Steph Needs Input From Parents

Steph is a graduate student working on her Master’s thesis on the topic of corporal punishment. If you are a parent, please consider helping her by taking this survey.

By taking this survey, I hereby give my consent to participate in the following research study conducted by Steph. I understand that my participation in this project will involve questions about my experiences, attitudes and feelings regarding the use of corporal punishment and other discipline techniques. I understand that completing the questionnaire will take me no longer than 20-30 minutes.

Participation is completely voluntary and I am free to not respond to any item and to withdraw my consent from the study at any time. I understand that there is no penalty for refusal to participate or withdraw from the study.

I understand my answers will be completely anonymous. My name will not be identified with any data collected in the study and responses will be considered for confidential research use only.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3C98FNH

Note: The survey has been completed, thank you for your participation.

It’s Not Always Easy

Carissa Robinson shares that Gentle Parenting is not always a bed of roses and how to get through the hard times in Bumbling Along.

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.

Can Spanking Be Sexual Abuse?

Emeth Hesed has posted an explanation of something few talk about, the risks of normal, disciplinary spankings causing sexual dysfunction.  Of course, it doesn’t happen to all children, but is it worth the risk?

She explores spanking further in, To Spank or Not To Spank…Is Not The Question.

Jesus: Gentle Parent

Little Hearts Gentle Parenting Resources posts about Jesus, The Gentle Parent and how we can learn from Him and His example.

Gentle Parenting Toolbox part 2

Dulce de Leche has posted part 2 of her teaching on the Gentle Discipline Toolbox.

Biblical Perspectives on Spanking

Ordained Minister( and Parenting and Relationship expert)  Thomas Haller has written an article with Chick Moorman called, Biblical Perspectives on Spanking in which they take a closer look at the typical verses which are considered to command parents to spank.

Samuel Martin’s book, Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me, also studies those verses, as well as Jewish attitudes towards children in Biblical times.  Brenda King of Positively Feminine has a book review of his book and is also offering a chance to win a free copy of it.

In other news, I have updated yesterday’s post with part III of the series.

Control

The Peaceful Housewife doesn’t like to be controlled. Do you? Most people don’t.  😉 It shouldn’t come as any surprise that our children don’t like it much either.

Meanwhile, Dulce de Leche explains a bit of what not controlling your budding chef looks like.

Parenting 101

Carissa Robinson has posted some fundamentals of gentle parenting.  Just think of it as Parenting 101.

(Note that I also updated the post below this one with one new link)

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…]

Myth Busting

Claire has been doing some Myth Busting over at Dare to Disciple.   Today  I would like to feature  Myth Busting 3: Backtalk, Consistency and the United Front.

For your convenience, here are her previous posts:

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…]

Good Parenting Resources

Dulce de Leche shares how she rejected the teachings of Ezzo and Pearl and what she replaced them with in Christian Parenting Books: How Our Bookshelf Grew.

She then shares her Christian Parenting Books Recommendations which is a very good resource.

And here are her Discipline Books Recommendations.

Back in April she shared another very good resource, what is in her Gentle Discipline Tool Box.  This is a must read for anyone who has an interest in gentle discipline.

Also, here is Pearl In Oyster’s list of Recommended Parenting Books.

Raising Toddlers Gently

Ashley Van Otterloo has written a post for The Journey about how to overcome obstacles in the gentle parenting of toddlers.

Grace Is For Mamas, too

Dulce has done a post at Authentic Parenting Blog called, Gently Disciplining Ourselves – Part I.  In this post she explains how to be the kind of parent you were planing to be when you were a child.

Here is Part 2.

Here is Part 3.

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



Spanking and Proverbs – Part 2: Interpretations

Barefoot Betsy continues her look at Proverbs with, Spanking and Proverbs Part 2: Interpretations.  This is long but very well worth reading as she has done a very good job of helping us understand what the proverbs about the rod are really saying.

Teaching Myself My Own Lessons

Continuing in my theme of Gentle Discipline,  The Hippie Housewife has posted another great example in Teaching Myself My Own Lessons.

Grace Based Discipline and the Oppositional Child

Recently I posted a link to what Gentle Discipline is not, today we will look at Gentle Discipline is. GreeneGem has written a very useful post about Grace Based Discipline and the Oppositional Child. You will certainly want to read this post because she gives very clear and detailed examples as well as explaining what Grace Based Discipline is and why she uses it.

What Gentle Discipline is Not

Those who desire to give up spanking need a viable alternative. My recommendation is Gentle Discipline aka Grace Based Discipline. Carissa Robinson shares what Gentle Discipline is not which is also helpful, especially to those who have rejected it because of a lack of understanding.

Why churches are failing

Thriller Author has written a blog post at HubPages called Why Churches Are Failing.

This is a rather harsh wake up call for all Christians to consider and I believe that it is warranted. The Pearls’ teachings are mentioned in passing along with Ezzo’s.

I don’t know exactly what these HubPages are but I notice that they also have a positive review of To Train Up A Child. Needless to say, I do not agree with her conclusions of this book. It looks like members of this Hub can vote for the pages and affect their ratings. Hmmmm . . .

For more realistic reviews of To Train Up A Child, please see my list of reviews.

Tools for the empty toolbox

GreenGem has posted part 3 of her journey towards grace wherein she shares where she found the tools to replace spanking.

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 4

Carissa Robinson concludes her “Is Spanking Biblical?” series with Is Spanking Biblical? Part 4: Why We Have Chosen Not To.

Entrapment

Do you ever entrap your children?  Read this blog entry from Dare to Disciple to learn more about entrapment.  Failure to heed this warning may lead to developing an adversarial relationship with your children.

Grace-ful Parenting of Toddlers

Here is some advice on how Grace-ful Parenting of Toddlers by a mother who has already been through this and is now the mother of adults.

Is Spanking Biblical?

Carissa Robinson has started a new series, Is Spanking Biblical? Part 1: Proverbs.

Also, check out this discussion on the blog entry at Gentle Christian Mothers with Crystal Lutton of Arms of Love Family Fellowship.

Here is the rest of Carissa’s series:

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 1: Proverbs, CONTINUED

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 2: Hebrews 12

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 3: Spanking Relieves Guilt?

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 4: Why We Have Chosen Not To.

Addressing Parenting Techniques

Scita Scienda has a new post Addressing Parenting Techniques.  It looks like it could become part of the introduction to their Parenting in the Name of God series.