Spanking (Part 4): My Story


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One Percent Rebellion is Still Rebellion
I learned a lesson the hard way when my daughter was young.  Though I was a stay-at-home mom, I worked full-time and then some from home for the first year of my daughter’s life.  Later, I became committed to being “just” a Homemaker, but then I struggled to keep my busy life of serving in our church from taking over.  We began Homeschooling when my daughter was about 2 years old (my son was 5-1/2). Perhaps my busyness is why I didn’t recognize my daughter’s rebellion until she was 9 or 10 years old.  I didn’t deal with the attitudes.

You would not have thought her a rebellious child.  But a child who’s obedient to you 99% of the time, and rebels only 1% of the time still has a heart of rebellion.  They are choosing to rule their own lives, and when they don’t agree with your decision, they rebel.  They just agree with you 99% of the time.

Crying, Hollering, Yelling
When my daughter was 9 or 10, and I recognized her rebellion, I disciplined her.  She would scream and cry at the top of her lungs when disciplined (one swat with the spoon, or sometimes before I’d done anything).  (A child’s crying loudly–hollering, wailing, yelling as though they’re being killed–when being disciplined appropriately is a sign of rebellion. I am not talking here about a child being abused by a parent.  I am talking about spanking with a spoon or stir stick once, followed by opportunity to repent, prayer, sharing of Scripture. Then adding a second stroke, with time to repent and the other steps. And I am talking about seconds passing between strokes, not “beating” in any way, shape or form.) She clenched her jaw, and stiffened, and would not submit to discipline.  A wise older woman instructed me to bind the enemy before ever going into her room or beginning to discipline. (This is what I would pray, “Lord, please bind and rebuke Satan and his spirits in the Name of Jesus and by the power of His blood and resurrection.”)

Put Aside Your Plans for the Day
My daughter was saved at an early age, and both of my children have a firm faith in Jesus Christ, but she needed to submit to our authority as placed there by God for her protection, provision and guidance.  When rebellion began rearing its ugly head when she was about 10 years old (it had been there earlier, but we didn’t recognize it, and it wasn’t always willful), I realized I could not let it go, and decided that when she was willfully disobedient, rebellious or sassy, I had to put aside any other plans for the day and spend whatever time was needed, privately in her room, administering the “rod and reproof.” (Our “rod” was either a paint stick or a wooden spoon–these stung, but didn’t leave bruises, or marks. The discipline was never such that she felt the effects later, such as not being able to sit down.)

photo by Aussiegall

The Process
I would ask her, “What did you do?”  (She needed to recognize her sin, admit and confess.)  Then, I would speak to her from the Word about her sin, pray for and with her, give her plenty of opportunity for repentance and ask her if she was ready to admit and confess her sin, and begin by giving her one stroke on her thigh or bottom (with panties on).  I would continue increasing the strokes, one at a time, repeating the steps which included letting Scripture speak to her heart, and giving her another opportunity to repent, if she was not willing to humble herself and confess her sin.  Confession and repentance mean “agreeing with God about my sin.”

Sometimes we got up to 20 strokes; maybe more (this was unusual).  During these times, I would cry, begging her to not harden her heart towards God and Scripture, grieving over her hard, stubborn heart and unwillingness to yield to God.  I would pray and ask God for forgiveness, and to show me if there were sins in my own life I hadn’t confessed and turned from.  I would cry out to God on her behalf.  If she was still not repentant, eventually I would end the session, praying with her once more, and with deep sorrow tell her we were not done, but we were stopping.  I would have her read passages from her Bible alone in her room before she came out.  I would always emphasize God’s heart towards sin, and the consequences, but that He is ready to forgive anyone who truly repents, and asks His forgiveness.

Shared Guilt
Over the years I have told this story to many young moms, especially ones with very young children, 3 and under.  I tell them, “Don’t wait until your child is 10!  It’s so much easier if you discipline the attitudes now.”  If I can help any moms out there avoid this painful scenario for both you and your child, it is worth it.  Whenever I have told this story, my daughter has been right beside me sadly admitting, “Yes.”  People can hardly believe she was ever that way.  (Look at the photo below and see the results of dealing with her attitude. Afterwards she had a clear conscience and JOY!) They are astounded. She tells them “how bad” she was, and readily admits her rebellion and pride.

I am guilty for not dealing with her heart attitude of stubborn pride, an independent spirit and rebellion when she was a very little girl.  We both suffered greatly for it.  The process was long and arduous.  It took a long time (I honestly don’t remember how many days, or weeks or maybe even months, we repeated this scene off and on.  It took hours some days from our school day.  But I would say that it was off and on for weeks or more).  It was an emotionally painful ordeal, but finally the Spirit effected a change in her heart, her hard heart was softened and she truly repented of her sin.

The joyful countenance of a changed heart!

A Heart Submitted to God and to Her Parents
When she finally repented, there was no question whatsoever that God had worked. We knew that God had won the victory.  (Look at the sweet countenance in the face above!)  Now we had the most sweet-spirited, submissive, happy little 10-year-old girl on the face of the earth!  She was obedient, desiring to please us and God.  Her heart was so open to the Lord, and she had a new desire for others to know Jesus.  Oh, joy!

My Plea to You, Dear Moms

Oh, how much pain we could have avoided if I had disciplined her consistently when she was 3 years old (or 2, or 1 or even younger) for her attitudes.  Young moms, Do Not Wait–I implore you! (If you do not think that babies and small children are capable of attitudes that need discipline, look at these photos.  I have recently heard stories from moms of 1-1/2-year-olds and younger exhibiting very rebellious attitudes and behavior, and I, myself, saw it in my “perfect” first-born at one years old.)

One mom I know flicks the legs of her babies (I’m not sure what age) with her finger when they won’t lay still on the changing table.  Do not spare the rod, but use it in love, consistently and without anger. Never leave out the training in righteousness, from the Word of God, and be living as an example, with God’s help.  (Example, Training, and Prayer are the 3 legs of the stool of child-training.)  The rod used appropriately (the key word is appropriately) very early in life will bring peace to your home—and you won’t need to use it as much later on.  Always remember, you are obeying the Word of God.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom:
but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
Proverbs 29:15

“Correct thy son,
(which means chastise, discipline, punish, reprove, instruct)
and he shall give thee rest;
yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”
Proverbs 29:17

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*Disclaimer:  I am just a mom.  This is my story, but the Word of God must be your guide and give you answers–you and your husband are responsible to raise your children, with God’s help through His Word and prayer.   If you need advice on specific situations not addressed in this series, I advise you to go to your spiritual authorities (your pastor or elders).  If you are visiting for the first time, or for more on this subject, I recommend you read the other posts in this series.  (Just click on the links.)

Training in 1st-time Obedience on Timely Tips on Tuesday
Spanking (Part 1):  Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 2):  Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 3):  Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman

Spanking (Part 4):  My Story
Spanking (Part 5):  Do You Love or Hate Your Children?
Spanking (Part 6):  Something Really Important I Neglected To Say!
Spanking (Part 7)

19 Replies to “Spanking (Part 4): My Story”

  1. As I read about the topic and try to understand it better Wendy and I must say sometimes I have a little doubt in it too even I agree with you when it comes to a young child who sometimes needs a spanking. I want to say this; fundamentalism in disciplines and punishments or believes I do not recommend and Debi and Pearl`s way of spanking/punishments is abusive even it is all in the name of God.

    They total agree with even whipping a toddler/young child with a plumb-supply line or a belt wish is severe painful too. Never use that or a belt. They take the spanking up to a excessive way and that is abuse even you are not angry. Pearl say you should spank until no breath to complain or even no breath to cry it out! To cause severe pain as much you can if you need too. That is abusive as I see it! Too many swats, too hard, too painfully or excessive use of commands or use of fear from it is also abusive.

    A spanking should be painfully(stingy) just enough but you can not command a toddler or to spank a young child to the point of no breath to complain or even a cry, how in the God`s name is that right! When you know that the spanking is very painfully to handle and to keep on suppress it is very harsh and abusive.

    Of course a temper tantrums before/during/after when it has given out warnings about it is what I understand what Wendy try to say then a added or a few given out swats can be used that way they should not have a angry outburst(temper tantrums) from it or a loud(excessive) crying-hollering, screaming. That complain or excessive crying is not from the reasonable pain/sting or the little fear but show a true protest from the spanking.

    But to suppress the sting or a true cry from the spanking is abusive and will cause a emotionally scars for the rest of their lives and remember one thing! Your child can be your worst enemy or your best friend.

    I think maybe you Wendy should address it even better when it comes to use of spanking with toddlers or a child who is fighting and screaming at you and address it how to learn them to cry softly(a real cry from the spanking) without it turns into a abuse case.

    1. You said: “I think maybe you Wendy should address it even better when it comes to use of spanking with toddlers or a child who is fighting and screaming at you and address it how to learn them to cry softly.” Perhaps a forum or group discussion with moms who are Titus 2 older women who have raised their children, and their fruit is very good, could share tips and suggestions. I will think about and pray about your suggestion!

  2. And for a young child to be told to stop the crying after a short time to cry it out then the child show the parents that they will obey and understand. The lingering pain is more of less gone even some soreness may be left. And with a hard willing child then you must never spank in a one very long big turn wish can be abusive but be firm and keep on and give out lectures/instructions with several spankings on the bottom with the wooden spoon or a paint stick. It is a battle you win and the child repent and listen.

  3. I do not have any children Wendy but as I read more and have more knowledge and also understand the importance of younger children lovingly obey their parents then more I see spanking can be sure a right thing too. I support Wendy here all the way.

    But again spanking is for younger children in those crying ages 1-2 to 4-6. I do not think older children either up to 7 or 8 as I wrote early should or be needed for a spanking above that not at all as is not right! From about 18-24 months and to 4-6 you can shape their lives with discipline not as your robot then! Start as early when they can understand “Yes” and “No”. They can act more up as a rebellion as you know It is not just a phrase they say the age 2-3 can be the terrible year too. You spank out of love even they think it is unfair or unpleasant right there and then. Spanking has to be painfully enough.

    I have seen so many toddlers and preschools children that screams and cry in protest or have a bad attitude. A cry can in those ages may be a sign of a rebellion act(not talking about accidents and communicate in any way!) but trow a crying fit or tantrums or a cry that is not warranted when they are told something too or faced with a correct discipline then a correct long/hard enough spanking can help them with that and help you too. There for those 1 or up to 2-3 swats at the time with instructions and seconds between before another swat is given out is sure the best way and I just see it as a safe way too.

    If you have full control of your self and your child then it will never be any bad marks just temporary red soreness. Using a wooden spoon or a paint stick is a good way too since you do not have to swing hard at all to make it really sting on their bottoms as you can with your hand. You can also rock a young child too much with your hand over your lap or when they are bended over the bed or a chair.

    And they will also fear that neutral object not your hand. But a chair is also a perfect way to bend the young child over it too. They should have a submissive attitude. Any resist and excessive crying-howling before it should be dealt with extra few swats as a second spanking for it. That goes with it during the spanking too. It is the sting by a long and hard enough spanking with the instruction that will help them to break that anger/protest and do the right thing here. After the child has repent contrite then let the young child know that you love them. Let them sit on a chair or do not force it if they really is repenting to cry it out softly. Not any loud screaming or howling but cry it out for a short reasonable time wish you can see and feel. Then tell the child to stop the crying if the young child continues then it is merely a protest cry then lecture about a second spanking, some few extra swats for it(not too many!) It is all about a loving but firm process here.

    Here is a mom who told me with a 3-4 year old girl that was trowing a crying fit then mom took her to a private place and just gave her 1 hard enough swat then told her to stop the crying and the fuss and counted to 5 then repeated the process, usually not many swats at all was enough to get her down to sniffling.

    But as I said not a expert here! Be free to send me a responds on my mail Wendy if you think it is any sense in it.

    1. Thank you for your comments on spanking. The bottom line is that we obey the Word of God. Instruction in His ways, along with living our lives according to His Word, with prayerful humility. May He help each parent to raise their children for Him!

  4. It is important for children to obey their parents. Even so, every individual child should eventually become independent of her or his parents, and form her or his own sense of what is just and fair in the society she or he lives in as an adult. By ruling the roost as you do by both homeschooling your children and expecting complete obedience to your set rules–not to mention perpetuating this defeating idea that God views children as born sinners, instead of open and beautiful human beings, you set the stage for the failure you punish. The notion that a hand spanking makes the situation worse because the parent’s hand should be considered kind and caressing, only, is absurd. The reason it is absurd is that your hand is holding onto the spoon or paint stick, and your arm is reaching back, and your muscles and energy are powering that striking piece of wood the same as they would your hand. It is also absurd to make such a distinction when you are causing pain, physically and emotionally, to your child when you choose to punish her or him by insisting that she or he is sinful rather than listening to the concerns, worries, fears, and wonder that any intelligent and growing person inevitably struggles with when it differs from the teaching around them. Rob was right in his first post when he pointed out that discipline means teaching. You are not the only one who mistakes it as meaning the same as punishment, but if you are going to be acting as an educator as well as a mother, you should be certain you are actually educating your children with the true definitions of words. Finally, how absolutely shameful to use your daughter’s picture and experiences in a blog instructing people how to punish their children. That’s private. Who is the real sinner, here, exposing your child to the World Wide Web of danger?

    1. The Bible teaches that we are born sinners, everyone of us, in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, and rose again. I know that I am not perfect, and am thankful for the grace of God at work in my life, as well as my children’s lives. The fact that the Bible teaches using the rod, and that obedience to God and His Word brings blessings and that disobedience brings curses is hard to accept for some people, but no less true. Yes, I applied discipline wrongly at times, (not abusing, though), but I still recommend using the rod (in our case, a wooden spoon), and expecting 1st-time obedience, because this is what the Bible teaches. I have found by experience (mine and many others) that it decreases, if not eliminates, the anger of parents and abuse associated with much wrongful discipline. I am not advocating abuse, and never have. Children are much happier, and feel more secure, and need far less discipline(!), when they know what is expected of them, and the consequences for disobedience are administered consistently and immediately, without anger. The anger comes when ineffective methods are used, and we try our own ways, rather than God’s, as well as when we are not consistent. Children will always wonder, “Will I get away with it this time?” when we are not consistent, and they will test us:) Mothers who think they can just talk to and reason with their children when they are blatantly disobedient, ignoring the commands of Christ in His Word to use the rod, are misguided, however loving they may be. There is need at other times to be “listening to the concerns, worries, fears” of your children–I agree! It is a relationship with your children, trusting, and lovingly administering discipline when needed that I am talking about. There are times for showing mercy, and much humility is needed as a parent. Perhaps I have wrongly portrayed a harsh, unbending, angry parent, which was not my desire. I desire to see others enjoy their children, and see them grow into Godly men and women who are able to live mature lives and marry and raise children of their own who will live for and love Jesus Christ. This, too, is what the Bible teaches: multi-generational faithfulness. I have seen the use of the rod, alongside Biblical teaching, and the Biblical, loving example of Godly parents, to be the means of raising Godly children. Prayer is also one of the number one things necessary. Yes, we are imperfect parents, all of us. It’s only by the grace of God that my children, as adults now, are walking with Him, and living Godly lives. (My children are now grown, and in their twenties: I am not “exposing my child to the World Wide Web of danger.”) I know I failed in many ways. I aimed to do the will of God, and I humbly ask that you look to the Word of God as your guide, and if my example or words have not matched what it says, don’t listen to them! Follow the Word of God, and look to God’s help, pray for your children, and seek to obey Him in all you do! God bless you as you do, and may your children grow up to be Godly, walking with Him all their days.

  5. But I will also warn any parent who take this too far! It is only the parent faults never the child if it is any abuse what so ever. Bad marks and any bruising or long lasting pain is abuse. It is a video out now of a certain judge from Texas who claim he was “disciplining” but instead was heavy abusing his teen daughter. That was a horrible thing and can never be undone!

    (“Children can learn to cry quietly”.) With that I meant not to suppress a soft real genuine crying from the measured of pain they can feel from the spanking but a loud crying or outburst and when the lingering pain from the spanking is more of less gone then the crying should be told to stop.

  6. Thank you for your replay! Yes I was against parental spanking before but I understand it so much more now then before.

    Here is just some thoughts about what pro-spanker`s teach. After I have read about the topic many pro-spanker`s tells the parents to learn the child to cry softly when it comes to a spanking. Any outburst or loud crying and protest before/during is a reason to prolong the spanking or a second spanking for it. Children can learn to cry quietly.

    This is also if the child is crying for something that is not warranted and the parent gives he/she 1-3 light but firm swats wish stings and tell them to stop the crying since the sting of it should subdue quite fast therefor the crying should stop. If it continues then it can be a protest against it then it is justified to give another 1-3 little more firm swats then a little pause to make the child repent if not then repeat the steps until the child repent and the crying stops. They say the crying should all stop before the spanking stops.

    Pro-spanker`s also tells the cry/tears should fall for a reasonable short time after the spanking but then the crying should be told to stop or to give out a second spanking if the child have any protest-crying/pouting or show any bad attitude against it. (I am not a expert here then!)

  7. Hi Wendy!

    I see you have posted some more in details of how to administrate a good spanking and I feel a little guilt now with my comments on this subject. Accuse you to abuse was not my agenda at all! I see you are very strongly against abuse and the meaning of a spanking is to break the child’s bad attitude and stubbornness with the right amount of pain and repent.

    If you want to delete my comments about it then you go ahead. I am against abuse as you are but can understand that spanking as a punishment can really work too and must sometimes be needed for.
    And to give one lick/swat wish really stings of course but never leave a bad mark then followed by some few seconds to let the child repent then repeat the swatting if not repenting is a good way. Then again you are doing it in a firm but calm manner never out of anger.

    And the crying part where they cry excessive. Yes it is right to pro-long the spankings if it`s again done in control. They can use their crying as a protest/complain against it. Sometimes it requires a long/hard enough spanking to make them break that. I can understand the logic around it.

    So I am sorry if I misunderstood you!


    1. Thanks. I appreciate your comments, Rob, and I will leave everything as it stands. Thank you for continuing to read deeper for the heart of the message I’m trying to convey:) God bless.

      1. Yes. Spanking is an art you have to master to make it work well. “A spanking is not child abuse. It is a deliberate measure of pain, delivered calmly, lovingly, and with self-control, on a loved child in order to deliver him from self-will and ultimate self-destruction.” is well said.

        The spanking(s) have to be painfully with younger children as the need to reinforce the message more clearly. And using a wooden spoon or flat object is recommended as it sting more they also will fear that object but not your hand.

        I however think older children(teens) should not be spanked as it is not needed and it is not appreciate for them. Spanking is for younger children as you said, start as early as can.
        Younger children in that “crying” ages where they can use their crying in temper tantrums, etc or against the discipline then administer “pain” in a calm way is what they need to make it stop.

        1. (“start as early as can”.) And another thing is I do not think spanking babies or under age 2 is right either as if you give out one swat then if the parent(not a angry parent) could see it as my baby is wailing or see it as temper tantrums then that parent can end up with spanking that child for excessive long time and that would be abuse.(It is some horror reports of that). Spanking should be used from age 2-7 or 8 after that it should not be needed and not appreciated . And never ever keep spanking a child in a one long big turn that could end up as a abusive excessive spanking even the parent is not angry.

  8. Hi Wendy.

    Is it allowed to use spanking under age 2 now in USA? In Canada its allowed to spank but not under age 2 and not over age 12. I feel you peoples are taking the spanking part a little to extreme now and could set some children in danger. What about their future and independent as an adult(works and social behave)?

    Beth Fenimore are a one that are having some hard times in her life from what her dad was thinking was the best for her at that time by the word of God.
    I hope you can understand what my point is. Her dad was also following God but instead he was abusing her daughter by spanking her to harsh/strict many times several hard spankings. Many times the offense was “bad attitude” and when the spanking was over Beth was not allowed to complain over her pain or soreness that could mean another spanking on the top of the last one.

    Is this right Wendy?

    Can you understand that Wendy how I can feel about it. It could also means that a parent who are not intend to abuse do it without they know it. And we have heard about children who has been spanked for every offense or they have been spanked for bee just a little childish. Some children has been injured by a parent who was not intend in the first place to abuse but the spanking escalated to the point it was no turning back.

    Discipline means teaching. Spanking means punishment.
    What do you think Wendy?

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