Christian Mamas- a Discipline/spanking/gentle discipline question....

Discussion in 'Gentle guidance' started by Mama*Kristen, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Mama*Kristen

    Mama*Kristen Phillipians 2:14

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    Okay... here's a question for all of you Christian mamas. This past weekend we were in Virginia. We stayed with my mother in law who is a born again Christian. I am also a Christian and have always gone to an Assemblies of God Church which is also the denomination that dh's mom goes to. Anyway, we were going to join her at church on Sunday and she brought us this two page discipline guideline that their church follows as far as sunday school goes. What I probably would have tried to do before thinking about it was taken Tabby (my almost 9 month old who is about 90% breastfed- 10% baby foods - she has just started being interested in other foods) into the service and left Sky (my 2 1/2 year old) in sunday school with other kiddos unless she wanted to come with us (I never leave her so I wasn't sure if she'd be okay without us but I figured they could come and get us if they needed to). Anyway, after reading what she brought home I decided I did not want to go AT ALL. First of all, NO children (babies, etc) were allowed in the service. I disagree with that because I feel that babies, children, all make up a church community and add to it- whether it be their cooing, crying, whatever- it's part of life. Parents can usually leave the services I've been to and do if their babes cry and in the churches I've been to- there is the service on a loudspeaker throughout the church. Anyway, the second thing that got me to thinking about all this is that their discipline policy for children in sunday school had to do with a "rod of correction". This I believe they just meant spanking. But, me being a mama who believes in gentle discipline- I couldn't imagine my dd even seeing another child being hit. It went on to say that the parents must agree to this. And that if the offense was against another child the offending child must be "broken" in front of other children (a public offense). It went into detail and quoted many bible references regarding spanking. I know the "spare the rod spoil the child" but there were others. My dd is sleeping on my lap or I could pull the paper out. Anyway, I obviously couldn't fathom leaving my child in such an environment. I didn't want her to see someone be hit much less be in a place where a stranger would be allowed to hit her. That thought just about brings tears to my eyes. But this whole thing did bring about a question to me. Are there any bible references that teach gentle discipline? Or am I as a Christian going against Christian and biblical belief in NOT hitting/spanking/breaking my daughters? I really want your honest opinions on both sides of the coin. I don't think that I could ever hit my child but I would like to know if I am "biblically speaking" doing the "wrong" thing. Please let me know what faith you are when you answer as well. Just curious as to everyone's different insights and where they come from. Oh, and I called my church to find out their policy on spanking in the Sunday school here when we got back into town because we are talking about going this Sunday. Dh ended up going alone this past Sunday in Virginia with his family and I stayed home with the girls. He has newly been interested in the church and finding God and I am thrilled and am happy to be going to church again - I haven't been to church in a while - probably a year... Anyway... my church here of the same denomination has a policy of Never hitting a child and lets discipline issues like spanking to be up to the parent. They were surprised when I told them about the other church in Virginia although the one lady did say that she heard of that type of policy in a school setting not just a sunday school but a day to day school. Anyway... opinions anyone?! Thanks! :D
  2. Myrrh

    Myrrh Learning as I go

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    I don't have a lot of time, but I wanted to tell you that I think you're right on. I was raised Nazarene, and now we're attending a Community Church (non-denominational). Here's a good website that has information about the "rod" and how it's used incorrectly in the religious community.http://www.aolff.org/ Her book is great too. (((HUGS))) Mama. Stick to your instincts. :)
  3. ~Denise~

    ~Denise~ Living life...

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    Not religious at all, but your post caught my eye. A nurse at the clinic I work at faced this......she does not spank, and had a friend who did, believing she "should" due to past comments from people....making her think it was religiously needed. My friend used a lot of Dr. William Sears info and others to help this lady see otherwise......Have you read some of the Sears books? He is a strong Christian who had a book just for Christian parents...and is very anti-spanking....

    http://attachment_parenting.tripod.com/ezzo2.html

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveChristianAP/

    http://groups.msn.com/APhearts/discipline.msnw

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/cpt/2003/002/6.50.html

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin4.htm
  4. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    Oh, I cannot tell you how often that whole thing drives me crazy. I've had to do evaluations on parents who used that as the reason why they were physically abusive toward their child/ren (I'm not talking a spanking - which I'm totally against - but actual abuse that leaves marks, etc.)

    I'm Christian in the I believe in Jesus, not in the Baptist/Lutherian/etc. type of way (we attend a liberal Catholic parish). But, let's not forget that the Bible is also a historial text that reflects not just God's teachings, but also the attitude of each individual writer. The bible also says that one shouldn't touch a woman when she is having a period because she is unclean. Then, there's always the issue of translation. What did they literally mean by the word "rod?" Finally, there are issues of meaning. What did they mean by the concept of "spare the rod, spoil the child?" Couldn't that also mean that it is important to teach the child with firm boundaries - but that doesn't mean those boundaries include violence.

    I feel so strongly about my beliefs about physical discipline that I cannot believe that God would actually be advocating beating one's child. If I found out that the church I attended held that belief system, I would walk out the door, never even look over my shoulder, and find another church that I felt better represented the message of Jesus - love one another; treat each other with love, respect, and dignity; be kind one to another, etc. I cannot believe in a God that would suggest that the only way to raise one of his children would be to beat them. I think physical discipline is for weak parents who are unable to teach their children in less violent ways.
  5. crissy

    crissy Active Member

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    Wow,
    I cannot believe a Christian Church would follow something like that. I am LDS and in The Family: A proclamation to the World it says

    "..We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God..."

    If anybody would like to read more the link is
    http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,00.html
  6. Robin

    Robin Jesus Follower

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    I think (hope?) that was an extreme view held by few churches. I know that in our church and ones we attend they would not practice spanking at all. We both (dh and I) grew up in Southern Baptist churches and now we are Christian & Missionary Alliance and we have served at staff at non denominational churches.

    For what it's worth I took some seminary classes in preschool education while dh was working on his master's degree. My professors all had the philosphy that spanking in a church setting is not appropriate at all. One professor said that the only time she would *ever* consider spanking (her own children not at church) was in a situation where the child was doing something that would bring great physical harm to the child (running into the street repeatedly). Her reasoning was that if a child continued to run into the street even after you have corrected them and they were hit by a car then that would be much worse than spanking to reinforce the rule of not running into the street.

    Personally in my work with children in church situations I don't think spanking is appropriate and I am unsure what the church meant by ""broken" in front of other children ". I don't think this is a Biblical application at all and I am unsure where they came up with this. I can understand that if a child does something they might need to apologize (repent) but I don't think that equals being broken.

    I think you did the right thing. I wouldn't have left my children under those circumstances either.
  7. Ariadne Umbrell

    Ariadne Umbrell New Member

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    Umm, was it one of the big drive- in churches? There are a few in the Atlanta area that are pretty excited about beating the c#$5 out of children.

    My mom comes out of that tradition. She calls me up, and tells me that beating my kids 'til it raises bruises (the bluing of the wound) is good for them. My mother is also, by court order, not allowed to be in a room alone with a child, and had three children taken from her, for following these beliefs.

    Two pastors in my area were just sent to jail for beating a kid during vacation bible school.

    Dr Sears, and Katie Allen Granju have some pretty detailed essays on merciful, and Biblical, discipline. Also, some churches have published position papers against spanking. I found some of them on the net.

    And, if you really, truly believe that Solomon wrote every word in Proverbs- do you want his family? His sons tried to kill him, one raped his stepmother, and they all mismanaged their godly inheritance, losing everything. It sounds like a snakepit of a family.

    Also, certain seminaries are studying "goodness" during WW11,and they've interviewed the resistance workers, and others working towards liberating innocent people: the results are in essays and movies, and doctoral thesis. I don't know how you get your hands on them. My pastor did some of the work on one case. In general, their parents modelled "goodness" and "mercy," and "Always choose mercy." Which means no physical, or mental coercion towards their children.

    And, really, can you imagine spanking Jesus? If it's not good enough for him, why would you hurt your own child. I imagine God tried to find a good family to foster his son, and he had to go looking for people gentle, and wise. We don't hear anything about say, Elizabeth, being brutal,right?

    Ar
  8. BelovedBird

    BelovedBird New Member

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    Since this is a christian thread I avoided getting involved but I feel like I am needed here to correct the mistakes being made.
    Mabey the christian bible says that- but not the original version.

    First of all "spare the rod, spoil the child" is not even IN the bible. It is actually from a line from a poetic satire of the victorian lifestyle.

    The verse you may be refering to is- Proverbs (13:24) "He who spares the rod hates his son."
    The rod meaning guidance- like a shepards rod, used to nudge the sheep back onto the path when they start to wander. A parent who is so permissive with their child that they do not attempt to guide them on the right "path" is not caring for their child ("hates him"). This is not refering to hitting the child with a stick!! That is certainly forbidden in the torah!
  9. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    Clearly she is then aware that "corporal punishment" (i.e., spanking or whipping) is legal until it leaves a mark or a bruise. If punishment results in bruising, it is abuse.
  10. Tap dancin mama

    Tap dancin mama Amity's Focus Member

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    There are a few churches I know of that don't allow children under the age of 7 in services and I think it's ludicrice. That's why we don't go there anymore;)

    I'm shocked that's it's legal to spank someone elses child in a "public" setting. I would never ever allow a sunday school teacher to spank my child!! And we do use spanking as one form of discipline in in our house. So it's not just the non-spankers that think that's a crazy wacked out church.
  11. LifesaBeach

    LifesaBeach Amity's Focus Member

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    Oh My!!!!:eek:

    I know of some churches that won't let you near the sanctuary with a baby...sad, IMO but unfortunately that's just how it is in some places. There are by far, more churches who embrace children, than not, so the good news is you have lots of choices :)

    I think one thing the bible is clear on is that it is a parent's duty to train up/discipline their own children. I have used many gentle discipline techniques and I have also spanked. I think both have their place. Not every form of discipline works for every parent/child. That's why it should be left to a parent to do the correcting. If you told my 9 yo to read for 20 minutes and he could watch TV, he wouldn't read. YOu don't know him. If I told him to read 20 minutes and then he can draw till his heart's content, he'd read. In *rod of correction* discipline, often times the focus becomes stomping out bad behavior. That is important but we are also commanded to not be harsh with our children and to not discourage them. Teachings that make blanket statements like *you must spank* do not take into account the individual responsibility of the parent to know their child and it also leaves little room for grace.

    You know what's best for your daughter.;)
  12. Empathic~Heart

    Empathic~Heart Doing the best I can!

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    A revolution is required now. Not a worldly revolu
    Just a reminder - site guidelines have specific rules about the spanking debate

    So long as nobody is advocating corporal punishment of children. Asking for suggestions to alternatives is fine. Defending your reasons for doing so is not. Amity's rules. If you have made comments as such, please edit them.

    There are some great Christian links in the Guidance Forum here:
    http://www.amitymama.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=56089

    Carry on...
  13. Dannielle

    Dannielle Princess Nimble-Thimble

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    I have met through church many people who truly believe in that discipline advocated by the Pearls (Christian authors of To Train Up a Child ...I think that's the title) and other similar "experts" on biblical childrearing.

    My very favorite site for another perspecitve on biblically inspired discipline is
    http://www.thewigleys.net/the_rod.html
  14. calicohemp

    calicohemp where's the food???

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    ...don't let my post count fool you:)
    I did some research on this a while back. There's also a book called Bibilical Parenting by Crystal Lutton.

    Here's some stuff I typed out and also got from other sites. I finally came to the conclusion that it is not God's command we have to spank our children.

    "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." – Isaiah 66:13

    The saying “'Spare the rod, spoil the child” is not in the bible.

    The Bible Verses:

    Proverbs 29:15 reads, “The rod (7626) and reproof give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

    Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest (5221) him with the rod (7626), he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod (7626), and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod (7626) of correction (4148) shall drive it far from him.

    One who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (1 Tim. 3:4).
    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
    Ephesians 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up (nourish them) in the discipline (training, nurture) and instruction of the Lord.
    Proverbs 29:17 Correct (3256) your son, and he will give you comfort, He will also delight your soul.

    Proverbs 19:18 Chasten (3256) your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death

    Meanings from Strong’s Concordance:

    ROD (7626) = from an unused root probably meaning to branch off, i.e. (lit.) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking,etc.) or (fig.) a clan: -- x correction, dart, rod scepter, staff, tribe.

    Chasten/correct (3256) = a prim. Root; to chastise, lit. (with blows) or fig. (with words); hence to instruct: -- bind, chasten chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.

    Correction (4148) = from 3256; prop. Chastisement; fig. reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint; --bond, chastening [(-eth)] chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke.

    Rod (4294) = from 5186; a branch (as extending); fig. a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (fig. correction), ruling (a scepter), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; fig. a support of life, e.g. bread; -- rod, staff, tribe

    My understanding: Having read all of the verses where rod is used (7626) it is not always used as a literal stick but used figuratively as well.

    From another site I visited:


    Even the Pearl's recognize there are other options than spanking:

    "So if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from....., you are not without tools. There are still plenty of options available to you. You can do a relatively good job of training if you are consistent and recognize the nature of your limitations. You will have to lean more heavily on alternatives that tend toward accomplishing the same end." (bold my emphasis)

    Hmmm....so spanking is not necessary, just a parenting choice not God's command.

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