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Make Spanking Great Again


There is a topic that I have been meaning to address lately and it is one that will no doubt conflict with the ways of the world. When it comes to spanking your children, the world, by and large, views this practice as brutal and unnecessary. But my concern as a pastor is that young parents in the church are beginning to agree with this notion as well. This concern rises from my own personal observation of the way children are permitted to behave in the church. For the love of the parents and the children, I write this blog.

Spanking is not mean.

God’s Word regarding spanking is that disciplining children by inflicting pain with a rod does not harm them, it saves them.

     Do not withhold discipline from a child;
          if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
     If you strike him with the rod,
          you will save his soul from Sheol. (Prov 23:13-14)

I think it goes without saying, but I will say it just in case: The motivation for spanking is not out of emotion. It is out of reason. The reason we spank is for our children to be wise. Wisdom is crowned with long life (Prov. 16:31). Folly leads to an early grave (Eccles 7:17).

Some believe that spanking should be a last resort because they believe it to be a mean activity. The result is that spankings that do happen are so infrequent and gentle, they function more like a strange ritual than a simple spanking. But the truth is that withholding this form of discipline is not a kindness to your child, it is an act of hatred (Prov 13:24). Therefore, spanking is done out of love, not out of unkindness.

Spanking has a function.

God’s Word explains that the purpose of this form of discipline is that it is effective for extracting the folly that comes natural to children.

     Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
          but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. (Prov 22:15)

Folly is just a word that describes the actions of a fool. Fools hate authority and instruction because fools make their own rules. This is the nature of your precious child. You may not like it, but it’s in there. The only way to get it out is with pain. If your child is acting foolish, it’s time to bring the pain. The more foolish the child, the more frequent the pain.

Folly takes two forms: sinful behavior (immoral actions) and insubordination. When a child clearly violates what he or she knows to be right or they act in defiance of their parents or other leaders, it’s time for a spanking. Typically, the number of swats is related to the degree of the offense. This is calculated with thoughtful (not emotional) consideration of the parent. The goal is that the folly presented is answered with the appropriate pain level. Pain is the necessary component, so be sure that no matter how many swats are rendered, pain is rendered with each stroke. If they’re not crying from the pain, they’re not in pain.

Insubordination comes in three forms:

  • Disobedience: If you know your child heard you and they ignored you.
  • Sass: When your child retorts verbally or nonverbally with disdain for your instruction. This takes the form of talking back, rolling eyes, slamming doors, throwing a tantrum, etc.
  • Whining: When your child pouts, cries or moans when given instruction.

Spanking leads to wisdom

God’s Word claims that the use of the rod is for giving Wisdom.

    The rod and reproof give wisdom,
         but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. (Prov 29:15)

Reasoning with a child who is during their folly is a useless endeavor (Prov 17:12). When I see a child throwing a tantrum and their well-meaning parent take them aside and start instructing them, I feel like I’m watching someone leave their gas can on the side of the road and push their car to the gas station.

Spank first, explain later.

The correction you are imparting to your children is the vital wisdom they need, but that correction is falling on deaf ears until the pain of a proper spanking has opened them up.

That’s the reason we’re spanking. It isn’t out of anger. It’s out of love. It is not simply to inflict pain. It is inflicting pain for that pain to have its effect. It softens the pride so that instruction can be heard.

So, let’s make spanking great again! You’ll be glad you did; God’s Word says so.