Debi Pearl Encourages ‘Grooming’ Along With ‘Brain Grooving’?

Debi Pearl Encourages ‘Grooming’ Along With ‘Brain Grooving’? January 2, 2019

Do you think that Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy actually understand what it is they are saying when they throw around words like ‘grooming,’ and ‘grooving’? I seriously doubt it. This sounds as silly as all those big business buzz words thrown about in Weird Al’s “Mission Statement” song. Debi Pearl encourages grooming along with brain grooving in this month’s No Greater Joy magazine.

I don’t think Debi understands that most peoples brains go right to a child being set up for sexual abuse when someone talks of grooming the child. Or perhaps washing their faces and combing hair. The last thing to pop in my mind is making sure the child understands that their grandparents are the most awesome people on the planet. Even if they are actually abusive and vile.

More dislike of shyness in toddlers? Remember when Michael Pearl tried to say that shyness is just another type of selfishness that needed to be beaten out of the child? At least Debi isn’t calling for a beating as the solution to shyness. But neither is having to force toddlers into toting around food gifts for office staff either. Sweet gesture that does not translate into solving shyness or natural bashfulness in toddlers.

Very odd ritual for an office.

Do you know what’s better at helping kids to come out of shyness? Making them feel safe and cherished just the way they are, not judged and broken like the Pearls do.


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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 the 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. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jennny

    Others will comment about the idiocy of this post (warm bacon? Really?’) I just picked up on ‘baby in a sling.’ Ah, the sling, the baby-wearing, beloved by fundies and earth-mother types to prove their superior child-rearing ways, it’s just as jesus would want….some of them probably think the bible tells them to do it….

  • Nea

    Let’s follow these steps:
    1) Take kids who are scared of strangers (“shy”)
    2) Force them to go repeatedly among strangers…
    3) … while carrying random gifts of food to bribe the strangers to act pleased instead of scary

    Debi’s right. That is grooming the kids… to continue to view these known-to-be-violent adults as seriously threatening figures who must be bought off. Which, okay, that is EXACTLY how the Pearls want little kids to view their own god, but still is reinforcing some really bad ideas of how to handle fellow humans as well. Because all the rest of us can see what’s going to happen to those terrified kids as they grow and now it’s the wrong cake. Or not enough cake. Or the bacon got cold. Or “you know what you did wrong,” so “you only brought this on yourself.”

  • Saraquill

    I really hope these children are fictional. No one, least of all tiny ones, should be within earshot of unrepentant abusers.

  • Saraquill

    Shame on the parents with back issues?

  • Jennny

    Yes, exactly..that’s what I was thinking of….babies get pretty heavy after a few months of life.

  • Friend

    We used one for a little while, with great care to put an arm under the baby whenever leaning forward or getting near the flames of the stove. It was comfy and warm but obviously dangerous.

    People did praise us when we were out and about. One person squealed, “Those are so awesome! You can extend gestation by a full nine months!”

    And I thought, “Gee, why didn’t nature design pregnancy to last a year and a half…”

  • Friend

    The colon is commonly referred to as the ‘second brain’ due to its close ties with mental health.
    –Actual quote from Debi’s article on “Depression Grooving Research”

    Digesting the Pearls’ ideas would threaten anybody’s mental health.

  • Friend

    My heart goes out to any little one who looks shy or afraid. Still, I think that adult strangers should not go beyond offering a reassuring hello from a respectful distance. If the tot shrinks back or does not move, let him or her continue to size up the situation. Most of them eventually join the group, and most outgrow shyness in a few years–something they have no obligation to do.

    In addition, society needs different types of adult personalities to function. Every meeting benefits from having one or two folks who watch and listen before offering ideas. Extroversion is prized in the US, but it has its limitations.

  • Friend

    There’s something icky about the phrase “blessing gifts.”

  • Tawreos

    I wonder what the toddlers get for giving out gifts so that their mother looks like such a kind and caring lady?

  • Mel

    I liked the idea of baby-wearing more than I liked wearing my baby. (A statement that can be adapted about so many parenting beliefs, lol.) The only safe position for a baby before he could hold his head up didn’t mesh well with his complement of tubes and wires so I didn’t wear him much before he could hold his head up. Once he could hold his head up, I wore him marginally more – but that brought its own problems.
    *Spawn’s a slightly built kid, but he was still a lot of weight to carry centered on my chest so my back hurt.

    *Spawn viewed being turned inward at that age as a personal insult and would start screaming after 15 minutes.

    *Turn him outwards and he wanted to help Mama with everything! Best case scenario was that he was in a harness that his octopus-like grabbing of things was simply annoying. Worst-case was that he was in a wrap thing that required his arms to be inside it for safety reasons so my hands were busy keeping him from falling 4.5 feet to the ground while he happily grabbed at whatever chore I had been trying to do.

    *We both liked him on my back – but I needed another adult to spot us while I loaded him so that really limited how often I could do that.

  • Raging Bee

    Abusive loony moron said what?!

  • Nea

    I pretty much read that as “temple sacrifices.”

  • Nea

    They get not beaten?

  • Mel

    Depending on their age – they may not need anything else. Tots go through stages where they want to do everything adults are doing. Like right now, my son who is 2 years old tries to help me sweep the floor, will grab and bring me a dust pan from anywhere he can get it and then tries and scoop up the dust pile with his hands into the dust pan. (One of those things is genuinely helpful; the other two are adorable, but a huge mess). He also tries to sort and fold laundry. (His exuberance is funny and he acts as if he’s found gold when he finds a sock. No idea why – but it’s so funny.)

    So getting a tot to carry stuff to adults who look happy to get the item isn’t that hard, honestly.

  • Nea

    That she pulls her science from her ass, basically.

  • Jennny

    Yes, I used one, it kept baby upright when she had reflux and colic, so gravity was helping her digestion…but, as you point out, there are lots of types and I (and now my DD with her own babies) had to do a lot of experimenting with types and can’t honestly say, like you did we ever found the perfect one. Friend with baby on her back in a supermarket got back to the car to find the child brown-streaked, she’d somehow shoplifted a packet of gravy granules and chewed it open. Chocolate her mother could have understood…but gravy granules?? I never tried a backpack after that myself but stuck with a buggy!

  • Friend

    You raise an important point: It’s a stage. It comes, it goes, it depends on the child. It says little about the child’s obedience, and nothing about the child’s salvation.

  • Saraquill

    Is that why it stinks?

  • SAO

    I had a pack to wear my baby on my chest. It was exactly like being pregnant. I hated it. My husband liked it, though. The only drawback was that he concluded that being 9 months pregnant (what it felt like to me) wasn’t that bad.

  • SAO

    Truer words were never spoken:

    “I liked the idea better than I liked the reality of it. (A statement that can be adapted to so many parenting beliefs).”

  • SAO

    Actually, giving shy kids a happy mission might not be the worst idea out there. Frankly, if someone we trusted suggested this, we’d probably all approve. The problem is that the Pearls are so abusive, anything they do seems suspicious. In a trusted source, we’d assume the shy kid was either willing to do the chore or that if the mother was pushing the kid outside of his comfort zone, she wasn’t pushing them too far or into a DIScomfort zone. With the Pearls, we tend to assume that the kid’s feelings are ignored, except to be disapproved of or beaten into change.

    In fact, in this quote, the kids are described as being happy to fulfill their mission, but again, the Pearls are willing to beat kids into displaying fake joy, so we doubt words like, “thrilled gift-givers” and “the joy and sparkle in (the tots’) eyes. . .”

  • Nea

    And non parenting beliefs too.

  • bekabot

    Here’s what makes me uneasy: for people who are more normal than this, showing up with goodies for Grandma (or whatever the heck is actually going on here) figures as a normal thing to do; but for that exact reason, normal people don’t make so much darned fuss about it.

    Is there anyone here who hasn’t made goodies for their grandparents? But, is there anyone here who got a write-up on the internet for doing it (once or more than once)? As behavior, is it unusual enough to deserve this much notice? I rest my case…

  • Nea

    Remember, Debi once whipped a little kid for not playing exactly the way she told him to play with exactly the toy she gave him to play with. In her cult, children aren’t allowed to have boundaries, fears, interests, even feelings that the adults haven’t decided for them.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    “The idea looked good on paper. So we decided ‘What’s the harm of full scale implementation?'”

  • Friend

    “That is about the time Ellen shows up…” This apparently happens on a regular basis, at the very moment Debi’s “brain hits a wall,” so we are led to focus on Debi’s needs. And there are two children, probably of different personalities and ages. So maybe the scenario truly is sweet and lovely, but the passage is about blessing Debi.

  • SAO

    This is the Pearls, so you doubt the scenario could be just a sweet thing. I mean, most people don’t have mothers or grandmothers who make a few bucks by blogging. Kids of semi-professional bloggers probably get write ups for blowing their noses. If you want to actually make money blogging or to just keep your audience, you have to generate new content constantly, whether or not you have anything new to say.

    I think you’ve made my case. If this were a post from someone you trusted to parent with good intentions and a modicum of common sense and decency, you would not be picking over the details. You’d be imagining a sweet moment of cute tots and a loving Grandma.

    I don’t trust the Pearls, either. I’m not saying I think what went on was really a sweet moment. I’m just saying that the one thing that makes me think it isn’t is the fact it’s the Pearls.

  • persephone

    Sure, since he only had to do it now and then. Attach the baby to him for nine months, 24/7, and his tune will change.

  • persephone

    There was no way I could have had my babies in slings. First, they were big, and they grew fast. Second, my back and neck are damaged and it would have destroyed me. I used to put them in their bouncy chairs to where they could see me and I could talk to them as I did housework. I’d prop them up next to me and read to them, or we’d watch Blue’s Clues or Bear in the Big Blue House.

  • Astrin Ymris

    That’s what I thought! Debi takes it for granted that her children and even grandchildren exist to serve her in one way or another. She’s the reason they exist, therefore she owns them for the rest of her life.

  • Mimc

    I thought I’d like it too but our favorite mode of mini human transport turned out to be foldable wagon. It has a pushbar and a canapy so I used it like an old fashioned pram when he was a newborn. Now he sits or stands in it (holding on tight to the front). So easy for naps when we are out too.

  • Samantha Vimes

    Think about when they hit their teens.
    4) Take children who now have woman-like bodies.
    5) Force them to meet men their father has approved of.
    6) After being taught their best chance of being treated well by adults is to present pleasing offerings.

    Oh, it’s grooming them, in the exact sense most of us would think of. She’s already approving of the granddaughters being taught to be submissive to being traded off as child brides to their father’s or grandfather’s friends.