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Monday, August 18, 2014

Spanking 101 - The Rules of the Rod

You can't just spank whenever you want to. That would not be godly. He doesn't just discipline when He's angry or when it's easy. Neither should you.

Before you ever spank your child, you need to do a pain test. Test the rod on yourself. It is very useful to know how much pain you are inflicting on your child. Often it can reveal the sin in your heart. After the pain test, are you about to cry from the pain? You're probably angry. Are you looking for a mark because you can't feel the pain? You're probably fearful. Or lazy. Or the handle of your mixing spoon is a lot shorter than the usual "rod". I'm not calling anyone names here - these are my real reactions to the pain test. Check yourself, dear loggy-eyed parent. Your kid is only splinter-eyed.

Rule #1
Never use the rod when you are angry.

That's child abuse. Avoid this situation at all costs! It will happen to almost all parents (even those who "don't spank") - there will be a day when you are angry and you spank your child in that anger. What do you do then? Submit to the Holy Spirit. Be humble. Confess your sin to your child (even if she's only 10 months old), apologize to her, ask her to forgive you, tell her about how Christ died for your sins, pray with her and let her hear you confess your sin to God and praise Him for the cross. Most importantly here is to ask her for forgiveness. Again, even if she's only 10 months old, do these things. You're a parent - you already know that she understands. But I'll say it anyway. She understands what you're doing, and you can tell because she stops crying, her face softens, she gets curious, and she hugs you at the end with no tears and is a happy little thing.

Rule #2
Never leave a bruise or mark on your child.

You should never leave a mark on your child - if you do, you are spanking too hard. Now, by a mark, I mean a bruise or other injury. Try firmly hitting your bare thigh with a plastic spoon and see how quickly it turns red. And how it never bruises.

If you leave a bruise on your child and did not spank in anger, you need to talk to your spouse and maybe your Christian friends to evaluate whether or not your rod is the problem. If you left a bruise after an angry spank, consider it discipline from the Lord. Every time you see that little bruise, you will be reminded of the sin you committed and must repent of. He will force your gaze to the cross to rid yourself of the guilt and you will find so much joy in Calvary. 

Rule #3
Spank your child's bare butt.

It's cushioned.  It's always in your pants.  It stings but doesn't hurt.  It has one million terrific names! (rear, bottom, seat, hiney, butt, buttocks, derrier, tush, tushie, tukus, gluteus maximus, glutes, booty, bum, posterior, behind, backside, fanny, rump, tail, tail end, hind end, fundament, breech, can, keister, duff, bon bon, money maker, buns, donk, caboose, patootie... and whatever your kids call it! Ours call it a tukie - combo of tushie and tukus.)

Rule #4
Never humiliate your child.
If your child is embarrassed because you've revealed his bare bottom, it's time to stop spanking.  Find another way to discipline your child - in a biblical, loving way (find out his currency and take control).

Rule #5
Include reproof (the rod and reproof)
Reproof is the teaching part - using scripture.  There are many great resources out there, and you have access to the greatest one: the Bible.  Wise Words for Moms is an excellent resource, as well as Give them Grace and Loving the Little Years.
Reproof looks like this: God asks us to love others as we love ourselves.  You were choosing to love yourself much more than loving your brother when you took his lego ship.  We have to love others regardless of how they behave.  Does your brother take your toys sometimes?  Is it easy to love him when he does that?  So is it easy to obey God?  The Holy Spirit can help you, though!  One thing we can do while we wait for Him is to memorize scripture.  God's word is living and active - so let's memorize Mark 12:30-31 together.  Let's work on it with your brother, too!"

Rule #6
Pour on grace.

Drown your child in it.  Be drowned in it!  Tell your child that you would have gotten angry and yelled at your child if you didn't have the Holy Spirit in you!  Just like your child got angry and hit his sister.  Consider yourself the worst of sinners and tell your kids about it.  When you pray, talk about the Holy Spirit and His power in us.  When you see a victory in your child, credit the one who deserves the credit - God! "You just asked for that toy instead of snatching it from her!  God is working in your heart - just like we asked!"

Rule #7
The end result of the discipline session is a closer relationship with the parent and with God.

Don't leave that room until you're at least on neutral terms.  Better yet, don't leave until you're smiling together.  Some kids are able to get back to joy quickly and others aren't.  Sometimes your child will continue to feel sad about sinning or being disciplined - which could be a sign of conviction!  Exciting!!  

You'll quickly discover that your child continues in foolishness by disobeying and requiring discipline.  Much later, you'll learn about God's faithfulness in His pursuit of His beloved children.  Keep that lesson in the back of your mind for the day when you say "There's no friggin point - my kid just keeps disobeying and ALL I do is spank!  IT DOESN'T WORK!"  Also keep in mind that you're not the Holy Spirit or the creator of the world.  You may want to change your expectations.  Now is a good time for that.

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