Christian Resources for Gentle Discipline

National Spank Out Day 2013--Christian Resources

When I first became a parent, I believed that the Bible instructed parents to spank their children.  All of the studies and research out there would not have changed my mind as long as I was convinced that God's Word taught us to spank.  The good news is that the Bible most definitely does NOT teach spanking.  Although there are some verses in Proverbs that have been twisted to imply that, once we really dig into the meanings of the words there, it becomes clear that they do not refer to spanking at all.  Sadly, some translations are not as clear as others, and many have read those passages through a cultural filter that makes it sound as if it could refer to spanking.  There is a reason that God instructs us to "study to show ourselves approved, as workers who do not need to be ashamed, but correctly handle the word of truth". The following links are some of my favorite Christian resources for those who would like to examine this topic more fully. Although there are some excellent resources by secular authors, for this page I have tried to only include those whom I believe to be sincere followers of Christ.

Samuel Martin Samuel Martin's blog and Facebook page

Sam is a Bible scholar and brother in Christ who lives in Jerusalem with his family.  His book, Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy is a reverent examination of the Scriptures that are often used to promote spanking, as well as an in-depth study of the Jewish perspective on corporal punishment.  I have written reviews of it here.  Sam has such a deep conviction that God wants us to know the truth on this that he is offering his book for free if you email him at

Crystal Lutton  Crystal Lutton and Arms of Love Family Fellowship Facebook

Crystal literally wrote the book on Grace Based Discipline.  Eight years ago, when I was agonizing over the thought of having to spank my baby in order to obey the Bible, I was directed to her site and found both Truth and Grace.  Her teachings changed our lives in ways I would never have imagined.  Her book, Biblical Parenting, gave me a brand new paradigm for discipline.  Then I read Grace Based Living, and began to see how God's grace applied to marriage and other relationships.  Crystal is also a rabbi/pastor, and her ability to share Hebraic perspective has enriched my understanding of the Scriptures.  Along with all of this, she regularly serves as a Titus 2 woman to many, giving practical and loving help to other moms.

Gentle Christian Mothers
Gentle Christian Mothers site, Message Boards, Facebook page

GCM is, without a doubt, one of the most vital resources available for gentle parents.  Most of us are still learning exactly what grace based discipline looks like in real life, and this is my favorite place to connect with experienced gentle mamas whose lives are based on honoring and pleasing God and sharing His love with their children.  If you have any questions about how to implement grace-filled discipline or need to connect with other gentle Christian moms, this is the place to go!  GCM belongs to the amazing and lovely Flowermama, and her blog is also a wonderful resource.

Little Hearts Books

L.R. Knost is an inspiring gentle mama of six whose children have been parented gently.  In an interview for Gentle Christian Mothers, she describes the results of gentle parenting in her family: "My oldest two are,respectively, a happily married Pastor with two adorable children of his own and a happily married Family Therapist with a high-stress social services job working doggedly to protect children from the fallout of unfortunate parenting choices. My next oldest is graduating this year with a pre-med degree in BioMedical Sciences before heading into med school, but even with an incredibly tough university schedule he takes the time each week to go to a local teen hang-out spot and work in an outreach ministry he created and has been building for the last year. All of them, along with my younger children, have tender hearts that feel others’ pain and discouragement deeply, and all of them seek every opportunity to reach out with a helping hand, a kind heart, and a friendly smile."  Her book, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting through the Ages and Stages is one of my favorites, and her article, Jesus the Gentle Parent is absolutely beautiful.   

 Why Not Train a Child blog and Facebook page

This is the best site out there for resources on the Pearls and their horrific teachings.  More than that, though, this is one of my favorite sites anywhere for new gentle discipline resources and posts from a variety of Christian bloggers.  As a bonus, you can preview a comprehensive new book on Christians and spanking by Stephanie Cox that delves deeply into the history of corporal punishment in the church, the effects of spanking on children and much more.

The Hippie Housewife

The Hippie Housewife is a devoted follower of Jesus and a beautiful writer.  Her series on the Proverbs passages is a must read for anyone who cares about what the Bible teaches, and her post on The Hows of Discipline (and the practical and insightful comments!) is wonderful at describing how to put gentle discipline into practice.  Need encouragement for gentle parenting as a Christian?  Check out her post on Attachment Parenting: A Christian Perspective.   Everything she writes is worth reading.

Parenting Freedom: Is Spanking Biblical?  I don't have a pic or Facebook page for this one, but please don't skip it.  Whenever I have to choose a single article for parents who believe that the Bible teaches us to spank, this is the one I link.  It is such a lovely and thorough post.  The Parenting Freedom site also has many other links on Christian attachment parenting that are enlightening and always cause me to breathe in grace and peace.  

Real Child Development
Real Child Development blog and Facebook page

Leslie Freeman, her husband Scott and their children are missionaries with YWAM in Costa Rica, working with at risk children there.  They are amazing reflections of the love of Jesus Christ.  Leslie is also an amazing mom and blogger.  Her posts are informative, grace-filled and always challenge me and make my spirit sing for joy.   For more on the work they are doing with El Refugio, please check out their personal blogI almost never encourage anyone to donate money through the internet, but I would ask you to please consider supporting their work.  They are truly making a difference and saving lives.

Sally Clarkson

Sally and Clay Clarkson are well known and respected in Christian homeschooling circles.  Their children are also showing the fruit of graceful parenting.  Clay Clarkson's book, Heartfelt Discipline, includes an examination of the Proverbs passages and other Bible verses and comes to the conclusion that God does not call us to spank our children.  Sally has several books on parenting that warm my heart like a soothing cup of tea with a friend.  

Guggie Daly

Guggie Daly is a lovely sister in Christ who has dared to break out of the mainstream mold in every area in her desire to be obedient to God's call on her family.  She is a passionate advocate for peaceful families on the topics of birth, breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccination, schooling and more.  Her posts on gentle discipline are a bracing breath of fresh air.  

Parenting Wild Things
Parenting Wild Things blog and Facebook page

Parenting Wild Things is a wonderful book by one of my favorite authors, Jessica Bowman, of Bohemian Bowmans.  Jessica's writing is authentic, practical and encouraging, and so much fun to read.  She also hosts Faithful Parenting, a fantastic series on gentle discipline from Christians, that I was honored to be a part of.  

Momma on a Mission
Momma on a Mission blog and Facebook page 

Momma on a Mission is a friend and a lovely voice for Christ-centered gentle parenting.  Her posts on her walk with God are coffee and chocolate for my soul.  I was so thankful to be able to share her powerful journey to gentle discipline on my blog and her response to the Holy Spirit still gives me goosebumps. 

Pearl in Oyster

Pío is a friend and a beautiful example of gentle parenting.  She doesn't gloss over the challenges of gentle parenting, but her posts are encouraging and full of practical tips.  Her 52 Tool Cards series give a positive discipline example and tip for each week of the year. 

Kathleen-Becoming Peculiar blog and Facebook page  

It is always a special gift from God when you connect with a kindred spirit.  It has been so much fun to read Kathleen's writing.  Even though we are far apart geographically now, I plan on being next door neighbors in heaven.

Sarah Bessey 
Sarah Bessey blog and Facebook page

Sarah Bessey is my hero.  Her blog was one of the first that I subscribed to by email so that I would never miss a post.  Jesus Feminist is already on my preorder list, and her parenting posts always touch the deep places in my heart.  Her series on the Practices of Mothering makes me cry every time I read it and fills my spirit with the fragrance of grace.  Seriously, go read those posts over and over.

Relationship Homeschooling blog and Facebook page 

Karen is a lovely and experience mom and grandmother who is well know in the Christian homeschooling community.  She boldly speaks out against the harm resulting from patriarchal wolves in sheeps' clothing, but her gracefilled posts make me think I could cry on her shoulder after a rough day and receive encouragement, cookies and practical help.  

The Path Less Taken blog and Facebook page  

Jennifer is a blogger whom I admire deeply because of her commitment to living out her convictions.  Her clear-sighted posts make me excited for the possibilities of life in God.  Her posts on unschooling are excellent, and her parenting beliefs resonate strongly with mine.  She is on my Coolest Ever list. 

Jill and Luke
Living in the Tension blog and Facebook page
One of the best things about being part of A Deeper Story's family branch is connecting with some amazing writers.  Luke's posts always make me think and seek God more, which is not something I say lightly.  His wife, Jill, is a fabulous writer and her post on the 23rd Psalm is one that I will revisit often because of the beauty, grace and comfort that flow from her.  She doesn't have a FB page, but read her blog, Line Up the Dolls.  Jill and Luke are also the authors for one of my favorite posts from the Faithful Parenting series over at Parenting Wild Things.  :)

Dare to Disciple

 Although this blog is not as active as it once was, the posts that are there are excellent.  Several dear friends of mine collaborated on this page and addressed topics including the Proverbs passages, often-ignored passages on grace filled parenting, things like the danger argument and more.  If you haven't read through them, make sure to check them out!

More than 100 Reasons
 20 Reasons Not to Spank blog

This blog is written by my lovely friend Dara, and grew out of her other parenting blog, I Was Just Thinking20 Reasons is now at well over 100 reasons, referenced with Scripture, for Christians not to spank their children.  All of Dara's story is a beautiful picture of God's grace and healing, and her work for peaceful families is incredibly valuable.  Don't miss this one.

SortaCrunchy blog and Facebook page 

Megan Tietz is pure awesome.  Along with her fantastic blog and several other projects, she is a co-author of Spirit Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby's First Year.  I love the way she pours out grace on mamas as well as babies.

Pedestrian Parenting
Left Cheek: the Blog and Facebook page

Jason Dye is one of my favorite political bloggers, but his posts and book on parenting are also powerful and entertaining.  He truly puts into practice the teachings of Jesus on how we treat the least of these.

Tulip Girl
 Tulip Girl blog

If you are looking for resources on the Ezzo's teachings, including Babywise and Growing Kids God's Way, please check out the archives here.  There are tons of incredible posts addressing the dangers of these teachings and offering hope and healing to families who have experienced some of the fallout from their practices.  


  When I first began to learn about gentle discipline, I felt lonely and scared, because every Christian I knew parented punitively.  Thankfully, God brought me so many new friends, both online and off, that embrace grace.  I hope that these links encourage you and help you know that you are not alone in seeking God's grace for everyone, not just adults. 

 And please, if you know of other gentle Christian parenting resources that I have missed, send me a link so that I can add them! 

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Anonymous said...

I've seen author Samuel Martin posted on several of the "Gentle Parenting" blogs, with rave reveiws of his book, "Thy Rod and Thy Staff....". Of course, I was curious to check out his personal blog. What was of interest to me was a particular blog he follows (and I'm guessing endorses?) called, "Love, Joy, Feminism." I poceeded to this blog and found to my suprise that the author is an atheist and believes in abortion. Kinda makes me wonder why a Biblical scholar such as Martin would publically endorse such a blog! Can you shed some light on this matter? It is a big deal if a Biblical scholar has no problem with supporting feminism and abortion. I can't therefore consider him biblically based.


dulce de leche said...

Anon, it would perhaps be better to ask Sam directly, but following a blog does not mean that one endorses everything that the other author posts. I follow many blogs that I frequently disagree with for a variety of reasons--personal connections, to keep myself informed of what others are saying, because I enjoy some posts, and more. Libby Anne grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home with parents who used materials by the Pearls and other abusive religious writers, and often shares insightful posts on how that affected her. In my experience, a very high percentage of children who are parented that way become atheists. Jesus Himself spent time with prostitutes and tax collectors, and to dismiss all of Sam Martin's work simply because he reads a blog that is relevant to his focus is to align oneself with the Pharisees, and to miss out on an edifying and informative work by a devoted brother in Christ.

Amy Phoenix said...

Dulce, thank you for these. I'm sharing them now. Feel free to include if you'd like.