All Our Little Messes

Episode 14: The Troubling Messages in 'How to Train Up a Child'

October 26, 2023 All Our Little Messes Season 1 Episode 14
Episode 14: The Troubling Messages in 'How to Train Up a Child'
All Our Little Messes
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All Our Little Messes
Episode 14: The Troubling Messages in 'How to Train Up a Child'
Oct 26, 2023 Season 1 Episode 14
All Our Little Messes

You ever wonder how a book can drastically impact one's life? Join me as I recount my personal journey with the controversial book 'How to Train Up a Child'. This exploration dives head-first into the realm of corporal punishment and the cultural acceptance found among some Christian and Catholic households. Discover how the evolution of this book through its various editions echoes society's shifting mindset towards child discipline. More importantly, hear about the moment I realized that I couldn't use the principles from this book when I had my own children, and how that sparked a change in my perspective on child rearing.

Fasten your seatbelts as we take a hard look at the messages 'How to Train Up a Child' sends to our most impressionable minds - young children. Prepare for an honest examination of the potentially damaging effects of corporal punishment, and the contradictions this book presents, such as its stance on using the 'rod' for both training and discipline. I'll take you through the complexities a baby might face when subjected to this form of discipline, considering their cognitive development (or lack thereof) in understanding their actions. This is an unfiltered, candid exploration of a sensitive topic that continues to stir the pot in modern parenting circles. Are you ready for this raw ride?

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

You ever wonder how a book can drastically impact one's life? Join me as I recount my personal journey with the controversial book 'How to Train Up a Child'. This exploration dives head-first into the realm of corporal punishment and the cultural acceptance found among some Christian and Catholic households. Discover how the evolution of this book through its various editions echoes society's shifting mindset towards child discipline. More importantly, hear about the moment I realized that I couldn't use the principles from this book when I had my own children, and how that sparked a change in my perspective on child rearing.

Fasten your seatbelts as we take a hard look at the messages 'How to Train Up a Child' sends to our most impressionable minds - young children. Prepare for an honest examination of the potentially damaging effects of corporal punishment, and the contradictions this book presents, such as its stance on using the 'rod' for both training and discipline. I'll take you through the complexities a baby might face when subjected to this form of discipline, considering their cognitive development (or lack thereof) in understanding their actions. This is an unfiltered, candid exploration of a sensitive topic that continues to stir the pot in modern parenting circles. Are you ready for this raw ride?

Support the Show.

If you like this show and believe in its message, please consider supporting our Patreon. For as little as $3/month, get access to behind the scenes content, early access to podcast episodes and more!

Send any questions or comments to allourlittlemesses@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you guys!

Subscribe to the newsletter here to get periodic updates on blog posts and more!

Buy Me a Coffee!

If you liked this episode, consider buying me a coffee! It'll help keep me awake during late night editing sessions. Thank you!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for behind the scenes content and everyday posts about parenting and marriage.

Sounds from Zapsplat.com

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to All Our Little Messes, a podcast focused on healing through intentional conversations about parenting, relationships, religion and more. I am your host, veronica Winrod, and I'm so happy to have you here listening in on my thoughts today. I hope you enjoy this episode. Hello, welcome back to All Our Little Messes. This week we're going to be talking a little bit more about corporal punishment and the book, especially the book how to Train Deeper Child.

Speaker 1:

I spoke a little bit about the impact of the book on my life and just the big role it played on my upbringing and things like that. I talked a little bit about that during the first couple episodes of this podcast and then I kind of took a break from it because it was. It's honestly hard to talk about. It's just a very harsh way to treat a child and like I've come so far from that belief system that now, when I look at it from the outside, it's honestly just it's very sad and it kind of gives me a sort of a mini mental breakdown just to even really talk about it sometimes, just because it's just so abusive in my mind to treat another human being this way and to make excuses for it, simply because they're smaller than you and weaker than you. So yeah, I just wanted to talk a little bit about that book and about the whole culture around it, and I actually have. I was lucky enough to track down a first edition of the book to train a child, because they may. So they've issued several editions I think they're on either the fourth or fifth edition at this point and the first edition has a lot of things in it that they removed in later editions just because they weren't as in my mind. I feel like they just removed them because they weren't politically correct enough to include in later editions and they were getting a lot of backlash for some of the stuff they said. They had to find a gentler way to say the things that they were trying to say, and so they couldn't be as direct. So, but yeah, I was lucky enough to track down a first edition of the book and the things I was reading it just.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I first read the book when I was probably 12 or 13 years old and I was given the book to read so that I would know how to discipline my younger siblings is what is the reason I was given. So the book has had a very central place in my life when it came to discipline and child bearing and things like that. It was, like, you know, the authority that was kind of followed there. And so, yeah, I read the book and I was, you know, encouraged to use the principles in that book when I was discipline, disciplining, slash, babysitting my younger siblings from you know as early on as I think it was. Again, I was like 12 or 13 years old when I was given the book to read and then I was also given the books no Greater Joy, which is like a small book series. They have no Greater Joy book one and they have a book too as well. And no Greater Joy is also the name of the author's ministry. I guess they, you could say they call it no Greater Joy Ministries. It's Michael and Debbie Pearl is the name of the authors of these books.

Speaker 1:

So like how I understood child bearing and discipline was influenced from a very young age by these people and by these books and like I grew up thinking and believing that these principles were the way to go, this was just how you raise kids and it wasn't like it wasn't based on any kind of Christian or Catholic doctrine, it wasn't based on the Bible at all. It was just, you know, something I haven't taught to believe and so I just I never questioned it until I had my own kids. And I mean, like before I had my own children, my husband and I talked about child raising a lot when we were dating and like our whole thing was, you know, spanking isn't necessarily bad, but it should be, you know a last case, you know a worst case scenario, kind of thing. It's just like you know, it's the last thing you do. And so when we got married, it was you know, we're gonna try everything else and if nothing else works, then I guess we'll have to spend the kid, kind of thing. So that was kind of what we had in place when we got married. And then when we actually had our, our first child, our son, I was just like, oh my gosh, I can't, I can't do this, I can't do this. So that's kind of when we started to change things. So I was like I can't, I can't apply this. This is a. This feels so sick, this feels so wrong. So that was when we we started to change things is when we had our own kids.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, I just want to talk about the book a little bit, because it has a very Big place. It's a very central place in in child rearing, within fundamentalist christianity and within traditional catholicism too. Um, people are big supporters of these books. I Don't remember a household Growing up that you know we were friends with. I didn't have a copy of this book and so you know it was just a way of life almost. It was just, you know, accepted and this is what you do. This is how you raise your kids if you want them to be, you know, upstanding citizens, if you want them to be good people and it was actually kind of A joke, it became like a joke or or the borderline joke.

Speaker 1:

You know, if someone saw someone else being, you know, their kids were being bratty in walmart or whatever it was oh, they don't spank their kids or they don't discipline their kids because, again, within this culture, they use Different words. So that you have to soften, because you know the reality. The reality of this culture Is that you are hitting your kids. You are hitting your kids and you can look at it any way you want to, but when it comes down to it, you are hitting your kids and so, in order to To justify that and soften that reality. And within your own mind, you, we, you know we change the language right, so we would use words like discipline or train or spank, things like that To to change the reality of the fact that we are hitting our own kids. And so, you know, we'd see Someone in walmart with, you know, a child that was being a toddler and was having a difficult time learning how to manage their own emotions, because, again, they're a toddler and they haven't been taught that skill or they're still learning that skill.

Speaker 1:

And the automatic assumption was oh, you know, that kid is a brat because he doesn't get spanked. And so it became like this Uh, I am a better parent Because I spanked my kids, kind of thing. So, and it wasn't necessarily a direct, like you know, when you say a comment like that is not necessarily, you know, a reflection on On the child, it's a reflection on the parents, right? So you have a bratty kid. You don't discipline your kid. Without knowing Any circumstances surrounding that parents life, what their day has been like, what their beliefs are, whether or not they do discipline their kid, whether or not their kid is, you know, autistic or ADHD or anything like that, you just automatically assume, oh, that parent doesn't spank their kids, they are a bad parent, they don't love their children. That was another one. If you don't spank your kids, you don't love your kids.

Speaker 1:

I was told that a lot. I do this because I love you, or this hurts me more than it hurts you, which is kind of ironic to think about it, because, like you know, I really doubt this is hurting you more than it's hurting me because, like Dude, this doesn't feel good. But yeah, that was, that was kind of like the whole culture surrounding is. You know it changed it and it changed the change, the language surrounding this bit, the hitting and and you know I do this because I'm a good parent kind of thing. So you have to make yourself feel better about what you're doing before you start doing it, otherwise you won't be able to get through it because it is abuse and it is sick and it is wrong. So you have to change the reality, otherwise you just cannot do it. So that was Kind of like, that's kind of like the, I would say, the foundation of the culture really surrounding the surrounding this book and like the biggest, I feel like one of the most common words You're going to find in this book. There's. The three of the most common words I've ever found I found in this book was training, discipline and the rod and that they they use. So they like to say that the words training, discipline, chastisement and spanking are all different things but they'll use them interchangeably throughout the entire book.

Speaker 1:

One thing that I came across that was really messed up to me and just kind of sick was a chapter that was written by Debbie Pearl talking about how she would train her children. She called it Blanket. It was like Blanket time. The Duggers used this method as well and they would basically set the baby because again, these are all babies that they're doing this to. So the youngest instance I found in this first edition of the book was four months old, where they used a 12 inch long, quarter inch in diameter willow branch to spank their four month old baby for trying to climb the stairs. So as young as four months old, they were hitting their kids with willow branches for exploring their environment that the parents had failed to child proof.

Speaker 1:

So, going back to what I was talking about before, they would set up these training environments, essentially setting the child up for failure, setting the baby up to be spanked. So they would set up this training environment. They would like lay out a blanket, put the baby on the blanket and put a toy just out of reach, and then they tell the baby no again. We're starting at like four to six months old when they're doing this and when the baby, who does not understand the concept of the word no and still won't understand the concept of the word no after the training session, if we want to call it that would the child would reach for the toy because it's something interesting, she's exploring her environment, she's trying to understand the world around her, so she reaches for the toy and immediately gets spanked. And they called this training and they really hammered down on the fact in the book. They really hammered down on the fact that this was not considered spanking. This was not spanking, this was not discipline, this was training. And so I actually should probably pull up that quote and read it to you guys, because it was actually kind of shocking to come up with it, like to come across this, because I was just like what in the world is happening. So here's the expert or excerpt from the book.

Speaker 1:

There is much satisfaction in training up a child. It is easy and challenging. When my children were able to crawl in the case of one role around the room, I set up training sessions. Try it yourself. Place an appealing object where they can reach it, maybe in a no-no corner or on an apple juice table. That's what they would call the coffee table in this house. I guess they call it the apple juice table when they spy it and make a dive for it, because you know, four month old, six month old babies dive for objects. When they spy it and make a dive for it and a convoy say no, don't touch it, they will already be familiar with the no and I'm not sure how they would be familiar with the no at four to six months old. They will pause, look at you in wonder and then turn around and grab it, switch their hand and simultaneously say no. Remember you are not disciplining, you are training. Once spat with a little switch is enough, they will again pull back their hand and consider the relationship between the object, their desire, the command and the little reinforcing pain. It may take several times, but if you are consistent they will learn to consistently obey, even in your absence.

Speaker 1:

And what I find very interesting about this whole paragraph is that elsewhere in the book they talk about how a child actually have a screenshot of that one as well. They assume the child has enough intellectual development to make rational decisions and have, you know, logical thought. Six months old, you know considering the relationship between the word no, considering what the word no means. It's like, it's like no, they don't have. It's insane to me, and like even in this paragraph here. If you are the principal caretaker of your child, your heart will be able to discern the world from his perspective. When the child believes it is wrong, it is wrong. Where there is moral understanding and he disobeys, he should be punished with the rod. Where there is lack of understanding of the moral quality of his actions, he should be trained and conditioned. Sometimes the you, the rod, is used in training. More will be said about this later. So they already say that there is a lack of understanding about the moral quality of his actions. There's a lack of understanding in the child. They have the. They do not have the ability to think rationally and logically about their actions or even the actions of those around them. But let me pull this up here in this paragraph. You're the first one, I, I, you know, I read to you.

Speaker 1:

They claim that a six-month-old baby has the ability to consider the relationship between the object, their desire, the command and the little reinforcing pain, and that's just insane to me. They're not. They're not thinking about the relationship between anything. They don't have the intellectual development to do that. Yet they are very well when we're that young, we're, we're creatures that run solely on instinct. Okay, we don't have the ability to think of, you know, to think rational thought like that.

Speaker 1:

And so when you hit a baby that young, their bodies and their brains automatically are going into fight or flight. The only thing that is happening is that in their brain is survival mode. That is it. Their bodies are flooded with cortisol, okay, and that is the only thing that is happening. There is no rational thought going on. They're not considering the relationship between anything. The only thing that might be happening inside of their minds or bodies at that time is who created the pain that was just inflicted on their body. And instead of seeing you, as you know, the person who, who comforted them and fed them and loved them and who was their safety, now they're going to see you and because of the cortisol flooding their bodies and the reaction inside of their brains and the fight and flight reflex that their bodies automatically went into. That relationship has now been changed. Instead of being their safety, you are now also a source of their pain, and they are going to subconsciously know that. And so they haven't, you know, learned to know. They've just learned to fear you at four months old. And like this is something that these people, you know they actually encourage, and I just, I don't, I don't understand, I really don't understand that kind of mentality at all. So, yeah, they, they.

Speaker 1:

And again, like you could see in that paragraph as well, and within the and in the other paragraph I read to you, they use the words training and discipline interchangeably to mean the same exact thing. And yet throughout the book they'll also claim that training and discipline are two different things, like they'll claim that if you start training early, then you won't need to discipline. But then they also, later on in the book, claim that the rod can be used for both training and discipline, which kind of implies that there is no difference between the two, for at least in these people's minds. And so I mean just the amount of contradiction and and reaching that these people do to justify their behavior and actions towards their own offspring is just mind-blowing to me, like it's just, it's a huge stretch in so many ways and it's it's really, it's just really messed up, you know, and like I said, like when I first read the paragraph where they were talking about using a switch, a willow branch, on a baby as young as four months old, the situation, I guess, was she was trying to climb the stairs and she didn't.

Speaker 1:

She was an early crawler, apparently tried to climb the stairs, like try to go up one of the steps, and mom yelled no, and the baby looked at her and then kept going. And so she said that she had to break the defiance from the child's will, and so she, she gave her a switch with with it wasn't a willow branch, no, no, this was a willow branch in this case. Yes, she used the willow branch on the back of the baby's legs, the four month old's legs, to break the defiance, to break the child's will, because obviously when she looked at her she was just you know, and then continued she was just being defiant, had you know, nothing to do with the fact that she's four months old and doesn't understand anything about the world around her, beyond where her food comes from, and yeah, so she switched her with a willow branch and called it training, even though, again, like they use that word, you know training and discipline interchangeably. So this wasn't a training session in there. This case it would have been a discipline because she had already, you know, performed the action without being set up. She'd already performed the you know the action that they didn't like. So this would have been technically disciplined. But you know we can't call it discipline because discipline and form and soul, just you know, don't sound very good together apparently. So you know we're gonna call it training, we're training the four month old and just the stretch and and the length they went to to justify hitting that four month old baby in this book was just absolutely sickening. Like I felt sick to my stomach when I read this and like I feel, like I think I think I read a later edition of the book the first time I read it, because I don't remember any of this, this situation in the edition I read, and again, of course, I was like 12 years old, so this was like 15 plus years ago at this point now, and so I I mean, and again it probably wouldn't have stuck in my mind anyways, because at that point in my life I mean, I completely and totally bought into the hole.

Speaker 1:

You have to spank kids in order to have good kids and if you don't spank your kids, you won't have good kids. If you don't spank your kids, you hate your kids. That was another thing that was told. You know, told to me was you hate your kids if you don't spank them. Obviously you hate them because then they won't behave. And what I find Hilarious about that is that, you know, I don't spank my kids and my kids behave just fine. And you know that we have a healthy emotional attachment and it's, you know, just a normal parent child relationship. As far as I could tell, I am still learning, so I can't, you know, pretend that I'm a perfect parent, because I am not, but any stretch of the imagination, but it's just. You know, it's funny to me because you know it's entirely possible to raise a child without hitting them. But these people will go around saying, you know, he who hates his son, you know, spares the rod or something like that, without even realizing what that means. And so yeah, they'll, you know, use a switch or a rod, as they call it on a child.

Speaker 1:

I was young, this four months old, and call it training and think it's okay and then encourage other other parents to do the same and it's really, really sick and it's really messed up. So I wanted to do a couple, a couple episodes on this, because it's going to take a couple episodes to get through this book. I barely scratched the surface. I mean, I barely scratched the surface on their blanket training and things like that and they. They focus also really heavily on breaking a child's will and and you know how, how children show willfulness at just you know, being a newborn Only being a newborn you know a child has the ability to show willfulness and defiance as young as being a newborn. So, yeah, I'll be.

Speaker 1:

I'll be talking a lot about about this book here in the next couple episodes and also how this book influences other parts of fundamentalist Christianity and traditional Catholicism. So I hope you guys will tune in every week and don't forget to hit that follow button and Download my episodes every week so that you guys can get notifications when I have any episode come out, because they come out every single Thursday at 5 am Brighten early so you guys can listen to it on your morning commute to work. So I will talk to you guys all next week. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of all our little messes. Please let us know how much you enjoyed it below and add any questions you have about this episode. Also, don't forget to follow us on patreon for amazing exclusive perks, including early access to podcast episodes and bonus episodes every month. We've also recently added a support group for all of our paid patrons. You can check us out on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates and insights that mirror podcast topics. Thank you for listening and we'll see you next week. You

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