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March 31, 2006

What's the Fuss About Michael and Debi Pearl?

You may (or may not) have seen the call to boycott Homeschool Blogger/The Old Schoolhouse because of their ongoing, outspoken support for Michael and Debi Pearl's materials, specificly their extra-biblical parenting teachings. This attention is a result of a little boy who died at the hands of his mother. The mother had sought guidance from the Pearls' materials.

For quick reference, here are some articles that may illustrate the grave concerns people have about what Michael and Debi Pearl teach.

Here at TulipGirl:
On the Pearls and Parenting
Pearls Po-Russki
Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism
Children, Good and Grown

Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us (small type, worth the effort of reading)
The Pearls: The Basics, On Original Sin
To Train Up A Child Review
TTUAC: One Family's Experiences
Chapter-by-Chapter Review of TTUAC
Avoiding Millstones
TTUAC Short Review

Other Related Blog Posts:
An Alternative to HSB
Click-and-Go Boycott Guide
I'm Okay, You're Okay


Posted by TulipGirl  |  08:35 PM|  TrackBack (0)  |   Words

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Tulip, I agree with the overall premise of your post entitled, "Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism." However, I am still unclear about whether, or not, this approach precludes the use of the rod (ie. wooded spoon) in cases of deliberate disobedience. What are your thoughts about that?

By the way, I am definitely more in line with "Shepherding a Child's Heart" in antithesis to "Growing Kids God's Way" and other similar programs that use both Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner type methodology.

Posted by: Barry at April 1, 2006 09:41 PM

"I am definitely more in line with "Shepherding a Child's Heart" in antithesis to "Growing Kids God's Way" and other similar programs that use both Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner type methodology."

If I remember correctly, it was some well-placed and gentle words from your wife that helped me realize, "Hey, this Ezzo guy has some serious theological errors--at least serious theological sloppiness!"

I find some of what is in SACH to be inspiring. I find some of it goes beyond what the Bible teaches.

I do believe discipline, correction, reproof, chastisement--all of those are mandated in Scripture. I don't believe that the Bible mandates smacking a small child on the backside with a hand/implement. While I don't believe the Bible forbids spanking, I do see within the current Christian subculture extra-biblical teachings on spanking, some of which are downright disturbing. Obviously, the Pearls and their behaviouristic training-not-disicpline approach, but also the development of a theology of spanking that views it as a "means of grace."

I have found that the Gospel can be communicated, good morals imparted, and Biblical discipline administered without the use of the rod/spanking. While my children are still a work in progress, I know many Christian mothers with grown children who didn't rely upon spanking. And I know others who state they should not have spanked the way they did.

That said, God has placed our children in our families for a purpose. Each of us are responsible before Him for their training and nurturing in the Lord.

To spank or not to spank--that really isn't the question.

Rather, am I integrating the Gospel in all areas of life, including my relationship with my children?

Am I walking in the Spirit, bearing the Fruit of the Spirit, and is the reflected in how I treat my husband and children?

Am I relying upon the Holy Spirit or a method with my children?

Am I faithfully instructing them in the Word, catechizing them, teaching them?

Am I leaning into the Lord and seeking grace when I struggle? Am I extending that same grace to my children?

Am I relating to my children as brothers in the Lord?

I find that the issue of spanking fades to the background when I'm focusing on these things instead.

I hope this is helpful, Barry. You know I think very highly of y'all--and would not want you to hear condemnation from me.

Grace and peace,

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 2, 2006 12:37 AM

I tried to do a trackback to you - but I can't get it to work on my site. Anyway, you always do a great job with summarizing and gathering resources. I appreciate you.

Posted by: sparrow at April 2, 2006 12:43 AM

Thanks for the link to homeschooljournal. :)

Posted by: Andrea at April 3, 2006 08:20 AM

Thanks for these...I actually just read the article on equip.org earlier this morning. It was quite good. I particularly appreciate your questions in your comment regarding our own walk with Christ.

Posted by: Dana at April 3, 2006 11:04 AM

Could you tell me where to find Michael Pearl's reference to the plumbing line? I am thinking it is not in TTUAC.

Posted by: Annette at April 6, 2006 11:50 AM

Tulip-girl, as always your posts are thoughtful and well stated. I've been following your comments other places as well, and think you're doing a wonderful job of presenting this side of the argument. People need to know that what the Pearls teach is dangerous and irresponsible.

Posted by: Anne at April 7, 2006 09:19 PM


It is in this article on the NGJ website:

The full quote, so people can see it is not being taken out of context:

What instrument would I use?

"As a rule, do not use your hand. Hands are for loving and helping. If an adult swings his or her hand fast enough to cause pain to the surface of the skin, there is a danger of damaging bones and joints. The most painful nerves are just under the surface of the skin. A swift swat with a light, flexible instrument will sting without bruising or causing internal damage. Many people are using a section of ľ inch plumberís supply line as a spanking instrument. It will fit in your purse or hang around you neck. You can buy them for under $1.00 at Home Depot or any hardware store. They come cheaper by the dozen and can be widely distributed in every room and vehicle. Just the high profile of their accessibility keeps the kids in line.

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 9, 2006 03:03 AM

Annette, the instructions on "spanking" in TTUAC include, but are not limited to:

"Use your own judgment as to what is effective. I found five to ten licks usually sufficient. . . .A general rule is to continue the disciplinary action until the child is surrendered. . . .

"Make it a point never to use your hand for spanking. . . .

". . .The hand on a diapered bottom is useless as a spanking, but effective in causing permanent damage to the spine. There is no surface pain to the child thus whipped. Any pain would be deep inside, similar to a fall or a car wreck. Any spanking, to effectively reinforce instruction, must cause pain, but the most pain is on the surface of bare skin where the nerves are located. A surface sting will cause sufficient pain, with no injury or bruising. Select your instrument according to the child's size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.

I will not link to the text of TTUAC. While I believe adults are free to read what they will and I am no "censoring" TTUAC, I will not promote it by linking to it.

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 9, 2006 03:17 AM

It is a horrible thing in our day. We choose to whip or spank kids so they obey. God is not spanking us, as adults, but people reject common sense. I was spanked as a child. Do I remember the offense??? NO..I remember how traumitized I was and began counting the days till I would graduate-from when I was in 6th grade...I have NO contact with my parents and would NOT subject my precious children to that type of "punishment" or "biblical parenting discipline" I am a christian and children's author and pray that our country does indeed move forward with the NO-Spanking laws so people are forced to use their brain not their hand or another object...God gave us brains to use not just hands..Children are a gift from God..the Bible states..So is this how you take care of your gifts????
FYI-Christmas and Easter are NOT christian holidays and yet because people put Christ into them, they celebrate them and okay it...You cant justify one without the other...Praying your kids will see the love of Christ in people who show grace as Christ does for us. Hannah, children's author and speaker..

Posted by: Hannah at October 26, 2007 11:18 AM

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