A person’s a person no matter how small.

Sarah has graciously allowed me to host this most excellent post.

*********************************************************************

Aha. Welcome to my long winded “Why I don’t believe in spanking” post.

You will soon find that spanking isn’t the whole issue with me. I don’t believe in punishment at all (GASP!).

‘Course permissiveness can be unhealthy as well, so I am setting out on this parenting journey to tread not somewhere in between those two evils, but outside the whole paradigm altogether. Onward, fellow travelers! To the land of gentle discipline! (I’m cheesy and I know it… beeeooouuup beeouup beoup beoup beoup beoup beoup. Girl, look at that baby. He drinks milk! Okay, yes. Too much coffee. I’m out of control.)

Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into (should you choose to read on), allow me to indulge in a disclaimer. [Read more…]

Should Christian Parents Spank Their Children?

Rick Creech answers the question, Should Christian Parents Spank Their Children?  This is a very good article to share with fundamental Christians because it is written by a fundamental pastor who only uses the KJV.

I Was Wrong to Tell You to Stop Spanking Your Kid: An Open Letter of Apology…

I was wrong. You heard it here first.

That time. At the mall. You hit your kid and I told you it wouldn’t help anything and asked you to stop.

That was really dumb.

Not because I’ve changed my mind and decided we should hit kids, but because I know better. That approach I took almost never works. After all, you were quite young when we had that conversation. I remember when I was young, whenever someone told me to stop doing something, it motivated me all the more to keep doing it. And I could spout off 37 reasons why I was right and they were wrong. I’m sure you did that in your head that day.

What do I wish I had done? [Read more…]

Good Baby?

Grace For My Sheep  considers how much more important it is to meet the needs of her child than to worry about the “parent-judgers” in Not a “Good Baby,” Not a “Pharisee Momma.”

Sparing The Rod And Parental Discipleship

This article,“Sparing the Rod: Biblical Discipline and Parental Discipleship,” by Anne Eggebroten was published in the newsletter,  The Other Side in 1987.  In this long article, she not only explains why she gave up spanking and examines the link between discipline and discipleship, but she looks at the history of attitudes towards children.

Discipline = Punishment? Really?

Dara Stoltzfus looks at the question, if discipline equals punishment, why does (Self) Discipline not equal (Self) Punishment ?

Why Rosemary Has Chosen Not To Spank

Rosemary shares “a collection of thoughts on why – especially the Biblical reasons why –” They’ve Chosen Not To Spank.

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…]

Reasons Not To Spank

Dara Stoltzfus has been thinking about Euphemisms as she gives us 20 Reasons not to Spank.

And for more food for thought from Dara, check out her thoughts on Abortion: A private matter?

Defiant Toddlers?

Carissa Robinson has started a new series called, Paideia, in which she looks “at the true meaning of discipline, and how it has been warped by both Christian and secular philosophies and misconceptions about childhood.”

She opens with a look at a toddler”s defiance, (or is it defiance?) in Paideia Part 1

The Christian and The Explosive Child

Wendy at Practical Theology for Women shares A Christian Perspective on the Explosive Child.  In this post  she recommends the very helpful book, The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene.

I see that she also has her own Rod Study as well as a look at Discipline vs. Punishment.

Challies reviews TTUAC

After his review of Created To Be His Help Meet a few days ago, Tim Challies has decided to review To Train Up A Child, which he does in 2 parts:

Tim Challies Review of To Train Up A Child Part 1 in which he looks at training versus discipline, and his concerns with Pearl’s training.

Tim Challies Review of To Train Up A Child Part 2 in which he looks at the innocent child, the redemptive rod, and gives his conclusion.

What Does the Bible Really Say About Parenting?

Dulce de Leche looks at what the Bible really says about parenting.  Note that this post is part of the 2012 Carnival of Gentle Discipline which you can find at the bottom of the post.

Does Discipline Mean To Spank?

Cultured Mama looks at the question, Does Discipline Mean To Spank?

 

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…]

A Psychology Professor Critiques the Pearls’ Teachings

Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas has uploaded a video from FOX News in which “SMU Psychology Professor George Holden, who specializes in child-parent relationships and positive child rearing, talks critically about Michael and Debi Pearl’s book “To Train Up A Child,” which advocates spanking.”  More information about Professor Holden here.

Should Obedience Be The Goal of Parenting?

The Hippie Housewife asks if our goal for our children should be Obedience or something else.

On a similar note, Created To Be His muses on the idea that Sons of Hell Can Be Rather Impressive.

Meanwhile, Pearl in Oyster (PIO) continues her 52 Tool Cards series with 52 Tool Cards Double Feature: Act Without Words and One Word.

Commandments for Parents

Dulce de Leche explains how some parents inadvertently set themselves up as idols in The 10 Commandments for Parents: No Other Gods.

Alison Strobel explains Golden Rule Parenting.

What Is a Parent’s Moral Obligation In Regards to Discipline?

C.L. Dyck of Scita Scienda takes a good look at a parent’s moral obligation in regards to discipline in The Moral Claim of Discipline.

AC360 Continues to look at Ungodly Discipline

On Friday Nov 25, Anderson Cooper continued his look at Ungodly Discipline. Here is the video and here is the transcript.

Also, here is more about Spanking in Christian Schools aired on Dec 1, 2011.

Claire’s Testimony

Claire  has been doing some more Myth Busting at Dare to Disciple in Myth Busting 4: My Story.  Here are the myths she busts in this installment:

  • ‘Punish’ and ‘discipline’ are synonyms.  (note:  Sally Clarkson mentioned this in a recent post)
  • All Christians spank.
  • Spanking is the best way to make a point to a young child.
  • Spanking works.
  • God mandates – or at least strongly recommends – corporal punishment.
  • Children are lesser citizens than adults.
  • People have to feel bad to act better.

A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures

Discipleship Parenting has started a series of  Biblical evidence against spanking in, Rightly Dividing the Word: A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures.

She has also posted 2 addendums to her Letters to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

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…]

Letters to Dobson

Discipleship Parenting wrote a Letter to Dr. James Dobson. It is a lovely letter, you should take a look at it. In it she gives a testimony of how his teaching on spanking hurt her family and how they found something better.

She got a reply from Focus on The Family defending their stance.

She then wrote another letter where she explained further how his teachings are damaging and dangerous.

She received another reply from Focus on the Family which reiterated what was said in the first letter.

I highly recommend that you read these letters.

Edited to add that  she has posted 2 addendums to her first letter to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

Is Punishment Biblical?

Rach at The Incorrigible Gingers discusses the question, “Is Punishment Biblical?”  Notice that she is not just referring to corporal punishment here but all punishment.   Now, that is a really radical thought.

Brandy Explains How She Disciplines

Brandy of Brandy’s Brood tried the Pearls’ method and found it to have a very negative impact on  their toddler so they gave up spanking and moved towards more gentle discipline.  She tells her story in her post, Ask Brandy: Discipline.  While still using non-corporal punishments, they strive to be gentle and are still on their learning journey. <3

I do feel compelled to mention that she highly recommends Lisa Whelchel’s Creative Corrections.  I do not.  While I’m sure it contains some very good ideas, it also contains some bad ones, including putting a drop of hot sauce on a child’s tongue for lying.

For more information about Creative Corrections, please see psychological torture as ‘creative correction’

Note: Brandy has apparently lost her domain and her entire blog. I am leaving this post up because of the information about Lisa Whelchel.

The Root Problem

Dulce de Leche uncovers the root problem with the punitive mindset in her post, Authority, Submission, Control and Discipline.

Yes, the root problem is control. Now that you have seen why we should not try to control our children, Lucy explains why she cannot control her children and what that looks like in her house.

My Experiences With Spanking

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

This Bible verse and the idea that it refers to a literal rod encompassed most of my mother’s parenting philosophy. How to Be the Parents of Happy and Obedient Children by Roy Lessin strongly influenced her interpretation and application of this verse. One of the messages of Lessin’s book is that a child’s salvation depends on frequent and hearty spankings. My mother was passionate about obeying what she believed God wanted.  She didn’t raise her voice at me or spank me  “in anger.” However, I was spanked on the legs with a dowel rod for every infraction, including refusing to hug her after a spanking.  No “disrespect” was tolerated. This meant I had very little avenue for the expression of negative emotions except stuffing them down. This suppression of emotion back-fired when I became violent towards other children as a preteen. Later when as a teenager I learned to refrain from violence toward others I began to turn the violence towards myself. I had hysterical episodes where I would violently hit myself and destroy any possession I cared about that was breakable. As an adult I still struggle with feelings of self-hatred.

Throughout my childhood there was an emphasis on perfection. The burden of proving the effectiveness of my mother’s parenting fell directly on my shoulders. When people would comment on how well behaved I was she would often respond, “That’s what spanking will do!” Sometimes she would add an anecdote to show how stubborn I had once been and how spanking worked even for children as strong-willed as I. She often said she spanked me because she loved me and that it was really sad some children’s parents didn’t love them enough to spank them so they could be better people. Because of comments like this I believed I had an idyllic childhood and a mother worthy of sainthood. I thought the depression which haunted me was all my own fault for not being cheerful and content enough. When I had children not only did my depression become worse but now my children shared the results of my miserable negativity. I didn’t want to spank them but I had been trained that if I didn’t I was disobeying God and I didn’t love them. I did not spank as early or as often as I had been spanked but I felt horrible inside when I did spank. I found myself becoming unreasonably angry with my children when they disobeyed because I dreaded “having” to give them a spanking. Finally one day I faced God with an open heart and I told Him I found it hard to believe that a loving God would require a mother to deliberately cause pain to her small child. I asked Him to show me His true plan for parenting, whatever it might be. That very day I saw my daughter giving one of her baby dolls a spanking. She whacked it indiscriminately all over. Suddenly I saw my parenting through a child’s eyes and I was shocked and horrified. I began researching the so-called spanking scriptures and I was led to Gentle Christian Mothers where I finally found help for a different way of parenting. When I realized the rod was one of guidance, discipleship and example, I began to cry. It was as if a huge burden had been lifted from me. I haven’t spanked my children since that day. We still have a ways to go in healing our relationship but we have already come so far. It has amazed me how much I learn about them and how much more I can help them when I take the time to look for the why of their behavior instead of masking the problem with a spanking.

The transition from punitive to gentle parenting has been difficult. When I stopped spanking my children their repressed emotion began to come out. For a time it seemed as if they were always angry and I had to remind myself they had a lot to be angry about. I have had to learn new ways to help them deal with emotion and new ways of setting boundaries in a kind but firm manner. In short, I’ve had to re-parent myself and my children all at once. Things have gradually gotten better as I’ve learned from gentle mothers who are wiser and more experienced than I. It has taken a lot of prayer and a lot of hard work. Recently I saw something that made it all worth while. My daughter was playing with her baby doll and she pretended it was trying to hit her. Instead of hitting it as she once would have done she sweetly said, “No, no, be kind,” and gently restrained it with a hug. I could finally look into the mirror of her innocence and not shudder.

People often use the argument that spanking doesn’t work. I haven’t found that to be true. Consistent spanking does work in the short term if your goal is a smiling little copy of yourself who does everything you say and who doesn’t know how to say no to anyone who plays the authority card. Long term, it leads to depression, anger, fear, lack of personal boundaries, and if healing is not sought, violence.

Some of these things have been painful to share but I want to help people see the dark side of the spanking fairy tale. There is no magic formula for parenting. It’s about love, persistence, empathy, boundaries and admitting mistakes.

If you are considering raising your children with spankings and punitive parenting please look into their little eyes and commit to breaking the cycle of violence. If you were raised this way, please get help and healing so that you don’t pass on the violence to others. Thank God, in His love there is a more excellent way.

I Don’t Spank My Children by Rachel

Discipline and Discipleship

These words (obviously) share a root word. As a Christian parent, I see these words as inseparable. There are, of course, times when I forget that disciplining my children is ultimately an act of disciple-ing them, but overall this is how I view God’s intended role for me as a mother. I believe this is how most Christians see their roles as parents.

Lest we speak past one another, I want to clearly state here at the beginning that when I use the word “discipline” that I do not mean spanking or punishing my children. Many Christian parents use the word “discipline” when they mean spanking, but this is not how I’m using this word.

Every discussion I’ve ever read or participated in that involves Christians and spanking, someone eventually says that spanking is the God-ordained method of disciplining our children. Some people go so far as to say that NOT spanking is sin; others take a milder approach and say that NOT spanking is, at least, unwise.

I have spanked my children (so I’m not coming from a place of unfamiliarity with the practice), but I do not spank them anymore. Why? Because I found spankings to be a stumbling block and a crutch, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me through my experiences. When spanking was an option I allowed myself, I found that I did not parent well. It was too easy to threaten a spanking instead of communicating with my children. It was too easy to spank instead of dealing with their hearts. It was too easy to give into righteous indignation that my children did not fear me so much that they would jump-to the minute I gave an order. It was too easy to become self-centered and expect my children to make my life easier. In short, spanking gave me an out:  I didn’t have to *work* at parenting, I could just spank them.

If you spank, that last paragraph probably resulted in you writing me off. Maybe you feel insulted — “She’s saying I’m lazy because I spank!” Maybe you’ve categorized me as someone who used spanking “incorrectly”; you are thinking “That’s why I never spank in anger and I always pray and hug my child afterward.” Honestly, I’m accusing you of nothing, I’m simply telling you that NOT spanking improved my parenting, strengthens my connection with my children, and allows me to focus on my ultimate parenting goal: Discipleship. Plainly and simply, spanking got in the way.

Parenting without spanking means that I must stop and *think* about all of the issues that are swirling around us when I give my children instructions. (Are the kids tired? Hungry? Are they having a rough day? Am *I* having a rough day?) I must stop and think about whether the instructions are valid. (Am I being unreasonable? Am I parenting strictly for my own convenience?) Stopping and thinking only takes a few seconds, and as I’ve been parenting this way for several years, I’ve found that I’m rarely aware of these as conscious thoughts anymore.

Parenting without spanking means that my children are free to confess to me without fear of spanking. Sometimes there are consequences for what they confess, but their openness allows us to have a conversation about the issue and for now they accept the natural consequences of their actions with a good attitude. Very rarely do my children attempt to hide their deeds from me, and I’ve had the opportunity to coach them about confessing misdeeds to others in their lives.

Parenting without spanking means that I must actively engage my children about their sinful hearts. Spanking isn’t present to cloud the issue, spanking isn’t present to become the focus of their resentment, spanking isn’t seen as a method of atonement for their sins. I want them to understand that Christ atoned for their sins, therefore we forgive others and ask for forgiveness.

So often when I explain to people that I parent without spanking, their response is, “Maybe you have time to talk to your kids every time, but sometimes I need my children to obey me immediately.” This is not a family-specific need. Sometimes I also need my children to obey me without question, and they usually do when we are in such a situation… I can make it clear with my tone that this is not the time for us to have a discussion or to attempt to give their perspective. We’ve arrived at this point because when my children were younger, if they did not obey me, I simply “made it happen.” If I told them to “Come Here,” and they did not, I went to get them. If I told them to “Pick up your shoes,” and they did not, I placed their hands in mine and made them pick them up. They’ve learned that I will “make” them comply with my commands if they are unable or unwilling to comply on their own.

I know that sounds crazy to you. I know this because it sounded crazy to me when I was first introduced to parenting without spanking. The best way I can explain why I no longer think it is crazy can be summed up by two points:

*Children are immature. At first they are able to do nothing for themselves, so we help them with everything. As they gain maturity, they take on more responsibility and we have to do less for them. I no longer tie shoes or dress my girls, though at one time I did both of these things. At one time they were unable to obey me every time without my help, so I helped them with that, too. Now that they are more mature, I have to help them comply less and less.

*Children sometimes refuse to obey. When this happens, I “make” them obey and the task is done. They are learning that resistance is futile; Mom *will* make me comply. If I were spanking I would have to spank the child for disobedience and then *still* have to make them obey in the end. (And sometimes this is a loop of give instruction, spank for disobedience, continued refusal, spank harder for disobedience, continued refusal, spank even harder for disobedience, continued refusal… and the parent is left with the choice of spanking so hard that it is physically damaging OR deciding it isn’t worth the battle OR doing what I did in the first step and “make” it happen.)

As I mentioned before, many Christians consider NOT spanking to be sinful; others just label it as “unwise” for not heeding “clear instruction” from the Bible. If NOT spanking works well for me, would these Christians have me spank anyway as some sort of insurance plan just in case my exegesis is incorrect? That makes no sense to me, and my God doesn’t want insurance-plan “obedience.”

My discipline goal is discipleship. I found that spanking distracted me from this goal, and the Holy Spirit convicted me to parent gently. So, I don’t spank my children.

-Rachel



Behaviour Modification

This blog post is exactly one year old today. I am linking to it because I just found it and have always found this topic interesting.  Behaviour Modification: Punishment by Hippie Housewife.  Here is a quote:

…Every day I hear the same parenting advice – punishment and rewards, threats and praise, negative and positive attention. In other words, the very definition of behaviour modification.

Does it work? That depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to get your child to mind you, then yes, it quite often does. However, for our own family’s goals, we have chosen not to use this system of behaviour modification. I’d like to share our reasons for this choice, today focusing in particular on the punishment side, saving the rewards/praise aspect for another day…

Here is her follow up post Behaviour Modification: Praise to which she alluded in that quote.