Two parents in Washington state have been found guilty of murder after following the abusive parenting techniques advocated in the parenting book “To Train Up a Child”.
I am begging you, please sign this petition to ask Amazon to stop selling these books. The books are given out in some churches and sold under an illusion of creating a happy family. This story and the things that are encouraged in the books break my heart.
Here is the petition. Please, please sign.
[TW CHILD ABUSE]
“Some of the discipline techniques the Pearls teach include:
- Using plastic tubing to beat children, since it hurts a lot but leaves fewer marks to alert authorities
- Wearing the plastic tubing around the parent’s neck as a constant reminder to obey
- "Swatting" babies as young as six months old with instruments such as "a 12-inch willowy branch," thinner plastic tubing or a wooden spoon
- "Blanket training" babies by hitting them with an instrument if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor
- Beating older children with rulers, paddles, belts and larger tree branches
- "Training" children with pain before they even disobey, in order to teach total obedience
- Giving cold water baths, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding meals as discipline
- Hosing off children who have potty training accidents
- Inflicting punishment until a child is “without breath to complain.”“
they’re advocating for beating children as young as 6 MONTHS
they’re advising people on how to avoid legal punishment for their crimes
“The Pearls and their ministry, No Greater Joy, make an estimated $1.7 million a year.”
Finished reading part of the first chapter. This is going to be long comment. Anyone reading this should grab a snack.
First, I need to say that the authors distinguish that “training” is not “discipline” as parents might think of it, which they seem to define as punishing a child for doing something unacceptable. The authors believe in proactively training kids to do only acceptable things, using preemptive inflictions of pain to reinforce that training. The authors claim that you should “train up” not “beat up”, however the authors repeatedly make a point to emphasize the need to cause a child physical pain during training. Their opinion is that if you train correctly, a child will learn within 3 days.
In other words: don’t hit a kid for eating a cookie, hit the kid before he has eaten the cookie in order to train the kid to want to avoid eating cookies in the future.
Here are some quotes:
"If you wait until your dog is displaying unacceptable behavior before you rebuke (or kick) him, you will have a foot-shy mutt that is always sulking around to see what he can get away with before being screamed at." page 2.
"Parents should not wait until their child’s behavior becomes unacceptable before they commence training." page 4.
So, obviously, we’re talking about training kids who already have some understanding of right and wrong, and who are old enough to handle training, right? No.
In a section on obedience training, the authors write about biting babies. I presume babies bite their mother’s nipples sometimes when they are feeding?
"One particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. My wife did not waste time finding a cure. When the baby bit, she pulled hair (an alternative has to be sought for bald-headed babies). Understand, the baby is not being punished, just conditioned… After biting two or three times, and experiencing pain in association with each bite, the child programs that information away for his own comfort." page 7
And in a section called “Never too Young to Train”…
"A newborn soon needs training. Parents that put off training until their child is old enough to discuss issues of receive explanations will find he has become a terror long before he understands the meaning of the word."
"As a mother attempts to lower child into the crib, he stiffens, takes a deep breath, and bellows. The battle for control has begun in earnest. Someone is going to be conditioned. Either the tenderhearted mother will cave in to the child’s self-centered demands… or he will be allowed to cry[.]" page 8
So, what the authors seem to be saying is that infants fresh from the womb engage in a self-centered battle for dominance against their parents, and if one were to give in, the child will become like a mobster or a union boss (the authors actually literally argue this). I’ve read elsewhere that the book discusses concealing evidence of “training”. Within the first 10 pages there is one recommendation that parents reserve disciplining for at home in order to avoid public attention: “should the need arise in public, be discreet with your discipline and then go home and train so that you will not be placed in that difficult situation again.”
The authors advocate preemptively hurting your newborns to condition them to obey. The perversely draw on Bible verses (I only saw the one so far) and military drill instruction (which they show a complete ignorance of) as justification. This is not about spanking a kid for doing wrong. I believe it’s wrong to hit your kids. If I can hit a much smaller and weaker child for doing something I disapprove of, surely I can hit an adult wife who’s more capable of recovering from a beating for the same reason and who’s unacceptable behavior is generally capable of causing more damage to the family than what a small child can do. Then again, I hate inconsistent philosophical values.