Friday, September 12, 2008

I've got something to say, I spanked a baby today

Ever notice how an old song keeps popping up as other bands cover it? Maybe it starts as a punk song, then a heavy metal artist covers it, and then, who knows who?

Christian parenting is very much like a frequently-covered song. The same melody pops up over and over from generation to generation. While the ideas may be packaged in sweeter, more acceptable terminology, the basic message is the same. Infant spanking dates back to people such as Susannah Wesley, who taught her children to fear the rod before they were a year of age.

Ted Tripp’s book is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Let’s look at the “how” of Tripp’s discipline method for babies. Please remember that this advice applies to infants and toddlers.

Once a parent has established a rebellious motivation for an infant’s actions, Tripp emphasizes that it is now the parent’s duty to “save” the child from the evil of his own heart. The child must be restored to the proper relationship with her parents, one of submission.

Babies, emphasizes Tripp, must be trained to be submissive literally from birth.

He says:
p.134 “Acquaint your children with authority and submission when they are infants. This training starts the day you bring them home from the hospital.”

We will not discuss the frightening implications of this statement, namely that parents must somehow act on newborn babies to make them submissive to the parental will.

Tripp believes that the primary (perhaps only) tool to rescue children from rebellion is spanking. This applies to all children, regardless of age, but he particularly recommends it for small children, because it’s “tactile”. Yes, you heard that right. “Tactile”.

Let’s look at the “rod” process for babies and children as described in Tripp’s book:

The child or baby is taken to a private place. (We will discuss the key reason for this in a later post.)
The child or baby is stripped of clothing such as pants, underpants or diapers so that naked flesh is exposed.
The child or baby is slapped on the buttocks hard enough and long enough to cause pain and crying.

Tripp makes it clear that it is to inflict pain. He speaks disparagingly of parents who do not remove the baby’s diaper beforehand.

He says:
p.114 “I have witnessed spankings administered through a double layer of diapers to a child who never stopped moving long enough to know he had been spanked. The spanking was ineffective because the parents never made the rod felt.”

In Tripp’s parenting model, the parent who does not inflict sufficient pain is viewed as a weakling too unloving to properly drive wickedness from the heart of the baby or child.

The most righteous parent is the one most determined to inflict proper pain.

(Quotes are taken from Ted Tripp’s book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart.)

No comments: