More Bad Parenting Advice With Michael Pearl

More Bad Parenting Advice With Michael Pearl October 9, 2018

I know we’ve likely covered this very parenting article before from No Greater Joy. It’s one of those suspicious letters the Pearls get. This time about a girl named Sue that was defiant in every area of her life. It almost sounds like budding ODD Oppositional Defiance Disorder from here. What does Michael make of it? She’s manipulative so beat her and break her spirit. Then he throws shade at the mother for daring to care for her medically fragile child’s needs. Yes, folks, more bad parenting advice with Michael Pearl.

Oh so much wrong here! No, Mr. Pearl, willful strong toddlers are not the same as prisoners and do not even remotely have the same objectives in misbehavior. Plus I am pretty sure it’s illegal for the prison to beat them no matter what fetid fantasies Michael has.

Don’t treat your children like manipulative felons. There is a lot going on here in this letter, but none of it what Michael Pearl thinks it says.


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping ithe plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    That line about extreme selfishness describes Pearl rather well.

  • Cynthia

    So, my former “defiant” toddler turned 16. She was a tot who hated it if I said no and had no problems running off while I was holding her baby brother. We never spanked.

    So, is she ready for prison? Hardly. She was basically an intelligent adult trapped in the body of a baby, and once she grew up enough to be able to have some control, the behaviour stopped. I didn’t try to break her will. She grew into a child that was extremely bright, and her teachers would say things like “if all my students were like her, my life would be perfect”. She is mature, responsible, moral, hardworking and caring.

  • Tawreos

    I have never had kids and, to be honest, I am not a fan of them, but even I can tell that the little girl that is acting out is doing so because her little brother is getting all the attention and she doesn’t feel she is getting enough of it at the time. Instead of spanking the girl just needs to be reassured that her mom still loves her and maybe some “special” time with mom and she should be OK. Of course, this is Pearl World and I guess the answer is to beat her until she learns to do all of the chores in the house and then marry her off to a man that knows how to keep a woman in her place, or something similarly horrible.

  • SAO

    This is a family under a lot of stress. The girl is reacting to it. My family had a lot of stress for 3-6 months, one year. At the end of it, my kids, particularly my daughter, were often bratty. It was a combination of my being too overwhelmed to deal with their behavior and them reacting to my stress.

    I was recommended 123 Magic, which really worked. My punishment of choice was writing sentences because my son couldn’t sit still in a time out and writing required enough concentration to defuse any naughty energy. Everyone was happier as a result.

    Most kids want to be good and many lash out when they fail. Beating them makes thing far worse. It adds to the stress and the bad feelings that caused the lashing out. Writing sentences lets the kid atone for the misbehavior and closes the incident. You tell them to be good and they feel ready to. The 2 warnings help the kid develop self-control. Self-control is tough, it’s a skill that has to be developed. Punishing a kid who hasn’t developed very good self-control is unfair and isn’t effective at teaching it.

  • Sunshine

    I used to read the Pearl’s writings when I was deep in the Fundy Kool Aid although I never really followed the “advice ” thankfully. I guess I read it as a morbid curiosity or something. It’s hard to explain why I did what I did back then. I also started to read Debi Pearl’s book “Created to be His Helpmeet ” and got so disgusted with it, I quit reading it about halfway through and I almost threw it out the window. I got into an argument with a couple of ladies from my old church who thought it was the greatest piece of literature they ever read .They tried to tell me that it was “biblical ” . Horseshit! Debi Pearl encourages women to stay with their abusive husbands by guilting them in the name of Jesus, because “God hates divorce “. It doesn’t matter if your husband beats the hell out of you and your children or molests the kids, you have to stay married to him. The Pearls disgust me to my very soul. I read that one of their sons is divorced and remarried. I wonder how they justify that.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I doubt it’s a coincidence that sister acts up just when brother is being nursed and getting the attention: sis rather feels left out, I fear.
    Hate to say it, but Pearl may have a point about desensitising brother to noise when nursing: not because there’s some Machiavellian manipulation by the baby, obviously, but because the kid does need to get used to a little noise, and gradually does it is usually a good thing. I am surprised Mike didn’t advocate just letting the kid starve. A stopped clock is right twice a day, to use a cliché.

  • Carrie Scott

    Ok, side note to all this. About introducing baby to stimuli door open, singing ECT. But who nurses while jogging. Don’t even want to know how he comes up with that idea. Or how he thinks feeding is supposed to be. Yet he also needs a safe space when he sees a woman feeding her child.

  • Cynthia

    123 Magic was a popular recommendation from child protection agencies here about 20 years ago, but it has been replaced with recommendations for Triple P (Positive Parenting Program).

    It is better than physical punishment. It still puts a lot of focus on punishing negative behaviour though, instead of taking a more holistic approach.

    In the example given, it looks like the child is seeking attention. The solution, to me, is to give LOTS of attention for positive stuff and to simply end attention and fun in response to negative stuff.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    My daughter is exactly the same. She wasn’t particularly confrontational, she’d just look at me with big blue eyes and calmly do whatever it was she wanted to do. While she drove me nuts at the same time I used to secretly hug myself with joy that she was so strong, independent and decisive – all the things I’m not. Because I had a religious upbringing… [rolls eyes] I love the simile of an intelligent adult trapped in the body of a baby, that’s exactly what she was.

  • Cynthia

    This is a kid who would do well with a “good deed tree”. Stick a drawing of a tree trunk and limbs on the wall, get green post it notes, and write a note each time you catch her doing something right. Try to do at least one note per day, and make a big deal about reading it out and having her stick the “leaf” on the tree.

    My kids’ nursery schools did this, with great results. It gets kids to look for ways to please the parents, and it also gets parents to focus on seeing the good in their kids.

  • Cynthia

    Mom will find it easier to manage young children when she is also able to watch them while caring for the baby. In the mean time, she could probably use some help.

    A 3 year old doesn’t need to have more pain. She just needs more attention and supervision from the start, so that she doesn’t need to act out before an adult responds.

  • The Jack of Sandwich

    Just can’t imagine that “bugging” your sibling is an offense worth a spanking.

    But then, these are people who think it’s appropriate to hit infants who try to crawl away.

  • persephone

    My mom’s rules were “no biting; no hitting each other in the head.” It wasn’t as bad as all that, but my younger sisters were less than 18 months apart, while I was five years older than the next one, so the ages so close and my age so distant added to the behavior.

  • The Jack of Sandwich

    I remember my brother (3 years older) and I being ordered to opposite ends of the house. Little brothers are annoying by nature. Not much we can do to stop that, but older brothers deserve a break sometimes.

  • SAO

    Yeah, I know, but a lot of the time, you’re busy doing something and bad behavior disrupts your attention and attracts notice and good behavior doesn’t.

    My son’s problem as a child was getting overexcited and out of control. If he was too out of control, he didn’t listen to anyone. And he would be having fun. Too much fun. 123 Magic really worked wonders on his control. I’d just hold up a finger, then 2 fingers. He didn’t even have be quiet long enough to hear me. Usually, getting out of control meant he was either extremely annoying or starting to do something dangerous, like going from playing quietly in the sandbox to shrieking with glee and throwing sand and sand toys. That stuff needed immediate attention. He landed in the hospital 5 times in the first 8 years of his life for too much energy, too little control, like chasing pigeons at high speed over benches, one of which he took a nose dive off of, onto a brick sidewalk.

  • Cynthia

    I hear you. Girl 2 took a while to figure out that gravity can suck.

    Incidentally, that also showed me that pain is NOT a great teacher. She was remarkably persistent about doing things despite repeatedly honking herself on the head.

  • Erik1986

    Seven years between me and my younger bro. We fought like cats and dogs for a looooong time, and yes, little brothers are annoying by nature. I’d be sitting, reading and he’d grab my glasses off my face and run off, flinging them on the floor. Arrrgh. I chased after him once, made a grab, he tripped and hit the side of his head on the edge of a glass coffee table. Ended up with a scar, but it didn’t stop him from doing similar things. It took until he was about 9 or 10 for us to be consistently civil with each other. LOL

  • Mimc

    Exactly. A new baby is hard for a three year old, a medically needy one even more so. Three year olds aren’t good at dealing with this kind of stress. She needs reassurance and time not punishment.

  • zizania

    That was the same spread between my younger sister and myself. It didn’t help that I was a quiet, shy child and she was noisy and outgoing. We get along okay now that we’re adults (okay, middle-aged), but I’ll never have the close relationship with her that I’ve always had with my two-years-older brother.

  • heleninedinburgh

    I never knew behaving like that was a medically-recognised disorder.
    I’m not being snide and saying it shouldn’t be, I just hadn’t heard that it’s a medical issue. Is it new?