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Unprepared for Parenting (Ezzos, Pearls, Etc.) *Public* Support and information for those affected by the Ezzos, the Pearls, and other punitive and adversarial methods of child-rearing.
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23. No posts harshly dissecting parenting moments of others since we desire to humbly cultivate a heart attitude of grace and not judgment towards other mamas. We all struggle at times as parents and have much to learn, and GCM's focus is to provide tools and information for each of us to parent more effectively. Posts voicing some frustration regarding choices made by others can be okay, but it needs to be within the overall context of seeking understanding or ideas for better responses in the future.

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Old 02-20-2012, 02:06 PM   #1
R7blessings
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Default Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

I am noticing more and more books and DVDs with the same theme as 'Jumping Ship' by Pearl.

They all seem to have a few things in common--
- youth leaving the faith
- what we should do so they don't

One thing I clearly remember after reading Jumping Ship and watching these various other videos---- is ---- panic.

I remember feeling like I had to do xyz or my kids were going to hell.

In my opinion-- they all have one thing in common--- you end parenting from a place of 'fear' --- instead of 'love'.

It seems to me--- that if we would just focus on loving our children instead of controlling them--- they wouldn't want to 'leave the faith'.

Hope I'm making sense.
Just thinkin.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Our pastor is big on "parenting in faith not fear". He argues that if a child is brought up in a loving Christian home, taught the Gospel from their earliest years, with parents who live the Gospel and involve them in their faith, then the default is that that child will grow up believing. Some will fall away, but he says we shouldn't assume that will happen and parent accordingly.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

This is the sort of thing that first made me think I wanted to parent that way. Its sold as the sure way that your kids will grow up to love Jesus.

My parents parented that way and with that fear, so did all of our best friends parents. They were all excessively strict and punitive and their belief was that we wouldn't stray from the faith.

Over the last several years though, I have had a chance to see what the kids who were raised that way grow up to believe and do. Keep in mind that these were all "quiverful" families so Im talking about a few dozen kids who were all raised this way and are all still close to me for the most part. Im' so heart broken to report that the majority of these kids now have either:

1.rejected Christ outright (became atheist or agnostic)
2.believe marginally in Christ but don't believe there's any way to please him so they don't bother and live in sin.
3.lead such a hugely rebellious and sinful young adulthood and adolescence that now that they are parenting children of their own they are being CRAZY with their kids in terms of strictness and punishments, thinking that if they are more strict with their kids then the kids wont fall away as they did.

So, once i started seeing that definite pattern....I got really scared. If I'd had a child a year and a half or two years ago, I would have fallen into category three (only minus the rebellious period) I would have redoubled or re tripled my parents efforts and been more devoted to STRICT adherence to rules and disciple. Because at times i really thought all my friends turned out as they did because their parents were not consistently strict and punitive enough (that my parents were not either.)

Im SO SO GLAD that God has done a work in my heart. I still have a HUGE fear that I wont raise my children right and that they will grow up to go to reject Christ and go to hell. Im really scared of "doing it wrong."

Its easy to see how they can sell books/movies/etc that play on a parents fear.

Last edited by WaitPatientlyOnTheLord; 02-20-2012 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

My observation has been that:


Some punitively parented kids will stay "in the faith".

Some punitively parented kids will not.

Some Attachment parented kids will stay "in the faith."

Some Attachment parented kids will not.



That being said, I still believe that Gentle parenting and gentle discipline will net the best results for kids to understand love--God's love, Parent's love, self-love (in a good way). I also think that for those who "fall away" that gentle parenting is more likely to win them back eventually. If you think about it logically, do you have better memories of the people and interactions you had when you were younger that were grace-filled or those that were punitive?

I remember a couple of instances when I was young and someone took the time to find out what was going on inside of me. Even though I needed some correction it was done in love and I was shown the proper way to do x,y,z. My best interests were taken to heart.

I remember many more times when I didn't perform a task properly or something similar and I was yelled at, belittled, hit, etc. even though I did not understand how to the task I was expected to do.

Guess which memories I prefer to revisit?

All of that to say that I think that "winning" kids back to faith is more likely when they are parented out of love and not fear. Out of faith and not control.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

From the time I was 11 until I turned 18, my family was involved in Exclusive Brethrenism. Punitive parenting was the norm. Sadly, a lot of the children I grew up with have little to do with their parents now that they've become adults. There was so much rigidness when it came to religious beliefs that it seems they decided to scrap it all. A few nights ago I was reading a journal I wrote when I was 16. I had all these doubts and no one to talk to. I was afraid that if I vocalized those doubts, I would be scorned by my parents and treated as an unbeliever. It wasn't until I was married at 19 that I felt safe enough to question my beliefs. I remember asking my husband if he would leave me if I decided I didn't believe. He was so loving and reassuring. Ultimately, the love and care he showed me during a difficult period of my life woke me up to what Grace really is.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainash View Post
A few nights ago I was reading a journal I wrote when I was 16. I had all these doubts and no one to talk to. I was afraid that if I vocalized those doubts, I would be scorned by my parents and treated as an unbeliever.


I experienced something similar growing up.

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Old 02-20-2012, 07:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Quote:
Some punitively parented kids will stay "in the faith".

Some punitively parented kids will not.

Some Attachment parented kids will stay "in the faith."

Some Attachment parented kids will not.
So very true, as I look out across the landscape of my friends and all of our children. God's own "children" Adam and Eve had problems "staying in the faith". I don't know how much better we're going to do as parents than He did. I am thankful that He is all about redemption. It may take a short time or it may take a long time, but He doesn't give up easily. For every parent who has made mistakes with their kids--or is on the way to making mistakes with their kids--the good news is that God is seeking and saving the lost.

Quote:
In my opinion-- they all have one thing in common--- you end parenting from a place of 'fear' --- instead of 'love'.
Yes--my worst parenting mistakes came from a place of fear.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Quote:
Originally Posted by R7blessings View Post
I am noticing more and more books and DVDs with the same theme as 'Jumping Ship' by Pearl.

They all seem to have a few things in common--
- youth leaving the faith
- what we should do so they don't
Stop beating them in the name of God.....just sayin'
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

I have fairly strong opinions and theories on this subject; they might be better suited in Intense Fellowship.

I think "leaving the faith" can be a natural, expected developmental stage. I think this is so regardless of the parenting culture/tone/style.

I also think that "leaving the faith" is a bit of a misnomer. I don't think that children, even older teen minors, can authentically choose - especially when their life experience has been Christianity imposed by the parents.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you don't bring your kids to church, do family devotion, read, or study. I am suggesting, though, that humans have to have a sense of autonomy of ownership before something IS theirs. Even in the least coercive, mainline, liberalish churches coercion exists simply in the act of requiring attendance. It might be "good for them" coercion, but it IS coercion. The power and force behind parental enthusiasm for faith-based initiatives such as confirmation is HUGE. Kids, even strong, independent ones, may not feel they can express a full range of doubt, uncertainty, unwillingness, or disbelief.

Now, I think that leaving OR staying in the church can be exaggerated by extreme legalism and/or punitive parenting. I think some kids will "stay" out of the cultish dynamic. And some will seriously rebel. They are both operating out of the same place.

I also remind myself that the scriptre says "when he is OLD". My 17 year old who does not want to attend church anymore isn't old.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

I agree with Joanne. I HAD to get to a place of rejecting pretty much everything I was taught before I could come back to believing in God and trusting him because of *my own* experiences instead of "that's how I was raised." It was a vital part of my journey. I probably could have stayed "in the faith" in a very shallow, superficial, just go to church on Sundays way if I had not had that experience. It would have looked ok on the outside, but would have been nothing compared to the relationship I have with God now.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Bit disjointed here - musing "aloud" - but my thoughts:

There is a difference in our *response* to our faith in God - what we believe, how we worship, how we act - and our faith itself. God creates and sustains faith - it exists apart from our response to it. The faith of a little child is just as vital and real as the faith of an adult - their respective abilities to understand it and express it and live may be wildly different, but the core reality and meaning of it is the same .

So when we grow up and start examining our parents' beliefs and practices, experimenting and exploring to see if we want to make them our own - in short, starting to make our *response* to our faith our own - that does not mean we are making our *faith* our own in some new and qualitatively different way . It is just as much ours, just as real and vital and powerful, at 18mos as it as at 18 years . We are just relating to it, experiencing it, in a new way.

And so I don't see any of that process of exploring our faith and what it means to us as "leaving the faith" . Might lead to it, but isn't itself anything of the sort . Leaving the faith is just that - rejecting God and one's salvation (or declaring that one never had it in the first place and has no desire for it).

I too had a crisis of belief in high school (which I pretty much worked through in my head, that being how I deal with things - I was very fortunate to be in a church that welcomed questions and did not cause me to equate my doubts about my faith with my faith being in actual jeopardy - things could have gone ever so badly otherwise), but though I doubted all over the place, I never left the faith - and in fact it never changed a whit - God was right there the whole time . And it was a beneficial, if angsty , experience .
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:58 AM   #12
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Reading this thread with interest as it's a topic which has been on my mind lately.

I made a committment to Christ through a youth club when I was 11. My parents came through to faith when I was 22, after my brother was healed of ADHD. So all through my teen and part of my preteen years I was the Christian kid in a non-Christian home. My parents preferred me to be involved with church than into the disco scene with my cousins, but they were sceptical and periodically tried to convince me all roads led to God and that the Bible was a collection of stories which had been distorted in the telling before being written down. My home was quite dysfunctional, and the excellent youth work and good relationships I had at church were a refuge from that. I find it hard to relate to the whole "church kid" culture, because I wasn't one! I went to church because I wanted to.

I've seen kids from Christian homes who rebelled, and kids from Christian homes who didn't, and I've been thinking a lot about the differences between the two groups. It seems to me that the two factors which keep kids in the fold, so to speak, are the quality of their relationship with their parents and whether they are personally experiencing God or just experiencing church. I also think quality relationships with other Christians than their parents as they grow up is important. How to give my kids the opportunity to experience the realities I experienced is something I'm exploring at the moment.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnfire16 View Post
I agree with Joanne. I HAD to get to a place of rejecting pretty much everything I was taught before I could come back to believing in God and trusting him because of *my own* experiences instead of "that's how I was raised." It was a vital part of my journey. I probably could have stayed "in the faith" in a very shallow, superficial, just go to church on Sundays way if I had not had that experience. It would have looked ok on the outside, but would have been nothing compared to the relationship I have with God now.
I agree in so far as it is one response and part of some people's journey. I disagree that it is an 'expected developmental stage'.

I think what forty-two describes
Quote:
I too had a crisis of belief in high school (which I pretty much worked through in my head, that being how I deal with things - I was very fortunate to be in a church that welcomed questions and did not cause me to equate my doubts about my faith with my faith being in actual jeopardy - things could have gone ever so badly otherwise), but though I doubted all over the place, I never left the faith - and in fact it never changed a whit - God was right there the whole time . And it was a beneficial, if angsty , experience
Is probably what I would see as a developmetal stage - a point of true decision based on enough cognative and emotional maturity to be able to decide for one's self - a point of discernment, not necesssarily whole rejection. In a healthy system this decision is made with the support of information and discussion. In an unhealthy system it is based on fear.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: Jumping Ship by M. Pearl

I remember feeling like I wasn't a good enough Christian because I didn't speak christianese or that some things didn't feel right. I stepped away to try to figure out what I **did** believe. I think that my faith became authentic when I started the kind of scary process of questioning.
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