Spanking as Creative Correction
God tells us that parents can and should use spanking as a way of reinforcing moral lessons.
BY: Lisa Whelchel
Whether spanking works or is the best approach depends not only on the child and the circumstances, but also on his or her age. When my kids were little, for example, I sometimes felt it was more effective to administer a spanking than to try to reason with them. I can remember giving four-year-old Tucker an impassioned and encouraging talk on the need for self-control. It was designed to bring about a great change of heart in my son and had been a deep and meaningful conversation...or so I thought.
The moment I finished talking, my son piped up. "Mom," Tucker began, "only one word makes sense out of everything you just said."
"Oh, which one was that?" I asked, curious.
He furrowed his brow. "I forgot."
A spanking might have been kinder than my long-winded lecture, and definitely more memorable!
Thankfully, as my kids have matured, my "talks" and other modes of correction have had some impact. But in their early years, discipline was certainly a challenge. For example, when my children were toddlers and constantly getting into things, it seemed my only alternatives for discipline--other than spanking--were distracting or confining them. And I didn't like either of those choices. Diverting their attention from something off-limits was a superficial cure. It only postponed the need to teach them that we can't always have everything we want. Besides, it kept me hopping! Yet the other alternative--keeping them confined to their playpen for half the day--seemed even more cruel than a slap on the back of their hands.
So I chose to spank. And for many years it worked, even on Tucker. Using corporal punishment while my children were young actually afforded our whole family more freedom in the long run, because it established boundaries and reminded the kiddos who was in charge--freeing me up to try other, more creative corrections as they matured.
What Does the Bible Say About It?
God's Word frequently addresses the subject of raising children. Corporal punishment is no exception. For example, Proverbs 13:24 reads, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." I wholeheartedly agree, and I'm sure you do, too--if we love our kids, we should correct them.
I believe children also understand this (though they may not admit to it!). Somehow, they intuitively know spankings are good for them, and that they receive them not only because they deserve it, but also because their parents love them. Let me see if I can convince you.
One evening, when Haven was only two and a half years old, Steve and I left the kids with a baby-sitter. Our instructions were clear: The girls went to bed at 7:00, Tucker at 8:00. When we arrived home at 8:30, the children were in bed, but even from the family room, we could tell that Haven wasn't asleep. There was screaming coming from her bedroom. She was in the midst of a full-blown temper tantrum, and the baby-sitter, Shawna, said she'd been acting that way all evening.
When I went to talk with Haven, I expected to be met with more screaming and crying. But instead she said, "'Pank me."
"Did Miss Shawna spank you?" I queried, confused.
"No. 'Pank me," she urged once again....
"Do you want Mommy to spank you?" I asked, my jaw dropping in astonishment.
"Yes!" said Haven, and she jumped out of bed for her correction. Afterward, she locked her arms around me in a bear hug.
As this story reveals, correctioncan
reach the heart of a child. And it should! Corporal punishment is most effective when our kids know what God says about discipline. It helps them to understand why they are being punished.