“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Correction of children must not be neglected if they are to be kept away from destructive habits and conduct. “He that spareth the rod” refers to a father who restrains himself from using a rod (referring to a stick or a small branch used for spanking a child). At times, it would take the pain inflicted by the use of a rod to drive out unwholesome behaviour from children. As an old saying goes, “Gold must be beaten, and a boy needs blows.”
Some men argue that they would not spank (or apply the rod on) their children because they love their children. There are also children who think that their parents spank them because they do not love them. However, the Scriptures tell us that “he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Not to apply the rod when a child stubbornly errs in his conduct does not reflect at all a loving or caring attitude. Every parent and child should know that it is the love and care for children’s good conduct that make it necessary for physical disciplining to be applied. To really care for the child, in the view of Proverbs, the father must be prepared to use physical correction.
The Bible repeatedly insists, just as in this verse, that bodily punishment is essential to the upbringing and training of children (cf. 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15). A loving parent inflicts temporary discomfort on his children (by spanking with a rod) to spare them the long-term disasters of an undisciplined life. Refusal to discipline one’s child when he needs it shows that a parent’s genuine love and concern are questionable.