To Spank or Not to Spank – Does the Bible Support Physical Punishment on Children?

“We need to remember that when we see the word discipline in the Bible, it does not mean punishment; that word means to verbally teach or instruct; it does not mean physical punishment at all!” -Angela Harders.

Angela Harders is a certified special education teacher, an international best-selling author, and the founder of Pax Ministries. She left a toxic school environment to practice Peaceful World schooling with her own children and to inspire other families to do the same. Angela empowers families to live with faith and freedom through her organization, books, podcast, courses, coaching, and more.

During this first episode of this two-part series, Angela discusses her inspiration for writing her book, Gospel-based Parenting, and the truth behind the misconception of physical punishment in the Christian world. Angela explains that the phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child” does not come from the Bible but from an erotic poem! The correct passage from the Bible is, “He who withholds the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently,” which can be found in Proverbs 13:24. Parents should understand the meaning of this passage from the Bible correctly to be able to apply it when disciplining.

Angela also details the three different types of consequences with real-life examples: contrived consequences (punishment), logical consequences, and natural consequences. She acknowledges the misconception regarding gentle parenting and emphasizes that even though it is “gentle” parenting, children still experience consequences. They get natural and logical consequences, just not physical/emotional based responses such as spanking or unrelated offenses.

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