Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Is Physical Discipline of Children Allowed in the Bible?

Yes. The saying, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," has a biblical basis (see Proverbs 13:24).

Sexual and physical abuse of children is unlawful, immoral, and deplorable. Loving discipline, however, is absolutely necessary to produce mature, well-rounded adults who can handle the give-and-take of marriage, child rearing, and a competitive world. A self-willed, undisciplined child who grows up to be a husband or wife is a danger to society.

When a child flies into a rage, or breaks something, or displays behavior that is obviously malicious and wrong, there is nothing wrong with smacking him sharply once or twice on his bottom. That is much better than berating him for an hour verbally. It is much better to administer punishment and get the matter out of the way than to let the thing fester or to let the child think he can get away with doing something wrong.

We face a great danger in society from those who abuse children sexually or physically. But an even worse danger could come from public officials who, in overreacting to abuse, might forbid intelligent parental discipline--giving us a generation of youthful tyrants and emotionally stunted adults (see Isaiah 3:12). We forget that indifference also is a form of child abuse.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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