How to Discipline Your Children – Part Eleven

Using the rod of discipline (Cont’d)

Here are some general guidelines when applying the rod of discipline. At the outset, let me emphasize that if applied appropriately, parents will seldom have to use this form of discipline. With our children, I only had to spank them a few times. The Lord did the rest in their little hearts and minds.

Apply to the fatty tissue of the buttocks.

I am a firm believer in limiting the rod of discipline to the fatty tissue of the buttocks. I think it is the safest place to administer a spanking.

I always advise against slapping children across the face or striking them on the head. Stay away from the head. There is something demeaning about it.

I once had to apply the rod of discipline to one of our daughters when she was still in diapers. I knew it was ineffective because she gave me a belligerent look after receiving the rod. I proceeded to take off her fully loaded cloth diaper and re-apply the rod very carefully. She then gave a repent cry and I never had to use the rod again.

Never apply repetitively.

The rod of discipline should not be applied more than one or two times in a singular act of discipline. Most times, one application should be sufficient. If properly applied, one or two swats will do.

Administer between the ages of 16 months to 10 years.

This is a general rule of thumb that varies widely depending on the child and the parents. James Dobson wrote: “The foundation has been laid during the first nine years that will then permit the general loosening of the lines of authority.” In other words, the rod of discipline is most effective within the first ten years of a child’s life.

Physical chastisement should be relatively infrequent in the years prior to puberty. I did not have to apply the rod of discipline to our daughters once they entered into kindergarten. In fact, for the most part, the rod of discipline was unnecessary past the age of four.

Something to think about and more to come…