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Do Certain Children Not Need Spankings?

By Dr. Don and Debbi Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
All children are sinners and need to receive spankings. There are no exceptions to God’s rule.

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If our desire as Christian parents it to raise up children who, as the Bible describes it, will be the foundations for many godly generations, we must grasp the full significance of the first part of Proverbs 22:15,

Foolishness (rebellion) is bound up in the heart of a child.

Rebellion resides in the heart of every child without exception.

Have you ever heard someone comment, “One of my children never needed a spanking because he (or she) was always so well-behaved?”


I cringe when I hear a parent say, “Kevin was always such a good boy as he was growing up. Even though I had to spank my other three children, I never had to spank him once.” While it is certainly true that Kevin may naturally have been more gentle-spirited and even-tempered than his siblings, we can be certain that Kevin has always had a corrupt heart and a fallen nature.


Consider the words of Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Kevin’s rebellion was perhaps more passive than his brothers’ and sisters’, but he was no less foolish or rebellious. God tells us it is so in His Word, and we must believe it if we hope to raise God-honoring children.

God commands parents to administer physical discipline to their children.

In Proverbs 23:13,14, God provides further instruction for parents who desire to discipline His way,

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. You shall spank him with the rod, and deliver his soul from death.

My wife and I have found these two verses to be particularly encouraging when we spank the more “dramatic” of our ten children. They want us to think they are dying.


Parents ought to praise God that when they properly implement His designated instrument, the rod of reproof, it is an effective means for guiding children away from sin and directing them toward repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.


Children are marvelous treasures and gifts from God. He has the blueprint for how we are to train them.

We read in 1 Corinthians 4:2,

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Children are a sacred trust from God. They are a gift from His hand and a reward to husbands and wives. God planned each one of them before He laid the foundations of the earth. He created them. They are His workmanship. He saw all of them when they were yet hidden in their mother’s womb. He even numbered the hairs on their heads—and He gave parents specific directions for how to raise them for His glory and pleasure.


Dr. Don Dunlap, a pioneer in the placement of Pastoral Counselors in the offices of Christian physicians, has conducted over twenty thousand appointments during his ministerial career. His counseling practice includes adults, children and families in crisis. Dr. Dunlap is committed to facilitating a network of telephone counselors. His goal is to provide help for the many people unable to meet face to face with a competent Bible-based counselor. For a complete library of Dr. Dunlap’s articles, indexed by topic, go to Family Counseling Ministries. You may also make an appointment for personal telephone counseling by clicking on Family Counseling Ministries. Family Counseling Ministries is a ministry Partner.

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