Quoting Quiverfull: Heartbreaking Quotes From “To Train Up A Child”

Quoting Quiverfull: Heartbreaking Quotes From “To Train Up A Child” December 18, 2013

by Debi and Michael Pearl from “To Train Up A Child” as quoted at the site Why Not Train A Child

Page 9

At five months, she was too unknowing to be punished for disobedience. But for her own good (and our peace of mind), we attempted to train her not to climb the stairs by coordinating the voice command of “No” with little spats on her bare legs. The switch was a twelve-once long, one-eighth-inch diameter sprig from a willow tree.

Page 63

But what about the grouchy child who would rather complain than sleep? Get tough. Be firm with him. Never put him down and then for some reason reverse your position, allowing him to get up. For your reputation with the child, you must follow through. He may not be able to sleep, but he can be trained to lie there quietly. He will very quickly come to know that any time he is laid down, there is no alternative but to stay put. To get up is to be on the firing line and get switched back down.

Page 79

A seven-month-old boy had, upon failing to get his way, stiffened clenched his fists, bared his toothless gums and called down damnation on the whole place. At a time like that, the angry expression on a baby’s face can resemble that of one instigating a riot. The young mother, wanting to do the right thing, stood there in helpless consternation, apologetically shrugged her shoulders and said, “What can I do?” My incredulous nine-year-old whipped back, “Switch him.” The mother responded, “I can’t, he’s too little.” With the wisdom of a veteran who had been on the little end of the switch, my daughter answered, “If he is old enough to pitch a fit, he is old enough to be spanked.”

Page 55

If a father is attempting to make a child eat his oats, and the child cries for his mother, then the mother should respond by spanking him for whining for her and for not eating his oats. He will then be glad to be dealing only with the father.

Page 46

At this point, in utter panic, he will rush to demonstrate obedience. Never reward delayed obedience by reversing the sentence. And, unless all else fails, don’t drag him to the place of cleansing. Part of his training is to come submissively. However, if you are just beginning to institute training on an already rebellious child, who runs from discipline and is too incoherent to listen, then use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.

and there is still more….

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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  • newcomer

    If someone sits on you and beats you until you cater to their every whim with a smile, not quite sure they qualify as a “benevolent sovereign.”

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Nauseating. Absolutely sickening. I cannot even imagine characterizing what a seven-month-old does as calling down damnation. Little ones normally cry when they are physically uncomfortable, NOT because they’re baby control freaks that need beating into submission. (Actually, NO child should be beat into submission.) Is baby hungry? Switch ’em. Is baby tired? Switch ’em. Is baby grouchy because Mom is trying to impose HER schedule rather than respect HIS? Switch ’em. The Pearls are sick puppies.

  • Once upon a time, when I was about 12, my sister, 9 or so, our father decided to spank my sister. I don’t even remember what she did wrong. Having never lifted a finger other than a thump on the arm when we disobeyed, he wasn’t quite sure how to to about it. He sat down on the side of my sister’s bed and put her over his knee. By this time we were laughing so hard at him that he gave up and told her never to do what she did, again. Considering the fact that neither of us remember just what she did, his discipline made a big impression.

    I always thought all families were like this. If we smarted off to my mother, the punishment fit our personalities. She would pour water on my hair, and I would have a melt-down. My sister would be made to clean her room. We enjoyed being sent to our rooms. Then, my father realized when we were sent to our rooms we could close the door, prop up on bed, play the stereo, television, read, and listen to the radio.

    We always enjoyed our punishments.

    Having grown up in a loving family which was strongly Christian, I just don’t understand how people like this still get away with what they do.

  • Independent Thinker

    I have read To Train Up A Child but fortunately was smart enough not to take any advice from the book. What Michael Pearl calls training is what mental health professionals call conditioning. He is simply beating small children into submission and using a few bible quotes mostly from Proverbs to justify his abusive approach to raising children. The No Greater Joy Ministries website is just as bad as the book if not worse.

  • KarenH

    It breaks my heart; they’re talking about INFANTS. Babies. And not just babies doing things they shouldn’t do, but conditioning them before they’ve even DONE something they shouldn’t.

  • Foo

    It’s classic projection, the Pearls are authoritarian control freaks and can’t comprehend anyone being any different. So they treat everything anyone else does as an attempt to control them.

    I have relatives who do this, it *always* works this way

  • texcee

    This is child abuse, pure and simple. If I caught anyone treating their children this way, my next call would be to the police and CPS.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Yes, they obviously don’t know much about babies (or children in general, for that matter). A baby is a little ball of human needs. The only way he or she knows how to communicate those needs when they’re not being met is to cry. They are not tyrants. It’s the parents’ job to meet those needs in a way that makes the baby feel secure. It’s really that simple.

  • So after they conditioned her not to go up the stairs, what happened once she was actually allowed to go up the stairs?

  • Nightshade

    Spanking for hesitating when told to go up would be my guess.

  • Mine, too, sadly.

  • Saraquill

    So an adult is to beat a child for the crime of crying, and keep up the beating until the child stops. How do the Pearls not associate this with abuse, deaths and arrests?

  • Nea

    Because they honestly think that the kid will inevitably give in before things get too bad. They refuse to believe that they’ve opened the door to the abusers, the overachievers, and the flat-out too stupid to assess what they’ve been told to do. And then the Pearls tell the latter two to not believe their own feelings and urges.

  • KarenH

    And while I know we’re supposed to remember that the Pearls are people, too, who deserve basic respect, I admit I find it nearly impossible to give them any when they offer up SO many example of hitting BABIES pre-emptively.

  • Nea

    I am solidly of the opinion that while all people deserve to *start* with a certain baseline of respect, there are people who throw that away and deserve only derision based on their violent and hurtful philosophies.

  • SJ, when my oldest was about five, she and her sister were eating waffles and syrup in their closet without a plate. What a mess! In my frustration, I squirted the bottle of syrup onto her already sticky hair. While I’d never do that now, It seemed at the time like a punishment that fit the crime, and to this day, it is a hilarious part of our family lore. She is now a mommy with two mischievous little guys of her own. 🙂 On a much more serious note, here was my response about the Pearls a few years ago after Lydia Schatz was murdered. http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2010/02/child-discipline-or-child-abuse.html

  • 0000

    Why haven’t their kids been taken away? This is basically a written statement of child abuse.