What is a “spankable” offense? (To spank a child – or not? – Part 3)

In this continuing series of posts (you can see the beginning here) I’m discussing the understanding and application of spanking as a form of discipline…

If you’ve not read the post right before this – you really should so you know how we are defining a “spanking” – you can find it here.

One of the problems my wife and I have run into time and again with our 5 kids, is deciding when a spanking is appropriate and when some other form of discipline is better.  It’s a tough call at times and is ALWAYS determined by the situation – in most cases.  Having said that, there are a few things that my wife and I always-without-fail-until-the-world-ends spank for.  They are…

  • Lying – My wife said an interesting thing to one of my children a few days ago when we were dealing with a lie that had been told.  I was stunned by the profoundness of her comment.  She said something like this, “Life is about words… words are what relationships are based on.  If your words are not truthful and trustworthy, then your relationships will suffer.  Your words MUST be full of truth in order for your life to be right.”  That’s pretty powerful.  Behind her statement is this reality: God Himself is all about truth.  If we are going to raise children who know how to be truthful people, then lying has to have a firm consequence.  I know, I know, it’s natural for kids (and adults) to lie.  But that’s only because we are not God (only?)… Our desire as Christians is to be an imitator of God – so we have to take lying seriously.
  • Blatant disobedience – if we’ve given an instruction to one of our children, no matter how minor of a task it was, and they deliberately or obstinantly defy us by refusing to obey that instruction, then we spank.  God takes rebelliousness pretty seriously.  He banished Adam and Eve from the garden because of it.  Even before that He cast Lucifer out of heaven for it.  Look throughout the scriptures… people like Moses, Abraham, David, Peter, even Paul were disciplined pretty severely at times because of an attitude of rebelliousness toward God.  REMEMBER, our relationship with our kids is a “model” for their relationship with God (flawed as it is).  We’ve got to show them that rebellion, toward us and God will not be tolerated at all.
  • Disrespect toward us (the parents) – God’s two main commands to kids are to obey their parents (we remember that one most of the time) and to honor their parents (oops, forgot that one…).  I’ve written on this more fully elsewhere.  If our children are showing disrespect toward us (tone of voice, rolling eyes, argumentative attitude, HUGE sighs when instructed to do something, whining/complaining attitude, “awww dad…..”) or anything that even smells like disrespect, they will receive a spanking.  Again, go back to our relationship with God.  He is to be feared – and respected.  Our children need to learn that without exception they are to honor their parents – because that’s how they will learn to honor God.
  • Intentional harm to another person – If one of our kids intentionally harms another person (a sibling is usually the target of choice), without sufficient cause (self-defense, etc.) we will spank them.  Jesus’ two biggest commands were to love God with all we are and to love other people.  Violent or hurtful behavior toward others cannot be allowed.  I hear parents quite often talking about  how their kids “fight like cats and dogs” or how they just can’t seem to get along.  My contention is this:  Mom and Dad have assumed they would get along (after all – they ARE siblings) instead of teaching them the importance of loving each other – practically.  And Mom and Dad have not required/demanded/insisted on kindness and consideration toward each other.  A firm spanking, immediately upon such an offense will curb that tendency rather quickly.  You’ll have to watch out for the behind-the-scenes, passive aggressive stuff for a while and address that too – but over time such animosity will fade away – PROVIDING you are doing some teaching about what the Bible says about such behavior along with the spankings, and work hard to get to their hearts.  Now I know some will say, “So you address violence (their hitting) with violence (a spanking)?”  Sounds logical but in reality it’s a ridiculous statement and here’s why… violence and spanking are worlds apart.  Violence has, at it’s root, a desire to harm or bring damage to another person.  Spanking has, at it’s root, a desire to correct and direct a child.  The two are about as similar as night and day.
  • Foolish actions that can possibly cause harm to them or others – I wrote an example of this in this post.  If a child is rushing toward some harmful situation in an utterly oblivious/foolish manner (running into the street, reaching for a hot pan, sticking something into the electrical socket) a spanking is part of what teaches them not to be so foolish.  Better for them to be spanked than to be hit by a car, etc.  A little pain that instructs, rather than a lot of pain that might ruin their life.  It’s a very fair – and LOVING trade-off…
  • Other situations – these are the foundational ones, but there are other situations where we might administer a spanking as the Spirit of God leads.  I’m sure we’ve made some bad calls on this in our years of parenting, but overall I don’t think we’ve overdone it very often…

There have been a number of times that our family has been in a public setting and we’ve been complimented on the obedience, respect, and overall consideration our kids exhibit.  I attribute that fruit to the wisdom of God – in giving us the tool of a good spanking.

There have also been times when we’ve been in a public setting and there is some other kid who is practically tearing the place apart.  It’s happened more than once where one of our younger children (4 to 6) will turn to one of us and say, “That boy needs a spanking.”  From the mouths of babes…

4 thoughts on “What is a “spankable” offense? (To spank a child – or not? – Part 3)

  1. If Jesus was alive today he’d be so disapointed with how many Christians use the bible to defend spanking their children for 1,001 petty offenses. What you want are little robots that don’t think for themselves and just follow orders. Do as I say or I’ll beat you. Look like I want you to or I’ll beat you. Six paragraphs to “defend” what are spankable offenses. I feel sorry for your kids. They deserve better.

    • Thanks for your comment AFMLCAATJBS – I think…

      You presume to know my motives and you presume to know my heart… when in reality you know neither. If you really wanted to UNDERSTAND this issue, you’d engage in dialogue, with give and take on both sides. Instead you call names, assume motives, and malign me. Your comments show you for what you really are… anyone with a brain can see that…

    • I disagree Spanking has been around for thousands of years and I believe that Jesus believes in spankings. In some middle Eastern countries they still use whips/rods which I believe is wrong. I believe there is a limit to spanking like: leaving bruises and blood or even death is wrong. But a good old fashioned spanking doesn’t hurt no one. Except your bum. People say it shouldn’t hurt. Thats not true it needs to hurt to correct. When your kids get out in the world and steals,lies or disrespect someone and the go to jail or prison then its really gonna hurt. Cause someone is libel to cold cock them. Then what? People have gone way to the wrong extremes on spanking. Child abuse is totally different. It pisses me off when people cry abuse when a kid gets spanked especially with a wooden spoon or belt if done reasonably there is no brusies or blood. I was abused and I sure know the difference. I have met many respectable, decent ,successful, people who got spanked with spoons and belts. They have self control and they are not addicts or in abusive situations. Another thing these generations of kids are so rude, disrespectful, selfish, they say whatever they think,they indulge in sin, and they are faithless, a lot of this could come from not getting spankings. Because its the I can do whatever I want mentality.

  2. I think your list is pretty board personally. I think for me the spanking is more the backup. My wife is pregnant and will give birth in January. We are expecting a boy. I think what I will generally be doing for the small child might be to 1. Verbally correct/warn (if severe, sternly), if that fails then a timeout/take something away will happen. if that fails, a spanking may occur. If the child is given a timeout and is fighting it, a spanking may come.

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