Question:

I'm a young christian lady (27 years old) who watches an 11-year-old boy on a regular basis. His parents will go on a two-month trip and have asked me to move into their home and take care of him while they are gone. I will be happy to do so, but I have a question regarding discipline. His parents are strong Christians who believe in corporal correction. They asked me if I was willing to spank their son if necessary. I said yes, but now I'm not sure anymore. Although I believe in biblical discipline, I feel uncomfortable about having to administer it myself. I know the need for it might not arise at all, but if it does, I would feel obliged to respect the parental wishes and spank. Do you have any advice?

Answer:

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34).

Assuming this isn't another made up situation, the likelihood of needing to spank is basically nil. The situation will be novel for the boy and he will tend to be on good behavior. The knowledge that spanking could be a possibility will also keep him from extreme behavior.

What isn't generally understood is that when spanking is used effectively, it is rarely used. Perhaps a bit more when children are young and less verbal, but definitely fading out to almost never as the child grows up. Yes, there are nuts out there who think that spanking is the only solution to every problem, but that isn't what the Scriptures teach (See: Disciplining Children). There are oddballs on the other end of the spectrum who think that any physical punishment is wrong.

So handle each infraction with imagination and flexibility. Make any necessary punishment fit the crime. If you aren't willing to hold the boy accountable for his actions in some manner, then someone else should be found to watch him.