Is Spanking an Acceptable Form of Discipline in Christian Families?

The argument over whether or not spankings should be used as a form of punishment has persisted in recent years. While some contend that using physical discipline to teach children right from wrong is vital, others assert that doing so might have negative effects both now and in the future. According to a recent study in the journal “Child Abuse & Neglect,” slapping a kid before the age of five is linked to increased externalizing tendencies and weaker self-control and social skills at the ages of six and seven. Although the majority of parents still utilize spanking as an alternative to positive reinforcement and instruction for good behavior, Christian families may find that this approach does not produce the intended results.

Parents work hard to raise their kids in accordance with Christian principles, which frequently involves teaching them virtues like harmony, respect, obedience, and self-control. It makes sense for a parent to believe that punishing their child physically will help them learn these morals more quickly, but doing so can backfire. One father from Salem, New Hampshire observed that spanking might make a child uneasy and sneakier, neither of which are particularly desirable traits if you want your child to exemplify Christian virtues. In addition, there are numerous alternative methods that parents can use to promote good behavior in their kids without using physical punishment. Teaching and praise are two excellent non-violent alternatives to spanking that can be used to reward good conduct.

Children respond better when they are applauded for their accomplishments than when they are corrected for faults, according to Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin. This encourages good behavior while also boosting their self-esteem; the outcomes are considerably better for Christian families trying to raise morally upright children than what physical penalties like slapping may produce. The assumption that physically disciplining children results in improved compliance or educational performance is unsupported by science, according to Gershoff’s studies on the subject; on the contrary, it can occasionally exacerbate aggression and mental health issues.

However, the Bible’s overarching message encourages parents to use discernment when disciplining their children so they learn how to become responsible adults without fear of or resentment toward authority figures. Although the Bible does not specifically condemn or endorse any particular form of discipline (e.g., Prov 19:18; 22:15). Physical punishment alone should not be used as a primary strategy for raising godly children, especially if you want them to grow into mature people who display compassion toward others instead of turning toward harsh methods themselves once they become adults. This is evident from current research, but it is ultimately up to each family to determine what form of discipline works best for them based on Biblical principles combined with real-world experience and/or scientific findings.