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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-05-08 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
25. Gothard on child-rearing:
Edited on Sun Oct-05-08 06:15 PM by kath
This is from a Gothard discussion-group that used to be on OneList - it's at YahooGroups now, but I'm not sure if the archives, which would include this post, still exist. This was copied from the Gothard list and posted to a list I was one in 1999- the Knoxville Mother's Panel discussion in question was at one of Gothard's ATIA seminars, which is linked to his IBLP (Institute of (or for) Basic Life Principals).
Since this is so long, I'll mark with asterisks the parts I find most appalling - the stuff on spanking babies and "blanket training", also a bit about strictly limiting playtime --
WARNING - before y'all get off topic and start bashing homeschoolers, keep in mind that the Gothard cult is a *very* small minority of homeschoolers, and there are many good liberal homeschoolers, even here at DU.

The person who copied it from the Gothard discussion list and posted it to the list I was on (NOT a Gothardite) began with this editorial comment:

I have a question: Why, if this is a mother's panel, which means it is for
moms only is there this "Jim guy" interjecting in between the discussion? I
KNOW that at the father's panel meetings there is no woman there monitoring
their discussions and interjecting "wisdom". It reminds me of the tea party,
I have to admit. It seems that this man, Jim (possible Jim Samson? an ATI
top-dog), was put there to keep things in order. Did you all notice him in
the other mother's panel discussions that I sent to you? I am going to try
and ask and see if I can't find out why this guy keeps on appearing in the
mother's panel notes.

Also, this will get the blood boiling of some of you moms. A LOT of spanking
of babies is advocated.
Here goes, the "Mother's Panel":

>>>Friday Mothers' Panel
Mary Craig
Jerri Dee Flage
Greer Llewellyn
Lori Voeller

Greer-I have 9 children from 18 years to 11 months. We live in Rockville,
Maryland. I'm an exhorter.
Jerri Dee-I'm a prophet married to an exhorter and my 6 children are 11 to 2
years and we're from Minneapolis.
Mary-I live on South Campus Indy, I have 5 children from 23 to 10 and we
work with alot of other children.
Lori-I now live in Oak Brook, we have 8 children our oldest is 22 and
youngest 3. I'm an exhorter.

Q) We have 3 boys 12, 9, and 5 we've tried to come up with different
projects for them to do but we don't have many physical projects they can
do. HOw can they be service-oriented in their free time without constant
Greer-Why don't we have enough work? LOL> We began doing the things that
we had asked others to do, there are so many options. When I feel like our
home is in good order, I love to give our children Scripture verses to work
on. We work on chapters rather than verses, different books of the Bible.
Scripture memory with 3 X 5 cards. Also Scriptures on audio tape.
Listening to whole books on tape gives them the whole context of the
Jim-Do you ever feel you have your children work too much?
Lori -- Lam. 3:27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Idle
hands are the devil's workshop. We are to train the children to work hard
in their youth. I believe a mother's real work force is between the ages of
6 and 13 so our children are working very hard in our home in those ages.
Beyond 13 they're still working but they now need to be relieved of some of
the routine duties so they can move towards preparing themselves for their
life calling. They also need the time now to invest in their younger
brothers and sisters.
I think about the boys that have nothing to do but play that the older ones
should design projects to do with the younger ones. Ex. If younger boy
memorized 15 verses of PS 119, the older boy would buy him a Bible cover.
Mary-When my children were younger I did school in the morning and work in
the afternoon and then playtime. I would work while they played but found I
was irritable and grouchy from working too much. I realized this wasn't
good so When my youngest was 4 he washed all the dishes, sweep the kitchen
and wipe the table! We set a timer for 30 minutes and after awhile he was
able to do it within the time. Now that boy really loves to work!
And now I really think it's important that if I'm working that my children
should also be working.
Jeri Dee-One thing we've done to help them stay on task is to figure out how
long a particular job takes and then set a timer. As adults we work toward
a deadline all the time and we need to teach the children to that. Another
thing to really encourage them is to stand them before Daddy and praise
Greer-My husband went to West Point and has a lot of discipline. He has
helped me delegate chores to children that I would have thought were too
young. We need to fight the world's mindset that we must have playtime for
our children. We should look on things we can do as a family for God as our
pleasure. Working on Scripture as a family can be really fun though mom and
dad are the slowest ones to memorize!
Music can also be a wonderful pastime-our afternoons are spent practicing
our instruments.
Jerri Dee-OUr children dont' have much free time either. WE have found that
our children are more joyful when they are serving and working. OUr 7 and 11
year old have about an hour to play in the afternoon. During that hour they
do have to watch the little ones and play with them also. We also take naps
in the afternoon.
I had heard once that a house ful of 7 or 8 year olds could run the entire
***Lori-Something that made an change in our household that in colonial days
children between the ages of 8 and 10 were encouraged to turn away from
playfulness but toward work. We are to do our work heartily unto the Lord,
not unto our pleasures (legos).
We had a "play fast." IT was for one week and then we tried it another
week. So we've adopted the old-fashioned idea that children play on
Saturday afternoon only.
Mary-Our children usually play after supper. I have all of them working in
the daytime. The older ones may go for a bike ride for 30 minutes or shoot
Jim-I am reminded of Webster's 1828 dictionary the definition of fun was
merriment in the work of the home?
Q) What have youdone about computer or video games in your home?
Mary - LIfe is not about fun an dpleasure but about responsibility and
serving others.
Greer-We started out with the excitement of having a cmputer in the
classroom with good things on it but one by one they were eliminated because
our children would do their work for computer time. EVen the math software
would tempt them to rush through the things they were supposed to so they
could play and compete with each other. We decided to limit the cmputer.
We do use it for foreign language but we eliminated programs that were not
the best.
God calls us to choose the best. I would just encourage you as you enjoy
the tools that God provides to also weigh carefully what the spirit is that
is being produced. I found that with the computer games it was more of a
self-interest and self-focus.
Jerri Dee-About 3 months ago my dh pulled the last computer game out of our
computer and we haven't played it since. The children would be so focused
on getting to that game that they would do their work too quickly just to
get to it. It was non-productive.
***Lori-We learned about spanking babies. WE learned about disciplning a child
with a rod at the age of 6 months, when the weeds are very little we pluck
them out. We use a 1/4 inch wooden dowel when they are 6 months. If you
ignore those weeds then by the time they are toddlers you have to do
something drastic. WE learned that if we started when they were babies, they
were so much more obedient in coming and sitting and being quiet. OUr goal
was that they be able to sit quietly for 2 hours on Sunday morning. Now
it has been a joy.
I have learned that just one whack on a baby's bottom is not enough, it is 5
or 6 whacks. I found I was spankiing my children a whole lot less when I
did it right the first time.
***Jim-You get more fruit by spanking very young and not having to do it so
***Mary-I have spanked a little one-PRov. 13:24 "chasten your son betimes" and
the word betimes means from the womb from the dawn. The idea is to be very
alert right from the beginning what is needful of a spanking.
Jim-What is the answer for getting a child to go to bed at night?
Jerri Dee-You could always try chocolate chips! LOL. On my first baby I
didn't have a clue and she wouldnt' go down and I'd be so frustrated and
angry. By my fifth child someone taught me how to train my child to put her
head down from 3 or 4 weeks old, I encourage them with the tone of my
At around 6 months I would get down and look through the crib bars with them
and smile at them and say, "heady down, heady down" and I would wait to see
if they would lay down and if I noticed their head coming up I would switch
them on the bottom and say, "heady down." I woulud try to give them the
sense of my omnipresence by sneaking away and then checking on them when
they thought I wasn't looking.
Mary-In Moscow we had delinquent boys, liars, it was very very difficult.
We wondered what we were going to do and they were all in the same room.
There was one extra bed where someone could lay in there with them all
night. At first we couldn't even spank them at all, we told them what the
standard was and that once the light switched off there was to be no more
talking. We told them what the consequence would be if they didn't do
this-they would received dried oats for breakfast with a little water but it
was less preferable than the cooked cereal they usually had. This caused
them to not want to repeat the experience. We didn't have to do a lot of
work but we would just say "this is the consequence."
A parent needs to have some time, it is Scriptural, so whenever the chosen
bedtime is you are in control and it's really important that we must not let
them control us but that God wants us to be controlling them.
Jim-Do you ever use food as a motivator for your children?
Greer-We take to heart the verse that says, "he that will not work shall not
eat" The youngest that we have done this with was 4 and he had to take out
the trash in the house. He would get distracted though and start to play.
I was encouraged by that Scripture to take away his meal when he would do
this and the result was excellent. He has had to repeat that several times.
Some children just need more monitoring and a "short leash" and he was one.
This really sweetened his spirit. We staretd with the older ones and
gradually worked our way down. NOw they have hearts that are open and want
to be instructed.
Jim-ONe of our sons complained about eating soup the third time in a row and
Lori just took the soup away and said, "wel, then you don't eat today."
This boy never complained about food again.
***Lori -- (on blanket training) I Cor. 14:40 "let all things be done decently
and in order" and I remember one day trying to teach the CCC and getting
alot of distractions and I just began to cry. I cried out to the Lord and I
think blankiet training is just a lifesaver for a homeschooling family.
I had gotten some training on how to teach a baby not to touch a plant so I
wondered if I could teach a baby to sit on a blanket and not touch the
carpet. So at about 6 months I put them on the blanket and I am there with
a paint paddle and when the baby touches the carpet I spank the hand. First
I go around the carpet and spank the carpet on all four sides and say, "no
touch, no touch." This spanking just gives content to my words.
This whole process is done so speedily---I have the baby on the blanket, the
2 1/2 year old on the blanket and I can teach in peace. WE've even gone to
dinner parties and put the child on the blanket and it's like there is a 10
foot wall around that blanket!
When I met Jerri Dee, her baby was all over the place, but JErri DEe gave
her blanket training. When Jerri Dee came to visit me later her baby sat on
the blanket and let us talk for 1 1/2 hours and did not make a sound that
entire time.
***Jerri Dee-They are not unhappy on the blanket. Everyone's spirit is so free
and so happy because there is order. When Mommy is upset and fretful that
is much worse.
Q) How can I stop my children from tattle-taling? They delight in telling
each other's faults?
Mary-I think it's really important when this happens to first of all ask,
"What did YOU do?" Before you get all involved int eh situation, it's
really good to hear both sides of the story. If you have a situation in
your home where you get more irritated with one child more than the rest,
the other children will pick up on that and take advantage of it. Go and
hear the whole story. I woudl encourage the child who came to tell that if
there really was something wrong, to be a leader and go back and appeal to
the other child. It's always good to find out what is the basic issue-why
is this child telling? Get to the heart of the issue.
Q) What do we do if an older son or daughter wants nothing to do with the
rest of the family and looks to his friends for answers?
Greer-first I want to add a comment on the tattletaling. We are instructed
in Matt. 18 that when we are offended to go to that brother. We need to
encourage our children to be mature and go to that brother and be restored.
The first thing I ask when a tattler comes is "Did you go to that child and
try to work it out first?"
One other little key in this that it is so much easier to receive correction
in private, so I will encourage them to work things out privately not
Lori-Scripture says that we are not to rejoice in unrighteousness but to
rejoice in righteousness. One wonderful project in the WB was to present
character awards. The children would have lists of character traits and
they would pick ones that they could praise each other for. At dinner Dad
would shout out "I have an announcement to make" and the child would be
given an opportunity to praise another for character.
Another thing that we have just recently started doing-Eph. 4:28 says let
him that steals steal no longer but let him labor with his own hands what is
good that he may have to share with him that needs" For any unpleasant act
that the children do like bickering or criticizing, etc. we don't just let
them apologzie but they have to write a written letter of character praise
for the other child, and go and ask forgiveness. They also have to do
chores for the other child.
Back to last question regarding older child who prefers friends:
Jerri Dee - A wise older mom gave me the word that it's ok for our children
to just play with each other and that they dont' need to play with other
children in the neighborhood. This has gone on for over 4 years and they
have learned to love each other this way.
Mary-I think it's also important to remember that if the child is acting
that way to ask yourself, "Why don't they want to be here? Is there
something missing? Is there a poor relationship (betwseen dad and mom,
etc.) It's not really right for us to force them to do things when inside
they are hurting.
Help the children to see that the family is the most important relationship
to work on. If we say to one part of our body like the toe that we don't
need it, then the body cannot function properly.
Greer-I think of Psalm 1. We read a biography of G. Washington and his mom
said that no friends are better than bad friends. Being alone can sometimes
even allow a child to cry out to the Lord. WE found that when ours were
going through teh ages of 11 12 especially, they were divurging from their
peers rather radically, even other Christian peers. Now my oldest girls
will tell me that I'm their best friend and that is because we didn't
compromise-there were seasons that they didn't do things with friends.
Sometimes our relationships with people can crowd out God. Alone times are
not necessarily bad times. God can use these lonely times to sharpen our
convictions. The Lord has only given us one or two families over the years
that we can really be close with.
Jim-if your children's hearts are being drawn away from the parents then you
know they have wrong friends in their life. We are training our children
that their best friends are in teh home-the ones they will know for the rest
of their lives.
Mary -0- I think also that the Lord had a special design for your child if
He has never brought a friend into the life of that child. Maybe He knows
that they will be in a place where they will need to depend only on the
Lord. Now my daughter who has never had many friends is more prepared to
depend on the Lord.
Lori-I think it is very important that brothers and sisters learn to be
friends. It doesn't always come natural but I believe that God is glorified
when there is unity in the family. One person said to us that there is no
sermon in the world that speaks louder han a Christian family that ihas
The Lord gave me a project for my 2 and 4 year olds who wanted nothing to do
with each other. One day I took them aside and said, to the four year old,
"You're a leader, and the mark of a leader is being a gentle servant." Then
I went to our 2 year old and ssaid, "You're under auhority and you need to
be respectful."
Q) How can I overcome the irritation I have against my children?
Jerri Dee-Once the irritation had grown so great even though I had asked the
child for forgiveness I would go on with the discipline. Time plus
consistency equals change. It was a long process but over time God has
given sweet fruit.
Mary-what helped me was to ask myself why am I so irritated. What right was
I feeling was being violated? I was holding on to doing what I wanted to
do, I wasn't caring about their disobedience as much as my irritation. God
showed me that the most important thing was helping my children to obey and
not what I wanted to do. I think that usually there is something that we
won't deal with and that is what is making us irritated. We might get
irritated, then the next time we yell, but we avoid dealing with things
until it gets to the point where we blow up. If we are irritated, we have
trained our children to be an irritant. We have to retrain our children.
The same steps that Lori mentioned about the baby training apply to an older
child. My son every morning would always turn the cups from breakfast
upside down as he carried them from the table. So I sat down with him and
said, "you need to keep the cups upright as you go to the sink." And I told
him that there would be consequences of disobedience and that there's always
rewards for obedience. So the next morning when he did it again I made him
clear the whole table. The next morning he did it again, and he cleared the
whole table and washed all the dishes. If he had done it again, then I
would have had him do those things and also given him a spanking for
rebellion because he kept doing it again and again.
Lori-I would like to add that there's two things that the Lord has given me
to conquer anger. One thing was to make sure that my child understood,
really clearly. Four ponits of obedience is to obey cheerfully,
immediately, unconditionally, and completely. If they do not obey all four
of these points, then that is clearly disobedience and they know that. We
do alot of role-playing and also we had a "salute" day where each child
saluted and said, "yes, ma'am" everytime I asked them to do. They would
also have the children salute and say, "I'd be glad to."
Put music in your voice when you ask your children to do things. (and
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