Let God be True, but Every Man a Liar

“Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13-14, NASB).

So many Christians believe this verse and the other “Rod” verses are to be taken literally. Some very watered down versions of the Bible even say to spank. But, if we were to take this literally, wouldn’t that make God a liar? Let’s think about this. [Read more…]

Donia’s Testimony

Another testimony from someone who was “lovingly” spanked/hit by her well meaning Christian parents, and yet, was harmed. Pro-spankers, please do not dismiss these real stories. After all, if spanking is so “godly,” why do you call people harmed by spankings “spoiled brats? Here is Donia’s story:

“This was how I was raised. Spanked ‘biblically’ by loving parents and I turned out fine…..except I didn’t. I lied, I cheated (in our Christian school, no less), I stole, I had sex, even trying [Read more…]

Sinful Children?

I was recently asked why gentle Christian parents and advocates don’t talk about sin when it comes to children much. The answer is because what most Christians believe is sin in children usually isn’t. A toddler saying, “no!” when asked to do something isn’t sin, it’s the child exploring independence and boundaries. A preschooler crying over not having something they really wanted is the child just having a hard time. Even biting, hitting, kicking, and cussing in young children is NOT sin. Young children needing food, love, comfort, room to play is not sin. Sin is when we truly understand something is wrong and goes against God and we have total control over ourselves and can tap into God’s strength to resist, yet choose wholeheartedly to go against God, THAT is sin!! Every child is different. Every child will sin like us. But, before 12-years-old, I don’t believe children truly sin. We slowly teach children about sin by discipline without punishment. By providing them with appropriate behaviors. And, by teaching them about God.

Also, when we look for sin in children, it makes us hypersensitive to all “inappropriate behavior.” It makes us want to punish for perceived sinfulness. We look at children as “little sinners” rather than blessings as the Bible says they are. Jesus loves children and told us to be like them. When sin is the focus, we become proud. We become judges. We think more highly of ourselves than we should so we can “beat that sin right out of that child.”

In reality, we are WORSE sinners than older children. Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eyes before removing the speck out of our brother’s eye. This applies to children too! Sin is sooooooooo much more than a child having a meltdown. Childish behavior is NOT sin. Rejecting God is! Hurting children is! Let’s focus on teaching and guiding children instead of worrying what childish behavior is sin. Give children the tools to choose good over bad so when real sin comes their way, they can tap into God and make more righteous decisions over sinful ones.

About Typing With My Nose

What’s on my mind? You know, CP is a very small part of who I am. I am extremely blessed to be alive let alone living an as “normal” as possible life…Something I dreamed about since I was little. I could be profoundly mentally disabled due to no oxygen for 40 minutes at birth. I am blessed typing with my nose allows me to communicate when I otherwise would not be able to. So, the news is going to make somewhat of a big deal of me typing with my nose. Nobody but me knows how much work that is. No, I do not focus on my CP and I felt that is evident in my news segment. They talked about for a few seconds then moved on because I was focused more on my book. There are many children like me who are being told they’ll never accomplish their dreams and goals as I was told EVERY DAY throughout my life, especially in high school. I was strong-willed and took Psychology my first semester of college instead of the computer class I was suppose to take because I can type with my nose. Thankfully, my mom, and hubby supported me. It was so obvious my heart was with young children as it had always been since I was a young child myself. This is where God wants me; helping people treat children as human beings. But a part of that is bringing awareness about disability. If one child isn’t left to cry-it-out or spanked/hit or sent to an isolating time-out because someone read or saw an author who types with her nose, then God has accomplished His Will through me. If a child or adult with a disability sees or hears about an author who typed a book with her nose and has a Master’s Degree and gets some much needed hope, something I and my family could have used sooooo many times throughout my childhood, then God has accomplished His Will through me. Getting this book out is one of the hardest things ever. We get weary, tired, scared, but it’s worth it. This is NOT about ME! It’s about God and children.

The Prince of Peace vs. The Prince of This World

A while back, a Christian pro-spanker said that I was doing the work of the devil after engaging in a discussion about why spanking/hitting children is neither Biblical nor from God.  When this person learned about my book, Gentle Firmness: Conveying the True Love of Jesus to Your Children Through His Example, he got even angrier and said I was from the evil one.  Others have accused me of twisting God’s Word in order to fit my own beliefs about not inflicting pain on children in order to “discipline” them.  They quote the same verses from Proverbs at me about using the rod to “discipline” children.  They’re so certain that these verses must be taken literally despite the original Hebrew meanings showing that all of the rod verses that seem to advocate spanking/hitting children were never meant to be taken literally (see my series entitled “Spanking is NOT God’s Will” or my book for more info on how to accurately interpret the “rod” verses), that they quickly become accusatory and insulting.  One must ask, “Who is really driving these people?”

It turns out that I am in awesome company when it comes to being accused of being from satan when it comes to teaching and promoting peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing.  [Read more…]

Is Raising Children The Same As Raising Animals?

            Many Christian pro-spankers such as James Dobson and Michael Pearl equate animal training with child rearing.  Pearl claims that training children is much like training “stubborn mules.”  Dobson uses an example of whipping his tiny dog into submission to taming a toddler.  They believe that training children and animals require fear and pain with “love” in order to achieve absolute obedience.  Is this true?  Is animal training similar to child rearing?  What does God have to say about this?

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately due to a recent incident with our cat Patches.  Patches is a calico cat.  She has always been a very oral kitty.  She chews cardboard boxes and lightly bites us whenever she’s happy, playful, or loving.  She never bites aggressively.  Recently, my husband got up in the morning and went into his home office to turn on the computer and his ham radio equipment before getting dressed, making coffee, and feeding our two cats their breakfast.  There is a fan in his office door as the cats are not allowed in there due to all of his electronics.  It can get quite warm in there, so the fan keeps the air flowing.  As usual that morning, the cats greeted my husband in the hallway then eagerly waited for him outside his office door.

All of a sudden there were two loud bangs outside his door then the loud sound of our wooden TV dinner table crashing over.  All the noise alarmed my husband and woke me up.  My husband found Patches in our utility room on top of our water heater very freaked out.  [Read more…]

Attachment Only By Day? – Part 2

Note from Hermana Linda:   This is the continuation of a conversation in the comments of Steph’s article on Attachment Theory.  Read Part 1 here.   This exchange starts here.

Hi Steph, thank you for your kind reply. I totally see your point. I didn’t mention the details on how my child responds when separated. She ofcourse resists a bit but goes back to normal play within a minute or two. Getting back together is a happy time for both of us but she doesn’t need extra attention but she is loving as always. I can only speak from my own experience and I am trying to find the truth without any bias. When you say brain damage, I can’t understand that because my daughter met all her developmental milestones 6 months ahead of her peers and she is nearly 4 now and has even started reading. I often see how totally she trusts me to keep my word and to take care of her if she is in any kind of danger.
I understand God doesn’t want us to cry as it makes him sad as well. But I do see in so many peoples lives that God allows some painful experiences so that they will shine even more brightly for His glory. When we did sleep training, we did make sure that she is completely safe, fed, changed and comfortable and we watched her through the video monitor to make sure her safety. Sure it was hard for us and hard for her. And I wouldn’t do it for a minute if it was not beneficial for her. That training has just done her so much good that she became more fresh and attentive during her wake times and happier.

[Read more…]

Don’t Make Children Lie

Last night, my husband and I watched, “The Andy Griffith Show,” and it was the one where Opie was having fun pretending to have a black horse named Blackie.  Andy, Opie’s dad, and Barney and Aunt Bea all had fun with this.  Well, Opie goes off into the woods and meets a lineman named, Mr. McBeevee.  Because Andy had played the Blackie game earlier, and well, since Mr. McBeevee is a rather strange name, Andy doesn’t believe Opie when Opie tells him that this is a real man who really gave Opie a hatchet and then a quarter.  When Andy takes Opie out to the woods to meet this Mr. McBeevee guy, Mr. McBeevee just happens to get called away, making Opie look like a big liar.

When Opie and Andy get home, Opie knows he’s in trouble and Andy is prepared to spank Opie.  [Read more…]

Attachment Only By Day? – Part 1

Note from Hermana Linda: We appreciate getting comments and read every one.   This comment from Jo about Attachment Theory elicited such an insightful response from Steph that I have decided to highlight it here.

From my personal experience with my own child, if you provide consistent care and love in meeting the needs of the child throughout the day, a little sleep training at night develops an even healthier attachment. My child is the most securely attached child I have seen because she is able to stay away from me without much distress as long as I tell her beforehand and also comes back to me with even more love when i get back to her. Crying it out works perfectly but should only be done if the parents are able to provide love and care for the child and securely attach in every way. We did sleep training for her when she was 9 months old and within 3 nights, she started sleeping through the night and sleeps in her own room. She is a very happy child then and now.

Discipline VS Neglect

Note from Hermana Linda: We appreciate getting comments and read every one.  This comment from Pam is so long that Steph decided to respond in a post, so here it is.

Hi Steph,
Though I don’t consider myself to be “pro” spanking, I am pro-discipline, and I do believe that infrequent spanking can be part of an over-all discipline plan, when done properly and with love. I have raised two boys and I have two grandsons. I’ve also, taught children and volunteered to work with children in many circumstances. I care about kids and child abuse is a deep concern of mine. I was an abused child, in the forms of medical neglect, emotional neglect, emotional abuse, emotional incest, and sexual abuse by a predator. I also, found myself in several abusive situations as an adult and I agree that children are born with natural ways of standing up for themselves that shouldn’t be taken from them. We all need to be able to protect ourselves. I also, believe that children can be defiant and they need help in learning to use defiance as a way to protect themselves and not as a means of ending up in prison. Part of the neglect I experienced as a child had to do with discipline. I don’t remember any spankings but I was allowed to eat only candy to the point of having fillings in all of my teeth by the time I was six (I also, had abscesses) and all of my teeth falling out by the third grade. My parents excuse this by blaming it on me and my refusal to eat so, they let me eat what I wanted and all I wanted was candy. I was also, sick a lot and they gave me alcohol as medication, I think it put me to sleep and I was less of a bother. The first time they gave me too much and made me drunk was when I was cutting my first teeth. They’ve always told this as a such a funny story… [Read more…]

Is Defiance Real?

I have been thinking a lot about defiance lately.  Is it real when it comes to young children?  Most parents would emphatically answer, “Yes” to this question.  I am not so sure though.  According to dictionary.com, defiance is defined as “A daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.”  To me, this means being able to stand up for what we believe is right.  This is usually a good thing.  Yet, when people discuss children as being “defiant,” it is always viewed as a very negative thing.  In fact, most Christian pro-spankers tell parents to spank/hit children mainly for “defiance.”

Are young children truly being “defiant” when they refuse to do something we want or say, “No!” to us?  I tend not to think so.  Why?  Because defiance is very subjective.  What one person views as “defiance,” another person views as developmentally appropriate behavior or an indicator that something much deeper is going on within the child.  See, to judge whether or not children are being “defiant,” we must look into their hearts.  Only God can do this.  [Read more…]

Discipline without Harm Part 1

In this series we will be looking at how to biblically discipline our children without inflicting pain on them or harming them in any way.  Some of the discipline strategies that we will be discussing throughout this series are modeling, child-proofing, validating feelings, fulfilling the child’s physical and emotional needs, setting realistic limits and boundaries, helping children comply, giving choices, and using natural and logical consequences with children.  The Bible says that we are to encourage each other (2 Corinthians 13:11).  All of the discipline strategies in this series do exactly that with our children.  In this first piece, we will be discussing authoritative parenting versus permissive parenting.  We will also discuss how to child-proof, modeling, and introducing God to our children.

Authoritative versus Permissive Parenting—Not Spanking does NOT Mean Wild, Rebellious Children

Pro-spankers often accuse or claim that parents who do not spank or use any type of punishment with their children of having wild and rebellious children.  This simply is not the case for parents that use the authoritative parenting style.  There seems to be much confusion over the three types of parenting styles.  We discussed the authoritarian parenting style in great detail in Part 6 of my series, “The Effects of Spanking,” which you will find in my new book, “Gentle Firmness.” As we begin to focus on how to gently but firmly discipline children, we need to examine the other two parenting styles: authoritative parenting and permissive parenting. [Read more…]

The Christian History of Spanking Part 1

This page was part of the rough draft of the soon-to-be-released book, “Gentle Firmness,” by Stephanie Cox.  You may read a few chapters from the book  here.

Spanking is NOT God’s Will Part 8

More information on the Book, Gentle Firmness, by Stephanie Cox

( part 1 ) ( part 2 ) ( part 3 )

What is grace?  This is the question running through my head as I wrestle with a bit of discouragement as children continue to be harmed by well-meaning people who want so badly to obey God in their parenting.  As I continue to hear the same comments from pro-spankers who seem almost desperate to defend themselves for fear of being wrong.  As I hear on the morning news that two teenagers were shot and killed by their own mother because they were being “mouthy.”  As a book that advocates spanking infants may be being used by people that I know.  What is grace?  Who deserves grace?  Is the Bible Truth or something that can be used however we want in order to support our own beliefs?  What does it mean to be Spirit led and to take up our crosses and follow Jesus?  Why do some Christians proclaim, “God hates fags?”  Why is there so much division in the Body of Christ when God commands us to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” Philippians 2:2?

Another thing that keeps popping up in my mind and during my Bible study is the following verse:

“So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” Zechariah 4:6.

This verse is in context with an angel showing Zechariah a vision seemingly related to the coming of a future Messiah to rescue the people.  Yesterday in church, the pastor discussed the uneventful way that Jesus quietly came on the scene amidst the crowds that were waiting by the Jordan River in order to be baptized by a relative, John The Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17).  Everyone thought that the Messiah would come and mightily restore Israel with a mighty sword.  But instead, Jesus came as an infant and lived in humble settings.  He didn’t even look like a powerful king that everyone expected Him to be.  Look how Isaiah the prophet described Jesus: [Read more…]

Spanking is NOT God’s Will Part 3

( Part 1 ) ( Part 2 )

I finished Samuel Martin’s book, Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me today.  Here’s more of what I have learned about God’s Word.

Many Christian advocates of spanking children quote the following Proverb in order to support their philosophy that spanking children will save their souls from Hell.  It says: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.   14Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV). Now, the Hebrew word for Hell is Sh’ol.  However, throughout the Hebrew Bible sh’ol doesn’t always mean the eternal, fiery Hell that we immediately conjure up in our minds.  Look at Jonah 2:1-2 where Jonah is talking about being stuck in the whale’s belly:

“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry” (NIV).

Obviously, Jonah wasn’t in eternal Hell or permanently dead.  In Job 17:13-16, Job speaks of his only hope in following his family to the grave, sh’ol is translated as grave and corruption.  Sh’ol is also translated as pit as in falling into a pit.  It is clear that the Hebrew word sh’ol does not always mean the eternal Hell and it’s not used in this way any place in the book of Proverbs.  The new NIV translation shows a bit more accurate translation of Proverbs 23:13-14: [Read more…]

Spanking is NOT God’s Will Part 2

(Part 1)

After reading and studying more today in this wonderful book by Samuel Martin and doing my own Bible study, here are some things that God has revealed to me.

First, the book of Proverbs is the oldest book in the Holy Bible.  While King Solomon and King Hezekiah wrote most of Proverbs, according to Martin’s book, some of it was also written by authors of ancient Egypt hundreds of years prior to King Solomon and King Hezekiah.  In the Hebrew Bible, The Wisdom Literature which are Job, Psalms, and Proverbs are arranged in a different order than they appear in our modern day Bibles.  Instead of Job,  Psalms, Proverbs; it’s Psalms, Proverbs, Job.  These Holy books were inspired by God to be written primarily for young men.

The Hebrew language breaks up each stage of childhood in the Bible into specific names from birth to adulthood.   I will not list them here at the moment, but what is key to point out here is the Book of Proverbs was written for young men (Hebrew: Na’ar).  Na’ar is the teenage years, 12 years to roughly 19.  During this stage of life during biblical times, young men were considered ready to learn the Law, looking to marry, and able to understand abstract concepts.  This makes sense as reknown psychologist Jean Piaget recognized that people 12 and up were in the Formal Operational stage of cognitive development.  Young children cannot think abstractly.  That is why a young child will run to the window if you say it’s raining cats and dogs.  The young child truly expects to see cats and dogs falling from the sky.  The young takes everything at its literal meaning.  [Read more…]

Spanking is NOT God’s Will Part 1

I am reading a wonderful book by theologian, Samuel Martin, Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me. It’s clear from historic, contextual, Hebrew info on the book of Proverbs that we are NOT to spank (hit) children. The book of Proverbs was not meant for verses to be taken out of context. Even Jewish scholars believe that spankings are for boys 12 years & up and only as an absolute LAST resort. Proverbs was written under the Law of Moses. Christians are under the Law of Christ.  What is the Law of Christ?  Grace, peace, mercy and love.  ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”  Galatians 5:22-23.

Jesus freed us from the Law.  “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law”  Galatians 5:18. When we spank, we are parenting under the Law.   We are not accepting the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.  Jesus died for us.  He was beaten to a bloody pulp for us.  Why do we feel we must beat, spank, and hit our young children who do not understand sin nor physical punishment.  “In regard to evil be infants” 1 Corinthians 14:20b.

Even Jewish scholars forbid the use of physical punishment for children under 6.  The very age Christian advocates of spanking say it’s best for.  Every time you hit a child, even “lovingly,” you create confusion, anger, fear, and resentment which breed sin later on. [Read more…]