Quoting Quiverfull: Do Parents Destroy Children Without Trying?

Quoting Quiverfull: Do Parents Destroy Children Without Trying? February 21, 2013

by Michael Pearl of ‘No Greater Joy’ Six Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Trying – December 14, 2012

God promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Parents, who see one of their children hit the fan, often have a hard time appreciating this verse. In fact, as the homeschool movement ages there are more and more parents claiming the verse does not mean what it says, because it didn’t hold true in their experience.

Here are just a few of the reasons a child is lost to the world and how parents caused it to happen without even trying.

I say “without trying” because when children turn out poorly, as many do, parents are at a loss as to why. It is always unexpected—certainly unplanned. An eighteen-year-old is unthankful and rebellious, walks around like the family is his enemy and he has been enslaved and abused by them his whole life. Anger is his first response to everything and to nothing.

If you view old TV programs made 50 years ago of families relating to one another, they look like today’s ideal Christian homeschool family. Daddy is respected and honored and Mother is cherished. Family problems were always resolved with good cheer and forgiveness. Teenage morality was taken for granted. The future was bright and full of hope, and there was no state of rebellion in the kids.

In contrast, modern TV and movies usually represent today’s average family—accurately I might add—as dysfunctional psycho wards of vindictive anger and disrespect. In most movies the family is already divorced or going through the painful process. If a movie were made with a teenager loving his parents as they love their children and each other, and everyone with good cheer and hope for the future, it would be considered corny and unrealistic to the point that the only people who could relate to it would be the ones who stopped watching TV thirty years ago.

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Heather

    I think I’m beginning to see some of his problem. He’s delusional. Those television programs were just so much wishful thinking, a fiction of the at the time idealized (not necessarily actualized) family.

    It boggles the mind to think someone takes them seriously.

  • validated

    “An eighteen-year-old…walks around like the family is his enemy and he has been enslaved and abused by them his whole life.”

    …because, in these circles, he probably has been.

    I’d be interested to know what constitutes a “child who turned out poorly” to Mr. Pearl and his counterparts. A drug addict? A teen mother? A free-thinker lucky enough to have realized how backward ALL OF THIS IS and fled their oppressive environment?

  • Nightshade

    To them a ‘child who turned out poorly’ would be any and all of the above, and more…any child who doesn’t turn out a Bible-spouting, ignorant of all except their narrow little circle, clone of ‘his’ group.

    Also, the whole ‘without trying’ thing-does he really think ‘worldly’ parents are trying to destroy their children? Oh, wait, whatEVER am I thinking? Of course he does…aren’t all worldly parents self-obsessed narcissists sacrificing their offspring on the altar of self? *rolleyes*

  • Anonymous

    Some of his points are okay, despite coming from an evil child abuser.

    Yes, it is important that parents are around to look after their children instead of so busy with work they dont have time for them-but unlike the fundies, I think its fine for parents to put their child in school or daycare, and feel that it is as damaging for a parent to be too overprotective and hovering over their teenager 24 hours a day.
    Yes, parents should set a good example. Like how if you beat your child, how will you ever teach your child not to hit others or grow up to be an abuser themselves?
    Yes, its unfair to constantly be putting your child down and talking about how horrible and badly behaved they are, and I dont like to see parents calling their child names. It can be as bad as the physical abuse Michael Pearl and his followers do to their children.
    Yes, children need boundaries and discipline. But they dont need to be beaten if they step out of line. There are better ways to teach a child good behaviour.
    Yes, children should be given some responsibility for things round the house-like keeping their room clean and picking up their toys, but unlike Quiverfull families do, raising a sibling and working for hours from the day they can walk isnt acceptable.
    Although no, parents should not stop their children from choosing their friends. Children should be able to make friends by themselves, its an important skill to learn. If you teach your child morals and that you shouldnt do something just cause someone else is doing it, they probably wont end up pressured into taking drugs or commiting crimes by their friends or anything.

    The difference between the uncaring parents Michael Pearl talks about, and himself, is that they screw up their kids without trying, and he does his best to destroy kids lives.

    Theres a middle ground that isnt letting their kids do whatever they want and isnt beating them. Its the normal parent who non violently disciplines and cares for their kid who doesnt show up in TTUAC because if they showed normal parenting, they wont know theres a middle ground and will think its a choice of either beat your kid or dont discipline them at all.

    The reason that these “Good 1950’s like fundie families” have kids that rebel or grow up to hate them is probably because of the spiritual abuse and beatings, not a fault with the children. Beating your kid is a wonderful way to make them grow up to hate you.

  • texcee

    I have a cousin who turned religious about 30 years ago. We all grew up in a Southern Baptist church, but she became evangelical and, to my way of thinking, turned off her brain and believed every outrageous thing she was told. She and her husband (who is just like her) have three grown children, one of which is their ideal son, and the other two who went through extreme rebellion in the late teens. One day when her children were small, my cousin told me, “If my kids don’t turn out perfect, I’ll just die!” Seldom has anything more foolish come out of her mouth … and plenty has! Their daughter fought viciously with her parents and eventually ran away and married her boyfriend. The youngest son got into drugs and stealing in order to support his habit. When he turned 18, he disappeared for several years and they didn’t hear from him until one day he turned up with his pregnant girlfriend and declared himself clean and sober. Daughter meanwhile had three kids of her own, got religion, and is now as bad as her mother. She is also divorcing her cheating husband. Younger son married girlfriend before the baby was born, but can’t hold a job and is still apparently addicted. My cousin is completely bewildered about her parental failure when she raised her children in a complete Christian environment by Biblical rules. She is so totally immersed in this fantasy that she can’t see that “perfect” does NOT exist in the real world!

  • Tori

    “walks around like the family is his enemy and he has been enslaved and abused by them his whole life.” Yup, thats me, I turned to drugs, I made myself homeless to escape my mother, I lived on the streets and prostituted myself. And you know what, ALL of that was preferable to being at home. You don’t want your kids to turn out like that? FINE, don’t inflict your crap on them! I wouldn’t go back or change a single thing I did, because however painful the journey, it was the journey to FREEDOM.

  • saraquill

    Another way to destroy your children is to whip them for any infraction real or hypothetical, until the physical damage kills them. Pearl reuses to take responsibility for the lives his words have indirectly taken.

  • chervil

    Movies? 50 year old tv shows? That’s your evidence? Yeah, your arguments are like totally convincing.

    Hey, Pearl, come back when you’re not using the dreaded “liberal” Hollywood to make your case for you, maybe if you could actually cite, you know, data.

  • Persephone

    Not just the religious nutjobs take those old shows seriously. Think about all the politicoes giving speeches about getting back to the good old days, how things used to be better, etc. etc. You’re right, those shows were idealized versions of what was considered the proper family.

  • SAO

    Um, where did the activist hippies of the sixties come from? Maybe they all dropped in from the same alien spaceships that stole away the children raised in those wonderful, ideal 50s families?

  • Karen

    Yup, I rebelled. I did the most heinous thing my mother could imagine — I went to college and studied engineering. It was a Man’s Job. Godly women didn’t do that sort of thing. And I was successful! After awhile, Mama got to where she could handle it. But it took awhile.