What does the Bible say about spanking?
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Question: I am a mother of two children. My four-year-old has become very defiant and disrespectful. What does the Bible say about spanking a child? At what age can parents discipline their children like this?
Answer: To consider the age and knowing when the bad behavior warrants discipline with a spanking, turn to the Old Testament book of Proverbs where wise King Solomon gives us principles to follow in our everyday life.
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (Proverbs 13:24)
This definitely puts the responsibility on you as the parent. As someone who loves their child, you probably know their attitude more than a stranger. Allowing the child to have the control with their bad behavior is not showing them love.
Be sure to convey that you love them before the spanking so they will know you are not spanking in anger but in love. This may take a little practice. Don't get discouraged. You may have to count to 10 before actually spanking on your part of the session, so it won't be in anger. Then again, if it is done promptly, as is mentioned in this scripture, you may not need to do the counting. It is very important that it is done promptly, as a young child has a very short memory. Also, you may want to say a short prayer to ask God for the wisdom and self-control to discipline your child in love.
In regard to your question concerning at what age spanking is appropriate, Proverbs 19 says we are to disciple our children when they are at the age young enough to learn (verse 18).
No actual age is mentioned, leaving that up to the parent's discretion. However, it is VITAL that you instill attitudes of respect into your child before they reach school age for those who will be in authority over them, such as their parents, teachers, policemen, etc. That way, they will already have that attitude as they grow up and come into contact with other adults (Proverbs 29:17).