Quoting Quiverfull: All Anti-Spanking Studies Only Study Bad Kids?

Quoting Quiverfull: All Anti-Spanking Studies Only Study Bad Kids? April 8, 2015

quotingquiverfullThis is part four of Michael Pearl’s updated foreword to his book “To Train Up A Child” from No Greater Joy – Attack on Traditional Child Training

Editor’s note: Now Michael goes on to claim that you cannot find cases of abuse in Christian homeschooled children who are spanked followed by saying in the studies that support no spanking that the representative sampling is all among juvenile delinquents. What about Hana Grace Williams? What about Lydia Shatz? What about the countless others that don’t make it into the news but are surely being abused by the letter of Pearl’s awful book? If his book is such a great resource for parenting then why exactly has it been found in homeschooling Christian homes where children have ended up being beaten to death?

Naysayers are wrong in their assertion that “all studies confirm . . . .” When they do reference a study it is taken from a select group of troubled, violent, or emotionally disturbed youth who have ended up incarcerated or as part of a treatment program. Since most children are spanked, the majority of troubled youth will have been spanked, and a number of them will have been physically abused—hit, beaten, or punished severely. We would be in full agreement with the professionals that the children who were genuinely physically abused are more likely to become delinquent or emotionally troubled. So with certainty, counselors will discover that a large number of anti-social youth were physically abused. But their “studies” fail to distinguish between measured spanking by nurturing parents and violent physical abuse. If they were to do a study of 1,000 Christian, homeschooled children who are spanked, they would grow weary searching for cases of abuse, and they would be shocked and—since it doesn’t fit their philosophy—disappointed at the consistently beautiful fruit.

Ralph S. Welsh, PhD candidate and lecturer in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University, offers the perfect example of the methodology employed to support the anti-spanking agenda in his article “Delinquency, Corporal Punishment, and the Schools” ([1978] Crime & Delinquency 24 (3): 336 – 354). Take note of the composition of his “study group”:

“Early in my clinical career, I was alarmed to discover the inordinate number of juvenile delinquents who had been exposed to harsh parental treatment during their developmental years. I took the time to question my delinquent patients and their parents carefully and to tabulate the information regarding parental punishment practices.” In the same article he says, “One extensive study helped to convince me that corporal punishment could not easily be viewed as a harmless American tradition, to be tolerated and supported. This study involved seventy-seven consecutive juvenile court referrals, fifty-eight boys and nineteen girls.”

You will notice that the “studies” are taken from “juvenile delinquents” and “juvenile court referrals.” Symptom-based sampling, where you start with a selected group associated with given behavioral problems and work backward to determine a cause, is totally unscientific. They know better, but they are desperate to “prove” a causative link to something they are philosophically opposed to.

Jason Fuller says in his article “Corporal Punishment and Child Development ([2010] Akron Law Review 44 [1]) “[P]rofessional methodologists have found that anti-spanking studies are often structured to support the researcher’s personal philosophy, instead of being structured to fairly analyze the results of physical discipline.”

I can understand the frustration of counselors who must deal with broken children every day. Anyone would be desperate to place blame, but the leftist predisposition and the misdirected influence of their academic training leaves them with tunnel vision. Their conclusions are not scientifically justified. Their opinions are emotionally driven. Understandable as it is, it is nonetheless inexcusable for the damage it does to children who will not receive traditional training in self-control, accountability, and responsible action.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, cultural enforcers and those that seek to keep women submitted to men 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 and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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  • Nea

    Okay, I’m impressed that he cites two actual studies. I’ll have to go look them up to see if they’re reputable and say what he says, and I note he says “studies” plural and only cites two in a large field … but it’s still more than I expected out of him.


    Since most children are spanked Entire countries have outlawed spanking. Do their results bear out your violent theory?

    If they were to do a study of 1,000 Christian, homeschooled children who are spanked, they would grow weary searching for cases of abuse … except for the ones beaten to death, removed from their parents who doctored them with bleach, not removed from their parents and drowned in the bathtub or smothered in “exorcisms,” “rehomed” to rapists, thrown onto the streets for their sexuality, denied their legal identity, allowed to die for lack of medical treatment… I’m getting tired of typing here. And every case has verified legal records, Mikey.

    None of those parents spared the rod. All of those kids abused.

  • KarenH

    Dear Mr. Sociopath.

    Pipe down.

  • This report A Report from the Advocacy Committee: Policy Statement: Corporal Punishment

    refers to both retrospective studies (the kind Michael referred to) and prospective studies, in which researchers follow a sample over a period of time (often years) to see what happens.

    There are now a number of large scale retrospective and prospective studies examining the relationship between exposure to corporal punishment and a range of outcomes. These studies have mostly been conducted in the United States but some in Canada and other countries. Several of these studies (but not all) have demonstrated some effectiveness associated with the use of corporal punishment in gaining immediate compliance. At the same time, these same studies and others have demonstrated that the use of corporal punishment is associated, in later years, with increased rates of the following:

    impaired parent child relationship (fear, anxiety, anger, avoidance)

    juvenile delinquency

    student violence and murder rates in schools in which teachers are allowed to hit children

    reduced chance of entering higher income categories

    difficulties internalizing moral behavior

    feelings of alienation as an adult.


    thinking about and acts of suicide

    becoming a victim of physical abuse

    physical abuse of one’s own children later in life

    spousal assault and other acts of assault

    There is much more information available than just a few small scale studies of juvenile delinquents. As with other forms of scientific research, the observations and studies of juvenile delinquents helped in forming a hypothesis, and then the broader prospective studies of a more general population were used to test that hypothesis.


  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    You will see in further pieces from his foreword that Michael goes back and forth on these studies, denigrating some, praising others, quoting a Fox News anchor and then doing his own mini survey with prisoners before coming to the same conclusion as always. It does not matter to him what the real truth actually is.

  • SAO

    Done well, studies which take a sample of people with a problem and find a close demographic match from people without a problem can be quite scientific.

    Welsh’s report cites a large number of studies to support his thesis, including animal studies that show that many animals respond to pain with aggression and violence.

  • katiehippie

    “Since most children are spanked”

    I think I need a citation for that one.

  • Joy

    Me too.

  • ShaLaLa

    Quite frankly, while all of the research showing the negative outcomes faced by kids who endure physical punishment while growing up are useful for showing people that there are far better options out there, they are not the reason I have an issue with spanking.

    I have a problem with spanking because hitting a child is a violation of consent and bodily autonomy, would be a felony assault if committed against an adult, and is morally WRONG.

  • Baby_Raptor

    But their “studies” fail to distinguish between measured spanking by nurturing parents and violent physical abuse.

    That would be because there’s no difference. Hitting a kid is abuse, no matter what pretty language you dress it up in.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    Cite yer frakking sources PROPERLY, Mikey.
    The Fuller article (from 2010) is 63 pages and Mikey doesn’t give you ANY hints as to specific location. And, while ONE lawyer/law student has been able to publish pro-spanking bullshit within the last five years, one source does not equal evidence.

  • mayarend

    But if the outcome wasn’t the one expected, then they were doing it “wrong” or they didn’t believe in “God” “the right way” or “enough”. You know, the usual.

  • Plain English

    Oh my goodness, simple human respect! YOU clearly have not been sufficiently churched! 🙂
    Norm Lee is my favorite author in these matters. You can read his work at nopunish,net (yes, you read that correctly: NO PUNISH)

  • ShaLaLa

    My upbringing was non-punitive, and I can’t imagine ever doing differently :]

  • Plain English

    Ah, the glory of respectful love, individual autonomy regardless of age in years….. I wonder, can you imagine a being who raised in a no-punish environment could ever choose to punish a child that was in their care? It seems an almost impossible prospect. When you have known love that respects rather than controls and punishes, you cannot go back to a rod, to making decisions for your kids rather than asking them for their direction….

  • Plain English

    Without any knowledge of Mike other than this writing offered here, I can wager my great wealth that he was corrected in his youth, that he was spanked and harmed to teach him. And look how well he turned out….

  • Isn’t the sort of abuse approved by MP one of the causes of someone becoming a sociopath? Seems to me, from what I’ve read, when one adds the factor of possible brain damage, bed wetting, and abuse of animals, out pops a living, breathing serial killer. Physical abuse is so often sited as one of the reason a person, who could be a ‘normal’ high-functioning sociopath morphs into a monster. Also note that a sociopath is created and a psychopath is born that way. I just see Debi & Michael spawning all these little Norman Bates clones.

  • ShaLaLa

    Having seen what the parent/child relationship can be, I can’t imagine doing anything but. And the idea of punitive parenting is so foreign to me that it wouldn’t ever occur to me anyway.

    It’s funny, my parents never tried to instill “obedience” in us (my mom hates the word, but not nearly so much as she hates the concept), but growing up my sister and I had so much trust and respect for our parents (as they had/have for us) that we really never did anything we knew our parents wouldn’t want us to. Easy to do, I suppose, when my parents never had an issue with us doing things that weren’t dangerous or harmful.