A few months ago, the debate of spanking children came to the forefront again with the story of Adrian Peterson’s arrest for child abuse with his son. So many different opinions concerning the disciplining of children were shared in every format possible. Some of those opinions favored Peterson’s parenting style, even to the point of saying that if more parents “whupped” their children we would have less domestic violence along with other issues that face our society today. Other opinions went to the other extreme stating that “whuppings” create violent offenders and should be banned everywhere.
Let me state, I am against child abuse!!
But I am not against spanking my children.
When it comes to disciplining your children, there are three pertinent factors to keep in mind.
- Love for your children. No matter what the circumstances are, do your children know you love them. I remember as a child, my parents would talk to me about the spankings I received and I was told that I was loved. Maybe not right then, but I always knew that to be true. As a dad, I would try to tell my children how much I loved them, explain why they were being spanked or disciplined in other ways, and hug them afterwards. I wasn’t perfect in this regard, but I believe my kids always have known of my love for them.
- Consistency. This aspect of discipline is probably the most crucial. Do you respond the same way each time your children do something that requires discipline? One of the worst things we can do as parents is ignore bad behavior until we just can’t take it any more and then we erupt. Children need to know right from wrong and know the consequences of the wrong. Those consequences can progress, but the attitude toward the wrong needs to be consistent. Something doesn’t need to be OK one time and then deserve a spanking the next time.
- “The punishment needs to fit the crime.” In other words, spankings are not meant to be used as the only form of discipline. Time outs, groundings, toy removal, lectures, sentence writings, extra chores, along with spankings are all good forms of disciplinary actions. How severe is the wrong-doing? What is age appropriate? What will be the most meaningful at the time?
Your children need to be disciplined. The Bible says that God disciplines us as a father disciplines his own children. (Deut. 8:5) It is our responsibility as parents to seek God’s wisdom in how to discipline our children.
Solomon wrote in Prov. 13:24 “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” His father wrote in Psalm 23:4 “…Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” The shepherd would use the rod to protect the sheep or to discipline the sheep. The discipline might be to break a leg of the sheep to keep him from wandering off into dangerous areas. At that time the shepherd would have to carry the sheep until his leg healed. The staff was used to guide the sheep or to reach down into crevices to pull the fallen sheep back up. Both of these tools were used in the disciplining process. David says they bring protection and comfort. Our children need the protection and the comfort that our Godly, loving discipline brings. God has given us the example throughout His Word. Now we must follow that example. We must love our children to teach them and then discipline them as they need it.
What have been some creative ways that you have disciplined your children?
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.