Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15 AMP

I love Proverbs 22:15 and the words highlighted by the amplified version for clarification help to give additional guidance. First, I will like to clarify that when the Bible admonishes us to chastise, it is supposed to be an act of love, not aggression or abuse. I have often wondered how many children have been lost because we are too obsessed with being cool parents and ‘spare the rod’. I have heard all the arguments for and against, but it seems to me that these days, everyone is too afraid of the potential for abuse that we now watch children wallow in foolishness even openly and expect that by some twist of fate they will self-correct. In my little existence, I have come to realise that everything happens when someone does something deliberately. Children cannot be left to self-correct. I am a firm believer that responsible parents, not the government need to step up and do the right thing that ‘Love’ will do.

So let me step back to explain my understanding of the rod of correction or discipline (ROC). It represents your child’s language of correction.  Every child is different and responds to correction differently. While growing up, my parents spanked me not with the intention to hurt but to register in my memory that if you don’t want to feel that way then behave properly. Guess what, I quickly outgrew the pain, for some reason, my hands developed resistance or maybe I trained my brain to norm the pain. As I grew older, ‘The talk’ became my language of correction, it works on my inside and I could literally hear my parents’ voice linger for longer than I wanted it to.

Correction in love will not kill a child.  Looking back at all my childish foolishness,  I am grateful that someone somewhere was bold enough to spank me when they had to, courageous enough to give the talk when that was needed and not too tired to act because in reality looking away is the easier path to parenting.

So here are a few tips on correction:

  • Spanking when required has its place but should not be abused or used to cover up for bad parenting
  • No single mode of correction works all the time, every child has a unique language and as they grow older, it may evolve as mine did
  • For correction to happen, it has to be done in the right place, through the right mode and at the right time
  • Correction is not a one-time event, it is continuous, deliberate and targeted at producing a better behaved and well-rounded child
  • As parents, we should examine our parenting style regularly, observe how other parents interact with their children and pick the good, admit when we have made a mistake and be open to learning from it
  • I acknowledge that some people may find this statement challenging, but I have learned that apologizing to my children when I am in the wrong is an excellent example to them. It demonstrates that when I make a mistake, I am humble enough to take responsibility for it. Remember when it comes to parenting, ‘more is caught than taught’; so let your teaching align with your living

On a final note, we are called to parent out of love, not fear or obligation. Parenting is not a chore, it is an act of love. Love is patient, kind and reliable – love never fails. It is our prayer that we will love our children enough not to fail in our responsibilities towards them.

The cost of ‘sparing the rod’ is too high, so the call to Parent is even higher. Parents, guardians and society should heed the words of Proverbs.

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  • Nancy Abraham

    Many thanks to the LAB team. My parenting code is RESPECT. I make a conscious effort to respect my children from the eldest(18) to the youngest(2+). I’ve found that it helps me strike a balance in the way I discipline them. I grew up with a mother who was very quick to strike out physically and verbally. Plus, there were many times she should have apologized to us for misinterpreting an event or falsely accusing any of us and she didn’t. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t want to be like her in that aspect when my turn came. So even when I need to use the ROC, I would have given ample warning and explained the implication of disobeying that warning. So when the “appointed time” comes, all parties are fully aware of what’s coming and why. The children also know it is going to be a very painful experience. Respecting my children also helps me to use the magic words(please, I am sorry, thank you) when speaking to them.

  • Jeremiah Onwugharim

    Many thanks Pst ID & Mrs Thelma Mbang for this lessons learnt today…The child-parent relationship has a major influence on most aspects of child development. When optimal, parenting skills and behaviours have a positive impact on children’s self-esteem, school achievement, cognitive development and behaviour.

  • Glogee

    Thanks ID&Thelma, for today’s piece on parenting. I reconnected with my mum’s way of correction that has stuck with me and helped me in bringing up my own daughter. Like your thought that we should be open to the particular mode of correction that works for you. Well done guys.

  • Affiong John Abakasanga

    This caught my attention, “so let your teaching align with your living .” I can still remember the discipline of not staying out late at night given to me by my parents via hot spanking and the talking. Today, I find it difficult to stay out late at night especially when my husband’s not around. My parent’s correction has made me responsible today and I pray that I train my children even more than my parents did. Parenting must deliberate and intentional to achieve the desired result. Thank you my Pastors for this reminder and a wonderful call to service. God bless you and load you with more wisdom! Have a lovely weekend.

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