A few months ago I posted this very question on my blog. I am reposting it again amidst the recent frenzy over a proposed law that would ban the ability of parents to discipline their children with spanking.
Here are my thoughts.
When I had my first son, I can remember declaring that no one would ever lay a hand on my child. His grandparents of course thought that this was the most hillarious thing they had ever heard.
I soon realized that there comes a time when some form of physical punishment may be necessary to communicate the seriousness of a particular action.
The old folks use to say "If I don't whip him the policeman will."
Not only do I believe that spanking is necessary, it is also Biblical.
The Bible is clear when it provides us with direction about children. First of all Jesus let's us know his feelings about children in these scriptures.
"Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." (Mark 9:37);
"Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." (Mark 10:15)
These scriptures tell us that Jesus has placed high importance on children and their place in the kingdom. Therefore it is safe to say that childrens' wellbeing is of utmost importance to Him.
God later gives us guidelines to follow with regards to rearing our children. He says that we should train them up in the way that they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. He further says that if we spare the rod we will spoil the child.
It is clear that He intends for us to find a balance between the two. Neither of these methods is independent of the other.
I believe that if you take the time to train your children properly, then spanking them will only need to be done sparingly. My rule of thumb was to use spanking only when the offense would result in physical harm to the children or to others.
Furthermore, extension cords, broom handles, and such go far beyond spanking. They are abusive.
The problem with the proposed law is that it will not deter an abuser. Much the same way that restraining orders and various laws that are in place for those that abuse women do not deter them from their course. This law would only limit discipline options for concerned parents.
The system is not ready for the ramifiactions of children gone wild. We have already seen some of these consequences as a result of banning spanking in schools.
What do you think?