Disciplining Children

 

I.         The world in its wisdom comes up with many theories about how children ought to be raised.

            A.        In the 1960s a psychologist named Benjamin Spock became famous with a book proposing that children should not be spanked

                        1.         He argued that other, non-physical methods were just as effective

                        2.         Spanking would damage a child psyche. It would break his spirit and stifle his creativity.

                        3.         This despite eons of child raising that included spanking.

            B.        Though Dr. Spock has since recanted his position (though only partially), the affect is still felt today.

                        1.         Spanking will ruin a child’s self-esteem

                        2.         Spanking will teach a child to solve problems by violence

                        3.         Spanking is abusive behavior.

            C.        We can see this influence in our society

                        1.         Foster and adoptive parents in Virginia (and I assume here) have to sign a statement vowing never to punish the child in their custody by any physical means.

                        2.         A parent in New York state recently stood trial for spanking his 13 year-old daughter, even though she stated she deserved the punishment.

                        3.         A similar case in Iowa was just overturn by the Supreme Court of Iowa.

                                    a.         A man was charge of child abuse for spanking his 8-year-old daughter with a spoon. His estranged wife decided it was abuse.

                                    b.         He was found guilty by lower courts, but the Supreme Court of Iowa found that the definition of the Iowa Social Service for abuse to be too strict in regards to corporal punishment.

            D.        But God has different ideas

                        1.         God created humans. He knows more about mankind than any man.

                        2.         Man, in his wisdom, likes to think they can improve on God’s scheme, but they are proven wrong time and time again.

II.        We live our whole life with rules and restrictions

            A.        We can’t avoid them and children need to learn to respect authority

            B.        Pr. 22:6 - Children need direction in their lives

            C.        How many parents here find their children annoying and tiring?

                        1.         Yet, look at Pr. 29:17

                        2.         I suspect most of us, including myself, have not properly applied correction as the Lord has taught us.

            D.        Some parents avoid punishing their children, because they don’t want their children to “hate” them.

                        1.         Instead of the parents being in charge, the children rule the home.

III.       Rather than take my word for it, let us see what God has said about disciplining children

            A.        Prov. 13:24 - Love requires the use of the rod

                        1.         We are God’s children and we are disciplined by our heavenly Father - Heb. 12:3-11

            B.        Prov. 22:15- The use of the rod removes the foolishness (or silliness) from a child

            C.        Prov. 23:13-14 - Using the rod will NOT harm the child and it WILL save his soul.

            D.        Prov. 29:15 - The use of the rod teaches wisdom to a child and prevents embarrassment.

            E.        Quite a bit different from modern opinions is it not?

IV.      Application of these verses

            A.        What is a rod?

                        1.         Jer. 1:11 and Gen. 30:37 contain the same Hebrew word

                        2.         A rod is a branch or a scion.

                        3.         [Show an example]

                        4.         The best rods (or switches in more modern terms) is a fresh branch from a bush or a tree about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter and 12 to 18 inches long.

                                    a.         You want it flexible, because it stings when applied, but doesn’t cause wounds (other than red marks for a short while).

                        5.         Your hand is not a good rod.

                                    a.         To be effective (i.e. to sting), it requires too much forces. Many ladies cannot produce enough force. Many men produce too much.

                                    b.         You want the punishment associated with the rod, not your hands

                        6.         Other items, such as wooden spoons or belts can cause too much damage.

                                    a.         We are not looking for lasting injury

                                    b.         We need a punishment that stings

            B.        When to administer

                        1.         Punish any willful disobedience or negligence

                                    a.         Make sure the child understands what is required of him

                                                (1)       If there is any distractions, have the child look you in the eyes.

                                                (2)       Have the child acknowledge what you said

                                    b.         Don’t punish true accidents

                                                (1)       Glasses turn over on the best of us, but if a child is told not to reach across the table and he does anyway, spilling the milk, then punishment should be inflicted.

                        2.         Often you will see an “I dare you” look in a young child

                                                (1)       I have seen three-year-olds get their parents attention before breaking a rule.

                                                (2)       You may think “This child is nuts!”, but he is testing how far he can push you and if you are not paying attention, then he won’t know.

                        3.         Punishment should be due to the child’s breaking a rule.

                                    a.         Never punish because you had a bad day at the office or because Junior kept you up half the night with a cold

                                    b.         But don’t forego punishment because it happened on a bad day either.

                                    c.         That means you will frequently be punishing when you are not angry, which is more difficult than you think. You are punishing because the child needs instruction.

                        4.         Start early

                                    a.         As soon as a child can “get into trouble” which means as soon as they start to crawl around.

                                    b.         Initial lessons will involve what they can and cannot play with.

                        5.         Start now

                                    a.         A well trained child will not need much discipline later in life. The pattern will already have been set.

                                    b.         Prov. 19:18 - Chasten (literally blows) while there is hope of turning your child from destruction. Stopping means you have given up hope.

                                    c.         But it is never too late to start, but you will have to make up for lost time.

                                                (1)       It is like compound interest. A little training at the beginning will reap large rewards later.

                                                (2)       Start later and you will have to put more effort in to gain the same amount.

                                                (3)       John Rosemond, “The longer these parents wait to take charge of a problem, the farther upstream they will have to swim and, therefore, the less likely it is they will ever fully realize their goals.”

                                    d.         Children never outgrow their bad behavior. Prov. 22:15

            C.        How to punish

                        1.         Prov. 29:15 - Two aspects: physical punishment and verbal reproof.

                                    a.         First, explain to the child what they did wrong and why they are being punished.

                                    b.         Then apply the rod.

                        2.         Prov. 23:13-14 - The use of a switch will not cause permanent injury

                        3.         Prov. 20:30 - It may leave bruises or welts, but they will heal (physically and spiritually)

                        4.         The punishment should be enough that the child does not want a repeat

                                    a.         For a young child, a single swat on the back of the hand may be enough. The startlement alone is often sufficient punishment.

                                    b.         Older children will need it on their bare bottom. Usually 6 to 8 slow, measured lickings.

                                    c.         If the child repeats the infraction, repeat the punishment.

                                                (1)       Sometimes it will be a test of wills

                                                (2)       Just remember that if the child wins, he will think he can outlast others, possibly even God. Don’t encourage stubbornness in a child.

                        5.         The punishment is between you and the child.

                                    a.         Take him off to the side where friends or siblings can’t gloat over his punishment.

                                    b.         Never let another child punish for you.

                        6.         The punishment must be timely

                                    a.         A two-year-old will not associate a punishment “when Daddy gets home” with a misdeed that morning.

                                    b.         Don’t forego punishment because it is not a convenient time, such as at a store or restaurant. You will teach them to wait until there is an audience to defy you.

V.        Parents are commanded to raise their children properly - Eph. 6:4

            A.        But despite all that has been said, some people still object to spanking.

            B.        John Rosemond, a reader asserts that “if Jesus had been a parent, he would not have spanked his children . . . so what? Jesus didn’t sign contracts either. Nor did he require his disciples to be a work at 8 in the morning. Because Jesus didn’t do something doesn’t make it improper. The rod, in ancient days, was a symbol of authority (when associated with a king) and guidance, when associate with a shepherd. In this regard, I prefer to think that we are under divine instruction to discipline our children properly and guide them with loving authority. And no, I can’t imagine Jesus taking a child over his knee and delivering a spanking, but then again, the Bible tells us that God has used methods a whole lot more devastating than spankings to terminate mankind’s misbehavior, communicate His disapproval, and get us back on track. He has destroyed cities, He has flooded the whole world, He has caused people to drop dead in their tracks, He has turned people into pillars of salt. Given the historical consequences of His wrath, I can’t imagine God has any problem at all with a well-administered spanking.”

            C.        Our goal is to raise godly children. The small investment of our time now will save them from an eternity of punishment later. Is it not worth it?