Breaking the Will

2008 source
"Critics say the church teaches a strict interpretation of the [sic]bible including the practice known as breaking the will of the child, with some advocating that it even be applied to infants as young as two weeks old." -- link from previous post

In answer to the question:

The phrase "breaking the will of a child" is used in the conservative fundamentalist Christian world.  One explanation I've heard compares this process with "breaking in a horse."  Children are born naturally stubborn and willful, like a wild bronco.  They are born to rebellion against God and consequently their parents.  A 6-month old child who arches his back during diaper-changing deserves smacking on the bare behind until he or she "submits" and relaxes without crying.  This gem of an idea (in this form) I've heard or read personally from a few, but most memorably in a revival meeting from the lips of  Ron Williams, the notorious bastard who founded the hell-house Hephzibah House (Winona Lake, Warsaw, Indiana).  

Hours of "spanking" are sometimes required to break a child's will.  Exempli gratia, the child who does not clean his or her room quickly and immediately enough deserves to be spanked for every 5 minutes taken to complete the task considered unnecessary by the parents.  This spanking process includes several hits to the backside of the child until the child is crying and has a posture of "submission" (CRINGING. WINCING). Then the child is ordered to stop crying.  Once the child has stopped crying (if he or she does not stop, whack'm some more!) the process is complete.  The child has acquiesced.  The gods are appeased.  The broken will is the ambiguous result of an assortment of these experiences.  Just as computer systems need updating, children need "attitude adjustments."

Some parents phase out spanking with age, others spank until their children are adolescents or beyond.  My last spanking was at the age of 14.  Let the Bible have the final words.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (KJV)
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Proverbs 22:15 (KJV)
15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV)
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15 (KJV)
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.


  1. Wow! They do this sort of thing at as young an age as two weeks old?!? A child's crys at that age are usually indicative of some physiological need...
    I remember some such sessions when I was 8 and a particular "rebel". My younger brother recieved many more due to his being "less submissive" than I was.
    Although I never thought of it as "breaking our will", looking back, that's exactly what it did. I grew up respectful, but afraid due to the correlation of such punishment with the love of god and my parents. In all fairness, though, this phenomenon isn't only present in IFB churches but also in many other Christian sects where mis-informed parents are just trying to do right by both God and their children. Until the bible can be interperated by these churches as having been written in the context of a society that cherished violence and superstition as well as devalued their women, this sort of ignorance will unfortunately continue.

  2. I am all too familiar with the breaking the will approach to child rearing. The Bible condones it, actually suggests it, and it stinks.

  3. where in the bible does it say to break a childs will by beating him from 2 weeks old?? how the hell is a two week old supposed to figure out he is not being tortured with a beating??

  4. Well 'Pastor' Jack Hyles said it in one of his books about rearing children to beat down your kids as early ast 2 weeks old and all fundys know that Hyles speaks 'ex cathedra'...just like the pope so it is the equivalent of scripture if Jack Hyles said it


  5. The BIble does not say to beat two year olds at all. In fact, the phrasing in Proverbs suggests that the meaning of child or son is an older child, perhaps teenage. Still, beating a teen is not something I would ever condone. Certain pastors, especially IFB pastors, take the Scriptures much farther than reasonable. They interpret these verses to their own satisfaction, in effect making themselves the voice of God. Technically this is blasphemy. O the irony!