Who is God?

Molly asks, “Who is God?”  as she shares her testimony of how she learned to see God as a Gentle Parent, rather than a Vengeful Judge.

You Always Hurt The One You Love?

Molly remembers the messages she got as a child that parents must hurt their children because they love them.    What kind of damage does that do to a child?

And speaking of damage.  What kind of damage is done to a child who is given a Roy Lessin spanking for every infraction? Especially when not being happy enough (even after a spanking) is a punishable offense.   Read Beth Fenimore’s testimony (on Peaceful Parenting) in her open letter to Roy Lessin but first brace yourself as it really is a heart wrenching story.

Instant Obedience or Compliance

Molly explains the dangers of training children for Instant Obedience or Compliance in this testimony about a young lady and the abuse of authority outside the home.

Lucy’s Story

Lucy tells her story at Dare To Disciple. She shares how her views of spanking have changed during her lifetime and why she feels that spanking and Christianity are incompatible.

Carolyn’s Testimony in Response to the Shatz Story

Carolyn wrote  the following comment in response to That Mom’s post about Lydia Schatz and posted on my Facebook page.

I can totally understand how this is completely attributible to the Pearls teachings. We were introduced to these teachings when my children were little, and I believed pretty much all of what they had to say. We created child-training opportunities. We would calmly switch our daughters until they submitted. We had lovely obedient children (most of the time!).

Then, our 3rd daughter showed us that this didn’t always work!! She has Aspergers Syndrome (which wasn’t diagnosed until she was 10 years old), and this method simply did not work with her.

By the time she was about 4 years old, I was starting to feel like in order to live up to the Pearls teaching of smacking until repentance, I would be stepping from Biblical discipline into abuse. She could honestly keep up the stubborness for hour after hour after hour. [Read more…]

Testimonies from No Longer Quivering Moms

No Longer Quivering has a new series called Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World.   Part 4 of this series is Acknowledgment & Apologies which could be considered testimonies of the damage done by the quiverfull mindset.  Part 5: Confessions of a Quiverfull Hero and Part 6: Soul Binding are long testimonies about how raising children in the quiverfull mindset almost destroyed them.  Heartbreaking.

My Experiences With Spanking

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” -Prov 22:15

This Bible verse and the idea that it refers to a literal rod encompassed most of my mother’s parenting philosophy. How to Be the Parents of Happy and Obedient Children by Roy Lessin strongly influenced her interpretation and application of this verse. One of the messages of Lessin’s book is that a child’s salvation depends on frequent and hearty spankings. My mother was passionate about obeying what she believed God wanted.  She didn’t raise her voice at me or spank me  “in anger.” However, I was spanked on the legs with a dowel rod for every infraction, including refusing to hug her after a spanking.  No “disrespect” was tolerated. This meant I had very little avenue for the expression of negative emotions except stuffing them down. This suppression of emotion back-fired when I became violent towards other children as a preteen. Later when as a teenager I learned to refrain from violence toward others I began to turn the violence towards myself. I had hysterical episodes where I would violently hit myself and destroy any possession I cared about that was breakable. As an adult I still struggle with feelings of self-hatred.

Throughout my childhood there was an emphasis on perfection. The burden of proving the effectiveness of my mother’s parenting fell directly on my shoulders. When people would comment on how well behaved I was she would often respond, “That’s what spanking will do!” Sometimes she would add an anecdote to show how stubborn I had once been and how spanking worked even for children as strong-willed as I. She often said she spanked me because she loved me and that it was really sad some children’s parents didn’t love them enough to spank them so they could be better people. Because of comments like this I believed I had an idyllic childhood and a mother worthy of sainthood. I thought the depression which haunted me was all my own fault for not being cheerful and content enough. When I had children not only did my depression become worse but now my children shared the results of my miserable negativity. I didn’t want to spank them but I had been trained that if I didn’t I was disobeying God and I didn’t love them. I did not spank as early or as often as I had been spanked but I felt horrible inside when I did spank. I found myself becoming unreasonably angry with my children when they disobeyed because I dreaded “having” to give them a spanking. Finally one day I faced God with an open heart and I told Him I found it hard to believe that a loving God would require a mother to deliberately cause pain to her small child. I asked Him to show me His true plan for parenting, whatever it might be. That very day I saw my daughter giving one of her baby dolls a spanking. She whacked it indiscriminately all over. Suddenly I saw my parenting through a child’s eyes and I was shocked and horrified. I began researching the so-called spanking scriptures and I was led to Gentle Christian Mothers where I finally found help for a different way of parenting. When I realized the rod was one of guidance, discipleship and example, I began to cry. It was as if a huge burden had been lifted from me. I haven’t spanked my children since that day. We still have a ways to go in healing our relationship but we have already come so far. It has amazed me how much I learn about them and how much more I can help them when I take the time to look for the why of their behavior instead of masking the problem with a spanking.

The transition from punitive to gentle parenting has been difficult. When I stopped spanking my children their repressed emotion began to come out. For a time it seemed as if they were always angry and I had to remind myself they had a lot to be angry about. I have had to learn new ways to help them deal with emotion and new ways of setting boundaries in a kind but firm manner. In short, I’ve had to re-parent myself and my children all at once. Things have gradually gotten better as I’ve learned from gentle mothers who are wiser and more experienced than I. It has taken a lot of prayer and a lot of hard work. Recently I saw something that made it all worth while. My daughter was playing with her baby doll and she pretended it was trying to hit her. Instead of hitting it as she once would have done she sweetly said, “No, no, be kind,” and gently restrained it with a hug. I could finally look into the mirror of her innocence and not shudder.

People often use the argument that spanking doesn’t work. I haven’t found that to be true. Consistent spanking does work in the short term if your goal is a smiling little copy of yourself who does everything you say and who doesn’t know how to say no to anyone who plays the authority card. Long term, it leads to depression, anger, fear, lack of personal boundaries, and if healing is not sought, violence.

Some of these things have been painful to share but I want to help people see the dark side of the spanking fairy tale. There is no magic formula for parenting. It’s about love, persistence, empathy, boundaries and admitting mistakes.

If you are considering raising your children with spankings and punitive parenting please look into their little eyes and commit to breaking the cycle of violence. If you were raised this way, please get help and healing so that you don’t pass on the violence to others. Thank God, in His love there is a more excellent way.

What a Train Wreck

LivingForEternity has posted an confession / testimony at No Longer Quivering called, Family Man, Family Leader ~ To Train a Child – What a Train Wreck where she shares how the book To Train Up A Child almost destroyed her family.

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.

Suzanne’s Testimony

I just found a lovely new testimony and argument.

Drop The Training and Regret Less by Suzanne Parker

Mama D shares her concerns and book review

Mama D. used to recommend the Pearl’s teachings but has since taken another look and has now written about her concerns in a post entitled, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.”

She has also posted a 2 part book review of “To Train Up A Child”:
(Part 1) Book Review: To Train Up A Child
(Part 2) Book Review: To Train Up A Child

Link to Two of A Kind…

Now Through a Glass Darkly compares and contrasts The Passion of The Cross with The Rod in Two of A Kind: The Christ of the “Passion”, and the Parent of the Pearls

Christy’s Testimony

We know the Pearls very well as we have followed their ministry since almost its inception. We have read nearly every article and book, listened to every CD and watched nearly every DVD. We would have come to their defense in a heart beat before we adopted our son but two years ago the Lord showed us clearly that the one size fits all method of parenting that they espouse was not going to work with our son with attachment disorder. We are so thankful for our son now and what God began to teach us about his love and that he began to show us a “more excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31) and that was love.

We could see very quickly that this child would die before he would give in or allow his will to be broken. The Pearls would never say that they condone beatings or murder but the problem is that they say [Read more…]

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…]

MN from Michigan’s Testimony

The first time I met someone who trained their child like Michael and Debi Pearl recommend my first child was around 6 to 9 months old. This older mother invited me to her house for a “Moms’ group”. We would sit for a couple of hours in her living room and, while we talked or listened to a tape on discipline, the children were to sit perfectly still and not talk unless they had quietly tapped Mama & gotten her attention. The first time I wasn’t sure I liked what was going on. Smacking babies’ thighs seemed harsh and it made me cry the first time I trained him to sit still. At home, though, my mobile baby had been, well, acting his age, and it was very frustrating at times, and these moms seemed to have such happy quiet kids. I went back. The Pearls hadn’t actually written their book yet at this point, but when they did, this friend gave me a copy.

[Read more…]

Testimony Links

Perfectionism by Ann Voskamp

Fruits of Pearl Parenting by Jo from TulipGirl’s blog

Love vs. Fear and how adoption has changed our parenting by Christie

To Train Up A Child book Review by Tina Jobe

Spare The Child by Jessica-Martin Weber

Why I am No Longer a Spanking Parent By  Joan Vazquez

Brandy’s Testimony by Brandy (submitted in my comments

You might also want to check out links which I have tagged as containing Testimonies.

Do you have a testimony?  Send it to me at HermanaLinda@WhyNotTrainaChild.com and I’ll probably post it here.