In 1946 Dr. Benjamin Spock published his first book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, after ten years in practice as a pediatrician. Well documented but little known are his years spent studying and embracing the psychoanalytic training and mind of Sigmund Freud. Yes, Baby and Child Care brought Freudian psychology to millions in Dr. Spock's warm and folksy style. It was an immediate success, selling over 750,000 copies the first year, and over 50 million to date, making it the best-selling book of the twentieth century, aside from the Bible. Offering an idea of a new “flexible” way of parenting, Dr. Spock’s book, whether intentionally or not, paved the way for future generations of permissively raised children. “Spock, don’t spank,” became a popular phrase in the post-war period of the late 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Spock’s initial and persistent views of permissive parenting and against physical discipline of children have shaped the methodology of every generation of parents since then.
Then the United Nations Charter was signed on 26 June, 1945 by representatives of 50 countries, and the United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945. Proclaiming itself “committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights,”1 it was the dawning of the global government that, it was hoped, would forever prevent another devastating world war.
Regardless as to how it has succeeded or not with these stated goals, in 1989 the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which, among other things, elevated the rights of all children to at least the level of the rights of the parents and other adults within their society. One of its four general principles states that, “The best interest of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions or actions that affect the child or children as a group. This holds true whether decisions are made by governmental, administrative or judicial authorities, or by families themselves. (Article 3)”2
Additionally, Articles 13, 14, 15, 17 all state that the child, or state, has the right to overrule whatever restrictions parents may want to place on the child in their belief that it is in the best interest of their child. Article 19 can and has been widely interpreted to mean that physical discipline of a child is unlawful and states should protect children from their parent’s discipline. Article 24 can and has been interpreted to mean that states can and should overrule parents’ desires concerning the use of medical facilities and, specifically, immunization.
Article 28 specifically states that primary education is compulsory, regardless of the wishes of the parents.3 To date, there are only two nations which have not signed on to that convention, Somalia (which has no real legitimate government at present), and the United States. No wonder some parental rights organizations in the U.S. are pushing for a “Parental Rights Amendment” to the US Constitution.4
Of course there have been and continue to be many other factors which have influenced and directed the course that the nations of this world, especially in the Western Hemisphere, have taken. But these two things are very indicative of the reality that there is a very definite, on-going attack on the family and all it represents. Right down at the level of people's lives – their day to day decisions, including their children, this global effort is consciously trying to destroy the family, the very foundational unit which has been instrumental in societies in keeping their way of life going for all of recorded history. In just the span of a few short years, parents have been hoodwinked into thinking that disciplining their child is bad, that children have rights equal to or even beyond the parents’, and that the state knows better than the parent how to raise their children. According to this view, only “Experts” even know what values to give them and what things are detrimental to their well-being.
Both Dr. Spock and the United Nations agree completely that violence begets violence, and that all forms of physical discipline are wrong and should be eliminated. According to them, physical discipline, even for direct disobedience and outright rebellion, is counter-productive and actually teaches the one being disciplined to be more aggressive and violent. But any average person, using his common sense, should be suspicious of studies that claim spanking increases societal violence. Was there more violence and crime in the '50s and '60s than there is now? The answer, of course, is no. In the U.S. there is at least three times as much violent crime today as there was 30 years ago, while the population increased only 1.7 times.5 Media violence programming, fatherlessness, and steadily increasing single-parent families (usually the mom) are significant factors, too.
If the theory that more spanking equals more societal violence is correct, the '50s and '60s should have been a hellish period of violent crime. The whole of the twentieth century before, and on back through the past, too. But that is simply not the case; there is absolutely no support for that historically. Parents spanked more then. According to University of New Hampshire sociologist Professor Murray Straus, an outspoken anti-spanking advocate, 99 per cent of American parents spanked or used some form of corporal punishment in 1950; in 1999 everyone, including Straus, agrees that the use of corporal punishment and spanking has declined. Survey figures say that 70 to 90 per cent of parents now spank.
A careful look at U.S. crime statistics also refutes the idea that spanking equals more societal violence. Between 1985 and 1993, violent crime actually decreased by 20 per cent among males 25 or older, while it increased 65 per cent for males 18 to 24 and by 165 per cent for 14- to 17-year-old males. So those who grew up in a period of more spanking were, and are, less violent than younger people who have grown up in a period of declining approval for the practice of spanking. According to The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1994), “Young people age 16-24 consistently have the highest violent crime rates. Trends in these age groups vary from year to year, but the overall trend has been increasing. The rate for those age 12-15 was the highest ever in 1992; it was the highest ever for those age 16-19 in 1991.”
Not only that, but the violent crime rates for the youngest age groups are increasing, and nearly a quarter of all violent crimes occur either in the home or at school.6 While it is true that crime rates for violent crimes have fallen since 1992, over the past few years the trend has started back up again.
If the proponents of doing away with all forms of physical discipline are right, reducing the number of parents and other authorities who use physical discipline as a means of raising children and eliminating corporeal punishment either by legislation or changing mores, then in countries where this has happened, there should have been a corresponding decrease in societal violence as a result. And in countries where physical discipline is still legal and encouraged should have a corresponding increase in societal violence.
Consider Sweden, a historically nonviolent country and a favorite reference of anti-spanking advocates. The Swedish government outlawed spanking in 1979 and operated an extensive education program to wean parents away from corporal punishment. Since the ban, police reports of teen violence have soared six-fold, according to Statistics Sweden. That is a 600% increase in teen violence to put it in more familiar terms. Swedes say the May 2013 rioting was done by Swedes, both native and immigrant Swedes. All of whose parents were taught not to discipline their children in any way. Domestic violence has increased dramatically in Sweden. It's bad fruit there; big time.
Now consider Singapore, a small city-state in Southeast Asia. Singapore not only supports parental discipline in the family, but also includes judicial corporal punishment, including caning, for various violent offenses. There is a mandatory death penalty for murder. If anti-spanking advocates are right in their claims, then Singapore should be one of the most dangerous places to live in the world, right? Wrong! In 2011, in the World Justice Project’s rule of Law Index, Singapore was ranked in the top countries surveyed in “Order and Security,” “Absence of Corruption,” and “Effective Criminal Justice.” Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Telling, isn’t it?
So what is the real reason behind the apparent global attempt to restrict and even outlaw physical discipline in raising children? Are non-violence advocates so concerned about the effect that spanking your child when he is disobedient to your command will have on his little soul, or is there something much deeper at work? It seems like there is an all-out attack on the family, and the authority necessary in a family for it to continue to exist. If you take away a parent’s ability to require obedience from the child, then the family and all it stands for is effectively destroyed. And if you destroy the family, you destroy the society that depends on the family.
It is interesting to note that the greatest concentration of attack on the family is coming in the nations of Europe and North America, nations which have traditionally been Christian nations, and which have been the leading nations of the world for centuries. If the fabric of those societies can be undermined, then the entire world will be plunged into an even greater darkness than it is now. And it is a foundational concept in Christianity that parents’ authority over their children is paramount, and even more far-reaching than governmental authority, for parents have the God-given right and responsibility to rule over and require obedience from their children, while states only have authority to punish disobedience. God has given responsibility to parents to see to it that children obey them. He has given parents the right to enforce their child’s compliance to obey them in all things. Thus, the area within the boundaries and limits of parental authority is more extensive than any other institution. Governments do not have the right to force obedience, but only to punish disobedience. No other institution is given as much power as the parent. The subjects of all other institutions are to submit to authorities, but a child is commanded to obey, to be subject to his parents’ rulership.
Children must obey their parents until they are youths when they mature and become fruitful adults. They do not have mature wills, which are only developed through training and discipline. Children are by nature selfish. Parents not only have the right to rule in all things, but they also have the power to require obedience. This is God’s clear command in both the Old and New Covenants. No other institution has rulership over the children — not state, social agency, etc. Only the parents have that right to ultimate rulership. It is only if the parents give that right that another person can have it. The parents’ power over their children is accountable to government in the nations only through God’s law concerning incest, injury, or murder. If parents are brutally injuring their children, breaking, burning, or wounding them, then the government has the right to come in and correct the situation. Those are crimes like any other.
Parents are directly responsible to God for any misuse or abuse of their authority. But when government steps in and tries to force all parents to go against the command of God, then that government has itself overstepped its god-given authority to rule.
According to Proverbs 22:6, parents are to
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
If you do not train your child up right, you will rue his insolence; you will grieve over his haughty contempt, his rebellion. (Ecc’cus 30:13)
So then you ask the question, how do you train up a child in the way he should go? Well, the Bible is explicit about that as well.
Foolishness is firmly attached to a child’s heart. Spanking will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)
Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with a [reed-like] rod, and deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:12-14)
He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (Proverbs 13:24)
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:6-11)
These are just a few verses in both the Old and New Testaments which express God’s heart about child training. There are many others.7
According to Proverbs 13:24, a parent who doesn’t discipline their child actually hates that child. That is the Word of God. So when a government passes a law which prohibits the parents under their jurisdiction from disciplining their children, what that government is actually doing is telling parents they have to hate their children. It is then actually against the law to love your child!
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
We are indeed in those perilous times when whole generations of children are being raised disobedient to parents, not only through permissive parenting attitudes, but at the coercion of the state.
Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights… (Isaiah 10:1-2)
…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)