To Spank or not to Spank

Does punishment work as a form of discipline in today’s world…did it ever?

According to a study published by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, 90% of parents have spanked their children at some point, but 85% of them would rather not have. The study found that most parents operate in a kind of “grey zone” when it comes to physical discipline…not totally for it, nor totally against it. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is not so ambivalent and discourages all forms of corporal punishment.

Everyone agrees that discipline is a critical element in child rearing as parents teach kids to respect rules and limits while taking responsibility for their actions…facing consequences, as appropriate. The AAP reminds parents, however, that discipline does not necessarily mean punishment. As alternatives, parents are encouraged to try positive reinforcement, to enforce “time-outs”, to have kids pay for or work to replace broken or lost items, or to take away privileges. Over time, parents learn which of the disciplinary remedies works best with their children.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that our kids are also Children of God and should be treated that way…with God’s love. When frustration and anger are allowed to become the motivations for disciplinary action, it is more likely that punishment will result. If we establish our relationships with children on a Child of God basis, we will be more likely to set limits and expectations…and hold kids accountable for them…with a loving, nurturing intention that results in an effective approach to discipline, when it’s needed.

Discipline is love in disguise…not a spanking in anger.


9 Responses to To Spank or not to Spank

  1. John M says:

    Should we warrant spanking as a valid punishment anymore? Behavioral studies have uncovered methods that can be just as effective that don’t involve hitting. Finding another way to discipline a child would be good for the parent and the child.

    I really like thinking of discipline as more than just punishment. There are many negative connections with the word discipline that have changed how we see discipline today.

  2. D.S. Lear says:

    Pro 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
    Pro 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
    Pro 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
    Pro 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
    And other verses are used by those who would advocate spanking as Godly…
    The rod was a symbol of God’s power and His power was in His Word. That rod was placed in the Ark of the Covenant under the Mercy Seat…the rod is a word meaning a branch off of…all the punishment physical was placed on the back of Christ, and yet we are quick to pick up a stick and most reluctant to teach our children the Word. I wonder how many “Christian” parents have the right “rod” and apply it correctly. Every time a trespass is committed we as parents should discipline with the Word and Heal with the Word..this works for children of all ages, being a child is not measured in numbers but in maturity…we wouldn’t be so quick to pick up a stick against one our own size or better….did we think we could beat our own image out of the child? Or should we seek more often to show His image.
    A long time ago we learned to respect those with authority…now the boundaries are not so clear as to whose in charge…Father forgive us…as Jeremiah said
    Jer 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

  3. William B. says:

    God’s Word clearly permits it.

    I do not know why any Christian would accept the studies and opinions of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo or of the American Academy of Pediatrics as authorities higher than God’s Word.

  4. John M says:

    I don’t think anyone is saying that these studies take precedence over the Bible.
    Children don’t like to be spanked and there are alternatives, that is all.

  5. Robb F. says:

    Hmm? God’s Word clearly permits it? Not so sure on that…

  6. rebekah riley says:

    i would like to email a sda email address is rileyrebekah @ bellsouth dot net i would like to discuss the subject about child abuse. i don’t know how to contact an sda pastor in chattanooga collegedale, tn. but if you can help me. i would sincerely appreciate you time and help.

  7. Evelyn says:

    I agree with John M., I think using the many alternatives to discipline is the best choice. However, I believe there are times when a light smack on the bottom or hand is an acceptable form of discipline as well. I say that carefully…a defenseless child NEVER deserves a severe spanking/beating at the hands of one that is much bigger than him. That would do nothing other than produce fear and potential confusion, mistrust and anger toward the parent. Ephesians 6:4 says do not provoke your child to anger…I don’t believe God ever intends for us to hurt them in any way.

  8. Richard says:

    I was spanked as a child. I didn’t suffer from it (at the momment maybe). Children don’t always see the importance of listening to parents and spanking can create that importance. Example:You tell your child to not go on the street. If they do not listen, you spank them now they have some phycical discomfort from keeping them off the street. It is no longer do I listen to mom but it has now become do I want the pain. That seems less harsh than having them hit by a car.

  9. Alesa says:

    All Praises To GOD- Life is Too Short,Grudges are a waste of Perfect Happiness,Laugh when you can,Apolagize when you Should,And let go of what you Can’t Change,Love Deeply and Forgive Quickly,take chances,Give Everything and have NO Regrets,Life is Too Short To Be Unhappy,you have to take the Good With The Bad,Smile When Your Sad,Love what you got and always Forgive but Never Forget,Learn from your mistakes but never regret people Change,and Things go Wrong,But always remember LIFE GOES ON.All Things Are Possible–Luke 18:27) Amen.

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