Remembering Sean

Tulipgirl reminds us that it has been ten years since we lost Sean.

Colleen’s Testimony

Coleen G. was nice enough  to share her testimony here on my blog.  I’m reposting it below so it won’t be missed.

I have seen the fruits of the Pearl’s methods in my own children and at another family that we know.

My friend tried to switch her toddler son until he was crying submissively and brokenly. She was horrified at how many times this needed to be done and each event required welting, bruises because he would not be broken until he no longer could stand the agony. She never switched like that again and never used their methods again. She had been following the techniques as described including the correct “tool”.

I too tried to follow their methods but I could not bring myself to hit that hard. I did not know of my friend’s sessions with her son at the time. That story came out to me years later. I have a temper problem and very strong willed children as well(I know now that is a blessing not a sin issue). While I tried very hard to not let my temper rule me it came out when I had to go through multiple sessions over many days about the same issues with the same child. Their “rebellion” was taken personally and fed my sinful anger problem. I was not seeing results with my young children they mostly just grew out of whatever development stage and corresponding behaviors that I had been taught vis the Pearl’s was disobedience.

God got a hold of me healing the sin-anger and showing me that my parenting methods were causing me to sin against my children even when I was not angry. The switch was chaotic and it took almost two years for relational healing. Yes I was/am a sinner who had a problem but the Pearl’s methods aggravated and intensified that sin issue compounding the damage I was doing. Yes I had the book, all the connected books. I had videos and the magazine subscription so I was well steeped in their methodology.

Having now stepped away from it all and truly studied both the bible and child development I can see that much of what they teach is toxic even for mild even tempered parent of equally tempered children. While bible-y in terminology it is not Christ-like and denies what is normal development as sin that must be punished out of a child for the convenience of the parents and the child’s future salvation.

I have lived with the fruit and it is a sour hellish thing fit only for those who like the Pharisees care more for control and rules than Love and sacrificial living towards the weaker.

 

Testimony of Gentle Parenting

Gentle Christian Mothers has posted a testimony on her Facebook page. She includes a lovely photo of her 4 children, I do hope you will take a look. It is a public post so I do not believe that you need to have a Facebook account in order to view it.

Lisa’s Response to Debi Pearl’s Prayer for the destruction of her enemies

Lisa has said very well what I have had neither the time nor energy to write so I am going to give her comments the exposure they deserve.

In response to my post regarding Debi Pearl’s public prayer asking God to destroy her enemies, Lisa said:

I read the article, also, and I was appalled. A prayer should not ever need excuses for why it sounds like a prayer for another human being’s death.

What if they had asked God to open their eyes and hearts and show them ‘if there is any hurtful way in them, and lead them in the everlasting way’? What if they had asked God if they had a log in their eyes that they needed to remove in order to see more clearly? What if they had asked God to bless these people?

When Jesus said to pray for our enemies, I think he meant to pray for their good and their welfare. I think that if someone attacks you, the very first thing you should do is examine whether there is any merit to their complaint. After that, humble oneself and depend on God.

I think that to compare any human beings to attacking dogs is a mistake. The Psalms may contain references like this but these are preshadowings of Christ’s affliction. We are not Christ, and we are now in the New Testament and Christ has taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who would despitefully use us. None of the apostles, nor Steven, prayed for the death of their enemies.

Finally, if I had ever written a book that led 1 other person (much less 3) to abuse their child to the point of killing them, I would be devastated beyond description. I would take that book off the market and burn every copy and repent on my face before God. Wouldn’t you?

I replied and she then went on to say:
[Read more…]

Letter to A Pro-Spanker

The Melting Mom has written a letter to her pro-spanking friend to explain what she has learned about gentle parenting. This is a fantastic letter and I know that you will find it helpful.

I would also like to remind everyone that Gentle Christian Mothers is a very good place for mothers who are seeking to be gentle to find support.

Donia’s Testimony

Another testimony from someone who was “lovingly” spanked/hit by her well meaning Christian parents, and yet, was harmed. Pro-spankers, please do not dismiss these real stories. After all, if spanking is so “godly,” why do you call people harmed by spankings “spoiled brats? Here is Donia’s story:

“This was how I was raised. Spanked ‘biblically’ by loving parents and I turned out fine…..except I didn’t. I lied, I cheated (in our Christian school, no less), I stole, I had sex, even trying [Read more…]

Following God’s Word or Man’s?

Richard was kind enough to share his concerns with me here.   Dara responded to him with such a powerful testimony that I did not want to leave her words hidden in my comment section.  That is why I am reproducing her comment here.

******************************************************************************************

“How interesting, Hermana Linda, that you have determined that there are better ways to guide than those supplied by God’s Word.”

I agree with you that it would be disturbing if someone felt this way. But, I do not see Hermana Linda as doing that. I see that she agrees that the best way to guide children is to do so by God’s Word. The real conflict is among Christians over what God’s Word actually says and should be of utmost importance to all of us.

I was raised being hit with [Read more…]

The Risk of Unintended Sexual Abuse Through Spanking

Homeschoolers Anonymous is running a series called, “Hurts Me More Than You,” from which I came across this testimony about the very real and tragic risk of unintended sexual abuse through spanking. If there were no other arguments against spanking, this one would be enough.

Some time ago a pastor and some of his flock came to my facebook page to try to convince me of my “error.” We had a long conversation. By the end of the conversation it was just me and one other person who was shocked and disgusted when I finally brought up the topic of the sexual nature of spankings. I was told that my thinking was perverse and the conversation ended soon after. Here is an excerpt from the end of the conversation. The name has been removed out of respect for privacy.  Please click on the image to make it easier to read.
Convo

The Duggars Are Getting A Lot Of Attention Lately

Here is an article which explains why many of us are uncomfortable with the Duggars.

I Was Wrong to Tell You to Stop Spanking Your Kid: An Open Letter of Apology…

I was wrong. You heard it here first.

That time. At the mall. You hit your kid and I told you it wouldn’t help anything and asked you to stop.

That was really dumb.

Not because I’ve changed my mind and decided we should hit kids, but because I know better. That approach I took almost never works. After all, you were quite young when we had that conversation. I remember when I was young, whenever someone told me to stop doing something, it motivated me all the more to keep doing it. And I could spout off 37 reasons why I was right and they were wrong. I’m sure you did that in your head that day.

What do I wish I had done? [Read more…]

More About the Old Schoolhouse and Abuse

Homeschoolers Anonymous has a new article about Homeschool Leaders covering up sexual abuse. (*trigger warning*) They focus on Paul and Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, who I have mentioned before.  They are assisted in this story by Eric Novak who used to work for The Old Schoolhouse and was close to the family.

The reason I am interested in this piece is that Paul and Gena Suarez are staunch defenders of the Pearls. This article details some of their abuses and is not for the sensitive.

This piece also exposes that many respected homeschool leaders are aware of this situation yet chose to ignore it and continue to support and promote The Old Schoolhouse.  It is a very disturbing document, indeed.

For more info about this, please see these posts by Eric Novak
Why I Care about the Homeschool & Christian Community
An Open Letter to Heidi St. John
HSLDA & Heidi St. John Refuse to Support Victims of Abuse

Repenting of Christian Spanking

M. Dolon Hickman shares his testimony and background of how he came to write his book, “13:24 as well as how his father repented of his abuse in, My Father Repented of “Christian Spanking” Too Late.

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.

A Father Of Four’s Journey To Gentle Discipline

Samuel Martin has shared a lovely letter from a father of four boys who decided to give up spanking after reading his book.  Here is a short excerpt.

…What mattered was that the Bible told us to spank. I figured we would talk it through and I would defend the biblical position. In my mind, if God said it, it was true (“Romans 3:4 “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar”). I wasn’t expecting what she hit me with. Every biblical argument I offered, she countered…

Bill Gothard In The Spotlight After Abuse Allegations

World Mag Reports that Bill Gothard has been placed on administrative leave while they research recent  allegations of abuse.

Here is the story from the Christian Post.

Naturally this story has impacted many people. Here is a testimony from Micah Murray which reflects on this news as he looks at Growing Up in Bill Gothard’s Homeschool Cult.

 

Why Heather Schopp Stopped Spanking

Heather Schopp explains how she came to give up spanking in this testimony shared on Samuel Martin’s blog. This blog post is part of a Facebook discussion found here.

Dara Stoltzfus has this and other testimonies here.

How Many Churches Allow and Even Encourage Abuse

Valerie Tarico looks at the problem of  Christian discipline leading to abuse in “Bible-based” discipline has led to child abuse in Salon Magazine.  I am seeing non-believers getting more and more concerned with this issue and rightly so.  It breaks my heart that abusive Christians are giving Christianity a bad name.  Of course, it is only natural that they are trying to find a way to stop the abuse.  My only concern with that is that their definition of abuse often includes teaching children that they are sinners in need of salvation, which is the heart of the Gospel.

Because of that article, Pastor Doug Bursch (who was raised in a grace-filled, loving home) discussed the problem with M. Dolon Hickmon on his Christian Talk Radio show, Live from Seattle 820AM.  This conversation is extremely interesting as well as important.  Dolon explains how important it is for Christians to recognize abuse.  Not only do churches fail to notice abuse, they often inadvertently encourage it.  He explains how each person listening to a sermon about spanking has a different definition for the words being used.  Both abused children and their parents assume that the word, “spanking” means exactly what they are currently doing and are being validated that they should continue, even if the pastor preaching means nothing of the sort.  Raising awareness is very important and he has a lot of hope that the book he wrote will go a long way towards that.  You can get information about his book here.  ****Warning!  Book very triggering for survivors of abuse****

 

Turning Loving Parents Into Monsters Since 1994

Forgedimagination explains exactly how the Pearls’ teachings turn  loving parents into monsters in Raised To Be A Monster.

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.

 

A Survivor Speaks

M. Dolon Hickmon shares about the abuse he endured while growing up and how being spanked “The Right Way” almost destroyed him in this (*triggering*) letter he wrote to Michael Pearl.  This post serves to introduce his Opus (a work of fiction)  which apparently needs backers. However, it does seem like it could be of interest to my audience, especially since works of fiction have been known to be the catalyst for social reform in many cases.  Some notable examples would be Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ramona and The Grapes of Wrath.

Here is the author’s response to the question of why he doesn’t just get a publisher.

Update:  The book has been published and got a favorable Kirkus Review.

Calulu has a book review of M. Dolon Hickmon’s book 13:24.

**** Warning!  Book triggering for abuse survivors****

Wifely Submission

Dulce de Leche has a series on Wifely Submission

Part 1 Intro
Part 2 Before The Fall
Part 3 The Fall
Part 4 What God Has Joined Together
Part 5 Wives, Submit Yourselves to Your Husbands
Part 6 Spiritual Leadership
Part 7 Who Makes the Final Decision?

Also Eric Pazdziora explores The Myth of the Weaker Vessel.

Dara Explains Natural Consequences

Note from Hermana Linda: Pam continues to ask thought provoking questions about how one can raise children without spanking. In This comment, she asks,

What do you mean by natural consequences? I think some of those are what I hoped for my children to avoid and why I view some punishment as a necessary part of discipline. Am I misunderstanding?

Dara Stoltzfus answered her question so well, I have asked her to reproduce her comment here. (Dara, I think I speak for everyone when I say, please don’t apologize for your many insightful words. ) [Read more…]

Sylvia’s Thoughts On Spanking

Sylvia shares her testimony and Her Thoughts On Spanking in this post.

Bringing Out The Best In Our Children

Sara Mae shares how spanking was affecting her 2 1/2 year old’s self esteem and why she and her husband decided to stop in How Gentleness Makes Our Children Great.

Dara Stoltzfus also has noticed the importance of  a child’s self-worth and explains how we can encourage their inner beauty in Princes and Princesses on the Inside.

 

 

Fear

Dara Stoltzfus shares her testimony of growing up being spanked for every infraction in “I was spanked and I’m OK!” FEAR..

More Reasons Not to Spank

Joy explains Why She Doesn’t Spank Her Children Anymore.

Katie Botkin Looks at Spanking

Katie Botkin looks back at how spanking affected her childish behavior and discusses her problems with it in Corporality.

She then looks at how spanking can lead to acceptance of abuse and sexual disorders in Corporality, part II: When Love Is Pain.

Choices in Discipline

JaniceM explains her Choices in disciplining her toddler on our2crazyboys.

Sarah Presswood’s Testimony and a Comment from Kysyra

I got a nice message on the Facebook Page from Sarah Presswood which she graciously gave me permission to share.

I am so grateful that I found your site. My parents used To Train Up A Child by the Pearls and taught/utilized Growing Kids Gods Way as their parenting guides my entire childhood and adolescence. I grew up fearing them, never trusting them, and gradually distancing myself the older I became. The emotional abuse that I was subjected to has been something that I continually struggle with. When I became pregnant with my son, I was immediately gifted with the Pearl’s book and pressured to use it exclusively. My son is now 14 months old and I announced publicly my opposition to spanking (for many reasons, but the recent study citing mental health problems was my platform). I immediately received vicious messages from family members telling me how stupid I was for believing those lies. My dad told me that not spanking my son is going against God and that my decision will have serious spiritual consequences. Google brought me to your site and I feel so validated. I never knew that their were Christians who were against spanking and this site has helped me so so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Along a similar line, I just got a comment from kysyra saying,

Thank you for this whole website. I read the book and once tried to write a comment akin to yours, but I just can’t do it.
What I think is worst about the whole thing, is that throughout the text he writes about love and respect so much and so sincerely. There is even a long section explaining how important respect towards the child and his needs are!
There are whole sections I could copy out to any AP-parents and they would sign them.
I can see how this book can make basically good people believe that complete surrender and physical pain would be necessary to raise “good” kids.
My older one is not a “good” kid in his sense at all.
But she is a sweet, empathic, social, generous kid, even when she is disobedient…
the little one, I have no idea how she will turn out yet. Except, that at 11 months she (and I with her of course) was hospitalized for a week, sharing the room with another small boy. One day he had to be alone for some hours. As his mother and I had agreed upon, I took as much care of him as I could, putting him on my bed, between my girl and me. He cried for his mother and cried and cried.
And my little, very sick, baby? she looked at him sadly, shook her head, and stroked his head and back until he was calmer…
Just imagine she had been raised believing that beatings were in order!
I like my kids the way they are, even if they are not “good” in the Pearls’ sense!

I thank God for using me and this site to help Sarah, kysyra and others like them.

Making Sure They Learn Their Lesson

I really believe that most parents get no pleasure out of spanking their children and do so only so that they will “learn their lesson.”  But what does spanking children really teach them?  I have seen many testimonies of adults who were spanked as children who did not learn what their parents meant to teach them.  Some of those testimonies can be found in this discussion at Gentle Christian Mothers.  But wait.  Can a child really learn without corporal punishment?  Here is a memory from David H.  Roper who learned a very important lesson without being spanked or even yelled at.  After reading both the discussion and the devotional, take a while to reflect on this question:  would he have learned the same lesson if the person who heard him say that word had spanked him, yelled at him and/or washed his mouth out with soap?

Dara Stoltzfus has a post about this same topic regarding The Lion King.