Is spanking okay?

Jevisus asks: What is the biblical way of parenting when it comes to correct behavior of the children. Does the Bible allow spanking?

Hi Jevisus –


As a dog, I am not an expert on Biblical teachings.  But I believe that the Bible would have no trouble with spanking, just as it seems to condone slavery and child labor, and a lot of other things that are considered wrong in most societies today.  While the Bible teaches many important lessons, it’s also important to remember that it was written in a very different time, when people had very different values. So it might well argue that it’s okay to whip one’s child, but I don’t think most Jews or Christians today would agree that that is okay.


The laws about spanking where I live are pretty good, I believe.  What they say is that spanking is allowable, as long as it’s Open-handed, Over the pants (i.e. not onto bare skin), and that it’s not so hard as to leave a mark.


The important thing that I’d add to that, though, is that it should never be done in anger.  Now that might sound silly – why would you spank a child unless they’d done something that made you angry? – but you know very well the difference between the fury you might feel when your child does something, and the calmer feeling you have later when you can coolly use a punishment to teach consequences to the child.


The reason I’m pushing this is that if you hit your child in anger, you teach your child that that’s an okay thing to do (which will likely get them in trouble at a later time), and you might hit too hard.  Much better to hold the anger in a bit, and give a punishment later.


I will add, though, that I find spanking to work much better as a threat than as a regular punishment. There are so many more creative and effective methods (time-outs, taking a possession away for a short time, or even just the child being aware that they have disappointed you) that I find work as well as, or better than, spanking the vast majority of the time.  But I do understand that there might come a time when the child needs you to go to the limit of your punishing ability.  And when that happens, yes, a spanking might be the only possible solution.  If so, that’s when I can condone it.  But please don’t do it on a regular basis.  It will only teach your child resentment, fear, and physical solutions to problems.


After all, one thing I know the Bible says is to Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.   Now that’s a Biblical teaching that even a dog can understand and love!

Good Luck,



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