Shows Main Idea – How do you discipline your child? Do you use spanking? What are some ways you cooperate with God in helping shape your child’s heart to Him? This podcast answers questions about parental discipline.
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Podcast Question: I am hoping you can help me understand something. I am a mom of young children. Over the past couple of years, I have felt a strong conviction to stop using spanking as a tool for discipline. I was spanked as a child and I know how useless it was in the process of disciplining me, so when I became a parent and used that tool I struggled doing it.
But in the Christian culture, I feel like it is just assumed that the Bible commands us to spank and so most believers do it. When my husband and I did more research we decided to stop using spanking in our home. While that has been life changing for our family, I still really struggle with why Christians say the Bible commands it to be done.
When I look to the Word for guidance in this area I don’t see any example of spanking being practiced. In fact, I see the opposite approach with the prodigal son. I also see how Jesus loves and protects children. I don’t see a place where He commands us to spank them when they misbehave. I sit in a lot of mom circles and when this topic comes up, moms don’t know why they spank. They just do it.
This topic has brought me so much confusion and I am willing to change my view if the Lord leads me that way. I just need help understanding why I should spank if Scriptures command it. Or, am I right in believing that the verses in Proverbs are being taken out of context by the believers who do practice spanking?
Thank you for your time, I hope you can help!
You can hover over each verse to read a popup box that shows the verse
- Proverbs 13:24
- Hebrews 12:11
- Proverbs 23:13-14
- Proverbs 29:15
- Ephesians 6:4
- Psalm 103:13
- Proverbs 22:15
- Ephesians 6:1-4
- Colossians 3:21
- Proverbs 22:6
- Proverbs 29:17
- Colossians 3:20
- Proverbs 19:18
- Hebrews 12:5-11
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- 1 Timothy 3:4
- Proverbs 13:1
- Leviticus 20:9
- Matthew 18:6
- Ecclesiastes 8:11
- Proverbs 19:26-27
- Proverbs 15:1-33
- Proverbs 21:11
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Why do you do it?
The most stunning thing about this question is the comment about moms who do not know why they do it, they just do it.
- You must know why you do it.
- Husbands must be involved in the process. If these moms do not know why, then it reflects on their husband’s lack of leadership in this area. Husbands should also be leading in disciplining the child, as it reflects a better picture of God the Father while allowing the wife to fulfill her complementary role as a wife.
How do you do it?
- The goal of parental discipline is redemptive/restorative, not in a salvation sense, but in orienting the child’s heart toward God.
- No discipline should be done out of sinful anger. Sinful anger is not (1) humble, (2) restorative, or (3) communal. Read, What is righteous anger?
- No discipline should be abusive.
- Each child is unique, so there is no one size fits all way. See 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
- You must follow a Biblical decision-making course to build all your convictions: You must be in faith. See Romans 14:23. Read the article, How to make a decision. Supporting Members, you can watch my one hour webinar on how to make a decision.
- Don’t make your experience normative, especially don’t let your experience trump God’s Word. If you’re unsure, seek advice.
- Don’t make historical passages or parables normative, i.e., the prodigal son.
- The Bible does not lay out a spanking mandate or spanking protocols, saying it is the way, the only way, while detailing how it is done. Carefulness, humility, and community input is needed here.
- Create a no tolerance for sin early in your child’s life. It’s easier to teach obedience earlier than later, after the child is older and less teachable. Overlook what you can.
- Your primary early goals are not obedience but heart motivations, i.e, humility, respect, honor, kindness, deferring, love, gratitude, and a servant’s heart.
- Your encouragement of your child should be exponentially more than your discipline. Parent-to-child question: “What do you experience more from me: (1) my encouragement or (2) my discouragement?”
- Discipline is a picture of the Gospel: It teaches children the weight of sin and an appreciation for Christ taking our punishment. You must teach consequences into your children. They must know they have been saved from something. There must be clear lines drawn between good and evil. When they do evil, they must understand what they have done and when they have done good, they need to know that they got it right.