As recently as 30 years ago, spanking was a normal form of discipline in many households, including Christian ones. Many Christian parents cite the axiom “spare the rod, spoil the child” in defense of spanking, while others disagree with the practice. There are advocates on both sides of the issue, and we hope delineating some differences can help you make the decision for your kids.
Think Before You Act
E.M. Smith, Senior Pastoral Administrator of the Caring for Life ministry, puts it this way. “Children should not be seen as the property of their parents or guardians, but as…human beings…responsible to God…and entrusted to their parents for a time.” When determining discipline methods, you must first remember that your children are on loan from God. He expects you to care for them as best you can.
Use Grace-Filled Discipline
Grace-filled discipline does not mean letting your child off the hook when he or she does something wrong. It means teaching your children to obey out of love, not fear.
What About the Rod?
The Bible does not say, “spare the rod, spoil the child,” nor is spanking explicitly mentioned. Christians are told that, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children…the one who loves is careful to discipline them.” This does not mean hitting your child with a literal rod and does not have to mean spanking. The choice to spank is up to the individual, but reliance on other forms of discipline may lead to a closer relationship with your kids.