What (Not) To Do If Your Husband Abuses Your Kids

I recently ran across this quote from Michael and Debi Pearl’s child training manual child abuse manual, To Train Up a Child:

Mother, if you think the father is too forceful in his discipline, there is something you can do. While he is away demand, expect, train for and discipline to receive instant and complete obedience from your children. When the father comes home the house will be peaceful and well ordered. The children will always obey their father, giving him no need to discipline them.

Why didn’t I think if that?! If your husband is physically abusive to your children, all you have to do is train your kids into mindless perfectly obedient little robots and then your husband won’t have a reason to beat them! That’s awesome advice! . . . Wait, no, actually that’s terrible advice.

Look, beyond how obviously messed up this is—I don’t believe children should have their wills broken (something the Pearls teach) or be trained to give instant and complete obedience without question—it’s also wrong. It’s quite common for an abuser to look for any little thing to criticize and use as an excuse for more abuse, so what you end up with is a spiral where you try to be more and more “perfect” in an effort to avoid abuse but never actually arrive.

When I read the quote I provide above from To Train Up a Child, all I could think of is the people I know today who lived that as children—who lived in families with abusive fathers and with mothers who wouldn’t stand up and protect their children but instead focused on trying to get their kids to be good so that the abuse wouldn’t happen so often. And that’s wrong. And what Michael and Debi do in their books, quite simply, teaches, feeds, and perpetuates that. Here’s another quote:

One parent should NEVER correct or question the other’s judgment in the presence of the children. It is better for your child if you support an occasional injustice than to destroy the authority base through your open division.

Presumably the Pearls think that a woman should stop her husband from beating a child senseless, or killing him—and presumably a man should stop his wife from, say, starving a child to death. Presumably this idea that you should support injustice rather than question the other parent’s judgement has its limits. But then, maybe I’m presuming too much. Either way, they don’t give any such caveat in their book, To Train Up a Child. Instead, they add this:

We see this manifested when a child that is being disciplined by the father begins to plead for his mother. When a child runs to the mother, the mother should take up the discipline as forcefully as the father.

Because apparently the perfect way to handle a father beating his child is for the mother to contribute to the beating rather than protecting her child. Look, I get the whole thing where the one parent says no so the child goes and asks the other parent. Sean doesn’t like it when he tells Sally she has to wait until after supper to have ice cream and then I tell her she can have it before supper, and vice versa, and we try to keep the times we do that to a minimum. But that doesn’t mean there’s never a time and a place for it, and I would definitely say that your husband being “too forceful” in physically disciplining the kids would be that time and place. But the Pearls’ say instead that the mother should respond to a child appealing to her for respite from the abuse by joining in the abuse. 

I’ll finish by offering one more quote. As you read it, imagine a woman with a husband who is physically abusive to her children reading it:

After a child has been spanked, he should not be allowed to flee to the other parent for sympathy. It is important that he find his solace in the one who did the spanking. When God chastens us, it is to draw us to himself, not to cause us to turn to another.

And no, there’s no caveat, and no description of how far is too far or exactly what qualifies as “abuse.” And as we’ve seen in Debi’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet, the Pearls aren’t big on women trusting their intuitions. You know, I feel like the Pearls never actually stopped to think about what would happen if abusive parents were to read their books—and to be honest, their horrifying and dismissive responses to the deaths of Sean Paddock, Lydia Schatz, and Hana Williams’—all of whom died at the hands of parents who were followers of the Pearls’ discipline methods—rather confirms that.

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.

  • NeaDods

    They may have stopped to think (despite Michael saying elsewhere that thinking is hard and scary and he doesn’t like to do it.) but think or not, when the kids started dying, neither he nor Debi stopped to CARE. Someone disrespected his authority! They couldn’t be beaten, so they must be mocked! THAT is what is most important!

    Dead kid? Meh. Just a kid. And mostly girls at that, and we know how much value Mikey thinks women have.

    • Mel

      So if I find Michael Pearl to be annoying, can I take some supply piping and start beating him with it? Or let my much larger husband beat Pearl up with some supply piping? We’re Christians too and we’re doing it for the good of Peals’ soul….

      • persephone

        That’s one of my fantasies.

      • Saraquill

        With the most painful implement possible, I hope.

      • The Other Weirdo

        No, because you’re only allowed to do that to children. Or something.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Michael Pearl: My self image is more important than any child’s health!

  • Mel

    When I was 16 and volunteering at a soccer game, I saw a “father” become angry at a 10 year old boy, scream profanities and insults at the kid, lift the boy over his head, and body-slam him into the ground. The “mom” then grabbed the prone kid, who at least had the wind knocked out of him, by the arm and dragged him into their van. I was horrified and ran to get my dad. My dad helped me get a partial plate number for the van as the family sped off. Dad then took my twin sister (who also saw the incident) and I to the local police department where we filed a report and listed our willingness to testify.

    Why did we do this? Because that’s what adults do. Adults protect children from abuse.

  • John Kruger

    What callous sociopaths.

    Just raise a child that never needs correction and then nobody needs to
    abuse them? How exactly is that
    done? Abuse is more related to dysfunctional
    power dynamics than actual misbehavior, and all children
    are going to test the limits of parental authority frequently
    on the way to adulthood. Aside from the
    needless pain and suffering this kind of abuse causes, it also shows the
    victims that the way to get people to do what you want is to injure and
    intimidate them, even the ones in your own family, whom you presumably care
    about the most.

    I cringe considering the fate of any child in the Pearl family.

    • sylvia_rachel

      The Pearls’ emphasis on how you always have to win is one of the (many, many) things I find particularly creepy about their materials and their anecdotes and their assvice. Seriously, what kind of person gets that much personal satisfaction and feels that level of triumph about winning a battle of wills with a toddler? That’s not normal.

      • Newbie

        Answer: someone with the same level of maturity – and possibly the same intellect – as that toddler

      • sylvia_rachel

        But bigger, stronger, and more powerful :(

      • LL

        An abusive person. I was in an abusive relationship, and one of his defining personality traits was that he always had to “win.” His opponent was the entire world and everything/everyone in it. He was always a victim, as every one and every thing was out to “get him” in some way. He felt he needed to win. Everything he did was justified (to himself) by his victim mentality. He even threw my cat across the room, because at the moment my cat was getting my attention more than he was and that was disrespectful to him. It happened every moment of every day.

        Michael is an abusive monster, and Debi has decided to aid him in his monstrosity, and turn into one herself, rather than fight it.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Ugh. Did we date the same guy?

      • LL

        Early chapters of Debi’s CTBHHM brought a few of us on this forum together, as we had all dated the same type of man. The Pearls are so clearly abusers that it can’t help but bring us out of the woodwork!

        Honestly, it has helped me see some things more clearly. Analyzing his traits, MY traits, and how our lives managed to intertwine so easily (and painfully).

        I hope you are long gone from that man! And have found somebody way better :D.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Thanks, yeah, I’m out, I’m going to a group, I’m feeling a little more, well… sane.

      • LL

        :D

      • sylvia_rachel

        My father was almost exactly like that (although as far as I know he never threw a living thing at another living thing). So … yeah.

        I’m glad your abusive relationship is in the past!

      • LL

        Thank you! Me, too :D. I’m sure having a father like that isn’t exactly good times, either :(.

        But on a scarier note, and related to what others are talking about in this post, it took me YEARS to understand that I was really abused. And the abuse wasn’t mild. Thus, my current obsession with purity culture, Catholicism, rape culture, etc., as I try to make sense of how that could have possibly happened.

  • Anat

    If children in PearlWorld ‘need’ to get their wills broken so utterly and completely, how are they supposed to function when they become adults and are expected to make their own decisions?

    • Baby_Raptor

      Exactly like the parents.

      If you beat any sort of individuality, thinking or rebellion out of them, there’s less of a chance that they’ll grow up and leave fundiedom.

      All they’ll know is how they were raised. So they’ll likely, short of some sort of miracle, continue the cycle.

    • sylvia_rachel
      • LyricalPolyphony

        Oh my gosh- that is just creepy. Oh- my kids are allowed, and encouraged, to question and negotiate. It didn’t turn them into disrespectful little monsters- they actually think critically though. Horrors…..

      • sylvia_rachel

        Beyond creepy. It’s creepy that their adult children behave like this, and it’s even creepier that he holds it up as an example of the success of his methods.

      • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

        What’s scary is how proud he is of the fact that he holds that kind of power over another human being.

      • Alice

        Creeeeepy! That makes me think of the stories of captives who are brainwashed and tortured into obeying their captor’s commands instantly.

      • NeaDods

        Same training techniques. Think about that.

      • NeaDods

        And he gets off on that obedience. That’s even sicker, in my opinion. That he likes it that even the adults have been so twisted that they react immediately.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Exactly. The fact that they’re like that is O_O , but the fact that he’s BRAGGING about it is deeply, deeply pathological.

      • jmb

        I would never let this man near a dog or a horse. There is nothing like the willing partnership of a kindly-trained animal that could crush you like a bug or rip your throat out, but who WANTS to work with you because they like and trust you.

        Conversely, there is nothing more heartbreaking than a horse or a dog who has been “broken” by a master like the Pearls. The only thing that makes up for it, is seeing them recover and grow back into a normal healthy animal spirit.

      • sylvia_rachel

        No kidding. No responsible animal owner would ever treat their animals the way this arsehole advocates treating kids. (And animals.)

      • Melody Jones

        Things like this make want to swear. a. lot. oh. sweet. baby. jesus.

        I actually know some people who try to justify the Pearl’s childrearingabuse books by saying “Oh but their children grew up to be such mature, kind, well-rounded, responsible adults–I think they were even missionaries!–surely there must be something to the Pearl’s guide if the children turned out so well!”

        (I don’t talk to them any more. o.o)

      • gimpi1

        Because just what you want in your adult children is mindless, slavish obedience. That’s soooo good for society in general. A civilization of robots! Yay!

        Really, there are people who don’t want their kids to ever grow up and become independent? They don’t want their kids to learn to think for themselves, to be able to make decisions and act on them? To be able to live their own lives, without needing their parents constant supervision and approval? I thought those things were a basic part of becoming an adult. You don’t want your kids to grow up?

        Expecting instant, conditioned obedience to mindless commands of your children, adults or still kids, is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. I find the fact that some people regard it as good to be both shocking and depressing.

    • forgedimagination

      As an adult who grew up in PearlWorld– they don’t. They call their parents for every single decision they make to “get advice,” they parrot anything they heard their parents say, all their political and religious opinions are like their parents… all while claiming that their childhood was idyllic.

      The only reason why I’m not as screwed up as I could be is, for some reason, I fought with my father and applied to grad school without his permission. And then I met and fell in love with someone– without his permission. Turns out, that someone is a free-thinker who questions absolutely everything.

      Oh, that, and therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.

      • Anat

        I’m sorry you had to grow up like that, I am glad you are out of there now.

        (So what do children of Pearl-parents do when their parents die?)

      • Nancy Shrew

        I’m guessing by that point they have their own children to terrorize and basically become their parents upon their deaths.

  • The_L1985

    Wow, this sounds like “Cultivating Stockholm Syndrome: A Guide.”

  • Ahab

    The Pearls’ advice, in addition to being twisted, assumes that a father has a concrete reason for beating his children. Fathers (and mothers) don’t necessarily beat their kids for any coherent reason — some are just sadists. As usual, the Pearls’ childrearing advice is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      I suspect “childrearing” is an unneccessary word there. I have yet to hear or read anything by the Pearls that wasn’t “wrong, wrong, wrong”.

    • sylvia_rachel

      Totally agreed, except I’m not sure 3 “wrong”s is enough :P

    • Mary C

      And sometimes they just lose it and fly off the handle – and in such a case, having a partner who can step in and diffuse the situation is priceless. I can tell when my husband is at the end of his rope with disciplining our daughter (not that he would ever hit her) and I can step in and give him a breather while I talk to our child, or administer a time-out or whatever discipline might be appropriate. Likewise, if she is really testing me, all I have to do is give my husband that certain look, and he knows to speak up and back up what I’m saying, or somehow diffuse the situation (take the kiddo outside to talk, etc). That is what teamwork is about in parenting. And not only do the Pearl’s destroy the concept, they turn it into something evil and perverted by requiring the wife to ignore her own mind and actually participate in abuse. Sick, sick, sick.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    When the father comes home the house will be peaceful and well ordered.
    The children will always obey their father, giving him no need to
    discipline them.

    This is classic codependent behavior and thinking. “If I just do all the right things, I can keep the out-of-control/abusive person from hitting me/drinking/doing whatever else is hurting me and/or others in the family.”

    Long story short: It doesn’t work. You can’t control another person’s behavior and trying tends to be (even more) detrimental to your own well-being.

    • Kit

      THIS was exactly what I was thinking.

      Abuse is more about power than it is about discipline.

    • sylvia_rachel

      Bingo.

      And there will always be something else, because you are not the one making your partner abuse you: if you “fix” this thing, they will start to fixate on that other thing, in an endless cycle of awfulness, and in their mind it will always be all your fault, and it will NEVER GET ANY BETTER.

    • Scott_In_OH

      Amen. This point from Libby Anne’s post

      It’s quite common for an abuser to look for any little thing to criticize and use as an excuse for more abuse, so what you end up with is a spiral where you try to be more and more “perfect” in an effort to avoid abuse but never actually arrive.

      cannot be emphasized enough.

      It’s not the victim’s fault. It’s not the victim’s fault. It’s not the victim’s fault.

    • The_L1985

      …shit, that sounds too familiar.

      After I learned in college psych class that there are forms of abuse that don’t involve hitting or raping people, I mentioned to my mother that Dad struck me as maybe being a bit psychologically/emotionally abusive. Mom’s response was that he couldn’t possibly be, because he was trying to do what was best for me.

      What is the road to hell paved with, Mom?

      • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

        because he was trying to do what was best for me.

        Reading Libby Anne’s series of posts on Debi Pearl’s book, I’m definitely convinced that this is an idea/phrase that needs to go away.

        And I’m sorry you went through that.

      • Jayn

        It would be less frustrating if it wasn’t a fairly common idea that something that would otherwise be abusive or controlling is OK if it’s “for their own good”. So much of their ideology has roots in ideas from mainstream culture, they just take it to an extreme. That’s one of the things that frightens me most about them, and why I can understand how people get sucked into this.

      • sylvia_rachel

        … and also that controlling, abusive behaviour is a sign that someone really, really loves you. (This is why the Twilight books make me so stabby.)

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        *eyetwitch*

        Twilight…

      • sylvia_rachel

        Oy.

        Last year, almost 30 years after my parents’ divorce, 15+ years after getting remarried, and 2 years after my father died, my mom said to me, like it was this huge revelation, that she’d realized her marriage to my father wasn’t just a shitty marriage, it was actually abusive. And part of me was nodding and sympathizing and being supportive, but the other part was going, “NO SHIT, SHERLOCK” and being astounded that she was only now figuring this out. I think my mom’s generation (she’s turning 72 this year) maybe doesn’t easily recognize the kinds of abuse that don’t leave *physical* marks…

      • The_L1985

        My mom’s a Boomer. And the main reason she left her first husband was because he emotionally abused her.

        But somehow, she got the wrong lessons from that. Like somehow if a person cares about you, they can’t still treat you like something stuck to the bottom of their shoes.

      • sylvia_rachel

        :(

      • Lorelei

        Heh. This is what my father told the judge, when he went to trial for sexually abusing me. That everything he did, he did for my benefit.

        Yep. Didn’t even deny it. Just claimed he was doing the right thing. Good Christian man. Elder. Plays the piano. /headdesk

      • Sophie

        I am so sorry that you went through something so awful and I hope that you have been able to come to peace with it.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Oh my :(

        I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

      • Lorelei

        it’s the way it is. I manage, it’s what I do.

        Lots and lots of therapy. Sooo much therapy.

  • luckyducky

    I would like to point out how unbiblical this is. There is a consistent model that emerges across the books of the wife/consort/queen/whatever playing the role of intercessor on behalf of subjects and children — that was her role, it was one of her responsibilities to be a sort of court of appeals. And it isn’t just to intercede to prevent injustice but also to appeal for mercy, commuting even just sentences.

    Of course, to know that you have to read the bible in its historical context, as more than a proof text, keeping in mind of the historical context and the socio-political structures of the time. Not, generally speaking, a strong suit of this particular brand of x-tianity.

    The gendered aspect is not key, it is works when parents generally agree on discipline, not so much when there is one parent who is an uberdisciplinarian and one is a limp noodle who is always bailing kids out. If discipline is consistent and reasonable, having a partners who can moderate each other for when tempers get the best of us and/or one parent appeal to the other to occasionally cut a kid a break can help reinforce discipline grounded in love rather than authoritarianism.

    I am the rule-setter in our family. Sometimes I get myself into trouble — I laid out the rule and the consequences and then find myself in a situation where I really don’t want to follow through for one reason or another. In those instances, it is nice when my SO steps in an offers a (less stringent) alternative.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      It always boggles people when they found out in my house, Mom’s the enforcer, whereas Dad is the more laid back “Hey can you get mom off my back” go-to guy.

      He’s always extra careful to ensure he’s not being TOO lenient and undermining me as I try to work towards getting our Spawn to take greater responsibility in the things she should do. And I’m always extra careful to ensure she’s always got that space to go to him if she wants to.

      I always let her have her own space to have her own emotions. I tell her all the time, “You are perfectly entitled to be angry at me, because I won’t let you go outside until you’re room is clean. The room still has to be cleaned, no matter how angry you are about it.” And if she wants to stay angry and NOT clean her room, I don’t force her to put on a happy face and interact with me. She can be angry and pouty all she wants. At the same time, she has to respect that just as she doesn’t want to have to put up with us being mad at her, we don’t want to put up with it either, and the best thing is to retreat to our own spaces for awhile.

      I know plenty of kids who were never allowed that space. They couldn’t express anger at their parents, they couldn’t retreat to be angry alone. They had to swallow their anger and be a “participant” with the family, regardless of how they felt about it. The whole, “You’re gonna do this, AND LIKE IT!” That’s a terrible way to live your life, I cannot understand why people think it’s acceptable to put children through that.

      • luckyducky

        I just cannot imagine having that level of control over my children — they are far to independently minded and I don’t take any credit for that. We would be absolutely miserable, every single one of us, if I attempted to control how or what emotions they express.

        I tell my kids all the time “You are free to be in a funk/angry/etc. However, you do NOT have the right to inflict it on everyone else. If you want to talk about how to fix it, go for it, otherwise please go elsewhere.” Of course, if they need comfort or help, I am all for that but most of the time they are just looking for a (metaphorical) punching bag to take out their frustration and it isn’t going to be mom and I generally don’t tolerate it being the sibling either — you know, pick a pointless fight with big sis and/or nothing mom says or does is right but you can’t/won’t tell her what you do want. A little cooling off time is what is in order then.

        We also talk about not practicing being unhappy/dissatisfied and how you do have a choice in how you respond and what attitude you adopt to life’s hiccoughs but sometimes it just stinks and the appropriate response is to be angry/frustrated/sad/scared.

    • Monala

      Thank you! Yes! My husband and I are so glad to have each other in that role – when one of us has had a stressful day and is tempted to yell at our daughter, the other one can say, “You know, you need to go cool off. I’ll talk to her right now.” Because I want to be a great mom and do right by my daughter, I am grateful to have someone who can step in when I’m not at my best.

  • Gillianren

    You know, I worry sometimes what kind of parent I’m going to be. The one assurance I have is that I will be better than anyone who actually believes this filth.

    • Jayn

      Yeah, if nothing else the Pearls have provided a great example of “what not to do”. I’ve been re-evaluating how I want to raise my own kids a lot lately (largely prompted by posts here), and part of that has been to shy away from anything remotely resembling what they advocate for fear of sliding into something even a fraction as abusive.

    • sylvia_rachel

      Yup. This is what I tell myself when I’ve had a bad parenting day and am feeling bad about myself: at least I know, and my kid knows, that this was a bad parenting day; at least I’m not messed up enough to believe that winning power struggles with a small child is what parenting is about; at least, whatever stupid-ass thing I did today, I didn’t do it on purpose; at least, after I blew up at my kid for some little thing that doesn’t matter that much and I would have taken in stride if we hadn’t both been hungry and cranky, I apologized and acknowledged that I messed up; at least I’m not deliberately, consciously training her to be an abusive parent herself someday.

  • persephone

    The Pearls are incredibly immature mentally and emotionally. They do not think about the future, consider the advice of true experts, or reflect on the results of their advice. And women and children pay the price. Women and children always pay the price.

  • smrnda

    Someone should turn the whole ‘Pearl method’ around – why do the Pearls need total and complete obedience from kids? Why do they feel breaking the child’s will is necessary? Why do they justify hitting kids over the slightest hint of disrespect? These are immature, insecure, cowardly people who are looking to boost their egos by abusing kids and by leading others to do the same.

    • kecks

      because in their view kids are evil. humans and their wills are evil before they turn around and ‘give their life to christ’, get born again or something. i did some work about so called pietism in germany (we would call it “new carismatic christian movements”) around 1600 and they actually promote the very same ideas. kid’s will has to be broken to get them ready to accept christ as their savior.

  • Rilian Sharp

    My mom claims that a lot of her craziness was about keeping me from doing things that would annoy my dad. I don’t know if I believe her. There was one time when she was trying to hit me and I was running away and she said, “Either you let me spank you now, or daddy will spank you when he gets home.” So I let her do it.

    • Jayn

      Wow. And it sounds like classic Pearl logic–”submit to this uncomfortable/painful thing or you’ll have to deal with x” with ‘x’ being painted as at least as bad.

      Cripes, even she was honest about her reasoning, that’s a messed up situation to be in.

  • Alexandra

    My mom was the authoritarian parent and my dad just kind of didn’t give a shit. When I was a kid, whenever I’d ask my dad for permission to do something and get an answer that my mom didn’t like, (not even like I asked mom, didn’t like the answer, and go ask dad to get a different one, just asked dad instead of mom) my mom would get very angry and accuse me of being manipulative, causing conflict in their marriage, and pitting them against each other.

    She’d say that I asked dad knowing that he’d give me the answer that I wanted, and it was manipulative of me. I guess that her perception is a possible version of reality, but I really never honestly consciously thought that way. Plus, I was a child. How could I possible be personally responsible for causing conflict in their marriage? That sounds like it was their fucking problem, not mine.

    The more I read of Libby’s blog posts about parenting, the more I realize that my mom was pretty emotionally abusive.

    • smrnda

      I don’t see how that’s being manipulative. If parents don’t agree on what their kids should be allowed to do and when they should say yes or no, that’s a communication problem on their end. If dad will say yes when mom will say no, they obviously haven’t really discussed what their kids should be allowed to do and why.

    • Rosa

      I think the word for asking the parent who will be more receptive is “smart” or maybe “perceptive”. Manipulative is definitely not it.

      I think the reach of the teaching that children are “manipulating” you whenever they get their way is a lot broader than these conservative Evangelical circles. John Rosemount used to use that phrasing and he’s conservative but mainstream enough to have a syndicated newspaper column.

  • The Other Weirdo

    If this stuff weren’t so dangerous and damaging, I would suggest writing it off as “idiots saying idiot things because they’re idiots”(Thanks, Archer). I don’t know anything about the Pearls beyond what I read in this blog, but what I can’t fathom is why people keep writing to them for advice, or where they found a publisher to actually make a book of their insane mouthings.

    • Beutelratti

      I’ve never heard about the Pearls before coming to this blog. When I read those passages from To Train Up a Child I really wanted to find out if it was distributed anywhere else than in the US. Turns out it was actually translated to several languages.

      It was also translated to German. A “funny” thing to note: Its German translation is something like “How to adjust a boy” … so no mention of girls in the title. It’s also only being printed by the “European Missionary Press” and it was put on the index due to its content. Amazon.de is not selling either the English nor the German version.

      Of course that doesn’t stop evangelical German parents from downloading it online. So I guess my point is that I would love to write it off as simply the inane ramblings of a sociopath, the problem is though that its outreach is frightening.

      • The Other Weirdo

        There. You see? I learnt something new today, much to my dismay. I did not know there were any Evangelicals in Germany. I thought it was just an American thing. I suppose some nasty is just too nasty to keep at home.

      • Beutelratti

        Well, there are only two recognised denominations in Germany: Catholic and Protestant. Evangelicals would fall under the category “Freikirche” (~ free church). They don’t have any influence and mostly stick to their own. The difference here is that they can’t escape into their own little world, partly because homeschooling is outlawed.

        We do have less of them, I wouldn’t doubt that … but the crazy is usually everywhere. It’s frightening to know that these people would download such a book and use it all the while knowing that its content is pretty much illegal where they live.

        Edit: Okay, what I previously said about being part of a Freikirche is apparently wrong. It seems like Evangelicals integrate into existing Protestant denominations and gain influence there. That is even more frightening.

      • kecks

        there are some pretty old and in their villages very well established protestant evangelical branches in badem wuerttemberg (‘schwabenland’). some of them are members of ‘evangelische landeskirche’, so they are regular protestant. *and* there is a rather big group of charismatic and very, very conservative (i would prefer the term ‘crazy’) and very young christian movements in germany which do not care about catholic or protestant as long as you are a proper ‘christian’ – think anti-evolution, anti pre-marriage-sexual intercourse, anti-gender-equality… google alpha course or jesus freak just to name 2 groups. also the catholic guys have some very conservative branches that teach similiar stuff with a catholic twist. these crazy people gain influence here. not like in bible-belt-america but they *do* gain influence.

      • Beutelratti

        Hmm, I do admit that I wasn’t familiar with all these Christian movements, because I live in a rather liberal part of Germany and we usually don’t see many (if any) people being openly Christian.

        I’ve long thought that the main problem with our secularism is that people become indifferent because they simply don’t see religion in their day-to-day life. They don’t see religion thrown in their face and therefore just go with “Live and let live” while the Catholic church happily continues lobbying.

      • Whirlwitch

        Sadly, they exist in Canada as well.

    • sylvia_rachel

      I’m pretty sure their books are self-published (although I could be wrong — it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a small publisher you’ve never heard of and a self-publishing operation with a publisher-sounding name). And they make *millions* of dollars selling them. It’s unfathomable to me.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        I cannot understand why these books are legal. I’m all for freedom of speech, but what about holding people responsible when their speech advocates — by which I mean, “gives explicit instructions how-to commit (and ‘suggests’ implements for)” — assault, battery, and psychological torture, and results in doing violence to children?

        Shouldn’t such a manual be seen as “aiding and abetting”?

      • sylvia_rachel

        Yeah, I don’t advocate censoring books, but I’m not sure how this one doesn’t qualify as hate speech against children :S

  • Lorelei

    Please don’t forget that the Pearls also advocate SETTING YOUR CHILDREN UP TO FAIL. So if Dad comes home in a bad mood, it’s going to be discipline time no matter how obedient the kids try to be.

    Because hey, that’s how you teach ‘em, amiright?

    • Jitterbits

      This is ages later, but can you please clarify what you mean by “setting them up to fail”? I just can’t imagine what it is they or how to even do such a thing!

      • Lorelei

        Quote from To Train up A Child:

        Place an appealing object where they can reach
        it, maybe in a “No-no” corner or on an apple juice table (That’s
        where the coffee table once sat). When they spy it and make a dive
        for it, in a calm voice say, “No, don’t touch it.” They will already
        be familiar with the “No,” so they will pause, look at you in wonder
        and then turn around and grab it. Switch their hand once and
        simultaneously say, “No.” Remember, you are not disciplining, you
        are training. One spat with a little switch is enough. They will
        again pull back their hand and consider the relationship between the
        object, their desire, the command and the little reinforcing pain.

  • Goatless

    I feel like this books needs to be retitled
    ‘How to make your children hate you forever and need lots of therapy’

  • Saraquill

    I find it hard to believe that the Pearls think that their words make anything other than anger, atheists, abusers and corpses.

  • somaticstrength

    In my father’s world, obedience to him would be to obey the command, “Come here, but don’t leave that spot.”

    Pearls don’t take into account that a lot of abusers like to abuse to feel in power and control of you. If you don’t misbehave, they’ll find an infraction you didn’t even think was one. The rules will change, and it’ll be considered all your fault that you didn’t know.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Excuse me, I need to go vomit.

  • sg

    It is actually pretty hard to get kids to be perfectly obedient little robots. Okay, I exaggerate. It is virtually impossible. Anyway, people who are abusive have a problem that may or may not respond to treatment, but definitely won’t respond to trying to comply with their impossible demands.


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