This is the final article of a four part series on spanking. I believe in today’s humanistic world the temptation to disregard God’s method of child rearing and exchange it for society’s secular methods is a result of an ignorance of the Word of God and a lack of faith. There has never been a generation as ruthless, immoral or amoral as this generation since the days of Noah. Humanism started in the garden with Eve agreeing with the thoughts and lies of the serpent to defy the warnings of God and choose to rely on her own knowledge and philosophy rather than obedience to the Word of God. In America today, people are taught to be independent, to be a free thinker or as a rebel would sing, “I’ll do it my way.” With this ungodly mentality and attitude being preached throughout our society on radio, television and throughout the public schools our children have had their minds transformed to become defiant and lawlessness reigns throughout our country today. What is so sad is that many “Christian” parents rely on these anti-Christ philosophers, child psychologists, teachers and experts to influence their decisions in how to raise their children. Our churches are filled with humanism and many of our “Christian” counselors, teachers and authors try to advise parents about how to raise their children. However, their advice is based from a position influenced with the cultures, prejudices and beliefs of the world rather than from the holy Word of God.
The following are some guidelines for suggested ages of spanking as discussed in Dr James Dobson’s book, Discipline While You Can.
BIRTH TO SEVEN MONTHS
“No direct discipline is necessary for a child under seven months of age…A baby is incapable of comprehending his ‘offense’ or associating it with the resulting punishment. At this early age, he needs to be held, loved, and most important, to hear a soothing human voice. He should be fed when hungry and kept clean and dry and warm. In essence, it is probable that the foundation for emotional and physical health is laid during this first six-month period, which should be characterized by security, affection and warmth.
On the other hand, it is possible to create a fussy, demanding baby by rushing to pick him up every time he utters a whimper or sigh. Infants are fully capable of learning to manipulate their parents through a process called reinforcement, whereby any behavior that produces a pleasant result will tend to recur. Thus, a healthy baby can keep his mother hopping around his nursery twelve hours a day (or night) by simply forcing air past his sandpaper larynx. To avoid this consequence, it is important to strike a balance between giving your baby the attention he needs and establishing him as a tiny dictator. Don’t be afraid to let him cry a reasonable period of time (which is thought to be healthy for the lungs) although it is necessary to listen to the tone of his voice for the difference between random discontent and genuine distress. Most mothers learn to recognize this distinction in time” (Pg 39).
EIGHT TO FOURTEEN MONTHS
“How does a parent discipline a one-year-old? Very carefully and gently! A child at this age is extremely easy to distract and divert. Rather than jerking a china cup from his hands, show him a brightly colored alternative-and then be prepared to catch the cup when it falls. When unavoidable confrontations do occur…win them by firm persistence but not by punishment. Again, don’t be afraid of the child’s tears, which can become a potent weapon to avoid naptime or bedtime or bath time. Have the courage to lead the child without being harsh or mean or gruff” (Ibid 40).
FIFTEEN TO TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS
“If there is one word that characterizes the period between fifteen and twenty-four months of age, it is No! No, he doesn’t want to eat his cereal, No, he doesn’t want to take his bath…First, and for obvious reasons, it is extremely important for fathers to help discipline and participate in the parenting process when possible. Children need their fathers and respond to their masculine manner…mild spankings can begin between fifteen and eighteen months of age…and must be reserved for…defiance. [He should not be spanked for accidents]... Should a spanking hurt? Yes, or else it will have no influence. A swat on the behind through three layers of wet nappies simply conveys no urgent message…it is important to spank immediately after the offense, or not at all. A toddler’s memory is not sufficiently developed to permit even a ten-minute delay in the administration of justice…With respect to dangerous items, such as electric plugs and stoves, as well as a few untouchable objects, such as the knobs on the television set, it is possible and necessary to teach and enforce the command, ‘Don’t touch!’ After making it clear what is expected, a thump on the fingers or slap on the hands will usually discourage repeat episodes” (Ibid 41-47).
TWO TO THREE YEARS
“…When the young toddler consistently wins the early confrontations and conflicts, he becomes even more difficult to handle in the second and third years. Then a lifelong disrespect for authority often begins to settle into his young mind. Therefore, I cannot overemphasize the importance of instilling two distinct messages within your child before he is forty-eight months of age: (1) ‘I love you more than you can possibly understand. You are precious to me and I thank God every day that he let me bring you up!’ (2) ‘Because I love you, I must teach you to obey me. That is the only way I can take care of you and protect you from things that might hurt you…’(Ibid 51).
“Healthy parenthood can be boiled down to those two essential ingredients, love and control, operating in a system of checks and balances. Any concentration on love to the exclusion of control usually breeds disrespect and contempt. Conversely, authoritarian and oppressive home atmosphere is deeply resented by the child who feels unloved or even hated…strike a balance between mercy and justice, affection and authority, love and control” (Ibid 51).
Refer to article one in this series for an example to see if you are in control of your toddler or whether he controls you. If your child will not sit in a chair for ten minutes or stay in bed when he has been told then you need to enforce your wishes by repeated usage of the rod with intervals of repeated instructions until he does.
FOUR TO EIGHT YEARS
“By the time a child reaches four years of age, the focus of discipline should be not only on his behavior, but also on the attitudes, which motivate it. This task of shaping the personality can be relatively simple or incredibly difficult, depending on the basic temperament of a particular child. If it is desirable that children be kind, appreciative, and pleasant, those qualities should be taught-not hoped for. If we want to see honesty, truthfulness, and unselfishness in our offspring, then these characteristics should be the conscious objectives of our early instructional process. If it is important to produce respectful, responsible young citizens, then we should set out to mold them accordingly. The point is obvious: heredity does not equip a child with proper attitudes; children will learn what they are taught…(1) There is no substitute for parental modeling of the attitudes we wish to teach…(2) Most of the favorable attitudes which should be taught are actually extrapolations of the Judeo-Christian ethic, including honesty, respect, kindness, love, human dignity, obedience, responsibility, reverence, etc. And how are these time-honored principles conveyed to the next generation? ‘You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime, and the first thing in the morning. Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house’” (Deut. 6:7-9 TLB) (Ibid 52-56).
NINE TO TWELVE YEARS
“Ideally, the foundation has been laid during the first nine years which will then permit a general loosening of the lines of authority…he should be carrying more responsibility each year of his life…Physical punishment should be relatively infrequent during this period immediately prior to adolescence. Of course, some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted…The overall objective during this final preadolescent period is to teach the child that his actions have inevitable consequences. One of the most serious casualties in a permissive society is the failure to connect those two factors, behavior and consequences. Too often, a three year-old child screams insults at his mother, but mum stands blinking her eyes in confusion. An infant pupil launches an attack on his teacher, but the school makes allowances for his age and takes no action. A ten-year old is caught stealing sweets in a shop, but is released to the recognizance of his parents. A seventeen-year old drives his sports car like a maniac and his parents pay for the repairs when he wraps it around a telegraph pole. You see, all through childhood, loving parents seem determined to intervene between behavior and consequences, breaking the connection and preventing the valuable learning that could have occurred.
“Thus it is possible for a young man or woman to enter adult life, not really knowing that life bites-that every move we make directly affects our future-that irresponsible behavior eventually produces sorrow and pain. Such a person applies for his first job and arrives late for work three times during the first week; then, when he is fired in a flurry of hot words, he becomes bitter and frustrated. It was the first time in his life that mum and dad couldn’t come running to rescue him from the unpleasant consequences. (Unfortunately, many parents still try to ‘bail out’ their grown children even when they are in their twenties and live away from home.) What is the result? This over-protection produces emotional cripples who often develop lasting characteristics of dependency and a kind of perpetual adolescence.
“How does one connect behavior with consequences? By being willing to let the child experience a reasonable amount of pain when he behaves irresponsibly. When Jack misses the school bus through his own dawdling, let him walk a mile or two and enter school in mid-morning (unless safety factors prevent this). If Janie carelessly loses her lunch money, let her skip a meal. Obviously, it is possible to carry this principle too far, being harsh and inflexible with an immature child. But the best approach is to expect boys and girls to carry the responsibility that is appropriate for their age, and occasionally to taste the bitter fruit that irresponsibility bears” (Ibid 58, 60-61).
Fellow saints, in this permissive generation which has been severely influenced by the spirit preparing mankind to accept the leadership of the Beast, we must be committed to teach and correct our children completely and totally in the precepts of the Scriptures. We must not allow ourselves to become deceived into accepting the teaching and methodology of this Sodom and Gomorrah civilization.
Roy Lessin in his book, Spanking A Loving Discipline, lists “Common Excuses for Not Disciplining a Child.” (1) “‘He is not old enough to understand.’ If a child is old enough to know the meaning of simple directives and is capable of doing them, then he is old enough to understand the word no. I have heard parents boast about how smart their children are, but when it comes to disobedience they say the child does not understand, and therefore the disobedience must be tolerated. But this can merely be an excuse. (2) ‘He is so tired today. He is always naughty when he is tired.’ This is a commonly heard excuse for disobedience. It is remarkable that two minutes before the child disobeyed he was not tired. But after disobeying, suddenly he is ‘tired.’ (3) ‘It isn’t his fault.’ Johnny wants to play with a ball that sister Suzie is playing with, for example. Johnny kicks and screams, whines and fusses, crying, ‘I want to play with the ball.’ A parent might excuse this behavior, reasoning, ‘If he had the ball, he wouldn’t be angry. So I’ll ask Suzie to give the ball to him. Then he will be happy.’ Such reasoning puts the blame for Johnny’s behavior, by implication, on Suzie. If Suzie were not playing with the ball, Johnny would be good. But it is easy to see that it is Johnny’s behavior that is wrong. Here’s another example: Johnny is lying to his mother regularly. But Mother blames Johnny’s lying on Pete, with whom Johnny plays. Johnny learned to lie from Pete, she reasons, therefore, it is not Johnny’s fault. Even though children interact with others who behave poorly, parents still must require proper behavior from their children. (4) ‘He’s this way because we are not at home.’ Again, this is merely an excuse for poor training at home. If you are visiting somewhere or are on vacation, you must not blame the new setting for your child’s disobedience. The child can learn to obey you wherever you are. (5) ‘He’s not feeling well today.’ Parents need to be sensitive to children’s needs for proper rest and special care when they are not feeling well and, of course, they should not be disciplined for being sick. Sickness can throw a child off just as it can affect an adult. (These are times when a child needs lots of love and cuddling.) But deliberate disobedience is not the same thing as ‘not feeling well.’ If a child is very sick, he will be too sick to be disobedient. (6) ‘He’s just like his Uncle Jim. Jim has a real temper, too.’ It’s probably too late for Uncle Jim. But you can be sure it’s not too late for your child. (7) ‘He will outgrow it.’ The child may outgrow certain outward acts of disobedience, but he will not outgrow the inward attitudes associated with disobedience. Through loving correction a parent is helping to change a child’s attitudes as well as his outward behavior. This training will impact the life of a child as he grows, goes to school, and matures into adulthood. Larry Christenson says, ‘The child who has everything done for him, everything given to him, and nothing required of him is a deprived child.’ Key Thought-A spanking is given to correct the areas of willful disobedience and wrong attitudes. Key Verse: ‘Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.’” (Colossians 3:20) (pg. 60-63).
Dear fellow believer and parent, raising our children is a grave responsibility that takes much dedication and preparation. We must transform our mind with the Word of God lest we naively raise our children with evolutionary precepts and concepts. Humanism, religion and philosophies are influencing the nations as well as the church. Strong, mature faith is getting hard to find in Christians’ choices and lives. The Bible warns the saints that in the last days the saints would be deceived if they were not grounded in the Word of God. Truly, many Christian parents today are deceived with the brain washing propaganda of a constant bombardment of humanistic teaching on values, beliefs and morality through movies, television, radio, books, magazines, public schools etc. Let us all have the trust in God to obey the inspired teachings found in the holy Scriptures and train our children according to the Logos (Word).
As I mentioned earlier, parents constantly use “common excuses” for failing to force their children to obey them and they often blindly believe the excuses their children give them in defending their disobedience. I see this everywhere I go. Even pastors and their wives fail in this area. I see them threatening, “If you get up one more time I will spank you.” Yet, when the child deliberately defies them, I see the parent fail to enforce the previous threat. Inside the child’s mind they reason, “My parent does not really mean what they say. My mother and father are not worthy of my obedience.” I see the child constantly coming up with excuses such as, “I have to go to the bathroom or I am hungry or I have a tummy ache.” Yet, this child is smiling and showing no signs of pain or urgency, but the parent, either gullibly or because he/she desires to ‘save face’ in front of me, accepts this lame excuse. It is obvious that these parents do not have the authority in their child’s eyes to command obedience. Pastors and parents, if you cannot cause your child, your three year old, to obey you, then you do not have the authority necessary to lead a church into maturity. Blessings and shalom.
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