Questioning the Pearls – Spanking is a Good Electric Fence

QuestioningthePearlsA lady writes Michael describing her toddler sons with those same ridiculous categories of men that both Michael and Debi push – Command Man, Visionary Man, etc. She asks for advice for their various styles. Guess what Michael’s answer is? It involves using plumbing pipe on their rear ends.

For well over a year we’ve been running a second Answering ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’ on Sundays, filled with questions by young ladies trying to get ready for marriage. Since we’ve run through many of the questions on their site it’s time to shift Sundays to something else, like perhaps examining the cornucopia of probably fake emails and questions that Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy post on their website and the possibly poisonous answers they give.

Original question and answer here.

First the letter asking for advice:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Pearl,

Reading your posts about boys has encouraged me so much. I am married to a visionary (turning into a command man) and I have two little boys, a three-year-old and a two-year-old. Oh my word! Even at two, I can tell my youngest is a command man. I’m not saying that because he throws tantrums. He says in sentences what he wants and how he wants it. If he doesn’t get it, he will cry and cry and scream for as long as it takes. I discipline in a few different ways, but I have had to learn how to encourage him to communicate what he wants in a respectful way. He is only two but he is smart! My three-year-old is bossy and needs desperately to be listened to. Unlike my youngest who is particular about everything, my oldest just wants to be heard and understood. It’s so hard because their desire to be the leader and protector and the one with the vision is so strong already! Learning to discipline them has been interesting, to say the least! Please write the book before my boys are grown! I learn so much from you! Thank you for being such a blessing!

…and now the toxic answer:

That said, what you lack is consistency. You said, “If he doesn’t get it, he will cry and cry and scream for as long as it takes.” The key phrase is “as long as it takes.” Kids lack the understanding to weigh the cost of achieving their goals vs. choosing a more favorable alternative. Their passions get fixated on fulfilment and they project negative behavior “for as long as it takes.”

A long time ago in a faraway land, I had a hound dog that was a great hunter, but one time he found a weak spot in the fence protecting the chickens and discovered why Colonel Sanders was so popular. Of course, I strengthened the fence so no dog could get in no matter how determined. However, having gotten through the fence once and achieved great pleasure, he remained ever determined to break in again—“for as long as it takes.” The stupid dog would pull on the wire with his teeth until his mouth bled. So out of compassion for my dear hunting dog, I placed an electric fence around the chicken pen, just one wire about nose high, hot enough to fry dog hair and curl his toenails backward. Have you ever seen a hound dog with a corkscrew tail?

The dog knew better than to attack the chickens when I was present, so I had to hide in the barn. You understand, it was not out of a sense of morbid pleasure; it is just that a true scientist must observe the results of his experiment. Sure enough, he skulked over to the pen, looking this way and that. I could see the spark leap out and connect with his nose. I do believe I heard thunder generated by the lightning bolt, but it could have been coming out of the back end of the dog. I made a misstatement in calling the dog stupid. Once was enough. My chickens were safe and my hound dog was able to move on in life and focus on things more productive, like disposing of old shoes someone left on the porch.

Spanking is a good electric fence, but if you are inconsistent in your resolve, kids will even resist spanking, finding it less painful than suffering the loss of their passion. When you have once given over, you confirm the legitimacy of their tactics. Spanking without consistency puts callouses on the soul of the child and makes it an ineffective tool without increasing the intensity—which can become a problem.

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