Saturday 1 August 2009

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Wise advice and one key error

Like any father I have always found parenting to be both challenging and rewarding. When I came to faith as a 31 year old with two daughters aged 3 and 5 years I was confronted by a new challenge, how would I raise my children to know God and be obedient to him? As an academic with interest in child development, learning and how families structure learning in the home, I also have more than a passing interest in parenting. As a new Christian, I quickly learned that the Bible was our family's key resource and that this was where I was to seek God's wisdom on how to be a wise parent. It took many years before I even realised that there was a large market for Christian parenting resources and that many of the books published evoked varied responses from Bible believing parents.

Tripp's Error

After hearing many references to Ted Tripp's Book, 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' in recent years from young parents, I decided that I needed to read and review it on this blog. I see this as a very helpful book with some excellent and biblical advice written by a godly and wise Christian, but it has one major flaw. The error is signalled on page 59 when Ted Tripp suggests that:
"We cannot be indifferent to [parenting] methodology. Biblically, the method is as important as the objectives. God speaks to both issues. He is concerned not only with what we do, but also with how we do it."
I believe that the second sentence in this short paragraph is false. The first sentence is difficult to dispute, yes we should give careful consideration to how we parent; we can't be "indifferent to methodology". And perhaps, God has spoken through his word in places to give some pointers to methods. But I don't believe that God is concerned with how we do parenting in the sense that he might favour specific methods, let alone one main method of discipline as we see argued in Tripp's book. Of course, we should use the Bible to inform our practices, but to claim that the Bible offers clear guidance on disciplinary method has little biblical justification. God is certainly concerned that we act as godly parents who seek to honour him and bring glory to his name as we care for and lead our families. Like many authors of parenting books before him, Tripp allows his own methods, which he suggests worked well for his children (and I have no reason to doubt that they did), to become the yardstick by which he assesses the appropriateness of other approaches, before using the Bible to justify his approach while dismissing others. Suggesting a single method ignores key variability in children and parents. For example, not all fathers are capable of controlling their anger and avoiding the warnings that Tripp gives about abuse of punishment. Furthermore, all children are different, even in the one family! They have different personalities and psychological make-ups which cannot be ignored. I believe that slavish adherence to one method will make it harder to avoid the warning of Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord".

Tripp's wise advice

I find Tripp's emphasis on 'the rod' all the more frustrating because the first half of this book lays out a sound biblical framework for the basics of parenting. Until I reached p.59 I found little that I could question and much that I would applaud. For example his comments that:
The gospel is the central focus of parenting.
Far too often parents focus on changing children's behaviour; instead we need to look beyond behaviour to the rebellious heart that produces it (Luke 6:45).
Our every effort should be to ensure our children internalise the message of the gospel.
There are many influences that shape children, including family values, the structure of the family and its history, family practices like conflict resolution, how roles are defined, and how families deal with failure.
Children like adults are covenantal beings that must choose who they will worship and serve - from the womb we are wayward and can go astray (Psalm 58:3).
Parents have the critical task of 'shepherding children's hearts' to be oriented towards God.
Punishment must always be corrective not punitive and be an expression of love of wanting what is good for your child - Discipline must not be in anger, for revenge or just to punish.
Our goals for parenting are always to see God glorified in our lives, in our children's lives and in our family.
Communication is all about dialogue (not monologue) and is vital to good parenting.
It is important to regularly diagnose our children's relationship to God (Tripp offers a helpful strategy for this) that gives biblical focus to parenting.

The Rod

While I do see a place for occasional physical punishment (e.g. a slap on the legs, or a tap on the hand of a toddler who defies my instructions and verbal prompts) as a parent, I don't see much biblical evidence for the major priority that Tripp gives it in this book and his claim (in effect) that 'the rod' is the most biblical of methods, trumping threats of punishment, withdrawal of rewards and privileges, isolation (e.g. the 'naughty chair') etc. Like several high profile books on parenting in the past, this one is in a sense a corrective to overly permissive and unbiblical parenting, but it goes too far. This is a blog post rather than an essay, so I won't go into great detail about my objections to the priority given to 'the rod', but I'd like to simply list some of these objections to the emphasis given to corporal punishment and Tripp's dismissal on biblical grounds of some other parenting methods.

There is no question that Tripp is correct that the Bible supports his advice that parents need to be concerned primarily about their children's hearts, not their behaviour. Parents need to help their children understand that they are sinners and that the cross of Christ should be the central focus of childrearing. He is also correct that parents must discipline their children to curb these rebellious hearts and to train them in obedience - obedience to parents, obedience to other authorities and above all, obedience to God. But how we do this is less certain and there is very little biblical justification for 'the rod' being the primary tool for training your child alongside communication (p. 150). Because 'the rod' is spoken of in Proverbs there is certainly justification for considering it as one method, but exactly what form 'the rod' should take is debatable. Even Tripp's use of Proverbs is open to question, for not all the references necessitate a reading that physical punishment is intended, and certainly there is doubt about the form it should take today. In my view it is unclear whether 'the rod' need only refer to physical beating, spanking, hitting etc. For example, I'm not convinced that Hebrews 12:5-11 (a passage he uses) provides justification for Tripp's thesis that physical punishment is what is intended - let alone his brand of spanking - as the key biblical method. This passage speaks of a father's discipline as being for a child's good and that it leads to the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11). But it hardly provides justification for Tripp's form of discipline; that is, pulling down a child's pants and paddling them a sufficient number of times to hurt them, from any age when they show resistance to you (p. 151). This he suggests can be as simple as resisting a diaper change. While we must help our children to recognise their sinfulness and rebellion, we need to be careful that we do not lose sight of the fact that we also need to help them to grasp an understanding of God's mercy, forgiveness, grace, patience, love and ultimately the possibility of redemption as sinners in Christ. I'm not suggesting that Tripp makes this error, but over-use of 'the rod' may well leave less room for children to learn these things about God.

In contrast to Tripp's justification of 'the rod' is his quick dismissal of many other forms of discipline as unbiblical. While I agree with him that far too often parents appeal to 'pop psychology' for answers, other criticisms are unjustified. For example, he dismisses what he calls 'punitive correction', that is, the threat of punishment to control children (p.64). But surely as a form of discipline a biblical case can be made for it. The Bible has many examples of God warning his people of the consequences of wrong behaviour, and often links punishment, wise behaviour and blessing (e.g. Deuteronomy 28). The pattern for warning of impending punishment is set in Genesis 2, with the ultimate warning that if Adam were to eat of the tree of knowledge that he would "surely die". We must also remember that there is a two way relationship between 'the heart' and behaviour. Yes, our behaviour reflects our heart, but repeated uncorrected behaviour begins to set patterns that influence the heart.

Summing up

There is so much good material in this book that is sound biblically, but its impact is reduced as Tripp embellishes this with his advice that physical punishment is the key tool for discipline. He is right in suggesting that parents should talk to their children when they rebel and that they should appeal to their consciences, but why must this be followed so regularly from a very early age by physical punishment? I would encourage parents to heed Tripp’s encouragement to use the Bible as the key resource in guiding our parenting and not expect to find biblical support for a single method to train our children in godliness. This book is one of the few books to offer a sound biblical framework for parenting, it's a shame that the section on method (which also has much good advice) is flawed due to Tripp's preoccupation with 'the rod', and a very narrow interpretation of what it means in practice.


psychodougie said...

i by no means wish to enter into the general discussion on discipline, i believe the statement on it's own i'd agree with.

of course the context of the statement is something you're aware of, the idea of virtue ethics (see 'the consequences of ideas' by wood) is something i think the bible speaks strongly about. that it matters not just what we do, but the manner is just as important.

again, not disagreeing with pretty much everything you said, but the statement on it's own i wouldn't dismiss so quickly.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree with the principle that the manner in which we do things is important and that this is clearly biblical - good point. The fact that he makes the statement then follows it with "...we must identify and reject the non-biblical approaches that vie for our attention...only godly methodology will bring glory to God" (p.59) is going well beyond broad biblical principles for life, it is suggesting that there is a single approach or method for parenting. He then spends a large part of the remainder of the book describing the approach he regards as the biblical approach and the rejection of pretty much every other approach (some of which should be tossed I'd add). Again, I agree that as parents we must apply biblical principles to all of life, I just don't accept that God has a special concern for a particular method of disciplining children, and that this is as strong as his concern for the hearts of our children. Trevor

gregt said...

Hi Trevor,
Firstly may I commend you on your bravery in tackling what is a highly controversial subject!
I read Ted Tripp’s book a few years ago, and my reaction was that it contains some of the best, but also some of the worst material in any Christian parenting book I am familiar with (I should point out that the good heavily outweighs the bad).
Firstly the positive. I agree strongly with Tripp’s overall view that behaviour modification in and of itself is not the proper goal of godly parenting: a child’s (or for that matter an adult’s) behaviour reflects the state of their heart, and it is on training (or “shepherding”, to use Tripp’s own excellent term) children at the heart level that parenting ought to be focused. Of course, this issue is not quite as simple as I have just stated it: proper behaviour, as Tripp himself confirms, must be required of children. The point is that “good” behaviour in a child may, or may not, reflect the state of their heart: it is possible for a child to be outwardly well-behaved, while having a heart that is far from God (rather after the fashion of Isaiah 29:13). This is precisely what is dangerous about those parenting methods that are based on behaviour modification.
Now to the negative. I agree almost entirely, Trevor, with your view that Tripp’s attitude to corporal punishment i.e. that it is not merely sanctioned by scripture, but mandated, is mistaken. When I had the temerity a couple of years ago to try to write an essay on Christian parenting myself, I quickly saw that while the bible is full of general wisdom for parents, it is quite short on specifics. The example that often occurs to me is breastfeeding: even something that seems a veritable “no-brainer” for wise and loving parents is not specifically mandated by scripture. Like so many other areas, how we nourish our children remains in that somewhat fuzzy area known as “freedom and wisdom”. I would suggest that it is ditto for discipline methods: while it is difficult to argue that the bible forbids corporal punishment, to say that it is mandatory seems to require a very narrow reading of a few passages (mostly in Proverbs).
Actually, I would go a little further and question Tripp’s understanding of the importance of discipline in parenting. In his book (p.37 in my edition), he makes the extraordinary claim that discipline “is the deepest expression of love”. Good discipline is a crucial part of godly parenting, to be sure, and a sign that parents love their children (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:11, etc.); but the deepest expression of love? My mind flitted to John 15:13: surely self-sacrifice is the deepest expression of love, as exemplified supremely by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?
The other main concern I have with Tripp’s methodology is that he seems not to take into account the notion that discipline must be age-appropriate. I have concerns with his view that corporal punishment is appropriate for children virtually from birth. This is not straightforward to justify biblically, and like the previous point, too complex to go into here in detail; but for me these points partially spoil what is in most respects an outstanding book.


Danielle said...

Thank you for this note. I especially like your observation that children can have very different temperaments, even within one family. I have two girls aged 3 and 5 and their personalities are very different. One is really sensitive to a raised voice, the other not so much! So I don't think a slavish following of one "method" for both would be appropriate. But even if we treat them differently, I hope that they will be able to look back when they are older and see that more than anything else we wanted them to understand Christ's love for them, in every situation.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks Greg for your own perspectives on the book. Thank you also Danielle, children do vary greatly in so many ways. I also wondered about differences in gender as well but the post was already long enough. I wonder whether Tripp would use the same method with daughters as he uses with his sons?

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Trevor for your thoughtful and through look at Tripp's book. You have brought reassurance to me. Praise God that even when a sinful mother applies a flawed method for a time to a sinful child God can still use it for His glory. Hard core Tedd Tripp feels horrible and now I am going to continus to address matters of the heart in a more Julius Family tailored way.

Anonymous said...

I googled this and found your blog and I am soo appreciative of your insight on this. I have battled and battled with the idea of what is the right way to discipline my children. I was in a bible study that studied this peticular book and most of the moms there agreed wholeheartedly with this technique. I myself had trouble with much of it. I love the lord and very much wantmy children to love the lord, but I absolutley can not even bring myself to discipline them in the way that Tedd Tripp tell's you too. I can't even fathom doing that to them. I do belive in discipline but I have prayed and prayed about it because I do not believe that God would expect me to do something that went against every part of my being to do to my children. I believe witholding discipline is an absolute downfall many parents make, but how a parent chooses to discpline should matter on the child, and the parent to bring the child to a better place. reading this today has helped me so much, because it has given me some answers to what I already felt in my heart. Thank you for posting this.

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Anonymous, glad you found the post helpful. Every blessing as you continue to bring up your children. Trevor

Rachel said...

It seems to me that this author is suggesting that parenting should somehow drive the sin out of a child's heart. That is something only God can do and parents can not choose salvation for their children.

While I believe that we parents should be good examples for our kids through our own walk with Christ, it seems like an almost ridiculous undertaking to say that we can somehow discipline the sin nature out of our kids.

Just a thought... what do you think?

Personally, I like Kevin Leman's books: How to Make a Child Mind Without Losing Yours is really good. He talks about "reality discipline." For example, if an adult were to steal something from a store, a cop would not bend the adult over his leg and give him a swat on the tush. He would probably fine him and put him in jail for a while. So, if you catch your child stealing, your discipline should be realistic. Take away his allowance, make him bring the item back to the store and pay for it, etc.

I think we need to be careful to try not to play God as parents.

Bonnie said...

We all could say that the 'good outweighs the bad' in this book and it still doesn't make it true. The Word of God teaches that some false teaching mixed with sound teaching is...false teaching. If part of what Tedd Tripp says is the 'worst' in Christian parenting, then how can we possibly trust him in anything he says? Yes, he does some good dancing around a few scripture passages. But what he is in error about could KILL a child's view of a loving, merciful God. If I am going to have to pick and choose what is sound and what is not then I don't need a book. I would rely on God's Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me into all truth...which I should be doing in the first place instead of furthering the interests of a man who instructs parents to humiliate their children by disrobing them to spank them.

I would encourage ANY and EVERY parent to skip reading this book and find one that is biblically sound--this book is NOT.

mother of 10

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for this website. I have been searching for days trying to find other Christians out there who had a real perspective on this book. I read this book. I never in my life read such horror. I am a single mother who works a full-time job and raises a son without a father present. We are heavily involved in our church and prayer in the home. This book was recommended to me by my son's school. (Which by the way, claims to be a non-denominational, loving school). This book demonstrates anything but love. It's archaic and completely un-biblically based. Shame on the author for trying to make parents feel that the only way to punish is by spanking.
-Mother of Andrew, Age 5

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I just had a conversation with a good friend of mine about Tripp's book. I am not comfortable with spanking. Not just because I had some bad spanking experiences as a child, but because now as an adult and what I know of the scriptures I just don't think that using the rod all the time is the best way to communicate the love of God including his graciousness and mercy and how he warned the ones he loved. Anyway, thank you for your thoughts.

Trevor Cairney said...

I'm pleased that people keep finding this post and that it has been helpful for readers. Rachel I don't think Tripp suggests that you can remove sin from children through discipline. His point is that children struggle with sin and that parents need to train their hearts not simply try to change their behaviour.

Thanks too for your comment Bonnie I still think that Tripp has some good advice but I don't accept his approach to physical punishment.

Thank you also to the two recent readers who left anonymous comments,

I appreciate all your comments.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your brave review. I read the bulk of the book and had many of the same conclusions you had. However, I keep meeting people who heartily recommend this book. I appreciate your thoughtful review and reminder to me that there are different paths to parenting and God will guide me and my husband in those that fit our children and family best.

C. Beth said...

What an excellent review, Trevor!

I'd heard of this book from one friend, and today another friend recommended it. Her recommendation was in response to this blog post explaining why I don't spank.

Your review came up near the top of the Google rankings so I checked it out. It's clear to me this doesn't fit the parenting style I feel comfortable with. Your statement that "not all fathers are capable of controlling their anger and avoiding the warnings that Tripp gives about abuse of punishment" was excellent.

Thanks for such a great review. I'm going to skip this book. However, I do like what my friend shared with me, about using discipline as a way to teach children about our Father's discipline. That's something I'm going to think about, pray about, and hopefully implement...without using the rod!

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Beth,

Thank you for your comments. I like your own comment (and your blog). As you can see from my post I don't say that we shouldn't use physical punishment, but rather that the prescriptive approach that Ted Tripp suggests is difficult to support. You can of course build an argument for controlled punishment and even some physical punishment, but I don't see much place for the latter.

Thanks for dropping in. You might also like to read my 'Literacy, families and Learning' blog.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Cairney,
Our church is doing this study, and bottom line...I don't believe in physically putting my hands on my children to hurt them as I don't believe the 'rod' means a spanking. Moses was given the rod to lead his people...a sign of leadership and teaching-not causing physical harm!
I can't even truly, seriously read the chapter on the rod. It makes me sick to my stomach!
I could go on and on but you get my point!
And I'm a mother of four children ages 29, 26, 22 and 15 and all four are saved and never did I have to take the 'rod' to them!
Thanks for your blog!

Julie said...

Thanks for the review! I was surprised to see this title on a list of books that promote child abuse, since I've heard it praised by many people. I came looking for a Christian perspective on this book, and I appreciate your insight.

Andrea said...

Thanks for your review of this book. I think people who were raised in kind families often overlook the more extreme concepts he puts forth in his book because it contradicts all of the "love and kindness" he explains in other parts of the book. I was raised in a household where "Shepherding a Child's Heart" tapes were constantly played throughout my house, and I was violently abused for 20 years in the name of this book. At one point, Tripp teaches that if a child has a "rebellious" attitude, a parent should shadow them looking for any minor infraction so they can discipline out the bad attitude. This concept alone left me in constant physical and mental horror. When you teach a parent that it is THEIR duty to save their child from hell, and the mode of saving them is the use of the rod, it will be rare for a child NOT to be abused. As humans, most parents will forget the good points of the book but they are left with a physical object, a rod in their hands, and imbued by the book with a duty to "save" their children. In the end, what else could happen but abuse?

Angel said...

I just finished Tripp's book and appreciated many of his insights. Your idea that "rod" in the Bible doesn't necessarily mean spanking---that was new to me, and I found it an interesting concept to consider. Thank you for making me pause in that respect.

After reading your post I looked up "rod" in the Bible. In many places it is coupled with the idea of striking (Isaiah 14:29). In other instances it's described as a tool for measuring (Rev. 11:11). And sometimes "rod" appears to be a metaphor for God's discipline in general (Job 21:9).

But I keep coming back to Proverbs 23:13-14 (Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from death) and Proverbs 29:15 (The rod an reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother). Both encourage using the rod, and from my reading of 23:13-14 especially, this sounds like spanking (in the controlled manner Tripp describes---coupled with communication).

I see the Proverbs as generally sage counsel. They're not promises that we can claim, but they are wise sayings describing the best way to live. So while God may not be saying "thou shalt spank your child" maybe he is encouraging us to use spanking as a helpful tool, as if he's making a strong recommendation but (as you said) allowing us to choose what works best.

I suppose Proverbs 23 could be taken metaphorically, but I'm disinclined to think that at this point.

What do you think?

I'm the mother of a one-year-old, so I'm only beginning to explore these concepts, by the way.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thank you to Anonymous, Julie, Andrea and Angel for your comments. It's good to remember that all children and parents are different. This is one of the reasons I stress in the review that the Bible is less clear about the methods we use for parenting than it is with what should be our intent. My great regret with Tripp's book is that he privileges physical punishment over all other methods. I do see a place for physical punishment, but if this were regular I'd encourage parents to reconsider their parenting strategies. I would never use physical punishment to try to harm the child. A slap on the legs was as far as it went in our house (and rarely).

Angel asks a number of questions to which I will respond. You suggest that 'rod' in the Bible is often used in terms of striking, but it is also used to mean other things. Even when it is used to mean 'striking' context is important to understand just what that means. Your example of Is 14:29 being used in the sense of striking is interesting. The word 'rod' is used to urge the people of Philistia not to gloat. The rod most likely in this passage refers to the Davidic dynasty, which Ahaz had reduced to a puppet status under Assyria. It might also refer to the Assyrian Empire itself. I don't think you'd want to build a method for parenting based on this as a proof text, except in reminding children that they shouldn't gloat, God hates arrogance (there are better verses for this), judgement (again there are better verses) etc.

The examples from Proverbs might be more helpful for parenting methodology. Proverbs 23:13-14 ("Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from death") certainly suggests that physical punishment has a place (which I've acknowledged) and, it rightly suggests that it should be focused on the salvation of our children.

Proverbs 29:15 also speaks of physical punishment, but the context here would suggest that perhaps it would be more helpful and relevant when thinking of rebellious youth in a society that is clearly out of control. It speaks of punishment in the wider context of social instability and human rebellion. Some might even use this verse to try to justify bringing back the cane to punish publicly rebellious university students taking part in public protest (I'm NOT arguing for this of course!). This would be more justified than using it argue for using an adult hand or spoon on the bottom of a baby crying for its nappy to be changed.

My point with Tripp is basic. He oversteps the reach of Scripture to give prominence to physical punishment from an early age above all other methods. His view that "Biblically, the method is as important as the objectives" is not justifiable. Ensuring our children grow up to know and love the Lord is what is clearly dictated by Scripture, the methods that are to be used are not.

Thanks for your comments.

Lance said...

I just discovered this blog today while looking up information for the book and DVD series by Ted and Paul Tripp. Have to say I'm not getting much done now because I am intrigued and impressed by so many of your articles. :)

I really appreciate your thoughts on this particular book and subject. Taking the Proverbs to be authoritative commands only rather than wise sayings mixed in with some commands can get us into a lot of trouble.

Overall though I do appreciate the book.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks Lance, I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and the other CASE resources on our website HERE

SteveL said...

I want to make these comments in love for those of you who keep saying that the Bible leaves the door open for us to choose which method of discipline we use. Could you please list some of the other method's that the Bible recommends? How easy it is to sit there and take pot shots at Tedd Tripp's book. If you have problems with corporal punishment, then please give us an expose including chapters and verses from Scripture that show us the alternatives. Are there any? The methods that many people use today were invented by human wisdom, many suggested by godless psychologists who reject even the existence of God. Freud and the vast majority of the psychology community that has followed him are heavily given toward atheism. So, are you really going to trust what they say? Compare their source of authority with Ted Tripp and you should see the obvious.
The passage in Hebrews 12, clearly teaches that God hurts us with His discipline because He loves us, so those of you who say you could never "hurt" your children, need to familiarize yourselves with the love of God. If physical discipline goes against every fiber of your being, then you need to let God change your being, because that is a very un-Godlike characteristic. The prophets are full of texts that reveal to an open hearted reader, how God inflicts pain for the good of men and nations. Please, read the Bible and save yourselves from the mire of secular opinion that has captured so many of you.

Steve L

Trevor Cairney said...

Steve, I'm perplexed by your comment. Did you actually read my post? Without wishing to sound like your 3rd grade teacher, please read it again. If you do, you will find reference to many things, including other methods. Am I to assume from your comments that you believe that there is only one method, physical punishment? You seem to have missed my point. Trevor

Anonymous said...

God uses isolation doesn't He? I don't know what else we would call the separation from God because of sin. So really a time out is very biblical because it is a miniature version of what continuing in a sin-life will lead to.
Even in the Hebrews 12 passage used as an example by Trevor above we are given another example of The Lord's discipline; that He allows us to endure hardships. This comes in many different forms depending on what God wants to teach us as individuals; through loss of wealth, possessions, relationships, etc. As parents we may discipline by allowing our children to endure hardships either natural or imposed such as extra housework, yard-work, etc.

These are all biblical examples of discipline that while not spelled out with as specific words as physical punishment is in scripture, should be familiar concepts to anyone who has been growing in Christ and the knowledge of scripture for some time.

Grace to all; Mellissa

Anonymous said...

Sure are lots of "I" responses in these comments. When when we learn that it does not matter what you and I think, it matters what God thinks/directs. Spanking IS BIBLICAL when done with a pure heart for God to be glorified.

Anonymous said...

I rather doubt that you are "glorifying" anyone while beating a child.

SteveL said...

No one here has advocated beating children dear anonymous. Spanking is not beating. You are falling into the trap of the secular media, who have tried to redefine the word by deceptive coverage.
Keep to the Word of God.
Steve L

Anonymous said...

Steve - I believe God would never spank a child. You are hurting a small, defenseless human being that was entrusted to you by God.

Are you sure that you are not just satisfying your own need to be in control?

It just does not fit my or most decent people's understanding of loving parenting.

SteveL said...

You are right that our children have been entrusted to us by God, thus the desperate need to listen to God when He instructs us on how to train and teach them. Let's hear what God says by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Proverbs 13:24 "He who withholds his rod, hates his son, but he who loves him, disciplines him diligently." God, not Steve, instructs us to use the rod because we love our children. God uses the rod on us, because he loves us. God defines what a decent person is. In this verse he says that the decent man, who loves his son will discipline him. The man who refuses to use the rod, hates his son, though he may not realize it. That isn't decent. God's word matters, not our "understanding". Prov 3:5-6, "lean not on your own understanding." God has put parents in charge of their children, if they do not have control over these children, they are not going to be able to fulfill God's role for them. Eph. 6 says that Children are to obey their parents. Submission to authority is an absolute must. I invite you to look around at our society and see if submission to authority is not a problem for us. Could this have started in childhood, when these people's parents failed to establish and teach submission to authority. You do need to be in control in your home. If you are not, then you can't be the parent that God expects you to be. You children need your firm authority, as well as gentleness, and the softer virtues of course. Tripp, advocates a balance of all these things. Read his book if you haven't, you will find that it is different than the impression left by many of the comments on this blog.
Steve L

Anonymous said...

I believe that you are all wrong with trying to interpret the Word of God. Rod in this context is NOT to hit, spank or do physical harm. What it means is to speak and tell the child what he is doing is wrong and open the word of God and explain to him, pray with him and discipline by taking off some privileges or give extra chores and make sure he understand why. Just keep talking and talking and also warn him of his ending if he continue to rebel for he/she is not rebelling against you but God and God will judge him if he will not repent. However, if you hit the child you are teaching the child that it is ok to hit another human being. It does also said in the Word of God that love covers every sin. If they are naughty hug them and tell them that you are not happy about it and God is not happy too. When the Prodigol son came back the Father full of compassion ran and hug him.

Cornelia Becker Seigneur said...

Thanks for pointing out the flaws in this book. So sad that people today, young precious moms and dads who want to do right and who want to raise their children in the Lord, are still looking to this book. Get it off bookshelves of church libraries on homes right away. Enjoy your beautiful children. Be glad they have a will and interests and joy and fun! Adventure with your kids, don't beat them into submission

SteveL said...

Dear Anonymous,
You beg us not to try to "interprete the word of God" but then go ahead and do just that by insisting that the rod does not mean to hit or spank in this context. That is your interpretation, and a very flawed one. You only need to read the Proverbs to see that it is flawed. On of the main discipline verses there says, something like, "If you hit him, though he cry out, it will not kill him but will save his sol from hell." Clear as a bell to anyone honestly ready to accept the plain words of Scripture. Unfortunately, you are allowing the culture of 21st century America, which all of those writing on this blog would have to agree has wandered far from it's roots in the Bible, you are letting that culture dictate to you what is decent, normal and right. You need to really read the
Bible if you think that God just hugs us when we sin and tells us He isn't happy. I do hope that Trevor, who started this blog will correct you on this point to, studying the Bible as he does. Start by reading Hebrews 12. Let God's word instruct you.

Now Mrs Seigneur,
We are all glad our children have wills, interests, joy and fun.We all like adventure. Have you noticed that the joy and fun and adventure is often interrupted by your children's sin? Before you urge us to take Tripp's book off all church shelves, please read and study and let the Bible instruct you as to the sin nature and the relationship of God with His people. If the Bible doesn't get first place in your thinking soon, your children are in trouble and the hope of joy and adventure will be a crumbling dream. Please read the Bible and submit to it's wonderful truth, that is the best adventure there is.

Christine said...

In everything I have read about spanking young children as Tripp advices. I do not understand the need to pull down the child's pants and spank on a bare bottom. What happens if you have a daughter and the father is the one doing the spanking, does the father still spank his daughter when she is 7, 10, 13 on a bare bottom? I feel that would not only be humiliating to the female child, but also crossing a line. How does a new parent know how hard is too hard to spank? I know of parents who are surprised to see bruising on their child's bottom ( which has the most fat then any other part of the body, therefore making it harder to bruise) from all the spanking that took place on a bad day of a typical 2 year old, but still continue spanking in the same matter. How does that make sense? I am a 55 year old Christian woman, who has raised 2 grown sons, 4 of their early years as a single mom. Both always loved the Lord from when they were little, both are now God loving successful men (one a Doctor) and loving husband's to Christian women. Both went through 12 years of Christian schooling, so what they were being taught at home and church was reiterated at school. Both received full ride scholarships to our States University. They never smoked, tried drugs, or drank in their teenage years. They were respectful and well liked not only by their teachers but also by their peers. Guess what? I NEVER EVER spanked my sons as Tripp recommends. Yes I did spank, but for big things, like running into the street,when I told them to stay by me, and I spanked with an open palm of my hand over their pants. I don't think I spanks them more then 4 times each in their childhood. I used time outs, I took the time to talk to them and explain why their behavior was not appropriate. I used appropriate consequences for bad behavior, like, taking their drinking cup away after I explained to them the first time why you don't throw a cup at the dinner table. I didn't spank them for being disobedient and throwing the cup again, they were 2 years old and learning how to eat at a table and it was my job as their Mother to take the TIME to teach them. Which a lot of the time takes longer then spanking them for being disobedient . I'm sorry I just don't see the need to inflict pain on a child, and that is what I feel Tripp is teaching . I know one Mom personally who followed Tripp's advice on spanking with her first child, but not on her last two children. To this day, this mom who is now 50 regrets that she followed the spanking part of Tripp's book on her first child, and she can't undo what she did and her memories of those days. I am not trying to brag about my sons or my parenting style. I was not a perfect Mom and I made mistakes along the way. I am just trying to make a point that you can raise obedient children that turn into great teenagers and then into wonderful men WITHOUT causing them physical pain. I feel Tripp has that part wrong in his book. I feel sorry for young new parents, who don't have the confidence in themselves to just follow their heart and gut and develop their own parenting skills that work best for not only their child but for them. I feel they need to do less spanking and more praying for their child.

SteveL said...

The most important question that needs to be asked is not what worked or didn't work in any individual case, but rather, what is the will of God. Tripp and others who hold the same view on spanking have the Scripture on their side and that is all that matters. It is possible to raise good children without spanking them, and it is also possible to raise Criminals by spanking them. There are many factors to raising children, neither Tripp nor I are suggesting that spanking is a quick fix and all that is needed. As you know, Tripp emphasizes communication which is sounds like you did a lot of. The grace of God was with you in raising your children, praise God, but that does not authorize you or anyone else to advocate casting off the commands of Scripture. God graciously blesses us all at times even though we are not following all of Scripture's commands, that doesn't excuse disobedience to the commands. Jesus said, whoever disobeys one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Your friend who regrets spanking her child needs to examine other aspects of her childrearing, and how she spanked, but should not blame the principle of spanking for the poor results in her children's lives. As for following your heart, beware for the Scripture warns that the heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked, who can know it?
The Bible never commands us to follow our heart, but rather to submit our hearts and all that we are to the Scripture and the authority of God. Following our hearts is a feel good worldly philosophy that will surely lead us into error.