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Good Citizens are Formed at Home

Updated on March 2, 2013

Spanking: Will it Make or Break a Child?

“Whoever spares the rod hates the child, but whoever loves will apply discipline.” (Proverbs 13:24)

I strongly agree with this passage, not just because I am a Christian, but also because I can prove this to be one of the most effective methods of molding a child to become a better person.

I grew up with considerable spanking during my childhood years. Let me reiterate, I got spanked many times, NOT beat! There is a huge difference between the two words. And, even if I have already come of age, it never occurs to me that I have been abused or maltreated by my mother, at all. Rather, those spanking moments have helped me become a better person now. I got spanked because I deserved it. I was quite a mischievous child who enjoyed challenging my mother’s authority. But I am thankful my mother did what she did to me; otherwise, I would not have been who and what I am today. Through that kind of discipline I become a highly-organized, well-trained, team player, caring person, and law-abiding citizen.

Spanking worked on me and on my other siblings in a positive manner, primarily because our parents always made it a point to explain to us why we get punished for our grave wrongdoings. And, perhaps the degree or the intensity of punishment we received was just enough for us to bear. Besides, our mother did spanking only as a last recourse after repeated teachings, advises, and unheeded warnings. She would hit us only on certain parts of the body – particularly our hands, legs, and butt; but she never hit our head, face, spine, and other sensitive areas. Our father was also a disciplinarian, but he employed more of an “investigative” type of discipline, scolding us and asking for our motives for doing such mischievous and unwarranted acts. Although, he seldom got angry, we were more scared of him because he always meant what he said. But, no matter how our parents got angry with any of us, we never heard foul language or abusive word from them at all.

Because of my own experience with spanking, I can say spanking is a good form of discipline. I know my stance would raise so many eyebrows and draw strong reactions, especially among human rights advocates, child welfare groups, behavior specialists, and other experts in the field. But, this is what I can say: there is no exact formula on child-rearing. What worked on me and my siblings may not be applicable to others. But I strongly believe that discipline is a must to prepare law-abiding citizens tomorrow.

"While there is hope for him, chastise your child, but do not get so angry as to kill him." (Proverbs 19:18)

I am aware that there is a very thin line between right discipline and abuse. But a parent, who has had a well-balanced childhood, knows the boundaries between the two. An abusive parent may be a manifestation of his own not-so-good past experiences.

Just take a look around you. Society has changed so much over the years. Everyday, we either witness or hear from the news about teenagers getting involved in brawls, crimes, drugs, and other forms of violence. One of the primary reasons for this is because these people cannot categorically identify right from wrong. I am quite wary about how lawmakers and so-called human rights advocate groups condemn spanking as a form of abuse. If we do not reprove our children now, what kind of citizens would we have in the future? If governments impose penalty on parents for spanking their children, what kind of society would we be making? At present, several jails throughout the world are already overcrowded. In fact, many prison inmates are juveniles.

"Folly is anchored in the heart of a youth, the whips of instruction will rid him of it." (Proverbs 22:15)

The people of old must have known very well the essence of discipline as they admonish the succeeding generations through these passages. Perhaps, they may have deemed discipline very important because they repeated the same instructions many times in the Bible. Here are more:

"Do not be chary of correcting a child, a stroke of the cane is not likely to be fatal."(Proverbs 23:13)

"Give him a stroke of the cane, you will save his soul from Sheol." (Proverbs 23:14)

"The stick and the reprimand bestow wisdom, a young man left to himself brings shame on his mother."(Proverbs 29:15)

"...for the Lord trains those he loves, and chastises every son he accepts. Perseverance is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him?" (Hebrews 12:6-7)

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      Tyler Shanna 4 years ago

      Having studied psychology, now working as an NGO around the world and also a torah and new testament believer, I totally agree with the writer. I was indoctrinated in the theories of attachment, sensitive parenting etc and fully trusted them . However over the years of working with children from different backgrounds, cultures and social class the theory has proved unreliable. Children come into this world with a small innate understanding (consciousness) of the world but this matures and develops overtime. As the child learns to navigate their environment they face challenges and obstruction which in most cases they may not want to tackle (due to the struggle, hardship and determination required). As a parent our responsibility is to help them reach the top of the mountain. safely and a little spanking serves as a deter ante from climbing back down. Positive discipline or sensitive parenting fails to instil determination and effort in a child, thus a child lacks the true principles of good and bad, all they have is an abstract notion of these concepts as they have no real experience. For such a child these concept are all intertwined together which creates a very confused fluid human being (accepts anything and everything). This is proven today by the little or lack of morality in the world especially in younger children brought up by in the new age/phenomena of science. Working as an NGO and having kids myself, I don't condone violence, abuse or neglect of children but rather attest to firm discipline issued with love and care. Children need firm guidance on the realities of life otherwise they fall to unnecessary evils/prey as the are ill prepared. This lack of readiness helps foster much manipulation as the child lacks backbone to stand on their own two feet. Their manipulation allows them not to commit a crime punishable in this society due to their learned craftiness but rather they commit new forms of crime which have no recourse implemented as yet. This means that they push boundaries of a moral society because they fail to fall in line with the rules of nature (they want things their way). Fortunately for them this manipulation works because over time parents have been dummed down by the system. The system establishes a ploy that makes adults believe that children are wiser than their parents due to their advanced skills in navigating new technology. This leaves adult paralyzed to condemn their children's behavior.

      Most adults who are frank with themselves would agree that been spanked as a child (which at the time was unbearable) was a really good training mechanism for the betterment of their future adult life. Most of us grew up with a little fantasy but we were fully amassed in the realities of life via spanking and we were therefore more able to cope with the world when we became adults. However today's undisciplined child will struggle as an adult (thus the drug taking, alcohol binging is heightened due to the need to seek pleasure which is similar to the same undying love given to them by their parents during early life). They are unable to deal with the harsh realities of life and thus the reason for the continued need to hide from unpleasant circumstances. Not spanking a child is a form of fantasy because the reality of life requires much discipline (not just discipline but the right type ) which allows for a more successful adult who understands that life is not a walk in the park. An adult that understands that life can be good today and a possible tornado tomorrow. As an NGO, I have worked with children who become orphans overnight and had to deal with the harsh reality of the situation and form new reasoning of life. And from a small sample it is very apparent that children brought up with sufficient discipline are more able to cope with hash changes in life than children who are brought up mollycoddled by their parents via less solid parental approaches. They seem to lack proper life skills and struggle to come to terms with reality and build more positive successful lives. Its all good and well to speak give to your child calmly and positively explaining things when they do small wrongs, but using the same procedure when they do massive wrongs or fail to comply is an injustice to the child's future (it harms the child) . But if you chose to bring up your child up in this way lets hope that nothing happens to you and your child is left in a vulnerable position that needs other less caring people to cater and care for them. In such cases children usually fall apart because for the first time they are living in the real world. Spanking helps children understand right from wrong and appreciate that life is not always a piece of cake . This allows them to compose their minds to the realities of adult life and foster behaviors that take this into consideration. On a religious stand point, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (proverbs 9:10) and this is exactly the same with good parents, when a child fears your wrath, they learn to build a more acceptable and righteous reasoning of life.

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      William E Krill Jr 4 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      The 'rod' spoke of in this Bible verse is a measuring rod, or standard of behavior, not an actual (striking) rod. While spanking works and may not be abusive, it works at a great cost and an incredibly negative message: might equals right, and either pain or humiliation is an acceptable reprisal for people who do not do what we want. As clinical counselor who has worked with abused kids for over 30 years, and as a published author on treating abused kids with PTSD, I can say that 99% of the time, spanking is damaging to the child-parent relationship. Especially since there are far, far, better ways to discipline a child. The word 'discipline' comes for the word 'disciple'. A disciple follows the Master out of reverence and respect, not fear of a physical strike. I want my kids to do what I want because they do not want to damage our relationship, not because they fear me hitting them. I have two adult sons, and never, ever, have struck them. They are fine, self disciplined young men who have never caused me a bit of serious trouble and have never dishonored me. I also should mention that I too, am a devout Christian.

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