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.
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.
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?
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.
• 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.