The Spanking Controversy

September 12, 2008

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” – Proverbs 13:24

For about 25 years, most child psychologists opposed any form of corporal punishment, but it seems they are now beginning to admit that spanking actually has some benefits. Of course, God’s Word has told us that for several thousand years. He is clear: If we withhold corporal punishment from our children, we hate our children. But if we love our children, we discipline them consistently. So what are some guidelines when it comes to spanking? Keep these things in mind.

* Spanking should not take place unless boundaries have been set, warnings given, and your child has willfully defied you.
* Spanking should never be done in anger. And if we do spank out of anger, we’re called to ask their forgiveness. When I made this mistake with my boys, I’d say, “Look, I want to ask your forgiveness. You deserved the spanking, but I was wrong to get angry.”
* Spanking should never bring injury. Physical abuse is always wrong.
* Spankings are most apropos from about two to ten years old. After that, they lose their effectiveness, and other approaches need to take place.
* After a child receives a spanking, be sure to make the most of the teachable moment, so they know why – and always reassure them of your love.

God disciplines his children (Hebrews 12) and He clearly calls parents to administer discipline, diligently, lovingly, and in a way that the child learns to do what is right on their own. It’s good that the psychologists are catching on again.