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Rodless Training

June 15, 1999

I just hung up the phone after talking with a pastor concerning a new member in his church. This single mother had been hopelessly bound in drugs and immorality, living a life of sin and degradation. The state had removed the children from her home. For two years they were passed around from institution to temporary residence, to institution, and back again. This mother, forsaken by all but the predators who sought to consume the scared flesh that remained, was lost—alone, wasted, hopeless. “But God…(Eph. 2:4).” Then someone told her about the forgiveness that was purchased by the blood of Jesus. In a moment’s time, without the aid of religious ritual or practiced instruction, she was translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear son (Col. 1:13). It is called the New Birth and is the only door to heaven (John 3). The State quickly recognized that she was not the same person whose lifestyle had necessitated removal of her children. The children were sent home to their new mother. But when she sought to begin a new life with her children she found they were as inmates released from captivity, monsters of contention and rebellion. Children that start life in a government institution often end up in one.

The Pastor related the dilemma. He had given her our book, but when she attempted to implement the things she learned, she realized that she was setting herself up to lose the children back to the state. For when she spanked them they would scream, “Please don’t whip me.” She is still on probation and must receive visits from social workers. If a child were to reveal that he was being spanked, the children would be immediately removed and placed back in a soulless institution. There they would not be bruised on the outside, but they would continue to rot from the inside.

So the pastor’s question was, “Is there a way to train children if you are prevented from Biblical application of the rod?” The Bible says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).”

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:13-14).”
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Proverbs 29:15).”

This question has been asked in more than one way. It is a common situation. One parent absolutely stands against use of the rod, and so it could not be employed effectively. Can the other parent still train the children? If you are a foster parent you are forbidden from using the rod. Perhaps you are host to your grandchildren and not allowed to spank them. Maybe you are often in charge of the neighbor’s kids. Likewise, you are limited if you are a worker in a daycare or if you are a schoolteacher.

The question is, “If I am in a position where I cannot use the rod, am I already doomed to failure, or is there still hope? Can children be trained without use of the rod?” Absolutely. But they cannot be absolutely trained. Proper application of the rod is indispensable to communicating the divine principle of retributive justice, but any child, military man, employee, the neighbor’s kid, your dog, cat, or the birds in your yard can be trained through manipulating their relationship to their environment. Any creature that is self-motivated and has likes and dislikes can be trained if you are in a position to reward or deny any pleasure or need. Where humans are concerned you have the added tools of reason, moral persuasion, social persuasion, and conscience. Where it concerns those that are close to you, that is, they depend upon your fellowship for their mental satisfaction, you have the additional tools of persuasion and example.

If you are seeking to avoid the rod because you are an emotional coward or you are a product of contemporary philosophy, then not obeying God in this matter should not be considered an option. The Word of God teaches us the best method of child training, and proper use of the rod is a part of that program. Furthermore, if you abstain from use of the rod because you believe there is a better way, then you have revealed a fundamental flaw in your thinking that will leave a giant hole in any method you adopt. In other words, a person who understands the value and principle of the rod, but is somehow prevented from using it, will carry those valuable principles over into rodless training and so reap some of the benefits. Whereas the person that does not believe in use of the rod is so flawed in his understanding of human nature and life in general that no technique will be entirely effective for him.

So if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from doing as God commands, you are not without tools. There are still plenty of options available to you. You can do a relatively good job of training if you are consistent and recognize the nature of your limitations. You will have to lean more heavily on alternatives that tend toward accomplishing the same end.
Here is a single mother with chaotic children whom she must train without the assistance of the ultimate force—pain. She tells them to do something, and they immediately seek to do the opposite. She invites them to the table, and they tarry or declare that they are not hungry. Thirty minutes later they are demanding something sweet. When she refuses, they begin to cry and beg. When she tells them to stop, they scream. Then they start fighting between themselves. When she tries to interfere, they turn on her in violence. Their favorite word is “No” spoken with defiance. They will say “No” even when they would actually like to comply, just to express their autonomy.

Let’s take it further so as to be relevant to a larger audience. If she were to spank them, they would react by screaming and fighting her. They would pull away, try to grab the switch, scream “No,” and go completely hysterical. She could not spank them until they yielded, unless she spanked them into physical exhaustion, which of course would be counterproductive. In short, in her attempt to build a relationship with them, at this early stage, spanking would not likely be profitable anyway. You may be thinking, “My children have always been in a secure environment and they act just like that.”

The foremost need in child training, the ground on which all positive guidance occurs, is the relationship of child to parent. Her children are doubtlessly in an adversarial frame of mind. It is not just that they seek to put forward their own agenda, but that they actually seek to sabotage hers. It is vain to make her will clear, because they have already decided to resist all control. A rebel is not so concerned with doing his own thing as he is in not doing the will of another. He dedicates himself to publicly demonstrating that he is not in subjection to any authority. It is his agenda to rebel, to prove his independence and lack of respect.

Now we who are not emotionally involved are inclined to see the situation from the child’s point of view. The poor children have been emotionally deprived and abused. It is not their fault that they were jerked up and passed around like a piece of rental equipment. They are hostile because they have never known love and security. They have never had anyone they could trust to always be there. They are products of the adults surrounding them.

However, if we now handle them under our own shadow of guilt and sympathy they will be further ruined. If our understanding of their plight causes us to sympathize, we will only authenticate their hostilities. You must remember, children raised under the best of circumstances, in a home of love and security, are nonetheless inclined to selfish domination and independent action against the rule of law. If a child is “left to himself” he does not grow up beautiful, he grows up to be a little devil and will “bring his mother to shame (Prov. 29:15).” Her children are what they are because of neglect, but they are only being themselves. It is not a matter of just bad habits, it is now a case of bad character—yes, even at two years old.

But we are not going to blame the children, we are going to train them—however difficult, without the use of the rod. We may not achieve as high results, but if we are wise and consistent, others will brag on “what good kids” we have.

In our first book on child training, we talked about “tying strings.” The first step in all child training, the foundation stone that must be continually renewed, is fellowship between parent and child. In 99% of all homes, children are in an adversarial state of mind most of the time. The first step, the step without which all other attempts are in vain, is to establish mutual ties of respect and honor. Unless the children can trust their parents with the handling of their souls they will not make themselves vulnerable. It is the same with you, is it not? Children must be brought to the place where they want to please their parents. Until children value the approval of their parents more than the lure of any indulgence there is not foundation for training. The parents will be constantly leaving their children behind.

Fear of punishment is not sufficient to make children compliant; it will certainly not remove the adversarial mentality. When parents get to the place where they are relying on threats alone, they have totally lost fellowship and are functioning as the IRS. Threats might get outward compliance but never the heart—quite the opposite.

So there is nothing that prevents this mother from taking the first step in child training—establish a relationship of trust and respect. How is this done? Enjoy the children and cause them to enjoy you. Don’t ask anything of them that is not absolutely necessary to the stability of the home, give them something they want—not selfish demands, just ignore those. Give them your time, your attention, your laugh, your approval, your touch, hugs, reading, silly funnies, rolling on the carpet or yard, pushing in the swing, or pulling in the wagon. But most of all, let them bask in your smile until they need it like they need the next breath. Cause them to feed on your fellowship, to relax until they are sure you care only for their good, that you live to enjoy their company and would not be happy without them. Do this and you will have achieved what most Christian homes are missing.

When you first begin to mend a broken relationship, or build one that never existed, you will have to do what friends do—ignore problem areas, absorb ugliness, for “they know not what they do.” If they begin to trust you, and you strike at them, physically or verbally, they will withdraw, and it will take longer to draw them into the open again. You can stand firm on issues; just make sure that you are always relaxed and calm in your responses. If you have to reject an action, never communicate rejection of them as a person. The worse thing you can do in this attempt to rebuild the relationship is to develop critical feelings toward them and to become short and abusive in your language or attitude. They will shut you out like shutting the barn door on a winter storm. You can wipe out everything by having a condemning attitude.

Your reach as a disciplinarian cannot exceed the limits of your fellowship with the child. Rebuke must be delivered in an atmosphere of trust and respect. If you have lost the child’s heart, then the child will have lost the heart to please you. If the child is not in agreement to pull with you, it is vain to try to harness him to your rules. The occasional rebuke must be the exception to a constant sharing of positive experiences. When rebuke and chastisement are strung along on a thread of long silences, punctuated by beads of unpleasantries, it will only strangle the relationship, not beautify the child’s soul.

The other day my daughters took in a younger girl that was a product of the Federal School, a working mother, and an insensitive father—in that order. She was at that age just before puberty when it is easy to be misunderstood and confused. The child had been swept along in the sexless society of the federal system. She was not feminine or lovely in demeanor. My girls spent the day treating her as another “lady.” Toward the end of the day when it was near time for her father to pick her up, they got her dressed in a long flowing dress. You could tell that at first it was an embarrassment to her to appear so vulnerable, so feminine, but she soon began to enjoy it. She started carrying herself differently. The affected gawkiness disappeared. She smiled with a blush and gracefully swept around the room. Soon her father came into the room. You could tell that she was pleased with herself and was expecting his approval. My daughters presented her to him as if she were a newly dressed bride, exclaiming how nice she looked in a dress. He blurted, “Yea, I been telling her she would look better in dresses. She just wears those old pants. The kids these days….” Her countenance fell and her shoulders hardened into the reserved condition she had displayed hours earlier. It was obvious to her that rather than her father being pleased with her, he was pleased with himself that she had justified what he “had been saying all along.” On such small threads do our children hang. She had attempted to take a new course, one that could have made a great difference in her life, but his preoccupation with himself had shut the door in her face. He was not mean or cruel or angry—just insensitive, absorbed with his own performance, perhaps carrying latent irritation at having been ignored so long. He had a chance to join hearts with her, but he missed it.

Can you see that in such simple, day to day matters hangs all of child training. Until we tie strings of fellowship all else is vain, even harmful. If you would train your children and you are prevented from using the rod, you still have at your disposal a tool that most of my readers have never effectively employed—continuous fellowship with their child. If you can create an atmosphere of trust and good will, you will greatly reduce the need to spank the small child, and nearly eliminate the need in children 8 or older.

After you have established fellowship with your children, the next step in training is to gain their respect as a person of principle. Your children must know that you answer to, and act as representative of, a rule of law that is higher than your own personal preference. You have boundaries that you adhere to and expect them to do likewise. By reverencing boundaries in your own life you communicate that there is a Lawgiver higher than your own feelings and impulses. If the child is made to feel that he or she must obey you only because you are bigger or tougher, or because you have control of the resources, then your influence will extend only until they are big enough to rebel without severe consequences. But if the child treasures your fellowship and wants to please you, and on top of that the child wants to please the God that you please, then you have a solid foundation for training. The only battle left is the child’s flesh.

Many parents have found, all too late, that religious instruction given in the context of permissiveness works to produce atheists and infidels rather than Christians. I personally know many families that took their children to church and talked spirituality while indulging the flesh in food and pleasure and indulging the soul in irritability and pettiness, with the result that their children grew up to resemble sons and daughters of Baal rather than children of a holy God. Children dragged through that kind of confusion are far harder to reach with the truth of Christ than are the abused and abusing sons and daughters of prostitutes and dope peddlers. I know whereof I speak. Besides dealing with hundreds of such cases, some of my own relatives serve as the best examples.

So, on a foundation of fellowship and respect for God the lawgiver, you are ready to deal with that indomitable enemy of all the sons of Adam—the flesh. Even when your child wants to please you and wants to please God, he/she is going to feel the constant pull of the desires of the flesh. “The flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other so that [your child] cannot do the things that he would.” Here is where the mechanics of training are inaugurated. Your young child is composed of two opposing elements—elements that were in harmony before the fall of Adam—the flesh and the spirit. The spirit is that inner man, the soulish self. The flesh is that nonmaterial biological conglomerate of tissue, bone, and blood that is endowed with passion and drives.

The spirit can receive instruction and make decision based on values, whereas the flesh is indifferent to good and evil. Like any animal or plant, the flesh seeks survival and propagation. It battles within seeking to maintain a stability that promotes health, and it strives without seeking zones of comfort and pleasure. The body has no built in governor that predetermines moderation or sets limits. It would eat what tastes good, and it would eat it now. It would rest rather than work and take rather than give. The body cares not how it affects others or what might be the long-range consequences. The body neither knows nor cares that present actions will result in cavities, obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, or venereal disease; it just pursues the line of immediate pleasure. Where there is not an active, mature, trained, and disciplined mind exercising control, the body is a self-destructive fungus.
The bottom line you must recognize is that the infant is born with all of the passions of body but with no capacity for self-restraint. Your three-year-old has active bodily drives but no understanding or will to moderation and self-restraint. The child will be in his early to middle teens before he can function so as to be self motivated to the point of subjecting the body to the spirit. You can have a child with a submissive heart, but he cannot exercise his mind to self-restraint.

Herein is the parental responsibility: While your child is in the process of maturing, before he can govern himself, it is your responsibility to function as his spirit, as his governor. You will act as his conscience, his sensor, advisor, instructor, chastiser, rebuker. You will say no to his flesh when he cannot. You will be ever alert, vigilant, on guard to detect any uprising of flesh. You will strengthen his resolve to stand by the rule of law and deny the flesh. You will spot laziness and lead him in an attack against it. You will spot selfishness and see that it is not gratified. In short, you will never allow it to be a pleasing experience to indulge the flesh. He will be caused to find rest and peace in one path only—the path of holiness and self-discipline. Your job is to make all evil counterproductive and unrewarding and to make all righteousness and discipline to be delightful and joyous.

At this point the parent would have the rod as an enforcer against the monster of flesh. When the flesh runs away with the spirit and captivates the will, when the child turns on you like an angry dog and refuses to give ground, the rod can restore his respect for your authority. It is your final tool against the power of the body to commit mutiny and take the will captive.
But our subject is: “What can you do if you are denied that ultimate power to subdue the flesh?” You can fully apply all of the above measures so that you do not come to that place where the rod is necessary. Yet, we must face the obvious truth that no parent is going to create a net of training so tight that the kids don’t occasionally slip through. There will be times when a spanking is appropriate. But you are prevented! Then use your power as the caretaker and dispenser of all privileges and responsibilities to make his actions totally counterproductive. If you can’t spank the flesh, starve it with an embargo. Stand your ground and do not let the little fellow find satisfaction in his pursuits. Stay on duty, demanding obedience until he surrenders his will to your persistence. If there is a way to deny him access to some means of indulgence that relates to the offense, then by all means as governor of the island on which he lives deny him normal privileges until he complies.

The one—most important—principle is to never allow his rebellion to be successful. Always win the contest. You can do this because of your position as banker, cook, house cleaner, playtime supervisor, work detail manager, etc. Stand your ground. If you develop a reputation as a winner of conflicts, you will be home free. If you develop a reputation as a vacillating wimp that whines and complains about how you are treated, they will run over you like a discarded aluminum can. The key is to win. Always win. Stand by your demands. Be just. Be reasonable. Be consistent. Be tough. Be there all the time, ever in his face, loving, laughing, smiling, and demanding compliance as foreman of the home.

Without use of the rod, you will be handicapped but not crippled. You won’t do as good of a job as you could have done, but with determination and vigilance, you can do a better job than 99% of the other Christian parents who have full freedom to use the rod.

Leave a Reply

29 comments on “Rodless Training”

  1. These videos and instructions are awesome. Thank you so much for posting them. I have been married for 5 years, but have not had a christian example to follow/learn by. Thank you for filling in the gap!

  2. Thank you for this article and the others I’ve read. It helps so much. I’ve been a daycare worker and am now fostering a one year old, so you can imagine the difficulty. Thank you for all that you do!!

  3. I thank the Lord Jesus for your obedience to write this book. Just from watching your video clips i know this book will be a blessing to me as a single women. Thank you.

  4. I was raised in a loving home. Did my parents yell? Yes! Did they spank? Probably I don’t remember. Did they hit me with a rod? No! If Jesus was in the room, would you hit your child with a rod? Your child is a gift from God. I am not a criminal and neither are my siblings. We love God and our country and each other. My parents set a good example for us by taking us to church, giving food to the poor, opening up our house for friends and family. My father is a recovering alcoholic and gives people rides to AA meetings. I had loving parents who set good, Chrisitian examples. Don’t hit your child with a rod. Set good examples. Invite your children’s friends into your home. Be consistent. Don’t hit anyone with a rod. I am now a mother of 4 children all 5 and under. I spank my kids about twice a year. My kids are well behaved. They have a lot of love and consistency in our home. Don’t hit with a rod!! I wasn’t beaten with a rod and I survived!! Your children are gifts from God!!

    1. Apparently you do not know what Mr. Pearl means by the term “rod.” Often when we modern Americans hear the word “rod” we think of a large length of wood or metal about like a walking stick, of very hard, unyielding material. Mr. Pearl is using the term in a figurative sense, taken from the Holy Bible, meaning a tool for spanking with in this sense. His preferred instrument, as described elsewhere on this site, is something that would merely give a light sting—about 13” by 1/4” and flexible plastic. I myself have been spanked as a child with various instruments including belts, paddles, switches, none of which caused permanent or even temporary damage, except to my will to continue in the same path.
      I hope this offers some clarity. For further information, there are quite a few articles on this site that will show that Mr. Pearl does not advocate any harm to children.

  5. Hi Michael,
    I’m a young married man seeking God for His will in my family and have been mightily blessed by the material from NGJ ministries. I grew up in a Christian home (thankfully) and so therefore have been blessed with the influence of Scripture from an early age. I was a little shocked however, when I heard your comments on the gap theory and wanted to write, I suppose to get more info with regards its Scriptural support. When I was younger, I fell away from the Lord mainly due to the teachings of evolution. I remember looking to the church for answers and being given a few, (like you mentioned

  6. Thank you for your response. Would it be possible to buy a downloadable adobe or word version of the teaching? (A lot easier for us Irish folk) thanks.

  7. The first half of TTUAC rattled as a question in my unconscious for a decade before I realized through God’s Grace that rodless is thee way for my family. I will not inflict pain upon my children to teach them for it is not necessary when one’s ego is in check. The actual rod and switching is only necessary for one who has not developed patience, clarity, and a relationship with the Creator before man. The parenting role I fulfill for God is one that bears fruit of the spirit. Thank you.

  8. I appreciate the trust and rapport building aspects of this article, but it is dangerous to encourage parents to inflict pain upon children. I read To Train up a Child when my first was a baby. I felt strongly that switching was not the way to guide my children, but also felt persuaded my the Pearl’s arguments to try it. My first husband also supported the discipline method. Unfortunately, I also needed to learn how to deal with anger so I ended up not being kind to my children in many instances which resulted in a lack of trust and rapport between us. The problem with believing instant obedience is necessary and that winning is the parent’s obligation is that some parents who are unskilled will try to achieve this through less than loving ways. If rodless training is possible and the word rod could be substituted with accountability, why use the rod at all? The whole argument in these texts and this article points to one way, not just *the* way. Please consider that there are parents out there who deeply respect your teachings and almost look to you as though you are the way, that you represent God directly. Maybe you feel you do, but we are all filters. Children deserve love without pain being inflicted upon them to be obedient. They deserve love to no end, with no attachments. They can be taught ‘the way’ to go without the rod or you would have no use for this article.

  9. I am married to a King and have one son who is also a King. Can you or Michael give information on raising the different kinds of sons and daughters? We struggle with our oldest son because he is just as forceful and bossy as his Daddy! Thank you for all of your help and I pray that God continues to bless your ministry.

  10. Thank you for this and all of your videos. I am married to a visionary! Just an example, the last four years of our marriage of 12 years, he has been in night school to become an A&P mechanic while being a dentist, a pilot and going on family mission trips! Yes, you have to be very independent and supportive when married to a visionary. 🙂 I wouldn’t have it any other way…..well, MOST of time.

  11. Thank you for this. I was going through these videos, just for some edification, and this one was such encouragement for me. I AM married to a visionary, military man. I have definitely had to learn to stand up and be independent, and it is a skill to learn how to honor him as the head and take care of it all on my own at the same time. I read your book when it first came out, during his first year long deployment, and it continues to be a blessing to my family !

  12. Can a believer command a demon to speak through another believer to cast him out of that believer’s life? our church does “demon trials” (?) where they command the demons to speak through the believer and command it to tell the truth to get information from it as to its purpose in the life of the believer. Is this biblical?

  13. I find this article comforting in many ways. The Bible says clearly, we should use the rod wisely. But some of us are stopped from using it by outer circumstances we cannot change (kind of prosecution). So we depend on “rodless” training. It is not a perfect way and probably less effective but still better than no training at all.

  14. Thank you so much for this video!! I am for sure married to a prophet! I surely do need the ability to be independent when he is focused on his current “project”! And for the ladies thinking of marrying a prophet- don’t wait for him to do the things you think he “should” be doing! Do it yourself and he will realize what an awesome woman he married and feel sorry for all the other chumps that don’t have a wife like you! 😉

  15. The rod referred to in the above verses does not refer to a literal rod. Please do some research on the Hebrew word used, which means the rod of discipline. Biblically speaking, children should be disciplined- not spanked. I’m only saying this because it’s obvious that the author is very concerned with doing what God has written, not what anyone else is saying to do. Please be clear on translation! I love that you are trying to do what is pleasing to the Lord. Please read “Biblical Parenting” which has broken down all the verses in the bible that use the same Hebrew word for rod and explains why most Christians have misinterpreted these verses. God bless you for trying to reach others in teaching the way God wants us to parent, but PLEASE do some research and I believe the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart.

  16. I am sorry, but anyone who says… “Don’t use the rod” or “don’t spank” have never seen what God is talking about done correctly. It is beautiful… As are all His instructions and promises. Children are a Gift from God… They are His and He knows best. I therefore choose to handle His Precious Gift to Me by His wisdom and His standards… It has been wonderful! 🙂

  17. Heidi, what do you do with the scriptures that say “beat your child and he will not die”? (prov 23:13 & 14)… Again, it is not about abuse, but come on? Is it talking about loving them with teaching & words and they will not die? Because I have also seen people come up with interpretations of Noah & the Flood, Adam in the garden, Moses and the Red Sea, Jesus and His Scourging & Crucifixion…. And the list goes on. When do we just read our bible and trust God verses Human Commentators, Historians and the like… Why do we always try to bring God down to our standard and understanding verses trusting Him and seeing His power at work? I am full of opinions, but they will always bow to God’s Word, not what I want to think “was really meant”.

  18. I was raised in a home where spanking did occur. It wasn’t a constant or frequent occurrence,but as far as I was concerned any spankings I received had happened far too close together. There is one episode I wish to relay to you in hopes of a response or opinion. My mother had read a book on raising children and disciplining them. Apparently the book had suggested that AFTER a child had been whipped they should then be made to apologize. I was around 9 years old at the time, and when my mom made the announcement at the dinner table about requiring an apology after being punished I knew things were going to according to plans. I can so clearly recall thinking to myself, ” I won’t apologize if I get a spanking. I do something wrong, get caught, and be spanked ! As far as I am concerned we are even.” I didn’t verbalize my thoughts and wasn’t too worried at the time as I really didn’t get spanked that often. Well, judgement day arrived a few months later. I could never stand by and watch another kid get picked on by the school bully. I didn’t even have to know the person being picked on for me to intervene. I HATED fighting, but I could never just stand by and do nothing. One day the school bully was picking on a much smaller kid who nose was already bleeding. In an instant I stood between the bully and the small kid while yelling at the bully to, “pick on someone your own size!” Bully didn’t appreciate my intervention, and the next thing I know I’m being punched. Even though I HATED fighting I would never allow someone to punch me. So, long story short, I got into trouble for fighting at the school. That was a spanking offense in my house. That evening I received my spanking with no resistance or arguing back. I was hoping that my mother had forgotten about her mandatory apology she wanted after being punished. Alas, I wasn’t that lucky. When she told me what she expected I could not make myself comply. I remember saying to my mom, “look, I got caught fair and square. I was spanked without whining so I think that makes us even.” I know that probably sounds really sarcastic, but I promise, I had no attitude when I spoke to my mom about my philosophy. I was then given an ultimatum that I either apologize or I would be spanked again. I knew she was serious, but that changed nothing as far as I believed. When I say I went round after round after round I am not exaggerating. It went on so long that my twin sister started to beg me, “please Heather just say sorry!” I knew I could not and would not apologize no matte how many whippings I got that night. I truly wasn’t a bad kid when I was growing up. I was quiet, read books, and rarely was mouthy to adults. However, I was EXTREMELY stubborn! I was very black and white with my thinking and if something wasn’t fair then we were going to have a problem. That evening I was whipped so many times that my mom finally gave up after her arm had gotten too weak and sore. After that she decided to shelve the idea of apologizing after spankings. I think I traumatized her that very, very long evening. Oh, just so you know my teen years were smooth sailing. If I had my books with me I was totally content to read as much as I could. If you were told that an episode like that had recently happened what kind of advice would you give to the mom? When I was older my mom and I used to laugh about that evening. She told me that she couldn’t believe her ears when I had told her the reason why I wasn’t going to apologize to her. In any other situation I had no problem with apologizing. If I needed to say sorry then that is exactly what I would do. My poor mom also let me know that she couldn’t believe that I was willing to go round after round after round with her. I can also recall her telling me much, much later that despite having to stop before I did had worried her at first. I don’t know if she thought I would suddenly morph into a belligerent teen a lot quicker than normal or not. She did let me know that after she had mulled over my reasoning along with how my attitude was usually around the house. That apparently helped to ease her mind. Hope I hear back from you soon.

    Thanks,
    Heather

  19. I would like to thank you for the article you wrote and for the ability to voice your convictions. I read “To Train Up A Child” not because I was experiencing issues with my daughter (which is 10), but because my husband and I are about to be foster parents. After reading your book, I realized that the Holy Spirit had already been talking to me because I institued many of the principles you discuss with my daughter early in her life. She is an amazing little girl and is well on her way to becoming the young woman God wills for her to be. My problem was the fact that as foster parents we must sign a piece of paper stating that we will not use corporal punishment on any foster children they place in our home. I’m sure you can imagine how I felt. After all these years of seeing the results with my own eyes of how this works, when applied correctly, I was perplexed. What Now? Then began the exhaustive search on Hebrew and Greek meaning of words in the bible. You see the Lord talked to my husband and I both about becoming foster parents. So, we don’t question whether or not we should do this, just how to accomplish this task and still comply with the bible’s teachings. I began to read all about being submissive to authority (all authority). That is unless that authority is telling you to go against the Word of God. Then I understand we don’t have to abide by that authority. However, we have the issue of our “yes” being “yes” and our “no” being “no”. We signed a piece of paper saying we would no spank. So then the search go’s for all the scripture pertaining to discipline. All of them are in regards to natural parents and natural children. I also looked up what it meant to “visit” an orphan or widow. Which from my understanding is to look after, to take care of, offer help etc. So, in the time that we have these children in our home I feel a peace and release from the Lord for temporarily not spanking the children. To use the principles you listed above in this article as a way to build our relationship and ultimately gain respect. If the Lord sees fit to give us the opportunity to adopt these children, then I believe we will then, in the Lord’s eyes, be considered their parents. At that point, we will institute the same spankings we gave our natural daughter. I want to thank you for your candidness and your pursuit to please and follow our Almighty God!

  20. @Liz – You came to the proper conclusion but I do not believe that it was necessary to go to the Hebrew and Greek to do so. The plain reading in the KJV Bible would bring you to the same conclusion. I would encourage you to read Michael

  21. Thanks for this article. I know many who foster and this is great advice for them.
    @ Liz – thanks for the way you brought it out as well. I love it.
    This is an article I will let a close friend know about as they are sincerely looking at fostering.

  22. Emotional coward? Why because I care about my family and kid more than I care about what you think of my parenting? You are entitled to believe that. But it isn’t true. I am not a coward. I care about my family. No one else. I don’t care if you approve of my parenting. I am not accountable to you. I am accountable to my wife, and son.

  23. Where in the world was this post when I was beginning to parent!!?? (I’m sure it was somewhere, I just hadn’t found it yet!)
    I grew up in a family where most of this was done in practice, yet what was emphasized was the rod. It was all about the rod and the difference the rod versus no rod makes. I was taught that kids didn’t obey because they weren’t spanked. When I grew and discovered many kids who obeyed and weren’t spanked and many who were and still rebelled— that along with the modern “gentle” ideas of “non violent” parenting (anti-spanking) that are being promoted—left me very confused and at a loss for direction in what to do, which resulted in quite a few horrible mistakes on my part, which I am now trying to figure out how to undo. I am bookmarking this page until I memorize it, I think!
    Thank you so much for such a great explanation!
    In Christ,
    Anna

  24. Michael, loved this article and always am challenged by what you write. I appreciate you adding a few guide posts that help me know if the fruit I am experiencing with my own children is good (right, normal, on the right track?).

    I have 5 kids ranging from 1-9. My 9 year old son is wonderfully strong and I would guess he gets spanked once every 3 months or so. He’s a great young man, I am pleased with who he is and who he is becoming, but I often feel like I don’t quite know if I have his heart.
    Is there any way to check for that? Any indicators with boys? He’s not overly open about what he’s thinking or feeling, as much as I do try to draw him out.

    My 8 year old daughter seeks to please, loves to be with me, help with the little ones, hugs and kisses me often…there is no question there that our relationship is closely connected. She also needs the rare spanking. I’d say 2 or so a year. She seems to be thriving and growing in the Lord and within the family.

    Then, I have 3 year old twin boys…

    These two are so unique in their expression of willfulness. Wow! Or maybe it’s because there are two it seems like non stop training? There are days that I feel like I spank them over and over and don’t see growth?! Is there a “normal”
    range for how many switches a 3 year old (twin) boy would require in a day?

    My baby girl is 18mo and seems to be tracking much like her sister. She definitely needs the switch almost daily, but she’s pretty happy and sweet most of the time.

    I hope you can offer some wisdom for me here. Especially with the twins!! Thanks! Evelyn