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Controversial Christian discipline book to train up a child - another couple convicted

Posted by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 6:27 AM
  • 53 Replies
Two parents in Washington state have been found guilty of murder after following the abusive parenting techniques advocated in the parenting book "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl
Larry and Carri Williams received the maximum prison sentences allowable under the law after being found guilty of beating and starving their adopted daughter Hana to death. The methods they used to "discipline" their daughter were advocated in the controversial Christian book.

The New York Times reported:

Late one night in May this year, the adopted girl, Hana, was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, officials determined. According to the sheriff’s report, the parents had deprived her of food for days at a time and had made her sleep in a cold barn or a closet and shower outside with a hose. And they often whipped her, leaving marks on her legs. The mother had praised the Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the sheriff’s report said. Hana had been beaten the day of her death, the report said, with the 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.
Some of the discipline techniques the Pearls teach include:

Using plastic tubing to beat children, since it hurts a lot but leaves fewer marks to alert authorities
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."
Michael Pearl tells one mother on his website, "I could break his anger in two days. He would be too scared to get angry. On the third day he would draw into a quiet shell and obey."

The Pearls and their ministry, No Greater Joy, make an estimated $1.7 million a year.

The couple is the third set of parents to be found guilty of killing their children by following the teachings of the book, which is commonly given out in churches and sent for free to military families. Many other parents have been found guilty of child abuse and torture for following the advice of the Pearls, and it is unknown how many other children's deaths could be tied to the books.

I have written extensively about the Pearls in the past, including:

Another child's death linked to Pearls and "To Train Up a Child"
Michael Pearl writes that he is laughing at his critics after child's death
Child's death leads Christians to speak out against Michael and Debi Pearl
After the death of 7 year-old Lydia Schatz, family friend Paul Mathers wrote on his blog:

"The Schatzes followed, to a "t", a system of child rearing which came from Michael and Debi Pearl... The Pearls are not professionally trained or educated in child development. They came up with this darkness out of the abundance of their hearts... It is one of the most hate-filled, wicked and evil systems I've encountered in my life, all with a sheen of 'Christian' and 'happy families.'"
Mathers told Salon.com:

"I would love to see the people rise up and say no to the Pearls, that this will not stand. I would love to see the Pearl system become anathema, disgusting, and shunned by the world. I would love to see the Pearls out of a job. Before another child dies."
Sadly, this was not the case.

Please use your voice, both online and off, to speak up against abusive practices like those advocated in To Train Up a Child. Put a banner on your blog. Post to your Facebook page. Speak up in your church. Sign the petition asking Amazon.com to stop selling these books. Give better books and resources to new parents you know.

Children need love, safety and guidance. The best way to raise good children is to be good to them. Let's do all we can to protect all children from anybody who says otherwise.

Want to stay in the loop? Be sure to subscribe to my column to be updated when I post articles. You can also find me on Pinterest and on examiner.com on the topics of homeschooling, green living and my national attachment parenting column.

Want to learn a gentler way to deal with discipline issues? To see some of my advice on issues such as children talking back, hitting, drawing on walls, toothbrushing battles and fighting with siblings, see my Attachment Parenting archives here.
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by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 6:27 AM
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Replies (1-10):
UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 6:50 AM
1 mom liked this

Christians really need to put their people in check.

Kidcrock
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Do you believe this is the norm in Christian families?

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:01 AM
1 mom liked this
The whole spare the rod spoil the child is quite common, not to this extent though....obviously it's good business...

The Pearls and their ministry, No Greater Joy, make an estimated $1.7 million a year.


Quoting Kidcrock:

Do you believe this is the norm in Christian families?

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Mommabearbergh
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:05 AM
3 moms liked this
This is some wacked stuff. I wonder if they realize these young people will grow up and in turn leave these parents to sit in their own feces. Treat people like you want to be treated
Kidcrock
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:14 AM

Spare the rod spoil the child?  This is not sparing the rod.  But the fact that sparing the rod is common, I will agree.  

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

The whole spare the rod spoil the child is quite common, not to this extent though....obviously it's good business...

The Pearls and their ministry, No Greater Joy, make an estimated $1.7 million a year.


Quoting Kidcrock:

Do you believe this is the norm in Christian families?


EntrepeneurMom
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:18 AM
We are not responsible for strangers we share a book with.


Quoting UpSheRises:

Christians really need to put their people in check.


Rubberbiscuit
by Bronze Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM
3 moms liked this

I remember hearing about this method many years ago, and I seem to recall that there were stories at the time of babies and children being injured by parents who used this method.  I can almost (barely) understand why people followed it at first, it out of ignorance for how dangerous it is.  But, this many years later and people are still following this?  There's enough information out there on how dangerous it can be and there's no excuse to still be doing it except for willful ignorance or sadism. 

katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Those are not MY people.  I may be a christian, but I do not associate myself with people who abuse their children. 

Quoting UpSheRises:

Christians really need to put their people in check.


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:35 AM
The couple that wrote the book have a huge following which is disturbing

Quoting Rubberbiscuit:

I remember hearing about this method many years ago, and I seem to recall that there were stories at the time of babies and children being injured by parents who used this method.  I can almost (barely) understand why people followed it at first, it out of ignorance for how dangerous it is.  But, this many years later and people are still following this?  There's enough information out there on how dangerous it can be and there's no excuse to still be doing it except for willful ignorance or sadism. 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Rubberbiscuit
by Bronze Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:48 AM
1 mom liked this

It's like they took a book on dog training and switched out the word "dog" for "baby" or "child".  The only reason there are results is because they are breaking their childs spirit.  I've known people who felt they should settle for nothing less than total obedience from their kids, they were control freaks and their kids eventually rebelled big against them. 


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

The couple that wrote the book have a huge following which is disturbing

Quoting Rubberbiscuit:

I remember hearing about this method many years ago, and I seem to recall that there were stories at the time of babies and children being injured by parents who used this method.  I can almost (barely) understand why people followed it at first, it out of ignorance for how dangerous it is.  But, this many years later and people are still following this?  There's enough information out there on how dangerous it can be and there's no excuse to still be doing it except for willful ignorance or sadism. 


 

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