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The biblical versus modern parental discipline


Sir: The irreconcilable catfight between modern civilisation and some basic tenets of the Bible continues to degenerate in different dimensions. One of which includes: Choosing the most appropriate method of parental discipline.

Sequel to the heightened attention human/child rights receive globally (well, at least in countries of advanced civilisation), people of divergent opinions –
Atheists, ex-Christians, liberal and non-committal Christians, and many other categories of freethinkers, consider it a failure and large indiscretion on the part of the Bible, to suggest the use of the “rod” in enforcing discipline on a child.

The Bible, as further accused by its critics, create the ‘negative impression’ that efficient parental love and discipline, can only be effectively shown through hitting children with rods, as instructed in the following scriptures: “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 NIV


“13 do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. 14 Punish them with the rod and save them from death.”
Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15 NKJV “Discipline your child while there is hope, but don’t get so angry that you kill him!” Proverbs 19:18 CJB Adding gas to the fire, Bible critics further indict the legitimacy of the Bible in giving parental advice, when the God it projects, seems quite driven by a rather weird thirst for blood: when He first demanded the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, before having a change of heart, and at a later time, sacrificed His own-only begotten son!

Quite a crowd-pleasing girl fight, isn’t it?
While the Bible from the above Scriptures encourages the use of corporal punishment (with love) as an effective method of modifying a child’s behaviour, it doesn’t necessarily promote abusive parenting!

Modern civilisation on the other hand, places an embargo on any form of corporal punishment given to children, substituting it with other disciplinary measures that don’t involve physical pain.

Attempting to analyse which of the conflicting methods will yield a better result in child discipline, could eventually turn out to be an effort in futility, as both methods carry alongside their productive and counterproductive baggage.

The biblical and civilised forms of childrearing, may continue to run on parallel lines, as both methods can either actualise or sabotage their original intentions.

Hence, the application of these methods will always differ between societies and the individual discretion of parents.

Nimi Princewill,
Port Harcourt, Rivers State


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