Parenting 101: Spanking (Part 1)

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“I wouldn’t want to be raising my kids in this world!” Doesn’t every parent say that?  I remember saying it and I remember my mom saying it to me! As the world seems to get crazier and crazier, what a wonderful, blessed assurance that our Lord Jesus NEVER changes!

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Not only is Jesus the same but the Word of God is as well:

Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89

Amen!  Do you have your hanky waving yet? Maybe I should end this post while I’m ahead!

Parenting in 2020 is NOT easy, but perhaps the first question in Parenting 101 is this: What does “turning out right” look like? We all have our own opinions about what that means, but I think that as born-again believers we will all agree that we want our children to love the Lord and follow His commands.

I’ve recently finished reading the book “Why I Didn’t Rebel” by Rebecca Lindenbach. This young lady makes a lot of good points. Her easy-to-read honesty is refreshing.  She has done a lot of research. However, I have one big concern with her book. In chapter 6, Discipline, she makes some wonderful statements. The subtitle, “Keeping the End Goal in Mind” is excellent. However, she quotes several leading psychologists who have written books and done loads of research about spanking. Their conclusion:

“What she [Dr. Romano] found was that spanking does not have any positive outcomes.  There was only one neutral outcome, which was immediate compliance.  But there were thirteen other outcomes that were all negative. These include increase aggression, a less close parent-child relations, and an increased risk of mental-health issues during childhood.1

1Rebecca Lindenbach, “Why I Didn’t Rebel,”  Nelson Books. (2017)p. 102.

Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge.

Do not withhold correction from a child,

For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

You shall beat him with a rod,

And deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 23:12-14

 (Wow! Could God have expressed the importance of discipline any stronger? I once heard a preacher say that when we warn but never follow through with correction, a child may possibly hear the preacher warning him about hell and not respond because he has been conditioned to believe that punishment never comes!)

Please don’t miss her point. When we are out of control with discipline or correction, when we proceed with red-hot anger, when we put more emphasis on correction than instruction, then we have lost sight of the goal. But God clearly gives us a mandate. Notice that prior to God’s instruction about discipline He commands, not suggest, that we apply our hearts to instruction.  It makes me think of the care I take to apply makeup. I even bought a magnifying mirror so I could really see what I was doing! It’s a tedious process! Our study of God’s Word—checking it out, studying it and then applying what we have heard to our lives—should be as well. THEN WE ARE READY TO CORRECT AND INSTRUCT OUR CHILDREN.

When “the rod” is outlawed from a loving parent’s hand, he loses a most valuable tool. I recently asked a young mother of a 4 and 6-year-old about spanking and she said that most of the spanking happens when a child is between the ages of 1 and 3. Even now, she is reaping the benefits of early discipline in her children. They are well-behaved, self-controlled, kind, and loving. They honor their parents and love them dearly. They have a healthy respect for authority because their parents have spanked them in a loving, biblical way.

I often run into parents who want this kind of child but will not take the responsibility to train their children. It is a very sad thing.

So, today’s tip for parenting: Love them enough to discipline them.  The benefits are out of this world!

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