Is Spanking Bad for Children?
The “experts” of modern society have developed their own ideas about the use of spanking—and they conflict with the truth of God. Here, contrasted with what God teaches, are their feelings, in their own words:
The world’s way: “Spanking sets the example that it is okay to hit when a person is displeased or upset.”
God’s Way: If done properly with love and consistency, spank- ing sets boundaries—and can literally save a child’s life. Children must know that they cannot dart into traffic, play with electrical sockets, steal or do other dangerous things. If they refuse to heed instruction, spanking becomes their “wake-up call.”
The world’s way: “Placing a child in timeout is an old but ef- fective method of punishment…Giving a couple of warnings for bad behavior is fine, but never acting on the threat of a timeout will let the child know you will not act on their bad behavior.”
God’s Way: First, giving children more than one warning for bad behavior is not fine. Parents should always speak ONLY ONCE.
Second, timeouts are not much of a deterrent, and children know this. If a timeout works, then fine. But if it does not, spanking is an effective alternative. Even the warning of a spanking can be effective—IF you neither abuse nor underuse it.
The world’s way: “Spanking may be a temporary fix to a problem. It may even permanently stop a certain behavior, but the damage being done is worse than whatever the behavior was. A child who is regularly spanked will learn to disrespect their parents. As that child grows older he will seek ways to withdraw from an untrusting and scary relationship.”
God’s Way: Spanking does end bad behavior. And yes, it does teach your children to fear you—just as God wants His chil- dren to fear Him. Consider the following scriptures: “Blessed is ev- ery one [who] fears the LORD, [who] walks in His ways” (Psa. 128:1).
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence…The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:26-27).
“Then you shall say unto your son…the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good al- ways, that He might preserve us alive” (Deut. 6:21, 24). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (9:10). “The fear of the LORD prolongs days” (10:27). “Blessed is the man that fears the LORD, that delights greatly in His commandments” (Psa. 112:1). Spanking, done God’s Way, produces proper fear, respect— and trust.
The world’s way: “No child needs a spanking. Spanking can be dangerous. You can never tell when children will be hurt badly by a spanking if you lose control. Children do not need to be hit in order to learn how to behave.”
God’s Way: Spanking, applied properly, is NOT dangerous. However, never setting clear-cut boundaries, backed by quick but loving discipline, is dangerous! Of course, no parent should EVER be out of control, whether in spanking or any other aspect of chil- drearing.
Parents who seek God, and who ask Him to develop in them the fruit of longsuffering and self-control, will not have to worry about losing control when spanking.
The world’s way: “You can do lots of things that will help your children learn self-control—you can help them feel good about themselves, you can show them how a person with self-control acts, you can guide them, you can set limits, you can correct mis- behavior by talking to them, and you can teach them how to think for themselves.”
God’s Way: And if your children refuse to obey you, then what? If you tell them, “Timeout!”, but they continue to run wild, screaming and out of control, then what? If they absolutely refuse to control their emotions—if they continue to whine, wail and cry— or if they make markings on the walls or rip up books—what will you do?
Talk to them? Give them more timeouts? Let the TV serve as a babysitter?
Or will you apply God’s clear command to use discipline? “Chasten your son while there is hope, and let not your soul spare for his crying” (Prov. 19:18).
God’s Way always makes much more sense!