Husband believes we should spank our children

November 17, 2017
Corporal punishment

Dear Pastor,

My husband and I have decided to write to you for some guidance. We are Christians. We have been married for six years. We have two children, one boy and a girl.

We are active in our church. Our pastor believes that nothing is wrong in spanking children.

My husband agrees, but I do not believe that we should spank the children. My husband says that he was spanked as a child and it hasn't hurt him. He believes that it helped him to grow up and he is better off today.

My parents spanked me too, but I have marks on my body and I hate to see them. But I don't hold it against my parents for spanking me.

My husband quotes The Bible to prove to me that it is not wrong to spank the children. The Bible says "if the rod is spared you will spoil the child."

We do not abuse our children, but how can we discipline them without abusing them? My husband and I get along well and we love our children.

We spend time with them. We protect them from certain television shows. We play lots of games with them and we teach them to obey us as their parents.

Both of us have demanding jobs, but we try to spend much time with our children. So, we ask you to give us a little more guidance how we can assist our children to grow up and be good citizens of our country.

J.W.

Dear J.W.,

I appreciate your letter. The Bible says a lot about training a child. For example: The Bible says, in Ephesians 6:1, "Children should obey their parents."

To me, it is very embarrassing to hear how some children speak to their parents. They have no respect for authority at all.

In Proverbs 22:15, we are told that "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

This is one of the verses that some people use to insist that a child should be spanked. I have argued that a child could be corrected and punished without using the rod.

But, others have insisted that The Bible says "withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."

And the Bible goes on to say "Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shalt deliver his soul from hell" in Proverbs 23:13-14.

I wonder whether the writer of these verses believed that there was no other way to correct a child.

I have known wicked men to strip their teenage daughters naked and to beat them openly, causing terrible marks on their skin.

I read also in Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

Is The Bible here saying that there is no other way to train a child, and if one does not abuse him physically when he is young, there will come a time when the parents cannot touch him?

My question is at what age would you not be able to touch him if you believe that disciplining him is beating him with the rod or with a tamarind whip or with your leather belt?

Proverbs 13:24 says "He that spareth his rod, hates his son, but he that loveth him, chastenth him betimes." The writer also says in Proverb 29:15, "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

Why is it that those who emphasise that the rod must be used in correcting children ignore the exhortation to "reproof"? You can reproof (discipline) without using the rod.

Reproof means to reason and exhort. And that is what we need to do with our children today. We must show them why they must be disciplined.

And we must not punish our children without giving them warning, and the punishment does not have to be physical.

Certain privileges can be taken away from children who are disobedient. You can take away their cellphones, stop them from going on school trips and stop them from watching their favourite television shows.

Whatever means by which we use to punish or discipline our children, they must understand that it is for their own good.

Discipline must be administered on children, otherwise they would believe that they can do anything.

Anyone who is not disciplined will not consider himself/herself loved by his/her parents as he/she matures.

I hope that I have said enough to help both of you as parents and I wish you well.

Pastor.

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