Children and upbringing

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ThePragmatic's picture
Children and upbringing

Bringing up children is hard work.

Where I live, you can say you're an atheist without fear of a beating. However, you might suddenly get some very cold relationships to others. Even so, religion is very much a lingering problem.

We have a law that separates Churc and State, but from an atheist point of view, it is still mostly on paper. (From the view of religious people however, you will probably get another opinion.)
The Church is still trying to keep its foot inside the door of the schools and our politicians tend to be church politicians as well.

As it is not a risk for me or my family, I don't hide being an atheist and I try to teach my children to think critically. I ask them questions that make them think, tell them how commercials on TV and computers are exaggerating to make people buy the products, tell them not to automatically trust what people say, especially on the Internet. I show them animal / nature documentaries and inform them about fossils and about the universe around us.

I also tell them about other religions (other than Protestant Christianity), and about some of the religious insanities that keep popping up in the news (some screening is required though). I try to avoid telling them that they "should not believe in religion" as I think that they should come to that conclusion themselves.

I consider mistreatment of children to be among the worst crimes you can commit. I have never spanked them and I never will.

So, when I read about this Christian book about bringing up children "To Train Up a Child", I get a bit angry:

Amazon's info about book:

"Three thousand years ago, a wise man said, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Good training is not crisis management; it is what you do before the need of discipline arises. Most parenting is accidental rather than deliberate. Imagine building a house that way. We don’t need to reinvent training. There are child training principles and methods that have worked from antiquity. To neglect deliberate training is to shove your child into a sea of choices and passions without a boat of compass. This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises. It is apparent that, though they expect obedience, most parents never attempt to train their child to obey. They wait until the behavior becomes unbearable and then explode. With proper training, discipline can be reduced to 5% of what many now practice. As you come to understand the difference between training and discipline, you will have a renewed vision for your family, no more raised voices, no contention, no bad attitudes, fewer spankings, a cheerful atmosphere in the home and total obedience from your children."

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ThePragmatic's picture
Some more info on this

Some more info on this "wonderful" book can be found here:

"switching" is apparently spanking with a twelve-inch long, one-eighth-inch diameter sprig from a willow tree.

Some lovely quotes:

"At four months she was too unknowing to be punished for disobedience. But for her own good, we attempted to train her not to climb the stairs by coordinating the voice command of “No” with little spats on the bare legs. The switch was a twelve-inch long, one-eighth-inch diameter sprig from a willow tree." - Page 9

“Use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.” – Page 46

“On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again.” – Page 80

“A seven-month-old boy had, upon failing to get his way, stiffened clenched his fists, bared his toothless gums and called down damnation on the whole place. At a time like that, the angry expression on a baby’s face can resemble that of one instigating a riot. The young mother, wanting to do the right thing, stood there in helpless consternation, apologetically shrugged her shoulders and said, “What can I do?” My incredulous nine-year-old whipped back, “Switch him.” The mother responded, “I can’t, he’s too little.” With the wisdom of a veteran who had been on the little end of the switch, my daughter answered, “If he is old enough to pitch a fit, he is old enough to be spanked.”- Page 79

“If a father is attempting to make a child eat his oats, and the child cries for his mother, then the mother should respond by spanking him for whining for her and for not eating his oats. He will then be glad to be dealing only with the father.” – Page 55

ThePragmatic's picture
Co-author Debi Pearl whips

Co-author Debi Pearl whips the bare leg of a 15 month old she is babysitting, 10 separate times, for not playing with something she tells him to play with:

"After about ten acts of stubborn defiance, followed by ten switchings, he surrendered his will to one higher than himself. In rolling the wheel, he did what every accountable human being must do–he humbled himself before the “highest” and admitted that his interests are not paramount. After one begrudged roll, my wife turned to other chores." - Page 65.

This stuff makes me physically nauseous.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I used to work with violent

I used to work with violent dogs at the shelter. I'm talking about the worst of the worst (way too dangerous to adopt out). Where if at any time there was any doubt about you being in charge, you might get seriously injured. And we treated these poor dogs much better than this book says to treat human babies!

CyberLN's picture
Over 1300 people have given

Over 1300 people have given it a five star rating. That is horrifying!

ThePragmatic's picture
The authors of To Train Up A

The authors of To Train Up A Child report over 600,000 copies of the parenting manual have been sold, bringing their “ministry” millions of dollars.

There are children dying from the insanity taught out in these books.

ThePragmatic's picture
Some more of good old

Some more of good old Christian upbringing: Gay teenager has to flee for his life from his family.

science's picture
The problem with kids

The problem with kids figuring out these things for themselves, is the"brainwashing"they recieve from before they are able to walk. Once they have had this stuff drummed into their head, how can they make a choice of their own without the same kind of pounding that it took for them to "believe?"Last night at dinner, my 13 year old daughter spoke of "Lent." She has been pounded at my wife's insistance since she was old enough to walk. I then asked her what is "Lent," and what "giving up something for Lent"has done for the starving children in this world? She replied," oh daddy, will you stop?" I replied to her that instead of saying "oh stop" THINK about what I said. Does it MAKE SENSE, is it true? Because if it does, and is, THAT is how you will begin to figure things out on your own. I tell her ALWAYS go with what makes sense... because if you don't, you'll open yourself up to all kinds of scams, con artists, and other kinds of trouble. You'll also be VERY disappointed throughout your life. Very unfortunate that people have brainwashed their own children...This I beleive, has caused many, if not all of this worlds problems. My daughter is very intelligent, but I hope that as she gets older, she will take on my logic when it comes to these things. Sometimes she shows signs of it, but I am the outcast in the entire family...I am the only one with these views. The best I can do is give her the alternative view without sounding too pushy.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kenny - "She has been pounded

Kenny - "She has been pounded at my wife's insistance since she was old enough to walk."

Not touching that with a 10 foot pole.

science's picture
It's hillarious how we always

It's hillarious how we always hear that "God loves everybody" yet there are rules that discriminate against certain people and lifestyles... and if a persn dosen't follow" The Word," they will be "punished"...there is nothing but killing and torture in all of these Biblical stories and movies...quite hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

ThePragmatic's picture
This seems like a good

This seems like a good children's book: (You couldn't make this sick shit up)

The Cage - A young children's guide to the biblical teachings on Hell.

"Little children ought to learn all the teachings Jesus taught about in the Bible. 1/6th of everything Jesus taught about was on judgment and hell. That is a huge amount of teaching on the subject! But how do we teach our children such a hard biblical idea appropriately?
In this tastefully illustrated work that is completely in rhyme, the Bible’s teaching about hell is outlined in a very easy to understand manner. It is aimed at children 5 to 9 years old, but can certainly be read by any age. It concerns a young boy who we find is trapped in a cage called “Big Sin” and can’t escape on his own. The cage is suspended by a chain that is rusting and could break at any moment. What will our young friend do? What is he thinking about as he stands there locked away? He sees others in cages as well, some who don’t escape, and some who jump to safety as their prisons doors are opened by a mysterious key. Will our young friend get out? How will he escape THE CAGE?"

Their little sales pitch:

ImFree's picture
Wow, I feel sorry for kids

Wow, I feel sorry for kids brought up in the kind of environment those books recommend. Sounds like mental and physical child abuse.

Pitar's picture
Discipline has many faces and

Discipline has many faces and one person's sorting it as abuse is another person's norm. You can't seriously filter this stuff through your own sensibilities and make judgmental statements. It doesn't work that way. You can present evidence of how a method of non-corporal discipline works but very few people who puff out their chests with evidence give us the natural behavioral patterns of the children they're sampling. Discipline may not even be applicable to certain naturally conforming, peaceful kids. All variances of temperaments exist and a single method of child rearing doesn't fit them all.

My kids were intellectuals who were introverts. Caught up in books about their natural world, they never strayed from the written word long enough for my wife and I to determine their personalities. Trouble was something we never identified them with. Naturally secular, they disdained religion and its outward witnessing. They are now ready to speak with me at any opportunity regarding their otherwise internalized opinions about gods and religions. While I do enjoy the joust, my chosen responsibility is to temper their anti-theist urges and get them to imagine people who would be lost without the mental shelters religions charm them with. They are beginning to embrace world views now, which is a relief to me, because that's where they live and must succeed. Life doesn't have to be observed in extremes of experiences and thinking to be rich. Middle ground works pretty well and that's where most of us dwell.

The book about child rearing may not be a cultural fit here while it portrays very forgiving measures over there. Kids are the future and how they fit into it can be as conscripted soldiers in some cultures where thinking and choice are for the aristocracy only. In other cultures it could be the complete opposite where kids are not groomed at all to fit any particular scenario. But, it all starts straight out of the womb.

One thing is certain, writing a single book about a single method is pretty indicative of human prejudices. Selling thousands of copies of it confirms it.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Threatening children with

Threatening children with eternal torture is evil and there is no amount of sugar coating that will change that.

Anti-theists should speak at this child mental rape and declare this atrocity for what it is.

It should be banned like threatening people is banned and illegal.

Mitch's picture
My father had total

On discipline:

My father had total discretion, and was the pivot around which decisions in my childhood household were made. I stopped confronting him; I would invariably lose. I never grew to be as large as dad. He was always physically fit, well trained in martial arts, and as fun-loving as he could be aggressive - which was very. Physical restraint , grappeling, - occassional spanking - and intimidation were realities of my childhood. I felt helpless.

So when my son started to discover his volition, and exercise his right to say no, I was terrified. I thought I might give in. Once, when he struck my wife on the head with a can of soup (she was laying on the couch, and so was caught unawares ) I spanked him. I felt ashamed. I felt wrong. I thought that to intimidate him was, to somehow, internalize the shame I felt about myself - to admit I really was helpless. Having told parents on both sides of the family of the spanking, I was assured by both grandfathers I had done the "right" thing. Both grandmothers were silent.

I remember the day I finally confronted my father again. Sixteen now, I was watching him intimidate mom, like he would intimidate me, and I couldn't continue; I was angry. I was terrified. I told him to stop, that he was hurting people, and shoved him hard. He fell back on the couch, staring, and silent. Helpless. I think I know some of his burden now, and the terror. He was lethargic for days afterward. Sad, I think.

Spanking my son didn't work, whatever my family said. He was indominable. He would fight every inch, and I was not willing to do whatever it took to gain control. In fact, punishment wasn't overly effective, generally; taking things away, time-outs, threats of treats lost... he would reserve the right to decide, as ever, to himself. It amazes me, and strengthens me, still. So I tried listening: empathizing, identifying the feeling, expressing it, reflecting, and coming to a mutual agreement.

These days, when I listen, there is collaboration. When I don't, there's always his strength of spirit to remind me - and to serve as an example. My throat tightens as I write this.

The way to parent I will coose is the one that allows both myself, and my children, the most freedom, humanity, and love I can possibly fit in our time together. I can't change yesterday, but I can live today differently.

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