Regarding the “antiquated device for discipline” to which you referred in your letter, the flexible, plastic item you have chosen is better than nothing, but it’s good to keep in mind that whatever item is used, a two-fold impact (excuse the pun!) is intended; physical and psychological.
The latter works at the beginning; “My dad is upset, I’m in trouble, the word ‘spanking’ sounds like some discomfort is involved. so maybe I should change my ways. But as time passes, smart kids realize that with a flexible tool, it’s not so bad. Dad gets over it, it doesn’t really hurt much, so if I make a big noise, he’ll think he has done his job, and I can basically carry on the lifestyle I choose. We often find parents of prodigals who say: “But I did spank him…”
That is why the Scripture emphasizes a “rod” i.e., something inflexible. That way, the parent has the option
to use a very light touch and watch the result. For some children, that’s all that’s ever needed; Just knowing they have hurt the parent and are out of fellowship is all the pain required to cause them to choose the straight & narrow path.
But for strong willed kids, if there is a hint of “this is getting to be a game we play,” the parent can simply
turn up the heat a bit until the child concludes that pretending that pain isn’t painful, just isn’t working.
By the way, it amazes me that there are several things many people just don’t seem to get: The first is that there is in life a connection between behavior and consequences. “Regardless of behavior, I never spank the kid,” but when society “spanks” him off to prison, they want to know why THEY (society) aren’t so concerned about making him cry!
The second, (common among Christians) is the sort of spanking that produces no change of conduct; you know what I’m referring to: whap, whap, whap on a 4″ thick diaper. this is the real child abuse! What’s the point? Don’t keep repeating what you have already proved does not work! Breaking the will should not be a long war that disrupts the home. The child wants victory just as badly as you do!
Remember, all people (not just children) will learn to bend their will to the will of others in authority; the school teacher; the judge etc. It is a cruel parent that will not work at the job when the will is young and easy to mold, but passes the job on to others later in life when it’s slower going and more painful.
Blessings on you and your family;