About the author


Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


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    I am in disagreeance with one particular part of this article, and would love to hear what others think. Why does the child need to understand “in biblical terminology”??? I personally think the jargon heavy ways of some Christians is a small part of what separates them from others in that NOT GOOD way….

    Otherwise, I have to say yes, consistent punishment in love not anger is the best way, and spanking can have its place in this area.

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    Thanks for the article Ben, a good reminder and a good encouragement to exercise Biblical discipline – its easy to get sloppy in this area. I’m sure all parents struggle with consistency to some degree like I do!

    I take Greg’s point, I think what is said to a child when they are disciplined very much depends on what they can understand. When they’re little, say 2-3 years old they simply need to understand “children obey your parents” – if they can get that truth locked in they’re very much on the way to having a proper attitude to all kinds of authority. As their understanding develops they can be introduced more and more to the “why” and the “how” – that informs Biblical discipline.

    I personally worry about the parenting approaches that want to turn every discipline event (verbal or physical) into a spiritual/theological learning experience. I fear it can overburden and over-cook children in Christian homes.

    A young child simply needs swift punishment performed lovingly, a short explanation (before & after) and then reassurance of love. The deeper reasons for disciplining and the spiritual lessons ought to come as the child matures and probably when they have outgrown the rod.

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    Robert Apps

    I remember speaking to a Christian man who had 4 kids (all grown up) and serving Christ. they are all vibrant believers.

    he said he never quoted the Bible or gave them scriptural admonitions when he disciplined. He said the offence was between him and his kids and that is how he dealt with it.

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    Ben Kwok

    sounds odd, Rob! I assume there was sufficient instruction otherwise…

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    Good post Ben. As the father of a 3 year old and a 8 month old, I am very inexperienced and just beginning the journey with my kids, so it’s good to hear about practical ways to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

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    How sad to hear that Scripture did not have a place in his disciplining of the children and that the offence was “just between him and the kids”. I hope that was not an example you were planning to imitate with your sons.

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    Peter M.

    @Alana – I’m pretty sure I am one of the four children of the man Rob refers to in his comment and I can assure that the discipline I received prepared me exceptionally well for the life God had for me. I am in full-time ministry, all my siblings are active in ministry in their local churches and one has spent a significant period of time working with missionaries in a third-world country.

    (Even if Rob is not referring to my father – his description of the disciplinary method the man employed is exactly how we were disciplined.)

    The moral of the story is that the only book that definitely ought to be followed in disciplining children is THE book – and there is probably room for multiple methods in implementing what the Book says.

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    Jason Harris

    Helpful discussion.

    I was interested to see that Priolo believes spanking is necessary (as opposed to merely an appropriate option). I’d be interested in seeing a biblical case made for this.


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