phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Spare the rod, save Social Services resources - short term!

Posted by James Briggs on May 14, 2004

In Reply to: Spare the rod, save Social Services resources - short term! posted by Lewis on May 14, 2004

: : : : Hi, I would like to kindly request from you the meaning of the phrase 'spare the rod,spoil the child'.
: : : : Thank you for your cooperation.

: : : Solomon (Prov. xiii. 24) says: ?He that spareth the rod hateth his son;? but Samuel Butler, in his Hudibras (pt. ii. canto 1, line 843), says: 1
: : : ?Love is a boy, by poets styled,
: : : Then spare the rod, and spoil the child.?

: : : From

: : : My interpretation is that a good parent who loves his child pays attention and guides the child's behavior in the right direction. A good shepherd uses a rod to direct his sheep to the right path.
: : :

: : Before it became illegal in many places, corporal punishment was inflicted by parents and teachers on children who misbehaved. The punishment usually consisted of slapping the child on the hands or legs with a cane or rod. The belief was that children who were not disciplined in this manner would become spoiled brats.

: ...which a lot did.

: it is not simply that corporal punishment is necessary, but that discipline, however maintained, is. failing to give 'boundaries' results in indiscipline - they are for guidance and to discourage potentially harmful behaviour. failing to give a lead through discipline is 'neglect'. there is a difference between corporal punishment and child abuse and it is not always easy to differentiate. just because it is not easy to distinguish the difference in all cases does not mean that they should be regarded as synonymous.

: I had a degree of physical chastisement as a child and recognised that there was 'good' and 'bad' behaviour without ever thinking that I was rejected by my parents. I grew up a disciplined person and think that my parents did a good job of raising me. Some kids had no discipline at home and made big mistakes as a result - most of them coped to some degree, but not all. how 'kind' was it for their parents to neglect discipline?

I always think of the many natural history TV programmes that the BBC excels in making. How often do we see the mother cuff a cub in order to disipline the youngster? If we go too far along the current road we're travelling, then we're going in the face of our evolutionary history - beware!