Is spanking a crime? The media seems to be using high profile child abuse charges levied against a dad as fuel to give that argument credence. There has been a new flurry of articles written by “experts” on the subject. But be alert to phrases like, “And while the modern scientific consensus is clear …” when they are not backed up with objective scientific evidence. Biblical writings are absolutely clear that discipline is foundational in raising a godly generation – young people that respect authority, the rule of law and honor their father and mother. There is a good argument that the present trend of lawlessness and disrespect for authority that percolates in parts of our government and society is the result of a generation raising children with more concern about hurting self-esteem than building self-esteem through sound disciplinary practices in the home.
“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.” – Pr.33:13. “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those that have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11. As dads, it is our responsibility to produce a “harvest of righteousness and peace” starting in the home. Being the disciplinarian is not popular, it is not easy and it may not be in line with the “modern scientific consensus”, but it is a Biblical mandate.
Tips to Be the Disciplinarian:
- Establish rules for the home – A family meeting is appropriate. Kids certainly have input but Dad and Mom have the final say. The goal is not to create a comprehensive list of “do’s” & “don’ts” but rather to establish expectations – chores/responsibilities around the house, time on the phone or internet, school work, family time, language, respect, etc. Understand that some of the rules will be general and some will be child-specific as age and characteristics dictate;
- Establish consequences for breaking the rules – consequences must be established and agreed upon during the family meeting. This is critical to ensure that Dad & Mom are on the same page and to keep emotions in check during disciplinary action. Disciplinary action should be child-specific as age and characteristics dictate. This will bring up the “fair” word. Discipline is not about being fair from a child’s perspective, it is about being effective;
- Enforce the consequences – follow through is not an option, it is mandatory. A child’s perspective on authority, rules and consequences in life echoes what has been practiced in the home. “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” – Matthew 5:37.
- Always discipline in love, never in anger – If/when anger breaks through during disciplinary action, drop to a knee and say, “I am wrong to discipline you in anger. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” When self-discipline is compromised, disciplinary action is as well.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the mother of the children You have blessed me with and for the opportunity to be a dad. Ground me well in the discipline that is Your word and Your love in my life. Equip me well to be Your representative in my family to be the disciplinarian that honors You in the raising of a godly generation. By Your grace I will be a man, husband and father that produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. Amen
A faithful father is a disciplinarian that produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.