In today’s society with its corrupt morals and distorted view of right and wrong, it is more important than ever that children are trained the right way. God instructs parents to raise their children in the way pleasing to Him. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In order for children to learn the difference between right and wrong, parents must practice discipline, which will cause the child to realize that there are consequences to every action.
I had many children on my caseload when I was a practicing Mental Health Counselor. These children ranged between the ages of 3 and 17, and they came from all walks of life. The majority of my young clients’ issues centered around a lack of discipline in the home. Therefore, it was often the case that I counseled both the child and the child’s parents on the correct way of managing the child’s behavior.
According to the American Humane Association, Child discipline is defined as the following;
“As part of their natural development, children sometimes challenge or test parental and adult expectations and authority. Sometimes, children simply choose to misbehave in order to gain something (e.g., attention, an object, power, peer approval). This is a significant part of the growth process of children, yet it should not be without consequence. Discipline is how children learn right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable.”
Although the American Human Association opposes physical forms of discipline, they do support others means of showing children the difference between right and wrong. For me personally, the use of spanking at the right times and in the right manner is appropriate in correcting children’s behavior. The Bible condones the use of physical discipline. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). This shows that God does not agree with the popular view that spanking a child causes issues with their development. God also understands that physical forms of discipline will not harm the child’s body if conducted properly. “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Proverbs 23:13). On the contrary, spanking can lead to a child respecting his or her parents more, because a young child has to learn to fear his or her parents’ authority in order to learn to respect them later on.
This is how our relationship to our Heavenly Father is also. We fear Him because He created us and He has the power to reward us with Heaven or punish us with the fires of Hell. We also love Him, which makes us want to obey His commandments.
Next week, I will post Part 2 of this article!