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April 30, 2006

More on Michael and Debi Pearl

Meggan Judge, a mother in Alaska, wishes someone had stopped her from following Pearl's instruction sooner.

"Thirty times a day, I was striking my son. He wasn't even 2 years old," Judge said. "I kept waiting: Where is this joy we were promised?'"

She slowly gave up Pearl's methods three years ago after locking her son in his room one afternoon for fear that she would hurt him.

Years later, hearing of Lynn Paddock's story, Judge knows she's lucky. She suspects she could have been driven to such lengths if she hadn't met a community of other Christian mothers on the Internet who urged her to abandon Pearl's teachings.

"Without a doubt, I know I would have been capable of that," Judge said. "Anyone who says they wouldn't is a liar. I never knew I had anger issues until I started using his methods."


The NC News Observer has a feature on Michael and Debi Pearl, written by Mandy Locke, the reporter who has followed the Sean Paddock abuse/murder situation from the beginning.

While the Pearls declined to be interviewed, Mandy Locke has been very fair--and at times sympathetic--to them. Michael Pearl is the "a towering, rugged man with a fuzzy white beard that mesmerizes children." However, the article does go into some points of concern about the Pearls' teachings.


For further reading, I recommend the following resources.

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


Offsite:
On Perfectionism and the Pearls
A Switch or a Cross?
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
Another Family's Experience
Chapter-by-Chapter Review of TTUAC
Avoiding Millstones
TTUAC Short Review

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Comments

I just mentioned the Pearls on my blog. I found 2 copies of To Train Up a Child at a thrift store and bought them - so I could read them, review them, and then burn them gleefully.

It's a tiny book, but I can only read it in small doses. Makes my heart hurt. :(

Posted by: Jenn at April 30, 2006 01:33 PM

That article had me in tears. What is *wrong* with people?

Posted by: Jennifer at April 30, 2006 04:19 PM

I just wanted to thank you for these resources. I have read Created to be His Helpmeet almost all the way through and i did enjoy it.......but I would love to read these before I ever finished it or picked up To Train up a Child. I tend to be a little bit gullable when others recomend books so I have come to a place where I realize that I need to be more critical in my reading and be sure to sift everything through the scriptures before I accept them as truth. I love your blog.

Kelli

Posted by: Kelli at May 1, 2006 12:26 AM

"By Pearl's math, one-sixth of the nation's estimated 3 million home-schooling families use his training methods."

Hmmm... Lots of work to do, eh?

Posted by: Carol at May 1, 2006 07:34 AM

Where is the common sense in any of these reports? I've read several that you've posted on Ezzo and the Pearls and AP. From what I understand from my own reading of these 'methods', all are flawed- some more than others- but they all have a few solid things to say. Why are the parents in the testimonials so unable to isolate the good from the bad and use plain common sense?

Perhaps they weren't brought up in a Christian home and so feel distrustful of what their own sense of how to raise their child is telling them. We may never know.

Posted by: Marion at May 1, 2006 10:34 AM

I have to admit that even though I've always thought the Pearls were pretty kooky, I've not been as alarmed about them as I think I should have been. I now feel responsible to warn people about them and their teachings. Thanks for all of the info.

Posted by: Michelle- This One's For the Girls at May 1, 2006 12:57 PM

I am a little confused. I've read the Pearl's books and think they are definately a little extreme for my tastes. Especially the part where they tell you to basically set traps for your children to disobey so you can test them and spank them. Hello! Nothing like causing you kids to stumble. Plus, that just seems a little warped and even abusive.

But let me get this straight. So it's the Pearl's fault this lady beat and suffocated her kid? It's their fault she didn't have the sense to know when to stop?

She even said it herself. She had an anger problem that she didn't know about that their methods brought out. I know that she's probably dying inside from what happened and trying to figure out where she went wrong, but the Pearl's are not to blame. She is responsible for her own actions.

Too often we shun responsibility because we don't want to face and admit that sin resides in us. I experienced this in my family through alcoholism. It was relegated to a disease, so the person never had to take responsibilty for the mess they made. It wasn't really them. It was the diseases fault.

I am a selfish, flawed, and sinful individual. Embracing this helps me to maintain balance and face my issues realistically, and take responsibilty for my actions. I never want to forget the extremes I am capable of as Jesus warned when he related anger in the heart being equal to murder.

Don't get me wrong, I am sorry for this mother's loss, for sure. But she is to balme here.

Posted by: jason berggren at May 2, 2006 07:28 AM

i certainly accept the blame for the abusive actions i used on my son. however, i was assured in this book it was not abuse, and in fact, to hide it from people who wouldnt understand.
i sickens me to think i used to urge my friends to read this book. this article is a small way to fix that.

Posted by: meggan at May 3, 2006 05:51 PM

Hi, Jason!

"Especially the part where they tell you to basically set traps for your children to disobey so you can test them and spank them. Hello! Nothing like causing you kids to stumble. Plus, that just seems a little warped and even abusive."

I agree. I think you'd be interested in reading this about bearing one another's burderns rather than tempting our children to sin.

"So it's the Pearl's fault this lady beat and suffocated her kid? It's their fault she didn't have the sense to know when to stop? . . . but the Pearl's are not to blame. She is responsible for her own actions.
"

I don't have any problem with having the mother involved bear full responsibility for her actions, while at the same time calling the Pearls to take responsibility for their words and actions.

I fervently wish that the Pearls and, honestly, anyone within the Christian community who talks or teaches about parenting, would read this article:
Avoiding Millstones.


Btw, Jason, welcome!

Posted by: TulipGirl at May 6, 2006 05:18 PM

"Why are the parents in the testimonials so unable to isolate the good from the bad and use plain common sense?"

I think this is a very good question, Marion. Why do you think?

The patterns I've seen are parents who are truly devoted to their children and want to do everything "right." The Pearls, in essense, promise "be consistent with swatting a few times when they are little and our kids will be perfect when they are older." That is appealing to a lot of parents.

And when their kids aren't perfect, the Pearls blame the parents--you aren't being consistent enough. The remedy? Swat more often, for every little infraction, show them who is boss, ambush them, etc.

And from highly motivated, active parents, it is very easy to cross the line to abuse at that point. Even among loving, well-intentioned, Christian parents.

I think Ann's post has a lot to say about how easy it is for "normal" Christian parents to cross the "common sense" barrier.

Posted by: TulipGirl at May 6, 2006 05:22 PM

this group really scares me. i just came across them recently. why do these christiam groups always beat up their kids and take a pass on themselves who they consider the real sinners. i wish there was a god and justice to punish these people eventually. right now we have only the laws of man and i hope something can be done to stop these maniacs.

Posted by: newman at May 13, 2006 12:59 PM


 
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