Many adults were never spanked and others were abused. So we understand how it can be very difficult to know what a “good” or “right” spanking should be like.
Scripture assumes readers to understand what a “good” and “bad” spanking looks like… but that’s not the case anymore. This episode we want to give you some quick guidelines we’ve learned that will prevent you from underdoing it (not really disciplining effectively) or overdoing it (abusing your child).
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE
1) BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT ARE SPANKABLE OFFENSES
What we’re going to share in this section is what WE came up with as misbehavior or disobedience that warranted a spanking in response. We tried to stick to biblical values and principles when deriving this list and also wanted it to be short but vital. The areas we chose were…
- Deliberate disobedience or obstinance
Listen to hear us walk through each of these areas, explain why we chose it as a spankable offense, and a few examples of how these worked out practically while we were raising our children.
In the end, you will develop your own list of spankable offenses, but we encourage you to think and pray it through, seeking to align your heart and mind with the heart and mind of God. You want your convictions about this issue to mirror His as much as possible.
2) MAKE SURE LOVE AND CONCERN ARE AT THE HEART OF YOUR ACTIONS
Motivation is everything. When you consider a spanking as a response to your child’s misbehavior or other actions, ask yourself…
“Why are you spanking in the first place? Is it because you are irritated or put-out personally?”
Then hold off on the spanking until you get your attitude straight.
“Are you spanking because you are upset at the sin of your child and the consequences that sin could bring?”
Then continue. That’s a loving and godly response. Your goal in administering a spanking is to help your child, to guide them, to enable them to move into the realm of self-control so that their urges and spontaneous desires don’t control them. That’s behavior that honors God. And that’s a good motive for physical discipline.
In this section we also discuss why it CAN BE appropriate to discipline in anger and under what circumstances it is not only possible, but preferred.
3) MAKE SURE THE OFFENSE IS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE CHILD
Depending on the age of the child you have to go about this in different ways. The general idea is that if you discipline or spank your child and they are unclear regarding why it’s happening, you’ll push them toward embitterment, not wisdom. You have got to ensure your children understand and, ideally, agree that the spanking is warranted.
*Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not ***provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Our discipline needs to be done with wisdom, helping the child understand the need for the correction itself. If we don’t take the time to do this, we can definitely provoke our children to angry. They will rightfully resent our discipline if it seems arbitrary or without cause. So do the work to explain things so your kids understand.
An example concerning small children…
- A firm “NO” when pointing to the electric outlet will make the offense clear most of the time. If they persist in moving to touch it, swat their hand as they reach toward the outlet.
- A week of this, done lovingly and consistently and the child will develop the wisdom to know that touching the outlet is not worth it. As your child ages, you can explain the harm that can come from playing with the outlet.
An example pertaining to older children…
- Talk BRIEFLY about the offense to lay the groundwork
- Then administer the spanking (more on HOW to do this later in the episode)
- Then talk more extensively about it afterward as you comfort/hold the child (more on that in a moment).
- Speak to the reality of the issue.
- Things like, “You did a bad thing…” aren’t sufficient. Flesh it out on a practical and heart level
- You need to say, “YOU hit your brother… that means YOU were not being loving to Him and God wants YOU to love YOUR brother (see how it’s personal?).”
- Kids don’t always put 2 and 2 together, so we have to make sure they see the REALITY of what they actually did.
- Don’t be afraid of pointing out their wrong in clear terms, God does (remember episode 7)
4) REQUIRE EFFECTIVE APOLOGIES
Don’t allow them to say, “I’m sorry…” with their eyes turned down and a timid voice. Chances are that they really aren’t sorry if that’s the case. Have them look the other person in the eye and say SPECIFICALLY why they are sorry. “I’m sorry that I hit you.” Some feel that this is too humiliating, but it’s actually the completion of the process of repentance -making things right with those who were hurt. It’s also a healthy and appropriate dose of humility – teaching a lesson about admitting your own wrongs.
And a side note: don’t be afraid that your children may feel guilt or shame about things they do wrong. The scripture tell us that sin is a very harmful and heinous thing and that it is appropriate for us to weep, mourn, and even wail over our sins (James 4:9).
Appropriate shame over their sins will help your children develop sensitive hearts that the Lord can direct and shape into the image of Jesus.
5) ADMINISTER A SPANKING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
Don’t let too much time pass between the offense and the spanking, especially with smaller children. Their memories are not all that good yet, so they need to be able to associate the spanking with something that has recently occurred.
And if it’s a situation where you catch them in the act, the “shock value” of a swat or spanking that comes immediately at the time of an offense will help to communicate the seriousness of what they are doing and the importance of obedience over disobedience. They will know you mean business and there’s nothing ambiguous about it.
You won’t become one of those parents who counts to 3, threatens, or draws things out. You’ll be a clear, loving, stable influence on the lives of your children.
6) WHEN POSSIBLE, USE A ROD (in a normal, applied-to-the-seat manner)
When the time for spankings came in our home, we chose to use a “rod” which was the handle of a wooden mixing spoon. It’s not heavy enough to damage the child, but is firm enough to give a healthy sting.
We used a rod because it’s biblical… a tool used exclusively for this type of discipline and nothing else. The presence of the rod sets the tone, the child realizes the seriousness of their offense and our seriousness about curbing their wrong attitude or behavior.
There are occasions where the rod is not available and you’ll have to improvise. Your hand will do in a pinch…
In dangerous situations (a child sticking something in the electrical outlet) don’t take time to go get the rod… swat them then and there.
7) SPANKINGS SHOULD ALWAYS BE CONTROLLED AND CONSISTENT
There is no excuse for a 200 pound man to be swinging uncontrollably at a 65 pound kid! That’s abuse, not a spanking. You need to be in full control of yourself when you spank your child. Let’s not be naïve – you can be hopping mad at your kid for a very legitimate reason when it comes time to spank. So how do you avoid going overboard?
Do you decide “I just won’t spank when I’m angry”? That’s not healthy or right. Your children need to see your anger at their sin (not at them personally) in order to get a full-blown picture of the seriousness of the wrong they have done. Mindi also points out that we don’t take that attitude about other scriptural instruction because it’s hard or we might do it wrong (forgiveness, for example). Why would we do so with spanking?
God says “be angry, but do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). We are to be angry at some things but in our anger, we are not to sin toward others. That means we must be mature enough, walking closely enough to the Lord, that we can feel His righteous indignation about the rebellious or disrespectful behavior of our children, and at the same time not sin against them in the way we spank them.
Biblically, God is our example here. God gets angry at sin (and He let people see it all throughout scripture), so why shouldn’t we?
Practically, we did some tangible things to prevent ourselves from going overboard.
- We set an agreed-upon limit of swats. 3 firm swats – never more, never less.
- We held ourselves to it strictly.
- Our kids knew it would always be 3 swats.
- We held each other accountable to stick to 3 swats.
- This served as a very effective safeguard for us: NONE of us is “above” beating our kid instead of spanking them, so this guideline enabled us to obey the Lord and help our children through spanking, and avoid the temptation to get out of control.
8) MAKE SURE THE SPANKING IS EFFECTIVE (IT HURTS)
It may sound terrible to say this, but hear us out…
What use is physical punishment/discipline if the child has no desire to avoid it next time? Your spanking needs to smart enough to make them think a second time before committing that sin again.
Sometimes a mom with a heart-the-size-of-Texas feels so sorry for her kid and is so sad about having to spank him that she’ll just give him a little “love tap” instead of a real spanking. We understand the sympathy, but what she probably doesn’t understand is that she’s taking it easy on the child for HER OWN SAKE, not for the sake of her child.
As scripture teaches in Proverbs 23:13-14, she’s actually doing damage to her child by teaching him that the consequences for his wrong actions aren’t so bad that he should avoid doing the wrong behavior next time. Withholding a needed spanking is abuse to your child.
In the audio we also talk about what could be the issue when someone says they’ve tried spanking, but it doesn’t work for their child, so be sure you listen.
9) ALWAYS FOLLOW UP WITH COMFORT AND ASSURANCE
The minute the spanking is finished, take the child immediately into your lap or hug them (for smaller children) For older children, sit next to them on the bed with an arm around them, hug them, etc. They need to know that this offense has not permanently separated them from you, or God. They need to know your love in a tangible way that they more easily recognize (even though the spanking is an act of love itself, they may not immediately see it as such).
Hold them close like this as you talk about the issue again. Reassure them of your love and your confidence that with God’s help, they can change the behavior with God’s help.
Don’t downplay what they did – it is not “alright.” They sinned. But they are repenting and can move on with the help of God and you, their loving parent.
If you rush this, it could make your spankings less effective and/or imbittering.
Listen until the end… Mindi shares some insights into why this last step is the often-missed step that causes a good deal of grief and heartache for parents.
I’ve written a similar post to this that goes a bit more in depth on some points. You can find it here: https://careygreen.com/what-does-a-good-spanking-look-like/
Episode Transcript (click to open)
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012: Nine guidelines for loving spankings for the good of your child
How many kids do you have? My wife and I have five and we’ve been parenting for over 30 years. And in that amount of time, we’ve had our share of disciplinary situations to deal with. And some of the most helpful things we learned were nine principles for applying effective and loving spankings in a biblical way. We’re going to share those with you on this episode of God, fearing kids and the parents who raise them.
Welcome back. We’re so glad to be with you again. I’m Mindi
Green and I’m her husband, Carey. And we’re here to talk once again about spankings. We talked in our last episode about the biblical case for spankings. I guess you could call it and we address their also the issue of abuse. So if you’re coming to this episode and haven’t listened to that one, and you were from a home where spanking was used in a wrong way, you should go back and listen to that episode. Before you listen to this one, because you probably won’t be able to hear anything we say in this episode, if you don’t hear first where we’re coming from in that regard. Now today, we’re going to talk about nine guidelines for loving spankings that benefit your child now, right up front, these nine guidelines are things we came up with. As we saw it in our parenting to apply what the Bible says about spanking. They’re generated from wisdom. They’re generated from biblical instruction. They’re generated from all those sorts of things.
Let’s start by talking about reasons why you would spank your child
And the list we’re about to tell you, here are things that we decided on as a family were important to us. We determined these are the things we’re going to spank for and you may decide. Yeah, I want to adopt those. No, I don’t. There’s some of these that are absolutely biblical. So we’re going to make that clear when we get to those. So mind go ahead with our list here.
Yes. And I just also want to say other offenses that our children would do. We chose to not spank them, but to discipline them in different ways. This list that we have is what we chose to spank on. So lying deceit.
Yeah. And one of the reasons that we chose lying in deceit is because we see truthfulness as almost a bad rock foundation of good character. God himself is truth. He is all about truth. He cannot lie. He does not lie. And so we want our children to understand truth is at a premium in our household. And so if you tell a lie, if you’re involved in some sort of deceit, you will receive a spanking. It’s a serious offense.
Yes. Okay. The next one is disrespect and we felt like that was important because that’s one of the commands that God has towards children is to honor and respect your parents, obey your parents. And so if we allow our children to develop an attitude of disrespect in little ways or big ways, we are not serving them well, we are not loving them well to allow them to think it’s okay to be disrespectful.
Yeah. We’re actually allowing them to disobey God in a very blatant, obvious way. Because think about disrespect between a, a child toward a parent it’s eye rolling it’s huffing it’s stomping, their feet, or just back talk and SAS, those things would get an immediate reaction from us that a spanking was in order. All right, the next one is deliberate disobedience or obstinate. Now notice the words we’re using there. Deliberate. They knew the right thing to do and did the opposite where they just chose I’m going to disobey. Or if they were obstinate, like we were trying to instruct them in some way. And they became stubborn and they fought and they argued. And that was not allowed a spanking was in order in a situation like that.
And in that obstinate behavior, the reason why that was so important to us is because that’s being proud. It is so important for us to root out the pride in our children because that’s, what’s going to trip them up the rest of their life. We need to be humbled before God in all things so that we can learn from him. And if we allow our child to live with a proud attitude and obstinate attitude, we are not loving them either.
Yeah, absolutely. And that humility is supposed to extend to the authorities. God has placed over us. We are to be rightly under that authority and our children need to learn that. Now let’s make a little caveat here. If we, as parents are being humble, as we are to be under the Lord’s authority, we’re not going to abuse this. We’re not going to be hard handed in, in demanding of our kids in ways that are going to crush their spirit. But we are going to require appropriate humility and appropriate submission to the authority that we have as their parents.
So the next one is foolishness. And a lot of times that is wrong behavior done by the child without them realizing it. And this is what happens when your child is just starting to crawl, starting to walk those kinds of things. And this is when your first discipline has to start happening. The child starts doing foolish things. They don’t have a wrong motive. Sometimes they start getting that wrong attitude when they’re little, but you still need to give them discipline during this time to drive out that foolishness and to make them a wise little, two year old. Yeah. And it’s amazing how they do become obedient and submissive and humble with appropriate discipline.
Yeah. And I think a great illustration of this is the electrical outlet on the wall. We never put plugs in our outlets because we determined we’re going to teach our children to be wise about the outlets. And so when the two year old starts reaching for the plug, we would say no, in a firm voice. And they learned that word very quickly and they would look at us and if they continue to go into the plug, we would SWAT them real quickly to point out. No. And we would point to the plug and say no, and most of our children would get it. They would get it pretty quickly. But we did have one. I remember who would look at you and then look at the plug and then look at you and look at the, and start to reach for the plug, looking at you the whole time. I mean, they knew <laugh> that they had already been told no, but they want to see how firm you are as a parent. And so that’s where Mindi’s saying it does become abstinent at some points.
Yes. <laugh> definitely.
Those are funny memories to have. So yeah, so that’s not a long list, is it? That’s four things we had on our list that we would always spank for. Now, I might say as well, case by case situation sometimes would bring up a situation where we felt a spanking was necessary. That didn’t real clearly fall into one of these categories. But most of the time it did
A key thing to remember is to make sure love and concern are at the heart of your actions.
Yeah. Motivation is everything. I mean, your motives, why are you spanking? What is it you’re doing here? Are you spanking for their good to guide their heart? Or are you spanking because you’re irritated or because something, the kid did put you out personally and made you feel insecure or hurt. If that’s the case, you need to hold off on that spanking until you get your attitude, right? We can’t discipline when our motives are wrong.
Right? Another thought you need to ask yourself, are you spanking? Because you are upset at the sin of your child and the consequences that sin could bring. If that’s the case, then you would continue and go forward in spanking them. Because that’s a loving response because you don’t want them to develop those bad habits of attitude or action. So you’re going to spank it out of them.
So to speak. Yeah, no, hang on. Hang on a second. Mindi. You said if you’re angry or upset because of the sin, you would go ahead and spank. You mean you can spank in anger.
<laugh> now wait a minute. There’s a lot of people who say, if you’re angry, you’re not qualified to spank because you need to have your anger under control. Right? How do you respond to that?
I would say that is not biblical. I’d say that is not godly. You read the old Testament where God is saying I will discipline in my anger. So if God is perfect and knows perfectly how to discipline us and he is talking about disciplining in his anger, then we need to look to him for our example.
Yeah. And what would you say if someone says, but we’re not God, we trip up in our anger and our anger gets the best of us and we become abusive. Or we say things we shouldn’t say. I mean, so therefore isn’t it better just to hold off when we’re angry and come back to it when we’re not so angry.
So does that mean you don’t forgive because forgiving doesn’t come easily and you’re not God. Um, we just need to obey scripture, whether it’s easy or not, for us. That’s why Christ came to live inside of us to help us obey what God wants us to obey. He tells us to live a holy life. We can’t live a holy life. We need Christ in us to help us do that.
Yeah. That’s very good. So having that day to day vital relationship with the Lord so that the spirit of God is living through us. That’s key here. And we’ve talked about that in previous episodes, go back and listen. Godly. Parenting begins with you. The parent, you’ve got to be walking this out day to day. And then things like this are more doable. They’re more realistic. And we’re going to talk some more here about anger in our discipline in a moment, but well, let’s go on and talk about the third principle here. And that is to make sure that the offense or the disobedience is clearly understood by your child. It’s not going to be helpful at all. If you whip out the rod and spank your kid, but they don’t know why you spanked them. You’ve got to be clear on this. And depending on the age of the child, you’re going to have to go about this in different ways, younger children, like I described with the outlet. It’s more simple. It’s more direct. It’s very clear. You you’re just being simple with an older child. You can discuss it. You can get more into the details, but the general idea is that if you discipline or spank your child, and they’re unclear about why they’re being disciplined, you’re going to push them toward, embitterment not wisdom.
This is a heavy responsibility on the parents. And it goes back to what we said at the very beginning of these podcasts that we need to be having time with the Lord. We need to be in right relationship with him, learning from him so that when we wake up in the morning and we’ve got our two year old, our five year old, our 10 year old that we’re dealing with throughout the day, we want to be spirit led to have the wisdom of how to guide and teach them. I remember when our children would first start crawling, we could use example of the outlet. I’m there on the floor with them playing. And I noticed they look over at the outlet and I’m not going to wait for them to stick something into the outlet. I’m going to prepare them. So I point to the outlet and I tell them no firmly.
And they’ll look at me and I’ll say no again. So I’m preparing them ahead of time, what not to do. And so they already have a little bit of familiarity of what mommy wants regarding that being near the outlet, same kind of thing. When your children are older, maybe they, whenever you go over to grandma’s house, they get into the knacks on grandma’s shelf. And you know that your mom doesn’t really like that. So as you’re driving over there, you prepare your little boy or your little girl, you know, this, something that grandma doesn’t like, I want you to be loving to her and I want you to obey. So I don’t want you to play with the little knacks. If you do, mommy’s going to spank you. That’s an example of how you prepare, same kind of thing with your teenagers. You can do it with teenagers.
And so what you’re saying is that the clarity we provide in the moment of discipline often is much easier. If we’ve preempted the discipline rules, the boundaries clearly ahead of time. So that when the kid does it, they know what they did because it’s already been talked about, right? Some principles here for helping to do this. We recommend that if you’re going to have to spank you talk briefly about the offense, then administer the spanking and then talk more extensively about it afterward as you comfort and hold the child. If it’s needed, it’s not always needed. Like we just said, uh, we’re going to talk more about that in a point of its own here in a moment, also speak to the reality of the issue. Things like you did a bad thing. Aren’t adequate. You need to flesh it out on a practical level and on a heart level. So the kid understands what it is. That’s gone on
Ephesians six, four says, fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Now part about don’t provoke your children to anger. Children get angry. Rightfully so. When they’re held to an a standard they didn’t know about, or when they’re held to a standard that’s too high for them. So the point we’re making here is to be clear about the offense, make sure the child understands and ideally agrees with you that they broke the rule or they disobeyed or whatever the case may be. We also need to help them by being direct about what it is they’ve done. You know, for example, you hit your brother. We’re just very clear. That’s what the offense is. And then we can go on and connect it to the heart. You know, that means you weren’t being loving to him. And God wants you to love your brother. Don’t you love your brother. You know, you’re going to, you’re going to get on that heart level and you’re going to help the child see with clarity, what they did wrong and why it was wrong. That’s vital that it’s not just a, a rule that’s being enforced, but that they understand the rule. And in their heart of hearts, they agree with the rule and we need to do this because kids don’t always put two and two together. And so we’ve got to help them make sure they see the reality of what they actually did and why it was wrong.
This verse is also very helpful for us, for fathers and mothers, to be proactive in how can you train and instruct your children in all areas of life. You need to be mindful and you need to be thinking ahead. I know this is going to be something that could happen today in this situation that we’re going to be in or that my child is going to be in. So talk to them about it ahead of time, because if you don’t, then they will probably have behavior that is going to make you angry. Another important principle is to require effective apologies doing this is also another spiritual power that happens when they confess God will forgive them and cleanse them from all in righteousness. So on a spiritual level things aren’t going to be building up in their life. And that’s very important for you to teach your children to apologize. It’s also going to help them to learn, to have a humble attitude and a humble posture towards the person they’re apologizing to towards God. It, this is huge.
Yeah. And when doing this again, we need to help our children be specific. Don’t allow them just to say, I’m sorry. Chances are, they’re not sorry because they’re not being specific. So you need to help them. I’m sorry that I hit you. I’m sorry. I took your toy. They’re confessing and they’re apologizing at the same time. It’s helpful to have them look the other person in the eye and say it, as they look at the other person you want to connect, the people, help them see the offense was against another person, not just a generic wrong thing they did. Now. Some people feel that doing that is too humiliating. That is shaming the child, but it’s actually the completion of the biblical process of repentance. It’s making things right with the people who you’ve injured. That is what repentance is. And that’s a very personal thing. So it only makes sense. We look them in the eye. We tell them from the heart that we’re sorry.
Right? And I don’t think we should be afraid of feeling shame or our children feeling shame because when we have sinned and we have come to realize that God calls it sin and he has grieved that we’ve sinned naturally, we’re going to feel shame
And we should feel
<laugh>. Yeah, we should. I mean, the Bible says to weep and well and mourn over your sin, that’s part of fearing the Lord kids who fear the Lord will have a healthy shame and a proper shame of their sin. And so you can help your child to start developing that attitude at a very young age.
And that healthy shame can also be called a tender conscience or a sensitive conscience. They are aware of the sin that they do and want to make it right, right away. The next principle for administering spankings is to do it sooner rather than later, don’t let too much time pass between the offense and the spanking, especially with smaller children, their memories, aren’t all that good yet. So they’re going to need to be able to associate the punishment with something that has recently occurred.
Also, something that we found to be very valuable is kind of like, it’s like a shock to the children when we come right around the corner and we give them a SWAT, because we, we see our little kid crawling to the outlet and we go and we SWAT them really fast, just a little SWAT that probably didn’t hurt very much, but it was more of a shock and they realize, oh, I’m not supposed to touch that other things. I’d be walking through the hallway. And I would hear one of my children yelling really angrily at their sibling. And I could tell by what they said, it was just pure selfishness and sinful anger. And I just go in there and give them one SWAT. And then I stay and I talk it through with them, but it’s helpful for the children to develop that sense of accountability and they need to have a healthy pressure there.
Yeah. That fear of the parent translates into a fear of the Lord in time knowing that they are accountable, they are responsible and they know that you mean business. When you come in and you discipline quickly, it’s a far cry from the I’m going to count to five parent. This is getting to the heart of the matter right away, not letting the disobedient string out and get worse and worse. You’re dealing with it quickly.
And a side thought to this is parenting is a full-time responsibility. So we need to be always thinking about we’re encouraging our children daily. We are either instructing them daily or disciplining them daily and that’s going to adjust as your child grows up. But the foundation is always encouraging. You want to be the greatest encouragement to your child. And the other side of encouragement is exhortation, which would be correction or discipline. So as you are learning to fear the Lord, they should be growing up in a happy, joyful home because they’re always being encouraged by their parent and here and there, they’re getting a spanking or they’re getting a strong rebuke, but that’s going to only encourage their spirit more and more and strengthen them to fear the Lord.
Yeah. And what we noticed is as our children did mature in wisdom and in their ability to govern their own behavior with wisdom, the instruction part and the discipline part became less and less because they’re doing it themselves. And isn’t that the goal or wanting to guide them into a place where they are self-disciplined people. All right, let’s go into the next principle when possible in a spanking situation, use a rod. And what we mean, is it a normal applied to the bottom kind of way? Okay, this is not a beating. This is not like you hear of caning in the Eastern country. You know, this is a spanking applied to the seat of the pants. We used the handle of a wooden mixing spoon. That’s what we used for our rod. It’s not heavy enough to damage the child, but it is firm enough to give a healthy St so that they know they’ve been spanked. And we use the rod because it’s biblical. The Bible uses the term rod and we feel like there’s something honoring to God in the fact that we use and implement, he is specifically called out for that purpose.
And when your child sees you get the rod out, they realize, oh, this is serious. There’s a healthy respect. There. There’s a healthy fear that develops. And especially when every time when you spank your child, you help them to see what you are thinking about it, what God is thinking about it. They’re developing healthy fear of authority
And healthy fear of the consequences of their behavior. They’re recognizing it’s, it’s connecting the dots on wisdom, this kind of behavior results in this kind of consequence. And we are manufacturing consequences through a spanking, but in real life, it’s not that way in real life. The consequences come hard and fast and many times much worse than a spanking’s going to be. So we are helping them to craft their sensitivity before they get into those crunch time situations. Now there may be occasions where a rod is simply not available and you got to improvise. It’s fine to use your hand in a pinch, like Mindi mentioned with the outlets, you can SWAT their hand just quickly. You don’t want to take the time to get the rod, especially in a dangerous situation. You want to deal with it right away. I remember one time our son was chasing the ball out toward the street and I yanked him up and swatted him three swats real quick with my hand, because it was important to me. He got the point, the street is not a place you can go. And even though we had told him before, it was the enthusiasm and foolishness of chasing the ball that put him in harm’s way.
Yeah. And, and you gave him the shock of a spanking right then and there that really burned it into his brain. Yeah. So he remembered, you know, next time I’m not going to do that. I’m just thinking that there have been times when I would be grocery shopping with the kids and they would do a spank offense and I would just whisper to them. You know, that was not right. You disobeyed mommy. When we get home, I’m going to spank you because I’m wanting to be sensitive to the foolishness of the world. Knowing that if anybody were to see me spanking my child, they could report me. That’s just the effects of sin in our world. That’s the foolishness of the world. So I’m going to be wise and I’m going to go home and finish out the spanking that was not damaging to my child because I had to delay it a little bit. They already know I’m serious because I’m effective and I’m consistent at home. But that’s just a side note to be on the alert. That’s a sense where the enemy is prowling about <laugh> wanting to destroy.
Yeah, absolutely. The next principle is spanking should always be controlled and consistent. And what we mean by controlled is this. There is absolutely no excuse for a 200 pound man to be swinging uncontrollably at a 65 pound kid. I mean, that’s abuse. That’s not a spanking. You need to be in full control of yourself when you spank a child. That’s what we mean by control, but let’s not be naive either. You can be hopping mad at your kid for a very legitimate reason when it comes time to spank and you want to avoid going overboard, because any of us could fall prey to that kind of anger getting out of control. So what are you going to do? Are you going to decide, well, I just won’t spank when I’m angry. We already talked about that. The Bible is clear that righteous anger is an okay thing. God’s anger is always righteous. Human beings can have righteous anger. And if you’re a godly parent and you see your child doing a foolish thing, there should be a little bit of righteous anger in your heart at least.
And it’s also very beneficial and very effective for us to understand the degree of what God feels about something. Remember Jesus in the temple, when he overturned all of the tables, because he was angry, how they were dishonoring his father’s house. That gives me the impression that honoring the father and honoring his house is a big deal. So I better make sure I do that in my life. Our children need to start understanding those kinds of things that really made daddy mad. I better not do that next time. And then when they become an adult, they realize that really made my heavenly father mad. I better not do that. That is developing the fear of the Lord. So our children sin, our anger needs to happen.
And Ephesians four six says be angry yet, do not sin. So it is possible. And it’s even instructed that there are times when we should be angry, but we are not to sin in that anger. And then when it says further in the verse, do not let the sun go down while you’re still angry. It means deal with that. Anger, talk it out, work it through whatever, whatever you need to do to deal with that anger appropriately so that you discipline your child. Well, that’s what you do again, as Mindi said, God gets angry at sin and we should as well when it’s something that’s going to be harmful to our child. Now the second part of the principle was that spanking should always be done consistently. What do we mean by that? Well, for us, we put, I guess you would call it a boundary in place for ourselves both to be consistent, but also to ensure we didn’t go overboard. And so for us, we set a firm rule between the two of us as parents that we will give three firm swats. When we do an official spanking with the rod, never more, never less. It was always three. And we would hold ourselves to that. Strictly our kids always knew it was going to be three. Each of us knew it was going to be three. We would hold each other accountable for that. And that was part of the boundary that we set around ourselves.
Another thing that’s very important is we need to make sure the actual spanking is effective. That it’s giving a little bit of a pain. It’s giving a little bit of hurt. And as the child gets older, it needs to hurt them appropriately. There actually was a time when our kids were getting older and especially our boys, when I wasn’t strong enough to be able to make it painful. And it was actually comical. Sometimes I would, I would start laughing when I was spanking them. Cuz I’m like, I’m so sorry, Aaron. I know this isn’t hurting and I’m going to have dad spanking when he gets home <laugh> and I’m sure my son hated hearing that. So that’s important. I mean you, as a mom, if you’re realizing you’re spanking is not being effective because you’re actually truly not causing any pain, then you need to talk to your husband and ask if he could do the spanking when he gets home.
Yeah. And let’s be clear here when we say it needs to cause pain it’s because what good is physical punishment. If it’s not giving the child a reason to avoid it, next time it becomes laughable. It becomes comical like you were saying. And the funny thing about that whole scenario is our sons would agree with you. Yeah, it doesn’t hurt <laugh> and that was, they could say that without manipulation in their hearts, you know, saying no mom, it really hurt because you had already trained them. Well, they already had that wisdom growing in their hearts. And so even in a disciplinary context, right. They were able to be honest.
Right. I think I remember one of the first times that happened, I actually asked my son did that hurt and they kind of smirked and said no <laugh> and I, I think probably that first time I said, okay, well, you know, thank you for being honest. And we talked about it and it was done. But then I think the next time that happened is when I had you come in and do the spanking effectively.
Yeah. Yeah. Now another way that this could play itself out is that there are times where a mom or a dad with the heart, the size of Texas feels so sorry for their kid. And they’re sad about having to spank them that they’ll just give them a little love tap. They don’t really put any effort into the spanking and we understand the sympathy. We’re always sympathetic. When we have to spank our kids. We’re sorrowful that it’s come to that. But what you don’t understand when you do that is that you’re really not spanking the kid for your own sake. Not for theirs. Remember what proverb says, he who spares. The rod hates his son. You’re actually doing harm to your son when you don’t spank him appropriately. And so we need to be aware of that. Don’t let your sympathy or your compassionate heart get in the way of rightly disciplining your children.
Yes. And this could be why sometimes people will say I’ve tried spanking, but it just hasn’t worked there’s situations where I’ve noticed it doesn’t work because the parent is being too soft maybe, or it’s not working because, um, you know, we talked about the, the shock value coming in to your child. When they’re in the midst of a disobedience, I’ve noticed this with when young children throw fits, the shock value of a SWA is so effective for that. Our children probably all around age, two, three, maybe four, all tried throwing fits. But the first time they did it, we grabbed them and we were very angry and we swatted them three times and we told them, you do not throw a fit. And then we’d instruct them in how to behave instead of throwing a fit. This is what you should do. Probably with each child, maybe they threw a fit one more time.
And we didn’t have an issue of kids throwing themselves on the floor. But anyways, the shock value is so effective. So you got to make sure you’re not too soft. You got to make sure that you’re also not too methodical. Oh little child, you threw a fit. You go to mommy’s room. I will be there in a moment after I get the rod, I don’t think being calm and methodical is effective with that kind of behavior. If your child is right there and they all of a sudden start screaming at the top of their lungs, because you told them, they can’t have something that deserves a quick, shocking response. So these kinds of examples we’re giving have a lot to do with toddlers. And that stage that is really hard to train, but, but the quick discipline, the shocking value of it is so very effective.
And if you handle it well at that stage, then when you get to the older stages, like upper elementary and middle school and high school, you have much less problems to deal with because they’ve already had their character shaped.
For example, with a teenager that kind of extreme and intense emotion happens with a teenage girl, especially, but they won’t respond that way. If you can train them when they’re younger,
Let’s move on to this next principle. You always want to follow up as spanking, any kind of discipline with comfort and reassurance. This I think is one of the massive keys to the effectiveness of godly discipline. You don’t want that discipline to separate you from the child relationally. You want to draw them close again. You want to take them immediately into your lap. If they’re a smaller child and hug them. If they’re an older child, sit next to them on the bed, put your arm around them. They need to know that the offense has not permanently separated them from you or from God.
And you always want to tell them after every form of discipline, how much you love them, that God loves them. And you want to tell them why from your heart, you discipline them. I mean, you just need to explain it out and you need to hug them again and tell them you love them and encourage them next time. When mommy says you can’t have something, don’t scream at me, let’s talk about it. It’s just all instructive. And it’s surrounded with love. The only thing that they might not feel is loving in the moment is the moment you give them pain, either through the SWAT of the rod or the SWAT of your hand. But that’s just a short moment because beforehand there’s love and afterwards there’s love.
Yeah. And that is the posture that you’re going to be in with that child close to you physically, as you discuss the misbehavior, as you discuss the offense, this doesn’t mean you’re going to downplay what they did. It’s not all right. You know, as your kids trying to make it, you don’t say, oh, it’s all right. No, it wasn’t right. It was all wrong enough that you spanked them. So you don’t want to empty that of its power by saying it’s all right, you want to talk about it, but you want to do it with them close to you and you want to lead them toward repentance about that behavior.
And I’m mindful of another thing that might happen when you have disciplined your child, you might notice that they beat themself up. Um, they’re really bothered. Maybe this is a child who has a tendency to be a perfectionist. Mm they’re really bothered. They did wrong. Or they’re really, really sad. They hurt you or they disobey God. Or you might notice someone, a child who’s really sensitive. And if you’re realizing that what God is wanting you to teach them is what forgiveness does. He’s wanting also for them to learn that they are not condemned because they did wrong. We need to tell our children in those situations that after they apologize, they are forgiven. Mommy, forgives them, daddy forgives them and God forgives them and
We can, and God has cleansed them.
And God has cleansed them. We could read them first, John, one nine. If we confess our sins, God is faithful. And just to forgive us, our sins and cleanse us from all on righteousness. So there’s great opportunity. You need to be aware of where is your child’s heart? Are they getting beaten down by a physical spanking? Well, then you need to have those kind of conversations and say, it’s all done. Mommy spanked you. And this is why, but I forgive you. And it’s all done and I’m happy now. And I love you and God is happy and God loves you. And so you can put on a smile and go play, go have fun.
That’s very helpful. That’s very helpful. I think that just drives a point home. Each child’s going to be a little different and use the parent need to be constantly praying for wisdom, seeking how to deal with each child. Well, to wrap up here, I was thinking it would be good to just quickly go through the night principles and then wrap it up. Number one, be clear on what are your bankable offenses. Number two, make sure love and concern are at the heart of your actions. When it comes to spanking. Number three, make sure the offense or the disobedience is clearly understood by your child. Number four require effective apologies. Number five, implement the spanking sooner rather than later. So quicker is better. Number six when possible use a rod in the normal applied to the seat of the pants kind of way. What am I on here?
Number seven. Now spanking should always be controlled and consistent. Number eight, make sure it’s effective. Meaning it needs to sting a little bit. And then number nine, always follow up with comfort and assurance. Now I realize we just turned on the fire hose and shot all this information at you about these nine things. If you have questions, please email us. There’s a contact form on the website at God, fearing kids.com. There’s also a button there where you can give us your question in your own voice. And we’d love to use that on a future episode.
Thank you so much for listening.
Yeah, let’s pray together, Lord God. We are grateful that you give us wisdom to apply the truth that you give us in the word. And we ask you to enable those who have listened to not be overwhelmed, but to just take one thing at a time, work it out in their own mind with the help of your holy spirit and to begin lovingly and kindly and carefully applying it with their children or give them insight and wisdom about each child, what their personality is like, what their temperament is, how they can best implement the practice of spanking in a way that fits their child. Lord, we ask that you would enable them to be effective with this discipline. So their children will grow in wisdom will lose the foolishness. That’s bound up in their hearts and will save themselves from all kinds of pain in the future. Lord, we ask it in Jesus name. Amen.
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