Reply to a blog reader about spanking

Another homeschool alum sent me a message after a debate on my Facebook page after I posted an article about spanking.

I try to address questions like this in a balanced way, no matter how I feel personally.

Here’s her message:

Hey Eleanor! I saw that you posted an article on spanking children on your facebook, and I wanted to comment on it, but I seemed as though the comments were getting a tad heated, and I didn’t want to add to that fire. (slightsmile emoticon) So I thought I would just PM you. If you would like me to post this on the thread, I can, I just thought you might like to have a chance to “screen” me first!

Anyway, I read the article and comments on it and thought of this article I read previously: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/effective-biblical-discipline/effective-child-dis

And wondered what your thoughts on it are. I have to say, I was raised in a spanking family and my personal experience is that it establish clear boundaries for me and helped me respect my parents even more for a variety of reasons: I knew it hurt them when I disobeyed, I knew they were trying to teach me right and wrong, and I knew that they never, ever, spanked me when they were upset or angry. As an adult, I worked in a daycare where, obviously, we could not use any form of physical punishment and it is certainly possible to discipline children effectively without using spanking. I guess I’m curious what you think about this article particularly because I struggle with the Bible’s seemingly clear declaration that parents should use physical punishment for discipline as opposed to the world’s very negative view of it.

Yikes, that was wordy! Did it make any sense at all? Lol hope this finds you well and settling into your new apartment quickly!

Here’s my response:

Hey, I just wanted to apologize for not getting back to you quickly.  I was busy with trying to move and all the rest and I wanted to give thought to this.

I have several friends who were spanked and do not feel like they were abused. This makes sense to me, because their spankings were only a few swats to get their attention.

I grew up in a family where my parents could explode without warning and often my younger siblings were just spanked without explanation. The reason for the discipline wasn’t communicated to them and we weren’t told that our parents valued us and didn’t think we were bad. We weren’t also given positive affirmations and we didn’t feel secure in our parents’ love. 

So that, I think is where the difference comes in. I don’t think that the Bible says that we have to spank our children? That’s not how I interpret those verses.

I would have a lot of difficulty with spanking my children and would avoid it at all costs. I think some children can be spanked and not have the negative consequences or be traumatized by it. But I would rather avoid it if at all possible, because of my past.

Hope you are doing well. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Reply to a blog reader about spanking

  1. Hi! I think it is good to talk about these things and get a good open dialog going. If you two do not mind, I would enjoy joining in this debate. I did not see your Facebook post EL…I am not on FB anymore.I am however a mother of 4. We are instructed by the Lord to train our children in what is right and good. I agree that there are so many ways to teach and guide a child other than physical pain. I do also believe that corporal punishment has a limited and specific use in that teaching and training. Small children just need to be redirected and patiently, gently repetitively taught. They are curious and everything is new and an adventure. They do not know what will cause them harm or danger. To their little minds, its pretty or sparkly or might taste good. They will return time and time again and as a loving diligent parent, we must repeat instruction over and over until it clicks in their amazingly teachable brains. It is easy to get frustrated, aggravated and downright angry at a child. I think this reveals more about the adult’s heart than the curious child. These is a lot of scripture written to rebuke and angry man or woman than there is about an adventurous child. There is also a ton of teaching about remaining under control and not exasperating a child.
    In times of down right looking you in the eye rebellion. Trust me every parent KNOWS when this is happening, I do believe a controlled, calm spank and then teaching and love after the spanking is needed.
    I can testify and so can my children that I was wrong in how I spanked sometimes. I was angry sometimes. I should have gotten the spanking instead of them for being out of control emotionally. They were kids, I WAS THE ADULT!!. I take 100% responsibility for what I did back then and have had to seek their forgiveness.
    I wish so many times I could go back and be a different mom. I wish I parented with more GRACE than LAW!!

    TThere is a woman named Joe Frost. She is called SUPER NANNY. She had a t.v. show I enjoyed watching. She gave so many firm, direct and effective child training techniques that I wish would have been taught to me as a young Christian and mom.

    I like how you guys are challenging this practice in the Christian community. I sincerely thought I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. I wanted to do right for my kids. I loved them with all my heart. I came from a dysfunctional family and I wanted to learn the right way to parent my kids. I did none of this from malice…all good intentions. I listened to the wrong people for the right reasons. I did not question enough. I did not study the word of God enough. Again this was all my responsibility.
    I am sorry Eleanor for your pain. I know by growing in the knowledge of how much God loves you and learning of his abundant mercy and Grace for you, healing and forgiveness will come.

    Like

  2. Spare the “rod” is about a shepherd’s guiding rod.
    Punishment has to do with fear. It’s not hard to set effective boundaries without spanking.

    Like

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