Spankings - Are they really any good?

I looked up the word discipline in the dictionary and I saw 3 things that stood out:

1 - Punishment
2 - Instruction
3 - Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.

Sadly instruction was considered an obsolete definition. The 3rd one is what I think of when I think of discipline. To disciple, to mold. This to me is what a parent does. They mold and shape a child. This should be done in love. There should be a heaping dose of mercy and grace. There should also be some punishments when behavior reaches the point of extreme.

However the world now equates discipline with definition #1 - Punishment. Spanking is looked at as corporal punishment. Spanking is also looked at as abuse.

I was reading the newspaper this week and saw that Canada is considering outlawing spankings...or making the conditions such that no one will ever be able to do it without fear of government crackdown.

I posed a question to a group I interact with online (both Christians and non-Christians) this past week and the consensus was fairly evenly divided. The question was simple: Spankings....good thing or bad thing? I am not talking about the unbridled abuse of children. I am talking about what my Dad use to do. My Dad would send us to our room to think about things....this was, I found out as an adult, so he could calm down and never strike us in anger. Then he would proceed up the steps and administer 1-3 swats on the butt....never bare. This was an infrequent event and only when we crossed the line in treatment of our mother or acted in such a way that we endangered ourselves or others. I never got one I didn't deserve and didn't get ones I did deserve!

Some I asked said spanking is always abusive. There are other ways to discipline was another statement I heard often.

So I went to the Bible. What does the Bible say? I found some Scriptures in the KJV and then looked those same Scriptures up in the God's Word translation...an easier to understand English translation. Interestingly this is what I found:

"Whoever refuses to spank his son hates him, but whoever loves his son disciplines him from early on." (Proverbs 13:24)

"Foolishness is firmly attached to a child's heart. Spanking will remove it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15)

"Do not hesitate to discipline a child. If you spank him, he will not die. Spank him yourself, and you will save his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

"A spanking and a warning produce wisdom, but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother."
(Proverbs 29:15)

Pretty strong stuff! Just looking at the last verse alone, I have seen many undisciplined children kicking, cursing and screaming at their mothers in grocery stores and Wal-Marts while a frantic mother tries to soothingly appease and quiet the child, embarrassed by their actions. Usually they buy the kid what they asked for to shut them up. Sad....very sad.

Discipline can be done and should be done in love. It should involve nurturing, care, love and punishment. It should be fair and focused. The goal should be to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

When done correctly it is an act of love. When done wrongly it can be abusive.

So spankings...are they good? I believe so.

My name is Rick Apperson, I was spanked as a child and I endorse this message!


Anonymous said...

Kudos for a well-written piece, giving evidence to the kind of common sense that so many "experts" today apparently lack.

If I may offer input from my admittedly limited experience, it seems that discipline needs to be custom-tailored to each child. Hannah has laughed when we tried spanking her (which may say more about our [in]effectiveness at spanking than anything else) while Jacob will start crying if you just look at him with disapproval. I submit that it takes a lot of Spirit-led discernment in choosing how to discipline a child, a humility to admit when a particular tactic does work, and a willingness to try something else. Unfortunately, it seems that as soon as we have something that works, Hannah and Jacob change the rules, and we're starting over again! Maybe we'll finally have this parenting thing figured out when they have moved out and gone to university!

RDA said...

Thanks for the kind words. For sure spanking is not the only form of discipline. My Dad also used other punishments like groundings, sitting in a chair, standing in a corner, having privileges taken away. Not every child will respond to spankings.

Eric said...

The bible says that spankings are good, so obviously when done rightly they are. My wife and I are currently reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. This is a must read for any parent, and Rick, I too deserved every spanking I ever received, but I cherish now (even though I hated it then) the 30-40 min discussion about why what I did was wrong and what sin it reveals in my heart.

RDA said...

I read that book as well Eric.

Yeah if my parents told me they were disappointed in my actions it was as harsh to me as a spanking.

RDA said...

I read that book as well Eric.

Yeah if my parents told me they were disappointed in my actions it was as harsh to me as a spanking.

Mitzi said...

Interesting article. If you have a loving, nurturing relationship with your child, then it’s ok to spank them when needed. But if you're an absent parent or you neglect spending time, showing love & nurturing your child, then I don’t think you have a right to spank them. Discipline and Love go hand in hand. That's just my opinion. Check out my blog @ www.inspirational411.com