Spare the Rod Spoil the Child (controversial)

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

Hello all. My name is Aura and I am a Christian. I was not raised Christian. I was not raised with any religion at all. I was raised, with apologies to my mother who may read this, by the belt. The much exalted James Dobson suggests a spoon or other implement, but you get the idea. It was not by my mother's "nurturing hand". I got it on my bare backside until I was 17 and moved to another country. All pardons to Mister Dobson, but f*&% off!

Some said society at large could benefit from this man's so called "Christian teachings", I beg to differ. Society would benefit more if some parents were not taking anti-action towards their child's misbehaviour. More severe crimes these days, give me a break. There is the same amount of crime just more media to show it off and better resources to discover it. You think that well rounded people are coming from this? Let me show you:

I have a wonderful husband who treats me fabulously. I have a beautiful baby that I thank God for every day. I finished high school without doing drugs, smoking, or drinking. I didn't have sex until I was 18, and that was with my now husband. I went to graduate school to study to become a Chef. I look like any other happy, healthy, sociable teenager. I had a debilitating self esteem issue. I hated myself and constantly compared myself to other girls. When I got a boyfriend, thankfully my husband, I was uncomfortable watching any movies with nudity, including only partial or brief, because I constantly thought I was being compared. If my husband commented on another woman's appearance, I got defensive and argumentative, even if all he meant was that he liked her dress. The thought of him looking at a nude woman, in real life or on tv, made me sick, physically. I was blessed with an understanding man for a husband. I have, with his help, gradually begun to pull myself out of this hole that was dug for me long ago. Again, apologies to my mother, I never felt loved in those years. I felt like I couldn't bare life if this was all it had to offer me.

When my husband lead me to Jesus, I felt loved again. My mother found God and begged my forgiveness. The Lord teaches of discipline through love and gentleness. The Old Testament is a relic and a history, not a guide anymore. Christ is the guide. DO NOT TELL ME THAT THE LORD WISHES US TO PADDLE OUR CHILDREN!

I am not anti spanking, but nor would I call myself pro. I do understand everyone's own personal views on the matter. I am not going to judge someone who wishes to spank their child, but I will argue back when told it is a Christian philosophy. No wonder so many people are turning their backs on God. If they are told that the Lord says they must hurt their child, I would turn my back, too.

Edited: Perhaps some are unable to read the article, so I am posting it here. Then, tell me what you think of that. I don't care if you are kind, just remember, Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you lash at me, I will lash right back.

Spanking in the Bible:

The phrase "spare the rod and spoil the child" is often incorrectly attributed to the Christian Bible. It does not appear there. It was first written in a poem by Samuel Butler in 1664. 1

Corporal punishment is strongly recommended in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Most of the biblical quotations advocating corporal punishment of children appear in the book of Proverbs. Christians interpret these passages in different ways:

Religious conservatives generally believe that the book of Proverbs was assembled by King Solomon, circa 1000 BCE. He brought together a group of sayings which were already current in his time; some may have been his own thoughts; others may have been first written down centuries earlier. 2 The passages which deal with spanking presumably reflect his parenting beliefs with respect to his son, Rehoboam.

Religious liberals generally believe that Solomon first introduced "ancient oriental 'wisdom' to Israel and it later became customary to attribute all books belonging to this particular literary genre to him. The actual authors of Proverbs were the successive generations of wisdom teachers (or 'wise men') who had charge of the moral and practical training of young men of the court and upper classes...." King Hezekiah is mentioned in Proverbs 25:1. Thus, Proverbs in its current form, cannot date from earlier than than his reign in the 8th century BCE. It may have been assembled as late as the 4th century BCE. 3

The following quotations come from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible:

Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."

Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."

Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."

Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

An additional verse from the New Testament is occasionally cited as justification for physical punishment of children:

Hebrews 12:6-7: "...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?"

From our study of conservative Protestant books on child-raising, and the content of numerous radio programs on Christian radio stations, it appears that many Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians equate "punishment" and "discipline" with "corporal punishment." But it is not clear whether the discipline, referred to at the end of this New Testament verse, refers to corporal punishment or to some other form of correction (e.g. removal of privileges).

The results of corporal punishment, as described in the Bible:

As mentioned above, from a conservative Protestant point of view, it is probable that these passages in Proverbs describe Solomon's own parenting style when he raised his son Rehoboam. The Bible subsequently records the negative effect that this parenting style had on his son. Rehoboam became a widely hated ruler after his father's death. At one point, he had to make a hasty retreat to Jerusalem to avoid being assassinated by his own people:

1 Kings 12:13-14: "And the king [Rehoboam] answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (ASV)

1 Kings 12:18: "Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the men subject to taskwork; and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem." (ASV)

These same events are recorded in 2 Chronicles 10:6-19.

It can be argued that:

Most conservative Protestants believe that the Bible is completely accurate and inerrant - free of error.

The passages in Proverbs probably accurately and precisely portray Solomon's parenting style.

As an adult, Solomon's son Rehoboam, was vicious, unfeeling, inconsiderate to his subjects, had no regard for human rights, and was widely hated. He barely escaped assassination at the hands of his own people.

Perhaps the Bible's true message here is:

If you don't want your children to grow up to be like Rehoboam, then you should not follow Solomon's parenting style, as it is accurately described in the Bible.

You should avoid using spanking or any other form of corporal punishment.

These conclusions seem to agree with recent studies which indicate that one out of every three boys has a genetic problem that will almost certainly cause him to engage in criminal or anti-social acts later in life if he is physically abused. It is unknown what level of corporal punishment will push these children over the edge and make them become violent and aggressive as adults.

On the other hand, many Christians will argue that because the Bible is inerrant, that Solomon's parenting recommendations reflect God's expectations. Thus conservative Protestant parents are obligated to "beatest him with the rod" as the preferred form of discipline.


1. Holly Rossi, "Sparing the Rod,", 2005-FEB, at:

2. C.I. Scofield, "Scofield Reference Bible," "New and improved edition," Page 672.

3.R.C. Dentan, "The Proverbs," in C.M. Layon, "The interpreter's one-volume commentary on the Bible," Abingdon Press, (1991), Page 304.

4. Robert R. Gillogly, "Spanking Hurts Everybody," Theology Today, at:


Darlene - posted on 06/17/2010




Being a wife, mother of two,educator and Christian when my husband and I were raising our children we tried to make the consequences of their behavior a teachabale moment. Most often we used with brother and sister, "You sit there and you sit there and think about what you did. Be ready to tell us what would have been a better choice." There were times I would really get angry but we had decided hitting a child was not to be our way so we worked around it. I agree about the violence in our world--how do we teach peace when that is so rarely seen. I've shed tears over the abused children that die because it is a parent's right to have their child with them-balony! Who speaks for the child so the courts will listen? I have often had instances at school where a child acts a certain way and when questioned the reply is, "Dad does it/says it to me all the time." We are teaching our children every day in some way. I would rather be known as the too kind, loving person that never hit. My downfall was yelling. I didn't verbally abuse but I raised my voice more than I should have. Anyway, today we are proud of our grown children so for us stop and think was a good way. I think Jeus would be smiling about such a choice.

JuLeah - posted on 06/16/2010




The phrase "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is not from the Bible but from Samuel Butler's "Hudibras", a 17th Century satirical poem. The poem, like his novel, The Way of All Flesh, was written to expose and denounce violence against children.

In 24 countries around the world, it is illegal for a parent, teacher, or anyone else to spank a child, and 113 countries prohibit corporal punishment in schools.1 Yet in all of North America, physical punishment by a parent, as long as it is not severe, is still seen by many as necessary discipline, and condoned, or sadly, even encouraged.

Nearly 2000 children die in the country each year at the hand of their parent or care giver - most are under the age of five.

Who really thinks we need more violence in this country?

[deleted account]

I think those things are more due to a lack of parenting than a lack of spanking. Of course, the lack of parenting is probably due to a fear of reproach. Here in Canada, it is hard to punish or discipline without being judged by a CAS worker. It seems they use their own beliefs instead of legal rights. For example, my mother gave my step-brother a punishment where he had to write lines, like "I will not lie". He had to do it properly so that his writing was neat and the message sank in and, if done improper, he had to start all over. This was called child abuse. Ridiculous!

Anyway, like I state in my original message, it isn't the spanking that bothers me but the statement that it is a Christian philosophy. I don't remember Christ spanking children, but that's just me.

JuLeah - posted on 06/18/2010




I didn't say 'spare the rod' was not in the bible, but the phrase often quoted "spare the rod, spoil the child' is not in the bible.

We all justify what we do. Even the parents who beat a child with a belt, or brick, justify it somehow - I was teaching them, they needed it, they won't learn otherwise, I won't have them grow up wild ..... I have heard them all

The bible, remember, was used to justify slavery. It was used to justify the law that stated a person with white skin could not marry a person with dark skin - a law that held until 1968

It is now being used to keep people of the same gender from marring - it is used to justify war .... so I tend to tune out when people start quoting bible passages to me

Bottom line, you respect your kid, or you don't. We don't think twice about hitting our kids, but would never ever hit another child in our care (we would go to jail) we don't hit our co-workers, we don't hit out boss, or neighbor .....just our kids

We will do whatever we want and we will justify it however works best - people will read this post and think, "What an idiot" and go right back to hitting their kids.

One of the things I hear is how 'kids these day' are so disrespectful, so out of control.... and it is because parents to spank anymore.

Parents do spank, the beat, they kill - as they have in every generation and, like in every generation, the older set complains the younger set is wild and out of control.

If you go back and read journals, or books from hundreds of years back, or even back one generation, you will see the SAME argument - parents need to get control of their kids, this generation is out of control

Your grandparent thought that about your parents - kids who loved Elvis were see by some as following the antichrist - the long haired Beatles were going to lead our kid to the devil and destroy our great nation - blah blah blah

In every generation people state children ought to be treated with respect and in every generation people say we ought to hit them ... and each side believes itself right and each side will justify. Our kids will have this argument too

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Rebecca - posted on 06/18/2010




and i agree that children have gotten alot worse here in my town children are doing alot worse things that never happened in my era of childhood.. god i would had never talked to my parents the way i hear most kids these days or do absolutly do nothing to contribute to the household chores..

Rebecca - posted on 06/18/2010




theres a difference between spanking and beating and another difference between justifying and making excuses..

Sherri - posted on 06/18/2010




Not true JuLeah I have permission to spank twins in my care. Also if my friends kids are here I was told to spank them as well if need be. I haven't needed to do it. However, I do have permission so I would not be going to jail. As my friends have authority to spank my child if he misbehaves in there care which is virtually never but still.

Amy - posted on 06/17/2010




I was never spanked as a child and I certainly didn't run wild. If my brother and I were behaving badly in public we were removed from the situation immediately! My parents just had to give us "the look" and we knew that we were in trouble. We never ran rampant in stores, sat quietly in restaurants, and grew up to be responsible well behaved adults without ever being spanked or hit. I never have spanked my child and probably never will because he behaves in restaurants, when we are shopping, and for the most part at home. If he is misbehaving it's usually for a reason he's tired or hungry. If he does misbehave when we are out in public (which doesn't happen often), I tell him to stop if he doesn't we leave! When he's having a meltdown at home he usually puts himself in a timeout by going into the computer room and sitting on the futon, again it's usually because he's tired, once he calms down my husband and I go in and talk to him, which results in him apologizing. My son listens to us, he may not like what he has to do but he listens and I've never had to spank him to get him to listen. I believe every parent is entitled to raise there children the way they want within reason, if they need to spank their children to get them to listen and mind them that's their right, I however will continue doing what I've done up until now because it works for us!

Sarah - posted on 06/17/2010




I am for spanking when necessary and appropriate and never in anger, always on the bottom and with an open hand. Spanking a teenager is ridiculous, especially when there are so many other punishments that teens hate more- no cell phone anyone? (And it is believed that prolonged spaking-through adolescenc- can lead to sexual perversions) And while there are many teachable moments and I do believe a child should know what they are in trouble for, I think it's ridiculous to explain every little thing to your child. I see so many moms trying to break it down for their child adn the kid has No Clue what they're talking about. Keep it simple, keep it brief and keep the punishment fitting.
I too was raised 'by the belt' and while I think it was extreme, I must say it was effective. Not to be cruel, but you said yourself you didn't do drugs, drink, have sex, or get into any real trouble so while the punishment may have been excessive- IMO it did work. I have issue with the mode of punishment my father chose but I think it had less to do with the spanking and more to do with the other areas of relationship. I think there is a middle ground between beating your child and letting them run wild.

Sherri - posted on 06/17/2010




I think it is a very antiquated way to think. However, I am very pro spanking. I have spanked all three of my kids and will spank any others I have as well. We also use time outs and spankings are usually quite reserved maybe 5-6 times a year. Up until they hit around 4 then I don't spank anymore. An occasional cuff upside the head I totally admit doing no matter how old they are. I will still probably do that when they are adults. I am not for using anything other than an open hand and never anywhere but there hiney.

Raena - posted on 06/17/2010




I am totally for a spanking when needed. I'm not speaking of a "beating" but a spanking. People usually get the two confused. Different things work for different kids and my son is one who needs a spanking now and then.

Also I beg to differ on it not being from the Bible.

Proverbs 13:24(KJV): "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

Proverbs 13:24(AMP): "He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son, but he who loves him diligently disciplines and punishes him early."

I think that's why so many kids are getting away with murder nowadays because we as parent's are so scared to discipline our kids nowadays. Kids used to get spankings all the time and did not grow up twisted or mentally/emotionally harmed.

Tracy - posted on 06/16/2010




I'm right there with you, girl! I was lucky, I only spent 5 years with the monster who saw fit to use weapons against a child a fraction of her size as "discipline". Dad's belt was her favorite, but wooden spoons, a large glass jar, her shoe, whatever was handy were also used. My sainted grandmother yanked me out of that house, where I had lived in misery from 7 to 12 yrs old. At 11 I contemplated suicide for the first time, but not the last. By 15 I was a wild child, into drugs, sex, and cutting myself. At 17 I begged my father for psychiatric help, and he agreed, thankfully. I sobered up, healed up, found outlets, but not before finding myself pregnant. I had the child, gave her up to a good family, finished school on the honor roll and started working full time to make college tuition. I still had demons from my childhood to exorcise and that took years. I had dysfunctional relationships with everyone, I could not trust. I found a man I thought I could trust, married and had two amazing kids. But he also turned abusive, so I had to end it. I now have a working co-parent relationship with him, and a relationship with a man who amazes me with his love of me daily. Yes, I still have trust issues, and at times I still cringe when I catch a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye, but he's infinitely patient with me.

I do spank my kids, but sparingly. ONLY with an open hand and never will I leave a mark that doesn't fade in minutes. The thought of my kids sitting on a butt so raw it's burning while feeling alone and unloved breaks my heart. I am extremely strict and my rules are law in my home. Sure, they have more "fun" at their father's house, but in mine they also have love, structure, and things like movie night is a special, wonderful thing. If we all work together and get our chores done, then we can spend a day at the park. They are learning how to be independent, self reliant people. Without beatings. If they need to scream, they can go to their rooms. When they are ready to be around the rest of us, they are welcome. If they need to talk, they can come talk and they will be listened to.

My issues put my therapist into therapy. I know the very rare person who was treated roughly as a child who isn't a mess. If you take an object to hit an adult, it's an assault with a weapon charge. Why is it ok to take a weapon to your own child then?

How the HELL is that Christ's way? I was raised in a church that taught love, honor and cherished its children. My grandmother raised her hand to me ONCE in my life. My aunts and father remember her raising her hand to them a scant few times in their childhoods. One aunt travels the world setting up conventions for churches. Another raised two boys who are amazing humans. One is working for a company trying to develop alternative fuels (he's frighteningly intelligent). The other is a teacher. She didn't raise a hand to them. They are respectful, polite men who I am proud to call cousins. My own children I receive compliments on frequently for their manners, their voracity at learning, and their ability to hold conversations far above their age groups. I will NOT scar them the way I have been scarred. Life will mark them enough. Home is their safe haven. As it should be.

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