Kids Need Lots of Love and a Spanking: Raising Polite, Obedient and Cheerful Children
Editor’s Note: We really liked Jamie’s article which I found years ago on the web. Enough to buy her book. We encourage you to add this book to your library, great advice for parents. Please visit follow this link to the authors page at Amazon.com. and buy the book for your friends or family who are raising young children. You won’t go wrong following her advice. She gets it and loves the Word of God. Scriptural advice is the best advice, don’t accept anything less!
© 1997 Jamie Pritchett all rights reserved
Is it possible? Is there a way to raise children to be polite, obedient and cheerful, or are such children only born to very lucky parents? Those were my questions when my husband and I were first married and were contemplating having children. I had always wanted children and looked forward to the day when I would be a “mom,” but I worried about what kind of children mine would be. For I had noticed that I became irritated when I was confronted with whiny and ill-behaved children. By whiny I mean, as soon as the mother would sit down to chat, the child would start fussing and constantly interrupting in an effort to gain the mother’s attention. What I mean by ill-behaved is that when the mother (or anyone) told the child to do something or not to do something, the child would ignore them, or worse, do the opposite. I have seen mothers get worn down and frustrated to the point of exasperation by the behavior of their young children. I’ve also seen moms do all the “politically correct” things, like giving “time-outs,” or diversions, or reasoning, or “choices,” or removal of privileges and yet there was no improvement in the child’s behavior. Indeed, tension, frustration and irritation seemed to increase between parent and child. Knowing how irritated I became just by seeing this in someone else’s children made me wonder if I could handle being a mom myself.
But I also knew people whose children were absolutely delightful to be around. They did not interrupt; they did what their parents asked immediately and politely – even cheerfully; they happily played independently of their parents; and between parents and children, pride, adoration and love were mutual and obvious.
These were the kind of children I wanted and I knew I could be a great mom to children like these. But how do you get a well-behaved child? You can’t just put in an order for one and expect to receive it.
I had already observed many times which discipline methods did not work to bring about polite and obedient children. So I sought to find out what parents of well-behaved children did differently. Whenever I met someone whose children were well behaved (and whose family was close and loving), I would ask, “How do you discipline your children?” Invariably, the answer was some sort of controlled spanking for disobedience and then some sort of loving explanation as to why the child received a spanking. Also, invariably, that method was started early in childhood (about age one), and tapered off by age nine with a rare spanking after that – because by then spankings were rarely needed.
Most of the people I interviewed were Christians following the Biblical directive of discipline with the “rod.” I looked up all the Bible verses concerning child discipline. There were several, but some were particularly pertinent. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15) How true! And we have all seen it! “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Proverbs 29:17) Also true. All the children I had observed who had been disciplined according to those Biblical directives were the type who would delight any parent’s heart.
For me, the method of discipline seemed obvious. I wanted polite, affectionate and obedient children. I would do what worked and what I had seen proven over and over again. When my twins were born I was doubly glad that I had researched so thoroughly because caring for twins is so exhausting and stressful in the early years. I know I could not have coped with one ill-behaved child, much less two! I started disciplining my girls when they were about a year old, and I’ve never regretted using this method. At age 13 my daughters are polite, well-behaved at all times, and we are very close. Every stage of their lives has been a delight – even through the “twos” and now into early adolescence.
Sadly, sadly, I see in the newspaper and on television these days: “Don’t ever strike your child!” or “Spanking is child abuse.” And I wonder where these people are coming from! By my definition (and millions of other parents) a “spanking” or using the “rod” as some people term it, entails a couple of swift whacks on the child’s clothed behind with a ruler, wooden spoon, or paddle. And that’s all. No ranting or raving. No screaming or raging. No harsh or hurtful words. No sarcastic or cutting remarks. Just a quick spanking and then a few minutes lovingly telling the child why he was spanked, how much he is loved, and how to keep from being spanked in the future.
There is child abuse – too much of it, in fact. But it does not come merely from spanking one’s child. Very often, and I’ve seen this happen, it occurs because of not spanking one’s child. Let me explain: When a child disobeys and is disciplined correctly (immediately spanked and lovingly talked to), the incident is over – both in the child’s mind and in the parent’s mind. But a parent who refrains from this type of discipline, or gives a time-out, or merely talks to a child, or removes privileges as a means of discipline, first of all, will not see any improvement in the child’s behavior. Secondly, the incident is not finalized. The parent will remain irritated by the child’s disobedience (inwardly, even though he may maintain a calm and intellectual facade). What happens then, is that these incidents and irritations build on one another, until, over some seemingly minor incident, the parent explodes with fury out of proportion to the incident. The parent may slap or beat the child in a manner totally unrelated to a “spanking,” or verbally abuse the child, saying things that are regretted later on, or do both. The child does not forget these things, and does not learn to be obedient and polite. He feels alienated and rejected by his parents, but does not understand why.
By not dealing with disobedience or defiance, or by dealing with them in an ineffectual manner (and using time-outs with regard to disobedience is at the top of my list of ineffectual discipline), the child has been conditioned to be disobedient. He has no concept of what obedience is if he has not been consistently taught what it is by his parent.
All discipline systems are not alike. There are some discipline methods that sound great and are “politically correct”. But do they work? Do they produce polite, obedient and cheerful children? Unfortunately, most do not. The method that I’ve described – spanking under control, followed by a loving talk, does work.
Here’s one last verse I found that seems particularly appropriate to this subject: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”