An Old-fashioned Question (Prov. 23:13)

God’s Word is clear on the need for children to learn to obey their parents. Because children are different, discipline that works with one child may not work with another. Therefore, it is important for parents to carefully study their children’s temperaments in order to apply the kind of discipline that works well.

Whipping children for correction is frowned on, and even against the law in many cultures; others use this method as the most frequent type of punishment. What kind of balance should Bible-believing Christians strike on this issue, when so many children are abused and hurt by angry parents often out of control?

Ellen G. White writes in Child Guidance, p. 250: “Whipping may be necessary when other resorts fail, yet she (referring to mothers) should not use the rod if it is possible to avoid doing so. But if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to its senses should in love be administered. Frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime, to show the child that he does not hold the lines of control.”

Ellen G. White also warns about the reality often emerging when physical discipline is used as an option. She says in Child Guidance, p. 251: “Never give your child a passionate blow, unless you want him to learn to fight and quarrel.”

As you disciple your children, pray for God’s guidance to lead you, so that you do so in love and with your children’s future and salvation in mind.