Christians, the Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child. Do you follow this for bringing up children?


An old catholic guideline was never use a stick longer then your forearm, is this a good guideline?

Update 2:

It comes from Proverbs 13:24.  It was about children, not sheep.

9 Answers

  • DP.
    Lv 6
    5 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Spare the rod?

    Either this is literal and the only physical punishment the bible urges is a thing called "the rod" ....... OR............. this verse means that failing to punish a child including physical punishment if necessary will ruin a child.

    In this weird world, certainly in the west, its' considered barbaric else cruel to physically punish a child.... but I suggest the reverse is true!

    Firstly, if the intention is to correct a child's behaviour in the most effective and loving manner, then ANY punishment or for that matter positive coercion has to be considered in the light of the objective.... not by any other means.  Thus physical punishment is not arbitrary wanton violence inflicted on a child to exercise a parents anger (as oft been the case) .. this is abuse.    Infact I would go so far as to say that punishment ONLY applies where a child is willfully defiant.  Anything else is learning else a mistake and we don't punish for mistakes.So, let's take an example....  a child refuses to go to bed and then stay there.  Putting aside any mitigating factors there maybe, once it's established a child is simply being defiant, what are the options.... 1) Reasoning with them   2) Repeatedly telling them  3) Removal of privileges (toys, games machines, etc)  4) Holding the door shut  5) Physical punishment.

    Let's eliminate 1) as it seldom works and if it does then great... but more often than not we're onto the others.   2),  3) and 4) are variously recommended by child psychologists and behaviorists, but note they all have one thing in common.  It will often take numerous nights and lots of time to get the message through that such willful defiance is not acceptable.   It means LOTS of punishment spread over days.  Conversely, AGE APPROPRIATE physical punishment, delivered in a calm and explained manner will take seconds and if done well will provide the right correction not only for this defiant act but potentially for many others.  What is more loving... repeated punishments over hours and different days or 5 seconds of not sparing the rod?

  • 5 months ago

    Many Christians have taken FIVE verses and hung a whole child rearing philosophy on them! Parents are told to use this as a primary form of punishment (what these experts refer to as discipline). Some use the word "punishment" and the term "discipline" interchangeably when they mean two entirely different things.

     These people are basing their theology on nothing more than the *traditions of men!* and this is what we should remind ourselves of.  Jesus Christ said to not forbid the little ones, which indicates to me, that children should be treated with dignity and kindness.  Many times people give their children a 'time-out' when they really need a *time-in* with loving guidance, encouragement, showing them the way to be, and go!  Also Hindusufi, if you look at the Psalms, there is one which states:

    "Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; ****thy rod and thy staff they *comfort me.****

     It's a parent's job to lead a child by showing them what choices they have and what the consequences of those choices may be.  The Rod of Comfort would include such things as:

    1. Show and tell. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. ...

    2. Set limits. ...

    3. Give consequences. ...

    4. Hear them out. ...

    5. Give them your attention. ...

    6. Catch them being good. ...

    7. Know when not to respond. ...

    8. Be prepared for trouble.

    When parents approach children with the threat of spankings, with the ideal of: “This is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you.” and how and what the child is identifying inside. Maybe it's time to view on spanking from a different perspective; from the Grace of Jesus Christ; who adored and favoured the hearts of children more than adults.

    Christian parents frequently seek the Bible in their effort to raise godly children. They believe that there is a biblical mandate to spank and they fear that if they don't spank, they will commit the sin of losing control of their child. They believe that Gad has commended them to spank and they take “spare the rod and spoil the child” literally, but in doing so they misunderstand the concept of the rod. The following are the biblical verses which have caused the greatest confusion: Consider these verses:

    Prov:22:15; Prov: 23:13-14; Prov: 29:15.

    At  first glance these verses seem to be in strong support of the use of corporal punishment, but do they really? Through a closer examination of the Hebrew word for “rod” (shebet) one can see that in the Hebrew dictionary it has various meanings, a stick for walking, writing, fighting, ruling, and punishment. The word “shebet” is most frequently used when referring to shepherds who are tending their flocks. The Shepherds used the stick to fight off prey and to gently guide wandering sheep, not to beat them.

    Please remember that these verses come from a book of poetry. Writers of poetry use familiar words of the day to represent concepts that the people to whom they are writing can create an image of what they are writing about.  The image that we are to extract from these verses in Proverbs is one of creating a culture of accountability. The point that God is making is that we as parents are to hold our children accountable for their choices and actions. There are many ways to hold a child accountable and corporal punishment (spanking) never has to be one of them.

    Reread the passages above and replace the references to punishment and the use of the rod with the word “accountability” and the meaning stays the same.

    For example: 

    Proverbs 13:24 would read, “He who spares accountability hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

    Proverbs 22:15 would read, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. But holding him accountable will drive it far from him.”

    Proverbs 23:13-14 would read, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you create a culture of accountability he will not die. Create accountability and save his soul from death.”

    We could get into many verses concerning accountability according to the Old Testament.... but Jesus Christ ushered in the New Testament, with Grace!  In the Old Testament parents could take their disobedient children outside of the community to be stoned.  That was in the LAW... but in the New Testament; we see Jesus Christ saying to group which was about to stone her; 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone!'

    As parents it's up to us to teach the child, to train up the child with understanding as to both accountability, and understanding, knowledge which leads them to making wise choices... and to me that suggests having many thought/heartfelt *time-ins*, which means not leaving them alone to raise themselves... but actively participating with them... sharing concepts, and clusters of ideals which encourage them forward in life.  

    You asked:

    Christians, the Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child. Do you follow this for bringing up children? An old catholic guideline was never use a stick longer then your forearm, is this a good guideline?

    MY short answer; nope! To the second question... nope! 

    As parents, we gotta drop our bags of stones, and realize that Jesus Christ was an example to follow and be COME likened to!

    Can you imagine Jesus Christ spanking a child???? I think not!

    He came to show all of us what not to do over~ to show us The Way.  

  • Rico
    Lv 5
    5 months ago

    In context, it means that when disciplining children, when your child does something he or she knows is wrong then an appropriate punishment should be given.  

    Given that modern western society is much more aware of the psychological effects on children when smacking is administered inappropriately, or in excess (when the adult might loose self control due to anger issue), that verse can and should also be interpreted to include appropriate use of grounding or denial of access to toys, TV and the like as forms of appropriate punishment. 

  • 5 months ago

    i would except ive never had kids

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  • 5 months ago

    You know that verse does not mean to beat a child with a rod right? Shepherd would use a rod to guide their sheep gently and protect them

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    That is an inexact quote but its close enough and sound instruction. 

    It's worked well for my family so far, and those that I know. We've seldom had to correct ours so far in that manner. Usually a stern look and/or word are all that are needed.

    This is our NT instruction

    Ephesians 6:4 KJV — And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    And we live by it. Can't imagine why an atheist would even care though how Christians raise our children.

  • 5 months ago

    Nope. And I don't burn down my house if I find mold in a drawer. I buy clothes that contain cotton and polyester. I have sheets that are silk and bamboo. So no, I don't "spare the rod, spoil the child." Instead, I talk to my kids about WHY what they did was wrong, WHEN did they choose to do the wrong thing, and HOW they could have chosen to do something different, so they know next time, what to do RIGHT!!

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Ya, my kids get a daily a$s kicking to make sure they grow up right. 

  • 5 months ago

    The rod was only used to guide the sheep. Not to hit them

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