I know that how we discipline our children tends to be one filled with controversy and sensitivity. We all have different opinions on this matter and of course we all think we are right. This post is not meant to point the finger and say, “My way is right and you should discipline your child this way too”, but rather to voice what my husband and I have decided to do and some of the verses that have helped reaffirm this decision.
My husband and I have decided that spanking will be a form of discipline used in our home. Having said that, we will not use spanking for all things–but rather as a last resort for issues that are deemed worthy of a spanking. For instance, when my son, Silas, is playing with an outlet, about to touch the hot stove, or doing something that we have asked him to stop doing 14,000 times we feel that obstinate or dangerous disobedience is worthy of a pop. When he is playing with the blinds after he has been told no, we might just simply pull them up where he can not reach or redirect him and his attention to something else. We do not believe that spanking is the only form of discipline and of course being a mother, I never want to see my son in pain or inflict harm upon him, so obviously I try not to spank unless it is warranted. Having said that though. I believe and know that discipline is vital for teaching my son and growing him into a Godly man who is obedient and walks in the ways of the Lord.
So, first why don’t I share 5 Bible verses that reaffirm our decision in disciplining our child.
1. Proverbs 13:24, ” Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
2. Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
3. Proverbs 23:13-15, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.”
4. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
5. Hebrews 12:9-14, “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance of executing discipline when you are of a sound mind, not out of anger, and in a spirit of love and correction. Ephesians 4:26 says,”Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” and Proverbs 3:12 says, “For the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
A while back I was talking to Silas’ pediatrician we had a discussion on spanking because I wasn’t quite sure and wanted his opinion. I love his pediatrician because I know when I seek advice on things I am talking to someone who is also a Christian. Anyways, he explained to me what he and his wife do with their kids and how he kind of does a counsel. Not meaning he sits down and asks what they think and if they should be disciplined, but rather a time where they sit with them and ask what they did wrong, explain if they are struggling to understand what they did wrong, and then discuss that their actions deserve a consequence. I like how he said that they incorporate what the scripture says, like Romans 3:23 which says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”. In talking to a couple from church they described how they discipline with discretion and they even did something that I thought was great and would love to incorporate with my children. They said that depending on the wrongful action, meaning nothing too severe or serious, they would use the opportunity to show mercy and grace to their child. She said it like this, “Child, by disobeying Mommy you have earned a spank or timeout (whichever punishment is befitting for the child and the offense), but I will not give you what you deserve. Instead I will be merciful. I will be gracious and you won’t be spanked or be sent to timeout. ” They use these times of discipline to also talk about love and obedience. Giving rules out of love and to keep them safe because, Mommy and Daddy love them very much and so they can trust that they only want good things for them.
Right now Silas is still a little to young to rationalize with on these things, but when the time comes I want to teach and discipline my son in a similar manner. Extending grace and mercy so that my children will understand more clearly the grace and mercy our Lord extends to us, His children. Until then, I am trying my hardest to get into the habit of explaining to him why it is that I am having to discipline him and how he needs to obey his mommy and daddy.
I can’t speak for others, but I desire to raise up my children to be respectful and obedient people who honor their parents and those in authority, and in order to do so discipline is essential.
So parents, whether you chose to do time out, spank, or whatever practice of discipline you choose, might you do it out of love and never out of anger and the desire to raise up sons and daughters of Christ who are obedient to His words and teachings, as stated previously in Proverbs 22:6.