Does the Bible tell us to spank our children?

He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

The Bible doesn’t tell parents they must spank their children, but it does permit it. In other words, it doesn’t say that for every slight act of disobedience, take a whack at your kid. But in situations that demand stricter punishment, spanking is allowed.

The “rod of discipline” could be figurative here and could include any kind of discipline. It doesn’t have to be a rod. The goal of discipline is to get the attention of a child and to associate some sort of pain with bad behavior. Once a child makes that connection, they will not do the wrong thing. The goal of discipline should always be for the welfare of the one being disciplined. Spanking may work to achieve that goal, but some kids are immune to that kind of pain.

Spanking is one form of discipline amongst many (time out, loss of privileges, grounding).

As with any discipline, we must keep our emotions in check when we carry them out. We can go too far. However with young children, you cannot rationalize, negotiate or even explain what they are doing wrong. You must make a direct association between right and wrong.

Attributing a physical displeasure with a certain action is the quickest way of teaching a child that their behavior is hurtful. Better a spank on the rear end then touching a hot fire, running out in traffic or messing with a dangerous piece of machinery.

Spanking must be reasonable, logical and associated directly with negative behavior.  The child must know what behavior is being addressed or the spanking will be useless.