Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Born a sinner

When I look down at my beautiful 3 1/2 month old son, I want to think that he is perfect. I want to think that he will grow up to be a wonderful Godly man, find a good Christian wife, and never make any mistakes or fall into the trap of sin, and will always do exactly what he should in the eyes of God. Such a sweet tempered, mild mannered, smiling child who only cries for a minute or two a day, if that, can't possible be a sinner.

But he is.

Just like everyone else on the planet, my beautiful baby boy was born with the sin of Adam upon his head, and as his mother, I (along with my husband) have been given the responsibility to give him the tools he will need later in life to fight the lifelong battle that is sin.

Now, you may think that I have plenty of time to worry about how we as a family will deal with discipline, but children grow up so fast, I want to be ready when that first defiant scream escapes his lips.

I firmly believe in spanking as a tool for teaching self-discipline. Before you close this blog and call me crazy, let me define spanking for you, starting with the negative: Spanking is NOT an angry slap across the face or any other part of a child's body. It is NOT a spur-of-the-moment reaction to a child's sinful behavior that involves hitting or beating with an object. That is called child abuse, and has nothing in common with true biblical child rearing.

I grew up with two wonderful parents who understood what spanking should really be, so I will outline what happened in my house. The offending child would be taken to my parent's bedroom, where the parent (usually my Dad) sat and asked us what we did, why we did it, and what God said about that. If we didn't know, they looked it up. It was almost always Exodus 20:12, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you." At this point, they reminded us that they love us, and since they love us, they have to do what God commanded them to do, and correct our sinful behavior. The spanking is then administered, a prayer is said asking God's forgiveness for the sin committed against him, then the child is taken to the one he offended (Mom, Dad, sibling) to ask their forgiveness as well.

That, in my opinion, is Biblical spanking. No abuse, no anger, just correction and forgiveness. It is a beautiful thing, and it upsets me to read well-meaning gentle parenting advocates claiming that it is a horrible, barbaric practice, when in reality they are condemning the entire idea based on those who practice spanking incorrectly.

I still have some time before my son needs correction, but once he does, I hope to be the most loving, Godly disciplinarian and mother that I can be.

For a more in-depth article on Biblical spanking, with scripture quoted, I really enjoyed reading "eight misconceptions about spanking" by David Reagan. I do think the section about manipulative crying applies only to older children; young infants, for the most part, cry when their needs are not met, so for now I treat all of Hunter's cries as need-based. The author mentions later in the article that spanking an infant is wrong and cruel, and I agree completely.


  1. I have a blog too and I will link to your blog. hannahhough.blogspot.com

  2. You know, it's funny: I agree with disciplining a child and starting at an early age -- spanking DOES work, when tempered with love.


    I raised my own kids that way and they're some of the nicest, most obedient, well-mannered kids you'll see, but...

    ...what I have a problem with is the brainwashing of religion into the mix. You wouldn't dream of requiring your 2 or 3 year old to believe your political views, why would you require them to hold your religious one?

    I'm worried that "sinful behavior" is so open to interpretation that it could be anything: not praying enough, not wanting to go to church, not being nice to the old lady at church, etc... where do you draw the line?

    Yes, small children need guidance and love: why does religion have to be involved at all? Shouldn't it be THEIR choice? I never assumed to know what my childrens' religious needs were, and was always there to guide them if they asked, encouraging them to seek their own path, religiously speaking.

    Best of luck, however, with your paddle (something I NEVER used, BTW); is your hand too personal, then?

    Look, I can see that you're the kind of person who wants to do what's "best", but really -- in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter one iota that you have time to implement the ridiculous notion of "elimination communication", because WHEN your child learns to toliet himself will make NO DIFFERENCE in who he marries or what kind of person he is in the long run.

    Relax. Your child will disappoint you anyway, in spite of your best intentions.

  3. I absolutely don't intend to brainwash my son. I do intend to teach him that the truths contained in the Bible are the only way to God, because that is what I believe. If he chooses not to follow God, I will be heartbroken, but will continue to love him, he will always be my son. If I'm being completely honest with myself and wholeheartedly putting my trust in God, I do not believe that it is "ok" to decide to believe something else, because the Bible is very clear about heaven and hell, and I am not "ok" with allowing my son to believe that there is no real danger if he chooses a path that does not lead to heaven.

    The point that he will disappoint me is one that I was making in this blog post; he is a sinner, I am a sinner, disappointment is a fact of life.

    And I know that Elimination Communication will not change his personality or future, but I think it will make things easier on me in the long run, so I am happy to take the time to do it.

  4. it's difficult to even know where to begin after reading your blog. i followed the link here through pg.org against my better judgment as something that i probably should have skipped reading. to begin, i am attempting to comment as respectfully as possible and without making assumptions, but i suspect that i may include some assumptions or read into your ideas more than i should.

    my position on spanking is open, but as a means of generating thought, i'd like you to consider reading this article which offers some different ideas of some of the scripture in the bible which could be interpretted as pro-spanking. www.askdrsears.com/html/6/t062100.asp. you have chosen to interpret scripture in favor of spanking when it could be open to an entirely different interpretation. i will say that anytime i hear of a behavior being justified by religion it raises a red flag for me. throughout history, there have been plenty of unspeakable acts committed by people that have used religion as a jusfication for what they have done. getting back to spanking more specifically, your strategy does leave me with many concerns about what warrants a spanking. you quoted scripture about honoring your mother and father which could leave many small offenses open to receiving a spanking.

    i also find it quite early to decide that you will be spanking, and from the sounds of it, quite regularly. how are you certain spanking will work for your child? are you open to another means of discipline if spanking produces a negative reaction with your son?

    i find it appaulling to tie religion to spanking as well. if i were to grow up in a home where it was taught that god felt it was a parent's responsibility to spank, i doubt that i would want to continue with that religion for myself. it brings new meaning to the idea of having religion beat into you. the message that god feels a young child should be spanked for "sinful" behavior could be traumatic and could lead to a child that rejects religion entirely. i understand you were brought up in this manner and it worked for you, but i doubt that it would work for every child.

    i am also appauled that when you look at your child you view him as a sinner. he is a beautiful and perfect gift from god and i sincerely hope that comes to your mind more often than him being born out of sin.

    i wonder if you will be truly be open to letting your child choose his own path because it sounds as though you've decided he will go down a certain path and i worry that you could reject him entirely if he doesn't pursue the path that you have envisioned for him. in my opinion, i find there needs to be a certain level of tolerance for other faiths and that feeling that your chosen faith is the only and right answer. many different religions feel they have the right answer and who is to say which is correct. i certainly wouldn't feel i have the authority to say that my chosen faith is the only the way to god.

    i find your ideas narrow minded and possibly too firmly settled upon this early in your journey as a parent. you are a young, first time parent and come across as though you have all the answers after a matter of months of being a mom. i hope that you will consider being open minded about your parenting and going in a direction which meets the needs of your child. if you truly want to pursue attachment parenting, i think you may need to reconsider some of these ideas because they don't strike me as nurturing in the slightest.

    i do appreciate that you have taken time to think about your parenting and write it out to share with others. i appreciate that you are striving to do what you think is best. i just hope that as your child grows you will think about what he needs and adjust accordingly if your predetermined strategy does not work.

  5. Thank you for sharing your views! You sound like a very loving, caring mother. On the topic of spanking I must disagree with you though. I too was brought up with "Christian Spanking" very much like you describe. It has never sat well with me & I have researched the issue further for myself & my family. Nothing against your parents choices. Nothing against my parents choices. Nothing against yours or any other parents choices. We all have to make the choices we believe are right for ourselves & our ffamilies with the knowledge we have at that time. I encourage you to read this post on the topic: http://parentingfreedom.com/discipline/
    All the best for your family's life ahead :)

  6. I am Christian Catholic and I don't agree with spanking at all! :(

    please visit http://www.facebook.com/peacefulparenting

    even a slight spank does not fix behavior and how would you tell a kid not to hit their siblings while the parents are spanking him/her.

    There are MANY studies regarding spanking kids and how affects them later in life. Please research more...

  7. Spanking has no place in attachment parenting. None. I was spanked, and I can tell you it has caused such emotional damage that I don't think anything can really heal that. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we must hit our children, and to be honest, the Lord Jesus I serve would never, ever advocate such a thing. I wonder what He would have to say about using His Word to defend physical violence towards children. I encourage you to look deeper into the Bible and see what it truly says. The "spare the rod" BS, that has nothing to do with spanking, after all, shepherds did not beat their sheep when they did something the shepherd didn't like.

  8. I want to vomit after reading this. You call yourself an attachment parent yet want to HIT your child. This is sick and wrong. I'm sorry you were abused as a child but you need to stop the cycle and educate yourself. God DOES NOT want you to hit your child. It is NEVER ok to cause your child physical pain. PLEASE read and learn how you can TEACH your child without hurting them!! You have been brainwashed. Please don't hurt your child. And stop calling yourself an attachment parent. All that attachment you have been working on will be out the door the minute you break the trust and start hitting your poor kid. You will be in my prayers. I hope that you see the truth before it is too late. :(

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  10. There are no commandments that say you should hurt a child. There are plenty of things in the bible that are no longer accepted by the majority of society now including stone throwing, wearing of
    headscarves, circumcicsion, animal sacrifice...

    Christian Child Discipline: Is Spanking Biblical? ~ Bible Verses

    Grace-Based Discipline (GBD) is a parenting style which is Biblically supported and rooted in the New Testament teachings of Grace. In my book, "Biblical Parenting," I fully believe that the popular parenting teachings of today are not based on a proper understanding of how God would have us be in relationship with our children. God is about relationships-attaching and not detaching, connecting and not disconnecting.

  11. I'm not sure how you call yourself AP. Hitting children is not conducive with the model of AP parenting. Hitting children is abusive, disgusting and lazy. All it takes a few extra minutes of thought to find more creative, gentle ways to teach a child right from wrong. I have 6 very well behaved kids that have never and will never be abused in that way. I'm sorry your son has to go through that.

  12. I have no idea how I came across your blog, but I did. I did read all of your posts starting with the one of the horrific incident with your son's circumcision. I want to start off by saying I'm so sorry that happened and I'm so glad he's okay. I care not to voice my opinion on circumcision, spanking, co-sleeping, or elimination whatever. I do want to speak on mothering. That is the core issue here. My husband and I joke a lot now that before we had kids we were AWESOME parents! Then we had kids and oh my - it wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. We are the youngest of 2 sisters each who all had children before us and we sat around and judged everything they did - just knowing we could do it better. It's no wonder God threw us the curveball He did! Our first child is developmentally delayed with a lot of other complicated issues. This we had never had the opportunity to witness. I say all of this to say, what you think you're going to do - may not be what you're able to do when the circumstances arise. Your plan might not work. Remember God is in control - not you. After having my first child, (before we knew of any of her disabilities) when she was of "the age" to develop one way or another a lot of well-meaning fellow mom's would make comments here and there alluding to how magnificent of a mom they were because their child is right on target! It put a lot of pressure on me and really warped those moments of my daughter's developing for me, albeit slow developing. This is the vibe I get from your blog. Where I see you're just trying to share your experiences it is coming off as haughty which the Bible speaks against several times in Proverbs. Moms, especially new moms, do not need the stress of other mom's. We should be encouraging each other and uplifting one another in prayer. I think it's the best way to reach out to those who do not know the Lord as their personal Savior. I believe mothering comes natural to those who God has blessed with a child. But it isn't always going to be in the same way another mother mothers and they shouldn't be judged for that. I implore you to be a more responsible blogger and share your experiences as just that - without pressuring readers to take on your exact beliefs. God is the only judge that matters and the decisions we make - we'll answer to Him for them.

  13. I would simply like to remind you that "spanking" is against attachment parenting views. It is still hitting no matter how you look at it. Hitting is a form of violence. God never condones any form of violence, especially against children. Exodus is in the Old Testement and was written for the JEWS. No where in the New Testament (the covenant for the CHRISTIANS)does it state anything that could even be inferred as hitting a child.
    I highly recommend the book Discipline Without Distress. In reading it, you will see that there is no such thing as "defiance" among small children, only a difference in needs, desires and wills (none of which makes the child "bad" or a "sinner"). Just b/c we are bigger, as parents, does not mean our needs, desires or wills are more important than our child's.

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  15. My children are well-behaved. Everyone comments on how delightful and obedient they are, how well they listen when I ask them to do things or tell them to stop something.
    I have never hit my children. You may call it anything you want, but spanking is hitting.
    Why is it that I have found a way to teach my children about Christianity and the Bible without ever having to hit them, and so many other parents can't do that?

    Something to think about...You can raise children to be good Christians without using violence. It's the calm talking and reasoning that is working for you, not the hitting.