Victoria Strong Analyses The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

Victoria Strong blames her abusive childhood on the teachings of Dr. James Dobson and is now reviewing his book, The Strong-Willed Child.  She explains why in this heartbreaking quote:

So that is why I’m reviewing this book. I need to know what it says. I need some answers as to why my parents seemed to hate me so much. Why they were constantly angry with me. Why I was beaten with belts, punched in the stomach, slammed into walls, slapped across the face, and berated constantly, all in the name of tough love, the Bible, and most often, “Dr. Dobson says…”. Why I was never permitted to tell my side of the story or explain myself. Why they always, always, always assumed the worst about me. I need to know. I need to heal. So without further adieu, let’s dig in, shall we?

She starts here with the Dedication, and already has 7 posts up and is only on page 19 of the book at this writing.

It is very sad that her parents tried to raise her under Biblical teachings and yet failed to raise her to believe the Bible as an authority in her life.  This is just another example of how these kinds of harsh teachings fail both children and their parents.

Disclaimer: this blog contains mild profanity.

Letters to Dobson

Discipleship Parenting wrote a Letter to Dr. James Dobson. It is a lovely letter, you should take a look at it. In it she gives a testimony of how his teaching on spanking hurt her family and how they found something better.

She got a reply from Focus on The Family defending their stance.

She then wrote another letter where she explained further how his teachings are damaging and dangerous.

She received another reply from Focus on the Family which reiterated what was said in the first letter.

I highly recommend that you read these letters.

Edited to add that  she has posted 2 addendums to her first letter to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

Refuting Pearl’s Analysis of Spanking Studies

In a recent post, I shared discussion of an addition to To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl.  There is an exerpt from the chapter on the No Greater Joy website.  In this article, Michael Pearl refutes studies which have shown spanking children to be harmful and shares the results of some other studies which he claims show the opposite.  Of course, there are flaws in his logic.  Here is an example.  He states:

Child psychologist Elizabeth Owens, scientist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study. She concluded, “If you look at the causally relevant evidence, it’s not scientifically defensible to say that spanking is always a horrible thing. I don’t think mild, occasional spankings in an otherwise supportive, loving family will do any long-term harm.”

Here is the study of which he speaks. MariJo7 from GCM has kindly given me permission to share her analysis of the study: [Read more…]

Donia’s Testimony

Another testimony from someone who was “lovingly” spanked/hit by her well meaning Christian parents, and yet, was harmed. Pro-spankers, please do not dismiss these real stories. After all, if spanking is so “godly,” why do you call people harmed by spankings “spoiled brats? Here is Donia’s story:

“This was how I was raised. Spanked ‘biblically’ by loving parents and I turned out fine…..except I didn’t. I lied, I cheated (in our Christian school, no less), I stole, I had sex, even trying [Read more…]

HSLDA Speaks Out Against Patriarchy

Michael Ferris, on behalf of HSLDA, speaks out against Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips and the teachings of Patriarchy in A Line In The Sand.  It’s a shame they still recommend abusive books, such as those by Dr. James Dobson and John Rosemond.

Is Raising Children The Same As Raising Animals?

            Many Christian pro-spankers such as James Dobson and Michael Pearl equate animal training with child rearing.  Pearl claims that training children is much like training “stubborn mules.”  Dobson uses an example of whipping his tiny dog into submission to taming a toddler.  They believe that training children and animals require fear and pain with “love” in order to achieve absolute obedience.  Is this true?  Is animal training similar to child rearing?  What does God have to say about this?

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately due to a recent incident with our cat Patches.  Patches is a calico cat.  She has always been a very oral kitty.  She chews cardboard boxes and lightly bites us whenever she’s happy, playful, or loving.  She never bites aggressively.  Recently, my husband got up in the morning and went into his home office to turn on the computer and his ham radio equipment before getting dressed, making coffee, and feeding our two cats their breakfast.  There is a fan in his office door as the cats are not allowed in there due to all of his electronics.  It can get quite warm in there, so the fan keeps the air flowing.  As usual that morning, the cats greeted my husband in the hallway then eagerly waited for him outside his office door.

All of a sudden there were two loud bangs outside his door then the loud sound of our wooden TV dinner table crashing over.  All the noise alarmed my husband and woke me up.  My husband found Patches in our utility room on top of our water heater very freaked out.  [Read more…]

TTUAC Withdrawn by Publisher in Poland

Polish Anti-Spanking Community Książki nie do bicia left a comment on my Facebook page saying,

Hi! We would like to inform you that the publishing of a book “To train up a child” (and one more) has been withdrawn Poland (by the publisher).
There are some other books like that (Fugate, Dobson, Smalley, Barnes) in Poland, but we hope that they will be withdrawn too.
We hope that all this books will be withdrawn everywhere! 🙂

This story is from February 2012, but I had not heard about it so I very much appreciate them sharing the news with us. Here is the news story they linked for me and here is an English translation of it. Of course, the translation is done by computer program, so it is not perfect, but gives us the idea.

This is very good news!  The Polish Anti Spanking community has been working hard and have convinced a publisher to remove two books from circulation! ( the other book is Discipline Them, Love Them by Betty Chase.) I wish that could happen here, but To Train Up A Child in English is self-published by the Pearls.  We are trying to get as many book sellers as possible to stop selling it.  We have convinced quite a few and are still working on Amazon.com.

 

 

The Pearls’ Teachings are Not Biblical

Bible Scholar, Samuel Martin explains why he believes that Amazon should stop selling To Train Up A Child.  Please sign the petition, the link is in my sidebar.

And here are 2 posts about why the Pearls’ teachings are not Biblical:

Laura Ziesel shares an in depth study of Proverbs 22:6 in Train up a Child in Whose Way?

Samuel Martin shares a statement from Prof. William Webb responding to Hana’s death called, The Pearl’s Beatings Are Not Really Biblical which I am posting in its entirety below at his request.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Newsletter of the
“New Foundation for Biblical Research.”
A project of the Century One Foundation, Inc. (www.centuryone.org)
© Samuel Martin
Samuel Martin – Project Director – www.biblechild.com

October 2011

Religious scholars speaking out against the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl
Many of you may have by now heard about Hana-Grace Rose Williams, who died in May at the tender age of 13. See the details of her story here and how Michael and Debi Pearl’s book “To Train Up A Child” is yet again being implicated in this horrifying case. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016361753_hana30m.html
When I saw this, I postponed what I had planned to publish this month and I immediately started writing to a number of religious scholars that I know asking them to speak out on this outrageous, unacceptable and evil publication. Thankfully, my call has immediately been answered by Prof, William Webb of Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. I know that I will be hearing from other religious scholars very soon and I will be sharing more testimonies and comments from them as I receive them. We need to hear these voices now.
Many of you know that I have strongly endorsed Prof. Webb’s book in this newsletter (July 2011 Newsletter). Today, I am herein once again not only endorsing this book, but I am asking you to support this book to ensure that it obtains the widest possible reading, attention and exposure. Rather than telling you what Prof. Webb told me, I am herein including a written communication from him that I received just this morning. The following is a direct quote from Prof. Webb and is used with his permission.
THE PEARL’S BEATINGS ARE NOT REALLY BIBLICAL
“Although they will tell you it is from the Bible, the Pearl’s version of child discipline is not really biblical.  Not in the truest sense.  Not in the deepest sense of what should shape biblical authority.  Not in a way that honors the Bible’s underlying redemptive spirit.  It is utterly heart breaking to watch “Christian materials” written by Michael and Debi Pearl become part of the murder investigations in three separate cases where so-called Christian parents allegedly abused their children in life-threatening and life-ending ways.  I am stunned and appalled by what I have seen on CNN, King5 News, etc.
Unfortunately, Christians often get stuck in their ability to apply the Bible in today’s world.  It is my hope that my recent book (Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts) will inspire hope and positive dialogue that helps the Christian community move towards something better for our children.  The book outlines how Marilyn (my wife) and I changed our minds about spanking.  Like the Pearls we were severely deluded in thinking that the rod was God’s way.  But over time we learned how to read and understand the Bible differently.  We also learned a truck-load of non-corporal methods of discipline which were far more weighty and effective than the Dobson version (2 smacks max) and certainly better than the abusive Pearl prescription (many beatings with the rod).  Like the slavery texts of Scripture, the answer is not simply in moving towards a better form of slavery.  That only captures part of Scripture’s redemptive spirit.  The Dobson approach is to be commended because they move away from the Pearl-type literalism.  But, that is not where biblical application should stop.  Like the slavery issue of past days, we need to move beyond a gentler, kinder form of slavery/corporal punishment.  Two smacks max is good but it does not reflect an ultimate ethical application of the Bible.  As with slavery, only abolitionism (of the rod) will permit Christians to fully embrace effective non-corporal methods and do the courageous, William Wilberforce action in this hour of time.  I pray that contemporary followers of Jesus might be known as those who want to live out the very highest ethical application of Scripture.  What the Pearls offer is nothing other than “gutter theology”; it is not really the Bible at all . . . well, not if we want to live out Scripture’s redemptive heartbeat.” Dr. William J. Webb is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. (Quotation from Prof. Webb ends here.)
Brethren, now is the time for all of us to take action to work to stop what is happening today to children at the hands of dear misguided parents/others who think they are doing God’s will.
First, I am asking you to take this newsletter and the exact comments of Prof. Webb and post them to your blogs, pass them to your networks, put them on your FACEBOOK pages and disseminate his above referenced quotation as far and as wide as you can. For more links, reviews and other information about Professor Webb and his book see: http://redemptivechristianity.com &   http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=2761. Please include these in your posts.
Second, I am asking you to please buy his book. Get your copy here – https://shop.ivpress.com/epages/IVP.storefront/en/addtobasket/0-8308-2761-7
Third, I am asking you to write positive reviews of this book in any forum that you come across including but not limited to Amazon, news sites and other book related sites and blogs.
Fourth, I am also you to join me in applauding and supporting InterVarsity Press (www.ivpress.com) for publishing such courageous and careful scholarship. They need to know that we are watching and supporting Christian publishers who stand up for what is right. Please join me in doing this by writing/emailing them or leaving comments on their site.
I would like to thank Prof. Webb for standing up and letting his voice be heard through this newsletter at this difficult time. His message is an important one. His work is really an inspiration for those of us who are looking for truth. I am reminded of a quotation from a giant of Biblical scholarship who was a friend of my late father and I think it is appropriate to reference it here. “…we must bear in mind that the cause of learning has often been promoted by scholars who are prepared to take a risk and expose their brain-waves to the pitiless criticisms of others” (F.F.Bruce, “Modern Studies on the Judean Scrolls,” CT, I (11):5).
Prof. Webb, thank you for your courage, risk taking, intellectual honesty and standing up and speaking out for the truths of the Holy Scripture. I look forward to supporting you and your work for many years to come.

Posted by Samuel Martin at 1:31 PM

 

A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures

Discipleship Parenting has started a series of  Biblical evidence against spanking in, Rightly Dividing the Word: A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures.

She has also posted 2 addendums to her Letters to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

Towel folding


The Peaceful Housewife has a very thought provoking post about the messages we give our children about themselves when their efforts are never good enough in Towel Folding Lessons.  We must be careful because this is what she discovered:

I was passing along my perfectionist, performance-based tendencies and my codependency to my sweet, innocent little girl by sending her the message that nothing that she did was good enough.  I was unintentionally telling her that she’s not good enough, she’s not able to trust herself to do well and that she needs to seek the approval of others in order to feel good about herself.

I should also mention that I added a new response to my Letters to Dobson post.

Attachment Theory- Why NOT to Train a Baby

By Steph

The first year of life is an important and vulnerable time.  Infants are learning a great deal about themselves, their world, and the people in their world.  While so much development takes place throughout the first year of life in regard to all four developmental domains, one of the main things infants are concentrating on is forming secure attachments with a few primary caregivers who provide them with consistent, responsive care.  This paper will look at some historic theories and figures associated with attachment such as Rene Spitz, Harry Harlow, Erik Erikson, Mary Ainsworth, and John Bowlby.  It will then describe some of the contemporary attachment figures and theories that have been deemed developmentally appropriate by many in the field of infant development.  After this, some highly considered developmentally inappropriate methods of infant care such as baby training will be looked at with regards to the harmful effects they have on infants and attachment.  The paper will conclude with a summary of my own thoughts of the research presented in this paper. [Read more…]

Dare to Disciple

Greenegem has started a blog to refute Dr. Dobson’s teachings, called Dare to Disciple.  She starts with her powerful and touching testimony: My journey toward Grace-based Parenting begins.

Paula Lilly’s testimony

This is my personal account of my experiences with following the advice of Micheal Pearl, author of To Train Up A  Child

I had many fears and apprehensions about parenting even before my first child was born.  Many of them had to do with discipline.  I was all too aware of what would be expected from me as a parent/disciplinarian and what types of behavior would be expected from  my children by friends, family members, church and school figures, etc.   As I waded nervously past the 6-month mark with my first son, I experienced the challenge of setting boundaries for a very mobile and emotionally intense little boy.   I began to try out different approaches–relying heavily on the religious and cultural  common knowledge of my society, and following the advice of authors/teachers who were endorsed by the circles in which I moved.

Some of the books I read, such as Dobson’s widely-heralded Dare To Discipline, left me feeling confused and powerless.  He recommends spanking as the response to most misbehaviors, but prohibits it for children under 18 months of age.  He speaks of showing grace toward childish, age-appropriate behavior, but paints children themselves as wicked, rebellious creatures who are bent on mounting a willful–even malicious–challenge to parental authority.   He provides very few solid, specific suggestions for dealing with normal developmental behaviors (other than encouraging parents to require absolute obedience).  He pulls his readers into an adversarial stance toward children with stories of  “little tyrants” whose unchecked behavior holds their trembling, pathetic parents hostage.  Parents are repeatedly drilled on the necessity of utterly defeating the enemy–their children.

Pearl was different.  Although many of the basic premises he taught matched up with what I had heard and believed my entire life,  Pearl offered something that was missing from the other books I had read–something very significant to me as a young and totally inexperienced mother.  He offered [Read more…]