Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is Spanking Biblical?

Corporal punishment has been somewhat of a sore-spot in our household. When I became a believer, I was very firm about the need for spanking while raising children. Very. Very. Firm. Jaden, too. In fact, when researching Attachment Parenting just prior to Jericho's birth, I stumbled across the typical AP (Christian and otherwise) stance on spanking (it should never be done) and nearly fell out of my seat. And that was when I determined to never label myself as a big ole wimpy attached mama. I was fully indoctrinated in the common belief that if you don't lay a hand on your child, he will never become an adequate adult. I LOUDLY scoffed whenever I heard 'hippy' parents talk about 'peaceful discipline'.

As Jericho has grown up and started to display *ahem* behavior, I find myself utterly appalled at the idea of hitting him. I have also met more and more Christian families who don't spank and have raised beautiful, respectful children. My stance has gradually shifted from "know your child. Some children need spankings and some don't. If you do spank, NEVER do it while angry" to "I'll never spank". I'll be honest and admit that Jaden isn't on board with this. We have some discussions to have. I have a feeling after reading a bit more on the topic he'll at least understand where the other side is coming from. I have learned a lot about the Biblical meaning behind such verses as:

Proverbs 23:13 "Withhold not the correction from the child; for if you best him with the rod, he shall not die"

In all of the "rod" verses, the Hebrew word translated "child" is "Na'ar" which in the orginal language meant "Shaken off" and was used to describe a pubescent boy or young man. That's just about the age that every pro-spanking community agrees that parents should make use of other methods of discipline.

Also, the word translated "Rod" in these verses was the word "Shebet". Psalm 23 says "Your rod (Shebet) and Your staff; they comfort me". How could a stick used for beating also be used for comfort? A shebet was typically used as a large walking stick, held by the head of the family. It's a symbol of leadership, strength and guidance. The term used for instruments typically used to beat someone was the word "Choter".

This is just the beginning. I found myself thinking more and more about the way the Lord disciples us. What's His demeanor? What are His methods? He is gentle and sweet, like a mother with her nursling. His grace abounds. Though we deserve the "Choter" daily, His approach isn't to scare the poo out of us. He gently draws us in, brings us closer. Perhaps a more Christ-like method of discipline would be to draw in your child to a peaceful place. Maybe a little bit of "mama time" would soothe a frustrated spirit.

Anyway, all that to say, check out this link:

Besides, the goal in discipling our children isn't to repay evil for evil. It's to raise competent and respectful adults who love the Lord. I think it's important (and hard) to look at the big picture when our children are driving us bonkers. If a different, more peaceful method of changing behavior works, then why resort to physical punishment? I'm not perfect (far, far, FAR from it) and obviously neither is Jericho but there has never been a time (as of yet) where I felt like spanking was my only option. I've read books about discipline, asked other peaceful mamas and read numerous posts so that I have an arsenal of tools at my disposal. I will leave with a Verse and a few places where you can go for parenting support.

The Love and Logic series of books by Jim and Charles Fay, has been INDISPENSABLE! This is where I've gotten the bulk of my 'tools'. I am especially loving "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood". It's so logical. And so loving. There ya' go.

How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is next on my "To Read" list. I've heard nothing but awesome about this book.

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson also gave me GREAT tools. A must read.

Playful Parenting by Laurence Cohen is another on my "To Read" list. Again, great reviews.

The Discipline Book by the Sears family is a great one, as well.

Gentle Christian Mothers has great posts and an ever more AMAZING forum for natural Christian parenting. I highly suggest signing up (membership is open this month but is known to close randomly... Keep trying!) and if you have more questions about spanking, feel free to bare your heart out to these amazing, non-judgmental ladies!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18


  1. Yes, spanking is biblical. I am 15 and my parents firmly beleive in the Holy Bible. They spank me for everything I do wrong very hard with a belt or a cane on bare bottom and thighs. And I have to wear shorts year round, so I get a lots of teasing in school from my friends when they see the marks from the belt or cane on my thighs.
    I find this parenting very good, I get better from the spankings.
    I just got the belt 2 hours ago, it hurts a lot now, but I deserved it.
    Florent 14

  2. I really hope this isn't true. This sounds more like abuse than what even the most bible spanking promoting parents practice.

  3. First I just want to say that Playful Parenting is an amazing book. One of the few parenting books I've actually read, and very very helpful.

    As for spanking....I disagree with it fervently. I personally feel that it teaches our children that it's okay to hit someone else when they are mad or someone does something "wrong." I have noticed this with my own daughter. After I popped her a few times about a year ago, I noticed that she then started feeling that it was then okay to hit me as well. And that's when a light came on....hitting a child teaches them that hitting is okay. And imho it is never okay. Just my two dollars.

  4. Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel also a great read for non-punitive parenting

  5. This is my approach according to the Bible,

    see these scriptures below also.

    Note: Spanking is done from a place of love, never anger, never frustration, never shout, never insult a child, EVER, never embarrass them, never from a place of lack of control, but with knowledge, with control, acknowledging God, after only willful disobedience and after a prior given warning with the opportunity for them to correct behavior, it is to be with explanation and teaching, love and reconciliation, hug them when they cry and let them tell you what they did wrong to deserve spanking. Ending it all in praise and affirmation to the child, prayer for them and with them, have them repent and praise them for it, they need to know they are loved fully and reconciled with you and that their correction is not in absence of their intimate relationship of love with you as the parent, but because of it, biblical spanking God's way is filled with love knowing that correction including this form of tough love is to provide a deterrent to sin and rebellion and is for their own good. Anyone that disagrees does not know God's mind concerning training up a child in the way they should go, not the need of the old covenant to proceed the new covenant, God is good. Children are so precious, this generation is being failed and allowed to kill themselves and others in sin and rebellion out of some touchy feely political correctness which allow rebellion and disobedience to be rampant, and we wonder why kids are having kids and killing kids and abusing themselves and others, where are the Godly parents who gave God's touch love to them while they were young, where were the ones unafraid of the worlds carnal status quo?

    Proverbs 13:24 ESV
    Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

    Proverbs 29:15 ESV
    The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

    Proverbs 23:13-14 ESV
    Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

    Ephesians 6:4 ESV
    Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

    Proverbs 22:15 ESV
    Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

    Proverbs 23:13 ESV
    Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.

    Proverbs 22:6 ESV
    Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

    Hebrews 12:3-11 ESV
    Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? ...

    Proverbs 19:18 ESV
    Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

    Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

    Ephesians 6:1 ESV
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

    Colossians 3:21 ESV
    Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

    Helpful Not Helpful
    Proverbs 13:1 ESV
    A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

  6. Another good article to read concerning Godly spanking:


  7. Spanking is biblical and effective. I got many spankings growing up I thank my parents for their consistent correction. Just like the bible says no punishment is without pain at the moment and trust me those spankings were firm and hard but they yielded the good results.

  8. I appreciate your logic and your support of using alternative methods to spanking if possible. I do believe you make a strong argument for not spanking. I'm not saying not to spank, but to consider other options for bringing about desirable behavior. "Discipline" derives from the Latin word "disciplina" which means "training" or "instruction." Sometimes a quiet discussion may be sufficient.