Solomon offers wisdom to parents. But it seems the so called wisdom of our present society drowns out the old king’s advice. What do you think?
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad. (vs 17)
I think most parents would say they discipline their children. But many are careful not to show anger at a child’s disobedience. They are told by “experts” to calmly explain to their children as young as two years old what they expect and why that child’s behavior was wrong. They may give a time out for a few minutes. But that’s as far as their discipline goes.
Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded. (vs 19)
If Solomon knew that about adults, why would we think our children understand our words any better? They don’t!
A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel. (vs 21)
Give your kid whatever he wants, do whatever your kid demands, and believe you are raising a hard working, kind, and caring human. You aren’t.
To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet. (vs5)
Tell your daughters how beautiful and powerful they are. Tell your sons how strong and smart they are. These days we call that empowerment, instilling confidence and self-worth. Solomon calls it a trap at the feet of our children.
To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. (vs 15)
Mom, Dad, let your child throw a tantrum at the store, run amok at your neighbor’s house, speak disrespectfully to you or another adult. People might label your child as a brat, and not want their kids around her. But they will label you a bad parent, or a fool. Your child’s unruly behavior is your disgrace.
Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. (13:24)
Those are strong words. And I know what some of you are thinking. You think that just leads to abuse. Friend, God would not have it in His Word if that were the case. He loves your children more than you do.
So the answer to the question, “should I spank my child” is found in Scripture. Don’t take my word for it. Here are some more verses that speak to the issue of discipline. Find out for yourself:
Proverbs 23:13-14; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 29:15; Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:11; Hebrews 12:9-11
Now I feel I need to put in a disclaimer. If you think this post gives anyone permission to abuse their children in the name of discipline, or to beat their children with a 2X4 you are reading too much into it, and I think you know that. A swat on the bottom of a three year old isn’t abuse. Smacking the hand of a child who strikes out at you doesn’t lead to raising a violent child. Showing anger at disobedience, raising your voice, taking away toys, or sending a child to bed early is not unloving. In fact, Scripture tells us it’s part of loving your child, and wanting the best for them.
Don’t take my word for it. Read your Bible and ask God what He wants you to know about raising your child to know and love Him, and to live a life that honors Him. That is your goal for your child, isn’t it?