If You Love Your Children…

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 13:24

The Bible speaks plainly to parents: if you love your children, you will discipline them with the rod, that is, spank. Sparing the rod has become commonplace among today’s parents, and our children show it. Kids are out of control and parents don’t seem to know what to do. There is a reason parents feel lost – they have been misled about the very thing that would help them and their kids. I would like to debunk two myths about spanking and offer some encouragement about discipline. I believe you will see that the Bible has been right all along. 

First, spanking is not abuse. Physical abuse and spanking are not the same thing, and it is a great mistake to lump them together. Parents who spank correctly are in control of themselves, and the act of spanking is brief. When a parent spanks a child properly, he will inflict some pain, but the pain is short-lived. Here is why that pain is so important: young children are not yet capable of being reasoned with, but they do understand pain. It conveys that important message, “no” – and they get it! 

Many parents do not realize that if young children are not brought into subjection while they are small, a course of misbehavior begins that is hard to redirect. Early spanking sets the child on a course of obedience. It lets him know who is in charge, and this is foundational to the parent/child relationship. Spanking sets the expectation that the child will submit to the parent. This is the best and most biblical method. It works just as well today as it has for thousands of years. 

Second, spanking is not morally wrong. I have heard the phrase, “people are not for hitting.” This is a gross oversimplification of spanking. Spanking a child for disobedience and hitting a child are not comparable. Morally, spanking is the right thing to do. We can be certain that the Bible does not command us to do anything morally wrong, and as stated earlier, discipline is a command to parents. People dismiss the idea of spanking while overlooking the serious ramifications of not spanking. Along with the trend to not spank, we have seen the behavior of children decline rapidly. This is a moral concern as it impacts others, not just the parents of the child. 

I would like to say a word of encouragement to parents here: I once heard it said that discipline is the vehicle that will make your dreams come true. Young children are not yet capable of self-discipline and require parents to provide that for them. This is what makes for successful children and families! Parents, you can have the family life of your dreams if you heed what God’s Word says about discipline! Proverbs 29:17 says it so perfectly: “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” Discipline gives delight! I think of this all the time when I see exasperated parents – parents who are not enjoying their children. I hear parents say when asked about the possibility of more children, “I can’t handle any more!” This inability to handle more children often comes down to the lack of discipline. I submit to you that it does not have to be that way. 

My husband and I were in total agreement about discipline when our children were born. We spanked them when they were small. Did they cry? Yes. Did we enjoy spanking? No. But we knew it was biblical. I can honestly say that our three children learned to mind us from an early age. They knew that if they disobeyed, they might get a spanking. And here is what is so incredible: we rarely had to spank. We started young and they got the idea that it was in their best interests to behave. They knew they were expected to behave not only at home, but at church, in public places, in other people’s homes, etc. Biblical principles of parenting worked beautifully for us. I do not say that pridefully, but rather want you to know that our happy family life is a testimony to God’s Word! If you talked to any of our children, they would tell you that they are glad they were spanked and disciplined. They are all young parents now, and all intend to parent by the Holy Book. 

In 1 Timothy, we read about the requirements for a bishop. Note this verse: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4-5) To please the Lord, you must manage your household well. You must have your children under submission with dignity. You must not be run over by your children nor be influenced wrongly by the trends of society. You will give honor to the Lord when your children mind you. For them to mind you, they must be disciplined. At times they must be spanked. If you love your children, you will. 

2 thoughts on “If You Love Your Children…”

  1. Beautifully written! This article is truly inspired. There is so much wisdom.
    I pray this article touches many lives and helps parents to understand and implement what God has called them to do regarding discipline. I am a grandmother now, my husband and I used this example for our children. They are grown with kids of their own.
    They are, a wonderful Godly man and woman running after and serving Jesus!!

  2. Johnna, I agree with you 100%! This is a wonderful post that needs to be read by all new parents. Thanks for sharing.

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