“Our children may not remember anything we have said to them as children, but they will never forget how we made them feel.”
“In many, if not most cases of ‘bad behavior,’ the child is responding to neglect of basic needs: proper sleep and nutrition, treatment of hidden allergies, fresh air, exercise, freedom to explore the world around him, etc. But his greatest need is for his parents’ undivided attention. In these busy times, few children receive sufficient time and attention from their parents, who are often too tired and distracted to treat their children with patience and understanding. Punishing a child for responding in a natural way to having had important needs neglected is really unfair.”
Our favorite problem solving technique is an idea we got from the book Emotional Intelligence. We made it into a small traffic light sign that we keep on the walls in various rooms of the house. If we are not too lazy, we call “red light” when we see or hear conflict, and we go through these steps:
Think before you act.
Say the problem.
Say how you feel.
Set a positive goal.
Think of lots of solutions.
Think ahead to the consequences.
Try the best plan.
“No social problem is as universal as the oppression of the child… No slave was ever so much the property of his master as the child is of his parent… Never were the rights of man ever so disregarded as in the case of the child…”
“I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: ‘The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.’ In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.”
“And because I am happy, and dance and sing.
They think they have done me no injury…”
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”
George Washington Carver
“If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.”
Dr. Benjamin Spock
“When you want to convert a man (or child) to your view, you go over to where he is standing, take him by the hand and guide him. You don’t stand across the room and shout at him; you don’t call him a dummy; you don’t order him to come over to where you are. You start where he is, and work from that position. That’s the only way to get him to budge.”
“Spanking does not teach inner conviction. It teaches fear, deviousness, lying and aggression.”
Dorothy Corkhill Briggs
“Some people find the memory of [being physically punished] so unpleasant they pretend that they were trivial, even funny. You’ll notice that they smile when they describe what was done to them. It is shame, not pleasure, that makes them smile. As a protection against present pain, they disguise the memory of past feelings. In an attempt to deny or minimize the dangers of spanking, many spankers have been heard to argue, ‘Spanking is very different from child abuse,’ or ‘A little smack on the bottom never did anybody any harm.’ But they are wrong … [Most] victims of food poisoning recover with no apparent, lasting ill effects. But who needs it? The mere fact that the person is likely to survive is hardly proof that the experience is beneficial.”
Jordan Riak, director, PTAVE
“As long as the child will be trained not by love, but by fear, so long will humanity live not by justice, but by force. As long as the child will be ruled by the educator’s threat and by the father’s rod, so long will mankind be dominated by the policeman’s club, by fear of jail, and by panic of invasion by armies and navies.”
Boris Sidis, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1919
“There never was a time when a major social problem was solved by beating a child. And there never will be such a time… For centuries adults have injured children and have lied about it, and other adults have heard those lies and then merely turned away… we must begin putting the blame where it belongs.”
C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc. D., Surgeon General of the U.S.
“If we are to attain real peace in this world, we will have to begin with the children.”
“Society chooses to disregard the mistreatment of children, judging it to be altogether normal because it is so commonplace.”
“It is my pleasure that my children are free and happy, and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents.”
“The biggest disease this world suffers from is people feeling unloved.”
Lady Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales
“The greatest crime against humanity is the torture and mutilation of children.”
James Prescott, Ph.D.
“We have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce
“Connection before direction.”
Hold on to Your Kids
“When attachment runs deep and strong, the parent’s wish is the child’s command.”
Hold on to Your Kids p. 91
“We do not need greater force to bring our children into line but more natural attachment power.”
Hold on to Your Kids p. 102
The following is from the end of the book, Prince Caspian, when Aslan (and Lucy and Susan) moved through the village. “At a well in a yard they met a man who was beating a boy. The stick burst into flower in the man’s hand. He tried to drop it, but it stuck to his hand. His arm became a branch, his body the trunk of a tree, his feet took root. The boy, who had been crying a moment before, burst out laughing and joined them.”
Jonathan Edwards’ Parenting
“She had an excellent way of governing her children; she knew how to make them regard and obey her cheerfully, without loud angry words, much less heavy blows… If any correction was necessary, she did not administer it in a passion; and when she had occasion to reprove and rebuke she would do it in few words, without warmth [that is, vehemence] and noise…
Her system of discipline was begun at a very early age and it was her rule to resist the first, as well as every subsequent exhibition of temper or disobedience in the child… wisely reflecting that until a child will obey his parents he can never be brought to obey God.”
Noel Piper’s book, Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God p.24, quoting from Elizabeth Dodds book, Marriage to a Difficult Man.
“Connected parenting is evangelistic in the truest sense of the word. If we treat our children with the respect they deserve because they are created in the image and likeness of God and if we meet them with the gentle love of the Blessed Mother, we reach them for Christ.”
“We have so very many ready opportunities to offer a cup of water to the least of these! How many opportunities we have daily to let the little children come to Him!”
“Done prayerfully and with grace, connected parenting is truly a living spirituality!”
“This style of parenting drives us to our knees and so brings us closer to heaven. It forces us to die to self again and again to meet the needs of God’s little creatures. It’s immediately easier to shout and/or hit and abuse our authority to put out the fires of our day. We can stop the behavior through fear and punishment. But that doesn’t really require any heroic, saintly effort on our part, does it? Ultimately, it destroys the relationship with the child and it becomes for us the occasion of sin.”
“In order to parent effectively, we have to grow. We have to change and mature. We have to meet children where they are and lead them somewhere better. We can’t do that without relying heavily on God’s grace…”
1. “Recognize that your children are miniature versions of yourself. Learn to think in terms of Adam and Christ, sin and grace. That itself will help you realize why God has given you the command not to exasperate your children (Eph. 4:4).”
2. “In bringing up your children, do not commit child-idolatry (in which the one commandment is “never say no”) or self-idolatry (“he/she will reflect my glory”). Rather, by God’s promised grace, parent a sinner into sainthood.”
3. “Take seriously the promise of God’s Word that He will be your God and the God of your children. But if you believe in infant baptism, do not make the mistake of presuming that covenant children do not need to repent and believe the Gospel. For in baptism we recognize the need of the washing of regeneration and place our children under a life-long covenant responsibility to repent of sin and to believe in Christ.”
4. “In times when there is grievous sin, never forget that there is more grace in Christ than there is sin in your heart and your child’s heart combined. In Christ there is a way back from the far country of a life style even for children who have given full expression to heart depravity. So Monica discovered after years of praying for her son, Augustine.”
Wouldn’t Augustine’s upbringing have more than a little to do with causing a wayward child?
The following excerpts are from Confessions, Chapter IX, Book One (A.D. 398)
“O my God! What miseries and mockeries did I then experience when it was impressed on me that obedience to my teachers was proper to my boyhood estate if I was to flourish in this world and distinguish myself in those tricks of speech which would gain honor for me among men, and deceitful riches! To this end I was sent to school to get learning, the value of which I knew not–wretch that I was. Yet if I was slow to learn, I was flogged. For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers and many had passed before us in the same course, and thus had built up the precedent for the sorrowful road on which we too were compelled to travel, multiplying labor and sorrow upon the sons of Adam. About this time, O Lord, I observed men praying to thee, and I learned from them to conceive thee–after my capacity for understanding as it was then–to be some great Being, who, though not visible to our senses, was able to hear and help us. Thus as a boy I began to pray to thee, my Help and my Refuge, and, in calling on thee, broke the bands of my tongue. Small as I was, I prayed with no slight earnestness that I might not be beaten at school. And when thou didst not heed me–for that would have been giving me over to my folly–my elders and even my parents too, who wished me no ill, treated my stripes as a joke, though they were then a great and grievous ill to me.”
“Is there anyone, O Lord, with a spirit so great, who cleaves to thee with such steadfast affection (or is there even a kind of obtuseness that has the same effect)–is there any man who, by cleaving devoutly to thee, is endowed with so great a courage that he can regard indifferently those racks and hooks and other torture weapons from which men throughout the world pray so fervently to be spared; and can they scorn those who so greatly fear these torments, just as my parents were amused at the torments with which our teachers punished us boys? For we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we beseech thee less to escape them. Yet, even so, we were sinning by writing or reading or studying less than our assigned lessons.”
“For I did not, O Lord, lack memory or capacity, for, by thy will, I possessed enough for my age. However, my mind was absorbed only in play, and I was punished for this by those who were doing the same things themselves. But the idling of our elders is called business; the idling of boys, though quite like it, is punished by those same elders, and no one pities either the boys or the men. For will any common sense observer agree that I was rightly punished as a boy for playing ball–just because this hindered me from learning more quickly those lessons by means of which, as a man, I could play at more shameful games? And did he by whom I was beaten do anything different? When he was worsted in some small controversy with a fellow teacher, he was more tormented by anger and envy than I was when beaten by a playmate in the ball game.”
Confessions, Chapter IX, Book One (A.D. 398)
The following quote is from a review about the book The Child in Christian Thought.
The volume includes two additional studies on theologians who, although they hold quite pessimistic views on the nature of children, do not endorse physical discipline: the Reformer John Calvin and the 18th-century American Calvinist Jonathan Edwards. Barbara Pitkin writes that “Calvin himself appears not to have advocated the use of physical force in response to sin in children; though he recognized the need for parental discipline, his explicit remedies were baptism and education (albeit strict and structural) into faith and morality.”
The following questions and answers are from the Westminster Larger Catechism (1648).
Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honour to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.
Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, and inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favouring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.
The following quotes are from Alice Miller, in her book The Truth Will Set You Free. Please be advised that the book is not written from a Christian perspective.
“Would it not make sense to encourage believers to follow the example of Mary and Joseph and regard their children as the children of God (which in a sense they are) rather than treating them as their own personal property? The image of God entertained by children who have received love is a mirror of their very first experiences. Their God will understand, encourage, explain, pass on knowledge, and be tolerant of mistakes. He will never punish them for their curiosity, suffocate their creativity, seduce them, give them incomprehensible commands, or strike fear into their hearts. Jesus, who in Joseph, had just such a father, preached precisely those virtues.”
“With the best will in the world, we cannot truly emulate the example of Jesus. None of us were carried by our mothers as the child of God; indeed for far too many parents, children are merely a burden. What we can do, provided we really want to, is learn from the attitude displayed by Joseph and Mary. They did not demand docility from their son, and they felt no urge to inflict violence on him. Only if we fear the confrontation with our own histories will we need to have power over others and cling to it with all our might. And if we do that it is because we feel too weak to be true to ourselves and our own feelings. But being honest to our children will make us strong. In order to tell the truth we do not need to have power over others. Power is something we only need in order to spread lies and hypocrisy; to mouth empty words and pretend they are true.”
“Even those who sincerely champion the cause of goodness are often inclined to defend the system in which they have grown up, still thinking that the blows they received were necessary and beneficial. The fact that not one theologian (with the exception of Comenius) has ever spoken out against physical “correction” for children shows that this practice has long been part of the childhood experience. Two thousand years after Christ, we can in fact say that his teachings have yet to find their way into the church.”
We found the following comments about Comenius’ beliefs.
“To begin with he saw children through Christ’s eyes: precious gifts from God to be cherished rather than annoyances to be suppressed. Children will be joint heirs of Christ just as much as their Christian parents. Someday they will rule in the Kingdom of God and judge the very devils. However unimportant they now seem, they are actually of inestimable importance. Therefore children are to be treated as if more precious than gold. They should be showered with love. Never should children be punished for failing but rather helped and encouraged.”
“Comenius reminded parents that children are God’s most precious gift, a treasure beyond calculation. After all, when God teaches us of his love does He call us His children as if there were no more excellent name by which to allure us? Did not Christ come to us as a child? Could not God have made all of the people he wanted at once, as apparently he did with the angels? But God honored us by letting us share in the process of multiplying and extending humanity. There is nothing more important in our lives and more deserving of our diligent attention and instruction than our children, according to Comenius.”
“Comenius is commonly called the “Father of Modern Education.” Next to Jesus, he might just be the best friend and teacher that children ever had. But his contributions, just hinted at here, go far beyond education. He saw enough war and bloodshed to teach that nations needed an alternative to war to settle disputes. He agonized over the bitter fights among Christians and showed how the Body of Christ can maintain unity in the midst of diversity. The world and the church still have not caught up to him in some of these critical areas.”
The book, Nurturing Children in the Lord by Dr. Jack Fenemma, was published by the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company back in 1977. Dr. Fenemma does not say that the Bible forbids spanking, but he does say the original text makes the use of spanking uncertain. Regarding the rod verses, he wrote,
“There is no doubt that these references support the directive stated many times in Scripture that parents are to correct their children from wrongdoing. The use of the word “rod” certainly indicates that nurture and discipline are to take place. But whether the use of the word rod also indicates that the form of correction is to be a spanking is less certain. There are a few cautionary notes that one should make before establishing that as a rigid conclusion.”
“First, the Book of Proverbs is written in the form of Hebrew poetry, a form that often uses vivid imagery. In other Old Testament books there are uses of “shebet”, the Hebrew word for “rod”, which obviously calls for a symbolic interpretation of the rod:
“Oh, Assyria, the rod of my anger, the staff of my fury! (Isa. 10:5)”
“…and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth… (Isa 11:4)”
“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath. (Lam. 3:1)”
“Usually one would look to the context for a clearer understanding of a word, but the Book of Proverbs provides no such context for the use of the word “rod”. For the most part, the individual proverbs stand alone, unrelated to those which precede and follow. One must be cautious, then, about translating these references to the word rod as commands to physically correct a child. They are, indeed, commands to chasten or redirect him, but to be more specific than that is to read into the texts that which is not necessarily there.”
“Secondly, all references to using the rod on children are found in the Old Testament. The Greek word for rod, “rhabdos”, is used eleven times in the New Testament and never to command the physical correction of the spanking of children. Indeed, “rhabdos” is used very meaningfully in 1 Corinthians 4:21, where it obviously symbolizes chastening as a general directive to follow rather than as a specific endorsement of spanking.”
“While Proverbs does instruct, then, that correction must be exercised, it gives no clear command as to how it should be done. On the whole, the Bible teaches that genuine chastening or correction is that which attempts to return the person to the proper way of life.”
The following quotes are from Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, regarding Romans 6:12-23.
“As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace–that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.”
“We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christ’s sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.”
“Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him.”
“George promised to be good. But it is easy for little monkeys to forget.”
Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Rey
“It is said that the children of parents who are most strict in exacting obedience often turn out ill; and that orphans and other poor waifs brought up under strict discipline only wait their opportunity to break out into license.”
“Exactly so; because, in these cases, there is no gradual training of the child in the habit of obedience; no gradual enlisting of his will on the side of sweet service and a free-will offering of submission to the highest law: the poor children are simply bullied into submission to the will, that is, the wilfulness, of another; not at all, ‘for it is right’, only because it is convenient.”
“There is no need to rate the child, or threaten him, or use any manner of violence, because the parent is invested with the authority which the child intuitively recognises. It is enough to say, ‘Do this,’ in a quiet, authoritative tone, and expect it to be done. The mother often loses her hold over her children because they detect in the tone of her voice that she does not expect them to obey her behests; she does not think enough of her position; has not sufficient confidence in her own authority.”
“Childhood is a constant rebuke to our failure to be like God. It is a universal witness to the heart of Christ in the world. Little children are God’s ongoing witness of His kingdom: a perpetual reminder of what it means to belong to the father. Children are an unspoken sermon in every home for simplicity, joy, and humility of that which makes the world worth living in. They remind us what it means to be a real Christian.”
“The much-touted ‘biblical argument’ in support of corporal punishment is founded upon proof-texting a few isolated passages from Proverbs. Using the same method of selective scripture reading, one could also cite the Bible as an authority for the practice of slavery, adultery, polygamy, incest, suppression of women, executing people who eat pork, and infanticide. The brutal and vindictive practice of corporal punishment cannot be reconciled with the major New Testament themes that teach love and forgiveness and a respect for the sacredness and dignity of children—and which overwhelmingly reject violence and retribution as a means of solving human problems. Would Jesus ever hit a child? NEVER!”
Rev. Thomas E. Sagendorf
“I have always been an advocate for the total abolition of corporal punishment and I believe the connection with pornography that is so oriented has its roots in our tradition of beating children.”
Pastor Gordon Moyes
“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)
“Utopianism is also harmful in the parent-child relationship. When a parent demands more from his child than the child is capable of giving, the parent destroys him as well as alienates him. If we demand, in any of our relationships, either perfection or nothing, we will get nothing.”
Francis Schaeffer, p. 28-32 No Little People
“Monkey see and monkey do. The monkey does the same as you.”
“Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: Love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.”
“Whenever I’m with my mother, I feel as though I have to spend the whole time avoiding land mines.”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
C. S. Lewis
“God is not the kind of father who casts off sick and erring children; if he were, he would have no children.”
“God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.”
“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”
Leo Buscaglia, 1924-1998
“[Adolf Hitler] had a troubled relationship with his father, an authoritarian who frequently beat him. Years later, he told his secretary: ‘I then resolved never again to cry when my father whipped me. A few days later I had the opportunity of putting my will to the test. My mother, frightened, took refuge in front of the door. As for me, I counted silently the blows of the stick which lashed my rear end.’”
“He that demands mercy and shows none ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass.”