(Screen photos from the TV show on Christian TV in 1999)
I have fought for Christian values since my spiritual wake-up call in 1988.
One of the areas that has been dear to me is family values.
Until 2008, I was never criticized personally pertaining to family values.
I remarried on December 18th, 2010, and Aina & I exemplify together the family values that I have always stood for.
Having six children, who now are adults, is a blessing. I am truly proud of them all.
In child discipline it is important to set boundaries. In my opinion, positive affirmation is the best way to set boundaries. I have never used spanking. Actually, I don´t even like spanking. When I receive parents for counseling, I try to show them better ways to discipline their children than to spank. Spanking is often associated with fear (and physical and emotional pain), and that kind of fear has little to do with Biblical terms such as “respect”, “honor”, and “discipline”.
Through the years, however, I have defended parents who have felt the need to give their children a light spanking, house arrest, restrictions with weekly allowances etc. In the evangelical and pentecostal world today, there is constructive teaching on discipline which includes a light spanking, and I receive their teaching, even though I might not agree in the practicalities. But I have never preached it from the pulpit. On the pulpit my message has always been “positive affirmation”, like I also underscore in counseling sessions.
However, in the secular media, I have spoken on a few occasions on spanking. It is well known in Norway that I have been in confrontation with “the Children´s Ombudsman” about this, and I have spoken and defended parents in the courts and in media channels.
In 1994, I was being hammered from left and right by “Barnevernet´s” people on a live call-in show on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company). They talked in such a way that I sounded like a cruel man. It was really surprising for me when my ex-wife (we divorced seven years ago) called in on the live show. She introduced herself as my wife and told Norway that I am “a loving and affirming pappa who our kids love”. The atmosphere in the national radio show changed immediately. (I have recently listened to this audio recording.)
In 1999, my ex-wife and I co-hosted weekly for three months a popular and lively local TV-show on Christian TV (ES-TV) called “The Home – a Center of Joy” (“Hjemmet – et gledens sentrum”). I have recently watched these video recordings again, 16 years later, and again she underscored the same. Of course, I have always affirmed her role as a mamma.
It is good when parents can support each other as we train our kids in the way of the Lord.
My position and practice has always been positive affirmation.
If we err as parents, let us err by showing “too much” affirmation and love. Positive affirmation beats spanking any day!