Spanking - DCS Propaganda Evalutaion




Department of Child Services Propaganda On Spanking Evaluated


I spent considerable time evaluating the DCS case workers's document since this would appear that it presents the views of DCS at least in Daviess county. In talking with the head of DCS in Davies County about this document I was told that such documents, though they do not reflect the Indiana citizen’s rights to spank their children, are necessary to stop parents who get carried away with their spanking and abuse their child. When this document was given to DCS personnel on the state level, I was told that this is not a DCS document and in no way should be used by any local branch of the DCS or anyone associated with it. Likewise, this was the sentiment of both the house and state representatives of Daviess County when they viewed the document as well as the Governor’s office. In fact one legislature stated that this document is illegal for anyone working for or on behalf of the government of Indiana to use in carrying out their duties.

I found in my research that this is the common position of many secular universities and on the surface this information looks legitimate. However, upon closer review this document is riddled with all kinds of bias, inaccurate and false statements, and no documentation. DCS is evidently hoping that those they hand it out to will accept this propaganda as "gospel truth" and adopt their "politically correct view on child discipline. The following should more than adequately prove the fallacy and shoddy research reflective of this document. 

1) The statement "scientists believe". This is a common ploy used to make a weak position appear strong. It fails for two reasons. #1, not all scientists hold to the position stated in this document. In fact many hold to just the opposite as I will document later. #2: scientists are not always right. Our society often holds up a scientist's word as "gospel truth" but history has shown that scientists are often wrong. Take for example the scientists who forecast the weather and say it will rain when it does not. Besides all of this, the final authority on this matter is not the word of a fallible scientist, but rather the Word of the all knowing perfect Creator God. If God designed us then the Bible is His operation manual no how we should live.

2) This document is based on research that is flawed and thus its results are inaccurate. The research done on the matter of spanking and its long term effects on children fails to understand what the Bible teaches on spanking and discipline. Those who do this research lump spanking, slapping, hitting, physical abuse, violence, punishment and even emotional abuse as all and the same and nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible teaches that spanking is an appropriate form of discipline as long as it accompanied with love and proper instruction. Children who were raised in homes where this biblical principle is practiced show no more long term ill effects then children who were never spanked. I would add, that when this was the common practice in this country the problems of child initiated violence in the home, school, and community were virtually non existent. No one before the 70’s would have ever dreamed of children killing other children and their teachers in a school environment. 

The Bible never condones slapping faces, hitting in order to punish, nor does it ever condone the abuse of a child whether it be physical, emotional, or mental. In Prov. 3:12, God says that all discipline should be accompanied with love for the child. God says in Prov. 13:24 that to spare the rod shows that the parent does not truly love his child. Thus when the Christian parent spanks his child he is doing so to chastise or correct the wrong behavior of the child and to direct him in the right path to follow. Punishment, on the other hand is to gain an ounce of pain for every ounce of wrong committed by the child. This document and the research that backs it up does not understand the difference between these two concepts so it results in skewed and inaccurate findings. For more information on this faulty approach to research please check out the following web links spanking,, 

3) This document violates the separation of Church and State. When the Government begins to tell parents what the Bible does or does not say it cross over the boundary that the founding fathers established in the Constitution. It is not the jurisdiction for the Government or any of its agencies to tell people what is or is not taught in the Bible.

4) This document is full inaccuracies. A few examples will illustrate this clearly.

a. It declares as fact that the Bible never teaches spanking as seen in the following quote:

“I hit my children because it is in the Bible.” LOOK AGAIN! “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is the single most misquoted and misunderstood phrase in religious literature. The actual verse that appears in the Bible is Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son; but he who loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” The Hebrew translation of the Proverbs offers several interpretations for the word “rod”. “Rod” was, at times, interpreted as a scepter, which is a symbol of power not of violence. Rod also meant “staff”, a stick with a curved top used by shepherds to guide and lead their sheep. Some translated “rod” as an actual stick, while others interpreted “rod” as a symbol of guidance. Many members of the clergy, advocate guidance as a modern day interpretation, believing that children need guidance not violence.”

i. The Hebrew word for rod, shibtow, has the following meanings based on BDB, the leading Hebrew Lexicon: “a rod, a staff, a branch, an offshoot, a club, a scepter, a tribe”. How the writer of Proverbs use this Hebrew term must be determined by the context of both the sentence and the book in which it is found. Those who wrote the previously quoted paragraph have “conveniently” left out the other passages in Proverbs that clearly indicate what the author had in mind when he wrote proverbs 13:24. Note the following.

Prov 3:12, “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (NKJV) – please note the understanding of this passage by the writer of Hebrews in 12:6 when he quotes this verse,“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” - the term “scourges”does not imply “guidance” but rather physical punishment.

Prov 10:13, “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has under-standing, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.” (NKJV) – “a rod for the back makes sense” but a “guidance” for the back does not!

Prov 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” (NKJV) - in this case if guidance” is in mind than we have a translation of “the guidance of correction” which misses the whole idea of the context

Prov 23:13, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.” (NKJV) – how does one “beat or smite” a child with “guidance”?

Prov 23:14, “You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.” (NKJV) - again how does one “beat or smite” a child with “guidance”?

Prov 26:3. “A whip for the horse, A bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the fool's back.” (NKJV) 

ii. It is clear that the writer of Proverbs was speaking of a rod or stick when talking of discipline and that he was advising the use of corporeal discipline (physical spanking). In other words, spanking is endorsed both in the Old and New Testaments alike and is the only correct understanding of Prov. 13:24.

b. In the section on "I hit my child to prepare them for the real world", they make the mistake of equating biblical spanking with violence. Biblical spanking is not violence!

i. Violence is not designed to benefit the recipient but rather to inflict evil. It seeks to punish, injure, and even destroy but never to help (Prov. 16:29; Psa. 55:9-12 Rev. 18:21) Spanking on the other hand is an act of Love (Prov. 3:12) that is intended to help the recipient and never designed to injury or destroy.

ii. Violence is a perversion of justice – it denies the individual’s rights (Prov. 21:7;Ecc. 5:8) whereas spanking is an act of justice – it adds to the individual's rights (Prov. 13:24).

iii. Violence is hated by God (Rom. 1:30; Psa. 11:5) but God does endorses chastisement (Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:6)

c. In the section, "Myth, occasional spanking is good for children", the writer states "The word good indicates that something pleasant is happing to the children. . . Being hit never feels good. Hitting has no long term value in teaching desirable behaviors." 

i. First of all, the writer evidently does not understand that the word "good" has more than one meaning. If good only mean's "pleasure" than he is right when he says that spanking a child is not good or pleasurable. However, I would say it is good to go to a dentist on a regular basis yet I would not call it pleasurable! 

ii. Also it should be noted that pain can be a good and long term tool for teaching appropriate behavior. For example, I know a child who fought his parents when it came to brushing his teeth. Then he developed cavities and some root canals which were very painful. Now this child is running his parents into the poor house buying him toothpaste to use. It took pain to drive home the need for brushing his teeth daily. Many of the valuable lessons that have stuck with this evaluator have come through painful experiences that I will not forget.

d. In the section on myths and facts, they indicate it is better to stay away from spanking altogether because it may get out of hand and the parent may end up abusing the child. I understand that many parents do abuse their children physically in a number of ways including hitting. However, just because some abuse something does not mean the method is necessarily wrong or should be practiced. After all, some people abuse medicine, alcohol, automobiles, knives, and the list could go on and on. Does this mean that we should stop using these things as well so that no one abuses them or abuses others with them?

e. On page 23-26, the writer indicates that spanking devalues the parents, devalues the child, and creates a distance between the parent and child. Let me speak from experience that I was spanked as a child many times but I never once felt devalued by neither did I ever feel that it stood between me and my parents. My relationship with my parents is very strong. However, that is not just my testimony, but the testimony of many whose parents used biblical spanking to discipline their children. More importantly than this, regardless of what man may think on this matter God's Word says, " Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect." (Heb 12:9).

f. On page 24-26, the writer states, "Hitting becomes bad memories that will remain forever." If he is talking about physical abuse I would agree but in the context he is also addressing spanking. I have not bad memories about being spanked as a child and in fact I sometimes even laugh when I remember when it happened. In asking my congregation how many had nightmares about being spanked by their parents not a one replied.

5) This document espouses a view that is inconsistent with the law of the State of Indiana. As one state official I talked with about this document stated, "no govt. agency has any business handing out this overly biased document." I believe it is DCS prejudicial disregard for the laws that they are supposed to up hold that has lead to much abuse of parental rights. In light of this bias it is no wonder that so often good parents who spank their children become easy targets for DCS.

6) Finally, this document flies in the face of the ruling of the Supreme Court of Indiana of June 10, 2008 in the case of Sophia Willis v. State of Indiana which ruled that a parent not only has a right to spank their child using an object but even to the point of temporary bruising. Check out the following link which posts the ruling of the Indiana Supreme Court: