By Marnita Coleman

In sharing with friends about the controversial topic “spare the rod spoil the child,” I’ve found that many of us grew up in an era where “spankings” were the dominant method of disciplining children. It seems that African Americans were infamous for beating their children to straighten them out. Granny used a switch (a thin branch from a tree), Pop-Pop used his leather belt, and countless Mama’s used their God-given hands. They would tear our tails up, then throw in some reverse psychology saying it was necessary, and, somehow, it hurt them more than it hurt us.

Proverbs 13:24 reads, “He that spares the rod hates his son; but he that loves him corrects him early in good time.” (Photo Cred: diverseeducation.com)

Old school parents didn’t hesitate to correct their children. It was either their way or the highway. As we reminisce as adults about all the whoppins’ we endured over the years, the stories were hilarious, to say the least. In retrospect, we knew that our parents were acting out of love. Even though our butts were sore for days, we would fully comply to our parents wishes and demands out of respect, and also because it was our wrongdoing that brought on the whopping in the first place. One gentleman told the story of how his father tied him up with his hands above his head and beat him black and blue. He admitted that, as a young man, he was spiraling out of control headed for the penitentiary. In fact, his two best friends, at the tender age of 16 and 17, received 20-year sentences for robbing and murdering a taxicab driver. If the young man’s parents had not been the no-nonsense disciplinarians that they were, he would have been guilty by association.

The posture of today’s parents lean towards emotional stability. To them, corporal punishment is abusive and teaches violence. They want to raise children in a non-violent way, and simply instructing them on good decision making. Psychologists, educators, politicians, and the media have brainwashed the parents of today to think that corporal punishment does more harm than good. Therefore, they prefer implementing reasonable things like “time outs.”

According to the Child Development Institute, “time out” means a timeout from positive reinforcement. In other words, no rewards for a period of time. It is a procedure used to decrease the undesirable acts of our children.

Here are their guidelines: children from ages two to five years old should receive a two to five-minute timeout; kids ages six to eight years old, five minutes; and ages eight to 10 years old, 10 minutes; 10 to 14 years old, 10 to 20 minutes. Now, if the older ones are too big for time out, removing their electronics is recommended.

I acknowledge that things have changed: not every child requires a spanking to redirect their behavior. In some cases, a time out gets the job done, however, with this generation, we have to go back to some old ways of parenting. Proverbs 13:24 reads, “He that spares the rod hates his son; but he that loves him corrects him early in good time.” The word “rod” in Hebrew is shebet, used for describing a shepherd’s staff, which is a slender stick, not a lethal weapon.

The point is that correction comes from loving your children, desiring their best, and being selfless enough to do whatever it takes to keep them on the right path. It’s more than mushy sentiments because foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, as also stated in Proverbs 22:15, but the rod of correction drives all of that nonsense far from them. If the concept of time out, invented over 60 years ago, was enough to correct a child’s behavior, we would see a different generation.

When your children need tough love, spank their butts and don’t let up over their crying either. That sounded harsh but realize you are saving them from poor decisions, dire consequences, and mass destruction. Your correction is not because they are bad children, but more so because you are a good parent who loves them enough to save them from themselves.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Afro-American Newspapers.