Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a recent study that validated (not that it needed to be) the biblical model of child-rearing—spankings combined with balanced love, forgiveness, and nurture. The study showed that kids who were spanked actually did better in many areas of life, including academically, than those who were not spanked.
The study also showed some negative results in those who continued to receive spankings into their teen years. Sadly, few parents would realize that those results are related to relationships that are already broken in the first place. So many parents use spanking unwisely over trite, trivial matters—operating in the flesh (in anger) and not the Spirit. In other words, we think that a few undiscerning “whacks”, delivered in anger, accomplishes something—when in fact, lose-handed, unprincipled discipline creates problems rather than resolving them.
When a parent/child relationship is developed properly—and discipline done biblically and correctly—the relationship becomes stronger and healthier over the entire journey. Loving, biblical discipline always brings restoration and closeness between parent and child.
But when the relationship is broken, child and parent become enemies working against and resenting each other—rather than the two working and growing together as a team. In a broken environment, any form of discipline will be received as “from an enemy” and probably only create greater division, hurt, and resentment.
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the article was the balanced representation of biblical parenting—it explained that physical discipline, according to the Bible, is but a small part of the overall relationship that parents should be building with their children. God’s Word instructs us abundantly on the subjects of love, forgiveness, patience, teaching, and training of our children—not to mention “not provoking them to anger.”
It was good to see a secular source provide such a biblical and balanced perspective. Here’s the original article: Wall Street Journal: Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card