Quoting Quiverfull: The Right Way to Spank?

Quoting Quiverfull: The Right Way to Spank? November 16, 2014

hittingkidsfrom Focus on the Family – The Biblical Approach to Spanking

Where in the Bible does it lay out how to spank your children?

5. Flick your wrist. This is an extremely practical method that will save you a lot of second-guessing. Remember the point of a spanking: It’s to sting, to provide a painful deterrent to misbe­havior, not to injure.

The Bible never implies that the rod of discipline should be violent. It offers no specifics about how hard a spanking should be, and there’s no reason to assume that it’s talking about a brutal form of punishment. Just the opposite, in fact. A parent who reaches back and swings hard is acting out of anger and frustration, not out of love and desire for the child’s welfare. That’s unbiblical by anyone’s definition.

When you spank, use a wooden spoon or some other appropri­ately sized paddle and flick your wrist. That’s all the force you need. It ought to hurt — an especially difficult goal for mothers to accept —  and it’s okay if it produces a few tears and sniffles. If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t really discipline, and ultimately it isn’t very loving because it will not be effective in modifying the child’s behavior.

Have the child lean over his bed and make sure you apply the discipline with a quick flick of the wrist to the fatty tissue of the buttocks, where a sting can occur without doing any damage to the body. You want to be calm, in control, and focused as you firmly spank your child, being very careful to respect his body.

As your children get older and begin to think more abstractly, spanking becomes less effective and less necessary. A preteen is probably getting past the spank­ing stage and more into the lost-privilege approach. But if you’ve done your job earlier in their lives, spanking will have become less necessary at that point anyway. A firm, grace-controlled hand of discipline in early years, combined with a loving atti­tude, will usually prevent or soften the rebellion of later years.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, influential bloggers and cultural enforcers and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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  • SAO

    The problem with most spanking advice is that it uses spanking as the first choice of discipline. 1-2-3 Magic is a great book for how to discipline kids without spanking. It even deals with kids who throw monumental temper tantrums when requested to have a time-out.

    There’s been extensive research on child development and psychology since the Bible was written. Why not take advantage of that?

  • Nea

    being very careful to respect his body. … while you are deliberately injuring it.

    an especially difficult goal for mothers to accept …. because their every instinct is to not deliberately hurt their own child.

    Finish the sentences, dude.

  • Trollface McGee

    I don’t understand how a calm and premeditated assault is better than an out-of-control one. Yes, a parent who loses it and harms a child is bad and the parent should be punished and hopefully learn to manage their anger. But this is advocating that a parent should plan the assault, and also plan to minimise the evidence and plan for a repeated pattern of assaults… on a child. That’s cold, and cruel and sadistic.

  • Trollface McGee

    One of his problems as to why people have a hard time spanking their kid is “Too softhearted to inflict pain on my child”…. like that’s a bad thing.
    And now I need a kitten.

  • Giliell

    I think the insistence that it mustn’t be “violent” or “brutal” really shows were the goal lies: in breaking them psychologically.
    My mother’s spankings never hurt that much. No belts, or larger objects, usually just the hand. I didn’t cry because of pain. I was a wild free-range kid, I hurt myself more falling down trees or misjudging the speed of my bicicle.
    No, the thing that really hurt was being made powerless, subjugated. What hurt was being told that I “needed to be spanked regularly or there was no living with me”. What damaged me was not the physical punishment. What damaged me was that the person I relied on the most instilled this idea of me being fundamentally bad and broken into me. Via spanking.

  • Anonyme

    My mom used to subscribe to FoF’s magazine when I and my four older siblings were growing up (we were homeschooled, but not in the messed-up super-sheltered way that the Duggars, Pearls and other super-fundies advocate). The paper magazine was mostly full of the usual ‘sensation pieces’ (public schools are brainwashing kids! Christian children are being persecuted in public school! The nuclear family is being attacked!). Even so I didn’t think FoF would advocate spanking.

  • Saraquill

    I read this and think of the school that electrocutes its inmates students under the guise of “correction” and “out of concern for the inmates students’ welfare.” Whoever says it, I don’t buy it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    There is no right way to spank. You don’t hit kids. Ever. It doesn’t matter if they’re related to you or not.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The problem with spanking advice is that it advocates abusing kids.

  • Jenny Islander

    A while back I got curious about the history of spanking children. If spanking = Biblical and Biblical = Middle East going as far back as the height of Sumerian and Pharaonic power and as far forward as the Roman Empire, then spanking must be in there somewhere–right? Not having many graven images to look at from Israel itself, I instead looked at page after page of ancient art: Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman.

    I saw donkeys being whacked on their bony butts with sticks. I saw, and read about, children being punished for disobedience or poor performance in school by having a cane applied to their backs. I saw adult figures apparently intended as clownish (satyrs, drunks, etc.) using one another’s buttocks as drums. But I never once saw or read any reference to a child being bent over a bed or a lap and whacked on the behind with a hand or an implement. Well, OK, maybe only God’s chosen people spanked their children. But if it was an unusual practice restricted to Jews, shouldn’t the art of surrounding cultures have shown it at least once as a way of emphasizing the funny foreignness of those Hebrews? After all, Egyptians, for example, made much of the funny hairdos and clothing and jewelry and body shapes and so forth of the foreigners who visited their land. But no–not one picture.

    Gosh, it’s almost as though people didn’t spank their children.

  • LOTS of kittens. Lots and LOTS of kittens. And puppies.

  • Nea

    Dobson is a FoF founder and has become rich telling people to abuse anything weaker than themselves, animal or human.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wasn’t Dobson the one who loudly bragged about beating the family dog? A small breed of dog, at that.

  • Trollface McGee
  • A dachshund. An *elderly* dachshund. For which I would PERSONALLY show him just what poor Siggie suffered, if I had the power. So it’s probably just as well that I don’t.

    Poor Siggie.

  • Oh my word!!! That is the most adorable little ball of fluff in the whole world!!!!!!! Almost cuter than my Annie, if it were even possible!!!


  • Astrin Ymris

    You know, I was just thinking about that recently– in most historical writings, there are reference to kids being “beaten” but nothing specifying that the blows were to the bare buttocks. Kids had the ears boxed, got slapped, were flogged, and otherwise corporally punished in various ways, but they weren’t spanked as such.

    In fact, the earliest reference to buttock-slapping I found was that in pre-Christian Greece Pagan priests would attempt to cure sterile women by spanking them. I’m not certain whether this was meant to be punishment or erotic play.

    The Catholic church later allowed their own priests to spank female parishioners after confession as their “penance”. While this was ostensibly about punishment, the RCC has a long history of trouble with priests using the rite of confession as a way to sexually harass and molest women for their own gratification. This is actually why the confession booth was invented in the first place.

    Spanking later developed into a particularly demeaning way of inflicting painful punishment on adults of low degree– slaves, sailors, and prisoners– that was adopted by British boarding schools, and then exported all over the world during British Imperial period. Humiliation, shame and powerlessness has always been part and parcel of spanking people to punish them: It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.




  • Delphini

    I’m a fan of accuracy (though quite imperfect myself) so I have mixed reactions to this post. Focus on the Family has stated (still on their website) that they’re not necessarily against contraception as long as it does not act after conception occurs, so I’m not sure they can be described as “quiverfull.” However, they certainly deserve to be called out for their disgusting fixation/obsession on the supposedly marvelous importance of pounding away on young butt-cheeks (and my poor young ass was a FoF victim). I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were an influence on or have connections to people who are officially “quiverfull.” I know they were allied with Tony Perkins who has promoted and worked with the Duggars.

  • Baby_Raptor

    There are several problems with this.

    1) The importance they place on conception as the beginning of everything is one of the roots of the anti-female movement.

    2) The most reliable forms of BC have a small chance of doing something after conception.

    Basically, FotF is fine with condoms, some forms of the pill and vaginal filters. All of those are very easily sabotaged, the pill/the filter cannot be used by everyone and condoms rely on trusting a not always trustworthy partner.

    They just want to look less anti-female than their buddies so they pretend to be okay with BC overall.

  • Delphini

    This website featured answers on spanking from Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative Rabbis http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/79

    Here is what the Orthodox Rabbi wrote:
    “King Solomon states that ‘Whoever spares the rod hates his son but if you love him, you will chasten him at an early age’ (Proverbs 13:24). While this would seem to allow hitting one’s child in extreme situations, Jewish law takes very clear stands against the physical and emotional abuse of children, and thus hitting one’s children (beyond constraining them if they are acting wildly) stands outside normative Jewish practice. In addition, “rod” need not be taken literally, but as a metaphor to “tough love” and discipline – i.e. that parents have to teach their children appropriate behavior, and mustn’t let them run wild, as a lack of involvement leads to various negative consequences.”

    I have also read about several Christian scholars who are convinced the “rod” is only a metaphor/symbol and that the modern concept of hitting the buttocks (a private, erogenous zone of the body) is unbiblical.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Actually, as far as I can tell, all the pro-life evidence for a “post fertilization effect” for the IUD and hormonal contraception boils down to “You can’t prove that it’s NOT happening!”

    They view absence of evidence as positive proof.

  • Baby_Raptor

    They consider messing with the uterine lining to be a “post fertilization effect.” I know some forms of BC do that.

  • Astrin Ymris

    But they still can’t show that “breakthrough fertilizations” which fail to implant are occurring in these cases… or at least, are occuring at a higher than usual rate of non-implantation.


    Yeah, yeah– I know: There I go talking as if LOGIC had something to do with it! ;-D

  • Baby_Raptor

    Indeed. Logic doesn’t work well here. Logic would lead them to care about all the pregnancies that miscarry naturally instead of only crying tears over the ones we choose to prevent/end.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Yep. The “I never spank in anger” claim is one I truly do not understand. The last time someone said that to me, I suggested that perhaps she consider the possibility that she might be a sociopath. That remark was not well-received.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    When you think about what a rod was and how a shepherd used it, it’s clear. A shepherd used a rod to steer sheep in the right direction. Shepherds did not use the rod to beat the sheep. The sparing the rod is nothing more than failing to provide discipline. If you refuse to discipline your child, you spoil the child. However, discipline need not be physical or involve humiliation.

  • Evelyn

    I think the manufacturer brought that on themselves, claiming uterine inhospitality (is that a thing?) as a backup mechanism, without knowing whether it was really true. And now they can’t shake it, and nobody has done enough research to prove one way or the other. I’m referring to hormonal contraception. We *know* that a copper IUD works by interfering with implantation. (Edited to add that the science is not settled yet, but the manufacture claims (and the UN repeats) that a secondary mechanism of the copper IUD is uterine inhospitality, just like the hormonal IUD, and there is insufficient evidence to prove differently).

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…We *know* that a copper IUD works by interfering with implantation…”

    Er… no: Copper IUDs work by killing sperm.


  • Evelyn

    The United Nations Population Information Network and the manufacturers of Paragard claim that preventing implantation is a secondary effect, in case any sperm do sneak through. The science just isn’t solid yet to disprove this, and until it is, I have to err on the side of not causing abortion.

  • It could also be interpreted as the rod the parent uses to DEFEND their children. “Thy rod and thy staff; they comfort me”, taking comfort in knowing that someone stands to defend, as well as guide, them. That includes protecting one’s children from one’s self at times, too.

    But I realize that’s a shakier interpretation.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Well then, if “the science just isn’t solid yet”, it’s wrong to say “We *know* that a copper IUD works by interfering with implantation.”

  • Evelyn

    I edited my original post. As far as we know at this point, we cannot eliminate the possibility that a copper IUD interferes with implantation.

  • Astrin Ymris

    It’s my understanding that the post-fertilization effect is just speculation. Some women DO get pregnant with an IUD in place, and we know a large percentage of fertilized eggs never implant anyway. Given this, we know the question isn’t an absolute one, but rather whether an IUD makes a viable blastocyst LESS LIKELY to implant successfully.

    Answering that requires large scale studies between two groups who are statistically identical except for one group having an IUD, who are monitored closely enough to detect each fertilization, and establish a fertilization:implantation ratio for both groups. More, it has to determine whether it was a viable fertilization, and not the doomed result of a dying sperm’s last gasp effort.

    In short, it would be a very expensive study, even if you could recruit a large enough suitable matched control group in the first place. It’ll probably never be done.

    It’s an unjust standard to demand that women not be allowed to use an IUD if they CHOOSE to on the grounds of an unproven (and possibly unprovable) “post-fertilization effect”.

  • SAO

    The parenting circles I was in considered spanking to be 2 or 3 firm (uncomfortable, but not painful) swats on the behind. The idea of not doing it in anger is that you didn’t apply too much force and you didn’t give more than a few swats. And you were doing it because the kid had broken a clear rule, not because you were running late, tired, stressed and your kid was driving you crazy with his whining because he was hungry and dinner late.

    I think discipline in anger is the cause of a lot of problem, particularly when followed up by parents who want to never admit they are wrong. Because kids will appreciate foolish consistency and never notice bad judgment or unfairness (yeah, right).

  • Jenny Islander

    Additionally, the word translated “rod” is sometimes used to mean a walking stick and metaphorically therefore the authority of the elder–compare “the White House says…”

  • Jenny Islander

    Furthermore, the details he feels free to volunteer show that he beat it because he had never properly trained it, because he had no fricking clue how to get a dog to listen or help it understand. And he is completely unaware of this.

    And he cites his treatment of the poor little dog as proof that he knows how authority works.

  • Smidnite

    One swat on the backside…