In the previous post, I listed several things “the rod” is and several things it is not. There are more than enough misconceptions out there to keep us talking about this for the next 20 years but I want to address how our family looks at the 6 that Tripp lays out; 3 in this post and 3 in the next.
To reiterate what I stated in the previous post, we do not follow the guidance and instruction of the Pearls, the authors of To Train Up A Child. We also aren’t on the other end of the spectrum either, where we never use form(s) of physical correction. All that being said, this is probably one of the most personal posts in this series in that I will be explaining how my husband and I view each of these objections and how we still view using “the rod” as a God-ordained component of shepherding our child.
The following objections are laid out by Tripp after he walks us through several distortions of the rod. I alluded to these in the previous post and will address them throughout my responses to the following objections.
Objection 1: I love my children too much to spank them
Actually, it is quite the opposite. Love is what forces me to use physical punishment (flick on the cheek, slap on the back of the hand, spanking) to get her attention. Proverbs tells us that we are loving our children when we take the time to discipline them. It is not often that I have to use physical correction because I have used communication to address my child’s disobedience/disrespect. One of the things the rod is not is permission to lash out in anger. It is when we as parents can’t use our God-given and God-powered self-control that spanking or another form of physical correction becomes about something other than love.
Objection 2: I’m afraid I will hurt them
Tripps says it so well: “Biblically-balanced discipline never physically endangers a child.” You may have grown up with parents who used intense corporal punishment or used physical correction while angry. Both of these instances are unacceptable and we do not react as such. It takes constantly praying over your role as parent and asking God to continue to grow His heart in you so that you can respond to your child’s actions in love rather than in anger. When we do use a form of physical punishment, it is only after all other avenues have been utilized and exhausted.
When I worked with abused and neglected children, I was asked by several of them on multiple different occasions why I hadn’t beaten them for the bad things they had done that day. My initial shock quickly changed to sadness knowing that these kids expected to be lashed out at. I grieved for the situations they were born into and was grateful for the time I had with them to show them God’s love through my actions.
Objection 3: I’m afraid it will make him rebellious and angry
Let’s face it: we want our kids to love us. Some parents take this too far and try to be their child’s best friend. While it’s a good thing to have a relationship with your child and to want them to think you’re great, it is also quite dangerous to not demonstrate the authority God has given to you as their parent.
When coupled with communication and correction that lays out why a physical punishment is warranted and backed up by your love for them, children respond in positive ways. This works for our toddler and held true in a similar fashion (not with physical punishment but rather punishment of the removal of privileges or time) when I was a public school teacher. Regardless of the background of the student, I never had an issue disciplining in my classroom if I had taken the time to explain the needed correction as well as demonstrate to my student(s) my motivation behind meting out the punishment: my care for them and desire to see them succeed.
Stick with me so far? My response(s) to objections 4-6 are in tomorrow’s post! I hope these posts are getting you to think about how you are currently parenting or how you want to parent and spark quality conversations between you and your spouse.
In Christ, Rachel
This is part of a 31 day series of shepherding a child’s heart in 5 minutes a day (click here for the series intro). I pray this series edifies you as much as reading Tripp’s book has encouraged and challenged my husband and I in how we raise our children. Subscribe to the blog in the side bar if you’d like to get posts emailed to you in a weekly digest or subscribe on your favorite blog reader.