Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Spanking Children


In response to a comment about a 2 year old who hits others, and runs into the street, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, in his nationally syndicated column, disagreed with a grandmother who asserted that the child should be spanked as a means of discipline. Brazelton comes from the “Dr. Spock” school of discipline, and consistently discourages any form of corporal punishment. Here, in part, is what he wrote in response:

“Hitting and pushing are common behaviors at this age. It’s a young child’s way of reaching out to another before he has more language and social skills. Of course a child must be stopped and clearly told that this is not acceptable.

“Spanking will not teach him these skills. Instead, it’s likely to make him angry, and he may start hitting others out of anger.

“Of course spanking will get a child to stop what he’s doing – because it hurts. But pain used to stop a behavior does not teach a child. Instead, it confuses him.

“If time-outs don’t work-and they often don’t at this age-sit down with him to hold him, to keep him safe.

“You may also need to discipline with consequences: “I can’t let you go outside until you can learn to stop running in the street.”

Column appeared in the July 6, 2004 Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Brazelton’s assertions can be shown to be false through simple observation. Though anecdotal, our own experiences, as we were raised by our parents, show that spanking is an effective form of discipline.

It is interesting that Brazelton indicates the need for “discipline with consequence”, but rejects the simplest and most direct form of such discipline. While we certainly must talk with our children, telling them why their behavior is unacceptable, corporal punishment is extremely effective in focusing their minds on the “consequence” of their misdeeds. If the spanking is accompanied by the explanation as to why the child is being spanked, there is no confusion whatsoever. It is a simple language that children do not fail to understand.

Regardless of Brazelton’s and other experts’ contentions, the Bible clearly indicates the need for corporal punishment.

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24).

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15)

Let God be true, and every man a liar!