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Knitted in the Womb Notes

Location: Allentown, PA

I'm a Christian wife and a mom to three daughters and two sons. I'm a member of the board of directors of EmPoWeReD Birth. In my "spare time" I'm a doula, and a certified childbirth instructor.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Blast from the past...

Recently my attention was drawn to something I had written about 3 years ago on a parenting discussion board. I was struck by the process I have gone through in getting to where I am now in regards to the discipline of children. I was on a pathway...here is what I said:

Poster Stina
Pie said
: "I don't know how you see it, but to me the verse "beat your
child with a rod and you shall deliver his soul from hell" is pretty self
explaining. "

: I disagree with you.

On the surface, this verse *does* seem to be linking physical punishment of a
child to salvation. It says that you will save the child from hell--what is that
but "salvation."

BUT....I do not believe that is what the verse is *really* saying. We have
discussed it quite a bit around here, and I have come to be comfortable with
this verse saying basically that there are some teens who are just so wayward
that you need to "knock some sense into them." They need extreme consequences to
"wake up" and get their focus back on God. Now in the culture this passage was
written to, that extreme consequence was a flogging. In our culture it may be
jail time, fines, community service work...if I have a wayward teen I'm sure I
would struggle emotionally with doing it, but I believe the best thing I can do
for that child is not to shield him or
her from the legal ramifications of
his or her actions, but rather support him or her through the period of

You say that preconcieved notions when reading scripture often lead to
twisting of scripture. I very much agree with you--and I think that is what Ezzo
has done. It might interest you to know though, that before I had children I did
believe in spanking "in moderation...."

I'm not totally opposed to it now, but it was when I still believed that the
Bible supported spanking that I was introduced to the arguments that it does
*not* support spanking. It took me some time to come to grips with the
notion--but for me the evidence was overwhelming.

My husband and I VERY rarely spank (I can probably count on one hand the
number of times I've swatted my almost 4 year old on the behind, my 2 year old
has gotten 1 or 2 swats from me)--we find other consequences for misbehavior to
be more or equally effective in promoting right behavior, and certainly more
respectful of our children. We also find expecting *good* behavior and training
toward that, and having reasonable rules and expectations for our kids prevents
a lot of misbehavior. I grew up so used to children getting spanked and
accepting it as a way of life.

When I first smacked my DD's hand when she was about 10 months old and she
looked at me with hurt shock in her eyes, it really threw me for a loop. I
wondered how in the world she knew to be so offended--she looked like I'm sure
my face would look if someone slapped me in the face--violated. That really
spoke a lot to me. Now when I hear parents joking about spanking their children
and how their children know to expect it and don't even bother trying to run
away...well I wonder what it took to break that God given sense of self respect
and self preservation.

The only time my husband and I spank is when it is an issue of urgent
physical safety--like when our oldest daughter almost ran in front of a moving
car. Or, admittedly, those occassions when we as parents are pushed to our
breaking point--and we certainly do not think that is a reasonable justification
for spanking.

Of course now I've come to the conclusion that spanking really isn't an appropriate or respectful way to deal with children--not that putting that belief into practice is easy! I do still stand by the notion that turning a wayward teen over to the legal authorities can be the correct path in parenting.