There is a verse (Proverbs 13:24) in the Bible that reads : “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” That verse has been used to justify physically punishing children with fists, sticks and belts.
Stop! Just don’t!
The ‘rod’ the verse refers to is a shepherds rod, one that is used to guide sheep and protect the flock from predators. Those that have raised sheep know that sheep are followers. They will trust and follow a good shepherd anywhere- just as we desire our children to trust and follow us.
If a shepherd hurts or scares his sheep, however, those sheep will scatter when he comes near.
Hitting sheep with a stick will not get sheep to go where you want them to go- they will run instead of follow. Violence scares a child, and causes resentment. It does not encourage a child to follow out of understanding and love, but to obey out of fear. Just as the rod or staff is used to gently guide a wayward sheep and protect the flock, we must guide our children. Not with pain, but with love and firmness.
Saying no to beating a child does not mean that discipline can be ignored
Those that ignore a child’s bad behavior, justify it, or allow it to continue, are not showing love, but are showing ignorance, laziness and lack of respect.
He (and she) that loves their children will teach, and chasten when needed.
Boyd K. Packer has observed that “When a person in a position to correct another fails to do so, he is thinking of himself. Remember that reproof should be timely, with sharpness or clarity…and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy” (D&C 121:43).
Discipline is necessary. It is how we keep our children safe, teach them to be productive members of society, and give them the knowledge and habits to be successful and happy throughout their life.
Let me be clear about one thing: when one of my children puts himself or others in danger, I have found that a quick swat on the bottom gets his attention- and gets it fast. I had a two year old child that ran away from me towards a vicious dog and refused to come to me. I quickly chased him down, and he fought me taking him out of danger. He got a very swift swat on the bottom which distracted him enough to quit the tantrum, allowing me to get us both out of danger. That does not happen often, but there are times when unusual circumstances require unusual responses.
The word discipline is closely related to the word disciple, sharing the same root word. A disciple is one who follows. Follow the example of the Good Shepard, and lead so that your little disciples will want to follow. Never cause fear in those who love you.
Remember in your disciplining to LEAD with love.