How should Christians discipline our kids? At Brandy's Variety Garden Blog, Brandy discusses her decision not to spank her daughter and shares her thoughts on a Christian perspective of discipline. In addition to linking to numerous resources on nonviolent Christian parenting and discussions on the scriptural basis for physically disciplining children, Brandy talks about the alternative methods of discipline she's used that have had wonderful results with her daughter's behavior.
Of course, the question that Brandy and all Christians must grapple with is how scripture can inform our parenting decisions. She mentions that, although spanking specifically is never mentioned in the Bible, the main arguments in favor of spanking children come down to five verses in Proverbs (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13, 23:14, and 29:15) while New Testament perspectives seem neglected. (She also links to this post at Leaving Munster that wonders why Deuteronomy is never consulted when it comes to Biblical parenting advice.) While the passages in Proverbs call for using a rod to strike children, the main emphasis of those passages is discipline; the NIV Study Bible that I consulted suggested that the rod is "probably a figure of speech for discipline of any kind." When striving for a Biblical approach to teaching and punishing children, we must also consider the Old Testament law and scripture in the light of Jesus, who instructed us to welcome children in his name and cautioned us against leading children into sin.
When Christian parents choose not to use physical punishment, this doesn't mean that the only alternative is permissiveness. Nonviolent discipline requires a lot more creativity in responding to the needs of individual children and circumstances. Ultimately, we are role models for our children about how to live as Christians in the world: the lessons they learn about showing love, addressing problems, developing self-control, and respecting each other all start in our examples.