Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Luke 11:11-13 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
I wonder why the Pearl’s did not use a picture of one of the two children that ended up dead or the other one in critical condition as a cover for their book?
They are an embarrassment to the “Christian Community” and really do not reflect Biblical parenting at all. They take scripture out of context and completely ignore good parenting practices promoted in the Bible. If God treated us the children of God (Matthew 5:9) as is recommended we Christian parents treat our children by the Pearl’s with complete absence of Grace (Ephesians 2:7) there would be no point. It kind of reminds me of the story in (Matthew 18:21-35) when the forgiven servant shows no mercy to a debtor. This may be a loose application but for some reason this scripture came to mind.
It sickens me to read the book (again) since it has been so long but it seams some in the independent Baptist movement have come to apply the Pearl’s child rearing practices out of what expect (and hope) is ignorance and not dominant pleasure. In this article lets go through a page by page critique of the methods promoted in the book and show the danger.
- The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1). Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).
- On p.60 they recommend whipping babies who cannot sleep and are crying, and to never allow them “to get up.” On p.61 they recommend whipping a 12 month old girl for crying. On p.79 they recommend whipping a 7 month old for screaming.
- On p.65 co-author Debi Pearl whips the bare leg of a 15 month old she is babysitting, 10 separate times, for not playing with something she tells him to play with. On p.56 Debi Pearl hits a 2 year old so hard “a karate chop like wheeze came from somewhere deep inside.”
- On p.44 they say not to let the child’s crying while being hit to “cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking.” On p.59 they recommend whipping a 3 year old until he is “totally broken.”
- On p.55 the Pearls say a mother should hit her child if he cries for her.
- On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway. And “if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher.” “Defeat him totally.” On p.80 they recommend giving a child having a tantrum “a swift *forceful* spanking.” On the same page they say to whip small children on their bare skin until they stop screaming. “Don’t be bullied. Give him more of the same.” They say to continue whipping until their crying turns into a “wounded, submissive whimper.”
- On p.47 they recommend their various whips, including “a belt or larger tree branch” to hit children.
- The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant’s hair (p.7), and describe tripping their non-swimming toddler so she falls into deep water (p.67). They recommend ignoring an infant’s bumped head when he falls to the floor, and ignoring skinned knees (p.86). They also say “if your child is roughed-up by peers, rejoice.” (p.81) And on p.103 the Pearls say if children lose their shoes, “let them go without until they (the children) can make the money to buy more.”
The Pearls’ methods have resulted in parents being investigated by Child Protective Services, children being taken away from parents, a restraining order against a father, and even a babysitter going to jail on felony charges!