New Warhorn Media post by Lucas Weeks:
A good foundation, I thought. What do you advise a family that joins your church when the children are older, perhaps “too old to spank,” and has problems or problems are likely arriving in a few years?
How old are these children?
I haven’t given my 11 year old a spanking in quite some time. I don’t think it would be effective anymore.
I had an acquaintance in college who didn’t believe in spanking. He said, quote, “You know what the Bible says - spare the rod and spoil the child.” He was completely serious. One of those Princess Bride moments.
(We weren’t close. I don’t know if he has childen now or if he has seen his error.)
On a related note, apparently Will Smith did not “spare” the chastisement of Chris Rock at the Oscars last night.
It is truly amazing how quickly children are too old to spank. Really. Parents need come to grips with the fact that their window for spanking is very short. If they are faithful in that short window when the childen are very young, it will pay off for the rest of their lives!!
In corporal punishment, a father speaks truth to his child about God, himself as father, the child, and about the child’s sin. He “speaks” in a way that the child will remember. In refusing to obey God and punish corporally, parents are refusing to tell the truth as God has commanded them to. A 4-year-old isn’t going to understand all ways that lying is bad and destructive, but he will understand a spanking.
So what do you do if you’re past the point of corporal punishment? Begin to tell the truth. You’ll have to use words. You’ll have extra work to do, but you can, at least, begin to speak the truth to your children.
One thing you shouldn’t try to do, however, is make up for all your lost time all at once. Many parents make this mistake. You can’t skip out speaking the truth to your children from agest 4-10 and then begin suddenly when they’re 11. It won’t work. You have to have the humility to take stock of where you are with your children and begin there to tell the truth.
I had been thinking recently that the less you are committed to spanking, the more you will have to spank. For instance, if you’re afraid to make it sting, you’re only going to make more work for yourself.
Still, I was a bit incredulous at @tbbayly saying he spanked his kids once per year. I know I am weak in this area, but I have 5 children under the age of 10, and I either must be doing something very wrong, or that number must be a bit unrealistic…
You’re not the only one I’ve heard say that. We might have to come back around and hit that (ahem) one particular point another time…
Well, I just don’t recall spanking very much at all after their toddler years. I did mention one child who needed more, and that there were times when there was a week or two of doubling down. I think I did most of the spanking, though, and I simply don’t remember it being any regular thing. It may be that discipline worked differently with me as dad than other dads. Not saying better, but different. For instance, I can’t imagine my dad or my father-in-law spanking very often at all, and even I only got spanked rarely. But it was an option absolutely no one was apologetic about at home or school. I did get spanked in first grade at the Christian school I attended. I don’t think frequent spankings, though, are any indication of failure as long as they are accomplishing things, and not simply ritualized disapproval. Spankings should never be symbolic. They should always really hurt. Love,
Im glad to not be the only one with this thought.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I guess I should clean this up later today on our next podcast. My guess is that almost all the spankings were given at a very young age, so I can’t remember them well. Sorry.
By the way, I’m about to post a story in response to the question how old before we stop spanking?
Alex, all your kids are redheads.
I’m also relieved that I wasn’t the only person with this reaction. Lucas is my neighbor, and ever since listening to this episode, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to ambush him with questions about this on his way into his house
Thank you for this. This was good for me to hear again. Applying this better would certainly reduce the frequency of spanks in our household
Us children are having a lively discussion about this right now. Lol.
I’ve never felt more affirmed in all my life than I did when listening to Max talk about his rule about sliding down the stairs.
I felt seen and judged.
If I recall correctly, this episode is the one that made me feel a bit guilty for not caring about the corners of our walls. I think I even swing around them when I’m wearing socks and avoiding something on the floor…