST how to deal with it each time ?
The worse beating I ever got from God was just Him blessing me and loving me ! It hurt so much I could hardly stand it 1
I had told Him to punish me and do whatever ! He only loved me more ! I tried to push my head though the floor , I wanted punished

We tend to think we know the answers always and lean hard on our understanding ! I made lots of mistakes doing that !
Mistakes that I cannot fix and still think about !

I just do not want others to make the mistakes I have made by Not asking him and doing what I believed was correct !

You know in everything we should be seeking His advice and wisdom ! It so easy for us to think I can deal with this !

I tried with our natural thinking to serve GOD perfectly when young ! and failed many times because I was not seeking His understanding and advice !
Probably the two worst aspects of parenting come from dealing with a miniature version of ourselves along with coming to a realization that raising a child constitutes a learning experience for both parent and child. Neither is perfect. Both make mistakes. Patience is not only a necessity when it comes to dealing with children, it is also a virtue as well as a fruit of the Spirit. On the other hand, anger and pride are numbered among the seven deadly sins. It is also usually much easier to see what we should have done than knowing what to do when confronted with a situation. Then, that is the nature of life upon this earth.
Staff Member
I've kind of answered this in a poll that was titled "should children corporally punished". So I won't repeat but provide my via a link.


@somewisdom and @spirit1st you all have hit the nail right on the head with much of what you've written. At times it is the intensity of the spanking and the lack of identifying the purpose behind using it, which may negate the benefit from of its use.


Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
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I've kind of answered this in a poll that was titled "should children corporally punished".
Thank you for the link. By my comparison of posts, you covered stages while I touched on a few pitfalls. Then, that's one of of the great things about forms. The same topic can be covered from a multiplicity of perspectives so that others might not have to reinvent the wheel.