A Challenge On Behalf Of Children

Many of you have probably heard about the little girl who was killed by her parents this month as a result of them following the Pearls’ advice in “To Train Up a Child.”

I wrote about it here if you’re not familiar with it.

People have been silent about the Pearls for years, even though they have been linked with a child’s death in the past and they advocate practices that many of us feel are heartless and abusive.  A few bloggers have spoken out against them and some (like me and many mothers I know) have boycotted some sites who were affiliated with them.

Too many of us have stayed quiet, though.  Some people think parents have a right to use this sort of “discipline” even if they don’t agree with it while others are just uncomfortable with the thought of speaking out against it.  People are finally starting to vocally call this system what it is, though — abuse — and are standing up to it.

I listed quite a few of them and quoted them here.

The book is online and I read parts of it to see if it was being misinterpreted, as some people are claiming.  People have said it contains “good things” too, but I didn’t see a speck of anything good.  It gave me a stomach ache and made me hurt for all of the children being raised in these methods.

There are triumphant stories of beating the author’s 4 month old baby with a willow branch until she learned not to try to crawl up the stairs, proud stories of the author’s daughters telling a neighbor mother that she needed to “switch” her 7 month old baby for crying because “if he’s old enough to pitch a fit, he’s old enough to be switched.”

Michael Pearl tells parents not not even wait until their children do anything wrong before hurting them because then they won’t be properly trained.  He teaches that his methods (whipping with plumbing line, branches, rulers and other instruments) should be used until parents have “100% compliance.”  He has advised parents they should continue until children are “too breathless to protest” and has said “if she can cry out for you it’s not hard enough.”

People online have said that they respect other parents’ rights to use these methods.  It should not be okay to respect a parent’s “right” to terrorize and abuse children.

I’d like to challenge everyone who has a blog or writes a column to add your voice on behalf of children against these cruel teachings.  If you don’t have a blog, speak out about it on online parenting groups, post against the Pearls on Facebook, bring it up in playgroups and churches.

Let’s flood the internet and our communities with people speaking out and calling a spade a spade.  It’s not a different discipline method, it’s child abuse.  It’s not Christian.  It’s evil.

If you’d like to put a button on your site, Muse Mama designed the one above that links back to this post about the Pearls.  Here’s the code:

<a href=”http://musemama.blogspot.com/2010/02/bring-back-boycott.html&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y163/AnneBasso/Blog%20Tools/ttuac7.jpg&#8221; border=”0″ alt=”Muse Mama” /></a><br />

Thanks for listening, speaking up and being the kind of parents who give me back some faith in the world.


Filed under the big stuff

13 responses to “A Challenge On Behalf Of Children

  1. I feel physically sick. I am posting about this on my blog now.

  2. Done. Posted. Should have done something long ago.

  3. Pingback: A parenting call to arms ~ the challenge has been issued « Imagine The Chaos

  4. Alexa

    How the hell is this legal?! These sickos should be in JAIL. SO disturbing. I feel ill. 😦

  5. I have never heard of these people so I (personally) hesitate to give them a platform or attention even if it is speaking against them but if what you are saying is accurate, the behavior they are advocating is criminal. I mean that literally not figuratively. There isn’t a single child welfare agency that wouldn’t call that abuse.

    • Magical Childhood

      They are very popular in some circles, all over the country. A friend of mine in Oregon printed out material against them this week and brought it to her PTA meeting and two parents (fathers) defending it, saying they and their wives followed the Pearl’s advice and thought it was “private business.” The books are often given away at churches and one of the biggest homeschooling magazines (The Old Schoolhouse) has run full page ads for them for years. Homeschoolblogger.com also was affiliated with them and if you go to their used curriculum section it’s full of cassette tapes and such by the Pearls.

      They give instructions in their book on how not to raise flags with child protection, too.

      It’s such horrible stuff.

      I agree that I wouldn’t want to give them a platform, which is one reason I don’t link to any of their evil. Too many people that I know of quietly follow these books, though, so I feel the benefit of speaking out outweighs any publicity for them. I do know what you mean, though.

  6. I am a christian homeschooling mom and I would never do that to my children, I don’t even have the words to describe how wrong and how far from the teachings of Jesus this is. I will post it on my blog, email it to friends and put it on my facebook page. It makes my heart sick to think of anyone switching an infant much less beating an older child till they are breathless and calling themselves a Christian at the same time, I am nauseated right now.

  7. Kendra

    Most states have discipline laws. Washington State says you can only hit your child with an open, bare, empty hand; can only hit below the neck; and it cannot be hard enough to leave a mark for over 24 hours. So in this state, the ‘switch’ method WOULD be criminal, and should be reported.

  8. I didn’t realize that the old schoolhouse was “partners” with them, guess I’ll be cancelling my subscription.

    Thanks for encouraging others to speak up!

    • Magical Childhood

      They were at the time of the last child who died, and they stood by the Pearls then. Here’s something someone just forwarded me with links and such about their connections (with TOS and homeschoolblogger). http://lifeacademy.homeschooljournal.net/2006/03/28/why-i-left-homeschoolbloggercom/ The quote by the TOS owner is horrifying.

      • Magical Childhood

        PS I don’t know what their current relationship is but I went to the TOS site and did a search and found many pages of references to the book, the Pearls and their “No Greater Joy” ministries. They also have editorials defending their relationship with the Pearls and minimizing what the Pearls advocate (they say the Pearls advocate “spanking” and that some people are boycotting them because of that). I also found ads there from NGJ where they were offering to send books and cassettes of the book and other materials with their child-rearing and marital advice (which includes staying with your husband even if he molests the children) for free to military families.

  9. Amelia

    This is so horrible.
    Monstrously cruel and a million miles from what the many christians I know would believe.

    I don’t have a blog but will certainly tell my friends in the real world and online and encourage them to speak up.

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