The Costs of Quiverfull on Children’s Lives

Turpins

Right now the news media is focused on the family of David and Louise Turpin of Perris, California, focusing a bright light on the dangers of hiding abuse by homeschooling. But we know that soon enough another scandal will come along and the attention will be diverted. Meaning that the Turpins, just like the Nauglers and a plethora of other offenders will soon be forgotten, and their crimes will fade away in the collective consciousness before effective laws are put in place to protect the children of Quiverfull.

Most of the media still hasn’t caught onto the fact that the Turpin family are part of the larger Christian Patriarchal Movement or Quiverfull. A few have, including In Touch Weekly, and The Root.

Others are busy extrapolating an already awful scenario into even worse things with only the slimmest proof, family suicide, that they were part of a creepy doomsday cult, that there are the bodies of murdered children on their properties, wild statements by various other family members, and pet hoarding. These things may or may not be true, but the true things that have come out are awful enough without embellishing anything.

While I was cleaning out and organizing I stumbled over an old notebook where I’d taken copious notes on how the Quiverfull lifestyle can harm children. In light of the discussions on protection of children I think now is the time to share this. Knowledge is power. Not all of these apply to the Turbins, but there are definitely a few that do.

Costs of Quiverfull on your children

  1. Disrupted relationships with extended family. The Turpins illustrate this point with their rules of not even allowing phone calls with their aunts and others in the family.
  2. Isolation from anyone ‘different’ others. Child never learns what it is to accept and get along with different others. There will be different types of people in everyone’s lives as they navigate adult life.
  3. Learns to think of themselves as ‘sinful’ and ‘broken’ leading to constant inner guilt for behaving like a normal child.
  4. On the flip side learns to think they are somehow ‘special’ and highly favored more that non-believer others by God. This leads to the strange arrogance many in Quiverfull exhibit.
  5. Medical Neglect – Many in Quiverfull and in Fundamentalist Christian circles do not believe in check ups, or taking their children to the doctor for almost any ailment, simple or complex. We’ve sure seen signs of this in people like Zsuzsanna Anderson, who recently went into the hospital to deliver for a change, yet is denying her newborn baby any preventive medicine or testing. She is also claiming that the tongue-tie problems in most of her other children are caused by her taking vitamins in her pregnancies.
  6. Malnutrition – Because many Quiverfull families survive on only one income things like balanced meals tend to go out the window. The reality of many families is starch-heavy meals without much meat, fruit or vegetables tend to be the rule. Just view the early Duggar family TLC television specials and you will see this amply illustrated, as in the cheapest white bread and bologna sandwiches plus tater tot casserole.
  7. Educational Neglect or Gaps – Unless the mother educating her children is organized, diligent and understands the basic principles she’s trying to impart via homeschooling it’s likely there will be huge gaps in the overall education of the children. Or the children are taught ideas that are out and out lies, like many of the scientific ideas in those Bill Gothard ATI Wisdom Booklets.
  8. Social Skills – while the lack of social skills isn’t always linked to homeschooling because some homeschooling families recognize the needs of their children to interact with others in a healthy way, it is a big problem in those Quiverfull families that purposely isolate and control their children. Isolated children tend not to learn important social skills like conflict resolution, working in a group, or what is and is not appropriate or acceptance of others. The Turpin children were so isolated that some of the children didn’t even know that there was such a thing as law enforcement.
  9. Normalizing Violence – This is not true for all Quiverfull families, just those that follow Michael Pearl’s demented ideas on beating a child with plumbing line to break their will and force obedience. It’s since come out that the Turpins routinely beat their children to assure compliance with the rules.

If I’ve missed something let me know in the comments. Please, no fighting over if homeschooling is better or worse for children. The issue here is truly protection of children being raised in Quiverfull.


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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon


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