The Pearls Kill Another Child

16 02 2010

Thank you Michael and Debi Pearl, To Train Up a Child, and No Greater Joy. Another child, spanked to death.

Child Dies as Result of Biblical Chastisement

Ridge Parents Arraigned on Murder

For good measure, let’s thank EVERYONE who continues to support corporal punishment, especially when referring to it being biblical. Let’s thank EVERYONE who still believes that Michael Pearl is worthy of respect as a Christian leader, or as a parenting expert. Let’s thank EVERYONE who believes a parent can read one of the Pearl’s abuse manuals and “take the good while ignoring the bad”. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if you’re just a heathen beating your kids, you’re a simple minded asshole and criminal. If you’re a Christian doing it, shame on you for abusing your children – while you’re still a simple minded asshole and a criminal – Jesus wouldn’t do that. Jesus wouldn’t hit a little kid with a piece of plumbing hardware.

If you’re a new reader and not familiar with my stand on spanking – here it is – I don’t believe in it. I don’t feel it’s EVER necessary to hit a child. In fact, over and over, I’ve presented evidence that it doesn’t work and given positive examples of alternative forms of discipline. A favorite target of mine is Michael Pearl, a self described parenting expert and Christian minister. He writes books that are widely read (and sadly followed) in the conservative Christian circle, especially homeschooling circles. He advocates beating children as young as infants, and describes the perfect “tool” as 1/4″ plumbing line.

If you want to read my previous posts about Michael and Debi Pearl, just enter “Pearl” in the search box on the right hand sidebar.

In his defense, Michael Pearl has responded to my efforts to blacklist his teachings and efforts (many successful) to remove his books from retailers and libraries, and his ads from mainstream homeschooling magazines. He’s called me a radical lesbian (duh) and an atheist (not true). What he hasn’t done is apologize for the deaths and serious injuries of several children.

Anyway, I’m sure my readers are intelligent enough to do a search and come to their own conclusions. I only speak for myself – spanking is child abuse.

Okay, now that I have all the favorite Pearl search terms out the way (because these are my most popular stats), I’ll get on to blogging.

I actually drafted a post about good parenting just prior to receiving an email (HT: Tulipgirl) about the above news story. Timely, for sure. This weekend, while dining with a group of friends in a small restaurant on the coast, I witnessed some of the best parenting I’ve seen since, well, since I had toddlers (multiple toddlers). A youngish couple entered with what appeared to be about 18 month old twin girls, and a maybe 2 1/2 or 3 year old girl. Boy, could I relate. One toddler can be a handful, but three is nearly impossible, and I can say that because I had three toddlers at the same time. Taking them out to eat? In a packed resort area? At what I believe would have been ‘nap time’ when my kids were young. A recipe for disaster, or at the very least, a lot of crankiness.

Sure enough, about a minute after being seated, one of the tiny girls (adorable) started fussing and screaming. Did the parents raise their voices, act embarrassed, fuss back, leave, or hit? None of the above. Mom scooped up tiny screaming girl, and walked to a quiet area just outside the seating area. She plopped tiny on a bench, said firmly “Sit there until you’re calm” and handed her a stuffed bunny (which she immediately threw to the ground and continued to scream). Mom backed off about 10′ and stood patiently, watching, didn’t pick up the bunny, but at one point pointed at the little girl when it appeared she may have been thinking of getting down. I’m convinced that if she had, mom would have simply planted her back on that bench without a word. Within about 90 seconds, the screaming had been reduced to dramatic sniffles, and finally, quiet. Mom picked up bunny, handed it to tiny, scooped her up, hugged and kissed her, and took her back in to eat, again, all without a word, and peace then prevailed. No, the kids weren’t silent or perfect, but they were relatively quiet and acted appropriate for their ages, and mom and dad didn’t attempt to correct appropriate behavior (a bit of spoon banging and minor whining). Since the kids were acting age appropriately, none of the neighboring diners were upset, nor were the parents. No reason to discipline kids for being kids, right?

I know people will say “but my kid won’t sit in time out”. That’s because you have the expectation that they won’t. Time out isn’t punishment, it’s removing the child from the source of their error, discomfort, motivation, or distraction and allowing them to self correct their behavior so they can return to the place where they are part of their social center, their comfort zone. Children want to be in the center. Removing them from that is a primary motivation. Moving them to a place where there are NO distractions gives them a peaceful place to recenter and a desire to return to the center of comfort. If they attempt to leave, return them, and keep doing it until they understand that they won’t leave that spot until they are calm – predetermining a time limit doesn’t work. That’s punishment. Punishment doesn’t change behavior. If it modifies it at all, it’s only to teach the child not to get caught.

Anyway, if you were a bookish looking couple, dining at a small cafe in Cannon Beach on Valentine’s day, with your three little girls, you have my admiration for your patience, and your obvious good sense. Your kids were adorable.



15 responses to “The Pearls Kill Another Child”

16 02 2010
SabrinaT (14:02:31) :

Bless those poor children. I have a few questions. First of all did this family not have a home study to adopt? If so are questions about discipline asked?

Did no one see these children outside of their immediate family? No one saw these bruises that had to have been present before?

The Pearl’s make me sick. They need to be charged as accessories to murder! I truly feel if they were not hiding behind the bible they would be charged!

16 02 2010
Country Wife (21:34:30) :

Egads! Did you see the quote from the DA? “Even the Tennessee pastor that espouse hitting children right from infancy says that you must watch that you don’t cross the line.” How come this DA isn’t jumping right on that one and calling a fellow DA in TN?

Hitting kids with plumbing is ok? I bet if someone smacked Pearl with a pipe he’d not take it as biblical chastisement. Nope, he’d want to press charges, etc etc etc.

I bet it was nice to see some good parenting in public. I was shopping the other day and heard a child crying and the mom yelling ‘SHUT UP!” from about three aisles over. I often see moms in the store yanking their little ones around by an arm or yelling. What is wrong with people??

I’ve never been so proud of my son as when he decided that his kids would never be spanked. Time out works, and I’ve only had to use it once with the grandchildren.

17 02 2010
Audrey (10:51:32) :

I keep wanting to leave a comment on this. It’s tragedy at its worst. But, I have nothing to say that I haven’t already said. It all condenses down to “The Pearls are criminally insane.”

17 02 2010
JJ (10:56:43) :

I’d call it time-IN when it involves a parent being right there doing nothing but supporting the child’s need to re-center. As opposed to say, the restraint and seclusion schools are still defending the way parents defend whippings. (Maybe if we thought of it that way, we’d get what works about it and stop taking time-outs from our time in?)

18 02 2010
Laura Smith (08:52:48) :

Doc, this happened in the town I live in and it makes me SICK! Their house isn’t far from mine (Paradise is a small town) and when I heard about this, I wanted to drive over there, rescue the other kids (although I know this wouldn’t be possible or wise) and whip these horrible, terrible, disgusting “parents” for hours on end. The abuse these kids suffered is horrendous, and Pearl is a fanatic and lunatic. The worst part about this story is that I’m willing to bet that these “parents” still believe that their discipline method is Biblically correct and that their arrest is only the result of intrusive government officials. Good goddess, I hate these people.

PS: I’m no sycophant, but I love your website. Do you have a Facebook? If you feel so compelled, please friend me:

18 02 2010
Amelia (20:51:44) :

These people have no respect for other human beings, or else they don’t see children as human beings. Their insistence on the parent as god is narcissism, at the very least. I’m not a parent, but I firmly believe that instilling the resentment and humiliation in a child that violence does is a terrible idea for everyone involved.

19 02 2010
Deborah (08:41:43) :

The Pearls and their criminal inclinations are not news to me, but I followed your links in the hope of finding something that would help convince at least one fellow homeschooler to not allow this poison into her home. I find it incredibly frustrating that Christians on both sides of the issue base their arguments on what is seen to be “biblical”, and both sides seem to be able to make a strong case, based on OT vs. NT, translations of specific words, etc.: a nice application of the old saw “the devil can quote scripture to his own purpose”. Those of us with humanitarian/secular/legal reasons for preventing child abuse have our eyes “darkened by sin” or we are “in Satan’s grip”. Creepy.

20 02 2010
Maria (14:09:12) :

How insane. How awful.

I just can NOT wrap my head around how beating a child senseless with ANYTHING (or even beating a child) can be construed as Biblical. WWJD, people?!?! They are totally missing the point and using Biblical examples as excuses to propagate their own twisted and warped view.

Sadly, this will not be the last we hear of things like this. Pearls or no Pearls people will forever misconstrue what they want for their own cruelty. Inquisition, anyone?

20 02 2010
TulipGirl (21:26:34) :

This just makes me heartsick.

I appreciate the no-nonsense approach the DA has. . .


22 02 2010
Jeannette (20:20:09) :

Ugh. This makes me sick! Mother fucking stupid brainwashed religious people piss me off! I left homeschool blogger years ago after learning of their assoc with the Pearls and after the death of Sean Paddock (another child killed by parents via the Pearls teachings). I hope these parents fry!

23 02 2010
Disturbing story of child abuse as punishment « Later On (10:03:00) :

[…] explicitly described to police their adherence to the Pearls’ philosophy, which, as one of many horrified anti-Pearl bloggers within the conservative Christian community observes — […]

8 03 2010
Nora (18:13:19) :

Can’t the appropriate authorities track down and investigate anyone who has purchased this sick child torture “how-to” guide?

How can a manual advocating beating children from infancy on up with pipes to the point where they can’t take a breath and to the point of complete submission even be allowed to be sold??

Have you read some of their stuff — it’d freak the hell out of the darker BDSM practioners out there, seriously — sitting on screaming children, beating them harder and longer until they stop screaming from the beatings, laugh at them and beat them more if they try to run away — my God, it’s sick, sick, evil stuff.

This book has been out there for over fifteen years, too — how many thousands and thousands of children have been tortured, their bodies ripped open and bruised and battered, their spirits destroyed, their minds broken and damaged, at the instruction of these two, evil, sick torturers?

Damn, what I wouldn’t give to give these two sadists a taste of their own medicine.

The Schatzes will get theirs — a loud announcement of child abuser on deck as they enter their respective cells will take care of them, but the Pearls need the crap beaten out of them every day for hours on end until the end of their lives.

12 11 2010
Godly discipline turned deadly « The New Atheist Times (05:18:49) :

[…] explicitly described to police their adherence to the Pearls’ philosophy, which, as one of many horrified anti-Pearl bloggers within the conservative Christian community […]

12 01 2011
A Passionate Father (08:11:01) :

Some of these posts are the worst ever. Let me guess the people who oppose the Pearl’s are all about Dr Sears and how if you just let your child do whatever they want they’ll some how turn out just fine. Question: What Pearl teaching specifically contradicts biblical teaching?
It’s horrible when something bad happens to a child. I hate hearing these stories of murder, but these few cases by the mentally deranged doesn’t change truth. How many copies of To Train Up a Child were sold. No one is mentioning all the cases where children turned out terrific.
My favorite is the woman who said she had never been so proud as when her son decided he wouldn’t spank his kids and that time out worked just as well. So you’d prefer the emotional abuse of isolating a child over the physical pain of spanking on the bottom? Yeah, that makes sense. Bottom line is your ideas are flaud just as much as you think the Pearl’s are. At least their ideas line up with scripture.

11 10 2011
Suzanna (11:18:14) :

I bet I know who that family from Cannon Beach is! And they are a great family.

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