It does mean that you shouldn’t consciously want to harm your child. Spanking is harmful. Spanking is wrong. Spanking should be avoided. Yes, we do lose our patience, even as attached parents. Yes, we do, at times, wonder what we *should* be doing. Yes, we strive to do what’s right.
What’s right is not spanking a child to show them a lesson, because the lesson that we are teaching is that hitting is okay. It creates confusion, because we tell our children not to hit, but then we do that exact thing.
Spanking creates a power struggle, because we spank to try to control them, when instead they may be looking for understanding and may not have the words at that moment to express their needs.
Spanking creates fear. When we hurt our children we teach the child that their parents, the ones who should love them, hurt them. Instead of creating a stronger bond, we’re teaching them to fear our touch.
Spanking teaches a child to hide. When we spank, we instill a fear of pain, so the child learns to avoid the consequence (and the parent).
Spanking teaches a child to lie. When we spank, we cause pain. It is natural to avoid pain, so the child then, to avoid pain, lies when they do something the parent would not like.
Spanking is wrong. I do not see any point where it is okay. Please do not tell me that the Bible tells you to spank your child. Yes, the Old Testament has the whole “spare your rod” line, but few people follow every line of the Bible literally. Plus, Proverbs here discusses Solomon’s parenting style when Rehoboam was a child.
Was Rehoboam someone you want your child to be like? Have you considered that when the Bible is the reason used for spanking? Consider this: Rehoboam, when he became king, rejected his father’s recommendations. Instead, he turned to his friends for advice and was ruthless, unkind and not someone you’d like your child to grow up to be, I’m quite sure.
What the Bible really says about spanking
For Christians, the New Testament teaches love. There is a line in Hebrews that speaks of “discipline” but discipline does not equite to spanking. Here are some lines from the Bible that speak to not spanking/hitting/abusing your child:
Eph 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
1 Thessalonians 2:6-7 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
So for those who spank, I ask, why do you spank? What do you feel you are teaching your child? That hitting is okay? If you’re the adult? That mommy’s touch is something you should avoid? That the thing you’re doing is okay if you don’t get caught? Please consider gentler options for parenting before you spank next time. There are alternatives.
For me, I don’t spank because I don’t want to teach my children that harming someone is okay. I don’t want them to fear my touch. I don’t want them to hide from me out of fear. Instead, I want them to come to me when they’re fearful. I don’t want them to hide because they are worried that I’ll be disappointed.