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The Pros and Cons of Spanking as a Form of Punishment

There is a lot to consider when raising children and lets face it, parenting is not an easy job. Here are some thoughts to consider before deciding whether to use spanking as discipline in your child rearing.

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When is it spanking? When is it abuse?

Many will quote the Bible verse “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” The Bible Says: “He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24) and “Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13-14).But this was written in the Old Testament.

But the New Testament adapts the parenting instruction advising that a Christian leader should be “one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence, (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?). So then in considering these verses located in I Timothy 2:4 and 5 we can draw the conclusion that a good Christian leader leads his family with Christian doctrine not by striking them. The ultimate authority is Christ so the wise parent lives a Godly life leading by example.

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Encourage not discourage your child.

A child is to be disciplined with grace not beaten into submission. It is not about breaking the will of your child, but building up your child. We are given instruction on how to not discourage but encourage our youth. Physical punishment may keep your child in line while you are present to inflict the punishment, but what happens once the child is on his or her own? A child who is grounded in faith has a foundation which is instilled and helps a child to make appropriate decisions on his or her own.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. “

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs provides a promise and a command, not a suggestion.

Grace can undo poor child training and one of God’s gifts, His righteousness is one of the best instructional tools known to man. Train your child with consistency, God’s doctrine and by example tempered with grace and love. We cannot make our children righteous as it is a gift from God. We can teach them God’s word and by living in a Godly way, they will seek the righteousness of God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17. Is the child hearing the word of God?

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The author of the best-selling book “Raising a Thinking Child, Myrna B. Shure PhD wrote in her book Thinking Parent, Thinking Child “I don’t say “Never spank” an occasional spanking won’t hurt your child, and it may legitimately relieve your own anger and frustration. However, if you rely on spanking, you’ll encounter many unintended consequences. Perhaps the most serious result is that it teaches your child to disregard his own feelings.” Caring for their own feelings is the first step towards learning empathy.

The following results are born from frequent and harsh spankings:

• Spanking can cause a child to feel overpowered and helpless leaving him or her angry and frustrated. Needing to regain power they may feel the need to exercise power over those who are less threatening to them. This is how a bully can be born.

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• A child may withdraw emotionally from the parent who spanks them frequently losing trust and an emotional bond with that parent. They may also rebel from the very values that parent is striving to instil.

• Spanking causes a child to avoid the behaviour which caused the spanking but not to think about proper behaviour.

• Spanking may teach a child that hitting is an appropriate way to express anger and they may lash out physically when they are angry.

In conclusion, spanking should not be the only form of punishment. A parent needs to learn how to instruct a child as to the consequences of bad behaviour in a positive way to make discipline a teaching tool. Train your child in the ethics of the law, not the letter of the law so they can make wiser choices and they will feel more confidence and a stronger self-esteem when faced with life’s trials.

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  1. Tiki33

    On May 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm


    This is interesting. Children need discipline but beating them into submission is just not the answer. Discipline in love works and teaches them to be patient.

  2. girishpuri

    On May 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm


    very interesting tips

  3. PHILLY DREAMER

    On May 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm


    The Old Testament sounds harsh. I’m not sure what to think about spanking. I know once I got older, physical discipline would not work on me, because I was stronger and fearless. When I was a kid guilt trips were the most effective disciplinary tool for me. Seeing the disappointment on my mothers face made me change my ways really fast.

  4. Judy Sheldon

    On May 28, 2012 at 12:20 am


    Tiki33, you are right beating is not the answer.

    Grishpuri, thank you.

    Philly Dreamer, I hated to disappoint my mother too. She meant/means so much to me.

    Thanks for visiting.

    Take care, God bless.

  5. Bill M. Tracer

    On May 28, 2012 at 1:26 am


    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know from my own experience as a child. Before the first day my father spanked me, I felt safe and secure with him, and loved him with great warmth. As a young child I did not understand when he punished me with great anger, pulling down my pants and spanking my bottom with his belt. I felt it must mean he didn’t love me anymore.

    The result for me was your point “A child may withdraw emotionally from the parent who spanks them frequently losing trust and an emotional bond with that parent. They may also rebel from the very values that parent is striving to instill.”

    During my rebellious teen years, I came to hate my father directly because he used that kind of punishment.

    It was only as an adult that I finally came to forgive father, and really only after he had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. I came to feel sorry for him in that condition and it made it easier to regain the love I once had for him, when I was a small child.

    My experiences teach me that the Bible is wrong on this issue, period.

  6. Bill M. Tracer

    On May 28, 2012 at 1:40 am


    I should clarify my last statement, and say that specifically about the Old Testament, not the New. Use the rod and traumatize the child. That is the reality. It was most certainly my reality.

  7. jennifer eiffel01

    On May 28, 2012 at 3:10 am


    Great! Daddy would not let my mom spank us. And once my mo told me that my gradma would call to make sure he didn’t hit my sister and I.

  8. jennifer eiffel01

    On May 28, 2012 at 3:10 am


    Great! Daddy would not let my mom spank us. And once my mo told me that my gradma would call to make sure he didn\’t hit my sister and I

  9. jennifer eiffel01

    On May 28, 2012 at 3:11 am


    GREAT. wE WERE NEVER SPANKED AS DADDY DID NOT BELIEVE IN IT AFRAID WE GET A BROKEN BONE

  10. septana

    On May 28, 2012 at 3:42 am


    very nice

  11. KnightHeart

    On May 28, 2012 at 8:20 am


    THIS IS NICE JUDY…

  12. Judy Sheldon

    On May 28, 2012 at 10:34 am


    Bill, my father was definitely heavy handed as was his, and it ruined our relationship too. It has left a shadow on my life.

    Pattiann, I am glad your parents were consistent and sought out other forms of discipline.

    Septana, thank you for your support.

    Knightheart, thank you for visiting and commenting.

    Take care and God bless.

  13. CHAN LEE PENG

    On May 28, 2012 at 11:32 am


    Beating will just encourage violence in the child later life.

  14. stevetheblogger

    On May 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm


    Great piece debating a very old topic I don’t think spanking is the answer at all. But you do obviously have to discipline your children but there are other ways to accomplish this. I remember back at school many many years ago in England they used to beat us every day and this caused untold resentment and as we know it doesn’t take long for resentment to turn to hate.
    Kind Regards
    stevetheblogger

  15. Judy Sheldon

    On May 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm


    Chan, I agree completely.

    Steve we were spanked when we attended school, but that has changed since then.

    Thanks for the support. Blessings.

  16. MountainNana

    On May 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm


    There are some few instances that a spanking on the bottom may be warrented when a child has repeatedly been disiplined in time out or removing a privilage and they still do something that is highly dangerous to themselves and or others. Sometimes a spanking is the most effective method. But that is in rare situations there are much better ways to discipline. Setting the child down and making them look at you as you talk about their unacceptable behavior is very effective. Sometimes time out is effective as well. Or taking away something for a short time they love to do. Depending on the age of the child and their understanding. Reserve spankings for serious and dangerous situations where quick action is needed.

  17. MountainNana

    On May 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm


    Forgot to add, if you do need to spank your child. He/she should know and understand why and it should be only a few swats on the bottom and talk about the offense, make sure they know they are still loved and hug them.

  18. jennyreeve

    On May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm


    I must say that I have smacked both my children in the past. Not often, but when they have been very naughty. Not hard though and certainly not a beating. Both my children are very close to me and my husband, it certainly has not harmed them. They have grown into respectful and delightful adults.

  19. Moses Ingram

    On June 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm


    Spanking a child is wrong.Parents are adults and should be able to find a better way.

  20. Judy Sheldon

    On June 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm


    Mountain Nana, I feel that some have truly overdone the spanking thing and others are clueless about discipline!! We need a balance.

    Jenny, I am so glad you did well with your children. It is a delight to have balanced and happy children grown into fine adults.

    Moses, there are many other ways. Some people just don’t look.

    Thanks all and God bless!

  21. lauralu

    On June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm


    Great article, I believe in disclipline not punishment,
    I think there are many ways and spanking is needed only when they out out defy you or in danger,
    My Granddaughter seven has taken to doing opposite to what i say, So next time she climbs the fence I will make her write out ten times she will not climb the fence a old fashioned remedy
    hope she doesn’t have to get to 100 times ^_^

  22. lauralu

    On June 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm


    Great article, I believe in disclipline not punishment,
    I think there are many ways and spanking is needed only when they out out defy you or in danger,
    My Granddaughter seven has taken to doing opposite to what i say, So next time she climbs the fence I will make her write out ten times she will not climb the fence a old fashioned remedy
    hope she doesn\’t have to get to 100 times ^_^

  23. Judy Sheldon

    On June 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm


    Lauralu, thank you for your comment. I have used writing assignments for punishment too, hoping to make them think. lol

  24. Linvio

    On June 23, 2012 at 5:12 am


    If i’d be a parent, it’s spanking that I least want to do to my children. It causes more harm than the physical itself…

  25. Robert Gerald

    On October 18, 2012 at 7:20 am


    Thanks for sharing, interesting article my friends

  26. Judy Sheldon

    On October 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm


    V Rank, I have to agree with you.

    Robert, thank you for your comment.

    Thank you and God bless.

  27. Stanley Soman

    On December 21, 2012 at 12:59 am


    Lots of great points made here. As a christian i could’nt agree more. Its tough to be role models because heck we’re not perfect as adults. But sometimes you have to be a little firm and not just allow kids to walk over you, not for the sake of winning an argument but for drawing a line.

    Yeah i had a troubling upbringing, all i can say is you’re spot on.

  28. Judy Sheldon

    On December 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm


    Stanley, thank you for your warm support. I see that you reside in NY. I lived there for 16 years.

    Blessings.

  29. Francie

    On February 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm


    Hi Judy,
    Simply said I just think spanking is a form of being out of control on the parents part. There are so many other ways to handle a child that behaves badly. I have raised 2 young men and never
    hit either. I now have a 4yr old grandson and he misbehaves but
    no-one should ever hit. I think hitting begets the child to do so also. There are other consequences that are effective. Good article!

  30. Judy Sheldon

    On February 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm


    Francie, thank you for the warm support. I believe we should teach that poor choices result in consequences but not by becoming physically violent.

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