Showing a Misbehaving Child Mercy Teaches Them to Lie?

Showing a Misbehaving Child Mercy Teaches Them to Lie? April 28, 2018

Our internet has finally been installed here in Central America and I’ve been watching the violent upheavals going on in Nicaragua and Venezuela. Plus randomly crawling through the Pearl’s ministry website No Greater Joy. Very curiously most of the Pearl-owned external websites such as ‘Yell and Tell’, ‘Preparing to be a Help Meet’ and ‘Created to be a Help Meet’ are down. So it’s not just a website-wide scrubbing of material, it’s a purge all the way around. With a few exceptions – things from eight to ten years ago are still up and don’t exactly paint a positive picture of the ministry.

This post described what happened when Michael Pearl’s favorite metaphorical whipping boy Johnny dared disturb Debi Pearl’s prayer time. Little Johnny lied to his mother about what happened, Momma believed him and didn’t start wailing on his butt with a plumbing line, choosing to take him home instead.

How does Mike know that the mother didn’t deal with this and punish Johnny once they were home? Most folks have a tendency to deal with discipline behind the closed doors of their own home instead of inflicting that on everyone in the vicinity.

No, no in Pearl World if you are not pulling out that 1/4 inch plastic plumbing line to smack the child you’re damning the to hell. I’m starting to feel really sorry for this Johnny.

No, being tenderhearted is not selfish, it’s the opposite in many ways.

Stay in touch! Like No Longer Quivering on Facebook:

If this is your first time visiting NLQ please read our Welcome page and our Comment Policy! Commenting here means you agree to abide by our policies.

Copyright notice: If you use any content from NLQ, including any of our research or Quoting Quiverfull quotes, please give us credit and a link back to this site. All original content is owned by No Longer Quivering and

Read our hate mail at Jerks 4 Jesus

Check out today’s NLQ News at NLQ Newspaper

Contact NLQ at

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

"There's only so much watching your mother tear her hair out before you say to ..."

Breaking Duggar – Jill Duggar Dillard ..."
"Strict moral code for thee, but not for me, as they say in those circles."

Breaking Duggar – Jill Duggar Dillard ..."
"Fundamentalists are criminals and apostates. They will burn in hell."

Breaking Duggar – Jill Duggar Dillard ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bravo Sierra

    Re: “Like an alcoholic, she was addicted to her ‘tenderness.'”
    That says about all I need to hear about this guy’s personal philosophy to know that I don’t want to be within a hundred yards of him.

  • Tawreos

    How dare this woman not rule her son through fear and intimidation. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to raise a son with emotional scars. Seriously though, I grew up in a house that would spank for every little thing and my brother and I dealt with it in different ways. He learned to lie exceptionally well and I learned not to say anything at all. He is a terrifying individual.

  • Julia Childress

    Zsuzanna Anderson recently posted a scathing, hour-long review video of “To Train Up A Child” on YouTube. I was really surprised at how much she loathes Michael Pearl, calling him a pervert, a jerk, a liar and a narcissist, as well as accusing him of hating children. Going section by section through the book, she is remarkably rational, intelligent and articulate and she seems pretty well-versed in secular child psychology. I sure hope her followers take heed. It’s really a shame that she’s so messed up in other areas.

  • SAO

    The crap Pearl advocates — that beatings produces kids who behave well and have a good inner character — is toxic. He has an unrealistically high standard of behavior, which combined with the idea that abusive treatment is the only way to produce it, encourages parents to abuse their kids.

    Often kids fail to behave because they don’t have the skills to behave. Tired or hungry tots lose self-control. Pearl never suggests you figure out what’s going on, just beat the kid into submission.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I saw that and thought about posting it here. It’s amazing how normal she is in some areas.

  • mashava

    I’m not a parent. But it’s never sit well with me to ask a kid if they’ve done something wrong when you already know the answer. Why not just say, “Mrs. Pearl told me about X, why did you do that?”

    I get that it’s supposed to stop the kid from lying, but I’ve never actually seen it work, especially when corporal punishment is involved. Kids gonna get punished either way, so why not try to lie out of it?

  • SAO

    The other thing is that you teach them to lie if certain answers aren’t acceptable, like, ‘What did you think of the sermon?’ when the kid didn’t understand it and was bored and miserable.

  • Julia Childress

    The whole fundy world is built on two somewhat conflicting principals: 1. circumlocution. You never say things directly, you talk around them, you act happy rather than voicing complaints. 2. Confession. They want to extract a confession from the child and have the child acknowledge the wrongdoing and then repent. In other words, they often hold children to a higher standard than adults.

  • Saraquill

    I’ve heard stories from someone raised with the Pearl’s methods. As she’d get extra beatings from crying too much or not crying enough, she learned to put on a face that minimized the torture.

  • Saraquill

    Years ago, a classmate told a story of how her baby sister bit herself and accused classmate of doing the deed. Parents asked why classmate bit sister, called her a liar when she denied it and inflicted corporal punishment.

    In short, I agree with you.

  • Saraquill

    Twisting the knife further, Pearl knows they don’t have these skills, and tells parents to bait the child so they have more excuses for beatings. And the asshole believes in standards for everyone but himself.

  • Jennny

    Our 3rd child was feisty and could be ‘a little madam’. She was often angry with the world because her 2 older sisters, whom she adored, could do stuff she couldn’t – like knit, play guitar or ride a bike, when she was 3yo. We said she was permanently breathless trying to keep up with them. Aged 5, I went to a school parents evening. I wasn’t too worried about her progress. I’m a teacher and knew she was at least average in learning to read and write etc. Her teacher said ‘She is such a kind child, very aware of the needs of others, she always looks after anyone who’s had an accident or is sad for any reason’. I went home incredibly proud of her. To be told my child was kind, suddenly seemed much more important than that she was top of the class. So, ‘tender-hearted’ is a very important quality to me – and my daughter still possesses it in adulthood, I’m pleased to say.

  • SAO

    My kids bickered. A standard scenario was that my son, knowing perfectly he’d get scratched, would put his foot in his older sister’s room and she’d chase him out and scratch him. He’d wail to me that sister scratched or bit him. I’d get up and yell at her and threaten punishment if it happened again.

    So, yeah, some kids are willing to put up with a little pain to get their sibling in trouble. Some of it is the endless rivalry to be the best, most-loved kid.

    My kids are both sweet and considerate, but not always in their dealings with each other, although, in general, they have a good relationship.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    No. What teaches a child to lie and be manipulative is beating the cr*p out of them if they do anything to displease you or show any sign of dissent. The child learns to lie and plaster on a fake dissembling smile to save themselves from a beating.
    What is also going on here is the mother too is forced by the Pearl’s evil philosophy to lie to herself and her child in order to avoid beating the child. The Pearls train both to be dishonest.

  • AFo

    In money’s eyes, pain isn’t just a good teacher, it’s the only teacher. There are better ways to get kids to stop lying than beating out of them.

  • bekabot

    Corrected version:

    “Mama knows the pastor is a weirdo, and while she wants to continue to belong to his congregation (meaning: her congregation) she’s not willing to stage an impromptu floor show for his benefit, let alone one in which her only son acts as the prop. She did not spend eighteen horrid hours grunting Johnny out six years ago so that the pastor could get his jollies by watching Johnny get whipped. Mama is well aware of the pastor’s proclivities, as indeed are most of the rest of the members of her congregation, including all the female ones without exception (though some of the men remain purblind). In addition, they’re all onto the pastor’s tricks, which include leaving noisy or disruptive objects in the way of his visitors’ kids, in the hopes that the kids will pounce on them, make a nuisance, and invite punishment. (The pastor admits this freely, loudly and repeatedly: he calls it ‘teaching the little ones to pass up on temptation’. Some of his male parishioners, as already mentioned, don’t know how to interpret this, though all of the women do.) Mama is also full cognizant that Johnny presents an especially enticing target, because he’s partially deaf and therefore easier to set up. On a less trying day, Mama might allow the scene to proceed as planned, explaining to a tearful Johnny during the ride back home that he’s just learned a valuable lesson in the art of staying out of the crosshairs of people who don’t mean well by him, but since she’s reached one of the less-comfortable stages of pregnancy and has spent most of the preceding morning leaning over the WC, this time she’s having none of it. The pastor can entrap somebody else’s tot; she’s not there to be his tyke-procurer; what’s worse, it’s getting to be a strain and a bore to visit his house, because every minute you’re there you’re on such tenterhooks. (She’s even beginning to wonder whether sticking with her friends in his congregation is worth it: they’re some of the beautifulest people alive, but the pastor is a creep.) When Johnny tells his fib (which contains a grain of truth: Johnny really doesn’t hear as well as most other kids do) she is in fact reassured; she’s been trying to teach him for years to avoid the twin dangers of creepy adults and excessive honesty, and it looks as though her lessons are at last beginning to bear fruit. So, she tucks Johnny under one wing and his sister under another, and departs. She can tell that the pastor is irritated, since he’d counted on a Scene, but she tells herself once again that she wasn’t put on earth to be his production assistant or accomplice, and when the door closes at her back, she draws a deep breath of relief.”

    There; that’s better.

  • persephone

    My ex has been diagnosed with severe narcissistic personality disorder. I believe it’s because of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father and stepmother. I can’t live with it, but I understand it. What would you do to survive that kind of abuse? At some point, bonds break, and you have to focus on yourself to get through. Either you then grow up to be empathetic and kind, or you completely focus on yourself.

  • persephone

    Well, you know, Jesus was one harda** mofo. Remember all those stories about him walloping on kids, and telling them to shut up and go home, and telling them they could wait to eat until after the grownups, smacking those kids for asking questions. You know.

  • Bravo Sierra

    Re: “Jesus was one harda** mofo.”
    I know. Once upon a time, I was reading Flannery O’Connor’s short story Greenleaf, and my professor at the Christian school was telling me about the Christian allegory embedded within it, and my mind went straight to the song “Gangsta,” sung by Kehlani, from the Suicide Squad soundtrack:

  • IM

    I lived through it, and barely survived. At some point, you’re just angry. That anger often kept me alive. I treated my mom like she was a stranger, and either faked my emotions or shut down completely.

    You do what you have to in order to survive. You lie, you fake emotions, and you deal with all problems yourself.

    So, if you wanted an inside perspective, that’s mine. Honestly, the bonds don’t break unless you break them. Your parent might follow you all your life, still controlling you. All under the guise that they care. Sometimes you don’t get time to focus on yourself unless you force it. Some hang on; others let go.

    A parent won’t let go; abusive or otherwise.

  • Val

    I agree! If only she could be that rational in other aspects it would be great!
    I also appreciated how she admitted that she got an epidural in her last birth.

  • Brian Curtis

    Exactly. My sister did this crap with her kids, and they quickly learned to 1) never talk to her if they could avoid it, and 2) lie when they did.