Parenting Advice ColumnSubject: parent recommends "biblical spanking"
As a former La Leche League family and currently homeschooling three (one special needs) for the past five years (and having associated with hundreds of Christian homeschooling families), I must respectfully disagree with anyone who chooses to exchange the wisdom of Holy Writ in favor of 'leaning on ones understanding". A biblical approach to child training (yes, spanking) works - it must, otherwise God is a liar.
My kids and many dozens of others that we know personally say it all. In contrast and nearly without exception, the worst-behaved kids have been those we knew the first 4 years we associated with the LLL where anti-spanking dribble was the norm. I've seen more kids ruined from a character development perspective from this unbiblical way of training kids. My daughter and my best friends daughter were absolute tyrannical brats at 4 years old. But by the grace of God, we both have 9-year-olds that are the envy of the neighborhood. Their hearts and minds are truly in the right place. They are parent-honoring, sibling-caring, people-loving, highly empathetic young people that are adored by their family and friends. I wish I had a dime for every compliment we've received about our kids' behavior, manners, character, maturity, etc, etc.
Loving discipline in accordance with God's word is the sole reason my kids stand out in a crowd. God has truly honored our obedience. I know many many other young men and ladies who are also thriving on account of the firm yet loving biblical discipline they've received from truly caring parents who are willing to do what may not seem natural, but is commanded by God. I personally know of no kids raised without biblical spanking that are doing well 'characterly', especially those in the public school environment. Ironic how both anti-spanking and whole language reading schools of thought can't see themselves for the miserable failures that they are.
I think we are very different in our experience and understanding, so different that it would probably be difficult to communicate clearly about these important subjects. All I can say is that my own personal experience has been entirely different from what you describe. Our son was raised with respect and compassion and without punishment. He is now 17 and the kindest and most mature person I have ever known. Please read my article "Confessions of a Proud Mom".
I have also known and heard about many children raised with punishment who have turned to drugs and other antisocial behavior in later years. There is a vast quantity of research that shows this connection between childhood punishment and later difficulties.
A young child is supposed to be childlike and should not be expected to act in a perfect, adult way. If children are allowed to be children, then they can grow to be adults. Nothing is gained, and much can be lost, if a child is expected to behave perfectly at all times and is punished when he or she cannot do that. I urge you to visit these sites:
- The Social Causes of Crime - Overview (by a leading forensic psychiatrist)
- The No Spanking Page
- Plain Talk about Spanking
If you still believe that spanking leaves no lasting damage, I
suggest you do an Internet search for "spanking". You will
discover a multitude of web sites devoted to spanking fetishes and other
bizarre sexual dysfunctions. It has been well-established that many
types of sexual deviation have come about through the unnatural
association of love and pain learned in early childhood. Such
individuals, on reaching adulthood, feel most loved when being
hurt. It is ironic that parents who care enough to explain spanking to their child as based on love, are the ones who most clearly give this unfortunate message.
The religious views you hold are special and personal to you. My own view is that God is an all-loving being who could never condone any type of deliberate hurting of one human being by another.
JanParenting Advice Column