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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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Old 11-09-2005, 08:41 AM   #1
heartofjoy
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Default The Pearl's "Good stuff"

I got a No Greater Joy article sent to me today by an elist. It was called "The Flavor of Joy". I agreed with much of the article. Here are a few snippets.

Quote:
"Parents fail to train and donít respond to the needs of the children until they are provoked into reacting to the ensuing intolerable behavior."
(Of course, I don't agree with his definition of train.)

Quote:
"Once everyone knows the rules, and parents assume the role of manager and overseer, order is reestablished, tension melts away and every one is joyful with the new order."
(The "new order" sounds like something from Brave New World.)

Quote:
"The establishment of consistent authority in the home was welcomed, and made everyone happy."
Quote:
"Parents are competing with many others, in an open contest, for the position of role model. Children will seek to be like the person who most attracts them. Parents cannot demand respect or admiration. If it is not freely given, it doesnít exist."
Quote:
"...parenting doesnít stop with conditioning children to outward obedience."
(He freely admits that his techniques are based on psychology: "Small children can be molded by proper application of good technique and good psychology")

Quote:
"she certainly should never be allowed to alter the mood of the family."
(speaking of a grumpy child)

Quote:
"You cannot threaten, insult, or intimidate a bad attitude out of a child. If you respond in anger, then the child cannot help but view your discipline as a personal confrontation."
Anyway, he spent alot of time talking about what a chaotic home looked like. And it's exactly what my home looked like when I tried to use his methods. And all his references to how the home atmosphere should be, I agree with. Parents infused with joy. Parents not letting the negative moods or misbehaviors of their children affect their joy. Parents as the loving, firm authority in the home. I totally agree. He never mentions spanking, but he talked about his "training" technique, and how it's helped so many parents gain control over the chaos. I just don't understand how people can jive these two ideas, behavioristic training and a joyful home. I couldn't do it. But I can have control and establish a firm authority in my home without using his training system. I can set routines and boundaries and have the same peaceful home without spanking anyone. And my children love and respect me, just like he says his do. I just don't get why it's all or nothing with him--use his technique or lose your home to chaos.

When I talk to people who love the Pearl's, and I say I don't like them, they always throw his "happy family" stuff in my face. You know, like it's so good. And I agree with it all except for his obscure references to spanking them for every offense. That's when people say, well, I just take away the good and leave the bad. But the bad is so wormy. It sneaks in and bites you when you least expect. It tarnishes everything he writes with a grimy film that's hard to see, but you can feel it. Like the floor in the McDonald's playroom.

I don't know why I am writing this. Just getting my thoughts out so I won't dwell on them all day.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

I think this is an excellent post. I found the same thing in my home too....less chaos without Pearl.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

yeah I found it interesting talking to our Pastor and his wife. They had almost the same thoughts as we did with a lot of issues... it was weird! I thought, wow we agree with so much, how can they be Pearl followers?
It boggles the mind sometimes.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

It can't be all bad, or no one would read it. He does have a lot of good stuff mixed in with his "train them or else" garbage. Of course, Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus, so I don't really think that means a whole lot.
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

That is exactly why I believe they are so dangerous to families and children. They inject a small amount of truth, enough to let your guard down, and then they sneak in a lot of poison.
I may be a bit radical here, but I believe that satan delights in the garbage coming from the Pearls. It confuses children about Who God really is, and twists the truth in a way to make it seem believable. I've heard many moms speak of how discouraged they get about their own families when the read Pearl stuff (the Truth of God never is never discouraging, but encourages us to do better) and of course damages children immeasurable in so many physical, psychological, and spiritual ways. He (satan) is the master liar and wants nothing more than to cripple the potential of Christian families.
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Old 11-09-2005, 02:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Quote:
That's when people say, well, I just take away the good and leave the bad. But the bad is so wormy. It sneaks in and bites you when you least expect
The bad is the *how* you are supposed to get the good--the bad is supposed to produce the good. I don't think it just sneaks in--I think it's foundational. And that is why I don't think you can jive his methods with his guarantees
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Old 11-09-2005, 02:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Quote:
The bad is the *how* you are supposed to get the good--the bad is supposed to produce the good. I don't think it just sneaks in--I think it's foundational. And that is why I don't think you can jive his methods with his guarantees
I agree..that is what I have seen by reading his stuff (to learn about his method...not to use it).

Quote:
"...parenting doesnít stop with conditioning children to outward obedience."(He freely admits that his techniques are based on psychology: "Small children can be molded by proper application of good technique and good psychology")
*Good* psychology is not what he is describing...he's a Behaviorist, which is only a train of thought in psychology, but not a mainstay in psychology.
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Old 11-09-2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Pearl is no better as a behaviorist than as a Christian; any modern behaviorist will happily tell you that his techniques are not suitable for training anything with a brain.
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Old 11-09-2005, 03:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Reminds me of the serpent in the Garden. . ."did God not say. . . . ?" It's the same sort of twisting. Satan knows Scripture as well as any angel (he used to be one, after all), and what can sound very good and logical on the surface is crawling with maggots when you peel away the cover. I tend to view the whole Pearl thing sort of the same way. . . either this man, himself, has been so deceived that he cannot know any better, or he is actually the deceiver.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Along a different train of thought.....

Something else that struck me today while I was reading Easy to Love, Difficult to Dicipline. The Pearl's website and articles (I am unfamiliar with their books) always feature disfunctional families who are at their wits end contrasted with a picture of their perfect family. I get the impression, reading their stuff, that their family is so great, so perfect, so Godly. Then when my own family fails to live up to that standard, I feel like a failure and I am angry at the people in my life that don't measure up--me, my kids, my dh. Becky Bailey, on the other hand, uses examples of her own mistakes and how she learned from them. She doesn't give you any rosy pictures of what a good family should look like....well, if she does, it's not in the context of perfection and perfect obedience. And everything comes back to MY behavior, not my kids. So following her discipline strategies leaves me feeling good about my kids, and even myself.

This really struck me from Chapter 2, pg 40:

Quote:
We see the world not as it is, but through a lens of our judgments about how we think it should be. This lens alters everything we see. When your children's school or your spouse fails to meet your expectations, you become upset because the world did not work as you thought it should.
Amazing as it may seem, this is the same reason a toddler throws a fit when you take away the markers she is using to color the living room walls. To the toddler, coloring is what should happen. To you, drawing on walls is something that should not happen. So you both become upset, overcome by the feeling of being powerless to run the world according to your plan. (emphasis mine)
I think this is so true. We set ourselves up to fail by having expectations of what the world should be. How many women are in miserable marriages because they think their dh should be romantic or help around the house or whatever else they read in a romance novel or saw on tv or saw their father do? The Pearl's answer is to use physical pain to produce behaviors that line up with what they think their world should be. When someone tries to use their training, and they don't get the results that the Pearls write about, then they are "overcome by the feeling of being powerless to run the world according to [their] plan." At least that's what happened to me. (I wasn't a Pearl follower or anything, but I tried the spank-for-every-offense method.) But GBD has taught me to let go of trying to control everything. I have to let go of my expectations of what my life should be and instead see it for what it is. I don't have compliant, easygoing children. God gave me firecrackers! I can choose to view that as exciting rather than exhausting. It's a choice I have to make moment to moment. My own emotional state is in a much healthier place with GBD than with the Pearl's. I think it all boils down to learning to control myself rather than learning how to control my children.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

wow! great thoughts Desiree!!! I didnt even think about how Pearl uses other families mistakes vs his own You are right, it is really drawing and of course then you feel like a failure because your home doesnt look like that! :/

Quote:
I have to let go of my expectations of what my life should be and instead see it for what it is. I don't have compliant, easygoing children. God gave me firecrackers! I can choose to view that as exciting rather than exhausting. It's a choice I have to make moment to moment.
thats such a good thought! I need to remember that as well!

I think Crystal has it somewhere what a woman wrote about Pearls being addictive like porn? Its kind of a long the same lines as what you are talking about
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Quote:
I think Crystal has it somewhere what a woman wrote about Pearls being addictive like porn? Its kind of a long the same lines as what you are talking about
I think I skimmed that article once. Wasn't it in her blog? Yeah, just like porn, it sets you up to want a fantasy that isn't compatible with reality. It makes you resent the reality, and the people in your reality. Not good.

Thanks for the Irene. Sometimes I feel like my overworked brain can't comprehend anything or articulate anything. But I need to hash things out either in type or in conversation or I keep thinking about it and it drives me nuts! It feels good to know that I did communicate effectively. I don't know how Crystal does it.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Desiree, I really appreciated your post as well! Very well-written and you made some wonderful points!

You know, some of the Pearls stuff is so incredibly awful that I just can't view any of their writings through any sort of positive lens.
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Old 11-10-2005, 12:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Even within their positive stuff, there are a few recurring themes that bother me.

One is the emphasis on happiness. I don't think that a peaceful, happy home is a bad thing, but I think you can overemphasize the importance of everyone being "happy" and having a "good attitude" all the time. Healthy, functional families have times when someone is upset, angry, discouraged, etc. Those are real emotions that are part of the human experience and children need to learn from their parents/families how to deal with the realities of life's not-so-fun moments.

The second is that he openly admits that he is seeking to condition. I find that very manipulative and icky.

The third is the nature of his stated goals. He is very blasse about not seeking to raise godly children during the training process, but instead to have children who immediately, unquestioningly obey. His stated goals all revolved around ease of life for the parents, convenience, control. Examples of what he strives for are adults being able to converse/visit for hours without any interruptions from their young children... Adults being able to take children anywhere anytime and leave whatever they wish lying about with the knowledge that they will not have to deal with curious little hands touching anything.... Even the "good" goals that I don't have a problem with (like a peaceful home, orderliness, kids who resolve their own conflicts, etc.) can become a problem b/c he sets those goals in a place of higher importance that the children themselves... and b/c the motivation behind the goals is a very selfish, adult-entitled mindset.

I just started going through his book with a critical eye--several years removed from my experience of being negatively influenced by it... and I'm currently making a list of his stated goals/examples to contrast with my own, and documenting the number of times he names "happy and obedient" as the required state of being in which children should exist. :/ Those are 2 things we cannot and should not seek to enforce in our kids: their emotions and their heart response.

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Old 11-12-2005, 11:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: The Pearl's "Good stuff"

Excellent thread and many thought-provoking posts!

I think it was in one of the Created to Be His Help Meet threads where someone said trying to get the few good bits from the Pearls is like going through a dumpster to get a few good bits of food. In both, you need to wade through a lot of icky disgusting stuff to find the few good bits, and in the end, neither satisfies.
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