I Had Always Just Assumed I’d Spank My Children – One Mom’s Journey to Seeing

This is, quite possibly, the most eloquently written composition on this subject (specifically the Biblical aspect of the subject) that I have ever read.

This woman has two subsequent related posts, of which I will address in separate posts here.  But start with this.. just read and sit with it for the time it chooses to leave you its essence.

____________________________________

Grace

January 8, 2011 by discipleshipmothering

My Letter to Focus on the Family

Hi,

I am a long time listener and supporter of Focus on the Family. From the time I was a teenager, I listened to and from school and college, collecting much wisdom for the path ahead of me. A strange thing for a teen to do, I guess. But, I truly love the Lord, and wanted His best for my future. I hold a high respect for Dr. James Dobson and his marriage advice. I’ve been very happily married for almost ten years.

However, when I had my first child, Dr.Dobson’s advice nearly broke my heart. I’d always assumed I’d spank, and followed his advice for my spirited 2 year old. I cannot express to you in words how wrong it felt. The spirit of God was convicting me, and this precious son, whom I’d nursed for 21 months, and had continued a very close, in-synch relationship with, even through the addition o a new baby, when he was 28 mos….become afraid and distrustful of me. Not only that, it wasn’t working to improve his behavior. He fit the bill for “strong-willed”, certainly. But, could he be beyond hope, since the very method tailored to his personality wasn’t working?

With much prayer, my husband and I began to research other discipline methods. I came across gentlechristianmothers.com in my search, and discovered some very eye-opening statements about Biblical discipline.

Out son is now 4 yrs old. We are complimented often, at church, by family and friends, and even by strangers, on how happy and well-behaved our children seem. Life is not perfect, and he’s not a perfect child. But, we are a much more peaceful, loving family since learning to discipline with the Grace of Jesus.

What I see lacking on your website is acknowledgement that these verses in Proverbs may not mean what we think they mean. You can do the research yourself and find that there are many reasons to doubt that these are commands to hit children. More than likely, they are wise principles for being a constant source of authority for our children. The OT has many things to say that are covered under grace. Another good example is the treatment of women caught in adultery. We all know how Jesus chose to react. This should be the ultimate example, among many in the NT, of how to apply grace.

I write this because the advice from Dr. Dobson about strong willed children is at worse, very dangerous advice for new parents. And, at the very least, it is impractical and unecessary. I say dangerous because it’s using God’s Word to convince parents they must hit their children. I believe there are FAR more Biblical principles we can apply to child discipline, besides a few commonly misunderstood proverbs, written by a king who ended his life in such disgrace against God, and was held with such irreverence by his own sons  (Solomon). Let’s instead apply the wisdom of Christ, Himself.  How did He disciple? How did He view children? What principles of love, forgiveness, reproof, and correction can we glean from the NT church?

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind completely about spanking. It is so ingrained in our culture, most people don’t think twice about NOT doing it, as I once thought. However, I hope my letter will at least open the eyes of Focus on the Family and it’s wide-spread influence, to impact the world with Christ’s love.

My husband and I have experienced a total life change, and it has not been easy in the face of criticism. But, thus far, it has been one of the best decisions of our young life. It is my prayer that one day, Dr. Dobson will realize his mistake and change his heart on this subject.

Many Prayers,
(My Real Name)

I’ll keep you posted if I receive a reply.

 

The Effect Striking Our Children Has on Their Minds

Spanking Decreases Intelligence?

by Danelle Frisbie ©2009

The topic of spanking is not one I have thought much about – after all, most of my research surrounds birth and babies, and who (heaven forbid!) spanks a baby?! But new research suggests there are parents out there who are in the habit of spanking their 2-year-olds — and it may very well be impacting these little ones in detrimental neurological ways.
It makes sense – we know through ample research that the natural parenting techniques as old as humanity itself – such as babywearingand breastfeeding – dramatically increase neuro development and functioning, resulting in higher IQ, among other beneficial things. So it is not too shocking that the antithesis of peaceful parenting — forthright aggression on babies and children — may have just the opposite impact on their rapidly developing brains.

While completing graduate work in clinical psychology, I regularly administered personality inventories and IQ tests on ‘troubled’ children, and was then required to make recommendations per their treatment. Rarely was I afforded the opportunity to look into their home life — or examine more closely how these children were treated by family members or raised by their parent(s). I was required to ‘treat’ the problem, while never fully getting to the root of the cause.

The latest research from the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of New Hampshire claims a discovery has been made into one (small?) component of mental health and human intelligence. The results are intriguing. Murray Straus, who led the last two studies, says that spanking actually decreases IQ, and to a significant degree. Yes, you read that right: Spanking your child impacts intelligence (at least that which we can measure using intelligence tests and methodological quotients).

Straus led two recent studies – one conducted on a national level in the United States, and one on an international level. Parents of 1,500 young American children participating in an IQ research project were asked how often they spanked their children. Responses were compared with IQ results.

Results showed that children (age 2-4) who were not spanked at all had IQs that were, on average, 5 points higher, (and stayed higher for the next 4 years over the course of the study), than children who were spanked. Children to the age of 10 were included in the study and the same trend was found for older children as well. The impact of spanking on IQ, however, was most pronounced in the younger children. I suspect this may be in part because the brain is most rapidly developing (and most significantly impacted) until the age of about 5 years old when it is 98% complete.

[Side note: This is also likely the reason that natural, child-led weaning occurs around the same time – around the age of 5 – in the majority of the world and throughout human history, when breastfeeding-phobic social pressures do not cut it short. The developing brain is supplied with just the right concoction of building blocks via mother’s milk the entire time it is in rapid formation mode.]

Straus’ results are being published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma. In addition, Straus and colleagues are presenting the findings of their second (international) study on spanking and intelligence at a San Diego based conference on abuse and trauma this week.

In the international study, Straus interviewed university students in an examination of corporal punishment and IQ. After conducting research across 32 countries around the world, results showed a lower national IQ in countries where corporal punishment is common.

In the U.S. study various factors (such as parental education level and economic status) were adjusted for. The negative correlation between spanking and IQ held true (the less spanking, the higher the IQ; the more spanking, the lower the IQ). In the international study, parent’s education level and economic status were more difficult to adjust for.

Straus is a long time supporter of peaceful parenting and using multiple proactive strategies for discipline that do not include aggression or violence against babies and children. He has researched extensively on subjects such as aggression, violence, rape, and abuse within families.

These latest findings echo what we have seen in other studies: Peaceful Parenting (or Attachment Parenting) leads to lower stress hormones (such as cortisol) in babies and children, greater trust (in parents/each other/the world), secure attachment, and more complex neurological development and brain activity, among other things.

In the end, it may just be true that babies and children were born to be loved and tenderly, gently cared for – not physically acted upon in any form.

If you would like a pdf copy of these latest studies, message me and I will be happy to pass them along to you.

A Biblical Perspective, Well Spoken

I came upon this blog today and want to quote a few of her words here, as well as encourage you to visit her entire post, and the continued posting of the same subject.

I believe this Mommy has an exceptional ability to discern and communicate regarding the subject of Bible based arguments for spanking/striking/physically punishing children.  She has a much more eloquent ability to address this side of the issue than I do and I hope you’ll take a moment to review her thoughts.

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 1: Proverbs

Let me begin by saying that each and every one of us parents before the Lord. Read what I say with open ears and a grain of salt, bring it before God, study the Bible for yourself. In this post, I will discuss what my husband and I have learned through our study of the Bible. In later posts, I will discuss other reasons why my husband and I have decided never to use spanking as a tool.

Proverbs 23:1-2 reads: “When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite.” I would ask you to ask a few questions about these verses:

  1. Is this verse meant to be taken literally? Or are we supposed to gain a tidbit of inferred wisdom from reading it?
  2. Is this how we as Christians are told to deal with sin in our own lives? Are we to hold a knife to our throats, literally or figuratively, when confronted with temptation?  .. . .. .. …

… Let me get a little more technical. The passages in Proverbs that Christians hold to as advocating spanking (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 23:13,14), are not talking about a young child, but a young man!! The Hebrews used specific words when referring to the different ages of children. I am going to quote from a book by Samuel Martin, who has a BA degree with a special focus on Middle Eastern studies, and who has worked closely with two Hebrew professors in Israel on an excavation trip and a survey trip. That is to say, he has studied Hebrew culture and language extensively.

Here, I would say that hitting a teenager isn’t any better advised than hitting a child, but the point is that if you’ve done your job guiding and building up the child from birth, as a last resort to keeping them from being stoned for their insolence as a teenager or young adult, you could try beating them with a large stick first.  Then, after their bruises heal, if they’re still hell bent on doing whatever it is that the community is against, then it’s the community’s problem. And if they end up stoned to death, I guess that’s that.

So what has been my husband’s and my conclusion? Proverbs was written in the Old Testament. That means that its writer was writing as one under the law, and we need to be careful to read Proverbs with that focus in mind. If you are going to follow the Proverbs explicitly as a believer, you had better hold a knife to your throat, or at least threaten yourself, when you are eating with a ruler! Furthermore, if you are going to follow the book of Proverbs as though it is a book of commands for believers, you had better also follow the other laws in the Old Testament. Let me quote one here for you. Deuteronomy 21:18,19;21a: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown…Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death…”. When I read this, I wonder if that is perhaps what Solomon meant when he said that if you beat your son with a rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (or death). Perhaps he had in mind a rebellious teenage son (his sons certainly were!), and he was thinking of beating his rebellious sons to keep them from being stoned to death!!      Source

SOURCE
The Shebet is not a small instrument. A shepherd’s staff was a thick, long rod. If you were to literally beat your child with this, on the back (as this is what is literally indicated in the Proverbs), you would likely kill him/her. Recently, a little girl was killed because here parents spanked her with a small switch over and over again. Her internal organs failed, and she died. These were supposed loving, Bible-believing parents! I will post more on this story later. If a small switch can kill a child, imagine what a literal rod could do!!

Exodus 21:20 warns about the use of the rod: “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.This verse is speaking about an adult being smitten with a rod, not a child. And an adult smitten with a literal rod could die!

One more thing I would like to address: Proverbs is a book of Hebrew poetry. This is an important contextual fact to look at when you are interpreting those pesky “rod” verses. If you look at Proverbs as poetry, you will see that the “rod,” or the “shebet,” is a symbol of authority. When the Hebrews read the term “shebet,” they would have had in mind the leader of a tribe, a shepherd’s rod (which, incidentally, was never used to beat the sheep. Sheep are very timid creatures, and will not trust a master who raises his hand against them), a king’s sceptre, or the shaft of a spear. “Shebet” would have meant authority to them.In the New Testament, believing parents are encouraged to nurture, admonish, train, correct their children: clearly, they are to be in authority over them, so this is a New Testament principle as well.

Unbinding Foolishness

Source article ->

10. Example

Be what you want your children to be. “More is caught than taught.” Children read actions better than words. They are imitators, taking on the likeness of the ones they most admire. If you cannot walk your talk, don’t expect them to. When the older child develops bad habits, the younger children will follow his example and probably take it a step further in the wrong direction. Likewise, if you get that first child in control, you have a good example for other children who come behind.

This statement is teaching a fundamental and foundational principle that stands the test of time, society, and diversity. Children mimic what they are exposed to. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to skip over to a different section within this group’s site and set of teachings… where they talk about how to hit your children, and what to use.

The Rod
The Switch
The Belt
The Wooden Spoon
The Hand

Examples of each of these from the NGJ site is forthcoming.

If you would like to contribute, please either send material or use the comment section. This site is not intended to be the rantings of one very outspoken mother – but many, many outspoken mama’s and papa’s… and doctors, psychologists, theologians, and scientists… who value our children, and yours.

_______________________________________

From, Unbinding Foolishness

Children are not all necessarily rebellious, loud, selfish, mean, aggressive, bossy, whiny, or moody. But all children have foolishness bound in their hearts, and they all need to be freed from the bondage that will drag them down their entire lives. Give your children the gifts of wisdom, sobriety, and a sound mind; drive foolishness far from them. My mom always said that a slender willow switch works wonders. I say it works miracles. If you have misgivings about the proper application of the rod, read again Mike’s little booklet In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.
See also -> “
The following article is designed to be used as a resource in defending your faith on Biblical child training.”

“It is so much easier to check foolish behavior while the child is yet young. If you catch him acting silly or irresponsible, then rebuke and spank as needed to produce sobriety.

My take, if you see him acting silly… act silly with him.  Children are children for a reason – what better time in a life is there to be silly.

If you have a child behaving irresponsibly, assuming they are of an age where they can first comprehend this term, and second, the irresponsible behavior is in proper proportion to the development of the child, then how about tell the child as much, instead of hitting them.  Granted, there are a good number of children and teens out there that won’t give a rip if you tell them they’re behaving irresponsibly, but if you have raised them with a strong example of responsible choices, consistency, and your own behaviors which exhibit integrity, there should be only a handful of instances that they, as children, handle truly irresponsibly.

When one of these instances does occur, instead of inflicting physical pain, and leaving a mental scar in effort to “train” them not to do that same thing again, what about using the opportunity to discuss integrity, the value of making responsible choices, and what responsibility truly is.

“When you see him do a dumb thing and you know he knows better (or at least should know better,) communicate the seriousness of your concern with a spanking.”

I, for one, just don’t see how I could tell my child (or infer it) that anything he or she does is dumb.  That is too demeaning and belittling in my opinion.  Yes, children do strange things that don’t make sense to adults, and might even come across as rather odd or dumb/silly/frivolous, but they are children… they don’t think like adults do, they are not miniature adults.

What would be wrong with firmly telling the child that whatever he just did was in direct opposition to what he knows he should have done, and explain the consequences that will naturally follow – without hitting and without “time out” isolation.  The child, even a very young child, naturally understands cause and effect, and if this concept is presented to them in a developmentally correct manner in relation to whatever it is they did, they can learn the reason behind why what they did was not correct, and in time, they will make different choices.

This might sound way too “soft”… but the thing is, if the child is guided from the very beginning in this manner, with the exception of days/times where other influences are present, children will generally manage to make fairly decent decisions, in relation to their own level of development. Humans seem to have an ingrained desire to please… it’s not until they are damaged due to the persistent inability to succeed at gaining that approval that they turn to opposing  methods of gaining attention.

Now, there are those who will immediately respond with a favorite quote from the bible. Bring it on, comment away.

“If your child risks life or limb in a foolish stunt, as I saw my own sons do when they were little, follow their daddy’s example. I have seen Mike say to them, “OK, you want to risk getting hurt, I will show you what hurt feels like. And then he spanked them soundly. Next time they thought twice before showing off in a dangerous manner.”

First off, women… you must do exactly as the man dictates.  It’s not a mutual, equal, give/take relationship.  You’re not the nurturer for a reason.  Make sure you don’t argue or disagree with anything your husband or your child’s father says/does either because he is infallible.  Think I’m nuts? Check this out ->, it’s the Pearl’s manifesto for the subservience of women. Make sure you check out the except tab for the book.

Second.. perhaps living with the scars of intentionally inflicted pain is not as bad as a broken arm with a cast that all your friends sign, gained from a simple lesson learned during childhood, when bones mend easily.


“If you are visiting in a home and your child goes through the drawers or cabinets, communicate with a switch that it is not an acceptable practice.”

What about telling the child ahead of time what respecting others’ property is all about and then making sure they realize exactly what that means, if they don’t quite demonstrate full comprehension.

Here’s a weird idea, upon discovering your child opening doors in another person’s house, like he does in your own home without being reprimanded, try telling him that he shouldn’t do that because there is a difference between his own home and that of another person.  He is a child and does not just know this is an unacceptable practice without you explaining it to him.  And instead of hitting him when he “lapses” and behaves like a kid, prevent the behavior in the first place by reminding him (he is a child, they need to be reminded, they are not adults) that it’s not what he’s supposed to do and stop him before he does it.  If the child is young enough to want to do this, he isn’t old enough to understand why it’s ok in one house and not the other, but you can teach him this if you consistently explain and supervise.

On that note, if the child is old enough to know better, there is a reason this behavior is occurring. Step back so that you can see the bigger picture. Maybe you need to turn a switch on (yourself), the mental kind.


“If your five-year-old spills a bag of nuts out on the car seat when she could have sealed the bag shut, let your rebuke be accompanied by a couple swift swats with the rod of your choice. Good habits are made, not born.”

God have mercy on our five year old children who have better things to think about than every blessed little detail of somehow managing to do nothing that might even indicate they are children. What about the mother or father who gave the child the bag in the first place?  Did ya tell the child to close it after every bite? Have you asked if the child has shut the bag? Have you asked the child to be careful?

Let’s just say the worst happens and your five year old spills his bag of nuts all over the car seat.  Guess what?  He is a kid and he has little fingers, with which he can pick up nuts.  He will learn that if he spills something, he must clean up the mess.


“If your children gorge on junk, even to the point of stealing food and hiding, know this: it is better to set them free from bad habits now than for them to struggle all their lives with being overweight and sickly. A few licks will remind them that overeating hurts. It will help shape lifetime habits.”

How about, don’t buy the junk food.

For the source article ->


__________________________________________________________

My humble opinion…
If parents are struggling with their young children, they must take a step back to where they can see the bigger picture.  In most cases, if the parent – child relationship is built on mutual love and respect, and if the parent is honest with themselves, they will be able to see what actions and behaviors they need to change (in themselves, and that of the home), in effort to regain harmony in their children.