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The relationship children have with parents is not simple and there is concern that too much blame is placed on corporal punishment when it is unlikely responsible for how a child develops and behaves. Additionally, findings of correlation do not prove causation, Gershoff warns.(1) It is difficult to find causation, however many advocates against corporal punishment will make statements confusing causality and correlation. Thus experts and non-experts must speak with caution when making conclusive statements while the field is far from conclusive on finding causation.(2) The current position by Gershoff is that till the effects of corporal punishment is seen by researches, clinicians, and parents producing positive effects not just the absence of negative effects, it cannot be recommended by psychologists.(3) Recent research found that reasoning “backed-up” by a form of corporal punishment is effective at preventing future misbehaviors but this may tend to verbal abuse.(4) (more…)
What is Happening?
With a robust doctrine of Common Grace in place, what are we to understand about corporal punishment and its effects on our children? An attempt to discover what is happening inside our children when they receive corporal punishment must be sought out. For this Christians must differ to expert psychologists in the areas of parent socialization and punishment of children. Christians must listen to those in the common kingdom who have studied the effects of corporal punishment on children and published in peer reviewed journals. Christians must also understand humanity’s proclivity toward rebellion and therefore while appreciating the expertise of those in the common kingdom, Christians are called to guard everything they receive and recognize bias.(1) (more…)
Part of the disagreement would be the purpose of parenting, which gives considerable insight into the materialist cause-effect bent in secularism. A secular parenting model has a goal to bringing about healthy, emotionally stable citizens. Christian parents desiring those same goals however realize short-sidedness, for the Christian parent the desire is eschatological life. The discussion is centered around a primary question, “What is the anthropology and eschatology of all humanity?” Both of these parts in of themselves are large questions that certainly deserve careful and thoughtful answers. (more…)
What to Do – The Christian Mandate
There is no disagreement that parents are to discipline their children. Rightly understanding and interpreting the call from Scriptures such as: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24) “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15) “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.” (Proverbs 23:13–14) “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15) How are people of the Book to reconcile verses such as these with their understanding of discipline? Corporal punishment is clearly commanded yet there must an understanding that prevents arriving at an absurd conclusion, the hermeneutic must be carefully considered. (more…)
Discipline by means of corporal punishment (spanking) is one of the most practical issues in families today.(1) It remains one of the most widely used means of discipline in American families and according to Robert Larzelere, PhD (Nebraska Medical Center) writing for the American Psychological Association, spanking continues to be “….a subject of controversy within the child development and psychological communities.”(2) It is a subject that polarizes respected experts on both sides of the issue. Almost everyone has experienced or is using corporal punishment as a means of discipline with their children. A method that has been either learned from their own experience or taught by child rearing experts in respective faith based communities. The Christian community long known for being advocates of spanking often making references to “spare the rod spoil the child” (Prov. 13:24) and looking down at secular models that are too passive and therefore non-biblical. What are pastors to do when families who want to raise their children in the Lord recognize that in light of the doctrine of common grace there is wisdom in listening to those non-believers? How are Christian parents to be faithful to verses of the like of Proverbs 13:24 charging parents who spare the “rod” as an act of hatred and not love? Are we being faithful to the Scriptures in spanking or are we making a hermeneutical mistake? (more…)