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May 10, 2006

More Sadness on Sean Paddock / Michael and Debi Pearl

The autopsy has been released for Sean Paddock, the young adopted boy who was abused and who died at the hands of his mother. His mother had turned to Michael and Debi Pearl's parenting resources, and had been influenced by them.

From the article:

In the week before 4-year-old Sean Paddock's death, he refused to stay in bed at night . . .

That was when Lynn Paddock, his adoptive mother, began wrapping the child tightly in blankets to keep him still through the night, the report said. By the third night of battling the straying child, the bundling was so thick and so tight that Sean couldn't move.

Sometime in the early morning darkness Feb. 26, the 30-pound boy suffocated to death. Because of the constraint, Sean's lungs couldn't completely fill with air, eventually robbing him of oxygen, said Deborah L. Radisch, a pathologist with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.


To my knowledge, Michael and Debi Pearl do not give specific instructions to wrap a child tightly in blankets if he in not "obeying" and is getting out of bed at night.

However, they do teach in their book "To Train Up A Child":

"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, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final."

They Pearls teach parents that they should use whatever force is necessary to restrain a child, to hold him there until he is surrendered. . . defeat him totally. Using blankets to do that isnít specified in what I've read, but it definitely fits the "spirit" of what is taught.


The autopsy also showed other signs of physical abuse.

"Layers of thin, long bruises -- old and new -- stretched from Sean's bottom to his shoulder blade, the autopsy said. In addition to the binding, Paddock had been whipping the boy with a plastic plumbing pipe, Johnston County sheriff's deputies have said.

Investigators say Paddock had also been whipping Sean's 8-year-old sister and 9-year-old brother with the thin, flexible pipes. . ."


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


Offsite:
More News On Sean Paddock
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 had not read this yet. Thanks for sharing...I stopped reading much for awhile because it was warping my mind. I worked with abused children so I truly do get physically ill if I think about it long enough.

Posted by: Dana at May 11, 2006 05:18 AM

I mistakenly read about this incident once when it was intially known and couldn't stop thinking for days about what suffering this little boy experienced.
I didn't read the autopsy report. I can't. Child abuse of any sort sucks my very breath away.
BTW, our discussion on the DW forum was good, but incomplete. Any chance you'll have time to revisit that topic with me?

Posted by: Heather at May 11, 2006 02:20 PM

he was only four :'( :( :( :(

Posted by: Beth at May 11, 2006 04:37 PM

This whole story is so sad.

Posted by: Spunky at May 11, 2006 07:08 PM

this just breaks my heart. what was he thinking when he couldn't breathe or move and had to die that way? poor baby.

my heart goes out to the children who are abused due to the "teachings" of the pearls. ::cry::

Posted by: mollie at May 11, 2006 09:25 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if parents gave their children the same grace and mercy that our Heavenly Father gives us?

Rest in peace, Sean.

Posted by: Kim at May 12, 2006 10:08 AM

I would have to say, that although I do not use the Pearls nor agree with their idea that one can sin no more, I believe that in this case the mother is solely responsible for the death. It is not the Pearls to blame. When we sin, we can not blame others for it. An alcoholic cannot blame his/her drunkeness on the alcohol. We, especially as Reformed Christians, need to take responsibility for ourselves and use common sense that we have (although some seem to lack it).

There is place for help from others (i.e., I use books for help on discipline, etc.). But, if we abuse the resource, then we are to blame.

Posted by: Lydia at May 12, 2006 07:17 PM

That Lydia is so right...and cute.

Posted by: Nate from PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS at May 12, 2006 09:57 PM

I'm so torn when I read stories like this.

It saddens me that someone could be cruel to their children (or be that upset at them that they would do that sort of thing) when I play with my 2 1/2 year old. I see friends at church that often react out of anger and I just simply don't get it. I mean I'm sure there are times that I'll get angry, but it's like any other relationship - you ask forgivness (now there's something to teach your little ones!) and move on.

I'm one that doesn't shy away from discipline, but it's done prayerfully and with accountability and in the light of how imperfect I am. For me grace functions when there is a knowledge of the consequences of doing wrong. I want to teach the idea and love of grace and I also want to teach boundaries. I want to cautiously walk the line between discipline and grace...

But, man, that still saddens me...

Posted by: Pete at May 13, 2006 10:23 AM

That is just so sad. He was only 4. How terrified he must have been to be restrained like that! It is so sad that she didn't take the time to get to the heart of the issue and look for the reason he was getting up. :'( :'(

Posted by: SueQ at May 15, 2006 03:02 AM

Nate and Lydia,

I want to be clear that I hold Lynn Paddock, the adoptive mother, to be responsible for her actions.

However, teachers within the church who are aware of the influence of their words, also need to take responsiblity to what they are teaching. In the case of the Pearls, they know their influence--they seek this influence. And they would do well to take to heart the counsel shared in this article.

Posted by: TulipGirl at May 18, 2006 12:32 AM

But just because she was reading the Pearl's books, doesn't mean that that was the direct cause...I mean, if that's the journalistic logic, then we have to broaden the search and ask what else was she reading? Were there other, even more dangerous books than the Pearl's? Perhaps she had a really big, violent and dangerous problem with violence and had gone to the Pearl's who were less violent than she was...what about her medical condition and mental abilities? Does she have a past history with other kids? Were neighbors and others weirded out by her?

Don't get me wrong - this stuff makes me want to vomit...my muscles get tense as I encounter feelings of just wanting to save Sean out of that damned blanket...but where is the direct correlation...what if she was reading Steven King novels? Now that is some really monstrous stuff, full of evil ideas to try on weaker folk...

Rod

Posted by: Rod at March 10, 2008 05:55 PM


 
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