Often people decide to stop spanking when they learn that the Bible does not teach it is a requirement for parenting, but deciding what NOT to do is only the first step. Too often parents resort to other forms of punishment still believing that God desires them to have an adversarial relationship with their children — the age-old war between parent and child where one must win and the other must lose. Other times parents’ only tool was spankings and without them they feel powerless and don’t know what TO do.
This is where I come in. I do a lot of work with parents who want to make the transition from punishments to what I’ve termed Grace-Based Discipline (GBD).
There is no Biblical command for parents to demand obedience from their children
Many parents who punish (with or without spankings) are very concerned about forcing their children to obey them. They do not realize that the commandment to obey was written to the person expected to obey. There is no Biblical command for parents to demand obedience from their children. Yet many fear that without punishments they will fall into permissive parenting where children are allowed to get away with anything. These are not the only options.
Grace-Based Discipline is about fulfilling the instruction of Ephesians 6:4: “Parents do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This requires a paradigm shift and it takes time. Let me share with you some things you can expect once you make the decision to stop punishing your child — and some ways you can be successful during the transition time.
Things may get bad before they get better.
This is true — things may get worse before they get better. But it will get much MUCH better and it’s worth sticking with it.
You are learning to extend grace to yourself and your children
Why do things sometimes get worse? This is easy.
YOU are learning something new. When we attempt to change something so fundamental to us as the way we discipline, we will encounter issues that we must deal with, including our relationship with our own parents and our understanding of God. Many Christian parents were raised with punishment and have come to see God as a Father who is looking to punish them. However, God’s punishments are reserved for His enemies while His blessings are for His children. It’s important to remember you are learning to extend grace to yourself and your children.
Discipline means “to teach” and you need to give God time to teach you these new skills
You are LEARNING something new. Learning takes time. Just as you will learn to give your children time to learn new lessons (instead of demanding the appearance of a lesson learned) you must give yourself time to learn a new way to discipline. Discipline means “to teach” and you need to give God time to teach you these new skills. You will sometimes struggle with picking a tool to use in a given situation, but the more experience you get with each tool, and the more tools you get in your parenting tool box, the more competent you will become.