Co-parents have asked me how exactly I deal with my daughter when she has broken the rules of obedience and respect. I tell them, “You should never warn your children when an act of discipline is about to happen.” For me, it is unnecessary to ask, “Do you want to be spanked?” because my daughter has no option. Guided by my faith, spanking is a method to correct wrong actions to guide her from making poor choices. Most of all, children must know that when Mummy speaks, it is always with finality.
Here is how I enforce punishment when needed:
1. Tell your child that you need to go to the room to “talk.”
2. Once in the room bring out the rod and sit on the bed facing each other. Begin to ask and converse in a gentle manner: “What is our rule, anak? Did Gummy obey? What did Gummy do?” You want to make sure that your child understands why you will enforce the rod of discipline.
3. Explain and reassure why you will use the rod. “You know that Mummy loves you, right? And because I love you, God tells Mummy to discipline Gummy when she misbehaves so that she will learn to do what is right. Mummy will discipline Gummy because she loves her and wants to save her soul.” Elaborate further that if Mummy does not discipline her child, she will also be disobedient to Papa God.
4. Then ask the child to lay flat on all fours on your lap. Make sure to retain skin-to-skin contact. You don’t want to make your child feel isolated nor disconnected. Note on pulling down the undies to reveal the buttocks: If you are still the one bathing your child, you can spank directly on the skin. But if your child is big enough to care for herself including her private parts, you may spank with the undergarments on. This is to not humiliate or embarrass the child with her nakedness.
5. Spank the butt with a swat that is neither too light nor too heavy, just painful enough for them to remember the physical pain as consequence of their misbehavior.
6. After the spank, immediately pull up the undies and embrace the child and allow her to cry, consoling them. You will notice that the kind or tone of their cry will eventually be softer signaling that they are “giving in” to your authority. Whisper, “I love you” and rub their back. This is the moment of submission.
7. When the child has hushed, ask her to pray for forgiveness and grace from the Lord to not commit the same mistake again. This is the opportunity to teach your child about the cross, that she is a sinner and will continue to sin but because Jesus is there, He will help you not to displease God the Father. Tell your child that when they do good things, God is happy. When they do bad things, the devil is happy. Ask them: Who do you want to be happy, God or the Devil? This is the moment of restoration.
8. Pray out loud for your child as well. Make her hear how you pray for her, this makes her feel covered with your love and assured that your relationship is restored. Not because she sinned, you two will grow apart.
A warning on spanking. Once the session is done, and forgiveness has been asked and given, everybody starts with a clean slate. Walang halungkatan (no more bringing up of past mistakes). Never raise your voice; there is no place for unholy anger.
Spanking is never to relieve your feelings of offense or inconvenience. It is never to punish. Always remember that your goal is to correct the child. This can only be done in a loving communicating manner, and never in anger. You do not want your child to feel physically violated when you spank them.
Only parents can use the rod to discipline, not even a grandparent who serves as guardian.
Buy a rod and do not use any other object for spanking—not a hanger, belt or a stick. Children may associate spanking with these inanimate objects. If they see you coiling a belt they may be conditioned to think that they are about to be spanked.
Do not worry that by spanking you may be teaching your child how to hit. Because if discipline is administered in the context of correction and not violence, your children will not go about hitting others when they are offended too.
Spanking is always done at home and in private—never in the presence of other people to hear or see. This is to ensure that the child will not be embarrassed. Embarrassment will never correct behavior.
Remember the goal of spanking is to correct and restore your relationship (if your child’s behavior has offended you) and her relationship with the Lord (because sin separates her from God).
Parents, I hope you will be guided on how to carefully use the rod for the good of our children. Keep this verse in your heart: Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son. But he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”