Should Discipline Involve Hitting?

Christian Discipline

The number of Christians who discipline their children using humiliation, domination, and violence is alarming!

There have even been three instances over the past few years where children have been murdered by their Christian parents all in the name of (so-called) Biblical discipline.

Yes, there are several verses in Proverbs that mention the use a rod for discipline, but that doesn’t mean we are commanded to literally hit our children with a stick or even at all.

(You can read more about that on my post, My Thoughts on Spanking.)

Christian Discipline

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Proverbs 23:13 does says- “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

Is this verse intended to be interpreted literally?

I think not, but I guess the parents who murdered their children did interpret it literally.

There was just one problem with that…Their children did die!

You can read more about these tragedies at Elizabeth Esther’s blog post, Justice for Hannah Williams: #NoMoreDeadKids.

You can read an excellent explanation of Proverbs 23:13 at Arms of Love: Spare the Rod.

Spoiler alert:  It doesn’t mean what you may think it does!

I have red Elizabeth Esther’s post above and agree with her that Michael and Debi Pearl should be stopped from promoting their abusive child training techniques.

I never understood the infatuation that Christian homeschoolers had for their “ministry” in the 90’s and I still don’t.

The Pearl’s “ministry” ironically titled, “No Greater Joy ” makes me as sick today as it did back then.

I don’t know if they still do, but they used to actually sell hitting sticks on their website!

Christian parents, you don’t have to blindly follow along with every Christian “expert” that comes along!

Use your own common sense of decency and what is right and wrong!

Think for yourself…Does how you feel when you’re disciplining your children feel wrong? Then it most likely is!

It greatly distresses me that Christians really believe that parents are commanded to literally hit their kids with sticks!

Although I personally do not like spanking of any kind, I understand that some parents may choose to give their children a little swat on the butt if, for instance they try to run out in the street in front of a speeding car, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about cold, calculated, and repeated smacks across the butt with hard objects until the parent decides that the child’s will is broken.

Who in their right mind wants their child’s will broken anyway?!

Discipline does not have to be physical.

The definition of discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

(I’m not even a fan of using punishments to discipline. I prefer positive forms of discipline).

It is not wrong, sinful, or un-Christian for parents to choose non-violent, non humiliating, peaceful, and positive methods of discipline to teach their children to behave.

Jesus did not brow beat, humiliate or hit the people He discipled.

He used stories and parables to teach new Christians how to behave.

Jesus was gentle, loving, kind, and respectful.

Christian Parents, if you want to be more like Jesus than gentle, peaceful, positive parenting is for you!

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Parents please check out these resources for peaceful, gentle, positive, and non-violent methods of parenting.
Parenting Wild Things: Embracing the Rumpus
Gentle Christian Mothers
Gentle Christian Families
Arms of Love Family Fellowship

Here is support for people affected by child rearing practices promoted by the Pearls and others like them. Unprepared For Parenting
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12 Replies to “Should Discipline Involve Hitting?

  1. There was an awful woman who used to live near here who did awful things to her children in the name of religion – it is so sad.

    We prefer rewards than discipline here.

  2. Thanks for sharing these links. While I am not against spanking in a loving, un-angered way, I am always interested in reading how others effectively discipline/correct their children without the need for spanking. Maybe you could write a post about your own experiences with positive discipline?

  3. So happy that Bethany is positively disciplined and of course all the other Phillips are encouraged and edified in the Lord.

    When I was sixteen I wrote a letter to a women’s magazine on why children should not be smacked.

    One of the arguments I used was that “if Mrs Hitler had not smacked her little boy, he would not be Hitler”.

    I was wondering if you had anything about Positive Behaviour Support in a Christian educational and parenting context?

    Too much in the Special Education world is based upon aversives.

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