When the Spanking Stopped, All Hell Broke Lose
Narrator: Six thousand years — the lifespan of civilization. And in that time, one generation brings to life the generation to follow.
Mothers brood over little ones. Fathers teach right from wrong. Parents, as best they can, train their offspring not to be brutes, curbing their little cruel impulses and their selfish desires. Civilization.
Boy: I always loved working with my father. The white snow, the beautiful trees, the hard work. And every once and a while, a little freedom…
Father: Finish unloading, son. I’ll be right back.
Boy: Oh no! I knew I shouldn’t…. how can I tell my father?
Father: I’m not mad about that window, but I’m going to spank you because you weren’t a faithful son. But you will be one day.
Narrator: And throughout these ages the wise ones took in hand a slender sprig, a bending reed, a small instrument, to correct the little ones who went astray, to teach them early that they must answer for their actions.
The wisdom of the ages. Generation passing to generation a heritage of lessons gathered: self-control, respect, justice, even compassion — lessons never learned apart from suffering.
Boy: I’m so thankful for my father. He would always tell me, ‘There’s consequences for every action, so make good choices.” He never got angry with me, though. And looking back, I love him so much.
Narrator: Once upon a time, there were fathers. Proverbs 22:6 explains what every good parent knows instinctively: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Training up one’s children meant much more than just spanking them when they did wrong. It meant meeting their needs, showing affection, and teaching them all they need to know about life. But it included discipline to train them to rule over their selfish passions until they are capable of doing so themselves.
Once upon a time, parents, teachers, and police officers all exercised good authority over children. The reason they ruled was not because they were physically bigger and stronger, but to reward good behavior and punish the bad.
Andy Griffith: Well, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll just let it go at a warning this time. But if I catch any of you doing any more of this, I’m going straight to your daddies. I reckon you know what that means. Yessir – that means you’re in for a whippin’.
Narrator: Sometimes children rebel. When two wills conflict, there is only one winner. Quelling the first signs of rebellion would restore peace.
Nell said he packed you some work clothes in this case. You best get changed and we’ll be ready to go.
I prefer to wear what I have on.
Well, I don’t prefer it, and you work for me. And as long as you do, you’ll do as I say.
And if I don’t?!
Then I will have to bare your bottom and give you a whipping. I expect you changed and downstairs in five minutes
Narrator: Without this spanking, rebellion would increase, and frustration and anger would result, separating the parent from the child.
“Watch out! That is not our vehicle!! You do not hit…Don’t…”
“Get up!” “Get up!” “No” “Get his hand…”
Narrator: Once upon a time, there were fathers, and fathers fathered, and fathers disciplined their children because they loved them.
When people hear of discipline, they often have a negative image in their mind from a movie they watched or a story they heard from someone. They see a frustrated, enraged parent beating their child into obedience.
But try a different picture. Proper discipline is different. The parent is at peace, with love in his heart, and with his emotions under control. “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope.” (Proverbs 19:18 NIV) The discipline of a loving parent brings consequences without injury. It brings peace and releases forgiveness.
In the Bible it says whoever “spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to disciplines him.” (Proverb13:24) Fathers who hate their children won’t discipline them.
Narrator Two: According to Hebrews 12, only an illegitimate child, also called a bastard, grew up without fatherly discipline, and he often turned out to be a selfish brat. In the twentieth century, many forces combined that made illegitimate children out of nearly everyone.
Part 2: Opening Pandora’s Box
Narrator Four: In 1946 Dr. Benjamin Spock published his first book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. Well documented but little known are his years spent studying the psychoanalytic training of Sigmund Freud. Yes, Spock’s warm and folksy style introduced millions of unsuspecting parents to Freudian psychology. The book was an immediate success, selling over 50 million copies to date, making it the best-selling book of the twentieth century, second only to the Bible. “Spock, don’t spank,” became a popular phrase. Dr. Spock’s views of permissive parenting and against physical discipline of children have shaped the methodology of every generation of parents since then.
I can tell you where I got my ideas. In the first place, I was brought up very sternly and strictly by a New England couple, especially my fiercely moralistic mother. Although some people have said, “I suppose that this book is a protest against the way you were brought up,” that’s only a third of it…I thought that there must be easier ways, more pleasant ways to bring up children, than the rather severe oppressive way that my mother used.
In the 60’s, society saw the first effects of a generation raised under these new ideas. The young people revolted against many of the morals and values of their parents. Riots and protests filled the streets. The boundaries of the covenant of marriage were broken down. Psychedelic drugs were explored to broaden awareness. This new age dawning carried the promise of lifting society to a new level of peace on earth. But the movement never got off the ground.
Woodstock afterwards…the garden was trashed.
The frustrated idealism of the 60’s turned to unabashed self-gratification in the 70’s and 80’s. The “Me” generation was concerned about “self-fulfillment” instead of social responsibility. The typical American family suffered drastically. In pursuit of a career, women left the home and entered the workplace, competing with men for the same jobs. But the unexpected casualty was the death of the “typical American home”.
In the 1950’s, divorce had been rare, single parenthood unknown. In the 1980’s, almost one-fourth of the nation’s children lived with only one parent. By the year 2014, at least 40% of marriages end in divorce, and 33% of children go to bed each night without their father in the home.
Fatherlessness has become an epidemic. The list of deviant behaviors linked to fatherlessness is long and well-established. Those children trained to follow the values of their selfish nature found it hard to keep their marriage covenants. Harder still was to exert the effort to control their own children. Instead of spanking their children, the weakened parents followed the advice of Spock and Freud to “try to talk things out.”
Bam! Right in my arm. It actually left a mark for 20 minutes, but about 20 minutes, but 20 minutes later it was fine.
Backing up, you said I’m not the boss of me. I am the boss of you. When a mother says to be quiet, she’s the boss of you and you need to listen to that.
I never said that…
And when a teacher says something, she’s the boss of you…
Shut up! Give me a turn to speak! Fine, see! You do that to me. How does it feel? How does it feel to be told to ‘shut up’?
As Benjamin Spock saw the sickening fruit of his “easier and more pleasant way” of childtraining, he lamented, “It’s professional people — like me — who have gotten the parents afraid of their children’s hostility, and I don’t know if we can undo it. Pandora’s Box has been opened.”
Part 3: Sweden Shows the Results are Coming in
Narrator: Sweden was the first country to ban spanking in the home in 1979. Campaigns explaining the ban to all citizens have been ongoing since that time. Sweden has restricted violent media, implemented anti-bullying campaigns, and banned “war toys.” If there was ever a nation to bear the fruit of banning discipline, surely Sweden is it.
Behind every spanking ban is the theory of cultural spillover, which says that whatever happens in the family — good or bad — eventually spills over into society. But what is spilling out in Sweden will surprise you.
Forbidding parents’ use of corporal punishment has led to increased violence in society! Crimes of all kinds have seen steady and dramatic rises in Sweden since 1979.
Rape has increased six-fold after the spanking ban. In a third of reported rapes, the victim is younger than 15. Sweden is now the rape capital of Europe, also coming in first place for Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
- Violent Assault more than tripled after the spanking ban, to a level four times that of America.
- Vandalism tripled after the spanking ban.
- Narcotics has increased nearly four-fold after the spanking ban.
- The reported cases of Child Abuse within the family increased 1648%.
- Youth on youth violence increased 481% by those youths who grew up without spanking.
Unrestrained by parental authority, undisciplined for their misdeeds, a new generation of Swedish youth and adults has grown up. The cultural spillover is exactly the opposite of what was expected. The rebellion and selfishness of the family is spilling out in society. This is what happens when you take away the parents’ authority to lovingly and properly raise their children.
Swedish psychologists are sounding the alarm that Sweden is raising a nation of self-centered brats.
Don’t think for a moment that Sweden’s disastrous experience will even be noticed by anti-spanking campaigners or by the United Nations.
When the Spanking Stopped, All Hell Broke Loose
Sweden may have been the first country to outlaw spanking, but it is not the only place on earth where the spanking stopped. Because of Dr. Spock and others like him, many schools and parents have abandoned, forgotten, and outlawed this age-old practice. And Sweden is not the only place where negative behaviors are on the rise.
In the past 50 years, teenage pregnancy has soared. Today, nearly 4 out of 10 teenage girls are getting pregnant before age 20, and about a quarter of these teenage pregnancies end in abortion. The abortion rate would probably be higher if it weren’t for the widespread-availability of contraceptives in school, allowing youth to avoid the unwanted consequences.
Teenagers and children are being left to themselves. Solomon wrote the proverb, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” What would he say to the packs of youth that are left unattended for hours riding their skateboards around, or the hours of time spent in front of the television or video games? Would he warn us of the troubles to come?
Some parents may be glad that we have Ritalin and Adderall to help the children control themselves. Though some doctors are floored by how much it is prescribed. Nearly one in five high school boys are diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed drugs. The adults may not realize the chemistry behind these drugs, but the youth certainly do. Adderall is chemically identical to amphetamines (known on the street as “speed”). It is America’s most abused drug.
But what would happen if all those teenage boys came off their Ritalin? What would happen without this new soma for our Brave New World?
Jefferson County 911
Yes, I’m a teacher at Columbine High School. There is a student here with a gun.
- Columbine, Colorado, 1999. Two teenagers killed 13 students and wounded 24 in a 49-minute shooting spree. They had hoped to kill thousands, had their bombs worked. They were not bullied. They were good students. But they were left to themselves, and they surely brought shame to their parents. The parents were sued for $1.56 million. The victims’ families claimed the parents should have known what their children were doing.
- Erfurt, Germany, 2002. A 19-year-old shot and killed 13 teachers, 2 students, and 1 police officer before killing himself. His parents did not even know he had been expelled from the school six months before. He was left to himself and loved violent video games.
- Emsdetten, Germany, 2006. An 18-year-old shot and wounded 5 people before killing himself. He “spent most of his waking hours” left to himself playing violent video games.
- Winnenden, Germany, 2009. A 17-year-old shot and killed 16, wounding nine others, then killing himself. One coach remembered him as “a bit spoiled,” with his mother fulfilling many of his demands.
- Sandy Hook, Connecticut, 2012. A 20-year-old killed his mother, then 20 elementary school children and six adults before killing himself. He was left to himself and played violent video games.
These events are distressing. The big question remains – “why is this happening?” When the spanking stopped, all hell broke loose.
In the Last Days, Perilous Times Will Come
In 1989, the United Nations passed a human-rights treaty called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 19 calls upon all States to take all appropriate measures to protect the child from all forms of violence.
But corporal punishment is not mentioned specifically, so it becomes a question of interpretation. For centuries, loving parents spanked their children, and neglecting your children was the crime. Would the UN really seek to outlaw this centuries-old practice? To equate parental discipline with child abuse seems a huge leap. How arrogant to say that our generation knows better that all the rest? Especially in light of this generation’s failures in raising children.
However, the eighteen-person Committee on the Rights of the Child, the highest authority of interpretation of the Convention’s wording, is dictating policy for parents of the whole world. Their interpretation is not cautious or vague, but very precise and very extensive.
General Comment 8 redefines parental authority as violence. “Corporal punishment is any punishment in which force is used to cause some degree of pain, however light.” And, “Corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment are forms of violence and States must take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to eliminate them.” In other words, make spanking illegal everywhere.
- Eighteen people who believe it is their right to tell more than seven billion others what good parenting is and what it is not,
- eighteen people whose opinions are viewed by the naïve as “the conscience of the world,”
- eighteen people who want to ban discipline and so annul the Word of God in the eyes of whoever is foolish enough to think it can be annulled.
Possibly the most perverted action a government could take is to make a law against parental discipline. To date, 34 countries have outlawed all corporal punishment in the home. What used to be the mark of a good parent for centuries could soon be illegal. The change of law and morality ushers in the perilous times where good people are punished instead of being praised, and bad actions are rewarded.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness! (Isaiah 5:20)
If you had a child, and you loved him, where would you want him to spend eternity? Would you want him to go to eternal death or eternal life? There is a promise to those who love their children enough to disciple them:
Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reed-like] rod, he will not die. You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his life from Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead). Proverbs 23:13-14
What do you think happens to a person after they die? Like the ripples in a pond, our bad choices set in motion many consequences that shape our eternal character. All true parents will do all they can to deliver their children.
Our Communities in Germany
The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of international communities, who live together, sharing all things in common and following the Biblical pattern of the early church in Acts 2 and 4. Many of us were hopeless and frustrated by the alarming trends in society, until we saw a true demonstration of love in the Twelve Tribes. Here, we found solutions for life’s problems by returning to a simple obedience to God’s commands in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. We have seen good fruit in our marriages, our families, and our lives in general. This brand new culture started in the United States, but spread to many other countries, including Germany.
*We love the verse in Malachi 4:5-6 that says if we turn our hearts to our children, they will turn their hearts back to us. We don’t want to send our children away to school, but we educate them ourselves. Our children are not left to themselves, but they enjoy a rich life together with their parents and friends.
We follow the faith of Abraham, who was chosen in Genesis 18:19 to “command his children and his household”. Commanding your children requires the ability to punish disobedience. Otherwise, a parent really doesn’t have authority over his children.
Like Sweden and other countries, Germany outlawed spanking in the home in the year 2000. Fathers and mothers who choose to spank their children can be charged with a crime, and their children taken away by the powerful Youth Office, the Jugendamt.
On September 5, 2013, 100 armed German police officers came into our homes in Klosterzimmern and Woernitz with a judge’s authorization to seize any and all children living there. There were no names on the warrant. There was no attempt at negotiation. There was no warning, and no way out. One guest and two families visiting from Spain and Argentina were caught in this dragnet and had their children taken away as well as every other child who lived there. All were put in foster homes. In all, 35 children and youth were taken away from their families, homes, and friends. They were examined that day by doctors who pronounced them healthy and respectful. But the children were not returned. The reason – the parents’ beliefs on corporal punishment.
The nursing mothers were allowed to remain with their babies in a state-run institution. Then, again without notice, a second raid came on December 9, more brutal than the first and without any warrant. A nursing baby was literally torn off of its mother’s breast, and a child with a life-threatening medical condition was not allowed even to say goodbye to his mother. Crying siblings were split up. Even the people at the institution were appalled, knowing full well the trauma being inflicted upon the stunned and defenseless children.
The children are trusting our God, just like their parents. They drew beautiful cards, love notes for their parents. The youth wrote letters to the judges and even Chancellor Angela Merkel, begging to be returned to their home. Risking their lives, they have run away from the foster homes. They have fled to other states, even other countries, but been tracked down and hauled back against their will. Families have been split up. You can read their stories at http://news.twelvetribes.org.
Months later, these children are still held in institutions for troubled children, experiencing mistreatment and violence for the first time in their lives.
These children are unhailed martyrs for the sake of the German people, standing for the cause of conscience and freedom to obey God’s word. Will the good German people stand up for what is right, or will they cower back and do nothing as they did under the Nazis? To some, it seems that the parents are on trial. But in God’s eyes, it is the character of Germany itself that is being judged. It would seem the Bible itself should be illegal in Germany, because it promotes breaking their law.
After the Nazis lost the war, the German Constitution, called the Basic Law, was imposed upon Germany by the Allies, in order to assure that a powerful regime would never again trounce upon human rights.
Article 4 of the Basic Law states that the “undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed”. This right is for the protection of God’s people who obey His commandments by faith, as well as all good people who obey their conscience.
Article 6 states that “Children may be separated from their families … only if the parents or guardians fail in their duties or the children are otherwise in danger of serious neglect.” It is yet to be seen if Germany will live up to its own Basic Law.
Proverbs 13:24 says that “he who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
We have plead with the judges and officers, “Shall we hate our children, Your Honor? We want to love our children. Why are you telling us to hate our children? Shall we disobey the Word of God?”
The law against spanking is a law against the wisdom of Solomon, and against the scientific facts, and it is a law against love.
For a more complete analysis of the increase in crime in Sweden since spanking was outlawed, please read the article “Cultural Spillover” on our website. The statistics on crime in Sweden were taken from the Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention, called the Brå. The report from 2008, entitled “Brottsutvecklingen i Sverge fram till år 2007,” can be downloaded from their website www.bra.se.
Writing, Narration and Production Team: Tim & Rachel Kroehler, Lisa Emerson, Sharon Brosseau, Robert Chambers, Edward Wawro, Kevin Carlin.