Were You Hoping For A Perfect Child?

Ruvin, from By The Hui, looks at the Myth of The Perfect Child.  She is promising a mini-series so stay tuned.

Update:  Part 2, Mole Hills, is now up.

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.

Jesus: Gentle Parent

Little Hearts Gentle Parenting Resources posts about Jesus, The Gentle Parent and how we can learn from Him and His example.

More About What Gentle Parenting Is

Greenegem from Dare To Disciple explains what being a Gentle Christian Mamma looks like in It’s Really Quite Simple…

Meanwhile, on the same blog, Lucy explains that when it comes to parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All.

Analyzing the Schatz Tragedy

Cindy, from Under Much Grace, analyzes what causes people like Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz to harm their children in a new series:
Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices (Pondering Pearl and Lydia Schatz)

An Introduction

Part I: Virtue In Place of Unquestioned Obedience.

Part II: How Dehumanization (and Declaring War Against Family Members) Causes Moral Disengagement

Part III: Defining Aggression as Normal, Acceptable, and Desired Behavior

An Addendum Note About Lydia Schatz and the Correction She Suffered for a Mispronounced Word: Liberian Adoption and Reactive Attachment Disorder

Part IV: The Milgram Experiment and the Pressure to Commit Evil for the Common Good

Part V: Pondering the Atrocities of the Jewish Holocaust and its Relationship to the Study of Obedience

Bad Apples or Bad Barrels? The Short and Long Versions of Zimbardo on the Lucifer Effect

Part VI: The Calm Before the Storm Following the Schatzes’ “Guilty” Pleas

Part VII: The Breaking the “Diabolical Will” of Infants in the IFB – Even at Hephzibah House

Part VIII: There But For Grace

Part IX: Using the Milgram Study to Understand How Pearl Becomes Appealing

Part X: The Schatz Family is Not Unique

Adversary or Advocate?

This article by Sally Clarkson asks us to consider whether we want our children see us as Adversaries or Advocates.

Along similar lines, Dulce de Leche writes about different ways of seeing God in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

Edited to add: Sally Clarkson has more to say on this topic in Mentoring Monday: Advocate or Adversary: Your view of God Determines your Parenting Philosophy.

Series on First Time Obedience

Cindy of Under Much Grace has posted part 5 of her series about First Time Obedience: Revisiting First Time Obedience: Finding New Alternatives

For your convenience I will paste here the links to the rest of the series along with her descriptions:

  • A review of the submission required under multigenerational faithfulness as Vision Forum’s carryover from Bill Gothard’s submission teachings with various examples of this demand for unquestioned obedience without credulity. First post specifically examining “First Time Obedience” in young children.
  • A review of the principle of sacerdotalism and parental convenience (as a control issue in dysfunctional families) as rationales for requiring “First Time Obedience” and “leaps of faith” required under multigenerational faithfulness.
  • Review of the tendency to make every banal daily activity one of great eternal spiritual significance as a consequence of works-based salvation. Includes a discussion of viewing personality traits that do not fit the belief system’s paradigm as sinful as well as the building up of all gender related activities as sacramental for the impartation of inward sanctification.
  • Blog host’s personal experience with inherent personality traits treated by parents as sin, the idolatry of seeking parental approval, and the consequences of requiring unquestioned submission with the use of guilt and shame that predisposes one to easy brainwashing and compliance with thought reform. Includes a section from Biderman’s Chart of Coercion addressing the powerful effects of devaluing individuals in religious settings.
  • Discussion of the development of how perfectionism, works-based salvation and First Time Obedience squelch problem-solving skill and prevent the development of critical thinking under the guise of multigenerational faithfulness.

A specific review of the theological problems in Voddie Baucham’s defense of First Time Obedience as well as the refutation of the practice from Scripture. Echos concerns noted in this previous blog post concerning Baucham’s “Family Driven Faith” book.

Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull

Kristen Rosser has started a series over at NLQ called, Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull. I think this checklist of sorts actually pertains to all Patriarchy teachings. This is good reading for someone who is dabbling with Quiverfull/Patriarchy and thinking that they can separate the “meat from the bones.”  These posts are written specifically for those  “who have chosen to accept the Bible as authoritative for faith and practice. ”

Here are the posts so far:
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Isolation
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Hierarchy & Control
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Perfectionism & Elitism

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.

Bethany Breaks Free

Bethany Basset, of Coffee Stained Clarity, reflects on the sadness she feels at finding out that her high school friends are following the Pearls’ teachings.

I see that Bethany was raised in the VF/Patriarchy mindset.  She posts her story in 5 parts:

The Preface: The Stuff of Brains
Part 1: The Net
Part 2: The Reality
Part 3: The Hope
Part 4: The Outcome

And she has an epilogue about parenting with grace here.  I love a happy ending.  <3

Life as a Strong Willed Child

MorningGloryGirl has posted about her life as a Strong Willed Child and how she grew up feeling that she was never good enough.

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.