In the course of training our children, there will inevitably come times of discipline.  I want to emphasize that corporal punishment or any such harsh measure is only appropriate with younger children who don’t yet have the moral reasoning abilities needed to drive home important moral lessons.  And even when our children were very young, my wife and I only used such punishment for the very worst infractions, such as a thoughtless, dangerous act that put their life, safety, or security in jeopardy, or an egregious breech of the moral rules for kind and respectful treatment of  siblings and others, such as hitting someone or a thoughtlessly cruel joke or other act.   Furthermore, we abandoned corporal punishment as soon as we saw signs that they were mature enough for other corrective measures to work. 

I truly believe in a parent's right to employ corporal punishment or spanking for discipline or corrective training, but such force should always be used sparingly, calmly, with very limited, precise measures, using only the minimal force to get the child's attention, inflicting the minimal amount of pain to enforce the moral lesson.  I also believe it should be done in the spirit of love, knowing that you are only using this measure because nothing else will work, nothing else will be as effective in driving home the lesson due to their immaturity. The most important principle in this situation is correction toward the right moral principles, the right behavior that you expect of the child in the future.  You should always explain why you are giving them the punishment, what moral principle was breached, and you should end the act with an expression of reassurance and love, showing the child that you still love them even though you did not like their behavior. 

Spanking should never be done in anger because that leads to abuse when we are not in our right minds.  And we should certainly never derive any pleasure or satisfaction in the spanking.  If your heart and spirit are right, if you are walking with God in the center of His will, living by His principles of love, then you will be emotionally wounded as well by having to carry out this act of punishment.  Loving your child, as you should, you should find the necessity of inflicting pain on your child distasteful.   You should hate the necessity of spanking but desire above all that the child should be trained in right moral principles as found in Scripture.  Of course, we are well beyond the days of disciplinary training with my children, needing only corrective counseling in certain circumstances.  Our moral training of our children has taken hold, and they desire to do the right moral thing now as much as we desire it of them. 

But like all people, including me, our children have their bad days in which things aren’t going so well for them or they are moody, and like all people, they sometimes make mistakes in how they treat each other, but they are growing and learning and, for the most part, they are becoming wonderful, intelligent people of character, with kindness, love, and respect for each other as well as all people, possessing great critical thinking skills, and displaying much wisdom and theological knowledge in word and action.  But this did not come about by accident.  My wife and I have invested many thousands of hours into our children during homeschooling, family outings, time doing chores, time driving to activities, time over meals, etc.  We’ve had so many countless conversations with our children, using the time to further develop our relationships with them, to listen to them, to help bear their burdens, to teach them, to mentor and counsel them, and just to enjoy their company.  We have been teaching them diligently (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) all this time in the correct path to walk, and our job will continue until they are on their own, building their own homes and families. 

Moreover, as my children have been growing up, my wife and I have been steadily growing as well.  I think perhaps this is the reason that many people think of the teen years as difficult or bad years.  I think it might be because the parents don’t grow along with the children.  When you stay stagnant as a person and a parent, it is likely that you will unnecessarily lean on a small set of parenting skills without changing, and thus you will end up using these skills on your children long after they are appropriate.  From my experience, I’ve seen many parents using control measures over their children that were appropriate for the younger years but which cause unnecessary conflict as the child grows older.  Such control measures, when not loosened up gradually as they grow and show more responsibility, give the child the impression that you do not respect them, that you do not honor their unique personality, character, and talents, and that you do not love them so much as you view them as a possession to control and manipulate.  Of course, these things are probably not true, but when your actions give such an impression, then the child cannot be blamed for coming to such a conclusion or interpretation of your actions.  Words are cheap.  Actions come at more cost to you and are more valuable.

I pray that you will be filled with wisdom, patience, and gentle love for your children, remembering the great responsibility that you have to God for their proper upbringing, and that you will remember always that your children belong to God, not to you.  If you do not have children but have young relatives or friends in your life that you can influence and serve for God, I pray that you will be led by God in wisdom and love in impacting that child for the better, perhaps encouraging and loving him or her in situations where there are no other adults in their life doing so. 




02/23/2017 11:40pm

Parenting is a huge responsibility in the life .Every parent wants their child to be nice person in the life . Your article touches every aspect in the relationship of parent and child. May God bless all of us with love and care.

04/17/2017 7:51pm

My parents would punish me from the bad things that I have done as a child by spanking me or not letting me play with my friends and as I grow older there are times when they shout at me. This made me feel so little and I eventually end up crying so they will have to hug me to make me stop. It stopped during my preteen years they no longer shout at me, instead they talk to me in order to see that what I did is wrong and I should not do it ever again. I think they have also grown as a parent along with me and that they realized that giving punishment is unnecessary. I am able to appreciate my parents more when they started talking to me so patience and growth is needed in order to understand and appreciate each other.


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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