Spanking to be done away with?November 2, 2004
In Britain today, they are voting whether to ban parents from using certain forms of corporal punishment with their children. This means ultimately that no spanking would be allowed, if certain members of parliament get their way.
Proverbs indeed does talk about “sparing the rod and spoiling the child”, and many Christians support spankings as a biblical route to take in discipline.
But have we thought through the main reason why this is effective? In my book, “To Be a Father Like the Father” I describe the three primary situations when a spanking is called for as the most useful type of discipline (which comes from the word “disciple” which means “one who is taught”). First, when they are doing something which will cause them harm or pain. A small pain will ward off a much larger one. Or when they are doing something that will cause someone else pain. The third instance needs to be occasionally considered: When a child is exercising infant defiance, they are setting up their own boundary which conflicts with parental authority. This may cause them irreparable harm. However, in this instance physical punishment can be misused and therefore, needs to be prayed through before it is exercised.
I personally don’t think corporal punishment is effective past the age of seven. After that, the force of the spanking comes close to abuse in order to make a point. Also by that age, they have the experience to understand large pain without experiencing small pain.