The book of Proverbs unmistakably calls for the physical discipline of children, that is, spanking, as a necessary part of wise and effective parenting. For instance:
He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.Proverbs 13:24
This verse alone refutes the incorrect thinking of some who conclude, “I love my child too much to spank him.” (Different regions have different policies on corporal punishment. While this explains the biblical model of child discipline, parents should be aware of the legal requirements of the country or state in which they reside.)
Parents who truly love their children will do what is necessary to protect them from the pain and destruction caused by the rebelliousness of sin. Clearheaded parents are willing, from the perspective of “future-minded love,” to inflict temporal pain upon their children in order to save them not only from the destruction caused by a sinful lifestyle, but, more importantly, from the pain of eternal damnation and separation from God.
One problem facing us today is that some parents, in the past and even in the present, have used spanking improperly and, therefore, their actions may rightly be considered abusive. Certainly there are parents who abuse their children under the guise of “spanking,” but that is not what we are talking about in this chapter. When spanking is used to abuse children it is nothing short of wickedness in the sight of God. Like all sin, child abuse is harmful to others and should be opposed. But those in our society who want to classify all spanking as child abuse are simply wrong. They misunderstand what biblical discipline is and how it is to be properly practiced. Therefore, it is our desire to set before you seven steps in the discipline process that help us to consistently put sound principles into action, lovingly, on behalf of our children.
- Clearly communicate our behavioral expectations
- Maintain self-control
- Go to a private place
- Solicit a confession
- Apply a neutral tool to the appropriate area
- Do not allow angry crying or screaming
- Seal the reconciliation with affection and prayer
Parents, we stand in the gap between our children and God. We are God’s first and preferred avenue of reaching our children’s hearts so that they may develop biblical faith and godly character which flow from a healthy fear of God and an accurate knowledge of the gospel of his salvation. This includes faithfulness in the area of correction. May we learn to depend upon his grace for each new day as we strive to be faithful to our task!
[This post is adapted from HELP! My Toddler Rules the House. Each of these seven steps is carefully explained and practical examples given.]