The parent who spares the rod does not only ruin the child, but also ruins a future relationship with the child. The parent who spares the rod hates his son, but he also hates himself. He denies his son the blessing of learning to submit and obey and he denies himself the blessing of a child with whom he shares a loving relationship.
I think she might actually hate her child. She sat beside me at the soccer game, her daughter competing against mine. Meanwhile, her son sat beside her. Or he did for a minute, at least, until he got up and began to look longingly at the concession stand. He demanded a treat, first plaintively, then insistently, then angrily. She protested for a while, saying something about not being his personal bank machine, but she caved soon enough and dug a few dollars out of her wallet. She told him to at least get something they could share. “I haven’t eaten yet today.” He wandered off and came back with a bag of jujubes. “But you know I can’t eat those,” she said. “Now I can’t share it with you.” He smiled.
It went on like this for the whole game. For an hour they bickered back and forth. For an hour she tried to control him with anger, with bribes, with threats. She tried to make him apologize for his offenses. He just didn’t care—he didn’t care that he was displeasing his mom. She didn’t care either—she didn’t care that I and the others around were squirming with discomfort as we heard it all unfold. By the end of the game it struck me that she might actually hate her own child. I’m not convinced he’s any more fond of his mother.
If we fail to discipline our children to obey us, we fail to discipline them to submit to God.
You know what Solomon says about parenting, that “whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24). To discipline our children is to love them; to fail to discipline our children is to fail to love them.