Possibly the worst parenting book ever written, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, might also be the easiest way for unsuspecting Christian parents to find themselves facing prison time. That is what is happening in Washington state to Larry and Carri Williams who were sentenced to maximum sentences for murder after being found guilty of starving and beating their adopted daughter.
Ignore the happy child smiling and playing carefree on that cover of To Train Up A Child. Contained within the covers of that horrific tome are the following parenting tips like these (taken from the article quoted above):
- Using plastic tubing to beat children, since it is “too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone”
- Wearing the plastic tubing around the parent’s neck as a constant reminder to obey
- “Swatting” babies as young as six months old with instruments such as “a 12-inch willowy branch,” thinner plastic tubing or a wooden spoon
- “Blanket training” babies by hitting them with an instrument if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor
- Beating older children with rulers, paddles, belts and larger tree branches
- “Training” children with pain before they even disobey, in order to teach total obedience
- Giving cold water baths, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding meals as discipline
- Hosing off children who have potty training accidents
- Inflicting punishment until a child is “without breath to complain
I’m not going to tell you whether you should spank your child or not. But I am going to strongly suggest that sitting your six-month old baby on a blanket and smacking him if he moves off it is a big red sign of a sadistic and abusive personality. That is not normal parenting. That is abnormal control.
Parenting means we get our children to behave well at home and in public and come into adulthood as reasonably well-functioning adults. It is not to create meek and submissive creatures who respond to our every command and bidding. How would they exist? How would they leave? How would they function on their own?
Baths with cold water on purpose, withholding food, and putting kids outside in the cold are methods of torture, not parenting. If you find yourself doing any of these things, seek help immediately. There are people and places who will help you.
The sad thing is that the Pearls are making millions of dollars selling this “Christian” parenting book that advocates child abuse. If we’ve learned nothing of late, it is that “Christian” is often just another adjective meant to deceive us into believing that something bad is really good. Maybe true and good Christians should put an end to this book once and for all, just to save their good name.
What can you do right now? Sign this petition, asking Amazon to stop carrying books of this type, cutting out one source of income for the Pearls. Maybe other sales venues will follow!