Family Talk Night Light for Parents


Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

You may be unsure about the notion of spanking your kids. You’ve heard the argument—spanking will turn your child into a violent, aggressive adult. We believe otherwise. An occasional dose of minor pain is one of nature’s teachers. A child who touches a hot stove will only make this mistake once. Likewise a judicious, controlled spanking, when motivated by love and applied properly, is in keeping with the principles of Scripture (see Proverbs 23:14).

There are many conditions to proper use of spanking, though. Reserve it for moments of willful defiance only. Never spank when you are out of control. Never spank a child who is less than fifteen to eigh-teen months or over twelve years; spanking should taper off after age five. Spank only on the bottom (never slap a child’s face or jerk his arm, which can cause serious injury). Make spanking an infrequent practice, not a regular event. Remember that corporal punishment is a tool for teaching—not for venting anger or frustration.

We most certainly do not advocate indiscriminate paddling of your children. Child abuse is a national tragedy! Yet there are times when a short session over a bent knee—applied with care, wisdom, and a sensible explanation—will benefit your child. After all, it is scriptural.


How do you feel about spanking your kids?

Do you or could you employ spanking properly in your family?

In your home, what situations would warrant a spanking?

Lord, we want to be loving and effective with our discipline at home. When our children are defiant, calm our anger, heal our hurt spirits, give us wisdom, and let our actions bring us closer to each other and to You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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