Question:

I recently came across this article on your website, about spanking young children as a form of punishment: Two and Three-Year-Olds: Raising Godly Children in a Wicked World.
I was absolutely appalled by it.

Thanks to articles like yours, many children in "God-fearing" homes are severely physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually abused when their parents go too far. You speak about use of a "switch."I am 42 years old and I very vividly recall the sheer terror at the age of 7 yrs old (I am a female, by the way), being forced to go out to our backyard and pluck a long willow switch from the tree and bring it to my Mother; so that she would whip me senseless; to the point that I had welts all over my back, buttocks and legs for days.I remember how horribly humiliated I felt. When the novelty of switches and skipping ropes wore off for her, her method of choice then became whacking wooden spatulas over my head to the point that the spoon broke.As I got older, she then resorted to placing her hands around my throat and trying to choke me to death and I would fight with all my might to keep her tighly gripped hands from stopping my ability to breathe. I remember the sheer terror.I remember my father strapping me across a bare bottom at a very young age, with a thick 2 inch wide leather belt, so hard that I would wet my pants. I became so afraid of him that just hearing him raise his voice for any reason would cause me to wet my pants. I then remember, after having wet my pants, being forced to sit in my bedroom for hours, in cold wet urine-soaked clothing. The last time I checked, Jesus is Love, not humiliation and degradation and psychological abuse by the ones you love the most.

Because my dear Mother felt it her God-given right to abuse me at any time she felt justified, this abuse continued well into my teens, to the point where she did not hesitate to slap me hard across the face any any public place, leaving me with a fat lip and a sense of public humiliation that I cannot even explain to you.

Thanks to growing up in a tense, abuse-filled home -- I understandably had it deep ingrained that I was not really worthy of others' love, and that it was 'the norm' to be treated badly by others that I loved and trusted because to me, that was all I'd ever known. Thanks to this foundation I went from one abusive relationship to another, leading to a most abusive marriage and I put up with abuse that would make your toes curl but I did so because I had slowly over the years developed such low self-esteem from having it destroyed as a young child; so much so that I genuinely did not feel that I deserved to be treated any better.

As a child, I was a good God-fearing child. I loved God and I loved my family. However, I was a child and unable to live up to my parents' expectations of being perfect. And for that I was beaten and choked and punched and terrorized and now look back on a childhood and remember very few positive memories. Instead, I remember a lot of embarrassment, humiliation, tension, walking on egg-shells, never feeling truly loved, feeling ashamed, feeling tense, feeling scared, feeling terrorized, feeling like I was evil and bad and worthless.

Because of my Mother's constant abuse in the name of "spare the rod, spoil the child", I have never had a very close relationship with her and in a lot of ways I feel nothing for her. She damaged a cherished bond that a parent should have with their child and though I forgive her, as God calls us to do, I cannot forget and she destroyed the closeness that we could have had. Instead of remembering hugs and laughter and and happiness as a child, I remember screaming and yelling and threats and slaps and kicks and shoves and smacks and whippings and fat lips and bruises and goose-eggs on my skull and bloody noses and always walking on egg-shells.

You might want to reconsider how you endorse "spanking" to parents because many parents out there will take it too far, feeling that they have the inalienable right to beat the tar out of their children, feeling that doing so is according to God's laws.

Encouraging parents to whip their children with switches is nothing short of psychotic.

Unfortunately, I'm certain that what I have written will fall on deaf ears.I hope however, that at least some part of it does not.


Answer:

Because you had abusive parents, it does not follow that all forms of physical punishment are abusive. You will notice that your parents did NOT follow the guidelines set out in the Scriptures. What they did are things I spoke against in that chapter of my book.

Just because someone abused his pet, it doesn't become proof that pet ownership is wrong. Just because a government somewhere abuses prisoners in its jails, it doesn't prove that prisons are wrong. Just because your parents failed to uphold Christian standards of living, it does not prove that what God taught regarding the raising of children should be banned.

What you did not prove is that properly applied punishment, as outlined in the Bible, causes harm physically, psychologically, or emotionally. The truth is that it is quite the opposite. Corporal punishment has been the norm of child-rearing for thousands of years. And for thousands of years it has been an effective tool is raising good citizens.

So take the blinders off your eyes and stop judging others by the evil of your own upbringing. You willing choose to forget that it is God who teaches us how to raise children. You clearly don't have the background or the experience to tell others how to raise godly children. You might be able to serve as a warning as to what can happen when a child is abused, but that it the limit of your knowledge.