I know, I’m bold.
Discipline is a pretty touchy topic with every parent on the planet because, lets face it, no matter what every parent believes his/her method is the best.
I recently got into a pretty heated debate on this topic;
With a perfect stranger, who, I’m sure was well meaning but dead wrong.
This particular person felt that because one of my friends has chosen not to spank her son, she is spoiling him and her son will grow up to be a disrespectful, spoiled individual.
You see, I know A LOT of people who believe that spanking is the ONLY form of punishment acceptable in raising children.
If your child is afraid of the consequences of his/her actions they will respect you, simple, right?
Well, call me crazy, but I don’t want my children to obey me only because they are terrified of me.
I want them to obey me and respect me because they love me, and they know I love them.
I want them to be afraid of disappointing me, because their hearts desire is to make me proud of them.
I don’t want them to be afraid of a bruised bottom.
That being said, I am not against spanking.
Melvin and I spank our kids, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
But spanking is not the only form of punishment that we implement.
Our children are currently 5, 3 and 9 months.
Our 5 and 3 year olds have cleaned their own room, made their own beds, and cleared the table on their own, and helped out around the house in many other ways since they were each about the age of 2.
It’s not because we are crazy dictators who they are terrified of,
It’s because we have expectations and they know if they choose not to meet those expectations they will have consequences.
Our kids get time outs, they get grounded, and for more severe indiscretions they are spanked.
The punishment should fit the crime, and some things I take very seriously, while others are results of the poor judgement of children and need to be addressed, but not as intensely.
Consistent punishment and consequences are the key to children being obedient, the method of that punishment can, however, vary.
“He who spares the rod hates his son; but he who loves him corrects him.” Proverbs 13:24
What does this verse mean? Does it mean that if you don’t spank your child you don’t love them the way God intended? Does it mean that parents who seek alternatives are fools because nothing else works?
I don’t think so…
I think that this verse is about correction and accountability. You cannot let your child run wild and do as they please or you are indeed, an unfit parent. But that doesn’t mean that every child will be spoiled if you don’t use the “rod.” Each child is different, and uniform methods of punishment simply don’t work on everyone.
Many parents apply the uniform solution to their children and discover one of two things.
The first is usually that children rebel, and that rebellion is not always put to rest by physical pain.
The second is usually that by reacting to the inevitable rebellion of our children with frustration and anger is flat out wrong. People misinterpret firm punishment with aggressive and sometimes violent reactions. That is NOT biblical.
Now, we could get into this huge debate on religion and biblical principles. In biblical times if a child acted out rebelliously it was culturally acceptable to stone him/her. It was better to be dead than have a rebellious heart; better to have no child than to have one who rebels against you. Now obviously in the last 2000 years we have adopted very different ways of living, but where does that leave us?
See, I believe the Bible is still very relevant to us today, maybe not every law ever written on its pages (ex. I eat pork ALL the time, and have worn my hair braided *oh snap*). But the principles behind those laws are something that we should still embrace. Keeping ourselves pure and working every single day to posses a character like God’s own, to name a few.
We want to be people God has called us to be.
We want to be people who God is proud of.
We want to raise children who embrace God for all He is.
How do we do that?
How do we show our children the love of Jesus?
Well, I believe it’s so simple and we make it so hard:
We need to do everything we can, everyday to be like Jesus ourselves.
Yes, Jesus believed in consequences and accountability for ones actions and the state of ones heart.
But He also believed in Mercy, Unconditional Love and Forgiveness, extended to those who have done NOTHING to deserve it, but ask for it.
The trap we fall into is reacting to our children’s immature decisions with immature reactions of our own.
I recently had a conversation with someone about them fighting with their mother when they were in their early twenties. Things got heated and she called her mother a B&%$#. Her mother slapped her across the face.
“I deserved it! And if my daughter called me that word I would do the same to her! You don’t disrespect your mother like that!”
Now, I don’t ever agree with cursing, especially at ones parents. I would also never be so prideful to insinuate her mother was a “bad mother,” and from what the woman said it was something that only happened once. But, I will say I don’t think it was a good decision AT ALL and for someone to say that they would do the same to their daughter if she deserved it, condones that mistake, and that breaks my heart.
Reactionary discipline is not biblical, its wrong. We can’t throw temper tantrums of our own when our kids do. We are the examples, we are the adults and the parents, and we are our children’s living, breathing examples of who Jesus is.
When we show them Jesus is an angry, rash being who brutally punishes us, it sends the wrong message. We have to hold our children accountable, of course! But we also have to show the tempered, loving, and gentle side of Jesus who is a friend and a Savior that our children can one day give their hearts to, willingly. Most of what makes it so hard for people to relate to a PERSONAL Savior, is when all they feel towards authority is alienation, anger and hurt. The discipline we give should always be with their good at heart, and with them KNOWING we only have their benefit in mind. We must discipline out of love, never out of anger.
It bothers me so deeply when people are so prideful to think that they know what is best for every persons child. No one knows a kid like their parents, and thats why discipline is up the parents not everyone else. People are so quick to judge, I have done it to; see a misbehaving child and automatically assume that the parents are inadequate. It’s not always the truth. There comes an age, when no matter what you have trained your child to believe; they have to decide for themselves who they will become. It is our jobs to give them something to hold onto in their times of questioning. The correct picture of who Christ really is.
What do you think?
Is spanking the only acceptable form of discipline?
What do you feel is biblical and correct today?
Who do you think a parent is supposed to be for their children?
Blessing 16: Forgiveness
No matter how rebellious or unruly, and insane I have been, God is always waiting, arms wide open.