Gentle Discipline Biblically? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 10-21-2003, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, all.

The topic of "grace-based" discipline came up on a Christian e-mail list I am on. Most of the moms on the list spank their children and, of course, quote the Bible saying this is what God wants. Without disrespect to anyone, I cannot believe this. In my heart I feel the Lord would want me to discipline my child with other means. I don't know much scripture, though... Does anyone have any Biblical references that may make refernce to gentle discipline? What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thanks!
Bonnie
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#2 of 29 Old 10-21-2003, 04:48 PM
 
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Check out Gentle Christian Mothering website and forums for a lot of good info about GBD from a Christian perspective.

As a Christian, I get frustrated with the way the Bible is used (mis-used IMHO) to justify spanking or other forms of punishment. Scriptures are misinterpreted and/or not taken in the whole context.

One of the particpants at Gentle Chrisitan Mothering is the author of "Biblical Parenting," a book which examines GBD.

Here is a good article that discusses the "spare the rod" mentality: http://www.lauriemorgan.com/fschguidance.html

I attend a church that I really like. It is a good fit in many (not all) ways. The other mams tend to be somewhat APing oriented or at least understanding of ideas such as cosleeping, breastfeeding, etc. However, I have yet to meet one person in my church who does not spank their child. That is very discouraging for me. I really dislike how the idea of spanking is so intermingled in everything. This past weekend, my parents (mom and step father) were visiting. I was talking about how my DD is in this very difficult stage the past few weeks -- a real challenge. They mentioned how their minister recently mentioned in a sermon about how he needed to be spanked as a child-- and then made a joke about it calling it "enlightenment." So they asked if Chloe needs a lot of enlightenment. I said, "Well, I do englighten Chloe if that is what you want to call it, but I don't spank her and won't choose that path. We have better ways we "enlighten."

*sigh* I just get so tired of this issue.
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#3 of 29 Old 10-22-2003, 10:59 AM
 
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First, here are 2 helpful links:

http://www.aolff.org/

http://www.geocities.com/kidzarepeopletoo/gcm/

I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. Its hard for me to consolitate them into anything intelligible so bear with me.

First the New Testament. Many Christian parents refer to where Paul tells children to obey their parents. He also says, in the same breath, that parents should "not provoke their children to anger." In the same text, he instructs wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to "love their wives even as christ loved the church...." And he talks about slaves and masters. For a long time, this passage was used to endorse slavery, and then it was used to endorse the oppression and abuse of women within marriage. Now it is used to endorse the spanking of children. But the critical fact is -- Paul never tells parents to "make their children obey." In all these relationships, Paul is talking about voluntary and mutal submission and servanthood in relationships. Paul is not establishing a heirarchy for who should be in control of who within these relationships. He didn't need to. The heirarchies already existed and were made clear in the cultural context. He was saying the opposite. He was saying that in the world we exert power over each other, but in the Kingdom of God we serve each other and exist without these heirarchies. We are to be different because we are meant to practise mutuality and grace with one another.

Christians also reference the OT (proverbs) when they justify spanking. There are a lot of problems with this too. You've probably heard it argued that the "rod" did not meant a weapon but instead a tool for guiding. But even if the OT did instruct us to hit our kids, the gospel changes everything for us. Jesus satisfied the requirements of OT law. Jesus took all punishment upon himself. We don't need to punish each other anymore. We don't need to stone women for comitting adultry, and we don't need to spank our kids. Make sense? We are living in a new way, where we base our actions on grace and not punishment.

Jesus tells us to set aside the need to "take and eye for an eye," and instead to "turn the other cheek." He tells us not to judge each other's hearts. In countless places, his message is essentially a message of grace. He wants us to live in a different way with each other. To "love each other as ourselves." I don't know why -- but too many christians just assume the "each other" doesn't include our children. We can treat each other with grace and gentleness (maybe) but our kids are different. I don't understand it -- it is as though kids are viewed as less than human. Its so sad.

For christians and for non-christians alike, gentle discipline involves a great leap of faith. It takes an enormous amount of trust to give up "total control" over someone we love so entirely, and to trust that these children can be safe and well on their own merit and with God's guidance and love. Its an impossibly hard step to take -- voluntarily giving up control. But God asks us to take this step in *every* important relationship -- and to trust His ideas for a better way.

Anyway, I hope some of that made some sense. I might post again if I think of anything else. And feel free to PM me if you want.
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#4 of 29 Old 10-22-2003, 03:18 PM
 
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We have a book "Christian Parenting & Child Care" by Sears. It is pretty good on this topic [of course?] and I have given it quite a few times as a gift at Baby Showers [And! As a "Give Birth" present to Mommy at her Babies "Birth Day" too!] and have yet to have heard negative comments about it. I even donated one to the church library. You might be interested in reading it?

And, slightly related, this weekend we watched a tv show on History channel called History of the Bible and it was very [very very] interesting as relates to this topic because among other things the story pointed out that all of the Bible was written by men in context to the world at their time. So what was "popular" thought then was how things were written and phrased etc. As times change so has/does interpretation etc. [There was obviously more, but this is the best I can do.]

Most interesting to us on this topic was the comment about Solomon and the fact that his 'harsh' discipline possibly [probably] lead to his son being the rather 'nasty' person he was!! Hypothosis being that rather than a suggestion of "do" it was a parable of "dont"...

My husband and I are becoming rather vocal "pro-AP" Christians in our community and so stories like that help us interpret what we read [and hear] AND help us "put together" our instincts, modern day child psycology, and the Bible/Christianity, etc.
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#5 of 29 Old 10-23-2003, 09:14 AM
 
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I wanted to thank y'all for the links. Very inspirational. DP and I don't live around open spankers, but do live around some big "obey me right now or you get a time out-ers." It felt affirming to read about non-punitive parenting from a spiritual perspective. Helps with some of the mother "peer pressure!"
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#6 of 29 Old 10-23-2003, 10:15 AM
 
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Mamaduck, your reply was eloquent and loving, and expressed a lot of what I think on the subject. Thanks so much for posting!

It bothers me that some Christians use OT references to support corporal punishment of children, when the NT clearly supercedes and fulfills the OT messages. It's as though in certain instances the NT doesn't exist. Further, IMO these people typically use OT references selectively - they want to use OT to support spanking, but don't follow all the OT's rules and regulations. IMO if you're going to follow the letter of the OT on one issue, you need to follow it all the way. But doing this feels to me like a denial of Jesus' self-sacrifice and message.

So, in part to me this is an issue of the relationship between the OT and NT - the OT shows us the old way (where we came from) and the NT shows us the new way (Christ's way).

Jesus picked children up, held them in his arms, blessed them, encouraged them to come to him. He told parents to 'let them come to me.' Not 'make them come to me.' He encouraged adults to be more child-like. How is corporal punishment being child-like? How is it following his example of gentleness, with children and with us?
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#7 of 29 Old 10-24-2003, 12:05 PM
 
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Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for starting this thread here. I am the one who started the discussion on the yahoo list. I simply asked if anyone there practised gentle discipline and if they had any book recommendations for me. And then it turned into that ugly debate on spanking

I am having such a difficult time with this issue since I know I will never spank, but I am constantly told by fellow Christians that to be a Godly parent I HAVE to spank. It is so frustrating! I KNOW in my heart that spanking a child into submission is not what Jesus would have advocated, but like you, I'm not well versed in scripture so it's hard to back up my beliefs Biblically to these people.

Thank you all for you thoughts and the links. I am definitely going to get the book Biblical Parenting.

Carmen
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#8 of 29 Old 10-24-2003, 01:41 PM
 
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I thought I might have more thoughts on this! What do you know?

I think its probably possible to prove any point you want, or its opposing point, by quoting verses from the bible. Its next to impossible to get anywhere by throwing verses back and forth. Its much better to discern overall themes, or broad messages that are empahsized throughout the bible and also that become clear as god's plans unfold in scripture and in our lives today.

From that perspective, its important to remember that God is our heavenly parent -- perfect in every way -- and as human parents we could not do any better than to immitate God's ways with people. The best picture of God that we have is the person who is Jesus, and the best model we have for how God relates to smaller, weaker people in His care is shown to us in the way that Jesus dealt with the people He sheltered under his wings. Jesus was firm, and honest, and set high moral standards -- but there is no account of him using violence toward any person. He did express anger, but he did *not* inflict harm. This is the behavior we should immitate with the people in *our* care.

Everyday I am struck in new ways by the methods that God chooses with us as children. How many chances do we get to make mistakes and to try again? And how gentle and respectful is God toward us? I think we owe at least as much to our kiddos.
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#9 of 29 Old 10-24-2003, 02:14 PM
 
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I didn't read all the posts, so pardon me if I repeat.

The rod that is spoken of in the Bible also refers to the shepards rod. Shepards would use their rod to guide the sheep lovingly, not beat the sheep. In fact, the sheep responded to their shepard simply by the sound of their voice most of the time!

God tells us to 'put away wrath' and reminds us to use loving kindness with each other. That would extend to our children.

When the Bible speaks of not sparing the rod, it is the rod of reproof, which refers to lovingly guiding our children, just as the shepard lovingly guided the sheep.
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#10 of 29 Old 10-24-2003, 08:26 PM
 
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When thinking about how to discipline my children, I try to think 'would Mary have done this with Jesus?' and 'would Jesus do this with my child, if he were the adult in charge?' I guess I just can't picture Jesus spanking my child, nor could I picture Mary spanking Jesus. Consequences, yes. Corporal punishment, I just can't imagine it.
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#11 of 29 Old 10-25-2003, 05:37 AM
 
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I get very frustrated by other Christians sometimes. To me, spanking, yelling, humiliation, etc are simply not Christian. How can anybody trully believe in the love preached by Jesus and think that spanking's the way to go? I see God as the perfect example of parenting. He doesn't try to force His will on us, he lets us come to Him. He doesn't try to humiliate us when we do wrong, but lets us experience natural consequences, and comforts us when we need it.

My grandmother commented that I tell my DD "I'm sorry" too much. Generally, when DD wants something she can't have, I say, "That's not for DD...this is for DD [and substitute something that's okay for her to have]." If she cries, I usually get down on her level and give her a hug, saying, "I'm sorry. I know it's hard when you want something you cannot have. It's frustrating." My grandmother says that I'm not teaching her that my words have authority. I disagree. I'm not "giving in" to DD, but I am empathizing when she's upset. DD has a right to be upset about my decisions. She's her own person. I try to be fair, and only deny her what is harmful to her or somebody else and such. Why shouldn't I comfort her?

It seems like Christians who advocate spanking, rigid schedules, CIO, etc must have missed the entire NT. There are numerous examples of Jesus' kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. How is all of that in any way compatable w/ beating children into submission? And what meaning does submission have when it's forced? God certainly doesn't force faith on us. He allows us to come to Him. Loving Him would be meaningless if we had no choice not to love. KWIM?
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#12 of 29 Old 10-27-2003, 04:15 AM
 
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Quote:
The rod that is spoken of in the Bible also refers to the shepards rod. Shepards would use their rod to guide the sheep lovingly, not beat the sheep. In fact, the sheep responded to their shepard simply by the sound of their voice most of the time!
Just what I wanted to say -- Dr. Sears talks about this in The Sears Discipline Book.

Chicagomom, I use that same line of thinking about many things I do as a parent: DId Jesus get a bottle at 2 months? Or did he nurse until he physically could tolerate whatever foods they had? Did he sleep in his own crib in his own room? Or did he sleep with his mother and nurse at her breast at night? Comfort, safety, security, warmth.

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#13 of 29 Old 10-27-2003, 10:14 AM
 
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You may also want to check out Gentle Christian Mothers

I am a part of this online community. The woman who runs the Arms of Love website is also part of it and you can find alot of great information on GBD in the Discipline forums.

Check it out! I also very highly recommend the book Biblical Discipline. You can get it on the Arms of Love web site along with a workbook.

I also have this posted up on my fridge, I will post it here for anyone interested.

The Five Steps


The Five Steps are a technique developed by Lisa Kuzara-Seibold, Minister of Early Childhood Education at Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Arizona. I had the amazing opportunity to mentor under her while employed by the Department of Early Childhood Education as a Sunday School Teacher. This example of The Five Steps is an adaptation of what is taught in her training manual.

Step 1: State your request and offer a reason.

Example: "You need to stop yourself from playing and clean up. It is time to leave."

Step 2: Restate your request.

Example: "You need to stop yourself from playing and clean up."

It is helpful to get down on the child's level and touch your child while looking in his eyes to make sure you have his attention.

Step 3: Offer help.

Example: "You are having a hard time stopping your play. Can you stop playing and clean up or do you need my help?"

Whether your child requests help or not respect their wishes. Help is not a punishment, it is help.

Step 4: Help.

Example: "You are not stopping your play. Here, let me help you."

Again, help is not a punishment. It is an acknowledgment that your child is unable to stop on their own. This may be due to a lack of maturity, being tired or hungry, or simply not wanting to stop.

Step 5: The Bear Hug.

Stand behind your child and wrap your arms over her shoulders and across her chest. Hold her arms with your hands if you are concerned about her striking out. Squat down to her level and speak gently in her ear that you are helping her stop herself and that you will let her go when she can stop herself. Gentle pressure on her shoulders can keep her from kicking or attempting to run from you. This is not a punishment. It is providing outside boundaries for a child who lacks internal boundaries.

This is from the Biblical Discipline book.

Good luck on your journey, may God guide and bless you as you seek wisdom in parenting your treasures!
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#14 of 29 Old 10-27-2003, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow - I missed all these responses! I never got a notice of any responses until yesterday. Weirdness.

Anyway.

Carmen - you caught me. Heh heh. I'm glad to see you came here, though. I think these responses are just wonderful.

I looked at some of those links and they are wonderful and make me feel better.

Quote:
I try to think 'would Mary have done this with Jesus?' and 'would Jesus do this with my child, if he were the adult in charge?'
Excellent idea. I have always advocated the Golden Rule, and I think this backs it up well.

Quote:
Its much better to discern overall themes, or broad messages that are empahsized throughout the bible and also that become clear as god's plans unfold in scripture and in our lives today.
And this, too. I really like this thought process. Reminds us to stop dwelling on the details (which can also be important, too, sometimes) and to just try to live like Christ, and I simply cannot believe Christ would ever hit a child. He was, like, the ultimate hippie and hippies generally aren't known for their violence, LOL

I think the main problem I have with this train of thought (and I even hear it sometimes from moms who don't spank) is that they have to "punish" their children. I just don't think so. When I mentioned that I use the 1-2-3 thing w/ Margie, a lot of people jumped on that and said that it just teaches her she has a few extra minutes to disobey me. I just don't think that kids naturally think liek that. The same way I don't believe babies are manipulating with their cries, I can't believe that kids are just constantly looking for ways to disobey. Sure, they may test limits from time to time or in some cases look for attention in negative ways, but I think that if you respect your kids, they'll respect you. Respect can mean setting limits sometimes and consistenly enforcing them, but do it kindly, as you would like it done to you.

*sigh*

Thanks, everyone, for helping me to feel better about this. I really believe that whether or not I know scripture well, I have to listen to what the holy ghost tells me and that is not to hit my child. I hope this has helped you, too, Carmen. I did leave that list, but I hope to see you around. It was nice running into you here.

And on a completely separate note, can I please ask for prayers about these fires here in San Diego. I'm safe for now, but one of the fires is burning about 10-15 miles away and I'm scared. Please pray for all those involved and thank God for the firemen!

Bonnie
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#15 of 29 Old 10-30-2003, 04:44 AM
 
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First of all, I'd like to invite you all over to a wonderful yahoo group that is AP, Christian, and promotes non-punitive discipline. I have learned SO much from these ladies, it's really changed the way I think about discipline which has really change *me* more than anything my dd does/doesn't do. If you join, please post an intro so I can welcome you.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveChristianAP/

It is hard to hear people justify their spanking using Bible verses - my personal understanding is that God definintely told us to discipline our children - but he didn't say HOW. That is up to each of our own families/interpretations - I don't believe that Bible says to spank my children, but then again, I don't think it says NOT to spank my child either, so I have to remember that when dealing with punitive parents - they are disciplining the way they see fit (I DON'T agree with it, but I can't say it's "unbiblical").

Unlike a letter I got from a lady at my church who is very pro-Ezzo (www.ezzo.info for those who wonder who that is...) who said that I was being unbiblical by not spanking my child! Grrr. At first I was appalled and ashamed that she thought I was being unbiblical - but I've finally determined that really, it's none of her business! I'm still upset about that letter, but I'm comforted in the fact that I'm disciplining my child the way God has led me, and the way that I feel very comfortable with.

Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

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#16 of 29 Old 11-01-2003, 04:02 AM
 
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I am delighted to come across this thread. This is an issue of great debate and contention between my DH and I. In fact, it has grown from one of discipline into submission and things are not good.....

Meghan....you received an actual LETTER from someone telling you that you ought to be spanking?? That is awfully bold of someone. Yikes.... I read Crystal's stuff.....and I'm one of those "prove all things" people....so, I will have to get my Bible out and go through it, word by word.....but it is enlightening, at the very least. I hope you can make it down to the cloth diapering party on the 7th....I'd like to talk to you some more about this.

My DH is adamant that we spank our 2 1/2 year old.....it has never, in my heart of hearts, felt right. However..."the heart is deceitful amongst all things..." and that is not enough to prove what is right and what is not. I must have biblical backing. To my utter dismay...he is now insisting that we smack our 10 month's hand when she touches the dogfood on the floor (her snack of choice, lately). I am so sad. I do believe that the husband is the head of the family...and there is a God-given structure to the family....but this strikes at my very core. As you can see....I'm pretty torn up about this.....

I guess I've gotten off the subject....

Thanks for some things to think about ladies....

Lisa
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#17 of 29 Old 11-01-2003, 07:12 PM
 
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Lisa,

Yes, sadly I did receive a letter that implied I was being unbiblical - pretty long story that I would be happy to share with you when I'm down. The end result of this whole thing is this: I am strongly convinced the Bible tell us TO discipline our children but doesn't say specifically HOW to accomplish that. So, I feel I'm being Biblical by practicing GBD - I AM disciplining my child, just not the way other people may think is "right." BUT! I am also, like I said in my last post, convinced that spanking is not "unbiblical" - *I* don't think it's the "right" thing, but I cannot argue that it's unbiblical - i.e., nowhere does it state "Do not spank" (or "Do spank"). I think there are a ton of things evidenced in Jesus' life about how TO dispcipline with love etc.

So what I'm basically saying is: I believe the Bible says to discipline our children. I believe that GBD is right for our family. I can show you the reasons why I think this and why I don't think the rod verses refer to beating a child with an inch-thick stick. I can point you to secular sources that prove the detriment of spanking. I can show you my reasons for the way I discipline and I share with you the change in my thinking. I wish I could prove that spanking is "unbiblical," but I can't. I wish I could give you the Biblical backing that you're looking for but from what I have learned there IS no Biblical backing for the STYLE of discipline, only that we are to do it. I take my "style" from the verses that say, "to the least of these," "fathers do not exasperate your children," and "love one another."

I wish I could say I've never hit my child. I wish I could say I never felt like punishing my child and that I never have screamed at her. I wish I could say I feel I've been effective at using GBD. None of these things are true - but I do believe that GBD is effective, and I can honestly tell you I'm a better person b/c of the way it's changed my thinking, but I still struggle with wanting to punish her for her "sins" and I struggle with my authoritarian feelings. But I'm determined to continue along the GBD path - my child is more understood and *I* am learning self-discipline.

I will be happy to share more with you at that diaper party, and I will also bring down Crystal's book for you to borrow, if you'd like. Also, please join the yahoo group I mentioned - there are plenty of "seekers" - not very many people are 100% AP/GBD - I'm certainly not, LOL! But it truly changed the way I think about discipline and people can help with your questions/struggles with dh, whether you choose GBD or not.


Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

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#18 of 29 Old 11-04-2003, 01:22 AM
 
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Hi,

I'm sorry - I don't have time to read all these posts, which I'm sure are great. I just wanted to tell you about this website I don't think anyone mentioned:


www.nospank.net

I particularly recommend this article:

nospank.net/bible1.htm

The whole article is really good - and then there is this little "What Would Jesus Do?" addendum at the bottom, which I think is EXCELLENT!

MisfitMama
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#19 of 29 Old 11-04-2003, 01:42 AM
 
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Okay, okay, I can't help but give these 2 links, also:

nospank.net/cnp.htm ("Where Are the Christians Who Oppose Corporal Punishment?"

Also available somewhere on nospank.net AND on Natural Child Project website is a VERY good essay about the way Mary and Joseph raised Jesus.

I think it's called "Mary and Joseph: A Message for Christmas 2000" or something like that. I think I'm going to put it in my Christmas cards this year. (Get out your dictionary, though. Alice ****** apparently speaks English as a 2nd or 3rd language, but she has a vocabulary that I can't touch.)

MisfitMama

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#20 of 29 Old 11-04-2003, 04:00 AM
 
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Thank you guys, so much....especially you, Meghan, for your candor. I can't wait to talk with you on Friday Speaking of which...Zanymom better get on the stick and get directions out! Must PM her about that!

I am becoming more and more able to back up what my heart has been telling me for a long time......but the issue is whether or not DH will even consider it. I can talk til I'm blue in the face.....but unless God opens his mind......its useless.....

"A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still...."

Lisa
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#21 of 29 Old 11-14-2003, 12:30 PM
 
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I haven't read all of the responses yet but the Gentle Christian Mother's site is good. Crystal's book is called "Biblical Parenting" by Pastor Crytsal Lutton. I just got it and it is good. Here is another good site for scripture interpretation.

http://www.parentingdecisions.com/su...lechildren.htm
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#22 of 29 Old 11-22-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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Ok, Mamas, here is the story...

According to the user agreement which we all agreed to upon registration:

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The MotheringDotCommune discussion boards serve an online community of parents and parents-to-be considering, learning, practicing, and advocating attachment parenting and natural family living.
Support is our goal. This thread is dedicated to the support of those seeking Biblical support for their parenting philosophy. Posts in opposition to this endeavor have been removed.

Now, I know I hate it when I work hard writing something and it is lost. So if you want a copy of what you wrote to edit and re-post, fear not, I have a copy saved. Just PM me.

Thank you for your support and patience.

In addition, these Mothering articles may add to the discussion on hand:

Spare the Rod

Train up your child - William Sears article

warmly,
Pamela
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#23 of 29 Old 11-24-2003, 11:04 AM
 
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Torah explicitly states children do not know god from bad, so in my mind the concept of "disobedient children" is prima facie silly. the ancients also teach us to "push away with the left and draw near with the right" - IOW to reward more strongly than we punish.

the Torah passage talking about stoning a son has nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with disciplining children since the "stonee" in the passage is very clearly an adult.

Talmud has numerous teachings telling us that forcing a child against its nature is a recipe for ultimate disaster, even if it seems to be working in the moment.

it goes so far as to say hitting an older child is equivalent to putting a stumbling block in front of a blind man because we are setting them up for failure: a child of that age is old enough to feel anger, to have an urge to strike back, so by striking them we are in fact encouraging them to feel/act dishonorably towards us. we are in fact encouraging them to break mitzvah/commandment, and the guilt for that lies on the parent, not the child.

as with anything posted by a Jew, this is one individual's perspective and does not constitute a claim to speak for Jews in general.
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#24 of 29 Old 11-24-2003, 06:09 PM
 
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Hi all. As I was reading this post I couldn't stop thinking about it and I wanted to find out for myself some biblical backing and explinations. I do study the bible and know it somewhat (not nearly good enough) I hope this doesn't offend anyone but I thought it had some excellent reasoning on what the bible has to say and it might answer zebrabellys quest for finding out some scriptures. Its a bit long so I do apologize about that.
What I found was this....



THE BIBLE’S mention of “the rod of discipline” ignites fiery controversy. This is understandable, for each year thousands of children die as a direct result of physical abuse by a parent. Perhaps this is why one Bible commentary passes off the Bible’s sanction of physical punishment as merely a “culturally conditioned opinion.”
Are its comments on “the rod of discipline” unreasonable? It is important to examine “the rod” in its context. To illustrate: The individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle make little sense. It is only after fitting them together that one can see the whole picture. Likewise, “the rod” is just one piece of the puzzle. To see the full picture, we must fit “the rod” in with other Bible principles related to discipline.
Does the Bible endorse only physical punishment? Consider the following advice:
• “Never drive your children to resentment.”
• “Don’t over-correct your children, or you will take all the heart out of them.”
These are two scriptures found at Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.
Yes, the Bible’s viewpoint is reasonable. It acknowledges that physical punishment is usually not the most effective teaching method. Proverbs 8:33 says, “Listen to discipline” not, ‘Feel discipline.’ And Proverbs 17:10 points out that “a rebuke works deeper in one having understanding than striking a stupid one a hundred times.”
The word “rod” is translated from the Hebrew word she´vet. To the Hebrews, she´vet meant a stick or a staff, such as that used by a shepherd. In this context the rod of authority suggests loving guidance, not harsh brutality.
She´vet is often used symbolically in the Bible, representing authority. When referring to parental authority, “the rod” does not refer exclusively to physical punishment. It encompasses all forms of discipline, which most often need not be physical. And when physical discipline is employed, it is usually because other methods have proved unsuccessful. Proverbs 22:15 says that foolishness is “tied up” (“anchored,” NJB; “deep-rooted,” The New English Bible) with the heart of the one receiving physical discipline. More than mere childish frivolity is involved.
In the Bible, discipline is consistently linked with love and mildness, not with anger and brutality. The skillful counselor should be “gentle toward all, . . . restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.”—2 Timothy 2:24, 25.
Therefore, discipline is not an emotional outlet for the parent. Rather, it is a method of instruction. As such, it should teach an erring child. When administered in anger, physical discipline teaches the wrong lesson. It serves the need of the parent, not that of the child.
Furthermore, effective discipline has boundaries. This is especially vital to remember when administering physical discipline. Hitting or shaking an infant can lead to brain damage or even death. Going beyond the intended purpose of discipline—to correct and to teach—may lead to child abuse.
Discipline should not leave a child feeling abandoned. Rather, the child should sense that the parent is ‘with him’ as a loving, supportive encouragement. If physical discipline is deemed necessary, the child should understand why. Proverbs 29:15 says that “the rod and reproof are what give wisdom.”
It is a sad fact that today many use “the rod” of parental authority abusively. Yet, fault cannot be found with the Bible’s balanced principles. When we consider “the rod” in its context, we see that it serves to teach children, not to abuse them.
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#25 of 29 Old 11-24-2003, 10:42 PM
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Could anyone help me with this verse? "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." Proverbs 29:15 . To me that sounds like both are to be used and that one is not better then the other. (rod over reproof or reproof over the rod). Sometimes all a child will need is reproof depending on what they have done,but the rod with out reproof does not work. What does everybody think?
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#26 of 29 Old 11-24-2003, 11:12 PM
 
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Where does it say in that verse that one must use a rod to hit?

The original word, as explained above, is the hebrew word for the shepherd's staff.

A good shepherd NEVER hits his sheep. Instead he guides them with his rod. Sheep, like most herd animals, respond to cues that do not need to involve any physical contact. You can direct them and move them without touching them (I used to do that when I worked with horses). It was understood in those days that an expert herdsman possesed this skill.

These days people seem convinced that a rod is something you HIT with. And then they use that bible quote to justify hitting children. :

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#27 of 29 Old 11-25-2003, 01:43 AM
 
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pixie - thanks for that! I like it, and I have based my understandings of the "rod verses" on the fact that the shebet was used as a symbol of authority and discipline. Being in agreement with these verses does not mean hitting your child with an inch-thick stick.

reference lady and other friends - are you TRULY interested in learning? b/c we have put lots of information out there. As has been stated before - this is not a place to debate, but a place for support and encouragement of gentle discipline. Please also see www.aolff.org and the articles listed there for more information on your specific question.

Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

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#28 of 29 Old 11-25-2003, 02:27 AM
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Could someone help me with something? I was wondering if there is a christian parenting site like this one? Has anybody heard of one?
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#29 of 29 Old 11-25-2003, 02:40 AM
 
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Yup, www.gentlechristianmothers.com Awesome site.
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