The Trumpet



This is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you.
There are many different ways of disciplining a child. Corporal punishment is one of the main ones.

Chrissanna Kirlew
Hilltop Trumpet Journalist
Bachelor in Social Work
Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences


MONTEGO BAY, NCU- Corporal punishment is defined as intentionally inflicting pain on the body for purposes of punishment or controlling behaviour. Corporal punishment comes in different forms, there is the form in which teacher’s punish students as discipline, and then there is the most common form of corporal punishment which is the punishment administered by parents.

The home is the most common place nowadays where corporal punishment is used. Parents spank/hit their child to keep them from misbehaving. Hitting children may actually increase misbehaviour. One large study showed that the more parents spank children for rebellious behaviour, the more the rebellious behaviour increased. The more children are hit, the more likely they are to hit others including peers and siblings and when they become adults, they are likely to hit their spouses and their children. Hitting them teaches that it is acceptable to hit others who are smaller and weaker and it is also an emotional event for a child.

Children often remember with crystal clarity times they were spanked. Many adults look back on corporal punishment in childhood with great anger and sadness. It is hard to believe that people who loved us would intentionally hurt us. Studies show that even a few instances of being hit as children are associated with more depressive symptoms as adults. This form of discipline, corporal punishment only induces fear in a child and does not make the problem go away; it’s a short-term way of controlling the behaviour of a child. Children deserve to be protected from this cruel and obsolete practice.

Christian parents frequently seek the Bible in their effort to raise godly children. They believe that there is a biblical mandate to spank and they fear that if they don’t spank, they will commit the sin of losing control of their child. They believe that God has commended them to spank and they take “spare the rod and spoil the child” literally, but in doing so they misunderstand the concept of the rod.

The following are a few biblical verses which have led to great confusion in the world today:

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. But the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
“The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to itself disgraces his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15)

At first glance these verses seem to be in strong support of the use of corporal punishment, but do they really? Through a closer examination of the Hebrew word for “rod” (shebet) one can see that in the Hebrew dictionary it has various meanings such as a stick for walking, writing, fighting, ruling, and punishment. The word “shebet” is most frequently used when referring to shepherds who are tending their flocks. The Shepherds used the stick to fight off prey and to gently guide wandering sheep, not to beat them.

The image that we are to extract from these verses in Proverbs is one of creating a culture of accountability. The point that God is making is that parents are to hold our children accountable for their choices and actions. There are many ways to hold a child accountable and corporal punishment (spanking) never has to be one of them. Two alternatives to physical punishment are:
1. Use words to explain your feelings – Use words to label your feelings. The influence of language begins long before the child can talk. In other words, listen to your child and talk with your child.
2. Set a good example – Act and talk as you would want your child to act and talk. Your child strives to be like you.

In conclusion, I believe that all children should be disciplined without the use of corporal punishment. The Bible does not support spanking, it supports holding children accountable. It supports “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) “Training” does not mean spanking, hitting, or any other form of corporal punishment.

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