First I owe you an apology. I missed one week of the book review due to being on a Central American beach and not wishing to spoil it with Lori’s toxic book and last week because of various speculations on the Duggar family.
So we’re picking back up again today. Today’s chapter, chapter 9 in the book entitled – Teaching and Training Children in the Way They Should Go. Like a lot of the book most of this chapter is merely reworded Mike and Debi Pearl writings.
The most glaring thing that hops out at me in this chapter is that Lori and myself have very different ideas on the basic needs of children. Lori believes in beating children until they instantly obey and allowing babies to wail themselves to sleep. She believes that circumstances do not matter as in if the child is having a tantrum because he/she needs a nap or is hungry then you don’t take that into consideration. That’s what I mean about her ideas on basic needs. Her basic needs boil down to training a child to always respond with cheerful immediate obedience no matter what, keeping kids off prescribed medications, keeping children isolated from others that might somehow ‘corrupt’ them and curbing a child’s educational opportunities. All in the name of God no less.
Here’s what I believe about basic needs of children. If your child has a need you find a way to meet that need or mitigate what is happening..i.e. give a tired toddler a nap or a hungry child a snack. WITHOUT spanking. Even willful disobedience isn’t reason to spank. Allow kids the space to process their emotions and come to some of their own solutions. Be flexible in all ways and you will not get bent out of shape.
“Many considered us strict parents. Since we didn’t want ‘terrible twos’ or, ‘rebellious teenagers’ we knew we needed to teach them obedience at a young age.”
Toddlers or terrible twos have poor impulse control, they are exploring their worlds and many other development things going on that create that awful trope of the ‘Terrible Twos’. While teenagers have a lot of things going on too that feeds into the idea of ‘Rebellious Teenagers’. Both of these groups need understanding, effective parenting and some grace and mercy, not spankings.
“Yes, we spanked our children. We spanked them whenever they were disobedient.”
Do I really need to go over all the ways researchers and scientists has discovered that physical violence in the name of discipline harms a person the rest of their days?
“Pain is a great teacher.”
You know what’s a better teacher? Parents who can see what’s driving the unacceptable behavior, who listen to their children and help the child make the necessary adjustment. Pain just teaches children to lie, hide and do anything to avoid the pain. It becomes much less about doing what’s right and very much about pain-avoidance at any costs.
Lori follows this by talking about how exhausting it is to keep handing out the spankings and staying on top of a group of children. She also explains sending her children to sit all alone when they were having ‘attitude’ problems, like whining, like bad moods. Not one thought or word about looking deeper at what’s going on to cause those bad moods or whining, just that they are not permitted. What is the mood or whining is because the child is feeling the first effects of an oncoming cold, or just having a bad day? Nope, go sit alone until you can be sweet again.
This leads to a discussion on how all parents who do not follow this Pearl/Alexander handy-dandy method of child beatings and sitting alone cannot say a ‘no’ and be believed by their children. Lori then spends most of a page talking about cheerful attitudes and obedience again, leap-frogging around like she might need ADD meds.
“We were also careful with the influences in their life.”
Translation: No sleepovers, no hanging out with friends that mom didn’t personally vet because all sorts of sordid things can occur and suddenly rob them of their purity. She revisits this theme of controlling all access to others later in the chapter when she discusses why public school is a demon-addled hell-hole.
Now we move on to two pages where the author claims that babies should sleep through the night from the eight week mark or so. Her reasoning is that mothers will get sleep deprived, it will cause a hormone imbalance and you could end up with an autoimmune disease or cancer. Lori’s solution for getting baby to sleep through the night? Let her or him scream every night until they get the message that they have to sleep and the screaming has zero effect.
Sounds miserable, doesn’t it? Not just for the baby either. I can well imagine that the rest of the household isn’t going to be able to get much sleep either. Plus, crying is how babies express their needs. It’s their only form of communication at that age. Teaching a child early on that they cannot depend upon a parent to meet their needs.
The next few paragraphs deal with never, ever, ever allow a child to slept in the bed with the adults. Her reasoning isn’t even something practical, like you might roll over on the baby, or that it might be a good idea to find out why the child keeps trying to sleep with you like perhaps they are afraid of the dark. Oh no, her ideas are that it disrespects your husband because his need for you to be his ‘help meet’ (gawd how I hate that phrase!) supersedes your role as a mother. It’s more important and should be number one.
Give. Me. A. Break! Let’s compare the two. Adult male you are married to, who gave you these children, and is supposedly an adult that can do things for himself. Child with poor emotional control perhaps, inability to take care of self or meet it’s own needs. Who sounds more like they should be a priority in this situation to you?
Then the chapter moves into well-worn familiar Lori territory. The evils of public school, the government, dirty word sayers, little boys who should not ever be expected to sit for hours in a chair and kids shouldn’t be forced to listen to real science and humanistic ideas. She tells the story of her path to homeschooling, that of her son struggling in school with the threat of an ADD diagnosis and meds looming overhead. She taught him a couple of hours a day and then it was surfing time, dood!
Great! Her son is now qualified to be a Costa Rican surf bum, drive the tour bus a few hours a day and spend the rest of the day surfing. That’s an awesome thing. /sarcasm.The last bit of the chapter was a long letter from one of her sons thanking them for their mad parenting skillz and rides to Little League.
I leave you with a toxic bon mot from the last page where Lori is talking about people that posted positive comments on this letter on her blog.
“Neither of them were raised in godly homes, and both have deep sin issues they struggle with.”
Nowhere in the posted comment did it mention this information! This is completely an awkward leap from thankful letter to shaming several good commenters and this is exactly the kind of non sequitur that renders this book so frustrating to read. I’m reminded anew about the scripture that asks when you share information about someone else to ask yourself if it’s kind or if it’s uplifting.
Recap: Beat your children and ignore the screaming. Heartless. No mercy.
Next week: Lori’s unscientifically supported claims about the evvvvvvils of Birth Control. Take heart, there aren’t that many real sections of the book left. A large part of the remaining book is recipes, how to make cheap laundry soap and how to declutter your home.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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