Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yet One More Reason I Don't Want To Live In Massachusetts

"Lawmakers To Consider Spanking Ban - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston"

Click HERE for the story.

According to the article a Massachusetts nurse has decided that the practice of spanking should be outlawed. I sure hope this misguided piece of legislation doesn't pass. I am sure that the intent was good. This nurse is most likely trying to prevent child abuse and save someone's life. But the problem is that banning spanking isn't the answer. (Besides the fact that such a law would be a gross violation of parental rights.) The physical discipline of a child is a very useful tool in the behavioral development of that child.

I have seen this play out in both my niece and my nephew. When my niece was little she was just plain mean, but as spanking was applied not only did she become more obedient, she also became sweeter. My nephew learned to obey through the discipline he received.

Following are several Scriptures about spanking:

He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently. Proverbs 13:24

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. Proverbs 23:13-14

The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

You KNOW that last one is true. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a child acting out somewhere and the mother is the one who gets the blame for that child's misbehavior. There was one child at one of my Thanksgiving celebrations that needed a spanking some kind of bad.

Spanking works. Spanking helps a child to realize that there are consequences for his actions. Spanking helps to establish who is in authority when a child inevitably challenges that authority - and through that establishment of authority the child is made more secure because he knows that there are boundaries that are defended by his parents, the ones that he is counting on to protect him. When spanking is used, the effectiveness of less stringent forms of discipline increase many fold.

Many people are afraid of the potential for abuse with spanking. Well, the potential for abuse is even greater from people who yell at their children and belittle them. That abuse is FAR worse than the momentary pain a child will feel when being spanked. Many people who would never DREAM of spanking a child will crush that same child's self image with their words.

The problem that most parents run into with any form of discipline is that they are not consistent with the administration of that discipline. Since the child is going to try to find and test the boundary for his own security (and to satisfy his own fallen nature,) inconsistent parents find that they are pushed beyond the point of their ability to render a calm and impartial judgment and become angry or even enraged at the behavior of their child.

I once heard a pastor describe this as the difference between godly discipline and worldly spanking.

Godly discipline helps a child to recognize that disobedience and misbehavior leads to negative consequences. This is a good lesson that our culture seems to have rejected. Disobedience = punishment without any 2nd or 22nd chances that end up leading to the parent's loss of temper. This allows the parent to spank the child without any anger or malice built up by the child's rebellion. They can truly punish and instantly restore the relationship.

On the other hand worldly spanking allows disobedience to continue to the point that the parent's temper is lost and the child is spanked in anger. The anger causes a separation between the parent and the child, and the child is left with the fear of witnessing the parent's loss of control exacerbated by the distance felt between the two. Reconciliation is difficult.

While I do not have children of my own, as I have helped to raise my niece and nephew I have witnessed first hand how spanking helps a child to modify his behavior for the better, and if applied correctly, it doesn't instill an unhealthy fear for the disciplinarian in the child. I have found it to be quite the contrary. A child who knows that a parent loves them enough to punish them when they need it is far more affectionate, trusting and respectful of the parent than the child that is allowed to have his own way.

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