Why ‘Biblical Parenting’ Can Be Described As Child Abuse
Some people say and believe that biblical scriptures and related verses contain more wisdom compared to most if not all child-development books ever written and published. Since the biblical passages are created from the heart of God, it is believed to be an ideal manual for parents to shape the will of the children without breaking the spirit.
According to Dr. James Dobson, the Scriptures highlighted three concepts when it comes to biblical parenting. In the article published on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, the three concepts were "the authority of parents is endorsed, discipline is in the best interest of children and discipline must not be harsh and destructive to the child's spirit."
Despite these concepts, Unfundamentalist Parenting blog writer Cindy Brandt believed that biblical parenting is a "horrible" way of child-rearing. In her article posted on Patheos, the social justice Christian and feminist detailed why it "sucked" to be a child in biblical times, saying "the way children were treated throughout the Bible were mostly horrible to our modern sensibilities."
To further explain her belief, Brandt cited Abraham's intention of killing his own son as a sacrifice to God in Genesis, as well as the genocide of children in Exodus where the Pharaoh ordered the "infanticide of baby boys across Egypt." The genocide was then repeated during the birth of Jesus.
Brandt also highlighted the verse used by conservative Christian families to validate the biblical notion of corporal punishments, particularly the spanking of children. In fact, she distressingly described biblical parenting as "child abuse."
"In [Proverbs] chapter 13 verse 24, 'whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them,'" Brandt wrote. "This is the seminal Scripture passage used to justify spanking and other forms of authoritative parenting in much of conservative Christian parenting literature."
Even though there have been several studies about the potential dangers brought by corporal punishments, Brandt said Christians still defend spanking as a "legitimate form of discipline" because it is written in the Bible. But the author stressed the Bible is not a "parenting manual."
Despite Brandt's thoughts on biblical parenting, she also gave tips on how parents should interpret the Scriptures to apply in the concept of parenting nowadays. Brandt emphasized to "digest" the stories in the Bible as a whole. She also urged parents not to pick up the "dreaded rod" in the name of biblical parenting.
Brandt, however, was not the first one to share her own take on the issues of biblical parenting. According to a 2013 Fox News article, contributor Emerson Eggerichs wrote biblical parenting has really nothing to do with children. Although Eggerich believed God has given humans the perfect parenting plan through His Word, he stressed God's plan didn't guarantee a perfect family saying, "Parenting God's way means that we follow His plan regardless of the choices our children make."
What are your thoughts on biblical parenting? Do you agree that it could be described as child abuse? Feel free to share your thoughts below.