Answering ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’ – Child Training?

Answering ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’ – Child Training? May 11, 2016

AnsweringAnother installment of giving better answers to the questions asked at Debi Pearl’s site message board for the book ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’. Many young ladies ask questions on all sorts of different subjects brought up by the book. There was just one big problem, many of the answers stray into either the outright bad and emotionally unhealthy to dangerous. Yes, typical Debi Pearl borderline abusive. Here’s what we’re going to be doing here at NLQ. Every week, once or twice a week, I’ll be posting up one of the questions from the message board and ask you, our readers, to answer that poor soul’s question in a way that is logical,  rational and the best possible solution, in other words 180 degree turn from Debi and friends answers. As always all spelling and grammar in the posting is unchanged from the original author.

Child training?

Ive just started to train my 6 month old the command no. When she wants to touch an object i say ‘no’ whilst simulataneously flicking her hand gently. She is a sweet natured girl but doesnt seem to understand yet. I do it consistently for 30 mins and she still tries to grab the object. I have to stop after 30 mins because her poor little hands go red and i get worried.

Is this normal or am i doing something wrong? Is it just that shes too young to understand and be conditioned?

Jaw. Drop. But some of the comments are even worse:

I started my first son at 4 months and he understood immediately. I placed two objects of different shapes and colors on his high chair tray. I identified one as “no-no” with a serious face and identified the other as “okay”, with a smile. It only took about four tries for him to get it. The flicking of his hand was never harsh, but enough for him to feel the appropriate amount of discouragement.

My second son was different. He didn’t have the same attention span. When I did that to him, he clearly did not get it. So I left it alone. When he was about 8 months old, he kept trying to reach out and touch a projector screen. My husband said sternly, “no” and lightly switched his hand. He must have repeated that action about seven times before he got it. But once he got it, he never touched it again.

The point is, no child is the same. You have to figure out what buttons to push, and when. Use your mommy super-skills of observation to determine how much your daughter “gets”. You’ll know when the time is right. I would say that 30 mins. might be too long for a 6-month-old. I remember once trying to teach my oldest son to pick up a diaper for me to change him with when he was about 6 months. I totally botched it, because even though he didn’t get it, I kept insisting that he ought to. His wee bum was all red, and I knew that I had gone too far. I also knew that I had to “win”, so I gave him a task that he could do, without him thinking about the diaper-fetching disaster ever again!

Good for you for being diligent to train early. If your daughter doesn’t get it, try another method. Does she notice the flick and look up at you somewhat confused? Then she gets it. Her brain is processing, you just need to follow through. Make sure you give her a “yes” object, so she can differentiate.


My almost-2-year-old can now get out of bed and that is becoming an isue. A couple days ago I spent a whole hour switching him and taking him back to bed every 20-30 seconds before he stopped long enough to fall asleep. Last night my hubby actually stayed up to make sure he stayed in bed. That didn’t give him much sleep. I try not to say too much in the process, just “take a nap” and I put him down and leave. He is a very stuborn one. I don’t know how long this is going to drag out. He is sharing a room with his older brother.

The main advice she was given was to move to a switch, like a tree branch or even a wooden rulers. As long as the marks and redness faded within 24 hours per Michael Pearl. What would you tell her if you could?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Allison the Great

    Small babies do not understand your words, so no, they’re not going to understand something as complex as not touching an object. Hitting a baby means that these people have failed pretty hard.

  • AuntKaylea

    “Get over yourself and take the responsibility of being a parent and removing the object out of the reach of your child.” And “Stop baiting your child into failure deliberately in order to punish him/her. This is mental abuse.”

  • Nea

    Physical abuse too. All the upvotes.

  • Nea

    Holy fuck OF COURSE hitting a baby for half a fucking hour is “too long for a 6-month-old.” How disconnected from reality do you have to be to even wonder at the answer to that one?

    As for “I spent a whole hour switching him” — lady, because I can’t call CPS on your abusive ass, let me just point out that your legs and arms are much, much longer than an infant’s, so how about you pick up your own goddamn diaper? It’s really too hard for you to do that basic part of mothering?

    You know, maybe the Pearls are good preachers. Because they got even this atheist shouting “JESUS CHRIST! JEEEEEESUS!! CHRIST!!!” at this one.

    ETA: You didn’t even quote the most horrible comment. “Just because her hand is red doesn’t mean it’s hurting.”

    Jesus. Christ.

  • Nea

    Anyone in a contest with a baby or toddler has already lost. You’re 10x their size, for fuck’s sake, and 10x as strong. Pick them up, move them away, take away the object you don’t want them playing with. This isn’t rocket science.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Thanks for pointing that one out…I was just so horrified over the hour long switching I overlooked it.

  • Mel

    Babies are born with a very, very immature brain. Training a baby in a complicated task like retrieving a diaper for his mom or the absurdly abstract idea of stopping a behavior when Mom says no is FUCKING ABSURD.

  • Just Another Happy Humanist

    This article almost made me cry. And I am not the kind of person that cries from reading articles! What kind of monster could be so cruel? The Pearls and their minions, obviously. I knew that they had written a book on abusing children (only found that out a couple weeks ago, actually), and another one telling wives to let their husbands abuse them, but I didn’t know until now that they had a whole MOVEMENT following them. I’d heard of the Quiverfull movement before, but I had no idea what it was. This is just so sad…and scary. I really don’t understand how they aren’t in prison for child abuse.

    I’m glad at least that the people writing this blog came to their senses/managed to escape…I just hope they didn’t do anything this horrific when they were part of this quiverfull thing. Can I please just ask anyone who was part of it…how did you end up in it in the first place? How did you escape? What do you believe now? I ask purely out of curiosity and not disdain. As an atheist, it’s hard for me to understand how someone could be a part of something so terrible unless they were held against their will. Anyway, well done on escaping from it. I sincerely hope that you weren’t abused during your time under the influence of these terrible people.

  • Astrin Ymris

    This attitude goes back to James Dobson’s ‘Dare to Discipline’, originally published in 1977. He told parents that they must “win decisively” in every conflict with their kids, because if they didn’t their kids would run over them like a steamroller.

    However, Dobson never advocated spanking 6-month-old babies for failing to pick up a diaper. How’d she know the baby had the receptive language ability to know what she wanted him to do in the first place?

  • Poster Girl

    To answer the original question: YES you are doing something wrong!

    Even if you “believe” in hitting children, despite the copious research showing that it is not only ineffective but increases the chances of antisocial behavior later in life, six months is FAR too young. Children that age simply don’t understand cause and effect. Any commenters suggesting otherwise are fooling themselves.

  • Poster Girl


    My older child was (and is) incredibly advanced verbally– complete and complex sentences at 12-14 months, large vocabulary in the hundreds of words by age two, early reader and speller.

    At six months, she said “da,” “ba,” and “ma.” And no, they were NOT her way of addressing me, her dad, or anyone or anytihng else. They were syllables. She was in the very normal and age-appropriate babbling phase of language development. My getting into a power struggle with a baby over handing me a diaper? There is no “winning” that one. The very fact that she got into it like that with a baby makes her an automatic loser.

  • SAO

    One of the most valuable bits of advice that can be offered parents is what is age appropriate. The Pearls and most CPM advisors completely ignore this.

    These mothers are “training” their babies. Few 6 month olds are mobile, meaning the mothers are putting an objects the babies aren’t allowed to touch within reach of their grabby, little baby hands. (And note, the 4 month old in the high chair probably is struggling to sit upright).

    This is not only horrifying, but it’s an illustration of how sick the whole CPM philosophy on childrearing is. Complete ignorance and invalidation of the needs and abilities of children.

  • Astrin Ymris


    Abusive parents often have unrealistic expectations of babies and small children. 🙁

  • Jenny Islander

    God forgive you and all your ignorant teachers, child, she is a baby!

    Go find one of her hats. If you ever see this, go get one of her hats right now. Then put it on your own head. Do you see how tiny it is? Now find one of your own hats and put it on your child’s head. Do you see how enormous it is?

    Now. How tiny do you think the brain is that fits under that tiny little hat, compared to yours? What do you think she can even do with that tiny little brain? How long ago was it that she even learned how to reach what she was aiming for at all? And somebody told you she can connect being smacked and being told a word (as if she had any words in that tiny little brain!) with not reaching for things? What are they going to tell you she can do next–math?!

    The people who wrote those horrible books about “training” and “chastising” and “switching” people whose brains are the size of oranges do not like babies. That’s it. That’s all they believe. They can hang all the Bible verses on it they want, but the plain truth is that they don’t like babies. They want babies not to be babies. As if you could make somebody’s brain grow bigger by hitting them all the time! (And it doesn’t matter what they call it or how they tell you to do it. It’s all hitting.)

    If you must have a Christian book, look up the works of Dr. Sears, who clearly explains how to train babies and children to do what they can actually do, instead of punishing them for having brains too tiny to figure out what you want.

    Smacking a baby for figuring out how to use her own hands. Dear God in Heaven, the Pearls have so much to answer for.

  • Jenny Islander

    Oh. Dobson. That would be the Dobson who relates his utter failure to discipline a dachshund or teach it anything useful, while simultaneously beating the poor thing, as if he were showing everybody his credentials in the proper use of authority.

    I guess every child-beating advocate after him just had to one-up him. At least he never talked about leaving children with “no breath to complain.”

  • texassa

    Stop having children. You clearly have mental and maturity issues you should be dealing with.

  • texassa

    If Warren Jeffs could be jailed for arranging the sexual abuse of girls by others, can’t these people be charged with the child abuse and endangerment they are promoting?

  • Carra McClelland

    ALLL OF THIS! Babies can learn things, in fact they are sponges, but they don’t understand what words mean for quite a while in their development.

    In fact, babies HAVE TO TOUCH to learn. They are experiencing the world with a brand new brain that doesn’t know when things are soft or hard or pointy or hot. They have to learn these things through touch (and sometimes taste, why babies put almost everything in their mouth).

    Just keep stuff you won’t want them touching out of reach until they develop far enough to understand language enough to understand No.

    I know this and I am not a parent (never will be). I am flabbergasted at the thought of someone taking Pearl’s advice and HITTING AN INFANT.

  • Every 20-30 seconds for an hour. That means she beat a toddler over 100 times in the span of one hour.
    If I knew who this woman was and where she lived, I would forward this comment to her county’s CPS myself.

  • Nea

    100 lashes is considered a crime against human rights, and yet she would likely argue that she didn’t hit “too often” or “more than necessary.”