Beyond Spanking, Beyond Training: A Look At Our Littlest Minds

Something that has hit me like a wrecking ball in all this research I’ve conducted in the last few weeks is an awareness of how what I do, EVERYTHING I DO, as far as my child is involved, literally molds and shapes her very existence. Mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally.. every single aspect of her being is vulnerable to outside experiences, and will be throughout her entire life, but never more so than these early years when her brain is actually physically still developing the foundation it will function from until her final breath.

For example, previously, when my husband would depart for the office and my daughter would be upset and ask for him to come back, I would tell her she was ok, Mama was with her, and that Papa would return shortly.

One day, while saying these very words, I actually focused on her face, and her body’s response to what I was saying.  She was angry.  With me!  She knew Papa would eventually return, but she was NOT ok!  She was upset.  She was sad, and she was experiencing the anxiety and discomfort of having her Papa leave her presence.  She did not need me to point out the obvious, nor did she need me to invalidate her feelings by trying to reverse or counter them.  She needed my empathy and comforting.

Now, when my little one expresses a feeling or emotional response to something, I will ask her for more details and talk to her about it as if I were also a two year old that is not capable of understanding what an adult does.  I will hold her, tell her I miss her Papa (or whatever) too, and ask her what I can do to help how she feels.  Notice here, I do not ask her how I can help her feel better, because it’s likely she doesn’t need to feel better, but needs to feel the impact of the emotion that she is experiencing, and work through it as her mind dictates.

This goes back to experiencing life through the eyes of the child. Now, I have even more reason to do so, not only to prevent my little one from feeling dis-valued or simply “humored”, but now I am aware of what chemicals are released upon stress (especially in forming brains) and how these chemicals affect the mind and its development.  This is a HUGE responsibility, if you ask me.  We’re not only talking about this person’s childhood, nor just her future as a functioning adult, but we’re talking about her in her entirety.  ALL that she is.. I have the responsibility to guarantee that nothing I do to or with, or around her, is going to cause her mind to be affected negatively or to force it to function in a diminished capacity.

Do you feel the impact and weight of that?  I’m still on the floor… it’s been about 10 days.

When I shout because I loose my temper, my daughter’s brain responds and floods certain areas with certain chemicals, and after time, if this keeps happening, these areas of the brain will not develop as they should. (If you want the science behind this, ask me.)

When my husband and I argue – same principle, only even worse, because her logic places her in-between as a peacemaker.

I cannot fathom intentionally subjecting my child to any form of trauma.

Let’s define trauma –  Take a look at the dictionary’s definition, and read this article

–noun,plural
Pathology.
a.  a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.
b.  the condition produced by this; traumatism.
Psychiatry.
a.an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
b. the psychological injury so caused.
c. An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption.

______________________________________

Below is an excerpt from an article that discusses, in relatively simple English, what happens when children are experienced to situations they perceive as threatening.

Many of the articles and stories presented on the NGJ website (examples to follow, but just glance at the topics on the right and you’ll find plenty) are very descriptive and explain how their method causes the child to experience fear, survival responses, and dread.  They also discuss what to do when your child attempts to evade you coming after him to spank him – track him down and do it harder – they will learn to not try to escape.  If logic were being used instead of terror and power tactics, though the child might not like the natural consequences to their actions, they’re not going to have the same responses as they might to the knowledge that they’re about to be struck, and humiliated, and that they have no choice but to submit because if they don’t, they know their “punishment” will just become that much worse.

The Neurobiological Responses to Threat

When a child is threatened, various neurophysiological and neuroendocrine responses are initiated. If they persist, there will be ‘use-dependent’ alterations in the key neural systems involved in the stress response. These include the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In animal models, chronic activation of the HPA system in response to stress has negative consequences. Chronic activation may “wear out” parts of the body including the hippocampus, a key area involved in memory, cognition and arousal. This may be occurring in traumatized children as well. Dr. Martin Teicher and colleagues have demonstrated hippocampal/limbic abnormalities in a sample of abused children.

Another set of neural systems that become sensitized by repetitive stressful experiences are the catecholamine systems including the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems. These key neurochemical systems become altered following traumatic stress. The result is a cascade of associated changes in attention, impulse control, sleep, fine motor control and other functions mediated by the catecholamines. As these catecholamines and their target regions (e.g., amygdaloid nuclei) also mediate a variety of other emotional, cognitive and motor functions, sensitization of these systems by repetitive re-experiencing of the trauma leads to dysregulation in many functions. A traumatized child may, therefore, exhibit motor hyperactivity, anxiety, behavioral impulsivity, sleep problems, tachycardia and hypertension. In preliminary studies by our group, we have seen altered cardiovascular regulation (e.g., increased resting heartrate) suggesting altered autonomic regulation at the level of the brainstem. In other studies, clonidine, an alpha2 adrenergic receptor partial agonist has been demonstrated to be an effective pharmacotherapeutic agent, presumably by altering the sensitivity of the noradrenergic systems. Studies by Dr. Michael DeBellis and colleagues have demonstrated other catecholamine and neuroendocrine alterations in a sample of sexually abused girls. These indirect studies all support the hypotheses of a use-dependent alteration in the brainstem catecholamine systems following childhood trauma.

Implications of Trauma-related Alterations in Brain Development

All experiences change the brain – yet not all experiences have equal ‘impact’ on the brain. Because the brain is organizing at such an explosive rate in the first years of life, experiences during this period have more potential to influence the brain – in positive and negative ways. Traumatic experiences and therapeutic experiences impact the same brain and are limited by the same principles of neurophysiology. Traumatic events impact the multiple areas of the brain that respond to the threat. Use-dependent changes in these areas create altered neural systems that influence future functioning. In order to heal (i.e., alter or modify trauma), therapeutic interventions must activate those portions of the brain that have been altered by the trauma. Understanding the persistence of fear-related emotional, behavioral, cognitive and physiological patterns can lead to focused therapeutic experiences that modify those parts of the brain impacted by trauma.

Our evolving understanding of neurodevelopment suggests directions for assessment, intervention and policy. Primary among these is a clear rationale for early identification and aggressive, pro-active interventions that will improve our ability to help traumatized and neglected children. The earlier we intervene, the more likely we will be to preserve and express a child’s potential.


Something NGJ Says That I Can Agree With

I wholeheartedly agree with this commenter, and the actual article, if you can believe it!

Source Article

I will reread the article, but I honestly can’t really find anything here that I detect as something harmful for a child.

I don’t really like how Mr. Pearl states that a child isn’t fit to go somewhere with such a “nice looking family”, because I think that is inconsiderate and disrespectfully stated, but otherwise, I can’t find fault.  Personally, I would simply state to the child that wherever the family is headed requires a certain type of clothing, and since the child did not have the proper type of clothing because he/she had not completed his/her task of whatever laundry they were responsible for, then accompanying the family would have to wait until the next opportunity.

Comments
ari
, 20-01-10 15:41:

This is how I was raised: with real consequences (not irrelevant spankings.) I have a better relationship that any spanked child I know, and I believe that is in part because it was obvious the my problems were the direct result of my own misbehaviour, not my parents being mean. It never occured to me that as an adult I would have to *make* myself behave without my parents, because I knew screwing up was it’s own punishment. The lack of real consequences (or the assumption that these can wait until adulthood, which is in sharp conflict with the idea of training up a child) has always bothered me about your magazines. It’s nice to see them once in a while.

SCARS THAT WON’T HEAL: THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF CHILD ABUSE

There are literally thousands of articles and studies that speak about the brain’s responses to stress, especially in children.

Our scientists and doctors know that certain repeated behaviors and actions with children cause damage and dysfunction in the brain.  They can show how the brain becomes altered, and they can identify what parts of the mind are affected and when.

Here’s an article describing how we can do more than simply “treat” the emotional and psychological responses to abuse and similar repeated ill-treatment of children.

Child abuse experts said the findings reinforce the importance of interventions to prevent abuse.

If children are abused early, they are flooded with stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, said Louise Newman, a professor of perinatal and infant psychiatry at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

“This impacts directly on how the brain develops and the stress regulation mechanism. It becomes highly stressed so it’s like setting the thermostat on high, setting up a system which regulates stress less efficiently,” Newman said.

“Also it impacts on the area which controls feelings, so they’re more likely to be highly stressed, have difficulties with anger and emotions, and be prone to self-harm, anxiety, suicide and depression.”

It’s not clear why some people overcome their past while others succumb to it.

Another article, though long and a bit outdated, worth the read:
Source: Maltreatment at an early age can have enduring negative effects on a child’s brain development and function

It is hardly surprising to us that research reveals a strong link between physical, sexual and emotional mistreatment of children and the development of psychiatric problems. But in the early 1990s mental health professionals believed that emotional and social difficulties occurred mainly through psychological means. Childhood maltreatment was understood either to foster the development of intrapsychic defense mechanisms that proved to be self-defeating in adulthood or to arrest psychosocial development, leaving a “wounded child” within. Researchers thought of the damage as basically a software problem amenable to reprogramming via therapy or simply erasable through the exhortation “Get over it.”

New investigations into the consequences of early maltreatment, including work my colleagues and I have done at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and at Harvard Medical School, appear to tell a different story. Because childhood abuse occurs during the critical formative time when the brain is being physically sculpted by experience, the impact of severe stress can leave an indelible imprint on its structure and function. Such abuse, it seems, induces a cascade of molecular and neurobiological effects that irreversibly alter neural development.

To test this hypothesis, Fred Schiffer worked in my laboratory at McLean in 1995 to measure hemispheric activity in adults during recall of a neutral memory and then during recall of an upsetting early memory. Those with a history of abuse appeared to use predominantly their left hemispheres when thinking about neutral memories and their right when recalling an early disturbing memory. Subjects in the control group used both hemispheres to a comparable degree for either task, suggesting that their responses were more integrated between the two hemispheres.

Because Schiffer’s research indicated that childhood trauma was associated with diminished right-left hemisphere integration, we decided to look for some deficiency in the primary pathway for information exchange between the two hemispheres, the corpus callosum.In 1997 Andersen and I collaborated with Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health to search for the posited effect. Togetherwe found that in boys who had been abused or neglected, the middleparts of the corpus callosum were significantly smaller than in the control groups. Furthermore, in boys, neglect exerted a far greater effect than any other kind of maltreatment. In girls, however, sexual abuse was a more powerful factor, associated with a major reduction in size of the middle parts of the corpus callosum. These results were replicated and extended in 1999 by De Bellis. Likewise, the effects of early experience on the development of the corpus callosum have been confirmed by research in primates by Mara M. Sanchez of Emory.

Proof of Abuse: Using Science to Prove How This Harms Our Children

I’m going to start a series on proving abuse.  If the NGJ group continues to declare they are doing no harm, I intend to prove them otherwise.

I wonder if there are any families out there that have used but no longer employ the tactics this group promotes, who would allow their children to be tested for neurological differences as a result of these methods.

Here’s an opening article:

Source
During early, intense, and repetitive trauma, there is an adaptive disengagement: a dissociation from any meaningful assessment of fear, or pain, or horror. Because to be fully present for it–and to process its implications-would quite simply overwhelm the brain.

This dissociation may help one survive the initial traumatic situation but-because information about the threatening experience has remained unformulated–it cannot be reflected upon or learned from.
Those who study brain development and physiological responses to trauma have discovered fascinating things about the way that the brain formats abusive experiences. The perceptual–affective flood engendered by a traumatic encounter-the Shock and Awe-is configured mainly as an autonomic reply to danger; a fight or flight response. Basically this means that incoming information is coded in the most primitive areas of the brain without any accompanying linguistic elaboration. People are literally scared speechless (Elin, 1995), rendered incapable of creating a narrative line to understand what is happening to them. Regions of the brain that are implicated in the ability to reflect upon mental contents, first by attaching emotional significance to them and then by representing intentions symbolically, are especially hard hit. Permanent hormonal and neurochemical changes, even deformations of neuroanatomical structure may follow intense or prolonged exposure to threatening stimuli (van der Kolk, 1996, p. 220).

Bessel van der Kolk writes, “The experience is laid down, and later retrieved, as isolated images, bodily sensations, smells and sounds that feel alien and separate from other life experiences. Because the hippocampus has not played its usual role in helping to locate the incoming information in time and space, these fragments continue to lead an isolated existence. Traumatic memories are timeless and ego-alien.” (van der Kolk, p. 295).

Mr. Pearl’s Children, Helping the World

Source: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159565&page=4

Please take a moment, view the threads, and add your thoughts.

That man is just horrifying. I would love to leave a comment on his blog but to do so would require becoming a member and that is something I would never do.

I find it very telling that Pearl claims that all good children, and all well adjusted adults are his. Pearl does not glorify God in any way nor aknowledge that all good comes from Him. To Mr. Pearl I would like to say;

Whenever a mother finds herself going too far in taking your parenting advice and beating her child, may she find a loving counselor to help her do better. That counselor will be one of His.

Whenever a parent finds himself in the unthinkable situation of being incarcerated for having murdered a child by following your advice, may they find a forgiving pastor or minister to help him. That pastor will be one of His.

Whenever a child grows up to be an adult with an empty hole in his heart where safety, security and love from parents should be, and instead finds only fear and pain because, not only did his parents beat him but expressed their delight in doing so on your advice; may he find a friend to lead him to the healer of all sorrows, the Savior, Jesus Christ. That friend will be one of His.

When a young adult finds herself terrified to hold her newborn baby because the only example she has ever seen are those who followed your advice and abused their infants, may she find someone who will show her a better way; the loving way to raise a child. That someone will be one of His.

When you pass from this life, Mr. Pearl, do you expect that the Savior will meet you with a whip around his neck to give you what you deserve? No he will meet you with his palms upraised to show the wounds he received in atoning for your sins so you wouldn’t have to feel the whip. Then he will ask you why you caused so much pain and suffering, sorrow and heartbreak in His name. I wonder what the answer will be.

Just my 2 cents,
Amber in SJ

About the Pearl’s Children

Amy R:

I didn’t want to bring this up. It feels like pot-stirring or bringing in unnecessary negativity, so even though I was made aware of this information a few days ago I had no thought of bringing it to light until I read that maniacal diatribe from Mr. Pearl.

He needs to stop telling us that his children are the standard of success. I am sure they are lovely people, but they are not the doctors, pharmacists, etc. he takes credit for in our society.

His daughter, Rebekah, is living in total poverty while submitting to her husband who quit his job in order to study the Bible 40-50 hours per week. They have no electricity, her sixth baby was born unassisted at home and she treated her preeclampsia with bilberry and other home remedies because they couldn’t afford medical care.

Click for the rest of the article and others

Spank – injure by striking

…that should leave the child in a “wounded, submissive whimper” and “without breath to complain.”

This to teach the child who’s in control and not to be questioned. The Pearls recommend keeping a plumbing line in every room and even one around the neck to remind the child of that message.

Please take a moment to review the dictionary and thesaurus as they define and discuss the word spank (verb).  Note the antonyms as well.  (The complete listing is found at the end of this post.)

Main Entry: punish
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: penalize for wrongdoing
Synonyms: abuse, attend to, batter, beat, beat up, blacklist, castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, crack down on, cuff, debar, defrock, discipline, dismiss, do in, execute, exile, expel, fine, flog, give a going over, give the works, harm, hurt, immure, incarcerate, injure, knock about, lash, lecture, maltreat, misuse, oppress, paddle, rap knuckles, reprove, rough up, scourge, sentence, slap wrist, spank, switch, teach a lesson, throw the book at, train, whip
Antonyms: award, exonerate, let go, praise, protect, reward

Mike’s Response (to the Schatz case)

We do not teach “corporal punishment” nor “hitting” children. We teach parents how to train their children, which sometimes requires the limited and controlled application of a spanking instrument to hold the child’s attention on admonition. Over 1,000,000 parents have applied these Biblical principles with joyful results.

The courts have never charged NGJ Ministries with teaching abuse; quite the contrary. In a former case where a woman owned one copy of To Train Up A Child, the prosecuting attorney used that very book as testimony against her out of control methods. Likewise Ramsey, the prosecutor in the Schatz case, is quick to point out that No Greater Joy does not advocate spanking to the point of serious injury.

If indeed these parents were abusive, and that has not yet been proven by the courts, it is regretful that our teachings were not able to turn them from their predisposition to abusive habits. Those of us who deal with substance abuse, psychological impairment, and family issues, try to make positive changes in every person, but sometimes our best efforts are too little or too late. But for the sake of our precious children, we must double our efforts and move forward.

Michael Pearl, CEO
No Greater Joy Ministries, Inc

Mr. Pearl, you are incorrigible. And you are digging your own grave, and those that follow you.

Jonestown, anyone?

Main Entry: incorrigible
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: bad, hopeless
Synonyms: abandoned, beastly, hardened, incurable, intractable, inveterate, irredeemable, irreparable, loser, recidivous, uncorrectable, unreformed, useless, wicked
Antonyms: good, manageable, nice, obedient, reformable

Main Entry: abandoned
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: free from moral restraint; uninhibited
Synonyms: corrupt, depraved, dissolute, immoral, incontinent, incorrigible, licentious, profligate, shameless, sinful, uncontrolled, unprincipled, unrestrained, wanton, wicked, wild
Antonyms: chaste, innocent, moral, pure, restrained, virtuous

Main Entry: fanatical
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: overenthusiastic
Synonyms: biased, bigoted, bugged, burning*, contumacious, credulous, devoted, dogmatic, domineering, enthusiastic, erratic, extreme, fervent, feverish, fiery, frenzied, headstrong, high on, immoderate, impassioned, impulsive, incorrigible, infatuated, mad, monomaniacal, narrow-minded, nuts for, obsessed, obsessive, obstinate, opinionated, partial, partisan, passionate, possessed, prejudiced, rabid, radical, raving, single-minded, stubborn, turned on, unruly, violent, visionary, wild, willful, zealous
Antonyms: disinterested, dispassionate, impartial, unenthusiastic

spank

–verb (used with object)

1.

to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., esp. on the buttocks, as in punishment.
–noun

2.

a blow given in spanking; a smart or resounding slap.

Origin:
1720–30; imit.

spank

–verb (used without object)

to move rapidly, smartly, or briskly.

Origin:
1800–10; back formation from spanking
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
Cite This Source

Link To spank

Word Origin & History

spank

1727, possibly imitative of the sound of spanking. The noun is from 1785.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

// // spank

spank pronunciation (spāngk)  
v.   spanked, spank·ing, spanks

v.   tr.
To slap on the buttocks with a flat object or with the open hand, as for punishment.
v.   intr.
To move briskly or spiritedly.
n.  A slap on the buttocks.

spank

– 10 of 19 thesaurus results

Main Entry: spank
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: slap, usually on bottom
Synonyms: belt, blip, box, buffet, cane, chastise, clobber, clout, cuff, flax, flog, hide, larrup, lash, lather, leather, lick, paddle, punch, punish, put over one’s knee, smack, sock, tan one’s hide, tan*, thrash, trim, wallop, welt, whip, whup

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: beat
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: injure by striking
Synonyms: bang, bash, bat, batter, belt, box, break, bruise, buffet, cane, castigate, clout, club, collide, crush, cudgel, drub, flagellate, flail, flog, hammer, hit, knock, lambaste*, lash, lick*, maltreat, mash, maul, pelt, pound, pummel, punch, punish, ram, rap, slap, slug, smack, spank, strike, swat, thrash, thresh, thump, thwack, trounce, wallop, whale, whip
Antonyms: aid, assist, guard, help, protect

* = informal/non-formal usage

// //

Main Entry: buffet
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: hit repeatedly
Synonyms: bang, batter, beat, blow, box, bump, clobber, cuff, flail, jolt, knock, pound, pummel, push, rap, shove, slap, smack, spank, strike, thrash, thump, wallop

Main Entry: chastise
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: scold, discipline
Synonyms: baste, beat, berate, castigate, censure, chasten, chew out, climb all over, correct, ferule, flog, lash, lay into, lean on, pummel, punish, ream, scourge, skelp, slap down, spank, thrash, upbraid, whip
Notes: chasten means to correct by punishment, to take to task – to restrain or subdue; chastise means to punish, as by beating or to criticize severely
Antonyms: cheer, comfort, compliment, encourage, forgive, inspirit, promote

// //

Main Entry: cuff
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: beat with hands
Synonyms: bat, belt, biff, box, buffet, clap, clobber, clout, hit, knock, pummel, punch, slap, smack, spank, thump, whack

Main Entry: drub
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: thrash
Synonyms: beat, cane, clobber, defeat, flog, hit, lash, pound, spank, strike, tan, trounce, wallop, whip

// //

Main Entry: flagellate
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: whip, lash
Synonyms: beat, beat the living daylights out of, belt, flay, flog, hit, lash, spank, tan someone’s hide, tan*, thrash

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: flog
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: whip, lash
Synonyms: beat, belt, cane, castigate, chastise, ferule, flagellate, flax, flay, give the cat o’nine tails, hide, hit, larrup, lather, leather, paddle, scourge, spank, strike, stripe, tan one’s hide, thrash, trounce, wax, whack, whale, whomp, whop

Main Entry: hit
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: strike, bump
Synonyms: bang, bat, bell-ringer, belt, blow, bonk, box*, buffet, butt, chop, clash, clip, clout, collision, cuff, fisticuff, glance, impact, knock, lick*, one-two punch, paste, pat, plunk, punch, rap, roundhouse, shock, shot, slap, slog, smack, smash, sock, spank, stroke, swat, swing, swipe, tap, uppercut, wallop, whammy, whop, zap, zinger

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: hurt
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: cause physical pain; experience pain
Synonyms: abuse, ache, afflict, ail, be sore, be tender, belt, bite, blemish, bruise, burn, cramp, cut, cut up, damage, disable, do violence, flail, flog, harm, impair, injure, kick, lacerate, lash, maltreat, mar, maul, mess up, nip, pierce, pinch, pommel, prick, pummel, punch, puncture, punish, rough up, shake up, slap, slug, smart, spank, spoil, squeeze, stab, sting, tear, throb, torment, torture, total, trouble, wax, whack, whip, wing, wound, wrack up, wring
Antonyms: aid, assist, assuage, cure, heal, help, relieve, remedy, soothe

Main Entry: lick
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: defeat, sometimes by hitting
Synonyms: beat, best, clobber, conquer, down, excel, flog, hit, hurdle, lambaste, master, outdo, outstrip, overcome, overwhelm, rout, slap, smear, smother, spank, strike, surmount, surpass, thrash, throw, top, trim, trounce, vanquish, wallop, whip
Antonyms: lose

Main Entry: punish
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: penalize for wrongdoing
Synonyms: abuse, attend to, batter, beat, beat up, blacklist, castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, crack down on, cuff, debar, defrock, discipline, dismiss, do in, execute, exile, expel, fine, flog, give a going over, give the works, harm, hurt, immure, incarcerate, injure, knock about, lash, lecture, maltreat, misuse, oppress, paddle, rap knuckles, reprove, rough up, scourge, sentence, slap wrist, spank, switch, teach a lesson, throw the book at, train, whip
Antonyms: award, exonerate, let go, praise, protect, reward

// <![CDATA[// // <![CDATA[//

Main Entry: slap
Part of Speech: noun, verb
Definition: hard hit, often with hand
Synonyms: bang, bash, blip, blow, box, buffet, bust, chop, clap, clout, crack, cuff, pat, percuss, poke, potch, punch, slam, smack, sock, spank, strike, swat, wallop, whack, wham

Main Entry: smack
Part of Speech: noun, verb
Definition: strike, often with hand
Synonyms: bang, blip, blow, box, buffet, chop, clap, clout, crack, cuff, hit, pat, punch, slap, snap, sock, spank, tap

Main Entry: tan
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: flog, whip
Synonyms: baste, beat, belt, cane, dust someone’s britches, flay, hide, hit, lambaste, lash, leather, paddle, paddlewhack, punish, spank, strap, strike, switch, tan one’s hide, thrash, warm someone’s seat, wax, whack, whale, whomp

Main Entry: thrash
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: flail about; beat
Synonyms: batter, beat up, belabor, belt, birch, buffet, bury, cane, chasten, chastise, clobber, crush, defeat, flagellate, flog, jerk, kill, lambaste*, lick, maul, murder, overwhelm, paste, pelt, pitch, pound, pummel, punish, rout, rush, scourge, seesaw, slaughter, spank, stir, strike, surge, tan, tan one’s hide, thresh, toss, toss and turn, trash, trim, trounce, wallop, wax, whip, work over, writhe
Antonyms: be still

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: whip
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: hit repeatedly
Synonyms: bash, beat, birch, bludgeon, cane, castigate, chastise, cudgel, drub, ferule, flagellate, flog, hide, larrup, lash, lather, punish, scourge, spank, strap, strike, switch, tan, thrash, trash, wallop, whale, whomp

Main Entry: thresh
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: beat
Synonyms: assail, assault, bang*, bash*, baste, bat, batter, belabor, belt, box*, break*, bruise, buffet, cane, castigate, clout*, club*, collide, crush, cudgel, drub, flagellate, flail, flog, hammer, hit*, knock*, lambaste*, lash, lick*, maltreat, mash, maul, pelt, pound, pummel, punch*, punish, rain blows on, ram, rap, slap, slug, smack*, smash, spank, strike, swat, thrash, thump, thwack, trounce, wallop, whale, whip

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: thresh
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: thrash
Synonyms: batter, beat up, belabor, belt, birch, buffet, bury, cane, chasten, chastise, clobber, crush, defeat, flagellate, flail, flog, jerk*, kill*, lambaste*, lick*, maul, murder, overwhelm, paste, pelt, pitch, pound, pummel, punish, rout, rush, scourge, seesaw, slaughter, spank, stir*, strike, surge, tan, tan one’s hide, toss, toss and turn, trash*, trim, trounce, wallop, wax, whip, work over, writhe

Amazing Insight, Exceptional Wisdom

This entire post is taken from here, unless otherwise noted.

Dear Mama’s and Papa’s,

I’m writing to you tonight in hopes that I will find you in a position of questioning. If you are in such a position, I don’t suppose you’re entirely comfortable at the moment, but let me suggest that you stand in the place now where good, immense good, can be born.

If you’re reading this, you either already know that the teachings of the NGJ clan (or other similar group) cause destruction, or you’re beginning to wonder if all the good is possibly over shadowed in part, or whole, by what just doesn’t sit right with you.  Perhaps you fully support this group and their teachings.  If that is you, I invite you to contact me directly and substantiate your position.  Otherwise, please, keep reading.

I would like to make an appeal to your intellect this evening. I understand that most parents take up the methods and teachings of such groups as NGJ because they believe they are responsible for raising their children the best they can, in the eyes of the world and of God. I commend you for your intention and your concern over your child’s well being.  The trouble with the teachings of this particular group is that there is a fundamental struggle at their core for an unholy power.  And by unholy, I don’t mean anti-God, I’m using this term in a broader, more general sense, not a religious one.

I would like the chance to literally show you how the messages of this group are intended to torment your children, all the while you are led to believe they are supremely effective in victory, righteousness, unwavering obedience, and love.  I would also like to appeal to your dignity and sense of sanity.  The authors and developers of the NGJ doctrine are experts at betrayal, seduction, and power.  So, in your defense, if you have managed to see this group for the good they actually do teach, and have missed the horrid that each good instruction is laced with, know that you are not alone and you are not incompetent in your parenting skills; these people are masters at capturing their prey.

Also know that there is hope, there is help and support, and there are alternatives that will produce children who respect because they are respected, children who serve because they are served, and children who wholly love because they are wholly and completely loved, not because of action or diligence, not because they have earned that love, but because they simply are.

Please, if you need someone to just talk to, who isn’t going to jump down your throat, send me a comment or message.  If I can’t help, or you wish for more assistance on a professional level, I will connect you with those who are ready and able to support you as you make the transition and emmerge out from the hole the NGJ clan has dug for you.

What follows are multiple quotes, and mostly out of order, but all from the same article.  The paragraphs have been kept in-tact, you will not find manufactured content here.  Notes and comments are found either in line with the quotations or at the end of the article.

My hope with this post is that you, the reader, will begin to see just exactly to what degree the NGJ ministry is misled.  Not misled because I say so, or a million others say so, but because they themselves cannot present a solid and consistent message.

Angry Child
Article by Michael Pearl, August 1998

… Funny thing, 1200 men will go all week without one fight. If you get angry at the wrong person in a prison, you may die with a sharpened toothbrush sticking in your throat. Angry little boys never say, “Don’t do that, it only makes me more angry.” Who cares? When no one is listening and no one is impressed, threats are useless.

I would like to note here that we are not intentionally training our children (or at least I hope we’re not) to be successful at staying alive while in prison.  And while, admittedly, that is a valuable skill if one should ever find him or herself in such a situation, I do believe that the instinct to survive will cause the prisoner to adapt rapidly enough, that we shouldn’t have to begin teaching this in childhood.

Additionally, “angry little boys” do have a lot to say, often though it comes out in a scream or silence.  If we continue to inquisition them, agitate them, or tempt them into more anger we will not gain an understanding of what lies behind the emotional response.

Children who are incapable of managing their emotions, either due to an environment that has taught them it is not safe to feel those emotions openly, or who are otherwise imbalanced chemically (often for the same reason), are not going to be helped by instilling more fear.  Mr. Pearl’s assumed victory over the child he write of here is nothing more than tormenting an already tormented child to the point where he has no spirit or resolve left, and his survival instinct has kicked in.  If you beat a child like this enough, even he/she will eventually break, for a time.  You will likely see the calm, in the eye of the storm, but I warn you, you are destroying more and more with every attempt to get his anger under control and out of him.  You have chosen to ignore the source of the problem, likely because it comes from you or others in his close circle.  It is unlikely, though not impossible, that you will see the root of the pain this child is suffering unless someone outside that circle assists you.

If you are struggling with an extremely angry child, please don’t add fuel to the flame, don’t beat it out of them.  Don’t spank it out of them either.  Don’t turn your back and reject them, and don’t rid them of your compassion.  Take a moment, little ones at first and then longer, and see the world through this child’s eyes.  Be brave enough to see yourself and your close circle of family/friends through his eyes. Learn why he is experiencing anger, why he can’t seem to rid himself of it, and what he is afraid of experiencing instead of anger… it is a defensive response.  It is also often a protective response.

See this child through a different color lens and look through his eyes at his world.  It will change your life. And his.

I am not calloused to your dilemma. But the big problem is in your own mind. You are not free to be forceful and bold. Your son needs to run smack dab into a big, high, unmoving fence of authority. You, mother, are a pushover, a sucker. Your need is a renewed mind. Now that I have plowed your fallow ground, I will plant the seeds of understanding

Mr. Pearl, how dare you assume you have any place touching any part of my mind, ground, air, or otherwise. You sir, are a pompous idiot that weaves intelligent and loving advice into your horrible torturous methods of submission, supreme power, and ultimate destruction of the soul.

Mothers, you are not weak. It is not simple. This man is an abuser.

Step back, squat down, remain silent and still, and begin to see your child’s world through his/her eyes.  The answers will come, and if they don’t, get help from a professional who is trained to spot signs of difficulty in children.  The human mind is not so complex from a scientific point of view. There is nothing new under the sun… in most cases, if your child is struggling, there is an identifiable cause, if only you are willing to accept it and change what needs to be changed so that they can again become stable and secure.

Righteous anger is anger directed at injustice, selfishness. To be righteously angry toward someone is to impute blame to them. It is to hold them in contempt for not acting as they should have. Righteous anger seeks goodness. It is the guardian of love. It is moral choice expressed in the emotions.

Mr. Pearl, where is your righteous anger then concerning the death of a child whose parents follow you?  Where is your anger at all the children who are beaten and tormented in the name of unwavering obedience and joy?

Where is your righteous anger for the parents of the child that was beaten to death, the child that was beaten almost to death, and the millions (your number, not mine) of children that are routinely destroyed in body and spirit daily because of teachings such as yours and others who are as insidious.

If I am to hold my child, or another person, in contempt for not acting as they should have, then by what measure am I to declare myself the omnipotent judge?  On this earth, we do our best to control one another in the name of peace and goodness.  I see something else happening, but that is for another blog. Perhaps, Mr. Pearl, our Big Papa, you are indeed the judge and last word that we should all be required to acknowledge and submit to.  Lord knows, THE LORD – and the rest of this planet – knows that you have forced this of your wife, your children, and their children.

Almighty Mr. Pearl, has God ordained you, and we just don’t know it yet?

Righteous anger is agreeing with the innate dictates of common law. It is taking your place on the jury to condemn and then recommend sentencing to the guilty.

What law?  The law of David?  The law of Moses?  The law of the United States, your country, which you denounce (no, not directly, you are to crafty for that, you know better too well how doing so would explode in your face)?  You decide – you’re in charge here – you know everything about every family, and every child.  (If you think I’m being a bit too harsh here, keep reading.)  You, dear sir, are above all and are capable of forcing any child into submission of your sovereignty, to use your preferred term.  But I do wonder whether I would not be able to subdue you just the same given the right circumstances and weapons.  You see sir, power is indeed an intoxicating and wondrous thing. Just ask Aladdin and his Genie, ask God, heh – ask yourself..

But anger at not getting one’s way is something else entirely. Selfish anger is manipulative and unreasonable. It assumes that ultimate good is the gratification of self. It judges all events according to how they personally gratify. To thus be angry toward others, the individual must assume that others exist to fulfill his impulses. To him, right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and everyone does evil by depriving me of what I want.

Mr. Pearl, you believe in your words.  That’s a good thing to do if you intend to sell them.  You state here that to be angry toward others, the individual must assume that others exist to fulfill his impulses.  To him, right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and every does evil by depriving me of what I want.

Well said.  You know your doctrine well.  What was it you said, about supreme sovereignty?  Here, let me find a few of your words to quote…

“On the eight day he would love me and would make a commitment to always please me because he valued my approval and fellowship.”  Because he valued food and calm, and had a distinct desire to avoid hate, fear, and torture.

“On the ninth day someone would comment that I had the most cheerful and obedient boy that they had ever seen.”
He is in his shell… where he believes is the only place he is even slightly safe.

“On the tenth day we would be the best of buddies.”  If I were you, I’d sleep with one eye open.

Like an army Sargent, state your will and accept nothing less. If he doesn’t like what is on the table and he is rude, send him away from the table and do not let him eat until the next meal. Do not feed him snacks between meals, and let him get good and hungry. He will then eat baby food spinach and love it. If you think it is appropriate and you spank him make sure that it is not a token spanking. Light, swatting spankings, done in anger without courtroom dignity will make children mad because they sense that they have been bullied by an antagonists. A proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain. If he should tell you that the spanking makes him madder, spank him again. If he is still mad…. He desperately needs an unswayable authority, a cold rock of justice. Keep in mind that if you are angry you are wasting your time trying to spank his anger away.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. On the fourth day I would treat him with respect and he would respond in kind. On the fifth day the fear would go away and he would relax because he would have judged that as long as he responds correctly there is nothing to fear. On the sixth day he would like himself better and enjoy his new relationship to authority. On the seventh day I would fellowship with him in some activity that he enjoyed. On the eight day he would love me and would make a commitment to always please me because he valued my approval and fellowship. On the ninth day someone would comment that I had the most cheerful and obedient boy that they had ever seen. On the tenth day we would be the best of buddies.

Your words, Mr. Pearl, demonstrate your dire addiction to power, complete and unquestioned power.  I think you have said it best, “To him (should it maybe read, to me?) right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and everyone does evil by depriving me of what I want.”

Michael,
You are, if anything, most accurate in your assessment of yourself.

Now, to those of you who need an alternative to this method, I implore you to listen to my heart and the experience that it speaks from.  It is not complicated, does not require a high level education, medicine, or other complicated tactics to regain the “happiness” in your child.  It requires you do something that some of you will be able to do and others will not. It requires a humility, a denial of pride, and a ton of courage because what you will learn will likely cause you to weep with guilt and sorrow before you are able to begin correcting what needs to be corrected.

If you are in this position, your child is constantly at odds with you, and you are ready to change, all you must do is stop yourself long enough to experience the world as your child experiences it.  But be warned, you may not like what you see because children are huge mirrors and very often reflect back what their parents demonstrate.  The younger the child, the more this is true, but it is not limited to age, but is unique to each child.

Tomorrow I will write about the latest things I have learned while experiencing our world as my two year old does.  Now, however, I’m going to lie down and just watch her, comfort her, and give her the security and sense of love that comes from being close, because today was tough for her and me, and we both just need some time to be still.