Fellowship Baptist Church
Parents must face the fact that conflict will exist in child training partly because there is more than one will involved, and secondly, the child's strong desire and constant temptation to try to satisfy what he wants. This conflict is the result of a child's rebellion. Rebellion, formally defined, is "(the act of) open or determined defiance of, or resistance to, any authority or controlling power." Parents must learn to recognize the ways children express their rebellion and how to handle rebellion when it occurs.
Rebellion is the willful rejection of authority expressed either ACTIVELY or PASSIVELY.
1. ACTIVE (OVERT) REBELLION
A child is in rebellion when he will not listen to, accept or says "no" to your instructions, throws a fit, walks away while you are still talking, hits you, acts in direct disobedience, will not look at you or face you or will not accept your correction. None of these overt demonstrations of disrespect should ever be tolerated.
2. PASSIVE REBELLION
Passive rebellion is practiced by children when they meet the external requirements for obedience, but internally are resentful. This type of rebellion begins in the child's hidden mental attitude, but eventually will surface in his facial expressions of disrespect, disgust, or anger.
Passive rebellion can be expressed by a child who politely listens to your instructions, but who consistently fails to follow them without reminders, threats, or pressure. A child considers that it is a victory of his own will over the will of his parents when he does not obey until he himself decides to do so.
Another subtle form of passive rebellion is to do what is required, but not in the way it should have been done.. They only partially follow the instructions and then improvise by adding something or doing it however they want. Obedience is not the place for creativity. It is the place for strict compliance.
(1 Samuel 15:22, 23).
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
Some children would not dare to disobey openly or even talk back to their parents. Instead they seethe on the inside. This type of internal rebellion will often reveal itself in facial expressions. Such children will act melancholy and have the disposition of a lemon. They will withdraw, sulk, pout, and in general make everyone around them miserable for not having their own way. This type of rebellion must be drawn out into the open so that it can be overcome. If it is not, it is likely to explode in the teenage years. Parents must be aware of the potential danger in a quiet but sullen child!
Basically the principle is that a child is in rebellion any time he knowingly and willingly places his will above the stated will of his parents. when a child deliberately refuses to accept his parents' right to rule, he is choosing to be rebellious.
The force defined in God's Word that is to be used by parents to control children when they rebel is"chastisement." Chastisement will make the difference between success and failure in training children.
Chastise means "to inflict punishment or suffering upon, with a view to amendment; also simply, to punish, to inflict punishment (esp. corporal punishment) on."
The meaning of the English word "chastise" comes the closest to God's meaning for both the Hebrew and the Greek words used in the Biblical passages quoted in this unit. Chastisement (or corporal punishment) is the legitimate physical force parents are to use in correcting or restraining a child's rebellion.
NOTE: We are only discussing chastisement in relationship to a child who is in rebellion as defined previously.
Chastisement should not be used for all disobedience. (The way to handle disobedience that is not a result of rebellion will be discussed in the next unit ("Teaching Your Children.") God considers chastisement so natural to parents that He uses it for an illustration of the way He would deal with a rebellious child. Obviously, God would not use this example if it were not His standard.
2 Samuel 7:14,1 will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, 1 will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;"
Chastisement is actually an expression of parental love as shown by such verses as:
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Revelation 3:19a, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten . . .
Proverbs 13:24, He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Hebrews 12:7b, . . . for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
When a child is in rebellion, physical pain (chastisement) is the only pressure that will cause him to choose to accept parental direction and controls. A rebellious child has already rejected his parents' authority He has already chosen to rule himself in accordance with what he wants. In other words, his will, dominated by his strong desires, has become his master. The only way parents can re-establish their challenged authority is to use the force of chastisement. It is also the only way to save the child from himself.
1. Correct use of Chastisement
God designed chastisement as the proper force to be used by parents to control the rebellion of their children. As is true with any human authority, force can be misused. As an authority under God's authority, parents are accountable for the way they handle this delegated power. Parents must be careful not to misuse chastisement.
First, let us look again at the definition of chastisement. To chastise means "to inflict punishment or suffering upon, with a view to amendment; also simply, to punish, to inflict punishment (esp. corporal punishment) on."
When this definition is related to child training it means to use a rod to inflict pain sufficient to cause a child to correct his rebellion - or in other words, to restrain a child from willful disobedience.
2. The Rod for Chastisement - Why must we use a rod to chastise our children? The only reason that should be necessary is because God's Word says to use a rod. God has specifically established the rod as the symbol of human authority.
The Hebrew word translated "rod" in the Old Testament passages concerning the chastisement of children is a symbol of God's delegated authority to the human race. This rod refers to the right of human rulership of either government or parents. When the authority of a legitimate ruler is challenged, a rod is to be used to inflict pain sufficient to end the rebellion. Figuratively, the rod refers to military conquest by one nation against another that is being rebellious to God or His plan. Historically, the rod has been used in this manner on many such nations
(Psalms 89:32; Isaiah 10:5, 24; Lamentations 3:1; Ezekiel 20:87; Micah 5:1).
Literally, the rod is a narrow flexible stick used on a rebellious child by his parents.
2 Samuel 7:14, I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
Proverbs 13:24, He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 19:18, Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Proverbs 22:15, Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14, Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 29:15, The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
When parents utilize the instrument specifically designed by God as the symbol of His delegated authority, it triggers a response within the soul of the child. This natural response makes the minor pain experienced in chastisement take on special meaning. No amount of spanking with the hand or hitting with any other instrument will have the same affect.
The rod can be used equally well by the mother as by the father. Its use does not require physical strength. Unlike a paddle, whose pain varies with the strength of the user; a rod produces similar degrees of pain no matter who uses it. The pain received from a rod is more humbling than harmful. There is no defense against it. The more a child braces himself, the more he tightens up and increases the sting. The most sensitive layer of skin is close to the surface where the nerve endings are located. The only way to stop the sting of a rod is to submit. That is exactly what a child will do submit to his parents' will and thus end his rebellion.
God knows exactly what He is doing. His way is perfect whether He is designing the universe, the plan of salvation, or the rod as the instrument of authority to break the willful resistance of a child's rebellion. Parents would do well to teach their children about God's design of the rod as the symbol of their right to rule. The child should learn that his parents are as willing to obey God's Word as they expect him to be in obeying their word.
The rod that is to be used for chastisement has specific characteristics. It can cause stripes (thin marks like those left by a whip) and yet is small enough not to do permanent damage even if used strenuously. Some children may scream as if they are dying, but striking a child with a narrow rod will not kill him. The rod is to be a thin wooden stick like a switch. Of course, the size of the rod should vary with the size of the child. A willow or peach tree branch may be fine for a rebellious two-year old, but a small hickory rod or dowel rod would be more fitting for a well-muscled teenage boy
The rod should be used on the bare bottom, especially on younger children.
Proverbs 10:13, In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Proverbs 19:29, Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
Proverbs 26:3, A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
3. The objective of chastisement is NOT to cause pain, stripes, tears/sorrow, to vent parent's anger/frustration, or to be used as punishment; BUT to bring a rebellious child's will under control. It does not "break" a child's spirit or even his will to force him to obey. It only causes him to choose obedience over rebellion. Remember, God's Word commands that children are to obey their parents. It is the child who chooses to break God's law. The parents are merely enforcing God's law when they must chastise a rebellious child. The objective in chastisement is forcing the child's obedience to the will of his parents. Chastisement is the controlled use of force.
4. There is no substitute for chastisement. Parents may wish for an "easier," more "humane" way, but chastisement is really the easiest way. Chastisement is not only "humane," it is Divine. Chastisement is God's method for parents to establish and maintain control of their children. How "humane" is it for a child not to learn a proper attitude toward authority and, therefore, become a criminal, a drug addict, or a homosexual?
5. How young should chastisement begin? Parents will usually only need to use a single swat with a small, flexible rod with a toddler from the time he starts crawling to about 15 months old (age is no real criteria - how large and how stubborn the child is will be the real issue.) Mothers will often slap a toddler's hand for his getting into something he shouldn't. There is no problem with a single, warning slap for trying to touch the hot stove; or even for small infractions. This can take the place of formal chastisement as long as baby responds and mother doesn't hit too hard.
6. How old can a child be and still be chastised? Several Christian psychologists have given their personal opinions in this area. One predominate opinion (apart from the authority of Scripture) advises parents not to use corporal punishment after 10 or 12 years old. There are no Bible verses to support this position. I agree that a properly trained child from infancy would have little need for chastisement in his teens.:
First of all, Scripture considers the entire non-adult stage up until 20 years-old subject to chastisement (the very Greek word for chastisement, paideia is derived from pais - the Greek word for the entire childhood period from infant to adult).
Secondly, the passage in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 about a drunkard son obviously has an older boy in view who had been chastised by his parents unsuccessfully before they turned him over as an incorrigible child to the elders for the death penalty. Also, the passages about a child striking or even cursing his parents (Exodus 21:15, 17; Matthew 15:4), thereby deserving the death penalty; was most likely referring to a youth in his late teens.
Thirdly, the opinion that chastisement shouldn't be used past 10 or 12 years old is unrealistic. Many parents today don't learn about Biblical child training until their children are already half-grown. Since they have never gained control of their children's wills and soulish natures at the ages of 1-4, then ages 10 through perhaps 14 will be a period of intense struggle and require chastisement to establish the parents' authority.
7. How many swats are necessary? Only as many as are needed to re-establish your authority. To be effective make sure you have a rod of sufficient size; that a child isn't wearing jeans or other heavily padded clothing (or a phone book); and that you have the character to win the battle. It is recommend stopping in between sets of three swats and give the child a chance to surrender. Tell him you're going to the other room, but that you'll be back in a few minutes. Explain that while you're gone he must decide if he needs another spanking, or if he is ready to admit his wrongdoing. This procedure can be repeated as necessary and should help break the resolve of even the most stubborn child.
8. Size of the rod - Don't use any heavier rod than is necessary. The rod should be flexible, but sturdy enough not to break. Use common sense. Suggested sizes according to age:
1-2 Tot Rod - 3/16" x 24" dowel
2-4 Mob Control - 1/4" x 24" dowel
4-8 Train or Consequences - 5/16" x 27" dowel
8-12 The Equalizer - 3/8" x 27" dowel
12 & up Rebel Router - 1/2" x 33" dowel
9. The clothing issue. Most parents would admit that it is a waste of effort to chastise through either a diaper or heavy pants, like jeans. But, we also don't want to embarrass our children any more than necessary. A rule of thumb might be that you can spank them bare-bottomed as long as you are still washing them in the tub or are otherwise seeing them nude anyway.
After then the child should be spanked wearing under-wear at the least. when a child moves into puberty, a swim suit or similar clothing would be more suitable, if chastisement is still necessary. Obviously, it would be better to train your children as early as possible to avoid these difficulties.
10. What position is best? Over your lap for a one-year-old, laying on the bed for a two to four-year-old, or bent over holding the ankles for older children.. Be careful not to strike above the belt line on any child, or too low on boys.
11. What if chastisement doesn't work? Some parents would like to think that their child doesn't respond to spankings - he's laughed during one, puts his hand back to prevent one, won't acknowledge wrongdoing, or won't accept parents' authority. There are several reasons this happens:
Inconsistency. The parent is arbitrary with the penalty. Sometimes the child gets away with the same infraction for which other times he is chastised.
Parental Weakness. The parent shows weakness to the child (tears, emotional trauma, etc.). He knows if he can hold out (making you pay the maximum pain), that he can break your will to continue.
Insufficient Pain. The pain should be sufficient to cause the child to want it to stop, to remember it, and to not want it repeated.
New procedure. Chastisement may not be effective with a ten-year-old who hasn't been spanked since he was in diapers. If chastisement is a new procedure it must be announced before hand with warnings given.
12. Other instruments. Belts can whip around a child and be dangerous, boards can physically injure a child, and some parents might lose control while slapping a child with their hand.
13. Privacy. Chastisement should always be done in private, for the child's dignity and the parent's safety.
14. What about breaking the child's spirit? Proper chastisement will not break a child's spirit (desire to live, excitement for life). It won't even break his will. But, it will give him a reason for his will to choose obedience over self-centeredness. It also should break the hold pride has over your child, as he is humbled and forced to choose to submit. Parents need to understand that before they use the power of chastisement, they must make sure they have the child dead-to-rights - especially if they intend to chastise until the child admits he is wrong. It is better to err on the side of the child than to chastise wrongly.
15. What about temper tantrums? When a child is already on the floor; banging his head on the cabinet, is not the time to chastise. He has gone so far as to lose all mental control and is hysterical. Chastisement can be administered before a temper tantrum begins, if you can see one coming. This helps the child develop self-control while he is still rational. A child who has already lost control can be brought to consciousness by splashing a couple of ounces of water in his face. This has the same effect of slapping a hysterical person to shock them back to reality. The second or third such treatment should cure future tantrums by causing a child to learn to control himself. If shock therapy is too traumatic for you, simply ignore his tantrum and walk away. At least this will teach him that he cannot control you.
G. SUMMARY: CONTROLLING YOUR CHILDREN
We should now have a clear understanding of what control means and why it is necessary with children. We have learned to expect conflict when we exercise the responsibility to direct or restrain our children and can now identify this conflict as rebellion which comes from the child's will. We have also studied God's natural solution to rebellion - chastisement. The following is a review of some of the major principles presented in this section:
Control is the facet of child training by which parents obtain obedience and respect from their children.
As long as a child accepts his parents' right to direct and restrain him, he is under their control. In controlling a child, parents can expect conflict to occur.
When a child deliberately refuses to accept parental authority, he is in rebellion.
Chastisement is God's method to end the rebellion and return the child under the parents' authority and control.
Chastisement is the controlled administration of physical pain to cause the child to cease his rebelling and again accept his parents' authority.
Parents are to chastise by using a rod, a narrow stick which can cause stripes.
Parents are not to chastise in anger, for the purpose of hurting or causing stripes, to cause tears or sorrow, or to vent their own frustrations.
Chastisement is the expression of true love and a demonstration of family membership.
Chastisement is not verbal abuse, talking it over, punishment, or ignoring the conflict.
The result of chastisement is the restoration of the proper relationship between child and parent. Only if this proper relationship exists can a parent fulfill God's objective to train the child.The ultimate purpose of control is to prepare the child for instruction from God's Word and for his development of self-discipline.