March 11, 2015
The first question is, “When is your child old enough to discipline?” This age is different for all children, but younger than you’d probably imagine. If your child deliberately and willfully disobeys, he is old enough to understand that there are consequences to disobedience. If you do not render some consequences for your child’s actions you are doing him a disservice (Proverbs 13:24).
Too many people see this argument as “to spank, or not too spank”, without even having a goal for the discipline. Your goal should always be to correct your child, to redirect them on a path of obedience. Spanking should be considered only when other options have been exhausted, and never as an angry response from a parent. An unexpected swat on the rear end does nothing for a child except make them angry (Ephesians 6:4).
Speaking always comes before spanking. If you decide that your child needs a spanking it should not come as a surprise to her. Make sure that the rules and consequences are well known. Take the child to a private place, calmly explain the reason for the spanking, never punish a child while you are angry, and judiciously hand out a few swats. After you have spanked your child and he cries, pick him up in your arms, hug him, and explain the reason for the spanking again. Tell him you love him. Dry his tears and let him go play.
Finally, always work toward repentance in the child’s heart. Use the opportunity to demonstrate to your child that disobedience is a sin, not only against father and mother, but also against God Almighty (Exodus 20:12).
Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. 2001, The Commercial Appeal.