We know the Pearls very well as we have followed their ministry since almost its inception. We have read nearly every article and book, listened to every CD and watched nearly every DVD. We would have come to their defense in a heart beat before we adopted our son but two years ago the Lord showed us clearly that the one size fits all method of parenting that they espouse was not going to work with our son with attachment disorder. We are so thankful for our son now and what God began to teach us about his love and that he began to show us a “more excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31) and that was love.
We could see very quickly that this child would die before he would give in or allow his will to be broken. The Pearls would never say that they condone beatings or murder but the problem is that they say you need to keep disciplining until the child submits. Now with a normal child who had been loved, accepted and nurtured all it’s life this would happen fairly quickly but for a child with attachment disorder who had been abused, neglected and traumatized whose brain does not register consequences it does not work. Our son would do the most bizarre behavior and be oblivious to the consequences. (throwing himself down the stair numerous times is just one of a myriad of examples). They just will not “learn” their lesson as the Pearls would want you to believe. So what would happen if we followed their teaching to the letter? Even though we could spank in a perfectly calm non angry state the child would not give in. We would be there all day and you would have a situation like what has happened here and in the other case. Yes, you can calmly spank a child to death.
Yes the Pearl’s say you should give yourself a “lick” first to make sure it isn’t too hard but they also say that if your child isn’t responding then maybe it isn’t hard enough and you are being a “wimp”. Following this teaching to the letter also leads to the outrageous practice I witnessed recently of a young Mom spanking her 6 WEEK OLD for rolling over in his crib and not going to sleep! Do Michael and Debi condone this type of discipline? This mother was also a follower of their teaching and she seemed to think so. They have certainly never spoken against it anywhere.
You can also bet that they will not apologize or clarify any of their teaching based on this case. If someone took what I said and followed it to the letter and something tragic occurred because of it you can bet that I would feel a great responsibility because of it however this will not occur with the Pearls. In all our years of reading their material I have never once seen them apologize, clarify or change their minds on any matter. This shows a great lack of humility to me.
Don’t tell me that I don’t know them or haven’t read their stuff. I have probably read and listened to more than you and would have defended them strongly but this tragedy is last straw for us because I know that they will take no responsibility for this and will only become more defensive and only vaguely refer in their newsletter about being persecuted for righteousness sake.
I have canceled my subscription to their newsletter and will have nothing to do with this ministry anymore. I hope and pray that more eyes will be opened and more people will see that you can not follow man made rules but you need to follow Jesus and be open to the Spirit’s leading in your particular home and life.