by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy – It’s The Book’s Fault
Editor’s note: Here Michael starts to point fingers back at the letter writer and diagnose her with various things like a ‘legalistic spirit’. Nice try, blaming and shaming someone asking for clarification on your abusive child training methods (that is if the letter wasn’t penned by Michael or Debi, which is unlikely.) Whenever I post Michael Pearl here I am reminded of a great blues classic song ‘Sayin’ Don’t Make It So’ This is going to be one of those multi part series so that you can count the inconsistencies uttered by Mr. Pearl.
She then gives two examples of the problems they have. The three-year-old will not lie down for a nap. They spank until they are weary, but it does no good. The next child often fails to respond when given a command. She says, “We are weary and irritated, and don’t know where we’re going wrong.”
The 3 ½-year-old is jealous of the 2-year-old, always wants what the other has, jumps all over us, smothers us with kisses when she sees the younger child coming our way, pushes past the other to get to us first, sulks when any of the above doesn’t work out or when we gently rebuke her for being jealous. What can we do?
The 3½-year-old’s attitude will probably mend when mine does, but I find her difficult to hug when she’s being jealous or feeling sorry for herself. I think it is beyond a case of discipline when I am feeling like that, and more a time of mending, but how? Why is the switching and rebuke and a general “come,” “stop,” “go” drilling not working?
The 3 ½-year-old also claims to be “scared” to be by herself. Even during the day, she wants the lights on in the toilet and cries hysterically if we all start to go downstairs while she is still in her room upstairs. I am irritated by this, but should this be an area where I just stay with her and reassure her? I have been telling her to just come and catch up with us, but she carries on a bit if we don’t stop to wait for her.
We feel very alone and very tired, and we would appreciate a boost of enthusiasm and support, maybe a kick in the backside. These are children God has given us, and we don’t want to damage them or our relationship with them, and especially their relationship with Him.
I commend you for your openness and willingness to expose yourself and face up to your need.
I often wish I could say tough things more smoothly, but I am concerned that I will not be understood unless I say exactly what I am thinking the way I think it. I fear that if I polish it too much the shine might hide the message. So before I offer some practical advise, I am going to give you that “kick in the backside.”
According to your testimony, you were doing better before you tried to implement the principles taught in our book. If I weren’t an old soldier, I would feel like apologizing for raising your expectations. Remember, you were discontent with your children before you read my book. You said you engaged in “much pleading” to get your friends to tell you their “secret” to having “well balanced, happy, and obedient children.” Obviously you had prior concerns about your child training.
You admitted you had a problem with attitude towards your children, but you seem to have an attitude towards me and the things said in the book. You said, “Since reading your book I have set certain standards as norm for my children, and I find that I tend to look at the kids and judge their every word and action by the “standards I have mentally set.” You talk like someone trying to face up to a legalistic spirit, confessing that your expectations are unrealistic. But know that the standards by which you now judge your children are not imposed on you. If you are uncomfortable with your expectations, change them; desire only what is best for your children. I give you my permission to throw out all the elevated standards you received from reading our book. You can go back to “loving them just like they are.” It won’t work will it? The standards are now your own.Regardless of the source, when one’s knowledge of good and evil is awakened it is impossible to go back to innocence. There is a degree of truth in the old cliché, “Ignorance is bliss.” You don’t become angry when your children violate standards written in a book. Like it or not, they are now your standards. You are judging your children and your own performance by what you really expect in your own heart. You believe such performance as you have required is possible and desirable or you would not be frustrated. You are just making one last feeble attempt to lay the blame elsewhere. But I can tell from your letter that you have sighted on the source of your problem and you are the target. As you are reluctantly doing, you must fully face your fault if you are to progress.
If your standards had not been raised by reading my book, you would have experienced frustration all the same. All parents, whether they read my book or not, go through a shift in their expectations just as you did. We parents demand very little from a one-year-old, but we naturally expect much more from a three-year-old. I didn’t teach you to expect more; I taught you how to achieve it. And as a matter of record, it has proven effective for tens of thousands of families.
As a matter of principle, many times I have said, “If you can’t bring your children up to your higher standards, and, as a result, you find that you are critical and losing fellowship with the kids, then lower your standards to the point where you can relax and enjoy their company. It is better to have an undisciplined, selfish, self-centered brat that feels secure and loved than to have an undisciplined, selfish, self-centered brat who feels she is despised by everyone.
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.