The Rod Is Kinder Than Yelling

Proving That Spanking is Gentler than Yelling


The word among many “experts” is that spanking is bad. Sometimes there are unintended consequences to a widespread societal change. (Click here for a video that gives the big picture on why society should not be run entirely by “experts”, no matter how much they may try to guilt you into thinking that it should.)


Yelling Is the New Spanking

Many parents yell at their children because they have an aversion to spanking. Rejecting spanking as a possible solution, their frustration mounts because of their inability to handle the situation, and it boils over into yelling.

NBC’s Today reported Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions as saying, “Yelling is the new spanking. It’s sort of the go-to strategy for parents… I think (this) definitely is a generation of yellers.”

Many of our interactions with our children while they are younger will be corrective, and if every corrective action comes with an exasperated, angry tone then that may well become the tone that we use on our children the majority of the time. Yelling takes this further in an attempt to make our voice itself one of the primary methods of discipline. argues that yelling is “ineffective because kids tune it out. And when the tone is angry, insulting or sarcastic, it feels like rejection.”


A Better Method of Child Training and Discipline

While I am generally not a yeller even when I am angry, there have been times when my control has slipped and my frustration has boiled over to the point where I have said things like, “It’s not that hard! What is going on with you? Just pick up the spoon and take a bite!”

Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom.” Effective reproof shows the child what she did wrong, and does not necessarily require anger and raised voices. Using the rod effectively and consistently shows that no matter how calm or lovingly Daddy states his commands, he expects to be obeyed every time.

While some may think that yelling is “at least” a kinder alternative to spanking, a yeller is actually more prone to heated emotions than a good spanker, and heated emotions can cause a parent to say things that he or she regrets later. Unthoughtful words can wound a child, while spanking actually helps to heal him. (Proverbs 20:30 – The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.)

After spanking my daughter, more often than not I will take her in my arms, and, speaking to her in a loving voice, will make sure she understands that I love her, that she needs to apologize for what she did wrong, etc. Why am I able to do that after I spank her?

Because the spanking is over.

It has a clear finish line, and, ideally, a clear beginning (at the transgression, not after the buildup of parental emotion that occurs when a child is allowed to repeatedly disobey). Yelling is not like that. The emotions are so heated that there is not a clear line when it is over.

Our children should not receive a parent’s bad mood as a penalty for misbehavior.

The motive should always be correction and training, and it should come out of a heart of love for the child.


But What About the Experts?

Don’t be deceived by modern America’s rejection of spanking. (Click here for a wonderful and well-researched article on the subject of spanking and the “experts” written by Michael Pearl.) Science, while ideally dealing in the realm of facts, is often very biased. The motive for a lot of “scientific” studies is money, proving someone wrong, or “confirming” what a group of people want to be true.

One of the good points which Michael Pearl brings up in his article is, if the people used in a study are all in the prison system, and the main fact extrapolated is that the majority of them were spanked, that is confirmation bias. The majority of Americans were spanked, let alone those in the prison system, so how is that an indicator that spanked children go to prison more often than those who were not spanked?

Not to mention that the spanking methods of many parents are to wait until their frustration and anger hits a point where the spanking is not done out of love and a desire to train, but, like soldiers on a battlefield, these parents are just laying down covering fire to give themselves some temporary relief. (Another illustration by Michael Pearl.)

Bro. Pearl’s article points to better studies that have been done (even by people who disagreed with spanking).


Why Would a Believer Question God’s Word?

The results of these better studies give credence to the Bible. But the believer should not have to look to science to “prove” God’s Word, though genuine, honest science so often does. Romans 3:4 says, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” 1 Corinthians 3:19-21 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.” Everyone on planet earth could think that you were wrong for believing the Bible, yet you would be right and they would be wrong.

This should give us such a peace regarding our children if we are following the Bible’s instructions regarding how to raise them, train them, discipline them, and teach them about God. Sometimes I have questioned the method of discipline that I employ, but I have come to realize that, while I might improve my restraint, my attitude, my patience, and how I express my love, questioning the rod of discipline is questioning God Himself.

There are six passages in Proverbs that advocate using the “rod” (which I take to mean any reasonable spanking instrument) for discipline. These are Pro 13:24, Pro 19:18, Pro 20:30, Pro 22:15, Pro 23:13-14, and Pro 29:17. Hebrews 12:10-11 shows us that true chastisement will seem “grievous” to the one being chastised. There is no Scripture that I know of that directly speaks of any method of child discipline other than the rod. That’s not to say that it is wrong to use other types, only that it is right to use this one.

Those who say that “the rod” is entirely metaphorical are stretching things a bit, I believe. When the Scripture says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying,” I have difficulty imagining another method of discipline that would consistently produce the type of crying which my soul would want to spare for.

For a great Christian book on training up children that also includes sound methods of consistently employing the rod, I highly recommend Michael Pearl’s book, To Train Up a Child (affiliate link). My wife and I use it, and it was given to us by my brother-in-law; he has seven children in his household whose good behavior and attitudes speak for themselves. It is controversial, but so were a lot of good things.


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  1. Alexandra

    You may not be aware, but the Pearls’ teachings have been connected with three deaths in Christian, homeschooling families (Sean Paddock, Lydia Schatz, and Hana Williams.). I am convinced these parents started out just like you and me — loving and well-meaning, wanting to raise their children in a Biblical way.

    Sadly, when Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings, when applied consistently and as written, can easily lead well-intentioned, Christian parents to actual child abuse.

    Now, I know your immediate reaction is going to be defensive, because you’ve found something helpful in the Pearls’ writings. I get that. It is hard for you to imagine that someone who teaches “tying heart strings” can be read in a way that leads loving parents to the point of abuse.

    I humbly ask you to proceed with caution. . . and do more research on the Pearls’, their teachings, their (mis)use of the Bible, and how many families have been harmed by their extra-Biblical teachings.

    Grace and Peace

  2. David Odum
    David Odum03-06-2017

    Hi Alexandra, and thank you so much for the comment!

    Yes, I am aware of the deaths. Certainly, if one is already pre-disposed to abuse, I would NOT recommend this book. In fact, I would not even recommend a list of Bible passages on discipline to such a person unless accompanied by appropriate commentary. I would recommend that they first seek Jesus Christ, and second seek to overcome the abusive spirit. Without the Holy Ghost as our guide, teaching us His own truths and producing godly fruit in our lives, the Bible can be (mis)used to harm, and not just children. History will attest to that.

    As William Branham once said, I would rather have the right spirit and the wrong doctrine, than the right doctrine and the wrong spirit.

    I am also aware of some of the other accusations against them, and my answer to that is that there may be no book about the Bible that I agree with 100%, and to my knowledge every denomination out there has some false teaching or other, whether in creed or in emphasis or in widespread and encouraged belief among their people. Personally, however, I am very glad I found the book when I did, and that is why I recommend it.

    To anyone reading, however, yes: there is a line. There is an exception to almost every truth. When spanking, pain WITHOUT HARM is the objective, and sometimes a different kind of intervention might be necessary in addition to spanking so that the spanking does not end up causing harm. For example, once my daughter was being hysterical and would not obey a simple command, and finally I had to take her hand and force her to pick up the food that she had dropped, bring her to the trash can, and turn her hand to throw it away. Not sure why. Kids aren’t always rational. After that, though, it was much easier to get her to pick up the rest of the food.

    Hope this helps. Thanks again, Alexandra, for bringing that up!

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