Biblical discernment is important and very much needed in this area of spanking. Spanking is not a “right” to physically abuse a child. God forbid! Abuse is not what the Scriptures endorse. We must remember that anger is the root of abuse. Love is the root of discipline. The Bible says that a parent who does not chasten his son, hates him. Yes, that’s harsh but it’s truth! God teaches us that He chastens us because He loves us in Hebrews 12:6. In turn, the same applies to earthly parents toward their own children.
~Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Betimes here is defined as “early.” It is while our children are still young that we must discipline. For wee little ones, like toddlers, spankings are needed (to sting their thighs). But save these for major offenses. Their behavior is developed early. But again, spanking is not always necessary. I watch my daughter-in-law with our 18 month old grandson. He understands what “time out” means and she uses it with much success. She is wise and “chasteneth him betimes.” Why? Because she loves her son and does not want a toddler who throws temper tantrums in public. Saving the spankings for serious matters will make an impression in that child.
As the child gets older, spankings are needed less and less. You can use restriction to a room or have them copy Bible verses like the ones below. For example, if you tell your daughter to clean up her room and she does not, have her write out Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 fifty times each. Explain why God wants children to obey their parents. Even parents have to obey – they must obey God (Acts 5:29). While she is doing something that is time-consuming, she is learning Scripture.
In my opinion, some things that do deserve spankings would be outright rebellion (temper tantrums) and lies. Lying is a serious sin – Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead when they lied to God (Acts 5:1-10). Again, relate the act with the Scriptures that tell us that these things are sin. Then explain the virtue which should be displayed rather than the sin. For example, if a child tells a lie, show that child the Scriptures dealing with honesty and the blessings that come with honesty like Proverbs 10:9 and 12:17. These instructions take time but they produce eternal results.
The verses below are not everything the Scriptures give us on discipline but they will teach the parent what God says about this:
~Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
~Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
~Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
~Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
~Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
~Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
~Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
~Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
~Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
~Proverbs 15:20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Proverbs 29:15 shows us what happens when parents are too lazy to discipline a child. They bring shame and it is shame to the mother because the mother is the one who is with the child the most, usually. I’m sorry if this rubs someone the wrong way but what other reason would a parent have for not taking the time to teach their child to do what is right? When parents are not consistent in their discipline, I hear them say it is because the timing “was not convenient.” I dare say that their child’s temper tantrum will not come at a convenient time either.
Children are not a convenience but are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). They are a heritage – the way they act is a direct reflection on the parents.