To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Storing Up Punishments.

Some homes are full of punishments and as a result they are also full of disgruntlements. What I am referring to here is the issue of withdrawing privileges and the imposing of sanctions upon children. They are not allowed on computer, not allowed to have any pudding after their meal, not allowed to play in the garden. All of these are sources of grievance. Things that lead to a desire for vengeance.

Let me be clear I am in favour of appropriate punishments to be meted out in response to bad behaviour by children. The parents have a clear responsibility to do this. However, the means that God sets for the undertaking of such disciplinary activity is the rod. So we read in proverbs:-

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them (Prov. 13:24)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (Prov. 22:15)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die (Prov. 23:13)

In administering the rod it should be made clear to the child why they are being disciplined. The smacking with the rod, inflicts the punishment which they know is due to their wrongdoing. The child is then hugged and prayed for and life moves forward. Nothing is left around the home to fester.

Although “the rod” does not always have to be used, any alternative discipline that is used should follow this pattern. So the speaking to the child should be along these lines. The child is spoken to, the matter dealt with and life moves on. Order and harmony are restored in the house.

Disciplining by withdrawing privileges (and all that kind of thing) just leaves stuff hanging around which mars the harmony of the family.

I am not saying here that there are not times when a privilege can be withdrawn, but be careful of allowing them to become festering sores which mar family life.



Comments on: "Storing Up Punishments." (4)

  1. Yeah, we need to keep encouraging parents in this difficult area of life.

  2. To venable: To randomly split infinitives…

  3. Phil Harman said:

    Over the years I’ve heard many exhortations for parents to use “the rod” backed up by these verses in Proverbs. But practically, how does it work? What should the rod be made of? How long, thick, heavy and swishy should it be? How many strokes should be administered, and to which parts of the body? Is it ok to leave marks, bruises or to break the skin? How long should the stripes take to heal? How much is enough? Is it only for sons, or is it for daughters also? Is it the father’s job, or should mums do it too? Should it be done in secret, or should more than one adult be present? Is righteous anger ok in these situations? And who do I obey: God or his appointed magistrate? Should a Christian be prepared to go to jail and/or have his children taken into care for the sake of “biblical chastisement”?

    When it comes to long term sanctions, was it a bad idea to withhold the promised land from Israel for 40 years? Would a short sharp shock have been a better idea?

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