The old to-spank-or-not-to-spank debate has been revived online again in light of Creflo Dollar’s arrest. I’m not going to say anything about that particular case as I simply do not have all of the facts, rather I’m putting my views on the topic out there and thinking about the various responses I’ve read on Twitter.
Admittedly, my parental experience is limited, my eldest child is only 5 years old, so I don’t yet face the various joys and challenges of raising teens. I’m not completely against corporal punishment but I do feel it is often overused by many. One of my close friends who was “got licks” as we put it, stopped even fearing the punishment after some time, it didn’t mean anything anymore and was often seen as a means to an end – “yeah I’ll get beats, but at least I got my way and did X”. My personal feeling is that spanking should be a last resort rather than the first response to a transgression. When that happens, it’s the result of a lack of self control and sometimes, a display of pride. The punishment should also fit the crime; it’s very easy to be heavy handed when some other sanction could be effective. One size doesn’t fit all either – what works for one child won’t necessarily be effective for another.
In any case, punishment of any type is just one part of discipline. To disciple means to teach, to instruct. It’s interesting that when discipline is mentioned, that for many, punishment is what comes to mind! What’s vitally important to remember is that what we model and say influences our children just as much as how we treat them when they do wrong. If you choose not to spank your child yet regularly assault them verbally, surely that’s abusive too?
I love what Ephesians 6:4 says,
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Nurture and admonition. Getting the balance right is my aim. Not seeing children, though born sinners as an adversary to be literally beaten into submission but through a foundation of a good, loving relationship, being able to lay down the law when needed.