Spanking in the News

There are certain news stories that I have never seen in print: “Middle aged man walks to work,” “New York child completes the 2nd Grade,” or “Bluebird Lands on Tree.” After all, those items are not “news worthy.” There is nothing special or noteworthy about them. If those headlines were reported, we would comment on the apparent lack of news to report on a given night, or we might say, “That’s not news.”

However, with the onslaught and pervasive nature of media, we may see events reported in the news as normal. We may determine that the news captures the what is typical of other situations. One example of this mentality can be seen in the news of the discipline of a Texas Judge rendered against his then 16 year old child. As reported, the judge beats his daughter while berating her with demeaning and foul language. Click here to see various articles on the global debate sparked by this news story.

The accusation is serious and witnessing the events in raw footage certainly causes a strong emotional reaction. The tendency of some is to use this news as evidence for wanting to ban all corporal punishment for children of all ages.

Unfortunately, the counter story is not coming in the news anytime soon: “Loving parents appropriately discipline their child” or “Mother teaches and instructs with age-appropriate discipline.” Even though these stories will not be found in the news, I believe they are commonly found in real life. Bad parenting can often be found in the news, but many good parents exist who will never receive public recognition of their actions.

The problem with what happened in Texas is that corporal punishment was used by a parent who was out of control with a form of discipline that was probably not age-appropriate. This news story should not be used as indicative of all forms of corporal punishment used against all children by all parents.

Even if corporal punishment was banned, just as much damage can be accomplished by a parent lacking self-control through berating and demaning a child. The problem is not corporal punishment, but the manner in which it was carried out.

Children need boundaries and discipline carried out within a loving and caring environment, and spanking, carried out in a controlled manner, can be an effective form of discipline when accompanied by teaching and expressions of love. The church needs to lead in promoting godly parenting with its words and displaying clear examples of good parenting through its actions. Parenting is not easy, but it is vitally important that it is carried out according to biblical principles.

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