Against Spanking/Smacking

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

I've read up on discipline a lot since having my son Isaac (now 17 months). Read some christian and non christian material, and have studied the common verses in the bible that refer to discipline (i.e the ones from the book of proverbs). So far my mind is made up against spanking. I'm wondering if I'm the only one that has looked into this issue from a christian point of view and still been able to feel like spanking is not the right thing to do?

I have a lot of thoughts on this subject that lead me to say I'm against it, but might not have time to put them up, but still want to put the thought out there and see what others say.

Just a quick thought to get started, I've read some post on here about spanking and how people think its okay to spank and that's fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but i don't get the logic behind spanking your child and then telling them "I love you very much." I don't get how you could smack someone out of love. I remember getting smacked by my own parents who would then say that they are doing this "because we love you". I always remember feeling like "if you love me, why are you hitting me?" It never made sense to me back then and still doesn't now.


Josslyn - posted on 05/12/2010




For me it's everything Heather said, I also did research on the subject, posted the same topic but to a different site and what a reaction I got!! I was criticized and almost crucified bringing religious means to child discipline. I feel time out sends the signal to your child that its ok to do it again, I'm just going to be sent to my room anyway.

Quick and to the point, they will learn that doing wrong ends in a burning bum.

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Heather - posted on 05/12/2010




The point in spanking actually comes from Deuteronomy. It says to teach our children diligently (Deut 6:7). Ephesians 6 tells us that we are not to exasperate (or provoke) our children, but to bring them up in discipline and instruction of the Lord. Putting children in time out, or sending them to their room provokes them. They don't really sit there and think about what they did wrong, they think about how unhappy they are with us. How horrible and unloving we are. Spanking is a quick and efficient method to discipline without provoking them (if done correctly). I do not believe that spanking by itself is okay. I believe that spanking is never for a first time offense, but only after you have covered with your child that what they did was wrong, what the Bible says about it, and what should have been done instead. After you have correctly coached your child, then allowing them to continue in disobedience and sin is not loving at all.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

Lindsay - posted on 05/13/2010




I just have one question. Do you all think Jesus was spanked? There is nothing in the bible about Jesus being spanked. Just a thought.

Vicki - posted on 05/13/2010




Amen to this Mia, in love, I agree whole-heartedly.

Mia's quote:
"I liked and believe what Diane Sapiro wrote in another post so much that i want to bring it into this post too. Please understand that just as easily as i could be accused of "cherry picking" the bible to support my stand against spanking, so could people be accused of doing the same thing in regards to supporting their argument FOR spanking, as most dont seem to agree with using a "rod" for spanking as the bible instructs."

Throughout the Bible we find words that are confusing, ambiguous, mysterious, or out-dated. In each case we can search for a substitute which will aid us in applying God's wisdom to our daily lives today. Couldn't this be a case where the word "rod" is more true and applicable to our daily lives if we substitute the word "discipline"?

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Rita - posted on 05/13/2010




Mia, there's an old adage (biblical as well) that says, "When I was a child, I thought, spoke, and acted as a child. When I became a man (an adult), I put aside my child like ways. It appears that you haven't reached the point of 'putting aside your child like ways'. As a child, I too, did not understand how my mother could beat me then say she's doing so because she loves me. However, when I became an adult (a successful, thriving adult), it was extremely clear to me then that my mother [did] love me & is why she took the actions she took. I am in no way, shape, or form to tell you how you should raise (discipline) your child, but I think as your 17-month-old continues to develop (perhaps) your views may change. I have a 2-year-old son (and when he was a newborn I said the same thing about 'not spanking him'). However, [reality] has set in and there have been several times (since he's entered the toddler world of 2) that he has received a lash on his behind. My husband & I use a small rolled up news paper [I know it doesn't hurt, but the goal is to deter & cease the unwanted behavior] & trust me he wails out as if he'd been beaten severely and the behavior changes. I believe in what the bible says, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." The word of the Lord cannot lie nor will it ever lead you in the wrong direction. I don't want to raise a defiant child or a child that does not respect me or authority (his elders). Respect, I will have and nothing less. Good luck in the way you decide to raise your child; I just wonder about those parents on Maury (out-of-control teens cursing their parents out & hitting them). I wonder if it were also their belief [not to spank their child]. Ask yourself a positive question about your parents spanking you; how did you turn out as an adult as a result of being spank by your parents?

I was spanked by both my parents; and my aunts also had their share in spanking me too & I thank them all for loving me enough and caring for me enough to guide me & teach me when I was behaving badly.

Motherly love ^_^

[deleted account]

I liked and believe what Diane Sapiro wrote in another post so much that i want to bring it into this post too. Please understand that just as easily as i could be accused of "cherry picking" the bible to support my stand against spanking, so could people be accused of doing the same thing in regards to supporting their argument FOR spanking, as most dont seem to agree with using a "rod" for spanking as the bible instructs.

Anyway, back to Diane's post which illustrates my point...

"We should always look to scripture for answers and I did that (for this issue) when my children were young. I could see support ( only six verses in Proverbs) for spanking in the Old Testament and none in the New Testament. If we held to everything in the OT and did what they did back then, we would be stoning prostitutes, killing homosexuals and doing bloody sacrifices. Does Christ expect us to do that today? Whether Mosaic Law, Ten Commandments, or Sermon on the Mount, none are the Christians rule for living, "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death." We are not held to those laws. If the Lord did accomplish what he came to accomplish, then the law was fulfilled, and it is not a binding legal way today. We should look then to what Christ said and he did not say to physically hit, smack, spank, bop, whatever term you want to use to touch a child to make them hurt so that they will behave.

For the life of me I can not picture Christ spanking, hitting, slapping a child for any reason. He never physically touched anyone while on earth in a hostile manner.

About the rod….it could be a metaphor or a reference to concrete objects. I think some people when they see the term think God calls them to use an object instead of thinking it might mean authority. Again would Christ take an object and hit a child?

About terms....smacking hence spanking?

Both do the same thing don’t they, what’s the difference? Does one sound worse?
Who says spanking has to be on the bottom? Could someone spank someone on the face, arm, head?
And how hard is acceptable? Couldn’t hard mean something different to different people? And what object is acceptable? And how old is to old to spank? Could rage cause a parent to discipline to hard?
What separates abuse….from spanking for some people? And what things do you spank a child over? I know of a friend who spanked every time her child gave her a sour look. She went around the entire day spanking her kids. By the end of the day because she was so consistent she was exhausted.

I always could get control without hitting, spanking, smacking. When mine acted up I held them and used my voice to get my point across. I don’t know maybe I was just lucky.

We don't always know God's interpretation on some issues. We need to search, examine, hope and pray for the spirit to lead us. I searched the scriptures and weighed the evidence and did the best I could."

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010




Parenthood involves a process of "making disciples" of your own children. Parents teach obedience not just to bring children under parental authority but in order to bring them to salvation and spiritual discipleship (Heb 12:11).

Willful defiance is a deliberate act of disobedience in which the child knows what his parents expect then does the opposite (Prov 29:1). Guidelines are given for administering the "rod" of discipline, which, as a symbol of the parent's loving care and concern, should be administered only in love. The rod emphasizes the responsibility of the individual for his own attitudes, actions, and reactions (Ezek 18:20, Rom 3:23; 14:12).

Personally I believe the entire Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God. It ALL pertains to us even today. Saying that a certain part of the Bible does not fit for instruction for today is "cherry picking". Basically, picking which parts of the Bible are relevant in this day and age and not believing in the entire word of God. The entire Bible is as relevant for us today. "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine. for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16

Personally, I spank my kids but only when needed. My oldest is 13 and has probably only been spanked 2 or 3 times in her life. My 7 year old, on the other hand, is a bit more defiant and obstinant so she has required a bit more, not much, but a bit. I have seen too many unruly kids that are out there today and 99% of them have never had the "rod" of disciple applied. I had one Bible College teacher put it this way, "We must apply the 'board' (hand) of education to the seat (rear end) of understanding." to properly raise our children in the way they should go according to Bible standards.

Apologies if I sound abrupt, too direct or argumentative, this is yet another of those issues I have very strong beliefs about, and I am truly trying to share my opinion in love! :)

[deleted account]

p.s kids are unruly these days because we don't effectively parent them. spanking is not necessarily parenting them effectively at all. And there is a difference between Discipline and Punishment. To me i see spanking more as a form of Punishment. The actual act of spanking does not teach the child anything, its what you say to them and how you show them what is the right and wrong thing to do that actually Disciplines them.

I want to challenge mothers to think about what Discipline really is and how it differs from Punishment and where spanking fits in with all of that.

[deleted account]

i think in this day and age we have enough encouragement and literature and support and information (what ever you want to call it) to be able to discipline our kids without having to resort to spanking. there are so many other ways to do it, and just like we no longer need to go to the extent of stoning someone for their sin, we don't need to resort to violence to discipline.

also just a note that as my son has grown up and im learning how best to discipline, i have noticed that even when i did spank him at the start it was just as effective and sometimes as ineffective as all the other forms of discipline i tried with him, i.e time out, distraction, verbally warnings, physically removing from situation my conclusion is that why resort to it?

i think with discipline consistency and follow through is the key and this can be achieved with time outs, loss of privileges, just as it can be achieved through spanking. spanking is just a means to an end and i don't see why we should resort to it. does God resort to hurting us to get us to do what we want? I see that Jesus came into this world and has taught us to turn the other check instead of resort to an eye for an eye solution. why do we think we should not treat our kids with the same love and respect that Jesus showed the adulterous woman, where he chose not to stone her even though she deserved to be "disciplined" in that way.

i want to encourage moms to try harder to follow through with other effective forms of discipline without having to resort to spanking. does anyone actually feel right inside when you spank your child? doesn't it seem to go against the loving nature of a mother, esp when you know you could reprimand your child with out spanking them. i dunno, to me it just felt wrong whenever i've done it.

Rebecca - posted on 05/12/2010




I with most of you ladies. Spanking is a good tool to be used. I am a mother of 5 children. I do not spank over everything. We also use time outs, but if a child is going to be stubborn and not obey then they will get the harsher punishment. This is understood in my home. I do not "beat" them. I always explain to my kids why what they did was wrong. We explain what God wants from them and from us. They know we aren't spanking to harm but to punish for their bad choices. In this day and age so many children lack discipline. Kids are unruley because parents aren't parenting. I am doing what God has commanded that we do as parents. Spanking comes last and His word comes first.

Lindsey - posted on 05/12/2010




you dont spank your child out of meanness you spank them when they do something bad to teach them the right way...the bible says to spare the rod is to spoil the child.i dont spank all the time but when needed i do

Victoria - posted on 05/12/2010




I believe the whole bible, new and old testament. Although some practices like animal sacrifices are no longer used, that doesn't negate the fact that all scripture is God breathed, therefore yes discipline your child, he/she won't die if you spank them.

I believe that discipline comes in many forms (time-outs, grounding, taking away of privileges and yes spanking), but I know that as each child is unique as is each situation, therefore we have to work out what fits the situation & the child.

I think that the fact we have so much trouble with our young people is because parents today don't really discipline their kids, they've been brain washed into believing that spanking their child is child abuse, it's not.

God is a loving God, but He is also a God of order and without discipline we lack order.

Lisa - posted on 05/12/2010




There is a really good book out there called To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl. He has a whole chapter dedicated to mothers who disagree with spanking. It really is worth reading before making up your mind on the subject. What I love about his book is he is coming from a completely loving & joyful place and strongly advises against spanking in anger, etc. He does a great job of puting the controversy in biblical perspective. The stories are great too! :)

Heather - posted on 05/12/2010




So I had to come back to your comment about the woman at the well. It is true that Jesus told her to go and sin no more. But as I said in my first post, I do not believe spanking should ever be a first time offense thing. The first thing we should do is show them their error (as Jesus did) instruct them on how to handle the situation correctly, and tell them not to do it again (as Jesus did for this lady). Spanking comes when they do do it again. If you allow everything to be covered by grace they will never learn. I can't allow my children to go to hell just because I want to show them grace. It doesn't work that way. The difference is that unless our children have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, no amount of grace is going to cover their sins. They need Jesus. Until they accept Him, they need to have consequences. Once they accept Him, and have the Holy Spirit in them, then they should respond to counseling and no longer need spanked. But again, I agree that you should never spank without first explaining what they did was wrong, how they should handle it, and telling them to go and sin no more.

Heather - posted on 05/12/2010




You read "How would Jesus Raise a Child" didn't you? I started it, but I just couldn't handle it. Jesus quoted the OT time and time again. He even told people they were in error because they did not know the Scripture. What's more, John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. You can't dismiss something just because it is in the OT. You have to look at it in context to the whole of Scripture. And there are verses in the NT that talk about how to raise children. In my first reply, I quoted from Ephesians, others have quoted from Hebrews. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that ALL Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof... not just the NT. The ten commandments for instance are in the OT. You can find them in Deuteronomy 5 in Deuteronomy 6 it talks about teaching them diligently to our children. So if we are to dismiss something just because it is in the OT then we wouldn't have the ten commandments. Do you see where I'm going with this?

And again, as I said in my first post, the reason that I spank is actually in the NT, in Ephesians. Where it commands us not to embitter our children, which is usually what timeout and grounding leads to... Which is part of the moral standards correct?

[deleted account]

So annoyed, i had a post all typed up, but then when i went to post it stupid computer stuffed up halfway through and did not end up posting my reply. So sorry, but here's the condensed version of what i have to say....

My reasoning as to why i don't think the bible gives us the right to spank our children is because the verses of the bible that refer to spanking/beating are all founded in the Old Testament. The New Testament does refer to disciplining your children, but this does not have to mean spanking them. Discipline is more long term than spanking on the spot, its about teaching your children right from wrong.

We live in the times of grace from the New Testament, and should show that same grace to our children. For if we don't then we should apply all of the verses in the old testament that teach us on discipline, not just the ones that sit well with us.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear and fear."

This goes in tune with the law of the old testament where we would have been stoned to death for certain sins, however we no longer follow this.

John 1:17 says, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." There is a difference between law and grace. Some of the things emphasized in the Old Testament were a part of the law, and the requirements of the law, and the strictness of the law. Many of the strict requirements of the law we no longer practice, because we now know a more complete revelation of how the Lord wants us to live: that of grace and truth that was brought by Jesus Christ. For example, the law of the Old Testament stated very clearly that if anyone committed adultery, they should be put to death. But when a woman who was taken in adultery was brought to Jesus, Jesus did not allow the men to put her to death. Instead, Jesus said to the men, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Jesus did not change the moral principal that was in the law, because He still told the woman, "Go and sin no more." But Jesus did change the way that the requirement of the law was enforced. Jesus did away with the harsh physical punishment, but He still upheld the moral standard.

Cheryl - posted on 05/12/2010




Proverbs 13:24 says: "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." God himself disciplines his children- us. Proverbs 3: 11-12 says: "My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." This is also shown in Hebrews 12:5-11 where it says: " And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

I personally believe that everything in the bible is the truth and the word of God himself. If God disciplined his own kids and tells us to discipline our own, then I am going to discipline my own. That being said, I do not spank for everything and I do not "beat" them. I give them a firm swat or two on the rear. I use it as a last resort for when my kids absolutely wont listen or are endangering their own safety in some way. It hurts me every time that I have to spank and I hate having to do it, but I do not feel that "time outs" teach children the necessary respect that a child needs to have for his or her parent. Since more and more parents have turned to "time out' discipline I have noticed that kids are less and less well behaved. When other people see our kids they always comment on how well behaved they are. My kids do not like the spanking, (who would?) but they understand why I do it and love me even more for establishing boundaries. They know exactly what I will and will not tolerate and respect and love me all the more for it!

Tomesa - posted on 05/12/2010




in proverbs 23:13-14 it clearly says "dont fail to discipline your children. They wont die if you spank them. Physical discipline may very well save them from death."

to me that says it all. i remember getting the spanking of a LIFETIME when i was 9 years old. and i cried like a banshee. my mom was scared to death that i hadn't come in when it got dark outside, and she TOLD me to be in by sundown. well i deliberately disobeyed her and got a ride home *we lived in a very rural area so it's dangerous at night to walk alone at 9 years old and you don't always know your neighbors*, when i wanted to. honestly, she did more than spank me. she BEAT me. and all i could think about was how sorry i was and how much my mom mustve loved me to beat me out of fear that something happened to me. i didnt look at it like abuse, maybe because i saw the fear in her face when she finally found me...either way it goes, that was the only time my mom hit me and the lesson wasn't easily forgotten. i spank my children and i will continue to for as long as needed. i do believe in physical discipline--seeing those unruly misbehaving kids talking back to their parents (who "time out" them to death) is enough to set my mind on the matter.

btw...after i learned my lesson, i never did anything to deliberately disobey my mom again. now my dad had to spank me once too...and that set me straight with him. each of my parents hit me exactly one time in my life...and today i must admit, i am a pretty well rounded individual, and i thank them for it.

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