The Myth of Teenage Rebellion

teenager

by LatebloomerSometimes, as my toddler and I cuddle together to read books on the couch, I can't help but imagine what our relationship might be like when he becomes a teenager.  On some days, I dread it like a slowly-approaching disaster.  On other days, I feel a sense of hope that, as I deal with my own issues, I'll be able to give him something better than I experienced.   I'm confronting my old ideas about teenagers head on, and replacing them with healthier and more accurate ideas.Growing up in fundamentalist homeschooling circles, I heard a lot about "Biblical" parenting--extreme parental authority enforced through potentially abusive levels of spanking.  Because it was "Bi … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting, Conclusion

by LatebloomerThis is the final part of a series of posts reviewing Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips". Read the introduction here. Read criticism #1 here. Read criticism #2 here. Read criticism #3 here. Read criticism #4 here.To briefly review, my first criticism of Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips" discussed the way his advice pushed parents toward the worst possible interpretation of their child's behavior at the expense of mercy and understanding.  My second criticism looked at the extreme level of control that parents are urged to have over their child's mind and body, which can prevent the child from maturing and can put the parent at risk of developing abus … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting, Criticism #4: A Parent Who Isolates in Order to Control

by LatebloomerThis is part of a series of posts reviewing Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips". Read the introduction here. Read criticism #1 here. Read criticism #2 here. Read criticism #3 here.To briefly review, my first criticism of Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips" discussed the way his advice pushed parents toward the worst possible interpretation of their child's behavior at the expense of mercy and understanding.  My second criticism looked at the extreme level of control that parents are urged to have over their child's mind and body, which can prevent the child from maturing and can put the parent at risk of developing abusive habits.  My third criticism look … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting, Criticism #3: A Parent Who Tries to Change Minds and Hearts Through Spanking

by LatebloomerThis is part of a series of posts reviewing Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips". Read the introduction here. Read criticism #1 here. Read criticism #2 here.To briefly review, my first criticism of Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips" discussed the way his advice pushed parents toward the worst possible interpretation of their child's behavior at the expense of mercy and understanding.  My second criticism looked at the extreme level of control that parents are urged to have over their child's mind and body, which can prevent the child from maturing and can put the parent at risk of developing abusive habits.  Now here is my third criticism.Criticism #3: … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting, Criticism #2: An Extremely Controlling Parent

by LatebloomerTo briefly review, my first criticism of Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips" discussed the way his advice pushed parents toward the worst possible interpretation of their child's behavior at the expense of mercy and understanding.  Now here is my second criticism.Criticism #2:   Parents are urged to exercise an extreme level of control of their child's mind and body, which prevents the child from preparing for adulthood.  Reb Bradley is very straightforward about what he considers the primary task of a parent.  Several times throughout the book, he reminds parents that their goal is to subdue their child's will: "keep your objective in mind - subjection of the … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting, Criticism #1: A Parent Who Assumes The Worst

by LatebloomerThe task of reviewing Reb Bradley's book "Child Training Tips" has been a lot more challenging than I expected.  First of all, where do I start when I disagree with almost every sentence that this book contains?  I can find almost no common ground on which to begin.  And how can I explain my reasons for disagreement when the very things that I see as horrifying are held up as admirable goals by the author?Because of these difficulties, I have decided that these posts will simply be a way for Present Me to explain to Past Me that this so-called "Biblical" parenting is damaging to individuals and relationships because it sacrifices all other virtues for the sake of au … [Read more...]

“Biblical” Parenting: Introduction

by LatebloomerEvery once in a while, I realize something shockingly obvious, something that confronts yet another false assumption that has managed to cling to my mind even as I've moved further and further away from my fundamentalist Christian roots.In the whole Bible, there is not a single verse that credits parents for having raised a good child.  Nothing from God, nothing from any adult sons or daughters in the Bible.  Not one word of thanks, not one word of credit.It would be easy to insert a few parental credit verses into the Bible.  Maybe we could add a little phrase here or there in the Old Testament, such as "King David, because of his godly parents," or "Moses, thanks t … [Read more...]

Bad, Evil Psychology Helped Me

by LatebloomerGrowing up, I heard a lot of scoffing at psychology in my family, homeschooling community, and fundamentalist church.  In those circles, the study and application of psychology represented a worthless human attempt to feel happier apart from God and become better without the guidance of the Bible.   The anti-psychology sentiment was so strong that even building kids' self-confidence and self-esteem was derided as a "worldly" goal.  There was too much "self" in the name.  Real True Christian children were to be obedient and humble instead.Looking back, I definitely had the obedience thing handled; in fact, I cannot remember ever purposefully disobeying my parents, even in … [Read more...]

The Marriage Benefits of Leaving Fundamentalism

by LatebloomerIf I had stayed within the constraints of fundamentalism and Christian Patriarchy, my husband and I would absolutely not be happily married today. Our relationship from the very beginning consisted of many departures from the teachings I grew up with. Each of those departures furthered the development, health, and mutual happiness of our relationship.The first departure: As a single woman, I moved out of my parents' home to get a college education. What is a completely ordinary step for many North American women was a desperate and terrifying leap for me. My family's homeschooling church, led by Reb Bradley, promoted a very restrictive view of gender roles along with a … [Read more...]

Post-Fundamentalist Motherhood

LateBloomer

by LatebloomerWhen I look at my little toddler, I am so glad that I am no longer a fundamentalist Christian.First, I don't believe in total depravity anymore, so I don't feel compelled to interpret his actions with negative terminology. The doctrine of total depravity is a common belief among fundamentalists.  It teaches that every person is born with a sin nature, separated from God, and capable of the worst kinds of evil.  It also says that proper parenting can mitigate the effects of the sin nature, but only a relationship with Jesus can make a person capable of true goodness.If I believed that my child had a sin nature that predisposed him to evil, that would c … [Read more...]


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