Should Parents Spank Their Children?

You may have heard that it is wrong for parents to spank their children. You may be aware that spanking is no longer allowed in many public schools. You may have been told that spanking is child abuse. So, let’s take a good look at it.

Let’s start with the difference between punishment and discipline. Punishment is used to make the consequences of bad behavior painful. (In this case, when talking about punishing children, we are referring to emotional pain. See “What Is Fair Punishment?” for more on this.) Punishment is designed to make you never want to make that mistake again. Discipline, on the other hand, is the process of molding and shaping your behavior so that you become the right kind of person.

Where does spanking fit into this? The Bible tells us that parents who do not give a stubborn child a well-intended swat on the bottom are doing the wrong thing. But, if they truly love their children, they will use an occasional spanking to develop discipline in the child. Nothing seems to get a disobedient child to follow directions faster than the embarrassment of getting his or her bottom spanked.

Why isn’t it child abuse to hit a child on the bottom? Good question. First of all, hitting a child in an abusive way is an act of anger. It is done by someone who is out of control, and often is done with a closed fist. Spanking, on the other hand, should never be done in anger. It should be done by a parent who is under control, and always with an open hand. The intention behind abuse is to hurt the child. The intention behind spanking is to lovingly correct the child.

It is believed by many that one of the reasons God gave you a soft place on the backside of your body is to provide a safe place to receive a spanking. Furthermore, because of its location, a spank on the rear end is embarrassing. In fact, ever since schools stopped allowing spanking, the behavior of students has become a lot worse.

To read more about behavior in school, go to the menu on the left side of this page and click on “About School,” then click on “What’s wrong with kids’ behavior in school?”

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