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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 09-27-2006, 02:21 PM   #1
ServantofGod
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Default Somethings' bothering me

I've been seeking ways that I can improve Mason's behavior because, as I've been saying since he was like 7 months old, he is hard! I read a lot on this forum and the GD forum. For whatever reason, as I surfed around one night a few days ago, I went to the Pearl's site. So I've been browsing the articles. I do find there are lots of things that I don't like and disagree with. But reading several of the articles also gives me a different picture of Michael Pearl than what I would get from just "hearing" about him. Personally, I think he's rough around the edges, like an old army general might be. But he believes in loving your children and having a great personal relationship with them. He believes the same things about families that I do. He's pro-natural living. He doesn't think children should be broken down. He even mentions several instances where you can't spank and he points out that training children is about consistency, not spanking. (That is what is taught here, except a lot of people here balk at the word training, but if you show them, for example that "help" is inevitable and your directions will be carried out, that is training! )

I would like to appologize for anytime in the past when I might have written posts that attributed characteristics to the Pearl's or the Ezzos that were based on my imagination going away with a few things I *have* read by them. I think there is a sticky caution to be gracious towards mothers coming here deprogramming from Ezzo or Pearl, but I don't feel that the same grace is extended to Pearl or Ezzo themselves. What is bothering me is that I think people who have "heard" about the Pearls will just assume other things about them and will post their assumptions here. And no one, naturally, reminds the poster to extend grace. No one refutes the statements.

One article in particular just really opened my eyes about my own childhood. As many of you know, my parents were Basic Youth Conflicts (Gothard) and Dobson fans. For this I have blamed a lot of my extensive childhood hurts and the almost non-existence family relationship I now have with my parents and siblings. But it really wasn't Gothard. (Although a lot of Gothard's teachings were carried out by my parents.) It wasn't Dobson. It was the missing relationship that harmed me so much. Ultimately, the relationship is the entire point! Why do we do GBD, anyway? Why nurse, why homeschool, why carry a baby around? We do it because we want the relationship to be strong. A strong relationship will not be demolished by a few punitive practices. It won't collapse the day we blow it and scream at our son, "Just straighten up, quit acting stupid and practice your piano!" :/ THAT is the reason why we all probably know a punitive family with wonderful kids, a punitive family with "broken" kids, a GBD family with wonderful kids and a GBD family with horrible kids. It's not so much about the way discipline is carried out (well, I mean within the bounds of a bell-curve norm) as it is what the relationship is. Of all people, Michael Pearl is the one who just let me realize that that is the whole of why my parents essentially failed. It could have failed just as badly if my folks had never dreamed of spanking.

I think I'm rambling a little bit here and my point is not as concise as it could be. I'm just thinking though we generally extend grace to mothers who are *leaving* Pearl, we are not gracious towards Pearl himself. I'm just saying Pearl is not Satan Incarnate, though I may disagree with many of his techniques, even strongly so.
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Yes, we are all human and it does no good to demonize a specific person. And I think it is very true that it is easier to blame some parenting guru for a bad relationship, than the people in the relationship themselves
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Yeah I agree with you, but there is a lot I don't like, but mostly it is related to marriage stuff.
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Old 09-27-2006, 03:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Quote:
But he believes in loving your children and having a great personal relationship with them.
What he 'says' and 'says he believes' are in sharp contrast to what he teaches and does. I remember reading an article on his site that talked about how glorious it was to hear from a dad who had instucted his 11 yo son to whip his 2 yo daughter. Now why he felt it was appropriate to give that burden and authority to the 11 yo was never addressed. What was addressed was how proud Pearl was that the father had the boy whip the baby until she stopped crying and submitted all the while she screamed and begged for her daddy to make it stop. Lovely picture of 'loving your children', yes?

As individuals, I am willing to extend grace to the Pearls and Ezzos. But the day they established themselves as teachers they accepted a different Biblical standard. As leaders and, in my opinion based on Titus, clearly false teachers who lead parents away from that loving relationship with their children and into a damaging legalism and 'must win/must dominate' dynamic, I have no tolerance for them. Strong relationships are not the fruit of punitive/legalistic teachings.
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Old 09-27-2006, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Quote:
Originally Posted by elcollins
As leaders and, in my opinion based on Titus, clearly false teachers who lead parents away from that loving relationship with their children and into a damaging legalism and 'must win/must dominate' dynamic, I have no tolerance for them.Strong relationships are not the fruit of punitive/legalistic teachings.
Sadly, yes, I agree. Studying the whole of Pearl you can see the heresy he teaches. I'm not saying he's a heretic, but he is slippery and is responsible for that slipperiness.

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Old 09-27-2006, 03:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Quote:
What is bothering me is that I think people who have "heard" about the Pearls will just assume other things about them and will post their assumptions here.
I read his entire book and I don't get the same positive feelings that you do. I don't know him personally so I cant' speak about him personally but I can speak about what he is teaching and 98 percent of it is just plain wrong. You can talk all you want about loving your children and having a good relationship with them but it is just talk when you beat them.
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Old 09-27-2006, 05:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Ewww and how about the article about the little boy in the car who was crying and his dad pulled over every so often to whip him. And the boy was clearly tired and hungry. That's relationship building? That's a dad who is tuned in to his child?

I don't care - anyone who suggests that isn't worthy of a nanosecond of my time. The only thing that's for darn certain is that Pearl has a GIANT millstone around his neck and I wanna be no where and in no way associated with him.

There's a BAZILLION better places and people to garner advice from -
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Old 09-27-2006, 05:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Quote:
Originally Posted by elcollins
What he 'says' and 'says he believes' are in sharp contrast to what he teaches and does. I remember reading an article on his site that talked about how glorious it was to hear from a dad who had instucted his 11 yo son to whip his 2 yo daughter. Now why he felt it was appropriate to give that burden and authority to the 11 yo was never addressed. What was addressed was how proud Pearl was that the father had the boy whip the baby until she stopped crying and submitted all the while she screamed and begged for her daddy to make it stop. Lovely picture of 'loving your children', yes?
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

He does believe in the breaking down of children---take for example his wife who found out via others that her son was a liar (she did not catch him red handed).

The punishment to "rid" a little one from the sin of lying was to have her 6-year-old go out and get his own switch. The child would spend the whole morning picking out his switch. Promptly at noon (because if he was not prompt he would get additional "licks"), he would come to his mother and she would say this:

Quote:
You are a liar, and lying is an ugly, hateful thing. In order that your soul shall be spared, Im going to whip you.
He would then bend over and receive his 10 "licks." She states she "grieved over it"....yet continued with her plan for 7 days. Since he was so young, he lost track of the days. On the 8th day she allowed him to pick out his own switch and come to her (even though she knew the 7 days was over). At that point he handed her the switch and she finally declared the 7 days were over after he stated he hated lying and would never lie again.

Now, Debi admits that this might now work for everyone and states that she wishes that she had started younger so that her son would never have been a "liar" (which is a joke as none of us is immune from lying or any other kind of sin...which is exactly why Jesus came!)

Now, I would expect most would say that the 70 lickings total he received over the 7 days was the worst part of this form of discipline.

While I agree that 70 lickings is excessive and very much abusive, that is not what bothers me the most.

What bothers me the most is two-fold:

1) There was no mention of Jesus and how He paid for all our sins...even lying. The boy was told he was dirty, filthy...a liar----but he was cleansed by physical punishment and not the Gospel. Debi Pearl in this instanced failed to proclaim the love of Christ to her child. The lickings produced a good external outcome, but it did nothing for the heart. And that is the thing that should be foremost in our minds as God sees/cares about the heart.

I think so much of our parenting is on the external--we judge how "good" our children are by how "good" they act. But, it is the heart that needs our foremost attention and that can only be changed and built up by the Gospel---through love. The law has it's place, but it can't stand alone---our little ones need to hear about Jesus--their souls need the comfort that comes from Christ alone.

2) My second concern flows from the first concern. I am uncomfortable with the idea that we can "save" our children from sin by "beating" it out of them. No amount of whipping or punishment will cleanse anyone's heart. By doing so a parent takes the place of Christ and that is blasphemy.

I used the above example because it is a good display of what the Pearl's believe over all imo. While they talk about God and good morals, etc. they place themselves in the role of God. This is not uncommon with false teachers.

I don't believe in demonizing anyone---however, one can't ignore false teaching. Every book in the NT warns against false teaching except Philemon.

In the case of the Pearls, they hold to a lot false teaching that influences many Christians and puts undue burden on the hearts of many.

I agree with you that relationship is important and the relationships we have with our family members will flow much better when they are built on love in Christ and not on the harshness of the law.

ETA: http://www. nogreaterjoy.org/index.php?id=51&tx_ttnews [swords]=lying&tx_ttnews[tt_news] =212&tx_ttnews[backPid]=118&tx_ttnews[sViewPointer]=1&cHash=6e1d0e7775

I added the link so that one could read the story I described for themselves.
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Quote:
He doesn't think children should be broken down.
See, when I read his stuff, all I saw was him breaking down children, breaking their will, breaking their spirit. That story about the little boy in the car seat demonstrates that.

I find nothing at all redeeming in his writings. He may say that he's all about relationship building, but what he does speaks to the contrary. I'm sorry, but he isn't "walking his talk".

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Old 09-27-2006, 06:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

The two stories mentioned are very representative of their true nature. Where is the "tying of heart strings"? How does "whipping" your child bring either of you closer to one another? Why must "whipping" be the preferred or only tool?

Have I read all of their stuff? No. I have read parts of TTUAC and needed to stop because I was getting nauseas. You don't need to read all their writings in order to get a representative sample of what they believe, preach and practice.

FTR, I own and have read CTBHHM and there is more of their bad theology as well.

ETA: Yes, he does believe children's wills should be broken down. It is in his writing. In his constant comparison of children to various animals (i.e., dogs, mules), he gives the comparison that like you break an animal, you need to break your child.
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

My previous post and the idea of using a "whipping" to cleanse us from sin made me think of Martin Luther.

Martin Luther would spend hour upon hour whipping himself, hoping to cleanse himself from his sin. It was never good enough, no matter how hard he tried---no matter how much he bled or how deep the cuts---he still had the burden of sin weighing upon him.

That burden lifted immedialtey when he discovered the Gospel message and realized that Christ had paid for all of his failings.

We recognize as adults that a whipping cannot save us---why do some Christians reverse their thought in this area when it comes to children? Would MP subject himself to a whipping when he sinned? If it can save his son---could it not save him also then?
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:28 PM   #13
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

Here's another article that talks directly about comparing children to mules and the need to break their will.

http://www. nogreaterjoy. org/index.php?id=20&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=98&tx_ttnews[backPid]=29&cHash=7f557fe3c1
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

I've found that since the Pearls put up their new and improved website the icky stuff is much more hidden and even more than before the wording of things is very deceptive

Quote:
He even mentions several instances where you can't spank and he points out that training children is about consistency, not spanking.
Well, this is because he is using the same words to mean different things. He defines training as setting children up for failure and then swatting them. It's "proactive" in that you don't wait until they disobey on their own and then spank them. That's why he recommends not spanking--spanking is reactive. But his training is most assuredly swatting/use of the rod to physically strike

I do believe we need to be careful about speaking from our impressions or second hand information.

Quote:
A strong relationship will not be demolished by a few punitive practices. It won't collapse the day we blow it and scream at our son, "Just straighten up, quit acting stupid and practice your piano!" confused THAT is the reason why we all probably know a punitive family with wonderful kids, a punitive family with "broken" kids, a GBD family with wonderful kids and a GBD family with horrible kids. It's not so much about the way discipline is carried out (well, I mean within the bounds of a bell-curve norm) as it is what the relationship is. Of all people, Michael Pearl is the one who just let me realize that that is the whole of why my parents essentially failed. It could have failed just as badly if my folks had never dreamed of spanking.
I'm glad you were finally able to hear this in a way that it made sense It's true--our mistakes are minor compared to our love and relationship. That's why I emphasize relationship more than the tools that make things happen. Within healthy relationship you have good days and bad but the relationship is the guiding force. I talk about this a lot more in the new book Scripture tells us that love covers over a multitude of sins
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: Somethings' bothering me

I also do not know the Pearl's personally but I truly believe he loves his children but has a very, very screwed up way of showing it and also to his wife. He doesn't know the definition of a servant leader. He also claims that he is learning to be more Christ-like but Jesus is the definition of a servant leader. He seems to be one of those people that believe they are right and everyone else is wrong and no one can change their mind and if they try, THEY are of the devil. My bil could be the son of MP. But I will not continue to bash them...just their tactics, are they giving out free glue sticks this week. Ok that was bad, I am just kidding about that.
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