Parenting In A Changing Society

My how the times have changed since I was a child; our society is trying to redefine family as the uniting of a man and man or woman and woman. We have more split families, with stepparents and with grandparents raising their grandchildren. The change in family values of many Americans—from close-knit to distant families—has negatively affected American society, causing a rise in teen pregnancy, family violence, grandparents raising their grandkids, and a redefining of the American family from a mother and father to a possible father and father or mother and mother. We have gone from families sitting down together at the dinner table and discussing the day’s work and school experiences to individual family members eating dinner alone on the sofa and watching the “junk box”. Does the word “family” in America still have the same definition it used to have; a place of comfort, safety, reassurance, and companionship? We all have seen the drastic changes that have taken place within the family and the consequences of God being taken out of our society. It is particularly evident in the increase of violence in the home and teen pregnancy. This also pertains to our church family.

American family values of the past were centered on building a great foundation for the children, which included God. The foundation for children also consisted of healthy, responsible, capable, functional, loving, and attentive parents and grandparents who worked to instill such principles as fidelity, responsibility, delayed gratification, altruism, religious piety, and respect for others in their children at an early age. The past generation understood you can’t build a family without the orientation of God, the family can’t survive in our society and we can see it in today’s society. Here are some of the things that are happening in families: father’s molesting their daughters and sons, a grandson shot his grandmother for telling him what to do, a father killed by his son over a slice of pie, a mother raped by her son because he had a fight with his brother, teachers having sex with students, and we have heard many terrible things that are happening in families.

Many parents fear spanking a child for a fear of being reported to the government and having their children taken away. Do not misunderstand me; I am by no means advocating child abuse. A child should never be disciplined physically to a point of physical bruising and severe pain. According to the Bible, the appropriate and restrained physical discipline of children is a good thing, and contributes to the health and welfare of the child. Many scriptures in the Bible encourage the physical disciplining of children. “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them, they will scream and holler, but we as parents must understand physical discipline is needed sometimes to correct a child…Physical discipline may well save them from death.” There are other verses in the Bible that support physical discipline of a child (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, and 20:30).

Children who aren’t disciplined grow up rebellious, have no respect for authority, and as a result obviously will not be readily willing to obey and follow God. God uses discipline to correct us and lead us down the right path, and to also encourage repentance for our actions (Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 1:7, 6:23, 12:1, 13:1, 15:5; Isaiah 38:16; Hebrews 12:9). These are a few verses describing the good of discipline. Many parents are either too passive or aggressive when it comes to raising their children. “To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child” (Proverbs 29:15). Discipline is used to correct and train people to go in the right way. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11). God’s discipline loves, as it should be between parent and child. Spanking should never be used to cause lasting physical harm or pain, but a quick swat (on the bottom where there is the most padding) to teach the child that what he did was wrong and is unacceptable. Never should it be used to vent our anger and frustrations, or be uncontrolled.

“And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Raising a child in the “discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” includes restrained, corrective, and yes loving, physical discipline.

“For the lack of discipline in our children there is a steady demise of the family unit in these modern time of Sodom and Gomorrah”, as stated by Jeremy Brown.