From all the things that parenting entails, discipline is the one that comes hardest to me (are you with me parents?) Yes, I’ve read
all some books about the subject: “To spank, or not to spank: that is the question.” While some specialists swear that spanking leads to psychological trauma, there are seasoned parents who think that it’s all poppycock. I’ve been a parent for five years and still have no clue who to believe? I don’t want to mess up my children, yet there are times when a slap in the rear end is very much called for.
I honestly think all responsible parents have a hard time with this one, yet we all strive to perfect a system that works for us. We can all agree that discipline should be delivered with deep respect and love for the child.
I myself was never spanked. My mother never lifted her arms at me to throw me anything or belittle me (God bless her soul.) Her way of getting my attention was with LOTS of talk and patience. My dad (wrongly but thankfully) left most of the disciplining to my mom. Have I seen her angry? Indeed I have! Yet she had a way of relieving herself before she taught me a lesson. That was her way. Maybe that’s one of the many reasons I have trouble with spanking my own children. I admittedly have less patience with my children than my mom had with my brother and me. I am SO working on this one!
“Being a parent is a huge privilege, and I’m learning that a true mutual respect is what we’re here as parents to create—a deep respect that is built, over time, within us and between us”- Elena Brower
The Parents’ Tao Te Ching:
When your children behave,
give them respect and kindness.
When your children misbehave,
give them respect and kindness.
When they are hateful,
When they betray your trust,
Believe this difficult truth:
Showing respect in the face of disrespect,
love in the face of hate,
trust is the face of betrayal,
and serenity in the face of turmoil,
will teach your children more
than all the moral lectures
since the dawn of time.
When I have found myself lashing out at my children, I then feel an insurmountable amount of anguish and guilt (welcome to parenthood!) that does not let me rest. And I feel proud to say that I have asked my children to forgive me for the unreasonable ways I’ve reacted at times; I immediately feel a sense of relief both in me and them (because children will always find a way of making themselves guilty of our
As parents, we get to write in the blank slate of another human being. We have A LOT to say in the kind of people our children will become. What a HUGE responsibility! Much to our dislike, parenting, as everything else, is a trial and error approach, and one size does not fit all. Discipline is a MUST! But HOW? is the question. The Bible has many a thing to say in this regard, for example:
“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”- Proverbs 13:24
This verse leaves a lot to interpretation. Does it!? For instance:
The word “rod” is translated from the Hebrew word shebet. A shebet is a shepherd’s staff or a king’s scepter, and it symbolizes authority. A shebet was used to guide sheep and to protect them by fighting off predators – not to strike the sheep. Using the word shebet, God gives parents the authority and responsibility to discipline – a word meaning to teach – their children.
I ask myself: “When it comes to spanking, whatever happened to: “Love is kind, love is patient… love is not easily angered…” how does this apply to rearing a child?
I am no expert, I am just your average christian mom trying to make sense out of this difficult yet necessary endeavour called discipline. One thing I truly and honestly feel from the bottom of my heart is to NEVER discipline in anger. This is very hard to accomplish yet absolutely necessary when it comes to helping our children to adjust from their natural misbehaving ways to an adequate demeanor.
I bet that when we TRULY understand the ways God loves and disciplines us, we will have a clearer perspective on how we should discipline our children.
I am ambivalent about spanking my children. I trust God will speak to my unrelenting heart. Amen!