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"To Train up a Child"...the alarming discipline methods of Debi and Michael Pearl [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 02:01 AM
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"To Train up a Child"...the alarming discipline methods of Debi and Michael Pearl
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One reviewer in the 90s said that "In folksy, friendly style, 'To Train Up a Child' offers techniques that promise to yield happy and obedient children. This promise is a holy grail to tired, frustrated and often isolated parents, who are told that their anger will be eliminated when they follow techniques that produce 'immediately obedient' children. The book also appeals to parents' concern for their reputation -- happy, obedient children will save Mom and Dad the public embarrassment of having intractable children. It's a tempting promise: perfect domestic peace, a kind of Martha Stewart flawlessness reworked for Christian families."

Well, yes, maybe so...until you read some of their spanking methods. It is shocking to me to recommend treating children that way.

From the Religious Tolerance website:

Pro-spanking positions of the Pearls

The Pearls published the book in 1994. 1 It is frequently used by many conservative and sometime mainline Protestants.

..."The Pearls compare children to stubborn animals: both have the same predictable responses to unpleasant stimuli. The book advocates a consistent behaviorism that involves switching a child's bare skin until the child's will is broken. The result? A model child who is completely compliant: a model parent who is a conqueror."

..."Beth Felker Jones outlines the training techniques:

"The authors advocate tempting an infant by putting an appealing object within reach and compare the object to the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. ... When the child reaches for the object, the parents lash the child. The suggested switch for a four-month-old child is a branch 12 inches long and an eighth of an inch wide. Rulers, belts and tree branches are recommended for older children. In the Pearls' world, crystal bowls, other breakable treasures and even loaded guns can be left around the house because curious toddlers can be trained to 'complete and joyous subjection'."

That is just scary stuff from people who proclaim to have the love of Jesus in their hearts.

There is more:

"The Pearls are evangelical Christians who believe corporal punishment is 'doing it God's way.' With a mailing list of tens of thousands of parents, the Pearls say that the justification for their approach is in scripture: 'He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes'." 4

"Chastening begins early. 'For the under-one-year-old, a little, 10- to 12-inch long, willowy branch (stripped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient,' writes Michael Pearl. With older children he advises: 'After a short explanation about bad attitudes and the need to love, patiently and calmly apply the rod to his backside. Somehow, after eight or 10 licks, the poison is transformed into gushing love and contentment. The world becomes a beautiful place. A brand-new child emerges. It makes an adult stare at the rod in wonder, trying to see what magic is contained therein'."

This reminds me of the tactics of James Dobson, when he often spoke of the strong willed child. I used to tell our school's guidance counselor that there was nothing wrong with a child having a strong will, but she gave out his books freely to parents.

He even punished his little Dachshund named Siggie, beating him.

At eleven o'clock that night, I told Siggie to go get into his bed, which is a permanent enclosure in the family room. For six years I had given him that order at the end of each day, and for six years Siggie had obeyed.
"On this occasion, however, he refused to budge. You see, he was in the bathroom, seated comfortably on the furry lid of the toilet seat. That is his favorite spot in the house, because it allows him to bask in the warmth of a nearby electric heater..."

...""What developed next is impossible to describe. That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt. I am embarrassed by the memory of the entire scene. Inch by inch I moved him toward the family room and his bed. As a final desperate maneuver, Siggie backed into the corner for one last snarling stand. I eventually got him to bed, only because I outweighed him 200 to 12!"

That is called zero tolerance for little dogs. Pathetic. Let the dog stay there. Not a real problem. Just move him when someone needs to use the toilet. This is overkill.

From the comments about the discipline methods of the Pearls. These two are stunned, but many comments highly praise these tactics.

"... not often in this current era do I find a text about child-rearing so completely and utterly archaic and ridiculous. The Pearls do not hold any professional qualifications to write child-rearing text or give anyone any advice about how a child should be reared...oh, sorry,...trained (as in a dog or mule?)."

"Parents are instructed to whip their infants daily for no reason to teach them submissiveness from the very start of life. ... They encourage parents to whip their children 10 times several times a day starting at 3 months old. This makes me so sad and sick."

Where is the compassion and love in this "training."

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