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Michael Pearl Continues to Advocate Beating Children

michael pearl
Michael Pearl

Michael Pearl, author of To Train Up a Child, continues to advocate the ritualistic beating of children in the name of God. In the November-December 2015 of No Greater Joy Magazine, Pearl called on his fellow child beaters to withstand the onslaught of liberals who want to take away their right to spank their children. Here’s an excerpt from an article titled The Rod and Reproof:

The progressive secularists intimidate parents with assertions that spanking children causes them to use violence to solve problems.

It is stated so many times and with such conviction that parents who should know better have suffered an erosion of their confidence. The conclusion of these “researchers” is based on the reported experience of professionals who work with juvenile delinquents and violent criminals. A large number of those who have committed violent crimes will confess, among other things, that they were spanked, beaten, or in some way physically violated when they were children. Thus the statistician concludes that these offenders’ violent history is a result of the violence done to them. All forms of physical discipline are thrown into the mix, including criminal acts of violence and abuse. There is no attempt to separate spanking administered in moderation by loving parents from criminal beating. The progressive views all forms of corporal chastisement as “hitting.”

…There is absolutely no correlation between corporal chastisement and violent tendencies in the chastened child. All social science reporting is controlled by special interests and is skewed to accommodate some social or political agenda. See my recently expanded book, To Train Up a Child. There is a lengthy section in defense of corporal chastisement, quoting a number of studies that clarify the issue.

I have probably had more experience with families and children than any ten “researchers.” They research by interviewing troubled children or by reading the publications of others. My “research” comes from thousands of homes I have visited and parents and youth I have counseled. I spent hundreds of hours over the course of 15 years ministering in a boys’ home, becoming well acquainted with the youth. I became close friends with some of them after they were grown and had children of their own. I have spent over 2,000 hours in prisons speaking with the inmates and hearing their stories.

I have found that children possess an intuitive understanding of the motives behind parental discipline. You cannot fool them. They know the difference between discipline they deserve and unjustified violence or anger. When a child has willfully broken the rules or expressed a will to defy authority, he is not shocked or offended when his parents are angry and resort to physical chastisement. The kid knows he is “getting what he deserves.” He may holler and squirm, but he walks away knowing there is a just authority to which he is subject, that there is a law of cause and effect he must observe, and that all wrongdoing meets with an unhappy end. The properly chastened child is more emotionally stable than the child left to his own devices, as studies confirm…

…Many Christian homeschool parents are being swept up in the Left’s propaganda. Don’t become subject to the vain imaginations of unregenerate professionals who deny the Word of God and despise Christianity. Stand on the old tried and proved principles that worked in former generations. Stand on the words of God where he clearly addressed child-rearing principles. Times are changing for the worse. Don’t change with them…

What say ye, dear reader?

23 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Candi

    I agree that parents need to discipline their children… but not with the Pearl’s demonstrable ways of doing so.. especially spanking babies. I’ve read their books and newsletters when I was attending an IFB church, and found even then that I didn’t agree with everything they suggested. But I do have to agree that children who are taught nothing and left to themselves can be treacherous to deal with when older! They need LOVE and training, and every child is different in the way they can be taught. I had to learn this the hard way when raising my own! Each child needs to know his/her boundaries in life, and those should be set by the parents from a young age. Most of the problem today is because parents are AWOL when it comes to their children. No one is there to love and train them.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      Candi, I agree that parents are too often absent but that is only one form of abuse. Hitting children, or corporal chastisement of whatever bullshit comes out of Pearl’s mouth regarding assault on little kids, is completely and utterly false. You are correct in suggesting that not being AWOL but being in relationship with kids is what is required…. NOT physically hitting and spanking and slapping etc.
      One would never disrespect anybody else but a child that way and yet people succumb to their own harmed histories and pass on the assault they know themselves. Children do not need to be trained like army grunts being prepared to obey orders to kill or be killed. They need love and caring and they need to be accepted at their own level so that they can grow and prosper. There are no healthy studies that Pearl can offer up showing that harming children with paddles and belts is a good thing. He wants to harm his kids to produce well-trained soldiers in his army. He is full of shit.

  2. Avatar
    marfin

    All violence towards children is wrong , its just how you perceive violence , If I was to take a sharp implement and stick it in my child would the liberals be outraged at such violence , but what if that sharp implement contained a vaccine they needed to save there lives would it still be considered violence.So what if all smacking is banned will I be arrested for smacking my wife on the behind or vice versa the smack on my behind my wife may inflict on me as I walk past is not violence it represents affection playfulness just as the smack on my childs behind does not represent violence but discipline and love, and my child understands that.The act of sending your child to their room will soon be considered violence as we all know isolation and solitary confinement are used as torture by some governments.So sometimes a chastisement out of love is required but it must be accompanied by love and an explanation of what and why its happening

  3. Avatar
    An

    Marfin and Candi: Hitting children is just wrong, no matter what you call it. I was always taught that people should “pick on someone their own size.” The fact of the matter is that an adult is larger than a child, who ends up being defenseless. That is, until, as sometimes happens, the child gets big enough to hit back. Then you really have a problem.
    Child psychologists do not advocate just letting children grow up without instruction or direction. But they have studied this subject enough to conclude that striking children is not effective. It creates resentment and feelings of powerlessness towards the world in general. There are MANY effective forms of instruction (I do not like the word “discipline” because it implies “punishment”) that do not involve causing physical harm to a child. And no, I do not mean putting “hot sauce” in the child’s mouth or other such forms of torture. Methods that involve inflicting pain are just L-A-Z-Y….
    And just for the record, I don’t like to be swatted on the butt when I walk by my husband, even playfully, so he doesn’t do it.
    And finally, Michael Pearl is just super creepy. He should not even be allowed around children.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      thank-you for this, An…. Might I just suggest that your use of LAZY does not really speak to the issue of harming children with corporal punishment et al. It is not that I was just too busy but that the children triggered some very deep emotional responses in me sometimes. Feelings that made me mad and even feel rage. Once, I held my daughter at about age 7 by one arm as I took her to her room to talk about not just taking everything from her little brother. I realized upon entering her room and looking into her eyes, that I had hurt her arm and she was shocked. I realized that I had to make sure she understood my regret and I apologized for her arm hurting. We sat and talked about feelings and how easy it is to overlook somebody else’s need to have a toy to whatever sometimes and that we must try to be gentle and careful and care about one another. I was not being lazy, you see. I was angry and I did allow a bit of violence in my grabbing. Many men laugh at this story but for me it showed me how easily I could harm the most precious lives I have ever had the privilege to be near.

  4. Avatar
    Geoff

    The guy is an obnoxious, deluded fool. He asserts his own, anecdotal, evidence, over the results of much properly conducted research. He adopts the unfortunate traits of many religious conservatives, somehow turning the word ‘expert’ into a form of ridicule?

    Personally I deplore violence against children, in whatever form and by whomever administered. I have one small exception, and that is in respect of the child too young with whom to reason, and to whom a sharply delivered smack may save their life. Many disagree even with that, and I respect their points of view.

    Most punishment of children by parents is an angry reaction by the parents to their own feelings. Parents are in a position in which they cannot be allowed to relieve their emotions in this way.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      For instance, when the child scares the shit out of you so badly by trying to run into the path of a Mack truck! Then you give the kida good smacK?

      Think on this one and get back to me, will you, Geoff? I think you are dead on in the rest of your comment.

      • Avatar
        dan

        Did you ever consider not having your child unattended where there is a possibility that they might run out in front of it? Why is a child EVER put in a situation where their life is in danger in the first place?

  5. Avatar
    TLC

    I first learned about the Pearls on another blog that serialized the book “To Train Up A Child.” Reading about the Pearls, i thought they just HAD to be the perfect Ken-and-Barbie evangelical ministry couple. Imagine my surprise when I found the same picture you posted here! No wonder Debbie and the kids submit to him — they know he’s a world-champion knife and tomahawk thrower and could take them out in a heartbeat.

    After reading the book via that blog, I was sickened and disgusted. Even moreso by the reports of children who died at the hands of parents who were following the Pearls’ instructions to the letter. I hope someday a lawyer finds a way to hold them accountable in a court of law for some of the pain they’ve caused so many children.

  6. Avatar
    Brian

    Wow, marfin…. you see your little love-smack as the same as your swat on the kid’s bum… that is laughable and pathetic. Regarding your idea of sending your child to the room as wrong, well, yes is probably is but it is better as a choice than you getting all worked up and hitting them as you ‘playfully’ do. Why would you incarcerate the kid and not go to the room too and talk out the feelings that you need to work through. You do not do this because YOU are incapable of choosing it. YOU judge the kid as wrong and go to punishment mode. And then you talk about the kid needing it. You are close to being more healthy when you speak of loving and talking. All the hitting stuff is simply wrong. Please be patient enough to have a look at Norm Lee’s ‘Parenting without Punishing’ and regard his journey to non-violence with his kids.
    I have two kids, both young adults now. I never spanked or swatted them because after reading Norm Lee and Jordan Riak I could no longer ignore my own disabilities in caring and sharing with my kids. I have been learning from my children ever since. One is in film school now and the other, 17 still at home with us. Please don’t joke about spanking and hitting as if it was obviously okay.

  7. Avatar
    Brian

    As a child, I was hit in a routine way, never beaten. I was corrected left and right. My mother chased us boys around with a fly swatter or wooden spoon. She was exasperated at our play, our fighting etc. My dad was a Baptist preacher but mostly absent in the parenting department. One thing he did very right though, was respect our bodies and not harm us. I think he spanked my older brother once but he made it clear that it was not something he wanted to do and he never did it again with the other boys or girls in the family. He wanted obedience but he would not beat us to achieve even that…. we knew he was right and did not defy him for giving us respect.
    Not only have I learned from family history, both the good touch and bad touch, I have learned by actively seeking knowledge in these matters that goes beyond some IFB bastard teacher preacher’s ideas from the God Book. I have on the other side, Jordan Riak, Norm Lee, and sought perspective via the work of Alice Miller and others.
    What surprises and saddens me most is that so many well-meaning, otherwise intelligent folk, support adult humans striking little ones. They do so because they were disrespected in a similar fashion when they were kids…. and they often say they are far more gentle than their own caregivers were…. It is categorically wrong, always wrong to spank, hit, swat or otherwise disrespect a little one. If it happens, it needs apology and warm, sustained hugging and regret. I tell tough parents who laugh at me about non-violent parenting, to be brave and let the child lead. As old Norm Lee once said, First, do no harm. Second, let the child lead.

    • Avatar
      marfin

      Brian I never said I got angry with my children I said I used a light smack as a discipline, I never smacked them just for being kids ie making noise , spilling their juice, being boisterous , I only disciplined them when they were unwilling to do what was good for them and others.It took the form of me telling them that if they did not do what they needed to do by the time I counted to three I would administer a light smack , and you know what I rarely got to three. This I did in complete calmness.
      You say you hate violence toward children please explain what you mean by violence , is it to inflict any pain whatsoever on them, please explain.
      And the fact that you never smacked your children and they are fine, is a little like the tobacco companies producing a man who smoked all his life and does not have cancer and hey presto smoking does not cause cancer, a scientific study based on a focus group of two is lets be honest useless.

      • Avatar
        Brian

        A child never needs to be smacked, slapped, swatted, lightly smacked, marfin. By doing violence, I mean initiating a harmful interaction. This can be with words alone, as the preacher knows, blaming and shaming and it can be with a quick swat. It sends a very clear message to the child that they are not autonomous and worth respecting. It demeans the personhood of a growing body and mind. It never creates the true and loving respect that Pearl et al indicate.
        Your parallel with smoking and getting away with it only works if you assume that loving and using relationship with your kids to be with them and allow them to grow with as little disrespect as possible, is the same as smoking a cancer stick. Studies as you say, can be stacked to sell anything.
        I am sorry that you feel okay about smacking kids but you feel that I am a smoker who got lucky. Please consider reading Jordan Riak and Norm Lee and then help me understand how they are wrong to say no to hitting? If you do not have time for this, I understand but I politely disagree with administering a light smack. Better to drop everything I say and count to three (so you can control your adult actions) and then spend time with the child, as much as necessary to get through the issue. That achieves the love you feel in your heart. Hitting achieves control.

  8. Avatar
    marfin

    Just one more point on the harmful nature of smacking, so an open question is a gentle smack at the appropriate time more or less harmful than exempting yourself from the raising of your children by handing them over to strangers while both parent go off to work .none of the liberals seem to complain when a complete stranger who might be treating their children who knows how is raising kids that the parent say they love , but not more than their career or money or themselves , it seems.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      The smoking analogy is one that does not work and is illogical unless it is spoken from the pulpit of an IFB church-prison. As for abandonment, when you strike a child, it is abandonment, psychological denial of love. Rather than stay with the child and work it through (the most important job we have as loving parents) we slap the kid into compliance (gently, with love)….. It jus’ plain don’t make no sense atall when you look at it….

  9. Avatar
    Brian

    In fairness to all my friends here, I want to admit that I take an ‘extreme’ view in my dealing with children. My view that even slapping a child is wrong, is utterly laughable to many and perhaps most in our culture and others. The Bible is used to support what appears to be ‘ a good correction’ with the rod. I do not agree with the Bible on this point if that is what it means and I disagree with much else too, having travelled a long road from evangelicalism to atheism.
    I regret bringing up issues that trigger pain in us as parents but I honestly know, for me, that facing that personal pain is far more loving to my children than passing it on.
    It does not make sense to hit a child and most often non-violence among adults is really far more sensible than a fist-fight. Children learn our ways from what we do with our hands, not the endless ways we speak. If we model respect for the body of another human being, they will learn respect through our actions. I do not wish to blame anybody for their choices, just consider all the choices possible to allow a choice that might otherwise be laughable, invisible, non-sensical even.

    • Avatar
      marfin

      I am not saying you must smack your children, you didn`t and it seems to have worked out fine for you , all I am saying is that a blanket statement like all smacking of children is wrong and harmful is not correct, ask Bruce did he ever smack his kids , and have they turned out as well adjusted adults who still love him.My mom and dad smacked us but not for a minute did I ever see that smacking as an indication that they did not love us , by the way I am one of 12 children , try raise 12 children without smacking and see how many go off the rails.So Brian you seem to love and care for your children and if they felt this love and care throughout their childhood then you did a pretty good job, smacking or not smack aside.

  10. Avatar
    marfin

    Brian I am not saying you are under obligation to smack your children , you chose to discipline your children in a way that worked for you and your children so thats great , but blanket statements that all smacking is wrong and equivalent to child abuse is just way off the mark. My mom smacked me but not for one minute did I ever believe she did not love me and when you are one of 12 kids smacking was sometimes the only way she could control us without loosing her mind.So Brian You seem to love and care for your kids and if they felt this love and care during their childhood then you did a pretty good job smacking or not smacking aside.

  11. Avatar
    Brian

    Thanks marfin…. it would be hard as hell to manage 12! And yes, that wrong-headed, deluded Gerenscer was a real shit for a long time; no doubt about it. But he challenged himself and walked out of delusion. I admire the prick a good deal. Hey Bruce, you want to speak about respect in relationships, parent to child, spousal, that sort of thing? Would love to hear it.
    marfin, you do see that your mom smacked out of frustration because she felt she was losing control…. that must have been very very hard for her. I’m sorry she had to go through it, and you too, even though I do respect that she loved you indeed.

    • Avatar
      marfin

      And just to note , for all those guy who think they have suffered in this life eight of those kids were girls , eight sisters
      what has any man ever done to deserve that, ha, ha.As the old joke goes going to school in had me downs was bad enough but when its your sisters dress and embarrassingly your teacher is wearing the same dress, I did not mind but the teacher , he was furious.

      • Avatar
        Brian

        Hey marfin, the dress story is priceless! Ha! I had to wear hand-me-downs too but I don’t think that really qualifies as suffering and I know you don’t either. But being in a family of twelve might entail suffering if there was not enough food to eat or love to go around. In these breeder-families, often the older children are expected to be adults and care for the younger ones. Making a child take on adult roles before they have matured naturally, is a bit sick to say the least but quite holy, respected practice in cultic, breeder groups who want to populate the world with little Jesus soldiers. Was that your mother’s family?

  12. Avatar
    marfin

    No, Guinness and my fathers fondness for same was probably the main reason , there were hard times but I had a pretty great childhood because my mother and father cared for us and although through periods of his life my father was a drunk he was never a mean drunk.I did not grow up in a particularly religious household my dad was catholic and mum protestant but both pretty much in name only not in practice.Being a catholic in Ireland during the 1970s is not like being an evanglist in the U.S. all that is required of catholic’s is mass for 30 mins on occasional sunday`s and kids to be baptised , then holy communion , and later at 12 years old confirmation,what went on in your every day life was not an issue, because for the catholic church its a numbers game not a spirituality game.

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Bruce Gerencser