Before you unleash your fingers on that keyboard, please read this post as well as the 3 related ones to hear my heart behind this very personal and obedient decision we have made as parents seeking to biblically shepherd our children. (read this post, this post, and this post).
You are God’s representative on this earth, here to train, shepherd, and disciple your children. You act by His authority for His purposes, not your own. What does He want from your children? Obedience and honor. John Piper wrote a fabulous post about the need for parents to require obedience that, if you haven’t read it, you should take the time to ASAP. Actually, if you only have time to read what I have to say here or John Piper’s post, read his.
Why we spank
Honestly, because we don’t have a choice. But since I’m not one to do something just because I’m told to – I like to have information before I make a decision – I researched and researched and came to the same conclusion every time. God commands it. Period. Why would He do this to us, require us to physically discipline our children? Because of an all-important cause and effect: the heart directs behavior and discipline addresses the heart, not just behavior.
I have to keep in mind the future while living in the present: What kind of wife will she be if she refuses to submit to our authority (which is actually God’s since we are His agents)? Will he grow into the man God made him to be if I don’t follow God’s directive to discipline him? Am I taking the easy route now, hoping they’ll respond well later?
I must drive foolishness from my child’s heart…the focal point of correction is their heart, not the behavior so I must discipline her actions which show what is in her heart.
When we spank
If she’s old enough to willingly disobey, she’s old enough to spank. If she chooses to challenge a directive, make an excuse, or delay her response, she gets a spanking.
We started spanking our toddler a few months before she turned 2 when we were on a camping trip and she blatantly would not share with the other little girls on the trip. She wasn’t sharing and we repeatedly explained that we “say yes to sharing.” Our friends’ almost-4-year-old helped us demonstrate this since our daughter is enamored with her…it didn’t help. We took turns as parents attempting to communicate with her. As she continued to be defiant, we decided it was time.
Should we have accepted her delays and challenges, we’d be planting seeds of manipulation. This would be completely opposite God’s plan for her and against our job to keep her out of spiritual danger. So we spanked her, following the “how” below.
How we spank
Here goes the nitty gritty…the 9 steps we follow when spanking
- Do it in private: I want to respect my child rather than humiliate her so I discipline her in private.
- Explain what they have done or not done: I tell her why she is receiving the spanking, identifying the specific action that brought on the need for a spanking.
- Make sure they understand why you are spanking them: she needs to acknowledge that she knows what she’s done.
- Explain the restoration you’re seeking with the spanking: I’m not venting my frustration and I am most definitely not spanking out of anger. I am being obedient to God’s directive to restore her to His promised blessing.
- Tell her how many spankings she’ll get: We’ve only ever given one spanking at a time and don’t see the need for more.
- Spank her right on the bum or back of the legs: Tripp’s rule of thumb has to do with who is in charge of her hygiene. If you are in charge of their hygiene, you can spank on the bum; if they are in charge, leave their underwear on.
- Follow up conversation: I hug her, tell her how much I love her, explain how much it hurts her to spank her, and that I wish I didn’t have to do it but must because it’s what God has told me to do.
- Check her spirit: Hebrews 12:11 says that discipline will yield a harvest of peace and righteousness. If that hasn’t happened, we go back to step 3 and start again.
- Pray with her: I want her to know that God wants her to ask for forgiveness. I want to teach her to ask Christ for His help to obey rather than do things in her own strength.
What do you think about our process? Yes, I’m asking for feedback. Not because we’re going to change what we do, but because I’d like to welcome a grace-filled conversation about a very important component of biblical parenting (at least as I see it, as strongly influenced by this book and prayerful consideration…).
This is part of a 31 day series of shepherding a child’s heart in 5 minutes a day (click here for the series intro). I pray this series edifies you as much as reading Tripp’s book has encouraged and challenged my husband and I in how we raise our children. Subscribe to the blog in the side bar if you’d like to get posts emailed to you in a weekly digest or subscribe on your favorite blog reader.