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On Christianity, Fundamentalism, Spanking and what constitutes Child Abuse

Part 1: Testimony

I would like to share with you a personal experience of how the Holy Spirit gave me the wisdom and words to teach my daughter to obey me. We took a walk to visit a little neighbor boy who lived a few blocks from our house. My daughter rode her tricycle as I walked carrying the diaper bag, snacks, her milk and so on. The children had been playing for a while and had fun together. The time went by too quickly for them and soon it was time to pack up our things and go home. She started crying and was very displeased with my choice to leave but it was time to go. So as she was crying, I put her helmet on, (which she usually likes to wear), took up the rest of the items and asked her to ride her tricycle. My arms were full of stuff! She refused to get on her tricycle and ride home. So I tried to pull it and see if she would follow. No, she continued crying, she would not move. We were still in our friends’ drive way.

I put my things on the ground, knelt down and hugged her. I tried to reassure her of my love and that I understood she was sad. But it is time to go now. Then I picked the items up, and told her she needed to ride her tricycle. No, still crying. I was rather embarrassed that she was controlling me. I am sure some of the neighbors could hear her crying and were peaking out the window to see how I would handle this. So, I did the best I could with this situation and pulled the tricycle with one hand. In the other, I carried the items as my daughter trailed behind me, crying.

By this time we had walked about half way home. Once again, I stopped and tried to comfort her, asked if she was ready to ride. No she was on the verge of a tantrum, with neighbors watching. I was nearly in tears my self as I tried to control my temper. At that moment, I looked up to heaven and said, "Dear Lord, please help me communicate with my child, she is not obeying me!" The Holy Spirit came to me gently and said, "Put down the stuff, leave the tricycle on the sidewalk, pick her up, and start walking." I said ok and dropped everything.

I picked my daughter up with a big hug and started walking. We walked no more than ten steps away and something miraculous happened! She stopped crying and looked back at the pile of stuff and her tricycle. Then she looked at me with puzzled eyes, and with a slight grin on her face, she peaked over my shoulder at her tricycle. I said, "Do you think the tricycle wants to go home too?" She quickly slid down out of my arms, ran to the tricycle, and hopped on (as if nothing had happened.) I picked up the rest of our items and walk behind my happy two-year-old.

We continued our journey home both smiling in amazement in the power of the Holy Spirit. Looking back on it now, I don’t think it was the neighbors watching that I felt. It was God waiting for me with open arms to put my faith in Him and call on his wisdom not my own. My daughter and I learned a valuable lesson about communication. I have faith that God is in control.

Scripture has revealed another interpretation of Biblical Discipline to me. Jesus has already taken physical punishment for our sins, our Savior. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. He loves us and we can go to Him every time we are in need of help. He will cleanse us with the wisdom of His words, The Word Of God.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom found in the Bible, all the Glory be to you. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)

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Part 2: "Rod of His Mouth"(Isaiah 11:4-5)

I am a mother of a 2-year-old. We spend time together reading the Bible and learning about Jesus. She loves to sing songs about the Lord Jesus and the love He has for us. As we are driving in the car, I hear her talking to her self and she say’s "The Bible tells us the truth!" One day as she was taking a nap, I sat down to read my Bible study. The study asked me to look up a verse in the book of Isaiah. I found it to be rather enlightening, it say’s "He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11: 4-5 NIV). This verse gave a whole new meaning to the other scriptures I have read pertaining to my role as a parent. How God wants me to train my daughter in His ways.

This letter is written to parents of small children, friends and family, people in authority over children, and Christian authors or speakers of the subject. Maybe you have thought about spanking your children, to train them in obedience to your words. Or you may have proudly perfected a systematic approach to " spanking for discipline" session. Your defense for this kind of discipline is that it says in the Bible we must, as parents, use a rod (stick) on our young children’s backside to keep them from harm. We must hit them to teach submission to Gods righteous way of living.

God has given me a special message for you. Please continue reading my letter and the scripture reference in your own Bible to verify the words I write. I have a strong desire to raise a healthy, God loving child. I have read many books about children and discipline. At one time, I too was convinced God wanted me to spank my daughter, but now I believe differently. After I read the verse in Isaiah 11: 4-5 and many of the other wise verses about discipline, the Holy Spirit has given me a new light to their meaning. Mostly how the scripture should be applied in regards to my role as a parent.

I prayerfully seek the Lord’s wisdom as I give you His message about biblical discipline. That you may understand His will for us, as parents, who love our children; Who want to provide the best we can for their future life in Christ Jesus.
Love, Your friend in Christ

A commentator in the NIV Bible writes that the purpose of the book of Isaiah was: "To call the nation of Judah back to God’s salvation through the Messiah." This commentator also writes: "Key Verse: Isaiah 53:5 "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." "He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11: 4-5 NIV). This scripture means just what it says, that Jesus our Savior used stern loving words to correct us, the sinners, of this world. Through out His ministry on earth He taught us the truth vs. evil with God’s wisdom and words. "From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you" (Deut. 4:36 NIV). In the book of Mark when Jesus sends Demons into a Herd of Pigs He demonstrates his verbal authority over evil spirits, by speaking, not violence or hitting. Jesus our Lord lived a sinless life, He taught us truth and obedience to Gods will for us His people without violence. (Isaiah 53:9-10) In 1 Peter 2:21 he writes to Christians " To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you leaving an example, that you should follow in his steps." Throughout the four Gospels of the New Testament, when Jesus was interacting with and teaching his disciples, he used God’s wisdom to speak the truth. Jesus sat down and prayed with his disciples. When they would start to worry and disobey him, he reminded them, with words, of His love. Jesus taught his disciples many lessons about faith. That He had the power through God to take care of all their needs. In the Bible we do not read about Jesus calmly and orderly spanking people into submission to God. He clearly made it a choice for people to follow Him, for their hearts to be changed by His teaching. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."(Matt. 4:19)

Paul writes, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Eph.6:1 ). We as Christian parents are to obey Jesus teachings of obedience to God; Jesus did not spank anyone, ever. Have you ever stopped to think about the word spank? Where did it come from? Do you really think it’s from God? We Christians call the Bible "The Word of God" we say, "God is love."(1 John 4: 8 )It was because of the Word of God, kings hated Jesus; his disciples were killed or put in jail. People were hurt and angered by the truth because it exposed all their sin and selfish ways. These words of truth do make us suffer, ask us to change, ask us to wait and be patient, to forgive and love each other. The coming of our savior found in Jesus Christ means we no longer have to suffer physical punishment or death for our sins, (1 Peter 2:21).
Read John 8:1-11, Jesus said " If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." "Then neither do I condemn you." Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Where is the scripture in the Bible that teaches us about the details of a spank?

1) Age of a child to spank or not?
2) For what type of offense?
3) How many times?
4) That we must keep it private?
5) What we must say before and after spanking?
6) Who has the right to administer a spanking?
7) That all children deserve a spank even if there is no proof of offense? One expert calls this "clean house"
8) That adults "Gods children" do not deserve a spank from a disobedient spouse?
9) That it should be on a bare bottom or other body part?
10) That it must only sting and not bruise?

Can any one of us say we are in perfect obedience to the Word of God? I know of only one man. He has already suffered physically for my sins yet He remained sinless. "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

The fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). I would invite you to think about your child as you read the next portion of scripture from Matthew 12:33-37. "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Our Lord Jesus emphasizes the power of words throughout His teachings in the Gospel. When your child is alone with his or her toys, what do they talk about? Do they say to their little bunny, "God loves you, and so does mommy."? "Do they repeat a line of scripture "Jesus is knocking at my door."?

Or do they play parent and say "Mommy is going to spank you three times on your bottom ok, I need to spank harder to make you understand." What kind of fruit are you receiving from your efforts of discipline? Does your child make you smile with their words? How do they treat other children? Do they tend to hit anyone or themselves? Are you teaching them about the love and compassion of Jesus or that you control their every move with your spanking?

Think back to a time when you hurt your toe on the coffee table, sat on a tack, or had a shot at the doctors. It might be hard for you to remember what you were thinking or what somebody said to you. Made it hard for you to concentrate on your task until the pain went away. How much do think it matters to the child what you say before or after a spanking? All he/she can feel is the sting. I think it would make it difficult to concentrate and feel loved. Would you treat your child any differently if Jesus were standing right next to you? "Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also delight your soul" ( Prov. 29:17) If spanking is at the very heart of what makes a child behave, why do you need to hide it? Jesus calls us to be light and salt of the earth, to spread the good news of our Lord and Savior. To share the wisdom of God’s Devine Authority.

"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." (Prov.22:15) If you take out the word child you would find we as adults are called children of God (1 John 3:1). Adults new to the Christian life are infants. (Eph. 4:14) Please look at the meaning of the word foolishness, lacking good sense, behavior befitting a fool (def. taken from NIV Dictionary) Good sense would tell us that if we hit someone their reaction is to hit back. Who is really the fool, the one who defends himself or the one who hits first?

This hitting thing becomes a problem for the parent of a child who learns to hit back. The parent should always have the last "word" to be in control of the child. So the child hits in defense and the parent hits them and back and forth it goes. Where does the hitting stop? Maybe the hitting should have never started in the first place! Hitting cannot be the most effective way to discipline a child. We must teach them good sense, before we call them fools. If an adult hits another adult we call it assault or abuse and they are sent to jail. Why, then, do we single out helpless little babies and toddlers, and hit them into submission to the parents words? But it is not acceptable for children to hit others or spouse to hit their spouse. Doesn’t this all seem very confusing? A Christian cannot take all the scripture so literally. We need to keep it in context to what other scripture says. The life of a Christian is an ongoing process of seeking the heart of our Heavenly Father. Always listening and learning through the grace Jesus has provided for us.

When I look at the example that Jesus left us in the Gospel, as the way we should live our lives, it provides the consistency any parent knows is vital to a child’s healthy development. I think we as Christians would agree, that it is much easier to draw others to Christ by example than if we say one thing and are seen doing another. Jesus calls these kinds of people "hypocrites". Please, let’s have compassion on our children as our Lord Jesus has for us. He teaches us the same lessons over and over because he understands we are sinners.

In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus set apart little children as his most cherished followers. "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matt. 18:1-5)

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." (Matt. 18:10) Jesus teaches us we should follow the little one’s example in all they see is truth. Little ones are not yet tainted by the worldly ways of life. They are quick in their faith, to love and forgive us. We need to be very careful in what we expect little children to understand, teach them what is acceptable, don’t dwell on the problem. Pray about it and teach them to have good sense. Create a hunger in their heart for love and forgiveness of others.

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:2-3) There will be a time for our children to fully understand the consequences of their actions. But as young babies and little children we must keep them safe, well fed, and provide a consistent environment of love.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." ( Hebrews 12:11) Experts tell us that discipline is love and must be painful to be effective. The pain involved in discipline is felt in the heart and mind of those who don't like what they hear. It goes against our selfish and sinful nature.

It is painful to all those in an ear shot distance from a child who does not get his way. Some really have strong lungs and scream and cry as if they had suffered bodily harm. The love of discipline is to pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the words to teach your child what is acceptable.

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Part 3: Testimony

Is spanking a form of biblical discipline? Is it ok for me not to spank?
So many Christian Leaders have a strong argument for this kind of discipline/punishment. It seems as though you are expected to spank your child if you say you are a Christian parent. Deep in my heart I have always had a problem with these Christian Leaders interpretation of "Rod". I found my self-asking, "Do I really serve a God who wants me to spank my child?"

Once again I was deeply saddened by the thought of children, in Christian homes, being hit with sticks, in the name of God! Then in a short time after, I had this thought, the Holy Spirit came to me again and said,

" these experts have forgotten to include the Gospel in teaching us discipline, that Jesus came to save us and our sins are forgiven through his sufferings."

Paul, the writer of Galatians, gives us a message to stop trying to earn our way and accept our salvation through faith. He urges us to stay close to Christ’s teachings by the power of the Holy Spirit. The leaders in the pro-spanking community have not included the name Jesus in their teaching, Jesus is not separate from God. Even if a person does not believe in God or the bible, I would assume they understand the idea behind Christianity. To live a life like Jesus so that our sins are forgiven and we can go to heaven when we die.

Can I teach my child to obey without spanking?
It seems to me people are asleep to the reality of this subject. Why have the leaders forgotten to reveal the true meaning of the word child? It means we all, young and old, every race, and male and female are God’s children!! (1 John 3:1) All believers are God’s children. Adults new to the Christian life are infants (Eph. 4:14). If we literally applied all the scripture with children, rod, and discipline then we should all deserve a good spank daily. No, instead we save it for babies and toddlers.
Don’t you understand that Jesus is our children’s savior too?

" I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21) There is another critical point not given to us by the pro-spanking community about children and their place in the bible. In Matthew Chapter 18, Jesus’ Disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Much to their surprise, Jesus called a little child and said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."(Matt. 18:3-4) Children are totally dependant on adults for safety, shelter, food, and unconditional love, just as we receive these as a free gift from God. Their humble and sincere hearts are what we, as parents should follow our children’s example. I believe that it helps me to communicate with my daughter when I humble myself and see issues and the world through her eyes.

Jesus continues his example of little ones, "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." (Matt. 18:5) He gives strong warning to not cause a little one to sin, that it would be better for them to drown in the sea! It is really sad to hear pro-spanking leaders view of children. They basically ridicule them down to nothing, calling them foolish, stubborn, and selfish. These leaders do not have an ounce of compassion in them; they have a zero tolerance policy against children. They teach parents to demand perfect obedience from their children. Please do not misunderstand my point. I believe that our children do need discipline, teaching right from wrong. (This letter is not a full guide to all parenting issues, I leave that to experts I trust.) It is a plea to stop hitting children in the name of the Bible!

The pro-spanking leaders argue that if a child’s behavior goes unpunished they will become spoiled fruit. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it " (Hebrews 12:11) What if Jesus walked into your home, followed the sounds of crying, and saw you spanking your child? Do you think he would be accepting of this act or take the stick away? I think he would take the stick away, pick your child up out of your lap, and send you to your room!

"The fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22). I think many parents would take a closer look at their discipline methods, if they knew the truth about the fruit yielded by spanking. In an article written by Nadine Block, "Abandon the Rod and Save the Child." She refers to results of studies done on people who were spanked. The practice leads children to accept violence without question and believe it is deserved. These children have repressed rage that appears later in the form of destructive and aggressive behavior towards others and themselves. There is a strong link between spanking and antisocial behaviors, depression, and crime. Studies also show that parents who believe in corporal punishment (spanking) are more likely to injure children than parents who do not. I think it is time for pro-spanking leaders and parents to wake up!

Take a good look at your children. Are they really thriving? Are they growing up in a safe environment where they are sure of Jesus’ love for them? Do you know that Jesus loves you, and what His love means for your life?

One additional point I would like to make is where the act of spanking really comes from. The word it self is not found in the Bible. The methods used to administer the discipline (punishment) are not found in the Bible. Leaders of the pro-spanking community vary on the specifics of a spanking, yet claim it is biblical. They have made up their own systematic approach; in a way it is their own gospel.

The book of Revelations gives a strong warning to those who read it. We are not to add words to the bible or take away words. There will be harsh judgment to those who do. Also on the Day of Judgment we all believers and unbelievers, will have to give an account of how we lived our lives. This account will be face to face with Jesus (see book of Revelations).

If you are a person who has accepted the Lord Jesus as your own personal Savior, asked him to come into your heart, then you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you! I challenge you to think of this letter as another interpretation. To prayerfully seek Gods wisdom in the application of his words. To choose the way your heart leads you to parent. Trust that God knows you and your child and can teach you how to communicate with each other. Also, trust in the power of prayer, which no harm can be done. We must let God do his work in us.

I choose not to spank. I would rather explain why I did not, than why I spent years spanking my daughter in the name of God. Especially when I know Jesus suffered for our sins, died, and is now in heaven.

Read this carefully!

1. In the NIV bible the definition of Rod reads as follows: Straight wooden stick: used as walking stick, weapon, royal scepter or measuring device; Figurative of divine authority.
2. In Leviticus chapter 20 verses 1-3 the commentator writes: "Sacrificing children to the gods was a common practice in ancient religions. The Ammonities, Israel’s neighbors, made child sacrifice to Molech (their national God) a vital part of their religion. They saw this as the greatest gift they could offer to ward off evil or appease angry Gods. God made it clear that this practice was detestable and strictly forbidden. In Old Testament times as well as New, his character made human sacrifice unthinkable. (1) Unlike the pagan gods, he is God of love, who does not need to be appeased (Exodus 34:6). (2) He is a God of life, who prohibits murder and encourages practices that lead to health and happiness (Deuteronomy 30:15, 16). (3) He is God of the helpless, who shows special concern for children (Psalm 72:4). (4) He is a God of unselfishness, who instead of demanding blood gives his life for others (Isaiah 53:4, 5).

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)

JESUS HAS A SPECIAL LOVE FOR CHILDREN:

"Jesus loves me! This I
know, for the Bible tells
me so; Little ones to
Him belong, They are
weak but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so."

I think it is time to put the stick down and fill our children’s hearts with love, compassion, and forgiveness, the teachings of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

What does scripture say about hitting others?

(1) Matthew 26:47-54, Jesus was committed to advancing God’s kingdom by faith and obedience. He did not tolerate violence. "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to his disciple, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

(2) Luke 22:49-51,When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Jesus clearly forbids striking a grown man who could very easily have fought back. He healed his enemy, the man who came to bring Jesus to his arrest and eventually death! It is amazing that for generations some people have struck defenseless little ones for not sitting down to eat dinner ect…!

Words Defined:
Rod: Figurative of divine authority. (NIV Bible)
Figurative:
1, symbolical; not literal.
2, full of figures of speech; flowery.
(Webster Dictionary)
Divine:
1, of the nature of, proceeding from, or pert. to God; sacred.
2, heavenly; excellent.
(Webster Dictionary)
Authority:
1, the right to govern, control, or command.
4, an expert on a subject; an accepted source of information or counsel.
(Webster Dictionary)

Note from the Author:
This letter is, in a sense a map in my most recent challenge in my Christian walk. I have, by the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, climbed many "mountains of struggles." I have found myself lost then I would wake up and find Jesus waiting for me.
The mountain in my life today is called "parenthood." I really struggled to find good parenting advice, which forced me to listen very closely to the voice of God. The reason it was difficult is because there is very little support for a Christian parent who does not want to spank. There is a gap between the secular view of childrearing and a Christian’s main foundation of beliefs in God.

We must build a network of loud Christian voices that are against the practice of spanking. Use the voice of Christians who are well known in their community that hold a place as leaders, pastors, and priest who can be trusted. We need to involve the media to spread the truth to many people at one time. There is another interpretation of the word "Rod" not spoken of in the Christian community. We need to publicly expose the pro-spanking leaders false teachings and hold them accountable. They have taught many good, loving parents how to "apply a stick to child’s’ backside". This practice is ridiculous and needs to stop! Christian leaders are the people to put an end to this spanking issue!!

The NIV Bible writes Rod can also mean: Figurative of Divine Authority. This definition of rod sums up the scripture I read in Isaiah, part 2 of this message. This year of 2001, I have attended Bible Study Fellowship. They have a program for teaching children Biblical Truths that clearly focus on Jesus love for us. The program provides parent education to help us be good Christian parents without hitting. I have gained a multitude of blessings through this program as a parent, wife, sister, and daughter. I strongly encourage you to enroll in a class in your area. The program is worldwide.

Part 1 and 2 of Gods’ message was written by faith and obedience to God. My resource was the NIV Bible. Also, I refer to the wide spread viewpoint of well-known Christain teachers of the subject of spanking. I did not want to be influenced by the secular point of view not to spank. An article I read on the Internet inspired part 3, "Abandon the Rod and Save the Child", written by Nadine Block, co-chair of Center for Effective Discipline/ EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment of Children). I was still looking for Rod on the Internet when I stumbled onto this web site, www.stophitting.com.

Please refer to the enclosed pages I printed or log on to the web site and read about the EPOCH-USA mission. On this site you will find Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Sagendorf and his truths against spanking. He seems to be the only Christian voice on EPOCH-USA list of Advisory Board members. This is sad compared to the number of pro-spanking voices.

God Bless the EPOCH-USA efforts for the sake of our children. Let us all work together and end the practice of spanking.

By a Christian Mom

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Christian Parenting Without Hitting

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16 NIV)

And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 NRSV)

How does a parent bring a child to Jesus our Lord?
This is a very important question that has a wide variety of possible responses. One way to bring a child to Jesus is attending church, Sunday school, singing worship songs and sharing the bible with them. But there are also the things we do in our everyday living that can reinforce the lessons of the Bible. The New Testament, which is a little easier to apply, contains scripture that can be a very useful tool in raising healthy, well-behaved children. Scripture must be used to guide the parent as they seek advice from the experts in the field of child development and childrearing.

What does it mean to love?
The most important response in caring for others is the command, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39). All parents love their children but how do you put this feeling into action? For us as Christians, love is very well defined in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Love is patient, love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Parents must also love themselves enough to make their own health a priority. When you exercise regularly, both you and your family will receive a wealth of benefits, like reduced stress, better sleep, less illness, and an overall sense of feeling good. Exercise can improve your creative thinking ability so it is a good way to sort out the cares of the day. Exercise is good medicine!

Scripture for Parents; One example of how to apply scripture to daily living.
Meal Time:- Jesus tells us not to worry about our food or our clothes. He says, God will provide what we need. "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." (Luke 12:22-34 NRSV)

Jesus answered, "It is written: "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4 NRSV)

Meal times are about eating, but it is also about the relationship you build with your child. It needs to be free from high stress and anxiety. Your child will eat when they are hungry. If they don’t like the food you made, give them something small and simple instead. It is your child’s right to have food to fuel their body for proper growth and development. Your child may have an underlying health issue that causes them to not have a desire to eat. If you are ever in doubt about your child’s health, call the pediatrician.

Pray for the conversation to be kind, caring, and free from negative remarks. Pray for the food, but also pray for the people you care about. Start the habit early, pray over every baby food jar. This maybe one of your few times to slow down, because taking care of a baby can be very demanding.

More Scripture for Parents
Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31 NRSV)

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NRSV)

This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt. 26:28 NRSV)

If you are able!-All things can be done for the one who believes. (Mark 9:23 NRSV)

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NRSV)

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11 NRSV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 NRSV)

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matt.7:8 NRSV)

Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
(Psalm 28:6-7 NRSV)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NRSV)

Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no". (Matt.5:37 NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NRSV)

Be still and know that I am God… (Psalm 46:10 NRSV)

What are the spiritual tools scripture gives to us as parents?
Faith, Prayer, Love and Forgiveness
Do a personal Bible study on these topics. When you understand the person of Jesus Christ, you will find strength and hope for your parenting needs. Also read the Lords Prayer (Matt.6:9-13), The Beatitudes (Matt.5:3-12), and Jesus’ Teaching Parables.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NRSV)

Punishment verses Discipline
Parents need to have a clear understanding of the difference between these two words. Many authors of parenting books use them interchangeably which can lead to confusion for both parent and child.

Do not withhold discipline from your children; if you beat them with a rod, they will not die. If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol.
(Proverbs 23:13-14)

Parents have been told they can justify striking (spanking) their children with scripture from Proverbs. This interpretation is literal and is absurd. Commentary in the NRSV on Prov. 23:13-14 writes, "Hyperbole and sardonic humor are used to give advice on raising children. It is not disciplinary blows that will kill a child but uncorrected behavior that will lead to fatal consequences. The humor and hyperbole show the admonition does not espouse the corporal punishment of children."

Punishment is more vindictive, is used to stop current behavior and inflict a penalty for offense. Parents who rely on punishment such as spanking to control behavior will establish a police/suspect relationship with their child.*

Discipline is more instructive, teaches acceptable behavior, and leads a child to develop self-control. It sees the potential in a child to learn and establishes a teacher/student relationship.* A good disciplinarian does not believe a child is "evil" but sees opportunities to teach.

Our role as parents must be to help our children thrive not parish. When used appropriately, a system of redirecting a child away from a situation or rewarding good behavior can be very helpful in raising children.

The Discipline of Prayer

From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you…(Deuteronomy 4:36 NIV)

If your child is in need of discipline, pray a simple prayer with your child, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love. Sammy wants to learn how to be kind to his friend and not push him down. Thank you for helping us, in Jesus name, Amen"

Jesus commanded the waves, "Quiet! Be Still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39) This is an example of a biblical "time out", which can be used by both parent and child to calm down. When you find the situation too stressful, step outside with your child and go for a walk or put some music on and dance.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is committed to teaching acceptable behavior. Christians are disciples of Jesus, following his teaching so we as parents can think of ourselves as teachers, (Acts 11:26). Parents must speak to their children in a way that will produce the desired behavior.

Speak from the child’s point of view, say what you mean.
For Example:
Say, "It is time to brush your teeth and get ready for bed."
Not, "Are you getting tired now, do you think it is time for bed?" (This sounds like a game, "Let’s make a deal.")

Say, "Stay here on the sidewalk. Cars can hurt you."
Or say, "You may go into the street if you hold Mommy’s hand."
Not, "Don’t run out in the street!" (If the child is not supposed to be in the street, where should they be?)

Say, "Biting hurts him. You may eat an apple, not his arm." (Say this as you carefully pull the children away)
Not, "Stop that!" ( Teach them what their mouth is for.)

Say, "Crayons are for paper. Food is for eating. If you are hungry, Mommy will give you a snack."
Not, "Don’t put that in your mouth!"

Give specific praise
Say, "Good job Sarah. I like the way you put the toys away." (While you say this make eye contact and gently hold his or her hand.)

Say, "Thank you for helping me pick up the crayons."

Some words on "fruit"
Scripture uses the word fruit to help us measure our Christian walk. Read Matthew 12:33-37, Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. If your child is behaving in a way you don’t like and verbal discipline is not working, pray about it. There may be an outside influence such as TV, a friend, lack of sleep or food, or an illness that, once taken care of, the discipline problem will just melt away. Young children grow fast and change from day to day. Christian parents need prayer daily to stay one step ahead of their children. Just a reminder, the word prayer means to communicate with God. He is the creator of your child and scripture says he knows what we need before we ask him Matthew 6:7-8.

A few recommended books*

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D.

The Power Of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

How To Behave So Your Children Will, Too! by Sal Severe, Ph.D.

What To Expect the Toddler Years by Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway, B.S.N.

The Little Big Book for God’s Children by Tabori and Wong

*Some advice on what books to read. Look in the index under spanking to find the authors point of view on this subject. If it agrees with your view then it is a safe one to learn from. Scripture tells us the pain for sin was inflicted on His body, on the cross, for all of God’s children, John 19:30.

Parenting is not an easy job! Raising a child is one of the biggest challenges you may face. You will find conflicting views from parent to parent and expert to expert. But remember you are not alone, look to the life of Jesus, for guidance and you will find the joy in being a parent. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, your eye will become less critical and judgmental. You will see opportunities to teach your child as you play, dance, learn and laugh together. Life is precious; love each other with all you have!

May the Peace of God always be with you.

*References:
Ten Reasons I Can’t Spank - A Catholic Counselor’s Critical Examination of Corporal Punishment by Gregory K. Popcak, MSW, LCSW

The Access Bible New Revised Standard Version

Life Application Study Bible New International Version

Special Thanks To:
Reverend Dr. Thomas E. Sagendorf and Nadine Block for all your input and support.

Sunflower Montessori Preschool for your wisdom about children and helping me raise my daughter.

My family, near and far, for your support.

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The Center For Effective Discipline