Quoting Quiverfull: You Must Choose Your Child’s Friends?

Quoting Quiverfull: You Must Choose Your Child’s Friends? May 10, 2014

by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy – Six Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Trying

Leaving them to choose their friends.

Many parents have done a good job in training their young children, and have put them on a path of virtue, but in their early teens they are influenced by their peers and yield to temptation while knowing it is not the right path. Even well trained children are flesh and are capable of falling into sin—just as is a moral, disciplined adult.

Kids are not wise. They do yet understand the consequences of wrong choices. They need guidance and oversight until they are about twenty years old—sometimes a little older. About the time kids graduate from college they are wise enough to discern good from evil. If you disagree with that assessment, explain spring break at the beach, or fraternity initiations. Woe!

It all starts very young. You must choose the social circle for your children and guard it. The quickest way to throw your children away is to enroll them in daycare or preschool or first grade. You lose all control over their friends, and they will become part of the social pool, eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator. If your child shares a pool with kids where just one of them has crapped in the water, your kid is swimming in crap. A few good kids don’t keep the water clean, but one bad kid pollutes it for everybody. I cannot remember the good kids in my third grade, but there were a couple bad ones I will never forget. I can remember their foul words and deeds to this day.

It all starts very young. You must choose your children’s social circle and guard it.

This is probably the hardest thing for a parent to do. It requires great effort and constant vigilance to sift your social circle. There are times your kids will not understand, and there are times that other parents are offended, but a mother hen should guard her chicks against the foxes and coyotes, regardless. It may require an adjustment to your lifestyle to protect your kids. A chicken that has roosted under a chicken hawk nest needs to move even if it is inconvenient. If your church is full of public school kids, you will need to keep your children at your side all the time and not allow them to get personal with a child going to public school. It becomes impossible to limit the social contact of a teenager in such an environment. They shouldn’t have the burden of constantly choosing or eliminating people from their acquaintance. Find a social circle that is righteous and productive where you have nothing to fear from 25 of the teenagers getting together to play soccer or go roller skating together.

Remember, they will evolve from you providing their complete social circle to choosing for themselves. You cannot control them past the age when they grow to be autonomous, so you must train them to wisely chose their friends. For the time will come when what you say has little bearing. Train them before they are ten and you can trust them when they are twenty.

Read the rest at No Greater Joy and let us know what you think in the comments 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.

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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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  • Monica Swanson

    I see two ways this could backfire horribly: One, the kid rebels and starts engaging in destructive behaviors (driving drunk, having unprotected sex, abusing drugs) because that must be what all the “evil” kids who go to public school are doing.

    The second way this could backfire is that, as an adult, they withdraw completely when meeting new people because they never had the opportunity to make friends on their own.

    The bit I find most troubling is “there are times when your child will not understand.” Yeah, I’m going to tell you who you can’t be friends with, but I won’t bother giving any explanation.

    Then again, we are talking about Michael and Debi “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves” Pearl here. I have no reason to expect any decent advice from them.

    ETA: Oh, and “choosing their friends for them” IS NOT the same as “training them to choose their own friends wisely.” The last paragraph pretty much says the opposite of the rest of the article.

  • CrazyDogLady

    This is the same Michael Pearl who wrote, “To Train Up a Child”, in which I’m pretty sure he has a section about staying out of your children’s peer relationships, to the point where bullying should be seen as an opportunity for the child to develop toughness. So, then… What I should take from this is, “carefully choose all the people your son or daughter will spend time with, and then ignore whatever they do to each other as you leave them unattended and if your child complains, simlpy tell him or her to toughen up.” Yeah, that’ll work.

  • Independent Thinker

    The second way is exactly what happened to one of the Pearls kids. Rebekah Pearl Anast and her husband Gabe ran a website called 7xSunday for several years. The website was taken down when Rebekah’s parents started getting negative attention from the media. Here is what she has to say about other mothers.

    “It is our policy, when bombarded by foolish people, to pull together as a family. We keep our kids with us. We tell them why. I do not engage in personal or entertaining conversation with the woman. I stay close to my husband and children and focus entirely on meeting his needs, and keeping my own children orderly. I read books to them quietly. If the woman asks me a question, I answer briefly and cheerfully, and go back to my “duty.” If she engages in being a mother and help meet… then I interact with her and help if she needs help. If her focus is on herself and getting me to focus on her, then I disengage and go back to focusing purely on my family. If we are at a playground, then I play with the children… staying with them at all times.

    This makes “hanging out” very pleasant for a woman whose goal is to be a help meet… it makes hanging out miserable for a woman whose goal is to get attention. She won’t want to come back.

    We also try to meet at a public place and keep it short… and do not engage in conversations that are pointless and erred. We don’t disagree or fight, we just cease to engage.”


  • Karen Burch

    Is anyone else disturbed by how he encorages parents to be suspicious of very small children? Then again, I suppose being suspicious of little kids is how Pearl lives his life…

  • “keeping my own children orderly”

    … orderly.

    Not happy.

    Not healthy.


    That really says it all.

  • Trollface McGee

    And again, Michael shows how Michael he is – it isn’t about the kids being socialised and safe – it’s about “losing control.”
    Also, his analogy is terrible – public school/daycare kids aren’t some predatory other species – they are kids. You take a show cat and a shelter cat and put their litters together, they will play and have fun and pick their own friends and the catmoms (who are much wiser than the Pearls) stand by and let them because that’s how they mature and intervene only if there’s actual danger.
    But it’s not about development, it’s about keeping and maintaining control – it’s about keeping the kids isolated from other people and their “dangerous” ideas.

  • Brennan

    Y’know, I’ve read a lot about the Pearls and a lot by the Pearls, but this might be the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen connected to them. This girl just had no chance.

  • No personhood for women allowed. No interaction just as a person with another person– no, she is to be entirely subsumed within her wifely and motherly duties, and to only relate to other women who are similarly subsumed.

    The goal, apparently, is to eradicate any individuality of women. They are only tools for serving husbands and children, nothing more. They might as well be robots.

  • Nea

    Even well trained children … are capable of falling into sin

    Once again, Michael actually admits that his promises about training Do. Not. Work.

    Which is why you have to keep your kids isolated and on a short leash at least 3 years into their adulthood just to be sure that they don’t get any public school cooties on them.

  • Nea

    Logic is not a Peal strong suit. Neither is consistency.

  • Nea

    What pushback was happening to Michael and Debi because of their daughter’s website?

  • Nea


  • Astrin Ymris

    Wow! Michael Pearl actually concedes that kids WILL grow up and eventually make their own choices! Well, to the extent that they CAN after a childhood of brainwashing and careful insulation from contrary ideas, not to mention being beaten for independent thought at the drop of a hat. But he offers allegiance in theory to the proposition that children WILL eventually have agency over their own lives.

    At least as far as choosing their friends goes, at any rate.

  • Independent Thinker

    The Pearls “scrubbed” some things off the internet around the time Michael appeared on Anderson Cooper. I think 7x Sunday was taken down for two reasons. First, Gabe and Rebekah were broke and constantly begged for funding. Second, if you read the postings put up by Rebekah and Gabe you would realize Michael and Debi are horrible parents. I don’t think it was taken down for any other reason than Michael demanded it come down. I didn’t even post what I think is the worst quote but I will now. Keep in mind Rebekah Pearl Anast lives in New Mexico. “Gabe’s quote of my statement “the kids need clothes” has to be put into American context. Nobody is running around naked. Yeah, so what the electricity got cut off (in the summer). We cooked outside and had a big time doing it. Gabe takes our needs to heart because he wants to give me everything; and does give me all that matters.” The blog Debra’s Random Thoughts has covered the life of Rebekah Pearl Anast very well. I linked it above. It is worth reading.

  • Independent Thinker

    Keep in mind her mother Debi has equated having female friends to lesbianism in her teachings. It is quite sad that Rebekah believes a simply conversation between two moms in the park is somehow dysfunctional if the purpose of the conversation is to simply be friendly or curious about the life of another mom.

  • Independent Thinker

    I felt that way until I realized Rebekah Pearl is marching her kids down the same path.

  • Independent Thinker

    Straw man arguments and circular thinking seem to be their strong suits.

  • Nea

    Yup. We know from Michael’s own writing that thinking is hard for him, so of course he’s going to take the easy route and set up strawmen to argue against, because real arguments are scary and nuanced and involve paying attention to other people. And we can’t be having THAT!

  • Nea

    Typical Pearl… things don’t actually disappear from the Internet because Michael would have it so.

    Although I suppose it could have been the Anasts themselves who wanted the scrub, having discovered that it’s impossible to shut out internet commenters the same way you can freeze out lonely, isolated women who just want to interact with a peer instead of a child.

  • I think such ideas are self-fulfilling and self-worsening: Believe that you should never leave a child under (for sake of argument) 10 out from under your eyes, under 10’s can’t make even the decision about a red or blue sweater, and you will find that 10-y.olds have no capacity to make choices. (They never learned making choices.)
    You then decide to not let children under 12 make choices, as 10-year-olds obviously cannot. Voila, you will get… 12-y. olds that cannot make decisions.
    And so on, and so on.
    MP now say nobody under 20 can make decisions. Soon it will change to people under 23, under 26, under 30…

  • Saraquill

    “…eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator.”

    Whereas if you follow Pearl’s advice, you’ll be beating infants, which is somehow not the lowest of the low. Go figure.

  • Independent Thinker

    That is very possible I suspect all of the Pearls have faced unwanted scrutiny for the way they raise children. It is simply easier to push away opponents than to have a meaningful debate.

  • tulips

    Uh huh…so social rejection and in group shunning. You know…in a lot of cases when people are ~planning~ to play nasty little social status games they at least make the rules clear in advance to the participants. Charm schools exist for a reason for social climbers. Sickening.

  • tulips

    I think it’s social politics…period.

  • Hattie

    Monica, that “second way” things can backfire, where the adult kids basically withdraw… definitely happens. It happened to me. For years I honestly believed it was my fault. (These days I can laugh about my social ineptitude.. we’re making progress!)

    I would add a third thing that goes wrong. The kids, raised to seclude themselves from the dreaded Public Schooler, become judgmental little snobs.

    Homeschool parents might make themselves feel better (in the short term) by harping on the failures of public-schooled youth. But this attitude doesn’t exactly help out their OWN kids, when the latter have to (eventually) join the real world.

  • Nea

    Unless they don’t join the real world. The Pearl children are undeniable judgmental snobs just like their parents. They’re also isolated, disconnected, poor, and trapped.

  • Astrin Ymris

    But what other path does she know? Without making a strong, conscious effort, most of us parent our kids in the same way we ourselves were parented.

  • Independent Thinker

    I made a conscious decision not to raise my child the way I was raised so for me it is hard to sympathize. I could have got married at 19 like the church wanted me to, had babies, spanked my children, and shunned furthering my education but I choose not to. My parents never paid a penny of my college. I worked my way thru school. I waited to have kids. I read every quality parenting book I could get my hands on and those written by actual doctors. I make a concerted effort each day to put my family on the right path. My two sisters did not make the same decisions I did. I can tell you the results are not pretty.

  • “Kids are not wise. They do yet understand the consequences of wrong choices. ”

    You know how you fix that? By letting them make wrong choices when they’re young and teaching them how to fix whatever they did. They’re called “teachable moments.”

    “The quickest way to throw your children away is to enroll them in daycare or preschool or first grade. You lose all control over their friends, and they will become part of the social pool, eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator.”

    And this is how I know Mr. Pearl either: 1) doesn’t actually pay attention to his kids’ personalities; or 2) “trains” their personalities out of them. I’m going to guess #2. My oldest daughter is definitely the type to get swept along in the social tide, so this quote actually applies to her. Except the “throwing your children away” part. It’s because of daycare that my oldest is potty-trained – she saw her friends the older girls use the potty so she decided to be one of the “cool kids” too.

    My younger daughter, on the other hand, is her own brand of trailblazer. She is very much the leader and trendsetter in her group, and she is very consciencious about following the rules and doing the right thing.

    “They shouldn’t have the burden of constantly choosing or eliminating people from their acquaintance.”

    I 100% agree with this sentence, but not with Mr. Pearl’s intent behind it. I don’t think they should have the “burden” because it shouldn’t be such a big deal to form relationships.

    “Find a social circle that is righteous and productive where you have nothing to fear from 25 of the teenagers getting together to play soccer or go roller skating together.”

    Here’s a clue: if a group of teenagers get together of their own accord and “play soccer” or “go roller skating,” they’re a pretty righteous bunch and you should be glad your kid has such a positive group to hang with.

  • tulips

    Which is no reason of course…to consider delaying making binding contracts like marriage …until both parties have reached neurological maturity. They can’t pick a friend to roller skate with, but a few short years and no experience later they can pick a spouse. (eye roll)

  • Yep. It is straight from “cannot choose to drink a milkshake in broad daylight with another teen girl” to “daddy approves of this man. Say yes or no to marrying him. No, you cannot spend any time alone with him before saying yes or no.”

    (Someone like Vaughn Ohlman, of course, will “solve” the problem by saying that they don’t need to be capable of decision-making at marriage, as the parents could decide for them.)

  • But how well is daddy going to respond if daughter says, “No, I don’t want to marry this man you picked for me”? I think he’s most likely to tell her she’s “in rebellion.”

  • Astrin Ymris

    I applaud you for your grit and initiative! ;-D

    At the same time, we don’t know precisely how Rebekah Pearl’s childhood of abuse interacted with her innate temperament, or what mitigating influences she did or didn’t have. There are a lot of factors involved in whether a victim transcends– or doesn’t– the trauma they’ve experienced growing up.