Spare the Rod, Bless the Child

Spanking does not work in raising children. In my opinion, it should be eliminated as a strategy for controlling misbehavior in children.

Why? Because I believe spanking destroys trust and is a quick fix that doesn’t solve the problem, teaches kids to be sneaky, shames the child, and is an insult to the intelligence of humanity.

But what about “spare the rod, spoil the child,” you ask?

I’m not advocating letting kids run wild with no discipline. I just believe there are far too many choices available for any parent to feel the need to spank their child.

Not all adults who were spanked as children end up struggling to cope as adults, but many of them do. And many of them missed valuable life lessons they could have learned without the quick fix of a smack on the behind.

Most parents mean well when they spank their child for misbehaving, but the child rarely gets the message the parent intends to give.

The whole “I’m doing this because I love you” just confuses the child. You don’t hit someone you love. The earlier we teach that to children, the better.

A parent’s anger at a child’s misbehavior is a ticking time bomb from the moment the parent lifts their hand to strike the child.

What lesson did he learn?

That you’re bigger. That you aren’t to be trusted. That she needs to hide better next time so she doesn’t get caught.

It’s shocking to see how many educated Christians fall into the trap of doing what their parents did because it’s what they know. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.

I can attest that plenty of kids who are being raised in a spank-free home are not spoiled in the least. In fact, kids who are spanked are more at risk. Acccording to University of Michigan School of Social Work researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, the more kids are spanked, the more likely they are to engage in delinquent or at risk behaviors.

Here are a few tactics parents can employ to discipline their children without resorting to spanking:

  • Time-out
  • Loss of privileges
  • Natural consequences
  • Prevention through quality time, and intentional parenting

Think about it: It’s against the law to hit animals, prisoners, and other adults. Why is it okay to hit kids?

So many parents think it’s their right to spank. To me, it’s something from the dark ages that should have been extinct long ago.

Just like the Ten Commadments exhort us to honor our father and mother, we should also honor our children by disciplining them with as much love and respect as possible.

As Orthodox Christian parents, we can serve our children better by exercising restraint when we’re tempted to strike our child.

We can take a breather (time out works for adults too), remove ourselves from the situation if necessary, and remember the golden rule:

Matthew 7:12: Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

If you wouldn’t hit your neighbor, don’t hit your child.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network.  You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.

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Christina Pessemier is a writer, blogger, and mom of two.…
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