What does the Bible say about spanking your child?


As a Christian parent, you must always go back to the Scripture and see what the Bible says about how to discipline a child. Does God approve of spanking? Let's take a look at these verses below.

Discipline is Love

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. – Proverbs 13:24

The Book of Proverbs is an important source of information on child rearing. In the verse above, the Bible tells every parent that you must discipline your child if you care for him/her. Not only does lack of discipline make a wayward child, but it also produces a miserable child.

The Bible doesn't condone spoiled and unruly children. Children must always be given boundaries, without that, they will be lost. Further, children need to respect authority. Otherwise, they will defy and disregard figures of authority when they grew up (police, pastors, teachers, and parents).

Discipline is tough and is one of the hardest challenges a parent must face. However, if you love your child and want him/her to grow up with respect and direction, discipline is a must.

The Rod of Discipline

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. – Proverbs 22:15

So, how do you discipline your child? Should you spank your child by hand or use something else to spank him/her? The Bible mentions that you must use the rod of discipline, but it isn't clear what this rod exactly is. Another verse says:

Withhold not discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the (reed-like) rod, he will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. – Proverbs 23:13-14

We've already established how important it is to discipline a child when he/she is still young. As you can see, "the foolishness in the heart of a child" was mentioned in Proverbs. This refers to a child's natural instinct to rebel if he/she doesn't respect authority.

It is also mentioned that you must strike your child with a reed-like rod. Back then, parents would use a fruit tree branch to spank their child on the buttocks. Modern day parents prefer using a small wooden spoon. Bear in mind that the rod must be flat and must only be applied to the buttocks. Also, when spanking, the movement must be a flick of a wrist, not swinging your arms all the way up and down.

Spanking must not take long. It should be short-lived. The act is about making a point; it's not to cause physical harm to your child. Even if they don't feel so much pain, it will teach them about the consequence of their actions. Together with spanking, you also have to devote a couple of minutes to talk to your child and explain why you had to do that.

Train Your Child

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

The Bible tells you to train your child, let no other person tell you otherwise. Nowadays, modern society has been very sensitive about spanking a child. For most, it's called child abuse. If parents do it the wrong way, it may fall under abuse, but of course, Christian parents know otherwise.

With the guidance of the Bible and God, Christians parents know better than to be selfish and protect their own feelings. Christian parents who really love their child will be willing to make sacrifices, even if it means seeing their little boy/girl in tears (which is hard) after disciplining them.

Remember, it's not enough to just tell your child what is right and what is wrong. Despite this knowledge, children tend not to listen and ignore your authority. Don't let that happen. You want them to have boundaries, develop good habits, and be respectful citizens someday. Can you imagine, if they can't respect and listen to you, how will they respect and listen to God? Now that's something to ponder on.