Chapter 11 of the Shepherding a Child’s Heart Book Study is where things begin to get a bit controversial. It is in this chapter that Tripp covers the use of the “rod” in discipline, AKA spanking.
Since this is a controversial topic, I will merely give you a few key quotes I saw from this chapter and leave you to make up your own mind about this form of discipline:
The use of the rod signifies a faithful parent recognizing his child’s dangerous state and employing a God-given remedy The issue is not a parental insistence on being obeyed. The issue is the child’s need to be rescued from death – the death that results from rebellion left unchallenged in the heart.
The rod of correction brings wisdom to the child. It provides and immediate tactile demonstration of the foolishness of rebellion. Properly administered discipline humbles the heart of a child, making him subject to parental instruction.
My own personal take on this chapter is that while I do believe spanking has its uses (I won’t go into them right now), I disagree with Tripp’s use of the terms spanking (“the rod”) and discipline interchangeably. Spanking may be a form of discipline, but it is not the only form. He even quotes a verse in Hebrews 12 about how “the Lord disciplines those he loves” to support his use of the rod along with communication as mentioned in chapters 9 and 10. However, I personally have never seen the Lord literally use a literal rod to discipline his children (have you?). So the discipline in this verse must refer to other forms of discipline than physical spanking with the rod. At least thus far in the book, I do not see Tripp discussing many of these other methods that you can see in Scripture. I did appreciate, however, Tripp’s continued reminder that spanking should never be administered out of anger, retribution, or frustration, but out of a place of love.