Biblical Discipline: A Pastor's guidelines on spanking your child

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It is not uncommon to hear a Filipino mother threaten her child with a good old spanking using her slippers. But "striking with an open hand" is not to be taken lightly. For those who choose this method of discipline, there are some guidelines to follow to make sure that the right lessons are being imparted onto the child. Learn these from Pastor Peter Tan Chi.

In the Philippines, practically everyone owns a pair of tsinelas (flip-flops).

Tsinelas have long figured in Philippine culture. The word tsinelas traces its origin from the Spanish word “Chinela”, which simply means slipper or sandal. Back then, tsinelas were made from abaca fibre and hemp.

Today’s tsinelas, which have become a fashion accessory with elaborate designs and made with better materials--are a far cry from their forerunners.

But while its physical features have changed through the years, tsinelas remains to be a top Filipino tool in child discipline.

Spanking is still practiced in many homes in the country, and it is not uncommon to hear a Filipino mother threatening to spank her child with tsinelas.

A report of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, a multinational initiative of children’s rights advocates, states that while corporal punishment is prohibited in schools, day cares, and other settings, “prohibition of corporal punishment is still to be achieved in the home.”

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While some studies show that spanking is detrimental to a child’s development, others claim that spanking is the most effective way to discipline a child.

READ: The Parenting Dilemma: To Spank Or Not To Spank?

Christians, on the other hand, point out that spanking is a Biblical principle.

Biblical spanking or chastisement, clarifies advocates, does not involve beating, but a mere "strike on the buttocks with the open hand". It is never done in anger and is aimed to correct intentional disobedience.

Find out more about Biblical spanking on the Next Page.

While this method of discipline is still a polarizing topic among many parents, it is vital for those who stand by it to do so with guidance and not function on whim or emotion.

Pastor Peter Tan Chi, senior pastor of Christ Commission Fellowship, enumerates some guidelines in spanking:

  1. Talk to the child prior to spanking. It is vital that the misdemeanor is discussed with the child.  Explain why the behavior in question is bad.
  2. Spank with love. Never spank in anger. Spanking when you are angry drowns out the message or lesson that you wish to impart to your child. Speak calmly and explain what it is your child did wrong.
  3. Never shame a child by spanking them in public. Spanking should be done privately.
  4. Never use your hands to spank your child. A child has to associate your hands with loving caresses.
  5. Have only a few rules. Too many rules can confuse a child. Keep it simple so that it will be easier for the child to remember. Focus on key issues, such as disrespect and disobedience, as behaviors that will warrant spanking.
  6. Be consistent. Consistency is important to make the child understand that bad behavior is always unacceptable. Letting it slide on some occasions and punishing it on other occasions sends the child the message that he or she can SOMETIMES get away with it.
  7. Let your spank count. The objective of spanking is never to injure. It should, however, sting to be an effective deterrent against misbehavior.
  8. Affirm your love for them after spanking. Hold them close and explain again why you had to do it.  Tell them you love them.
  9. Forgive and forget. Once spanking is over, the child starts with a clean slate. Never bring up past mistakes.

Breathe deep and keep calm

There are so many approaches to child discipline.  You can choose to give them a “time-out”, “corner time”, positive discipline, or spanking, among others.

Whichever way you choose to discipline your child, keep in mind that anger is never productive when it comes to child discipline. Anger, which is usually accompanied by yelling, drowns out the message and the lesson.

So before you pick up your tsinelas to spank your child’s bum, breathe deep and keep calm.

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