“Children ought to be led to honorable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows and ill treatment.” Plutarch, circa 46-120 A.D., “The Education of Children,” Vol. I, Moralia, Ancient Greece.
“It is a disgusting and slavish treatment… When children are beaten, pain or fear frequently have the result of which it is not pleasant to speak and which are likely subsequently to be a source of shame, shame which unnerves and depresses the mind and leads the child to shun the light of day and loathe the light… I will spend no longer time on this matter. We know enough about it already.” Quintilian, circa 40-118 A.D., Institutes of Oratory, Ancient Rome
The author of When Children became People; The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity quotes a text written in the middle of the third century by the Christian community in Syria.
“The Didascalia goes even further in emphasizing the obligation to raise one’s children in accordance with Christian ideals. It was composed in Syria in the first half of the third century and combines a church order and pastoral exhortations. The fact that it devotes an entire chapter (though one that is relatively brief) to the upbringing of children makes it the most detailed discussion of the subject in the Christian tradition up to that date. The author underscores that if parents neglect to correct their children, their children will imitate the evil actions of the pagans. Much is at stake here, and this is why the author admonishes parents not to be slow to ‘rebuke and correct and teach them; for you will not kill them by chastising them, but rather save them alive.’ He writes that such a practice is in keeping with the doctrine of the Lord, and adduces as scriptural proof Proverbs 23:14 (’Chasten thy son, that there may be hope for him: for thou shalt strike him with a rod, and deliver soul from Sheol.’) and 13:24 (’Whosoever spareth his rod, hateth his son’). The ‘rod’ in these texts is not understood literally, but as a metaphor for the Word of God, Jesus Christ; the author draws the conclusion that anyone ‘who spares to speak a word of rebuke to his son, hates his son.’” (Pg. 158)