“He that spares the rod hates his son;
but he who loves him chastens him at times” (Prov. 13:24)
This is a timely subject during the present prevailing opinions that strongly object to the chastisement and punishment of children. Note that it is qualified with the phrase “at times.”The use of the word punishment does not exclusively mean hitting, also there are many other forms. Like any punishment it can be good and beneficial or at times, especially when parent is angry where it can be abuse. No one can challenge God’s love for man for God is love and the source of love, and in the above quotation God says: “He who spares the rod hates his son but he who loves him chastens him at times.” We know that God’s love for man greatly exceeds man’s love for his fellow man, or for his own son. God chastises man with the rod not to harm him but to correct his error and so return him to the right path. St. Paul says: “Whom the Lord loves He chastens and He scourges every son whom he receives. (Heb. 12:16)
How does God chastise? By using the rod of illness or misfortune, of accident, of hunger and thirst, the failure of crops, drought, floods, death of relatives and friends, or allowing evil spirits to have authority over men. All these rods used by God are outpourings of His love meant for correction and salvation of men. Younger children especially need persuasion and there are times with some children where verbal persuasion is ineffective and physical punishment may become necessary.
When chastising their children, parents show that they really love them, being stern but not angry, and their rod is an necessary instrument to correct them. Children are sometimes not sensitive in response to verbal rebuke or chastisement, but all children can feel the sting of the rod. The child’s body is sensitive even though his conscience may not be, thus punishment of the body is at times necessary for correction of the soul. If punishment of the body awakens the spirit with a good response, the chastisement has been proven to be effective.
A child may remain uncorrected by verbal admonition at certain times. That is the time when physical punishment can be productive and necessary, because a worst event would be if the child remains uncorrected. Punishment of the body will usually effect the decisions of the spirit in the child. Spanking is but one tool and some children respond better when given writings in the amount of one or more hundred. Such as, “I will not hit my brother again.” Quantity and length of writing could be based on the seriousness of the offense.