Critiques of the 'First-Time Obedience' Principle

Advocates of instant obedience believe spiritual principles are at stake. Children are born with hearts full of self-will and rebellion. This must be trained out of them as early as possible so they will become obedient to God. Spanking from infancy is the recommended method of teaching first time obedience. There are serious cautions to be raised with this approach:

  • The developmental capacity of young children is not taken into account.
  • Frequent early punishment risks neurological damage to the young child.
  • A fear response is developed, instead of secure parent-child bonding and attachment.
  • The accompanying message to the child is that they are intrinsically 'bad'.
  • Because it is done in the context of Christian beliefs, the child internalizes the concept that God is essentially a punishing God.

Does Discipline Really Produce Godly Character?

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