“Is Gentle Parenting even Biblical?” “If you aren’t spanking your children you are not obeying the Bible.” “Are you reading the same Bible I’m reading?” “I think you’re trusting modern psychology more than the Word of God.” “You’re just picking and choosing which verses to obey.”
Have you heard these questions before? Maybe you’ve asked theses questions yourself. I asked some of these questions when I first learned about Gentle Parenting.
There are details and nuances In the Greek language there are often missed in English. One of these is what is known as the imperative mood. Imperatives are used frequently in order to express a command, or prohibition. If we want to know how to live in obedience to the Word of God, we must take the time to learn what verses are commands.
In the New Testament Paul, Peter, and James collectively give more than 25 commands to be gentle, compassionate, kind, and respectful. These imperatives are not suggestions and they come with no signifiers. When Paul writes “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” there is no clause that excludes children. When Peter says “Show proper respect to everyone.” he doesn’t add a disclaimer that excludes children.
In fact, Paul consistently turns the cultural view of children upside down when he instructs fathers to be mindful of their children’s emotional needs!
While there are more than 25 commands to be kind, gentle, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and empathetic, there are exactly zero commands to be harsh, to hit (spank), to yell at, to coerce, manipulate, or shame children.
Gentle parenting IS Christian Parenting.