A rebuttal to "When is a child too old to spank?"


I would like to comment on your article entitled: When is a child too old to spank? I agree with most of what you have written. I believe that corporal punishment can be very effective if it is done in love, not impulsively and not as a reaction to anger. As far as whether or not teenagers should be spanked, I believe that they should in appropriate cases. I applaud you for the loving informative advice the article gives to parents who face this question.

However I must say that in my opinion a line should be drawn at the age of eighteen for any use of corporal punishment. A teenager who has reached the age of eighteen is legally an adult. Not only does hitting an eighteen year old constitute assault in all fifty states there must be a point in which parents loose the right to spank their children. Otherwise it is not only unhealthy but absolutely absurd. Now I would say that there are exceptions to this argument of mine for example if a child is living at home at eighteen or nineteen and agrees to submit to be whipped (for lack of a better term considering the age and physicality of the act) rather than the loss of privileges then I see that as totally acceptable. Of course in the latter case the punishment is mutually agreed upon between adults. However still at some point perhaps at age twenty-one all forms of corporal punishment should end.

Now you may argue that most children aren't at home by those ages but this is no longer the case. Considering economic conditions, loss of employment, unavailability of employment etc. teens and young adults are at home more now than ever before. I think you are absolutely wrong to even advise that it is ever acceptable to throw a teenager out of the house because they refuse to submit to your discipline methods. This should never be a threat. Discipline is about teaching it should never be about control. There are cases when one must be removed from the home for legal and/or safety reasons but this is not what I am referring to. No child should live on the streets because he or she refuses to submit to a discipline method. A good parent who uses effective discipline in love will not have to face that issue. And throwing your kid out because you can't handle them shows your failure as a parent. In those instances it is the parents responsibility to enforce effective discipline not run away from their responsibility.

Still while I am for corporal punishment in appropriate cases I do recognize that parenting can be effectively done without it and, frankly, while I plan to use corporal punishment, I desire my children to fear hurting me rather I hurting them if you understand my meaning. 

If I have misunderstood anything you wrote you have my profoundest apologies. I am simply expressing my opinion.


There are several assumptions that you are making that is not in the article you cited. First off, the article does not discuss adults living in the home of their parents. I do discuss teenage children. I carefully avoiding setting an age because the age of majority varies from state to state. For example, in my state of Nebraska, the age of majority is nineteen, not eighteen. Your statement regarding spanking an eighteen year old does not apply in Nebraska. You need to do more careful research before drawing lines. It also varies by country, and I'm well aware that this web site is actively read around the world, so I try to word the answers to applicable in other countries as well.

The article also stated that spanking is not to be done frequently or arbitrarily. I have repeatedly stated that, especially for teenagers, other forms of discipline are better suited for the problem at hand. However, in the cases of violence, willful rebellion, or a case where some other form of punishment just won't get the point across (grave situations as mentioned in the article), then spanking is an option that would be appropriate to use. I also recommended giving older teenagers a choice in punishment.

Now if an older teenager is violent or willfully rebellious or in some other way completely out of control and will not accept any discipline from his parents, a parent is not under any obligation to keep a dangerous child in their home. Though not discussed in the article cited, If a child is more than a year under the age of majority and there is no safe house for them to go to, parents do have the right to turn such a child over to the state. The point is that parents of out-of-control children do not have their hands are not tied where they must accept abuse from their own children because they are not legally adults. Nowhere in the article is there mention of putting minor children on the street.

I am not a fan of government being involved in child rearing. I would much rather that parents with hard to manage children find a guardian for their children who is able and willing to handle difficult cases. If a child is near the age of adulthood, they can legally live on their own. If they are violent, or abusive, then it is long past time to get them out of the house. Please notice that in the article you cited, I said "if a child is old enough to be on his own." If a person is an adult and doesn't wish to abide by the rules of the house in which he is living, then he needs to be living on his own.

While you make the charge that discipline is never about control, if you would read the article again, you will not find any advocating of punishment for control. It is always a matter of a consequence to a misbehavior. If you wish to make correction, please make sure you make sure you are actually correcting what is stated.

Unlike your rebuttal, the original article was not based on personal opinion. I carefully researched what God stated was necessary for the punishment of children and how God, the Father, handles His rebellious children. For example, the removal of a child who is out-of-control is based in part on: "Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease" (Proverbs 22:10). And when Israel continued to rebel despite all that God did for them, He cast them out of the land of Israel. "For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion: 'How we are plundered! We are greatly ashamed, because we have forsaken the land, because we have been cast out of our dwellings'" (Jeremiah 9:19). Now, will you charge God Almighty with failure for not being able to keep His children in line? Or, will you accept that people have free moral choice and there will be children who make so poor of choices that they move beyond a parent's ability to maintain order in their home?

Even fear has its place in a home. There have been many children when tempted to do some sin declined because "I'll get whooped if my parents ever found out." The same is how our loving Father handles us. "Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna" (Matthew 10:28). Frankly, the mush being taught in the denominations today has people convinced they can do as they please and get away with it. I end up spending a lot of my time reminding people that God's patience is not endless. "The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness?" (II Peter 3:9-11).