What does "Spare the rod and spoil the child" MEAN?

My teacher gave my class a quote by a novelist Daniel Defore (1659-1731) and we need to find out the meaning of it in simple terms.

"spare the rod and spoil the child"

can anyone please help me?? I can't seem to figure it out!

6 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Basically, it meant that parents had a duty to spank or beat their child to make them obedient. So, if a parent did not do so, they were 'ruining' their child. There is also reference to this in the bible, where it says:

    He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

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  • 1 decade ago

    The idea is that if you don't give a child firm (in this case, corporal: hitting with a "rod") discipline, the child will grow up spoilt in one way or another.

    "Spoil the rod and spare the child" is a twist on the original Defoe (no "r") quote. (A quick Google search shows that this version has been used quite frequently.)

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  • aida
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Daniel Defoe was paraphrasing the Old Testament (Proverbs 13:24 and 23:13-14), and the saying means, "If you don't best your children, they'll grow up spoiled." It's taken us a LONG time to shake off that attitude, and generations of children have grown up with mixed feelings toward their parents as a result.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you dont punish a child when they do wrong the child will not learn and will grow up spoiled.

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  • 1 decade ago

    it means that if a parent does not discipline their child when they do something wrong they won't learn a lesson and by this spoiling them and dooming them to make the same mistakes again and again. at least thats my interpretation

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  • 1 decade ago

    Failure to properly discipline the child will lead to his/her downfall

    I believe spoil to mean ruin

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