Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another Death Attributed To The Pearls

Four years ago a small child named Sean Paddock was killed by his mother before his fifth birthday. His adoptive mother, Lyn Paddock was a follower of self proclaimed child experts, Michael and Debbi Pearl.

Because neither Michael or his wife advised parents to child suffocate children in blankets some might be not see the couple's liability in the toddler's death. But reading through their website, No Greater Joy, it is easy to see that a certain harmful mindset is encouraged. Although I do not wish to detract from Lyn Paddock's culpability in anyway, it is important to understand what influences drove her. Certain personality types are susceptible to unquestioningly following an authority figure even if there seems to be no logic in doing so.

I am going to let the Pearls' words speak for themselves. You can link on their site and find the quotes so that you know I am not changing the meaning by quoting these lines out of context.

This is from an article entitled Different Techniques to Control Parents. The Pearls are speaking about a three and four year old child.

Sit on her, if you have to, and slowly explain that you will not tolerate this resistance. Explain in a normal tone (She will eventually stop screaming and listen) that you are going to give her, say, five licks for the original offense and an additional two licks for the fit. Slowly apply the five licks, counting out loud. When I say slowly, I mean with a thirty second gap between each lick and a calm explanation to the screaming child that you are not the least impressed except that you are going to spank harder and she still gets the additional two licks plus one more for her ongoing screaming

The next quote is from an article entitled Too Young To Spank. At first I thought that Michael Pearl was saying that some children are too young to spank but I was wrong. The Pearls do not consider all hitting to be spanking. Sometimes in Pearl speak, hitting is training not spanking. You have to keep that double speak in mind when you read their writings, if not the quotes by Michael will seem to contradictory.

At first Michael states:When is a child too young to spank?” Based on my definition of “spanking,” I can answer the question. A child is too young to spank when spanking is not profitable to the child. Of course, the same applies to a child of any age. "

But then he writes about a six month old who dumps his bowl of food on the floor:

So we watch him, knowing his propensity to selfish compulsion. When he seizes his bowl with intentions of dumping it, swat the offending hand with a little instrument (light wooden spoon, rubber spatula, flexible tubing less than a quarter inch in diameter, or any instrument that will cause an unpleasant sting without leaving any marks). As you swat the offending hand, say “No” in a normal commanding voice. The tone is more important than the word―not angry―but decisive. Children understand the temperament in your tone before they are born, and will recognize it. This swat is not punishment. Probably, it will not even cause the little guy to cry. He will be shocked and stop any action in which he is engaged. Explain to him that he is not to throw his food onto the floor. If he again makes an attempt, swat his hand again and say, no. The third time is the charm. He now knows that “No” uttered in a commanding tone, is something serious. He will not try that stunt again—at least not for this meal

It should be noted that in their book To Train Up A Child, the Pearls write about switching their four month old daughter. From their writing it appears that spanking young children is permissible as long as the parents use the word, training.

In this article, he describes a very young infant cries as being manipulative.

At less than three-months-old this little girl had discovered the power of emotional manipulation.

He instructs young mothers how they should respond to their infants instead.

This wise mother decided to retrain her three-month-old baby. She laid her down knowing she would cry. The mother calmly ignored the crying. When Suzzie stopped crying and became cheerful, Mother picked her up and played with her. When Suzzie was placed in the crib and again cried, the mother again ignored her until she became cheerful. Through a several day process of never paying her any attention when she cried, Suzzie stopped crying to get her way. Now, four-month-old Suzzie never cries to get her way. Why go to the trouble if it doesn’t work? She is trained to maintain a good attitude. This training has extended to every area of Suzzie’s life.

Although this is clearly abusive to most of us, the Pearls' not only promise that their methods will produce perfectly behaved children who will adore their parents but warn their readers that not following their advice will lead to troubled teenagers and sorrow for the parents. Their message is very tempting to some people. When you add to the mix that the Pearls claim that their methods are taken directly from the Bible, you have a very dangerous mix.

In February of this year another couple, The Schatzs, were charged with the death of their 7-year old adopted daughter, Lydia and the torture of their 11-year-old daughter, Zariah. The older child was beaten so badly that she had to be hospitalized because of the possibility of renal failure. The sisters were beat with a quarter inch plumbing line as suggested in this article by the Pearls.

The rod we speak of is a plumbing supply line that can be bought at any hardware store or large department store. It is a slim, flexible, plastic tubing that supplies water to sinks, and toilets. Ask for "¼ inch supply line." They cost less than one dollar. I always give myself one swat before I swat the child to remind myself how much force to exert. It stings the skin without bruising or damaging tissue. It’s a real attention-getter. Michael demonstrates its use in our new Seminar videos

I am going to try to cover the Pearls in more detail on my blog. Not only does this family's business need to be shut but this couple ultimately need to be held responsible for these two children's deaths.


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Anonymous said...

well if you would read his material, he does not promote anger. Just the opposite. Michael Pearl is not held accountable to some idiot that decides to be angry and smother a child. Michael teaches the direct opposite, and maybe the man was reading his material because he knew he had a problem with his anger.!!!!!