Anyone who knows the ins and outs of homeschooling will tell you the hardest part of teaching children at home isn't teaching academics — it's training a child in righteousness. As you live with your family 24/7, you're forced to deal with parenting issues that involve disciplining disobedient children. Whether training defiant three year olds or correcting a six year old's selfishness, parents need the right tools to teach children to obey. So where does a homeschooling mom or dad go for the answers?

Since God desires parents to raise their children to love and serve Him, He has given biblical mandates to be used when correcting and disciplining. Although today's experts may disagree and call it child abuse, corporal punishment is clearly spelled out in God's Word. Read these Bible verses about using spanking to instruct children in righteousness:

Proverbs 29:15 — The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Proverbs 13:24 — He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 — Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 — Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

When done correctly within the confines of a nurturing and loving home, spanking can have very positive results in raising children of godly character. So what are some practical spanking dos and don'ts of correcting a child's misbehavior?

Don't:
  • Spank in anger. Be comfortable with your role as a parent. God has put you in charge and you should have a clear idea of what you expect to accomplish when spanking your child.
  • Spank for every problem. Save spanking for situations of willful disobedience. Time outs, grounding, taking away privileges, and the natural consequences or misbehavior are an effective means of correction in most situations.
  • Spank a child for innocent mistakes, forgetfulness, or accidents.
  • Spank a child unless they knew beforehand what was expected of them. Children need to understand that spanking is the consequence of their choice to disobey.
  • Spank an infant.
  • Spank a child older than ten years of age — the humiliation may cause resentment and bitterness in an older child.
  • Spank a child in public — allow a child his dignity and find a private place to administer his punishment.
Do:
  • Evaluate why your child is misbehaving before spanking. Stress, fatigue, or physical limitations may be causing the inappropriate actions.
  • Take time out to let your anger cool before spanking. See the problem as a growth opportunity and prepare yourself first spiritually and emotionally.
  • Spank only on a child's bottom — never pinch, hit, or slap other parts of his body.
  • Spank with a paddle or wooden spoon, not your hand.
  • Limit yourself to only a few spanks that sting, but not abuse your child.
  • Expect your child to show repentance and say "I'm sorry."
  • Allow a child a few moments to regroup after the spanking. However, no screaming or "scenes" should be allowed.
  • Pray with your child out loud to God — help him ask for forgiveness and to do better in the future with this problem (selfishness, lying, speaking disrespectfully, etc.)
  • Reconcile yourself with your child after the spanking. Give a hug and affirmation that you still love them.
  • Have your child make restitution, if appropriate, to teach him accountability for his wrong behavior.
  • Treat the spanking as "over" after the event. Don't talk about or refer to it again when or if future problems arise.
  • Encourage and build up your children with praise. Reaffirm the things he does right daily and provide practical helps such as the Character Builders video series to learn positive character qualities.
Although no parent enjoys disciplining their strong willed child, God commands us to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22: 6). Balanced discipline involves both negative and positive reinforcement and the God-given method of spanking children for willful disobedience is part of His plan for bringing children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).