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Christians and Gentle Disipline

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have always practiced gentle discipline with my children, who are three and one. (Home birth, family bed~ we are all the way!)Then, last spring my husband and I found God became Christians. In my AP circle, we have the good kids. In our church circle, we have the "entergetic" kids! I know the kids at church are spanked. Our church has a lot of very AP families, with the single ovious exception. Almost all of the kids at church are angels (but not all).

What do other Christian AP families believe?

To examine the evidence I know of~

The Bible talks about the rod. The rod is a stick used to guide sheep, such as to block off a path they should not travel on, or even to beat off predators, if I am correct. But I think there is one part in there that talks about black and blue marks? Does the rod mean to hit?

Would Jesus ever hit anyone, expessially a child?! Not exactly do unto others, turn the other cheek...

God does not really treat us as equals and try to reason with us to do the right thing. He says we will go to Hell if we are bad, which seems to be spanking on a much larger scale.

I am soooo confused.

I have always loved Mothering and I hope if there are any Christians here, they can tell me honestly what they think is right, to help me sort this out.

Just to clarify~ I would never consider spanking for age-apropiate behavior or little things. I am just wondering about the biggies, like repeated complete defiance form our three year old. To be honest, I don't know if I could actually bring myself to spank anyway.

Any insights?
post #2 of 29
Ihave never heard anything about the Bible condoning spanking. It does mention the rod but the rod was used for three things:

To hold up as a standard so the sheep could see where to go
To gently nudge the sheep back on the right path
To beat of preditors

I am sure some shepards misused thier rods just as somepeople misuse those verses.If we used the rod of discipline effectively and consistantly I don't see where there would really be a need for spanking.

The Bible also doesn't nessecarily condemn spanking (it is surprisingly silent) but does say to be gentle without children and not to exasperate them.

I think christians who ascribe to a abey without questioning philoshophy do thier children a great disservice. Sure I could beat my children into sumission without ever allowing them to questions me but that doesn't teach them anything. I want my children to know why certain behavior is expected, why it is important and I want them to be able to take those things into the real world.
post #3 of 29
I dont believe the Bible endorses spanking at all, I think it is clear that the rod is used for guidance.

As in "thy Rod and thy staff, they comfort me, they leadeth me...ect ect ect"

Not "thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me, so whop me upside the head with it"
post #4 of 29
As a Christian and a new parent - ds is 15 months - I struggle with this also. Luckily, I have a great example to work from - my mother. She only spanked us when we did something VERY serious and when she did, she did it in love. She would sit us down (not in the heat of the moment, but later) and explain what we did wrong, why she was punishing us, and how much she loved us. She would spank us (not very hard really) and then hold us afterwards.

Looking back, I remember learning my lesson and knowing that she loved me enough to discipline me! I think that spanking - when done correctly - can add to a parent/child relationship, although I am sure that those over in "Gentle Discipline" would disagree.

It really is a personal decision. I don't think that all Christians or all parents should spank - many would do it wrong. Pray about it and don't feel pressured to do something you don't want to do. We still have not made our decision here - have to see how things go as ds grows. I know an equal number of great Christian families that spank as I do that don't.

Hope that helps.


PS - Would love to hear how you came to Christ!

post #5 of 29

I am laughing so hard I have tears running down my face. I am just picturing Jesus whopping misbehaving people on the head at the sermon on the mount.

"Hey you listen up" Whop Whop

Not "thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me, so whop me upside the head with it"

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Abimommy~ that was so funny!

TexasSuz~ Sure! I love to tell it!

My then two-year-old would not go to sleep for anything late one night, so I was sitting on the couch trying to bore him into it. I wanted to read, but he kept playfully grabing away whatever I had, so I looked at our book shevles and just happened to see one of those tiny Gideon Bibles we had aquired somewhere along the line. It was so little it didn't interest him, and I just had this unreal *feeling* overcome me as I read. My son passed out in my lap, and I couldn't stop reading! I ended up praying to Jesus, half-crying, and I even signed my name in the back where they put the page for new believers. Of course, the next day I told my husband and he gave me a look... But we found an amazing church (after trying eight!) and he has become a true Christian himself! The thing that really cemented it for me, was the complete and outright, unbelievable and direct answers to my prayers. Things have happened that have just taken my breath away. I am just so glad it happened! No one ever told me that being a Christian would feel so wonderful, or that knowing God would make me so happy! Kind of like homebirth, it's one of those amazing little secrets you have to tap into, or you could go your whole life without knowing what it really means.
post #7 of 29

Some of you guys are really blessed to be around so many nice Christian parents.

'Wasn't the case for me as a baby Christian (and very young parent) I was told by *everyone* that you *must* beat your children with a literal rod because "the Bible says so".

Even though it went against my own gut I did this horrible thing.

....Until I started doing some reading and research of my own and discovered that the Bible really *doesn't* say these nasty things (Note: I never was strict enough or hitting my children enough to satisfy any of these folks but that I did *at all* was bad on my part...helps me understand people being influenced by cults)

The church we're going to now doesn't teach on these subjects (Pastor assumes parents have enough of their own common sense and discernment to parent without a pastor telling them how)

There is a lot of diversity in the church, some parent gently, others...well,...don't.

Debra Baker
post #8 of 29
I hope its alright to mention this here, but I'm on a wonderful yahoogroup called positive christian AP.
Its a positive discipline list from a Christian perspective. I've gotten wonderful input and support there
post #9 of 29
WOW! What a great testimony PerfectLove! I know what you mean about direct answers to prayer! I am holding mine - my dear sweet ds! Your story really encouraged me though - thanks!

Webbeccjo: How do you get to a yahoo group? I am new to "groups" and don't really know what to do.

post #10 of 29
I just went and signed up for that group.... What a relief to find a group I might just fit into!! I definitely don't fit in with the other parents at the church Dh and I attend.

As far as the rod verses, I agree with what's been said here... I can't see Jesus beating people and to me to be a Christian means to try and be like Christ. I was spanked growing up and I have spanked my children, but my husband and I have commited to a non-violent way to raise our children so I'm always looking to learn about gentle discipline!
post #11 of 29
You have gotten some great answers to your question. I think it is a question we have all asked ourselves, and struggle with from time to time. There are several old threads on this subject that had some very good insights. I'm assuming they are in the archives. If you do a search on Discipline and the Spare the Rod, you should be able to find them.

I have some very good friends that use the traditional Christian "spanking" methods, and it is so sad to see their children grow up to resent them and treat others cruely. There are so many better ways to guide and educate children then beating them. Proverbs says to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." I choose to train up my children in the way of love, peace, hope, and faith, not fear and violence.

post #12 of 29
Don't want to get into a debate about spanking but I totally disagree spanking and "beating" are always the same thing and that the words can be used interchangeably. I also disagree that children who get spanked grow up to resent their parents and treat others cruely.

Like I said, I think that spanking, when done correctly, is a valid and positive form of discipline. My mother's use of spanking was in no way "violent!" In fact, it was very loving. I know countless others who were spanked as children and are better people today because of it.

Spanking may not be for you, or for everyone, but it can be a loving, positive form of discipline when practiced with love and concern.

Just my 2 cents...and a different way to look at the issue...
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Really thankyou, everyone!
This has just been so helpful to hear all the great reasons not to.

There are a lot of Christian topics I am so interested in now, like I have just heard of Zion Birth and letting God plan your family size, and Sonlight curriculum, and even that there are Christains who don't celebrate Christmas!... I am just overflowwing. I feel like I just walked into a whole other alternative Christain world and am rethinking everything, in a good way!

It's nice to know there are other Christains here!

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
I think we posted at the same time!
I just wanted to say, I definitely see your point, too.
One of my best friends at church is completely AP, but she and her husband spank for the biggies. They have great kids and great realtionships with them. I think the attitude behind spanking is what's different, in the situations where spanking works for some families. If that makes sence.

BTW, I also just heard of letting the holy spirit lead you while you unschool!! Do any of you know about this?
post #15 of 29
In my opinion, a spanking is hitting. And you cannot hit someone in love. Hitting is always an act of hate.

There won't be an ultimate agreement on what the Bible says on this, and many other issues, because people interpret it differently. So if you are looking for a reason to justify hitting a child, you will probably find one, and if you are looking for a reason to justify gentle discipline, you will find that in the Bible too.

I think it is mistake to take spanking out of a conventional context, where volumes of research have shown it is harmful to hit children, and try to focus on it as 'only' a religious issue. From a scientific, emotional, psychological, or sociological perspective, spanking has been proven harmful. If a religious discussion addressed that, it might be interesting. But usually this fact is completely ignored. In many other area's, such as politics, people are willing to consider context and current events when applying bibilical passages to gain understanding in their lives.

Why not with spanking?

post #16 of 29

my experience..


My mom also spanked us and it was much like texas's mom...we were sent to our room so that everyone could cool down and then when it was time to have "the talk" we were called down.

This taught me that my mother tried to exert self-contol and assurance in her actions. I also heard the verse "do not spare the rod and spoil the child" I think in psalms or proverbs...not sure. And for myself I rely on New testament teachings and only refer to the Old Testament for reference...so I keep that in my bonnet as guidance. Not as a command or the only way to assure a non-spoiled child.

My mom now says that she doesn't see any reason for spanking and that she feels there are many other ways to punish a child and that it would only be a last resort kind of thing...so we all grow and change, and how we see parenting changes...even as a grandmother, in her case.

I think when the time comes for punishment that "really hits home", I will let my child chose what punishment he wants...that being said, a spanking will probably be on the list and if that is what he choses then I feel that he is chosing his consequence.
I have to be honest, as a young pre-teen I would much rather a talk about morals and a spanking then not being able to go out with my friends for a week...I have never felt resentful and don't even remember ever getting a spanking...just know it happened because I have a loving mom who is honest with us!!

Good luck in your pursuit,

he is chosing
post #17 of 29
I am on this path myself. My church as well believes that scripture teaches us to spank our children. My own mother believed that as she raised us and even when I had my first child. But she has now changed her mind and really nags on us because at this point we do spank. I am trying really hard to find new avenues of disciplining. Someone from here suggested I check out www.gentlemothering.com and I checked it out the other day and it is great. do go check it out and you can read everything they have posted with out joining (which requires money) and her stuff is wonderful and seems to be very biblical.

Barbra...I looked for the posts a while back and was unable to find them. I think they have been weeded..I was truely bummed because we had some really good discussion there.
post #18 of 29
William Sears (of great AP fame ) has written a book called "The Complete Guide to Christian Parenting." Mothering magazine reviewed it a few years ago. In it he discusses all ascpects of attachment parenting and explains his religious beliefs (with many scriptural references) as to why AP is very consistent with Christian practises. You may want to see if you can find a copy.

Having said that, I know that my local Christian book store won't carry it because they prefer Ezzo style books. I had to specially order it to give to my sister-in-law when she was expecting - I thought that she might be more open to AP ideas if they were presented in a biblical context. I was wrong - they gave the book away and are quite happy with their decision to spank and keep emotionally distant from their children, all in the name of Christ. : Reading a book like this may help you in articulating why you do what you do, and give you more confidence in doing it.
post #19 of 29
Having been horribly beaten until I blocked a good deal of my childhood I strongly oppose spanking in any form, someone may do it differently than I experienced but I dont see the difference.

Having strong feelings about this subject I have a hard time being open-minded about it.

Not wanting to offend anyone...I just can't really be rational about it.
post #20 of 29
I am sorry Abimommy. What a rough life that must have been. Their is a difference. I exeperienced a difference growing up. That said...physc's usually agree that those who have been abused shouldn't discipline in that matter.

We do spank and I am trying hard to curve it because I am learning their are better ways. Acusing me of damaging my child (not saying anyone did but I know some thoughts are there) would me be like me assuming that because you don't spank you are a terrible parent and that you don't train your child..you let them do whatever they want.
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