Spare the Quarter-Inch Plumbing Supply Line, Spoil the Child
Salon chronicles a growing Christian fundamentalist parenting practice of hitting and otherwise harming one’s children to “train them up.” The practice is directly linked to the death of a 4-year-old who was suffocated underneath blankets to keep him from leaving his bed. (Reg. req’d.)
May 25, 2006 | As a young, new, Christian parent, Meggan Judge, 26, of Anchorage, Alaska, was looking for guidance in raising “Godly children.” She found advice that clicked for her when a friend loaned her a popular — and controversial — Christian parenting book called “To Train Up a Child,” written in 1994 by Tennessee pastor Michael Pearl with his wife, Debi, who claim to have raised five “whineless” children. At the book’s core is the notion that when parents “train” a child to obey early on, even before he or she is able to make conscious, or conscience-based, decisions, home will be a place of peace and harmony. Here, the term “train” is a reference to Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Neither Pearl has advanced training in child development or a related field. “These truths,” the tall, white-beaded Michael Pearl, 60, writes in his book, “are not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, [but] rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train his children.”
As you may have guessed, the Amish do not train their mules by giving them “timeouts.” Judge and her husband followed the Pearls’ advice when trying to train their infant son Noah not to grab forbidden objects: “Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, ‘No.’ Remember, you are not disciplining, you are training. One spat with a little switch is enough,” reads the book. “They will again pull back their hand and consider the relationship between the object, their desire, the command and the little reinforcing pain. It may take several times, but if you are consistent, they will learn to consistently obey, even in your absence.”
(Reg. req’d.)Wait, before you go…
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