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...]

Attachment Only By Day? – Part 2

Note from Hermana Linda:   This is the continuation of a conversation in the comments of Steph’s article on Attachment Theory.  Read Part 1 here.   This exchange starts here.

Hi Steph, thank you for your kind reply. I totally see your point. I didn’t mention the details on how my child responds when separated. She ofcourse resists a bit but goes back to normal play within a minute or two. Getting back together is a happy time for both of us but she doesn’t need extra attention but she is loving as always. I can only speak from my own experience and I am trying to find the truth without any bias. When you say brain damage, I can’t understand that because my daughter met all her developmental milestones 6 months ahead of her peers and she is nearly 4 now and has even started reading. I often see how totally she trusts me to keep my word and to take care of her if she is in any kind of danger.
I understand God doesn’t want us to cry as it makes him sad as well. But I do see in so many peoples lives that God allows some painful experiences so that they will shine even more brightly for His glory. When we did sleep training, we did make sure that she is completely safe, fed, changed and comfortable and we watched her through the video monitor to make sure her safety. Sure it was hard for us and hard for her. And I wouldn’t do it for a minute if it was not beneficial for her. That training has just done her so much good that she became more fresh and attentive during her wake times and happier.

[Read more...]

Attachment Only By Day? – Part 1

Note from Hermana Linda: We appreciate getting comments and read every one.   This comment from Jo about Attachment Theory elicited such an insightful response from Steph that I have decided to highlight it here.

From my personal experience with my own child, if you provide consistent care and love in meeting the needs of the child throughout the day, a little sleep training at night develops an even healthier attachment. My child is the most securely attached child I have seen because she is able to stay away from me without much distress as long as I tell her beforehand and also comes back to me with even more love when i get back to her. Crying it out works perfectly but should only be done if the parents are able to provide love and care for the child and securely attach in every way. We did sleep training for her when she was 9 months old and within 3 nights, she started sleeping through the night and sleeps in her own room. She is a very happy child then and now.

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...]

More from Under Much Grace

I would like to draw your attention to some more interesting posts from Under Much Grace.

What It’s Like to Experience Only the Right Side of the Brain in the Way that Children Do (A Neuroscientist Experiences a Stroke on the Left, Analytical Side of the Brain) which debunks the Pearls’ claim that very young children exercise their diabolical wills to dominate their parents.

More from Janet Heimlich on Problematic and Abusive Corporal Punishment within Evangelical Christianity which debunks the common belief that spanking is non-optional for Christians.

And speaking of the science of children’s brains, you might be interested in How Stress Affects Your Child’s Brain.

The Science Behind Happy And Compliant Children

Cindy of Under Much Grace explains the scientific evidence that shows the damage done to children who suffer harsh punishment from a young age.  Parents who follow Pearls’ advice to punish toddlers for age appropriate behaviors may end up with seemingly happy and compliant children, but at what price?

Damaging Effects of Punishment on Children

GreeneGem explains the damage  which was done to her by her mothers trampling on her Boundaries.

Speaking of damage, did you know that when babies are left to cry it out, their little bodies are being flooded with Cortisol?   Discipleship Parenting looks at what  effect that has on them.

Meanwhile Pearl, from An Apprenticeship in the Art of Gentle Discipline, looks at the Spiritual Discipline of Parenting to Sleep.