Michael Pearl in 1831

Michael and Debi Pearl’s child rearing methods are not new, but are rather a return to ideas about children common in the earlier part of our nation’s history, as this story from the American Baptist Magazine illustrates.  In it, Francis Wayland has the same goals and uses the same reasoning, arguments, and methods as those put forward by Michael Pearl. The scenario Wayland describes is eerily similar to some of my own experiences growing up on the Pearls’ methods.

WARNING: You may find this content disturbing.


(American Baptist Magazine, October 1831, pp. 296-301)

Mr. Editor,

I offer for the perusal of your readers, the simple narration of a trifling incident which has in a few days occurred in my own family. Although of but little importance to any one but those immediately concerned, I think it may be made to illustrate religious truths, and, if so, it will be valuable to all. It may be even specially useful from the part of its being of such a nature, as almost every parent is frequently called to witness.

My youngest child is an infant about 15 months old, with about the intelligence common to children of that age. It has for some months been evident, that he was more than usually self willed, but the several attempts to subdue him, had been thus far relinquished, from the fear that he did not fully understand what was said to him. It so happened, however, that I had never been brought into collision with him myself, until the incident occurred which I am about to relate. Still I had seen enough to convince me of the necessity of subduing his temper, and resolved to seize upon the first favorable opportunity which presented, for settling the question of authority between us.

On Friday last before breakfast, on my taking him from his nurse, he began to cry violently. I determined to hold him in my arms until he ceased. As he had a piece of bread in his hand, I took it away, intending to give it to him again after he became quiet. In a few minutes he ceased, but when I offered him the bread he threw it away, although he was very hungry. He had, in fact, taken no nourishment except a cup of milk since 5 o’clock on the preceding afternoon. I considered this a fit opportunity for attempting to subdue his temper, and resolved to embrace it. I thought it necessary to change his disposition, so that he would receive the bread from me, and also be so reconciled to me that he would voluntarily come to me. The task I found more difficult than I had expected.

I put him into a room by himself, and desired that no one should speak to him, or give him any food or drink whatever. This was about 8 o’clock in the morning. I visited him every hour or two during the day, and spoke to him in the kindest tones, offering him the bread and putting out my arms to take him. But throughout the whole day he remained inflexibly obstinate. He did not yield a hair’s breadth. I put a cup of water to his mouth, and he drank it greedily, but would not touch it with his hands. If a crumb was dropped on the floor he would eat it, but if I offered him the piece of bread, he would push it away from him. When I told him to come to me, he would turn away and cry bitterly. He went to bed supperless. It was now twenty-four hours since he had eaten any thing.

He woke the next morning in the same state. He would take nothing that I offered him, and shunned all my offers of kindness. He was now truly an object of pity. He had fasted thirty-six hours. His eyes were wan and sunken. His breath hot and feverish, and his voice feeble and wailing. Yet he remained obstinate. He continued thus, till 10 o’clock, A.M. when hunger overcame him and he took from me a piece of bread, to which I added a cup of milk, and hoped that the labor was at last accomplished.

In this however I had not rightly judged. He ate his bread greedily, but when I offered to take him, he still refused as pertinaciously as ever. I therefore ceased feeding him, and recommenced my course of discipline.

He was again left alone in his crib, and I visited him as before, at intervals. About one o’clock, Saturday, I found that he began to view his condition in its true light. The tones of his voice in weeping were graver and less passionate, and had more the appearance of one bemoaning himself. Yet when I went to him, he still remained obstinate. You could clearly see in him the abortive efforts of the will. Frequently he would raise his hands an inch or two, and then suddenly put them down again. He would look at me, and then hiding his face in the bedclothes weep most sorrowfully. During all this time I was addressing him, whenever I came into the room, with invariable kindness. But my kindness met with no suitable return. All I required of him was, that he should come to me. This he would not do, and he began now to see that it had become a serious business. Hence his distress increased. He would not submit, and he found that there was no help without it. It was truly surprising to behold how much agony so young a being could inflict upon himself.

About three o’clock I visited him again. He continued in the state I have described. I was going away, and had opened the door, when I thought that he looked somewhat softened, and returning, put out my hands, again requesting him to come to me. To my joy, and I hope gratitude, he rose up and put forth his hands immediately. The agony was over. He was completely subdued. He repeatedly kissed me, and would do so whenever I commanded. He would kiss any one when I directed him, so full of love was he to all the family. Indeed, so entirely and instantaneously were his feelings towards me changed, that he preferred me now to any of the family. As he had never done before, he moaned after me when he saw that I was going away.

Since this event several slight revivals of his former temper have occurred, but they have all been easily subdued. His disposition is, as it never has been before, mild and obedient. He is kind and affectionate, and evidently much happier than he was, when he was determined to have his own way. I hope and pray that it may prove that an effect has been produced on him for life.

And now, Mr. Editor, let me say that I should not have taken the trouble of writing, nor given you the trouble of reading the apparently trifling detail, but for some lessons of practical improvement, which it has suggested to my own mind. If you will allow me briefly to lay them before your readers, I will make no farther demands upon your patience.

I. From this incident, which is in every respect literal fact, without any embellishment, parents may learn the intensity of the obstinacy of children. When they find their children stubborn, they need not be surprised. Let them hold out in a mild yet firm course of discipline until this obstinacy is subdued. This is real kindness. There can be no greater cruelty than to suffer a child to grow up with an unsubdued temper. Let us strive, by the grace of God, to cure the evil as early as possible. I do not make these remarks, by way of telling how much better I govern my family than other people. I believe no such thing. Far from it. God has seen fit to call me to bring up a child of unusually unyielding temper. I have related the effect of this method of treatment, in the hope that it might be an encouragement to those who may be required to undergo a similar trial.

II. But secondly, I could not avoid looking upon the whole of this little incident, as illustrative of the several steps in the ordinary progress of a sinner’s conversion.

1. I remarked that my child was about 15 months old, and yet I had never been obliged thus to treat him before. The fact is, I had never before required any thing of him, which was directly contrary to his will. Hence there had never occurred any thing to test the question, whether he was disposed to consider my will or his own as of supreme authority. But as soon as a case occurred, which brought him and myself into direct and naked collision, his disposition was revealed in an instant. How unyielding that spirit of disobedience was, I have already related.

I have thought that this part of the incident illustrates the reason why so many sinners are not, and why some sinners are in a state of conviction. So long as they do not feel any thing to be immediately required of them, which is at variance with their own wishes and pursuits, they are at ease in sin. They feel no distinct opposition to the law of God, and are not in fact convinced that they are sinners. Let God grant a sinner’s desires, and require of him only external service, and he would be entirely content. But let the Holy Spirit present before him the law in all its broadness, let him see that he must submit his will unreservedly and universally to the will of God, and he is at once in open rebellion. He was living without the law before, but let the commandment thus come, and his sinful disposition revives; that is, comes forth in its power, and he dies, that is, yields himself at once to its deadly influence. Thus the commandment which was unto life, that is, would have secured his happiness had he obeyed, is in consequence of his disposition found to be unto death. We see, therefore, why it is that men are not, when in a state of thoughtlessness, conscious of their enmity to God: namely, because they do not feel that his law is opposed to their will, and we see how it is, that their real character at once is revealed, when the real character of God is brought into immediate collision with their desires.

2. It will be remembered, that I offered my child food, and he would not take it. I offered to receive im to my arms, if he would renounce his hostility to me, and evince it by simply putting forth his arms to come to me. I would not force him to come, nor would I treat him with favor until he submitted. I was right and he was wrong. He might at any moment have put an end to the controversy. He was therefore inflicting all this misery voluntarily upon himself.

Here several things are to be observed.

1. The terms I offered him were perfectly kind. I was willing to pass by all that he had done, if he would only evince a right disposition. 2. I could offer no other terms. To have received him on any other terms would have been to allow that his will was to be my rule of action, and whenever he set out to have his own way, I must have obliged my whole family to have conformed in all their arrangements to his wishes. He must have been made the centre of the whole system. A whole family under the control of a child 15 months old! How unjust this would have been to all the rest, is evident. Besides, my other children and every member of my family would have been entitled to the same privilege. Hence there would have been as many supreme authorities as there were individuals, and contention to the uttermost must have ensued.

Again, suppose I had subjected all my family to this infant’s caprice, and had done so whilst he remained under my roof, how could I have afflicted him with a more grievous curse? He would soon have entered a world where other and more powerful beings than he would have opposed his will, and his disposition which I had cherished must have made him miserable as long as he lived.

Or again, if all this had been done, he could not have been made happy. He did not know enough to be able to secure his own happiness. Had I let him do as he pleased, he would have burnt and scalded himself a dozen times a day, and would very soon have destroyed his life. Seeking, therefore, his good, and the good of the family, I could do nothing else than I did. Kindness to him as much as to them, taught me not to yield to him on any other terms than a change of disposition.

On the contrary, by yielding to me, my whole family has been restored to order; he is happier by far than he has ever been before, and he is acquiring a disposition which will fit him for the wide world, which, if he lives, he will enter upon.

So, to apply all this to the case of a sinner, God can offer a sinner no other terms than repentance. To yield to the sinner’s will, and save him without the unconditional surrender of his will, would be to make the sinner’s will the centre of the moral universe. How would you like a moral government founded on your neighbor’s caprice? It would be to throw down the government of law, and make this universe a hell.

It would be unkind to the sinner himself. He does not know enough of the universe to secure his own happiness, if he were permitted to act without control. He would make a hell for himself, even if God left him entirely alone. It is, therefore, infinitely kind in God to resist him, for if he were not resisted, he would destroy the happiness of the universe and himself together. By resisting him, he only ruins himself.

To avoid all these evils, God only requires of him to surrender his own wilful and wicked opposition, and be happy. Is it not exceedingly reasonable that he should do so? Is there any thing to cause his pain but his own wilful obstinacy? Does he not inflict all his misery upon himself? In one word, the creature is trying every possible means of escape from the wrath to come, except submission, and this it obstinately and most sensitively avoids. Ought we to tell a sinner in such a state to wait, to use the means, or to submit to God, while yet he was holding out the sceptre of mercy?

3. Again. When very hungry, my child accepted of bread from my hand while yet his opposition to me was unchanged. Extreme distress produced a forced yielding, so far as to secure an immediate alleviation, but his heart was the same as ever.

Thus we fear it is with many a convicted sinner. He sees that eternal destruction is before him, and he must yield or perish. He yields as it were to force. He gives up this and that and the other external sin. He surrenders the objects on which his heart is set, rather than his heart itself. The stream is changed rather than the fountain. He gradually convinces himself that God has pardoned him, and settles down too frequently in a false hope. At other times God reveals to him again the deceitfulness of his heart with still greater clearness, and he is yet more distressed than ever. Happy are they who are thus led to surrender their whole body and soul and spirit a living sacrifice to their God and Redeemer.

4. The change, as I remarked, was instantaneous. He might have obeyed me as well twenty-four hours before. It produced an instantaneous change in his whole character.

So in the case of conversion. The sinner has only to submit himself to the righteous government of God, and accept of the Saviour’s sacrifice, and the agony is over. There is no reason why he should delay. You may do it now, reader, whilst your eyes rest upon this trifling relation. The moment of your doing so, will introduce you to a new world. You will be filled with love to God. The peace that passeth understanding will be shed abroad in your heart. Your bosom will glow with love to the whole family of the redeemed on earth and in heaven. You will find that happiness can never be obtained by obeying your own will, but that it is obtained only by relinquising it, and making God the centre of your affections, the eternal rest of your soul.
Francis Wayland

I Co-sleep, But: Some Thoughts on Attachment Parenting
Why We Should Teach Children to Say "No"
Busting the Mommy Myth
What Kind of Atheist Parent Are You?
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16846371347200009801 Erika

    I couldn't even finish reading that description of child abuse.

  • Nathaniel

    Hol. Lee. Shit. This is how an abusive circus directer treats animals, not how a parent should their child. You don't… break a child.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Nathaniel – Actually, that is exactlywhat Michael Pearl today teaches – you must break your child's will and force your child to submit his will to yours. And yes, Pearl directly compares his methods to how the Amish train their mules. The scary thing is that Michael Pearl's books are so popular in some circles today (over 650,000 in print for his To Train Up A Child), and have been translated into other languages and internationally distributed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11557037093560947882 Anne

    Sacred shat!!He would kiss any one when I directed him, so full of love was he to all the family.WTF, he wasn't "full of love", he was being TOLD to!! The change, as I remarked, was instantaneous. He might have obeyed me as well twenty-four hours before. It produced an instantaneous change in his whole character.Um, obviously not instantaneous…it took HOW long?!?Wow!! >< This also reminds me so much of that one cult where the leader directed the mother to starve her child to death because the child (he was two) didn't say "amen" after a prayer!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02762614330823622639 Grace to You

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    uh… this made me cry. i couldnt even finish reading.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Enigma – Sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry! I simply find it interesting to note that these horrible ideas about children are not new, and that there have always been abusive parents. Fortunately, today people generally recognize this type of treatment as abuse; in contrast, there was a time when it was fairly universally accepted as good parenting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10374620768794536239 Sheena

    This is horrifying.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Grace to You, No worries if it turns out Jesus is God. He marveled at people's faith, and at their unbelief, but not at their instant compliance to the whims of authority figures. He did have a mission though. I think it was "going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed", so if Jesus is God,no worries.Other gods, I don't know. Certainly Jonathan Edwards god, who wants to roast us like a bug, could fit your bill. But then you are in as much danger of roasting as anyone. Perhaps you should have marshmallows buried with you?And then if there is no God, again, no worries.Finally, if God does turn out to be the Jonathan Edwards Micheal Pearl version, I'll be joining the rebellion against him. Any god who is going to command me to love my enemies, and then turn around and roast his in hell for all eternity isn't worth a plug nickel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Shadowspring – First, you rock! :-) Second, I'm still trying to figure out if Grace to You is real or a parody. *scratches head* *shrugs*

  • Anonymous

    That is just…horrible. But I agree, it is just an earlier version of the Pearls.kateri

  • http://www.thedrantherlair.com quietpanther

    I can't even begin to describe the depth of my absolute hatred and rage toward any father who mistakes fear for love.Episodes like this are essentially an infant-sized version of the Inquisition — wring repentance by torture from the hearts of the depraved. (Don't even begin to tell me that a day of starvation and three of isolation is not torture for a fifteen-month-old child. And, yes, I've read of many Pearl-related episodes that tend even worse.)

  • Anonymous

    Libby Anne, The article you posted was difficult to read because it was so sad, in several ways. Not only because of the child abuse but that it was done in the name of "God", and further, compared to the way God works. No wonder people stop and say NO to "Christianity". I don't claim to understand everything in the Bible, but this man's particular method is NOT the God I have come to know and love. Yes, he is a just God but more than that he is full of love, grace and mercy. The God of the Bible is not an abusive God, throwing his power around like we witness people here on earth do. I have learned through my time, I can not always look to people who claim they are Christian, to find a true measure of who God is. I try to look to God of the Bible and not to people and their own ideas, who claim to be Christian and followers of God's word (Bible). Libby, I am sorry you were raised with the QF/CP theories or man's ideas, wrapped up in the name of God and Christianity, it would be very confusing. I watched a couple take the path you have described your parents took, beginning with homeschool (which I agree, done right, can be fine) and then, the QF/CP ideas coming in. But interestingly, I didn't know until this week there were "names"(quiverfull/christian patriarchy) attached to the belief system they had incorporated. As I have recently read descriptions of QF/CP on the internet, it rings true of this particular family I mention. As time passed (30+ years), it hasn't turned out so well for this couple, as far as the adult children latching onto the parent's belief system. I had wondered what the long term consequences for the children would be in this lifestyle. I realize every family is individual, just as each person is individual but you are verbalizing and confirming thoughts I have had about it. I appreciate your blog, Libby Anne. You put your thoughts into words well. I do wish for you the very best, as you are sorting out these issues for yourself. It is anything but easy and takes so much energy.Take care, Beverly

  • Anonymous

    I'm thinking Stockholm Syndrome here?!

  • Disillusioned ex-Homeschooler

    I couldn't read it all the way through. The thought of that poor baby starving alone made me cry.It's just straight up torture. That's what we would call it if one adult did it to another, let alone doing it to a child. Spiritualizing it just adds another layer of nauseating evil.

  • Anonymous

    So terrible. The Pearls say they copy their methods from the Amish animal training, but in animal circles the Amish are well known to generally be awful at training. They abuse animals and don't get geat results, either. Of course, not all Amish are like that, but I have seen accounts all over the internet about incidents. That said, his descriptions of 'copying' them make me highly doubtful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10353346026765317698 College At Thirty

    My dad was like that. He wouldn't spend any time with us, but we were supposed to just be thrilled that he wanted us when he was ready to acknowledge our existence. When we weren't all happy to see him, we got punished. When we tried to preemptively be happy to see him, we got punished for bothering him. We couldn't win. Kids aren't property, and they don't respond well to people who don't pay attention to them. This poor boy, I wanted to cry just reading about him. Also, I just love how apparently the child had been throwing tantrums and being willful before to the nurse and presumably to the mother, but since it wasn't effecting the father, he didn't do anything about it. Way to show that patriarchal authority, guy! If it doesn't bother Dad, then it doesn't bother anyone. Ayup.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    Libby, It's just SO familiar! I swear Michael Pearl just copy-pasted this stuff. How can anybody (cough.mom.and.dad.cough) read this and take as God-breathed good advice? The worst part is that no matter what you say to these people they just shake thier heads and say "You will find that happiness can never be obtained by obeying your own will" They've all deluded themselves into thinking we are miserable unhappy wretches becuase we do not submit ourselves to the Lord. Anything you say falls on deaf ears. grr.Poor baby. I hope he got away when he grew up. :/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    P.S. Did you add the warning for me or did i just miss it last time? haha :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Sarah – I added it for you. :-) As for him "getting away," he did not. He grew up to spend his entire life getting his father's permission for everything he did and exchanging letters with his brother in which both were fearful about their father's pleasure/displeasure of their every action. When his father died, he and his brother wrote an autobiography of him comparing him to Jesus.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Thanks, Libs. I think you rock too.Her blog looks real enough. I just hope that handsome grandbaby of hers never goes through the hell that the child in this letter from 1831 endured.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    omgosh. comparing him to jesus? *throwsupinmouth* thats disgusting. I shouldnt be suprised. he was clearly a master in the art of brainwashing. yuck.And that was sweet of you with the disclaimer thing. :) <3

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02762614330823622639 Grace to You

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    @ Grace to YouUm, wow. Just wow. The child in question is a BABY. To imply that a baby is capable of analyzing and weighing consequences and overcoming emotion with reason and should therefore be held accountable for his or her "choices" is absurd. A baby can't do such a thing any more than s/he can speak or use the toilet. Small children are helpless and dependent on their parents for all their needs. Therefore, parents are responsible for seeing that the child's needs are met. If a child is refusing to eat, the parent knows the means by which the child will eat, and he refuses those means, HE IS STARVING THAT CHILD. Pure and simple.If you want to teach your child obedience, fine. It's a key part of parenting. But you don't make BEING FED conditional on obedience and you don't expect toddlers to engage in reasoning that they are developmentally incapable of just because of your narcissistic need to be the God of their lives. And to shrug off your responsibility for their suffering by saying "well, it's not MY fault–I gave them a choice after all" is just plain callous. And if a God exists that thinks that way about HIS children, then I don't want to spend eternity with him anyway. He should have his custody revoked.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02762614330823622639 Grace to You

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    Emotions trump instincts sometimes, even in a child who is too young to reason. The child had an instinct to eat, but he also had an instinct to fear a man who obviously abused him, and the latter won out over the former until the child was very ill. That doesn't mean that the child's hunger was trivial–it means that the child's fear of his father was profound.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    "[...] choice. The God of the Bible is not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9). The natural inference from this is that if any perish, it is by their choice, not his. Romans 1 gives more information on this." ~ Grace to YouBy "perish", do you by chance mean burn in the "lake of fire"(aka "hell")? In any case, I'm always astounded when Christians use this sort of apologetic. Okay, how about if I don't choose either of the two options, simply because I'm literally unable to believe that Christianity or its biblegod have a referent in reality? Who or what, will see to it that I'm put in "hell" – or if you prefer to water it down – who or what will see to it that I "perish"? I ask, because, if on the extremely, extremely off-chance that what Christianity proposes is actually true, I'm certainly not going to choose to throw myself into a lake of fire. Thus, if someone or something will put me there against my will, then, a) you can't say that it's my "choice", and b) you can't say that the individual who forces me into "hell" isn't willing it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02762614330823622639 Grace to You

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Anonymous

    What if you remove the abusive food element of this story and just look at the isolation of a baby for two days, or however long it was? In my way of thinking, and what child psychology I have read, the isolation is abuse in itself. I cannot stand the thought of this baby all alone, all that time, in a room with the door closed, other than this father, in the name of God, checking in on occasion. (is that a rambling sentence?) The thought of baby isolation alone, angers me. If I were the babies' mother, in this story, I would not have tolerated this treatment. And can we just imagine what would have happened to me, if I were the mother?Beverly

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    "If a child breaks a rule, knowing the consequence of doing so, doesn't a conscientious parent enforce the consequence, even if it is heartbreaking to do so?" ~ Grace to YouYes, provided the "consequence" isn't inhumane."Please know that my comments have not been intended to try to convince anyone to believe something they don't want to believe. I have simply been trying to point out what appear to me to be fallacies in the logic of some of the comments." ~ Grace to YouIf you are well versed in fallacies of logic, then you should know that you just committed one. To imply that if one doesn't believe a given proposition that this must mean that he or she doesn't want to believe said proposition, sets up a false dilemma, or false dichotomy.

  • Anonymous

    @Grace to you,A thought regarding your self assesed strong will. It seems to me, the moment you realize you might have a "problem" with having a strong will, that it becomes your own personal responsiblity to do something about it, and deal with it, once and for all.Beverly

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15654013636892916062 Erika Martin – Stampin’ Mama

    Wow….this is just sick! The following part, especially."2. It will be remembered, that I offered my child food, and he would not take it. I offered to receive im to my arms, if he would renounce his hostility to me, and evince it by simply putting forth his arms to come to me. I would not force him to come, nor would I treat him with favor until he submitted. I was right and he was wrong. He might at any moment have put an end to the controversy. He was therefore inflicting all this misery voluntarily upon himself."I wouldn't want to take food from a monster like that, either! If this happened in this day and age, that child would be taken into custody. Or, at least you'd hope they would. The Pearls seem to get away with writing books and other materials that advocate this.

  • Anonymous

    It's also striking to me how similar this story is to some horror stories I have read recently about attachment therapy* (NOT attachment parenting, which from everything I've heard is something completely different). It seems like AT means different things to different pracitioners, but the dangerous scenarios involve a heavy emphasis on children learning to give and receive affection "on the parents' terms," and the pathologizing of any and all complaints or negative emotional expressions (and even sometimes positive emotional expressions, which are branded as "manipulative"). In addition to the very controversial holding therapies, parents are given techniques to use at home to make compliance the only option. This could mean stripping all external stimulus from the child's life–no food except peanut butter and oatmeal, no furniture in the bedroom except a sleeping bag or cot, no school until the privilege is "earned", no interaction with anyone except parents. It can also extend to requiring compliance before kids can get their basic needs met, which is what this story reminded me of. Parents may be told, or may assume, that no kids would literally starve themselves just to defy their parents, but that is what appears to have happened in some AT-related abuse cases. (except that, obviously, it is the parent that starved the child, not the child that starved him/herself). There is no religious component to attachment therapy, but I have been really surprised how much it reminds me of the Pearls' advice (outward compliance required, all-or-nothing scare tactics, parents must win every battle, child-as-enemy, one-size-fits-all).Kate*http://www.childrenintherapy.org/essays/index.htmlhttp://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/at.html

  • Anonymous

    Disclaimer; I have not read the entire book by Pearl. But I can not imagine any context I might have lost, that could in any way alter my impression of the book and the author from what I have gleaned from the excerpts I have read. It is revolting! How can any parent read this and not feel every parental instinct rebel against the hideousness of this book? I simply cannot fathom it.To look into the completely guileless and innocent eyes of their infant, and see an enemy to be vanquished? I just… no!What especially struck me when reading Pearl, was how he took *pride* in how they immideately went for inflicting pain on the baby as "solutions" to even such a thing as being gummed during breastfeeding. That attitude is simply sickening. That same sick feeling I get from reading this awful article. But even worse, because today we are supposed to know *better*!

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Melissa@ Permission to Live

    The gross thing is how he keeps saying how he did all of this with "utmost kindness". Even a baby can tell the difference between manipulative "kindness" and love acceptance and respect. You would probably find "For Your Own Good" Alice Miller, it is made up of historical references to child-training books written in the 1600s-1900s. And she dissects the chilhoods of a junkie, a child murderer, and Hitler.

  • The_L1985

    So…the kid did what Daddy said because of that time when Daddy starved him for a couple of days?

    That’s not love. That’s terror. “If I don’t do what Daddy says next time, who knows what he’ll do to me?”