by Tom Plonski
Whenever we make a decision, there are always consequences. Whenever we obey or whenever we disobey, we do so because we made the decision to do it. Since all decisions have consequences, then whenever a person chooses to disobey, then also at the same time the person has chosen to accept the consequences. This is true even when the person does not realize he has chosen to accept the consequences.
Whenever we choose to disobey, then we also at the same time have chosen to accept the consequences.
Obedience is not natural to man. Obedience must be taught. The parent has the God-given responsibility to train the child to obey. When a child refuses to obey the parent, the child is really choosing to accept the consequences. When the child disobeys the parent, the parent immediately acquires the God-given responsibility to create and execute the consequences.
The purpose of punishment (consequences) is to be beneficial for training. The consequences need not be corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is seldom necessary and seldom appropriate. The consequenses should be fair and appropriate and proportionate. If the child does not perceive the consequences to be fair, appropriate, and proportionate, the consequences will have no beneficial effect. Indeed it might even have detrimental effect.
Those theorists who argue against ever using corporal punishment are arguing on the basis of their belief that corporal punishment is always detrimental. The example here is in animal training. If the trainer beats an animal, the animal will learn to avoid the trainer in the future. The result of beating an animal is not obedience but rather aversion to the master.
So, in the case of a parent training a child, the punishment must be used to instruct and not cause the child confusion or hatred towards the parent.
"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" - Bible It is usually unwise to threaten a child who is in the act of disobedience. It is better never to reveal ahead of time what the consequences will be. If the child does not obey out of respect or love or training then the obedient child is probably obeying out of fear. Fear of the unknown is always greater than fear of the known. So do not reveal the punishment ahead of time. Worrying about what the punishment will be is an important part of the punishment and an important part of the training.
"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." - Bible Here the bible is suggesting that sometimes avoiding corporal punishment might also be detrimental. Sometimes a well-timed, well-placed, harmless swat is a very appropriate non-verbal message regarding unacceptable behavior. (Especially appropriate for children below the age of reason.) Also: helping a child avoid appropriate consequences is not wise.
I invite you to read the other pages of my Happiness Essays. I hope they will help you to become the happiest person you can be.
Last modified: June 22, 2012