I know that in this day and age this is a hot topic, and I am definitely leery of writing this post because I know that this topic brings up the worst in people. At the same time though, all the comments I hear on spanking or any type of corporal punishment compel me to do so. I am by no means more experienced than anyone else or wiser than a child psychologist.
Although when it comes to a topic such as this, even though it is important, I spent no amount of time thinking about it before I knew the answer. I know that this puzzles many people, but I will explain why this is a no brainer for me.
I do not pretend to know anything, but I do know someone who does. I do not understand the intricacies of human nature, but I know somebody who does because He made them. God created us and rightfully gave us rules to live by. He knows us and knows what we need and what we don't.
He in turn, gave the Bible as an instruction book to guide us in our every day lives, as well as, get to know Him. When it comes to what is the best way to train children or how to do anything in life, I do not turn to modern science or psychology. Why? Because although we have come far in our knowledge, we are still human.
We make mistakes and wrong judgments. We change our minds and find other solutions that work better. God created us and knows best, and as it happens, He has a lot to say on the subject of child training. His way is always best regardless of what is popular at the time. So when it comes to all matters in life, I find out what God says about it, and apply His principles, even if they go against my human thinking.
Anyone who reads the Bible knows and can probably quote many verses that support corporal punishment and spanking of children. I am sure that many child abusers can also claim these verses. The problem is that many do not take the Bible to heart for themselves and truly study God's heart on the matter.
Does God really approve of beating a child or striking a child in anger? If you read the Bible for yourself, you will find what God's heart on the matter is. I am not going to tell you how to discipline. If you are a Christian, you should be seeking God's face on the matter. I will simply give some principles that the Bible teaches.
Many people relate spanking to abuse, violence, and claim that it teaches that an older person has a right to beat up on a younger person. I agree that the way spanking is done in many homes probably does teach these things, but that is not what the Bible teaches and what God had planned.
To start I would like to point out two Bible verses Proverbs 29:15,17 ,"The rod and reproof give wisdom..." and "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest..." These two verse denote that there is suppose to be something other than just spanking going on. Another New Testament verse says this, "for where no law is, there is no transgression"
I gave you those verses to say this, you have no right spanking a child when you have not taken the time to clearly instruct, teach, and model excellent behavior. If only parents applied this principle, they wouldn't have to spank. Most of the time, a child is spanked because they have angered, frustrated, or embarrassed a parent. This is not Biblical discipline.
The Bible clearly teaches that you are to make a rule (law), and then teach them what you expect. If you want your children to not throw fits in the store, you should make a rule, explain exactly the type of behavior you expect, and then explain the consequence for breaking that rule. This is not Biblical, but it works even better when you role play and have children model the correct behavior.
If you have not done the above, and you spank your child, that is not okay. A child should understand the rule, behavior expected and set consequence. This would be like getting a traffic fine for something that irritated an officer. You would be outraged because you received a fine for something you never knew was illegal. This is how your child feels when you spank them without prior teaching and instruction.
Another sort of spanking that most people see is this following scenario. Mom and child are in the kitchen. Mom tells the child not to play in the trash, child continues to play in the trash. Mom responds by repeating her command in rising volumes of frustration, child still refuses to obey. Mom picks the child up and smacks him on the bottom a few times.
This is not Biblical discipline either and is not okay. It is never okay to hit a child in frustration or anger! If you are frustrated with the situation, it is your fault because you have allowed it to go too far. If you are angry, you need to walk away, get control of yourself and let the situation go. You can effectively deal with a child when you are angry. You need to put set rules and consequences and be consistent.
Something else that is disturbing is this scenario. A child is banging a toy on the table. Mom tells him to stop, he doesn't. Mom repeats her command, he still refuses to obey. Mom then takes the toy away and puts him to play with something else. This teaches a child that when he gets older he can overpower people as well.
Obedience should always come from the heart and be willing. In this instance, their should be a set consequence for disobedience. Once the child pay the consequence, he should be made to willingly obey. If not, the consequence should be repeated. Consequences are suppose to aid in teaching a child the right behavior and helping him develop the correct spirit.
The above instances are often what I hear people pass as Biblical discipline, but they are not. Before you spank a child, they should know exactly what law or rule they broke. They should have already known the consequence and it should have been modeled for them. If all the above are done, the parent should not be angry or frustrated. Spanking is not done as a reaction, but rather to reinforce a rule and further teach a child.
The atmosphere surrounding administering a spanking should be one of control and calmness. To me a spanking is reserved for more severe offences and not one that I use lightly. There are only certain actions in our home that warrant a spanking. Most of the time, my husband and I choose to use the method of counter production. I will discuss that in a later post.
I hope that this post has helped to clarify what is truly Biblical discipline. As to whether a spanking is abuse or not is fully determined on how it is administered and if there was prior instruction involved.
I am sorry to say that what most agree a spanking consists of really does borderline abuse. I think as Christians we need to be in God's word daily and pleading for Him to help us train our children properly. Anger and frustration are a natural part of life, but they have no place in discipline.