The Bible says it is all right to spank your children. At least, that it what I have been told, by preachers and other Biblical scholars. There is verse after verse telling parents to discipline your child by striking them. I have sat through multiple sermons and read books saying it is acceptable. They say it is quite safe, effective and even, that’s why we have padding back there, to absorb the blows.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. Proverbs 23: 13-1
So, why is it that with permission from the Bible and advice from learned men, I still cannot and will not spank my children?
My oldest child is strong willed. When she was younger, there were entire weeks when all we did was fight, yell and cry to get her to listen. Not sure what to do, I read a Christian book about raising a strong-willed child; hoping for some help. The book said the only way to get them to understand and obey is to spank them. I got rid of the book.
[Tweet “I Do Not Spank My Child.”]
Has the thought entered my mind? Yes, maybe this is the time or maybe I need to, it will show her we are serious. Quickly, that thought disappears. I cannot raise my hand against my child. There is too much at stake. While there are many reasons not to, one thought stops me each time.
Authority & Respect
Spanking a child demonstrates authority and is supposed to earn you respect from a child. They will see you as a take-charge person, a person who does not negotiate when you tell to do or not to do something. They will think twice before they push that boundary.
I feel that spanking does the exact opposite. According to one study, spanking likely makes kids more defiant and aggressive. I am not comfortable earning respect or showing my authority through hitting. To me- spanking does not build respect; it builds fear and promotes distrust.
As the Bible states, spanking is an acceptable form of discipline. When a child does something that goes against the rules or expectations it is fine to discipline this way. Parents have doled out this punishment for thousands of years and it has worked. Why change?
[Tweet “There are better ways to discipline than to spank.”]
I do not believe this is the best, most effective way to discipline. There are other ways. We believe in positive reinforcement to stop bad behavior before it starts. Since that does not work all the time, we turn to removing privileges and time-outs. Granted these tactics are not as quick with results, but consistency has seen improvement (knock on wood).
Kids need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. Life is full of consequences; sometimes as a direct result, other times consequences take awhile to develop. Some people say that spanking is the only way to get through to their child.
I am all for teaching consequences; I just do not think spanking is an acceptable one. We use logical and natural consequences. When I asked my daughter not to use that toy as a hammer, and she did, I took away the toy: logical. When I asked my son to get his shoes on, so we could leave, and he did not, I left without him: natural (his mother was still at home).
In total honesty, I am not sure what to do in some situations, Do you teach that a stove is hot through natural consequence? I hope not. But I also do not believe spanking them for almost touching it is a good idea.
The one thought that comes to my head when I think maybe I need to spank is…
How can I, in one breath, tell my child not to hit a person and then moments later spank them.
[Tweet “How can I, in one breath, tell my child not to hit a person and then moments later spank them.“]
Is hitting another person a spankable offense? I know kids are smart and they may understand the difference between hitting someone and hitting someone as a form of discipline. They are also smart enough to know that spanking is hitting.
I ask that fathers think about the reasons they spank their child. Have you tried other ways to teach obedience?
One day I will have to answer for my decision not to spank, I just hope I am forgiven.