A person’s a person no matter how small.

Sarah has graciously allowed me to host this most excellent post.

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Aha. Welcome to my long winded “Why I don’t believe in spanking” post.

You will soon find that spanking isn’t the whole issue with me. I don’t believe in punishment at all (GASP!).

‘Course permissiveness can be unhealthy as well, so I am setting out on this parenting journey to tread not somewhere in between those two evils, but outside the whole paradigm altogether. Onward, fellow travelers! To the land of gentle discipline! (I’m cheesy and I know it… beeeooouuup beeouup beoup beoup beoup beoup beoup. Girl, look at that baby. He drinks milk! Okay, yes. Too much coffee. I’m out of control.)

Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into (should you choose to read on), allow me to indulge in a disclaimer. [Read more…]

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.

Sparing The Rod And Parental Discipleship

This article,“Sparing the Rod: Biblical Discipline and Parental Discipleship,” by Anne Eggebroten was published in the newsletter,  The Other Side in 1987.  In this long article, she not only explains why she gave up spanking and examines the link between discipline and discipleship, but she looks at the history of attitudes towards children.

To Break Down A Child – Stories Of Life Under Pearl’s Teachings

Last Week, I mentioned that Homeschoolers Anonymous was collecting stories and testimonies from those who were affected by Pearl’s teachings.   Well, their “Pearl-Style Discipline Week” is over, so I thought I would link to their collection of tragic stories.  This series is not for the sensitive and/or easily triggered. 

I especially want to highlight ExPearlSwine’s testimony in which a former Pearl follower  explains how she followed Pearl’s teachings to the letter  and exactly how and why those teachings are dangerous.

The Pearls’ defenders will say, “Oh, they took it to an extreme and should have known better.” If anyone knows better than to keep inflicting more severe discipline on an intractable child, they can only apply that knowledge by scuttling the Pearls’ sadistic teaching and being more reasonable.

 

More Looks at Michael Pearl’s Teachings

Michael Pearl’s teachings are being discussed in the blogosphere again.

Rick Morton responds to Jonathan Merritt’s Analysis of Michael & Debi Pearl’s “Child Training” & The “Adoption Fever” Dialogue in this post.

Morgan Guyton discusses Why He Would Fail Michael And Debi Pearl’s Parenting Class.

When Gentle Discipline Fails

Dulce de Leche looks at how Gentle Discipline Failed Her. Or did it?

Along similar lines, MamaPsalmist considers the Gift of a Willful Child.

And Dara Stoltzfus continues her look at how she was spanked and did NOT turn out OK.

The Strong Willed Child

Dulce de Leche looks at Gentle Discipline and The Strong Willed Child.

For more on this topic, check out the book, You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) by another former Strong Willed Child, Cynthia Tobias.

Should our Goal Be To Raise Good Children?

Lysa TerKeurst explains why she doesn’t want to raise a good child.  What is your goal in parenting?

Testimony: Why Pearl’s Methods Are Dangerous

An anonymous writer explains how she used to follow Pearls teachings to the letter and exactly how and why they are dangerous in  Corpses Don’t Rebel: A former follower of Michael Pearl’s “To Train Up A Child” reacts to the death of Hana Williams.

Deb of The Wartburg Watch posts about exposing Pearl’s teachings as well as the Judge who was recently exposed for his child abuse 7 years ago in “Judge” Not Lest Ye Be Judged.

Note: I do not have much to say about the Hillary Adams case, as abuse is beyond the scope of this blog unless it is being justified as Biblical, (in other words, unless God is dragged into it.)  So far I have yet to see that in this case.

A Closer Look at The Biblical Rod

Dara Stoltzfus describes how and why she gave up spanking.

Here are some very interesting posts from her blog, I Was Just Thinking:

Drawing the line between “spanking” and “abuse”

The Strength of Your Child’s Will!

“The Rod” as an instrument of protection

Easy Self-Test about “the use of the Biblical rod”

Na’ar in Proverbs…what kind of child are parents to strike?

Is your child a PERSON?

Growing Humans God’s Way

On the other hand, just read all her posts about spanking.  🙂

Another Anonymous Spanking Story

Dulce de Leche has posted Another Anonymous Post on Spanking in which the anonymous poster shares about how the spankings her younger brother received affected her.

Heartbreaking Abuse

Warning, the first post should not be read by sensitive people:

The Breaking the “Diabolical Will” of Infants in the IFB – Even at Hephzibah House: Pondering Pearl and Lydia Schatz Part VII

There But For Grace: Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices (Pondering Pearl and Lydia Schatz) Part VIII


Humiliation at Hephzibah House: Restriction and Control over Restroom Breaks

Suffer The Little Children

The website, Suffer The Little Children, belongs to Joan Vasquez, the writer of the Rod Study.  She has many interesting articles as well as an interview of the author of Biblical Parenting, Crystal Lutton. This website is an invaluable resource and I recommend that you read it thoroughly.

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

Myth Busting

Claire has been doing some Myth Busting over at Dare to Disciple.   Today  I would like to feature  Myth Busting 3: Backtalk, Consistency and the United Front.

For your convenience, here are her previous posts:

The Root Problem

Dulce de Leche uncovers the root problem with the punitive mindset in her post, Authority, Submission, Control and Discipline.

Yes, the root problem is control. Now that you have seen why we should not try to control our children, Lucy explains why she cannot control her children and what that looks like in her house.

How Punitive Parenting Shames Parents

Dulce de Leche has written a post explaining how Punitive Parenting Shames the Parents in This  Hurts Me As Much As It Hurts You.

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.

So Much More Than a Maiden Of Virtue

Wondering One is telling her story, I Am So Much More Than A Maiden Of Virtue, over at No Longer Quivering. In Chapter 3 she shares how her parents discovered Michael and Debi Pearl’s book To Train up a Child. If you start at chapter 1 and then read chapter 2 and chapter 3 you will find that it is a very gripping, albeit disturbing, story about punitive parenting from the child’s point of view.

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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.

Grace Based Discipline and the Oppositional Child

Recently I posted a link to what Gentle Discipline is not, today we will look at Gentle Discipline is. GreeneGem has written a very useful post about Grace Based Discipline and the Oppositional Child. You will certainly want to read this post because she gives very clear and detailed examples as well as explaining what Grace Based Discipline is and why she uses it.