What does 'Spare the rod, spoil the child' mean to you?

@SusanLee (1920)
United States
May 15, 2008 10:40am CST
We have all heard it, although I have never been able to find a scripture that actually says 'Spare the rod, spoil the child' What I have found is: 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 him. Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him the rod; he shall not die. Proverbs 29:15,17 The rod of reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. correcteth thy child and he shall give thee rest, yea he shall give delight to thy soul. I know that there are those that believe to raise a hand to a child is cruel and a form of abuse. There is a difference between a spanking a child when they need it and beating the crap out of your kid because your mad at them. Do you think there is ever an appropriate time to spank?
5 people like this
16 responses
@magikrose (5424)
• United States
15 May 08
Those scriptures are among many reasons I am not a Christian any more. To me those are saying "yeah go ahead and spank your child it is ok" The thing is to me I will not spank my children unless everything else I have tried has not worked. I dont like to hit my children at all I dont see the purpose of it at all. There are other things you can do to disclinpine your child other than spanking them. You can do time out, or groundment, or taking something away that THEY value at that time. That is what we do.
2 people like this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
As a christian myself, I think we have to add all the other scripture to these when we're raising our kids. We have to love them, respect them, teach them the love of God and so on. You said, I will not spank my children unless.... That tells me that you too believe there is a time when you may have to spank them for their own good. I agree, beating a child because we're mad and have lost our temper, isn't discipline. It's abuse. I have been guilty in my younger years.
1 person likes this
• China
15 May 08
Spare the rod , spoil the child means that we need to discipline our children for any mistakes .In proverbs 13:24 says that if you do not discipline your child you hate him. If you love him you discipline him when necessary. The phrase the rod is a metaphorical statement for divine discipline. This does not mean that term the rod in proverbs never refers to spanking.We don't need to physically hurt and create injuries to our children. As a mother I think spanking is not an effective means to discipline a child.Spanking is an aversive stimulus and therefore not as a desirable as positive reward in behavioral control.
1 person likes this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
I can see where the term 'rod' could mean literally for some and metaphorically for others. I believe in spanking depending on the offence. Such as going in road, anything that can cause the child harm. If there is a danger there, I may only get one chance to get my point across. I got spankings when I was a kid, not very many, but they left an impression. I never went back in the road, and I never dumped out all my grandmothers houseplants onto her clean carpet for the fun of it. I think that was the only spanking I got from my German grandmother. And I don't ever recall feeling hated or unloved because of a spanking, I just somehow understood there was a consequence to what ever I chose to do that I already knew I shouldn't
• United States
15 May 08
Yes, susanlee...I got spankings when I was younger from my grandmother also, I didn't get very many, but when I did, you can bet that I didn't do whatever it was I did again. I remember once my grandpa made my sister go and pick out her own switch, she brought back an old tree limb that was broke, and she was sorry for that, she never tried that again. I think parents should spank their kids, sometimes I'll go to the store and I'll see a screaming, kicking kid, and I think back to what would of happened if I tried that with my grandmother, it would of been the last time I tried it. I don't think spanking is wrong, I think I turned out pretty good myself. There is a difference between spanking and hitting out of anger, I don't think thats right. There are alot of spoiled kids out there, I know that.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
walijo, Amen, and amen. I can really understand why some people have such strong feelings against a spanking. Most people that have commented on agreeing with a whipping have been the ones that have been spanked by someone they loved and trusted. And didn't relate it to not being loved. Someone who was beat by a parent or grandparent for any and every little infraction, well I can see why they would see it as a form of abuse. I'm like you, if there were more parents taking the time and using the 'rod' when it's really needed, I think there would be happier kids. I really do.
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
16 May 08
I am a christian but still I do not spank or beat anyone, or rather I did not when a long time ago my son was little. Reproofs, times out, working out an error, but no i did not'spank nor beat my child. He grew up into a fine man so I think my line of discipline worked well for him. I have noticed that the ones who beat and bang on their kids were beat on when they were little and its the only discipline they seem to know, and a lot of them are also wife abusers and child abusers. the trouble with spanking is people get carried 'away and the spanking becomes a beating which is abusive.How are you going to stem the anger in you and keep from a beating
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
17 May 08
You simply resolve to give yourself a bit of time to cool down, & keep things in perspective. This is also sensible policy when dealing with ADULTS who have somehow stepped on your toes. And regarding your opinion on people who spank, I've met FAR more decent families who utlize corporal punishment (done CORRECTLY) whose kids are NOT warped than the other way about. Spare me from those who "spare the rod." I've heard their kids having wild tantrums when I try to eat out in peace. I've also heard how they abuse the languge, calling even their PARENTS ugly names. I've seen how they dress (or rather, DON'T). I know they're into booze & worse, as I went to school with them. THEIR parents didn't want to "beat" them. Heck, they seldom if ever even heard the word "No!" There's a HUGE difference between proper spanking & BEATING. Been there for both. Spanking taught me things. So did BEATING, but not GOOD things. Maggiepie
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
Hi Hatley, I have regrets about spanking my older children when they were too young to understand why they were getting a spanking. I have lived and learned. I still believe in spanking, but it depends on the offence and I always make sure they understand all the rules before hand. I believe all children are different, what works for this one, doesn't necessarily work for that one. Spankings worked for me, but not my sister.
1 person likes this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
Hi maggiepie, I can see the truth of so many of these opinions and convictions of the people that have answered this question. I believe with everything in me that it all starts with taking God out of everything and not keeping his commandments, precepts and teachings. There are a lot of good things in the bible on child rearing. I have seen exactly what your talking about over and over again. Many times in a store or a resturant a child will be acting out and I want to go to the parents and ask them if they would like me to take the child out back and warp his hindquarters. There is a right way and a wrong way to tend to a childs childish behavior. I too think a good old fashioned spanking applied the right way goes along ways in producing an adult that has some sence.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 May 08
I don't believe in using the "rod" when the child to whom it was used doesn't understand as to why it was used in the first place. I can start at scolding, telling the child the fault he'd done,the consequneces that it might results t. It wil also serve as his first warning. Then iuf he /she still continues to do it then the rod shall speak.
1 person likes this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
I spanked my older kids when they were too young to understand why they were getting a spanking, it makes me sick in my heart now. I believe they need to be old enough too to understand the whys and what fors too.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
26 May 08
Gee, next time I see a child who knows the barest rudiments of language about to stick his hand in the fire, I'll remember not to give him a harmless swat on the rear. I'll just sit him down & say use LANGUAGE to "explain" why this is a Bad Idea. Nope. Don't think so. That swat on the rear WILL get his attention, especially if accompanied by a loud "NO!" will do the trick, & the only OTHER method of making him really understand the danger is to let him EXPERIENCE the pain. STILL don't think so. A SWAT on the hand or rear will NOT leave scars -- emotional or otherwise. If you still want to use words AFTER you swat, grab the child & hug him tightly, saying "I love you!", as you should already be doing throughout the day ANYWAY. Soon, all but the memory of Something Unpleasant happening when he reaches for fire will remain, after a few tears & cuddles. Worked for ME when _I_ was little. Maggiepie
• India
15 May 08
hi there susan lee i have not read what you wrote above but i am trying to give my view of the proverb. well spare the rod spoil the child in the very first case it doesn't mean that you should always beat the child with a rod well in some cases where children do mistakes with out knowing that they are mistakes well in that case the child should not left like that he should be told that what he is doing a mistake and should not do it if he repeats it even after he is told not to do so it must that a rod should tell him that it is a mistake else he will always try to go through the path which his temptation shows and not the path which is right hence a rod is need to make a child leave is temptation and try to know what is the correct path to live and he should know what is important in his life to live happily and not disturbing others peace now what all i wrote above is not at all philosophy it is the way in which a person who want to live or make his child live peacefully with out any tensions should follow. well if possible do comment
1 person likes this
• Alexandria, Virginia
15 May 08
Do not spank children the program 123 magic with time out. Spanking a child gets a spouse abuser in the future!!!!!
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@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
I believe there is a time for a spanking and a time for 'time out'. For instance, when my grandson was about three he wanted to go outside, we have a fenced in yard. But I knew him. I put him in front of me and told him that he was to stay in the yard, under no circumstances was he to leave the yard. He could get run over and killed. I told him 'If you go out of the yard, I will spank you.' I then asked him what would happen if he left the yard. He said he would get a spanking. He went out, I stood by the window and sure enough out the gate he went. I got a little switch, stung his legs. When he quit crying, I talked to him again, out he went, this time he would look back at the house, then at the gate, he thought about it and decided it wasn't worth the trouble and went on about his business and played. Of course I kept an eye on him, as I went in and out I would remind him, but I never had a problem again. I don't think making him sit in time out would have helped. I was thinking about the long term affects, I didn't want him to get run over.
2 people like this
@jer31558 (3683)
• United States
16 May 08
Though many would probably disagree, I think that there is definitely a time to spank....not beat, but spank, or maybe pop hands according to the situation. I would rather pop a child's hand, than have them burn it on a hot stove.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
Your right, many would disagree with you, but I don't. I believe there is time and place to spank too.
2 people like this
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
16 May 08
I have spanked my young child who didn't understand verbal messages sent to him. But now looking back at that time I wish I had not done it. My children are now 12 9 and 6 and it has been many years since I have spanked any of them. I never spanked my youngest and only a couple times with my oldest, but with my middle child I had spanked more often. He is special need and when young didn't understand verbal commands. Also his pain sensors were not responding and had hurt himself several times without knowledge. Though he never cried when I spanked he did acknowledge that I was there and didn't want him to do what he was doing.
1 person likes this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
Me too, my oldest got spanked when they were unable to understand why, and I have regrets. If I could go back I would do things differently. And they would still get a spanking if I thought they needed it. But they would be old enough to be able to appreciate why they were getting it.
@nifes2 (2)
• Nigeria
16 May 08
well,I am not really good at reading the scriptures and all,but one thing I understood from that saying or what it means to me is that when you spare a child and not disciplinging that child in any way,would lead to the total destruction of that child.and that wont be good as they will turn into monsters in the end.cheers. Ibiam
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
That's how I see those scripture too, it's not telling us to spare the rod so we can spoil the child, it's telling us if we spare it we will spoil the child. There are a lot more scripture about child rearing. Most of it boils down to obedience. Lack of obedience to Gods commandents, precepts, and ordinances will lead to destruction. We can see it in everyday life anymore. We're suppose to teach our kids to be obedient, not rule over them like a tyrant. I'm sorry, I could go on and on. Thanks for your input.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5518)
• United States
15 May 08
Yes I think there is an appropriate time to spank a child NOT beat a child but spank them. For instance my daughter is 17 months old last week she ran into the street, now we don't live on a busy street but thats not the point. I spanked her DIAPER and told her "NO" I showed her the line she is not to cross. She hasn't ran into the road since. I think a spanking is needed when you as a parent need to get your childs IMMEDIATE attention. If you spank your child for every little thing there is no meaning behind it. My daughter gets time out and normally it only takes a few times in time out before she stops doing what ever she kept doing. Example she insisted on putting the dogs food in the water bowl. After 3 or 4 times in time out she stopped. She finally realzed that if I do this that will happen. The key is consitancy its not what the punishment is - its the fact that EVERY time they do X they get Z. If you always give a child a lolly pop when they walk in the door they come to expect it. Just like if you always put your kid in time out for not leaving the dog food alone they will come to know if I do play in the dog food I will get put in time out. Or if I run in the street I will get a spanking. I don't think kids that don't get spanked are spoiled I think they are taught a different way.
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@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
Hear!Hear!...there is a time and place, I agree with you 100 percent
2 people like this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
17 May 08
Absolutely. I've been spanked, AND beaten. There's a huge difference. UNLIKE BEATING, SPANKING will not leave permanent marks (or emotional scars). It must NEVER be done in ANGER, & even then, only as a last resort. That is, the child KNOWS what the cosequences of misbehaviour are, yet CHOOSES to do the Bad Thing ANYWAY. Other methods should be used FIRST, such as time out, or removal of toys, & of course, PRAISE SHOULD BE PLENTIFUL for all GOOD actions, to balance this. Spanking should ONLY be done on the glutimous maximus (I'll wait while you in Rio Linda look that up.../o), & NEVER exceed the number of years of the child's age. E.g., 3 swats for a 3-year old (THE youngest at which a spanking may be delivered effectively, or even understood by a child--but 4 is best). Four for a 4-year old, 5 for 5, etc. ALL SPANKINGS should've stopped by age 12. By that time, it's time for something more serious, such as counciling. Frankly, you've really lost the battle if you didn't have them largely under self control by 9. I also know that children are NOT blank slates. Each one is different. While it may seem unfair to spank one & not another, the fact is some will require the swats, while others are just biddable from the get-go. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take a child aside & EXPLAIN that such-&-such action(s) is wrong, & thay he/she MUST NEVER repeat it, OR, such-&-such consequenses WILL SURELY RESULT. Chances are, the child will immediately test you. BE CONSISTENT. Whatever consequence you promised, CARRY IT OUT. And you must do this EVERY TIME it happens. They WILL learn. And while it may make you feel like a monster when they cry, realize that years later, they'll THANK you for making them into a decent human being. Maggiepie
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
25 May 08
Thank-you maggiepie, you are a good example of how a person that was abused still grew up to have compassion and a load of common sence. Thank-you so much for all your input. You have said it all.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
26 May 08
Thank you! These were hard-won lessons. Maggiepie
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
7 Jun 08
And DOUBLE thanks for the "best response!" :o) Maggiepie
@cjgrooms (4456)
• United States
15 May 08
I believe that when they are doing something that could result in harm to self or others a spanking will make them remember better than a time-out. However a spanking is not the same as a beating when you are angry and not in full control(i was guilty of this with my oldest child). As i have gotten older most times a spanking is a last resort(as long as they are not headed for danger).
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
My sentiments exactly. It has to be applied for the right reasons. I'm guilty too of spanking because they did something they had no business and it would make me mad. The important thing is we learned and we changed the way we did things. I have watched my daughter with my grandson, I see her doing things I know she will one day regret. I try to be careful of how I approach her about it. In her mind if it was good enough for mama, and it was good enough for her, it's good enough for him. The only problem is, just because mama did it doesn't make it right.
@mclendon (308)
• United States
15 May 08
When it comes to applying Biblical wisdom in today's time and our culture, I think you need to consider the time and culture it came from. The rod reference in early Hebrew/Israeli culture would more likely have brought to their minds a shepherd's rod. The sheperd used the rod to guide and manage the herd. Sheep are simple, docile creatures and, I've heard, a bit prone to panic and following the crowd. It would not be good if the shepherd created a commotion by yelling and beating the sheep. He may have needed to give a little thwack on the side or head to get a sheep's attention and keep it going in the right direction, but he probably would have been most effective in using the rod as a guide or gentle prod and using a gentle, coaxing tone. Also, sheep knew their shepherd and shepherd's knew their sheep. They lived and slept with them in the fields. The sheep responded to the shepherd's voice because they knew and trusted their shepherd. I think you should consider the whole context and the whole analogy when pulling verses in the Bible and trying to use them for rules today. I think these verses remind us that we should diligently oversee the rearing of our children. We should know them and their temperaments. We should develop and foster a trust-relationship with them, and we should teach and guide them. Sometimes we may need to be more firm than other times, but all guidance in done with their best interests and safety in mind. All that to say, personally, I don't believe the Bible is specifically advocating corporal punishment, but I don't think it is entirely outlawed or immoral. Nor should parents who spank be treated as criminals. There are far more criminal things done to children everyday that we should worry about more. I think of spanking as a last resort to regain control. It is not teaching anything positive usually, but is punitive. Sometimes punitive measures seem to be called for, as in when a child deliberately does something dangerous that they have been told not to do. Comparing any spanking to beatings and abuse is like comparing any kind of restraining to prison or caging. If you hold onto your child by the arm or around the waist to stop him/her from running away in a crowd or approaching a strange dog that my be dangerous, you are restraining that child to protect. If a parent locks a child in a closest for being bad or to keep him safe from the world, then this parent may be accused of abuse or being crazy. One form of restraint is far different that the other, just as a few swats on the bottom from a caring parent are far different from a backhand across the face or full force blows with a paddle from an adult male.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
Even though you used a lot of words, your meaning came across simply and beautifully. I understand about the sheep and stuff, but from the bottom of my heart, I truely believe we are taught in the word that it is okay to apply the rod of correction across our childrens behind if need be. But, I also believe it has to be done for the right reason and out of love. And in my younger years, I did the right things for the wrong reasons. I spanked my children when I should have used other methods. Do I have regrets? I have many. Fortunatly my children didn't suffer non the worse for the ware. Thank the good Lord Thank you for your repsonse. I enjoyed it.
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@laglen (19782)
• United States
15 May 08
I believe that spanking is necessary but other avenues should be traveled as well. Spanking to me is to get the child's attention. I never spank out of anger. And only spank on the butt. But I do have the "mom slap". This is when you pop a kid in the mouth for being mouthy, or swearing. I used this on my daughter when she would get mouthy. Not hard, just enough to get her attention. It was a quick decisive action when the situation calls for it. I would never do it to cause pain, only grab their attention.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
I agree, I really think the 'time out' is pretty cool. I have a nephew that would rather get a spanking then be put into time out. That works wonderful for him. I smacked my daughter in the chops one time myself. There is something about puberty that makes them want to live dangerously.
• Canada
15 May 08
When they are young, and get out of contol, it's okay to teach them a lesson, however, when their grown up, try not to hit them unless, well...........they would get punished by watever bad thing they do, by their peers, family, and sometimes even the police! well, good luck!
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
Yes, children are like young saplings, if your careful and have patience and pay attention, you can bend them in the direction you want them to go. I have never thought a spanking was for an older child. I don't see spanking the same as hitting. They doesn't mean they don't catch us off guard sometimes and end up with a smack upside the head.
@mikeysmom (2092)
• United States
15 May 08
i think spanking is mean and ineffective. i do not hit my son but he has rules and boundaries he must abide by. he is well behaved so we are lucky and as he gets older his punishments will have to be more age appropriate. it is not easy to discipline for me as my mother was harsh and very strict and i was actually afraid of her and hated her at times for being that way. she learned it from her parents and i vowed not to follow suit. i am middle of the road when it comes to discipline. i believe in rewards and punishments appropriate to the infraction and i also believe in teaching right from wrong and showing by example what is right and wrong. i am big on being polite and teaching manners as i feel if this is not learned early it does not become ingrained and then it is never learned. i try not to take the bible too literally but i feel it simply means we have to teach discipline and make sure our children are taught right from wrong and respect for others. if not taught then how will they know it and grow up to be respectful adults?
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
If your mother was harsh and real strict with you I can understand why it would be a sensitive area for you. Do I have regrets about the way I diciplined my oldest children years ago? Most definitely. They would do something I told them not to and I'd tear their behinds up. But I did it when I was mad. That's what I regret. Over time I learned to never whip them when I was angry, but at the same time, if they were into something that warrented a spanking, I would tell them they were going to get a spanking and then I would give it to them. But I made sure I wasn't doing it out of anger. You know what they say now? Mama, you spanked me and I turned out fine. For some reason when you have two close to the same age there seems to be more diciplinary action.
• United States
15 May 08
I'm not a christian and I don't believe in spanking a child unless they are too young to understand what you are saying ie a toddler or a baby. But only in an extreme situation like the child tries to shove a fork in an outlet.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 May 08
I have learned as I've gotten older. When my first two were little, 30 years ago, I'd slap thier hands when they reached something like a knick knack, I called myself teaching them what was okay to touch and what wasn't. Now I cringe when I think back of slapping those poor babies hands. Now I say when there little and starting to explore thier world, don't leave things around you don't want them to touch if possible. I believe we can childproof our homes.