Republishing my thoughts and feelings about punishing our children

Posted On July 17, 2007

Filed under Facts, faith, home and family, news

Comments Dropped 8 responses

I first published my thoughts and feelings about this last week. However, as it was part of a much wider and bigger post I am uncertain how many people saw it and I would like your feedback.


One of my bloggie friends wrote “I can think of many times when I have withheld punishment on my own children in public because of what I thought others would think of me”


As I pointed out to her she is a good mum. I think we are forced to sometimes withhold punishment. I feel we are drawn to do this because of the way the government makes the laws. And how busy bodies feel it is their duty to interfere with a “normal” parent/child interaction. These busy bodies could even be our own children. Whom are resentful for the way they have been parented.


I don’t feel it is right that governments should dictate how we parent our children. Most parents love caring and sensitive to their children’s well being but we are put in a position of being scared about what we can and cannot do because of the law of the land.


I know only too well how our reputations can get tarnished in a blink of an eye. We can be accused of not parenting our children the way some people think we should far too easily and quickly. There has been some discussion over the fact that by correcting our children in public we may be drawing a spectacle of ourselves or them. I don’t think that correcting our children in public however is making a spectacle. If anything it would be our children that would be doing that. They would getting punished because of throwing a patty, or committing a misdemeanor. These activities can not usually be done in a quiet way by a toddler or child. While I do believe in correcting children when they misbehave I also firmly do not believe in shaming children in public. All that does is humiliate them and that teaches them nothing at all. I feel that what should be done is the child should be taken somewhere private and dealt with immediately.


I think with the government (talking about the New Zealand government as I don’t know much about other countries ones) and their laws regarding what a parent is allowed and not allowed to do with their children causes a lot of us to now raise our children in fear. We should be allowed to punish our own children (within reasonable limits) as we see fit. As an aside note it does grieve me to read and hear about some people (whom shouldn’t be parents) abuse their children. But the normal parent wouldn’t do that yet we can’t punish our children without being fearful of the consequences. If we are viewed to be over stepping the mark and may I add is there even a mark these days then we could face our children being taken away from us. In New Zealand even time out is viewed as kidnapping.


However, I fear this will all lead to a generation that have no respect for their elders. To a generation that are not well-behaved and have no self-control. Contrary to what some people believe (even ministers) I do believe that God expects us to punish and correct our children when they misbehave. God’s word says “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” the rod can be an actual smack or our rods of suitable punishment. But it comes back to the original statement can we actually do this because of the way we may be viewed by others???


I do not think that punishing our children in public is “airing ones laundry.” I think that if a child is misbehaving anywhere the parent should have the right to punish and correct that child right there and then. This does not mean I would smack my child in a shop but even taking it to a more private place in a public place may be seen as incorrect. However, for some children to “wait until you get home” lessens the impact of what they have done. And I for one will not stand aside while my child misbehaves. To do so only asks for more trouble. God corrects us because He loves us. I love my children therefore I punish and correct them when they do wrong. But deep within me is that fear of how it may be viewed. What the consequences may be (to my family and I) if I simply correct my child in a public place. Any place really if someone views how I am raising my children as not correct in their eyes.


What do you think and feel about this???


8 Responses to “Republishing my thoughts and feelings about punishing our children”

  1. Mike

    I agree. But most of the time, when my 4-year old or 2-year old misbehaves in public, I try not to embarass them in front of others.


  2. Connie Barris

    Wow… tough… I know for me.. it came down to a very personal decision… because each of my children were / are (still have one at home) different thus requiring different needs….

    What worked for one didn’t/ doesn’t work for the other..

    I think sometimes natural consequences are enough, with the love and affirmation and direction….

    then, I think just as God showed Eli in the Bible that his lack of direction of his children were not pleasing to God… that is a good lesson for us.. we too must decide how we must teach our children…

    Does it need to be immediate? I don’t necessarily think so…Does I think it reflects on me… not always.. I think I am honoring my child’s spirit and still teaching them a lesson…

    but this is my belief….

    I truly believe in teaching, raising my children with respect. Of course, love. And allowing them the opportunity to discuss the situation unless it’s blatant disobedience.. then we bypass that…

    Hope this helps…


  3. Amy

    wow this is an interesting topic Jen. No doubt you’ll get lots of personal thoughts and opinions. My dh and I do not punish our children in public, if they are behaving disrespectfully or rude etc we pull them aside and quietly speak to them about it usually in another room or whatever. My kids are usually pretty good they don’t play up much but I do find that punishing them in front of others creates embarrassment and anger. Taking away privileges is a good one as long as you find out what the child’s particular currency is (as Dr Phil says). The governments idea of banning smacking unfortunately is a bad one because I think that it won’t stop the people who are beating, abusing and/or killing their kids. What they will find is that with the good parents (who are administering the discipline in the right way) by arresting them they will create a society worse than it is today where kids won’t be respectful of authority or their elders and they won’t be afraid to do something wrong. If there isn’t a consequence there’s no learning right from wrong.

  4. jenny®

    In my country, no one really cares how parents punish their kids. Our neighbors wasn’t that nosy about it. Parents their believed that they need to spank their kids to respect the elders or listen to their parents. Here, I’ve been warned by hubby to be careful and not to do that. I usually give my kids time out when they’re being naughty. If too much to handle, I pass them to hubby and asks him to get them away from me for a minute,lol! Great post to ponder!

  5. Mary

    Now I’m wondering what, pertaining to parenthood, is against the law in NZ. So far in the US, we’re okay to spank, but I never do in public. I wait till we’re back to the car (referring to toddlers here)and deal with it in relative privacy. I do take my toddler out of church and to a back room for a swat now and then, works like a charm!

    Spanking being politically incorrect is on the rise here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s treated as abuse in the very near future. I guess we’ll be having to choose God’s way or government’s way if that happens. My children and I were just talking about it on the way to VBS tonight…they’ve seen enough child-terrors running around to know that discipline softens the rough edges and is very necessary. Both girls were horrified to think that children could be removed from their homes because of spanking becoming illegal.

    It’s a tough call, but I don’t recommend spanking in public. Even a 12 month old has a good memory and can remember upon arriving home that the way they acted in the store was unacceptable. Most 12 months olds anyway, each parent knows what their child is capable of.

  6. Gretchen Hanna

    Hi Jen,

    I agree a lot with Connie re: the individual child. No one knows our children like their parents do. Also, while I try not to embarrass my children in public, if it’s a matter of respect or safety, I tend to correct them more immediately and, perhaps, sharply. At the end of the day, I always figure 2 things: 1. They’re fed, clothed, sheltered, and loved. and 2. They could have worse. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but as parents, we beat ourselves up over every little mistake, and we’re not going to be perfect. My kids see me fail every day; what’s different about how I’m raising them (from the way I was raised), is that I apologize, review the proper thing to do (when I have stumbled), and we pray about it. We also pray about their stumbles. I was never prayed with as a kid, and I think it helps. It certainly makes sense to me to go to the ultimate Father for parenting advice. 🙂

    ON another note, re: your above post. I empathize with the rain-blues you’re having. Take care, and know that it will pass.


  7. jenz

    thanks for your feedback friends

  8. And Miles To Go....

    I really think you are right on the money about this. great post.

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