Today I am in prayer for more than one friend who is doing battle in some arena in our permissive society for the children. There are many children who are literally suffering due to a lack of parental discipline. This problem is exacerbated by “professionals” in fields of social work and psychology who are touting “new” methods of dealing with behavioral issues that involve taking the authority from the adults and “talking out” the offenses and any consequences with the offenders…basically letting the rule-breakers and their peers set the standards of behavior.
Respect for God’s authority is not nurtured in an environment in which there is no respect for parental authority. This snippet is taken from a lesson about Mrs. Phinehas from I Samuel three and four from the new book Women of Scandal. The target date for the book’s release is late March. Many thanks to Publishing Designs (www.publishingdesigns.com) for the excellent and tireless work they are doing at the moment to publish this and so many other books for the family of God.
Now, about that Spanking…
He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly (Proverbs 13:24).
Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction (Proverbs 19:18).
(Under the law of Moses, consistently rebellious children were to be put to death, so in this proverb we see that parents were not to give up hope for rebellious children too soon; they were to hope and trust in the effectiveness of corporal punishment; i.e.. spanking.)
I suggest that spanking is one appropriate and very Biblical method of discipline. While I am sure it is not the only good method and that positive reinforcement for good behavior rather than punishment for wrong doing is smart and effective under certain conditions, I still believe that spanking, administered lovingly and in measured doses, is, hands-down, the simplest and most effective form of punishment. May I offer, from the realm of judgment, some do’s and don’ts of effective punishment?
1. Be consistent. Whatever was wrong yesterday needs to still be wrong today (no matter if you are stressed or experiencing PMS today). Whatever exacts a spanking at any particular time needs to always exact a spanking.
2. Spank for outright disobedience or verbal disrespect every time. Be sure you understand completely that there was intentional disobedience or disrespect. Once you determine that, a spanking is in order.
3. Practice discipline. You are probably thinking, “What does she mean? Isn’t that the whole topic of this part of the lesson?” By “practice” I mean practice like a drill or a repetitive exercise. When you give your young child a command—say… to stop playing with the kitty and climb in the high chair for lunch—and the child continues to play with the kitty, you may, in the hurry of events, want to give the toddler a swat on the bottom and pick her up and put her in the chair yourself. That’s not a terrible choice, but a more effective choice is to give that child a swat, and then say, “Now let’s try again. You play with the kitty.” She complies and then you give the command again. Command-swat-repeat…until you get the desired result. This is both laborious and loving. I once did it for forty-five minutes with a strong-willed 13 month-old. Let me just say that it was both excruciating and rewarding.
4. Be sure that you, as parent, always win in any war of the wills. When you begin this very effective battle of the wills on any occasion, you have the potential to make great progress in the long-term molding of your child’s view of authority. If you surrender in the middle of the battle and let the child have his way, you are eroding, rather than building respect for authority.
(Catch the next Bless Your Heart for the “don’ts”.)