Mothering By Grace Reviews Shepherding A Child’s Heart

I just found this excellent review of Tedd Tripp’s Book, Shepherding A Child’s Heart at Mothering By Grace.

Is Defiance Real?

I have been thinking a lot about defiance lately.  Is it real when it comes to young children?  Most parents would emphatically answer, “Yes” to this question.  I am not so sure though.  According to dictionary.com, defiance is defined as “A daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.”  To me, this means being able to stand up for what we believe is right.  This is usually a good thing.  Yet, when people discuss children as being “defiant,” it is always viewed as a very negative thing.  In fact, most Christian pro-spankers tell parents to spank/hit children mainly for “defiance.”

Are young children truly being “defiant” when they refuse to do something we want or say, “No!” to us?  I tend not to think so.  Why?  Because defiance is very subjective.  What one person views as “defiance,” another person views as developmentally appropriate behavior or an indicator that something much deeper is going on within the child.  See, to judge whether or not children are being “defiant,” we must look into their hearts.  Only God can do this.  [Read more…]

Commandments for Parents

Dulce de Leche explains how some parents inadvertently set themselves up as idols in The 10 Commandments for Parents: No Other Gods.

Alison Strobel explains Golden Rule Parenting.

Responding To Children With Grace

Carissa Robinson shares What Really Matters in a beautiful story of how she responded to a screaming fit with grace.

The Heart of the Matter

Rachel Miller, who blogs at A Daughter of The Reformation, discusses her concerns about the Pearls which go far being spanking or use of the rod and to The Heart Of The Matter.

Since the NY Times article about the Pearls, the story has gone all the way Down Under, as this story in The Sydney Morning Herald demonstrates.

Speaking of the NY Times article, here are the Letters To The Editor  about it.

Also, QuicksilverQueen  is still writing her detailed Book Review of To Train Up A Child and how it relates to the deaths.  In this review she freely shares how being raised by these teachings affected her and what she was really feeling when her parents thought that she was joyously submissive. She has reviewed the first 3 chapters.

Behaviorism at the Root of Child Training

Carissa Robinson explains that “If you observe most recommended Christian parenting practices today, you might be surprised to discover a secular influence: behavioral psychology” in Awaken Their Hearts.

Meanwhile, Greenegem explains the error in thinking that we have to DO anything more than believe in order to be saved in No Assembly Required.

Bruises

When is it abuse?  Do bruises or the lack thereof have anything to do with it? If so, does it matter where the bruises are? Carissa Robinson considers this in a post called, Hodge Podge.

One Mom’s Look at “Shepherding A Child’s Heart”

Thatmom has re-posted Anne Sokol’s book review of Ted Tripp’s book, Shepherding A Child’s Heart.  I’m so glad she did because I missed it the first time.

Speaking of which, here is another review of that book from MarynMunchkins on GCM.

Thankfull for Gentle Discipline

Carissa Robinson has a lovely blog post about how Thankfull she is that they are using gentle discipline, complete with an example of how it works.  She also links to Sally Clarkson’s blog post about First Time Obedience.  Sally Clarkson writes as the mother of adult children and reflects back on how her children were raised and how dangerous it is to try to use a formula for child raising, especially one which involves training.

I Don’t Spank My Children by Rachel

Discipline and Discipleship

These words (obviously) share a root word. As a Christian parent, I see these words as inseparable. There are, of course, times when I forget that disciplining my children is ultimately an act of disciple-ing them, but overall this is how I view God’s intended role for me as a mother. I believe this is how most Christians see their roles as parents.

Lest we speak past one another, I want to clearly state here at the beginning that when I use the word “discipline” that I do not mean spanking or punishing my children. Many Christian parents use the word “discipline” when they mean spanking, but this is not how I’m using this word.

Every discussion I’ve ever read or participated in that involves Christians and spanking, someone eventually says that spanking is the God-ordained method of disciplining our children. Some people go so far as to say that NOT spanking is sin; others take a milder approach and say that NOT spanking is, at least, unwise.

I have spanked my children (so I’m not coming from a place of unfamiliarity with the practice), but I do not spank them anymore. Why? Because I found spankings to be a stumbling block and a crutch, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me through my experiences. When spanking was an option I allowed myself, I found that I did not parent well. It was too easy to threaten a spanking instead of communicating with my children. It was too easy to spank instead of dealing with their hearts. It was too easy to give into righteous indignation that my children did not fear me so much that they would jump-to the minute I gave an order. It was too easy to become self-centered and expect my children to make my life easier. In short, spanking gave me an out:  I didn’t have to *work* at parenting, I could just spank them.

If you spank, that last paragraph probably resulted in you writing me off. Maybe you feel insulted — “She’s saying I’m lazy because I spank!” Maybe you’ve categorized me as someone who used spanking “incorrectly”; you are thinking “That’s why I never spank in anger and I always pray and hug my child afterward.” Honestly, I’m accusing you of nothing, I’m simply telling you that NOT spanking improved my parenting, strengthens my connection with my children, and allows me to focus on my ultimate parenting goal: Discipleship. Plainly and simply, spanking got in the way.

Parenting without spanking means that I must stop and *think* about all of the issues that are swirling around us when I give my children instructions. (Are the kids tired? Hungry? Are they having a rough day? Am *I* having a rough day?) I must stop and think about whether the instructions are valid. (Am I being unreasonable? Am I parenting strictly for my own convenience?) Stopping and thinking only takes a few seconds, and as I’ve been parenting this way for several years, I’ve found that I’m rarely aware of these as conscious thoughts anymore.

Parenting without spanking means that my children are free to confess to me without fear of spanking. Sometimes there are consequences for what they confess, but their openness allows us to have a conversation about the issue and for now they accept the natural consequences of their actions with a good attitude. Very rarely do my children attempt to hide their deeds from me, and I’ve had the opportunity to coach them about confessing misdeeds to others in their lives.

Parenting without spanking means that I must actively engage my children about their sinful hearts. Spanking isn’t present to cloud the issue, spanking isn’t present to become the focus of their resentment, spanking isn’t seen as a method of atonement for their sins. I want them to understand that Christ atoned for their sins, therefore we forgive others and ask for forgiveness.

So often when I explain to people that I parent without spanking, their response is, “Maybe you have time to talk to your kids every time, but sometimes I need my children to obey me immediately.” This is not a family-specific need. Sometimes I also need my children to obey me without question, and they usually do when we are in such a situation… I can make it clear with my tone that this is not the time for us to have a discussion or to attempt to give their perspective. We’ve arrived at this point because when my children were younger, if they did not obey me, I simply “made it happen.” If I told them to “Come Here,” and they did not, I went to get them. If I told them to “Pick up your shoes,” and they did not, I placed their hands in mine and made them pick them up. They’ve learned that I will “make” them comply with my commands if they are unable or unwilling to comply on their own.

I know that sounds crazy to you. I know this because it sounded crazy to me when I was first introduced to parenting without spanking. The best way I can explain why I no longer think it is crazy can be summed up by two points:

*Children are immature. At first they are able to do nothing for themselves, so we help them with everything. As they gain maturity, they take on more responsibility and we have to do less for them. I no longer tie shoes or dress my girls, though at one time I did both of these things. At one time they were unable to obey me every time without my help, so I helped them with that, too. Now that they are more mature, I have to help them comply less and less.

*Children sometimes refuse to obey. When this happens, I “make” them obey and the task is done. They are learning that resistance is futile; Mom *will* make me comply. If I were spanking I would have to spank the child for disobedience and then *still* have to make them obey in the end. (And sometimes this is a loop of give instruction, spank for disobedience, continued refusal, spank harder for disobedience, continued refusal, spank even harder for disobedience, continued refusal… and the parent is left with the choice of spanking so hard that it is physically damaging OR deciding it isn’t worth the battle OR doing what I did in the first step and “make” it happen.)

As I mentioned before, many Christians consider NOT spanking to be sinful; others just label it as “unwise” for not heeding “clear instruction” from the Bible. If NOT spanking works well for me, would these Christians have me spank anyway as some sort of insurance plan just in case my exegesis is incorrect? That makes no sense to me, and my God doesn’t want insurance-plan “obedience.”

My discipline goal is discipleship. I found that spanking distracted me from this goal, and the Holy Spirit convicted me to parent gently. So, I don’t spank my children.

-Rachel



Binding Their Hearts To Christ

Keren explains why You Cannot Bind Their Hearts To Christ in her blog, Beauty In Every Place.

Jo’s arguments

“You know, this is my very basic beef with Pearl and Ezzo, et al. This very basic concept that THEY (the parent) control the hearts of their children. Wow, how incredibly god-like. I was pretty sure that the Bible says only GOD can rule the hearts of his children. Controlling the hearts of our children is the most ungodly principle in all of these methods. To obey God, we MUST turn their hearts over to God. We cannot control their hearts. We can control their outward actions. But, we cannot even know their hearts, much less control them.

Trust me, I learned how to make my parents think I was happy inside simply by how I acted on the outside. They never knew that instead of breeding the love and godly repentance and obedience they were demanding, they instead breed anger, hatred and bitterness (from all 3 of the children they raised this way). Why didn’t they know? Simply because they could not know our hearts. Had their nurtured our hearts, guided us with love and respect and instead been living models of the God they so desperately wanted us to love and follow, they would have breed the love and commitment that God intended parents to give their children. Two of us were fortunate that we didn’t close our hearts to the God our parents showed us and learned to see he was not the God our parents emulated. But, we became Godly adults in spite of our parents and not because of (but by the greater power of our Savior). The third has been lost for a long time, I don’t know if that sibling will ever accept the God of our parents who tried to play God instead of follow him.

Didn’t mean to go off. But, this is what is at the very heart of these programs that is so fundamentally against the call of our Saviour. And, I cannot fathom Christ doing anything but crying when his youngest children are treated by misguided parents who feel they must be gods versus follow God.” – Jo

Linda V’s Arguments

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6  KJV

Train [Or Start ] a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV

It has come to my attention that many Christian parents have interpreted the above verse to mean that they must train infants and young children in the way one might train an animal.  I believe that this interpretation is not correct.  I base this conclusion on the following study:

The Hebrew word which is translated as “Train” in Proverbs 22:6 is kha-nokh. When I cut and paste the real Hebrew חנך into the Hebrew-English Dictionary, it shows these words “to guide, to tutor, to educate ; (biblical) to teach” as well as “to inaugurate, to dedicate, to consecrate” as the NIV translation mentions.  You can try it for yourself using the links I provided.

In the same verse, “Child” is Na-ar, נַּעַר which translates as “youth, youngster, adolescent ; (law) minor; (biblical) servant, armsbearer.”  This word can be used for infants, or very young children but is more often used for youth, adolescents and adults.  It is clear to me that everything in the Bible which refers to discipline is referring to youth, adolescents and adults.

For a more in depth look at these verses, please see this study as well as this one.

I am also deeply concerned about the concept that we have a right to control a child’s heart.  Insisting that they always obey with a “happy heart” only teaches them to hide their true feelings.  Michael Pearl says, “If a child shows the least displeasure in response to a command or duty, it should be addressed as disobedience.”  Since he teaches to correct all disobedience with the rod, it is obvious that he is saying to switch the child until they are showing nothing but happiness.  He promises that switching the child will produce a happy child and demonstrates it with countless anecdotes.  It seems obvious to many readers of these stories that the child has no choice but to act happy, as any other show of emotion only means more switching. For more about hearts see Jo’s arguments.

 

 

Linda V.