Young parents: abandon the Bible’s “rod” at your peril, and at your children’s expense

It’s time to level with some parents: you’re believing the lie that you’ll be a better parent and have happier children if you don’t use what the book of Proverbs calls “the rod” on your children. Maybe it’s because you’ve read too many authors or heard too many speakers deliberately substitute the word “hit” when referring to spanking or paddling. It sounds like child abuse and “hitting” is; spanking and paddling is not. It’s one more example of what clinical and social psychologist Dr. Nick Haslam has labeled “concept creep”: …negative aspects of human experience and behavior have expanded their meanings so that they now encompass a much broader range of phenomena than before

The truth is that parents of children who are rude and defiant, are often paralyzed into inaction by their out-of-control children. Everyone’s miserable in the house because parents discover that the only tools they are left with are ignoring, pleading, yelling, bribing, or hiding, none of which brings God glory, peace in the home, or helps these precious little blessings learn who God is.

I am a huge fan of the current gospel-centered parenting movement. I wish I had had the kinds of resources now available when our children were young. But even among this movement there is sometimes the idea that grace-filled parenting is a new and improved method of parenting that replaces the rod–rather than informs its use. If the rod is ruled out for use with our children, does that mean that God’s ruled it out for His own discipline of us (Hebrews 12:5-11)? Does it mean that His methods have changed to exclude the element of pain so frequently used in His wonderful training? As author and millennial mom to three Tilly Dillehay suggests in the following article about the cost of such neglect, “We’re teaching our kids that just as we don’t mean what we say, God doesn’t mean what he says.” This article is THE BEST I’ve ever read on the subject and I highly recommend it to young parents interested in pleasing God, helping their children, and restoring their own sanity. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/rod-point-children-god/

Author: Keith Rohrer

Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Gospel-lover, churchplanter, pastor, woodworker, biker.