Shall I Spank My Child? – B.J. Clarke

Shall I Spank My Child? – B.J. Clarke

That all depends upon whom you ask. Joan Lunden says absolutely not. Most child psychologists oppose it. Parents often say, “I love my child too much to ever spank him.” But what does Almighty God, the author of the home, have to say about the subject? Does God think you should spank your child?

Yes! At times it is necessary to discipline a child with a spanking. Whereas, it is not the only form of discipline a child should receive, it is a divinely approved form. The book of practical wisdom, Proverbs, has much to say on the subject. Consider the following:

  • “He who spares his rod hates his son: but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Pro. 13:24).
  • “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Pro. 19:18).
  • “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Pro. 22:15).
  • “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Pro. 23:12-14).
  • “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother… Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (Pro. 29:15, 17).

Do these verses make you feel a bit uneasy? Does the phrase “beat him with a rod” cause you to feel squeamish? The propaganda of the “no spanking” crowd seeks to convince us that all spanking involves child abuse.


1. Remember The Purpose of Spanking – The purpose of spanking a child is not to vent parental anger. Rather, the purpose is to teach a better way of behaving. Inherent in the word “discipline” is the concept of being a “disciple” or “learner.” The purpose of discipline is to instruct. Spanking should be used in certain situations to teach the child that a certain form of behavior is unacceptable. But what form of behavior deserves a spanking?

It is my conviction that spanking should generally be reserved to punish deliberate disobedience and rebellion to previously given instructions. I did not spank my son Daniel the first time he wrote on the walls. I explained to him in great detail why such behavior was unacceptable and gave advance warning that a spanking would be forthcoming should such happen again. Some weeks later “Michelangelo” struck again. This time there was no choice. He admitted that he did something that he knew was wrong and I spanked his bottom for it. He had deliberately ignored my instructions and needed to learn that consequences are attached to rebellion.

Consider another example. Suppose one of your children accidentally spills a drink at the dinner table. Does he/she deserve a spanking or slap on the wrist? Obviously not! But suppose that your child is playing with their drink. Suppose that you admonish the child to quit playing with the drink. Suppose that the child temporarily stops only to resume minutes later. Suppose that the child spills the drink because they were playing with it after you had instructed them not to do so. What are your choices? You must punish them for deliberately ignoring your instruction and spanking is one way you can do so.

2. Remember To Explain To Your Child The Purpose Of The Spanking — The rod and reproof give wisdom (Pro. 29:15). Help the child to associate the pain they feel with a certain behavior. Soon, they will avoid the behavior to avoid the pain. Some say this is barbaric, but it is what our Heavenly Father does. He has told us that in order to avoid the pain of hell we must avoid certain forms of behavior.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth…Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence…Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Heb. 12:6,9,11).

3. Remember To Reassure Your Child Of Your Great Love For Them – Explain to your child that the purpose of the spanking was not because you don’t love them, but rather because you do love them. Hold them in your arms and explain how difficult it is for you to have to spank them.


1. Some say, “Hitting a child will teach the child that it is acceptable to hit other human beings. Thus, spanking should be avoided.” Such an objection is unsound because it ignores the fact that God gave parents the authority to hit their children on their backsides for the purpose of teaching them a better way.

God has not given children the authority to hit other children in anger. There is a vast difference between a parent administering a measured dose of discipline to a child’s rear end, and a child hauling off and smacking another child on the playground. The former action is divinely authorized while the latter is not.

2. Some argue that they have tried spanking and that it doesn’t work. When this is the case there is usually a problem with the manner in which the spanking has been done. Perhaps the spanking wasn’t given with enough force to get the message across. The truth of the matter is that spanking a child may not accomplish all that is desired after the first dose anymore than one dose of an antibiotic will completely eliminate an infection. The spankings must be consistent enough to let the child know that you are not “kidding around.” Besides, it is often an endurance contest between the child and the parent. The child will push you to see if you’ll get weary. Don’t let the child win or else you’ll regret it.

To be sure, spanking is not the only form of discipline parents ought to utilize. Putting the child in “time-out,” taking away privileges and assigning extra chores are all valid methods of administering discipline. But if there comes a time when nothing else seems to work and you ask yourself, “Shall I spank my child?”, remember that God says “Yes!”