“Go to your room. I’ll be there in a minute.” Those words spoken to our daughters when they were growing up were serious words. They knew that it meant one thing – a S-P-A-N-K-I-N-G was coming! Sometimes they would hear our footsteps soon after they’d gotten to their bedroom. Other times, we would have to go off and pray and collect ourselves first!
In our home, discipline always took place in a private place. If we were at home, it happened in their bedroom. If we were in a public place we went to the privacy of our mini van.
Yes, we spanked our girls. We didn’t abuse them or beat them, but we took literally the command to use a rod (never our hand) and spank them on their bottom when the situation called for it. Several things demanded a spanking –
- Direct disobedience
If one of our daughters committed one of those three sins, they knew a spanking would follow. However, it wasn’t just a spanking that was given, we saw this as an opportunity to teach. This wasn’t a time to vent our anger and pop them right then and there where the crime was committed. No, they went to their room, then we came in to administer the spanking.
Even then, the first thing that happened was the Bible was opened and we read them the Scripture that they had disobeyed. We read these verses for Disrespect , Disobedience, and Lying. I often reminded my girls that the Lord expected me to obey Him and train them. I shared with them many times the story of Eli the priest, who was chastened because he would not correct his sinful sons. Then we would have them pray and ask the Lord to forgive them for what they had done. They also needed to make it right with us. We would ask them again what they were getting this spanking for; we wanted to be sure they understood what they had done that was sinful. We would tell them how many swats they were going to get – (2 or 3) so there were no surprises. We didn’t not let our girls throw a fit. Crying was permitted, of course, but no tantrum was allowed. We would hold them in our arms afterward and love them while they cried. We then prayed for them, then assured them that all was forgiven and over with. It always amazed me how quickly life got back to sweet and wonderful after a spanking. They were right with God and us and we could enjoy life as a family! Discipline took time, but it was well worth it!
When do you spank a child? Do you wait until he’s disobeyed a half a dozen times that day and has pushed you to your limit? No, as they are trained from the earliest time of understanding, they are taught that if they lie, disobey or show disrespect they will be spanked. Period. Then you must be consistent. It’s amazing that if you are faithful in your child’s training in his early years, you won’t have to spank nearly as often as they enter their mid-elementary age.
What about other issues – not finishing a task you’ve asked your child to do, being unkind to their sibling, acting out in public – how are these things handled? I think the best discipline is something associated with the offense. If they were to empty the dishwasher and they didn’t do it, at the next mealtime they will be required to both load and unload the dishwasher – or wash the dishes by hand and dry them. If they’ve been unkind to their brother, ask them to serve them in some way. If they misbehaved in children’s church, require them to sit out next Sunday and sit beside you.
With each kind of discipline, however, is opportunity to teach – that means to sit down with them face to face and tell them what the Word of God says. Why was their behavior being corrected? For instance – “Proverbs says that a lazy person won’t have anything, but a hard worker will have plenty. God wants us to learn to work hard.” Proverbs 13:4 It’s easy to want to overlook their behavior, and it’s certainly less work, but it leads to a miserable home life, unhappy parents, and an unhappy child. Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. The opposite then, is that discipline will bring joy into your home!
Discipline is far more than a spanking! It’s taking the time to teach why the offense was sinful, reminding them that they have indeed sinned against God and need to make it right. Disciplining reminds our children that they need a Savior! We are helping them learn this each time we teach them in discipline! You are pointing them to Christ. What a wonderful opportunity.
Don’t excuse your child’s sinful behavior – teach them through discipline and experience the joy of a happy home, a sweet child, and one who loves Jesus for dying for their sin!
If this creates questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments!