Mention the word and you’ll get a variety of responses.
“I would never hit my child,” said one mom in a parenting class. Another mom responded, “It’s the most effective form of discipline I use.”
Two ends of the spectrum.
Is spanking okay? The answer Lori and I give parents in our classes and retreats is, “Sometimes.” Let me give you an example of an okay and effective use of spanking.
My oldest son was three. At that time we lived on a very busy street. He was fascinated with the road and would wander or sometimes run to look at the passing cars, trucks, and buses. Scott and I used everything from time out to stern reprimands to stop the behavior. Nothing worked.
One day when he and I were in the front yard, he again ran to the road. I caught him (thank goodness) and took him indoors. I looked into his eyes and told him running to the street was dangerous and he could get hurt. For disobeying his dad and me and putting himself in danger he was getting a spanking. I put him over my knee and swatted him with my hand. I then wrapped my arms around him. I told him I loved him, wanted him to be safe, and expected him to stay away from the street.
The technique worked. He stayed away from all busy roadways, especially the one in front of our home. Actually the lesson lasted for years as he was the one who would look both ways multiple times before crossing any street. He knew I meant business.
Children need boundaries. Spanking can be a method of enforcing the boundaries. But there are situations where it is not the best form of discipline to use.
• Never use spanking as a form of discipline if there is a history of physical abuse.
• Mom and Dad need to be on the same page if spanking is to be used.
• Use with children under five-years-old.
• Use the hand, not an object (wooden spoon, etc.). The pressure is best determined by the parent’s hand.
• Only Mom and Dad administer spankings.
• If the situation is out of control and the parent is too angry, don’t spank.
• Use spanking as a last resort, after all other ways of changing a behavior have been tried.
• If the child defiantly responds with, “That didn’t hurt,” the days of spanking are finished.
Keep in mind, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” (Proverbs 13:24) as a wise saying, but it does not mean parents should beat their children with a stick to get them to behave. Disciplining with love, choosing to teach a child right from wrong and how to behave, is the responsibility of the parent. Spanking is just one means of changing a behavior. Used sparingly, it can be effective.
Endure hardships as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
For what children are not disciplined by their father?
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott
Mom of two
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series
Raising Little Kids with Big Love and
Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
and the Study Guides