Authoritarian Parenting and Adult Children

Writing on this blog is like watching synapses in my brain suddenly connect. I love the Ah ha! moments and I've just had another one, thanks to a comment on my last post: I find it hard to love my mother after such a type of chilhood... I think fear doesn't dissipate so easily. I have long wondered why my transition to adulthood has been so difficult. I want to be able to stand by my parents adult to adult, equal to equal - which is, of course, what we now are. But the truth is, I'm scared of … [Read more...]

Spanking, Fear, and Privileging Obedience

Growing up on Michael Pearl's discipline teachings, James Dobson always seemed mild in comparison. My impression was always that Pearl was about absolute immediate obedience while Dobson tempered his advice to spank with an emphasis on understanding child psychology. I just came upon a quote from one of Dobson's books that is making me rethink that - and has emphasized to me once more that the whole point of spanking a child is to make him or her afraid of disobeying."The day I learned the … [Read more...]

Adventures in Parenting: On Reasoning with Toddlers

whining toddler

Last night I had a parenting adventure that was both reassuring and sobering. It involved a situation all parents face in exasperation many times in their parenting careers: A toddler wide awake in the middle of the night.  You see, a small voice beside my bed woke me up in the middle of the night last night. Drink of water. So, I got up and got Sally a drink. Alright Sally, now it's time to get back in your bed. No. Get in mommy and daddy's bed! When Sally wakes up in the middle of the … [Read more...]

“For your own good”: The insidiousness of spanking

"I'm doing this for your own good.""Believe it or not, this hurts me more than it hurts you.""Someday you'll thank me for this."It strikes me that Michael Pearl and others like him - even James Dobson - create a situation in which parents feel that if they love their children, they must hit them, whether they want to or not. For Pearl, Dobson, and others like them, it's the parents who don't hit their children who are unloving.Michael Pearl says that if you do not hit your … [Read more...]

Michael Pearl Gets More Attention

The death of Hanna Williams has brought an ever increasing amount of attention to Michael Pearl and his child training methods. Yesterday, the New York Times ran an article on Michael Pearl called "Preaching Virtue of Spanking Even as Deaths Fuel Debate." It was on the front page, so I just thought I'd draw everyone's attention to it. I've written before about the connection between the child rearing method Michael Pearl promotes and the deaths of several children here and here. … [Read more...]

A Self-Created Problem

For a long time, I couldn't understand how anyone would turn down God's gift of salvation. Who wouldn't want to be saved? But really, the answer to that question was right in front of me, and I should have seen it. I was taught that the first step of evangelism involves convincing a person that he or she is a sinner. Once you've convinced them that they're sinners, then you tell them, using the Bible, that the punishment for sin is eternal torture in hell after they die. Once you've got them … [Read more...]

How Many More Must Die?

And so it continues. Another child has died as a direct result of Michael Pearl's teachings. How many more must die?MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - The parents of an adopted girl who died of exposure in her own backyard after she had been starved and abused for months pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.Larry P. Williams and Carri D. Williams of Sedro Woolley were arrested last week and later charged with homicide by abuse and assault of a child in the first degree in Skagit County … [Read more...]


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