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Overall Training

December 15, 2001

Dear Michael and Debi Pearl,
First, thank you so very much for your books, tapes, and all you do to share that which the Lord has shown you regarding the raising of children. We received the book “To Train Up a Child” when our first child was only 2 months old. He is now 3 years old, and we have an 11-month-old daughter as well. How much joy the Lord has brought to our family through implementation of the principles you explain! It is so clear how happy our children are when they are obedient, and how unhappy they are when they are constantly trying to “win.” We are so thankful that the Lord has designed it such that His ways are not only peaceful and helpful to the parents, but also are life to the children as well!

In one of your past newsletters, you asked for examples of child training that you could use. I have enclosed a separate little story of a lesson we went through not quite a year ago.

Thank you again for your faithfulness. May God bless you and draw you closer to Him in every way possible.

Love in Christ, Andrea

Andrea Writes:

At 2 ½ years old, my son decided that he did not like to wear overalls. One morning I had
out some sweat pants for him, but needed a shirt. Opening his drawer and reaching down below for one, Timmy saw overalls sitting on top and assumed that I was reaching for those. He immediately howled “Nooo, I don’t like those!” and started to cry. Fits are pretty rare in our house, so I was dumbfounded for a moment while I tried to figure out what was going on. I felt unsure as to what to do. Once I realized that his overalls were the culprit, out they came. With a couple of switches to calm him down, I asked, “Do you ever get what you want when you fuss?” “No” “Well, because you fussed, you must wear these now.” He started to protest, but a sting on his leg reminded him. Once calmed down again, I dressed him and explained that I had not intended to get the overalls, but because he fussed, he had to wear them now. I then led him to practice the proper way to have asked for different clothes.

That particular day is the day appointed for cleaning, and he got wet and dirty “helping” me. While he cleaned the bathtub, I went into his room for some new clothes. As I opened his drawer, I saw another pair of overalls, and I knew what I had to do. With a deep breath and a prayer, I laid them out for him to put on after his bath. After drying him off, when we came into his room, he was carefree until he saw the overalls. He stopped dead in his tracks and looked like he was going to work himself up and hyperventilate. He began, “No, I don’t…,” and then he caught his breath, tilted his head to the side, and said with a smile, “May I wear something different please. I don’t like those.” My heart leaped. I praised him for asking so nicely, but explained that he needed to wear them this time. He handled it well.

That night I told my husband about the lesson. “Well, you know what you have to do now, don’t you?” he said.

“What?” I asked, not sure I wanted to hear.

“Tomorrow, when he gets up, you have to have overalls for him again.” Ugh. The next day we were going out, and I don’t like dealing with overalls in public restrooms. But he was right. This time we decided that if Timmy asked nicely without fussing, then we would allow him to wear something different. I prayed he would have self-control. And he did! Next morning, he eyed those overalls, and I could see the wheels turning, “Please no,” he finally said, “I don’t like those.” “Oh,” I replied, “Thank you for telling me so calmly and nicely. Would you like to wear something different this time?” “Yes, Please,” he answered with a smile that could have made me cry. We have since made sure that we revisit the overalls, sometimes requiring him to wear them and sometimes not, but he has maintained self-control. And believe it or not, he even requests them at times!
Thank you,
Andrea Hahn

Leave a Reply

5 comments on “Overall Training”

  1. There is something vaguely distressing about this story. Why doesn’t the little boy like overalls? Does he have trouble getting out of them to use the potty and fears having an accident? Are the consequences of accidents severe enough to make him fear wearing those clothes? There is all way a reason behind so called illogical dislike and fears. Find the reason, all you have now is a kid who has become a young expert at masking his true feeling in front of his parents. Congratulations, you have made him into a liar, one that is socially acceptable and only that it’s likely you’ll never catch.

  2. Thanks so much for the uplifting advice. I have a daughter that sometimes she looses control over herself for clothes to wear. Thanks so much! that is a great idea how to handle the situation.

  3. I am very disappointed that the comment I put in did not get published. I’m not too surprised, since it was negative and anything that will expose them for who they are is Going to be squelched. My question is, if what they teach is the truth, why should my negative review of it not to be published? Why can’t people decide for themselves?

  4. Since my last comment was published, I will re-comment with the one I had before which I referred to and give them a chance to publish it 🙂

    I appreciate Suzan Reed’s comment on this and believe it is spot on in the questions and problems it raised.
    I was sent this article by a well intending mother, and my reading turned into horror and a sickening tightening to my stomach as I realized this was an instance of emotional and physical abuse playing out before my eyes. Obviously that mother was raised in a very abusive environment where this kind of treatment was the norm or believed the writings of the Pearls hook line and sinker to the point of not being able to have motherly common sense. Like what motherly instinct tells you that the little boy saying he didn’t want to wear those with a cry, needs to be punished? She responded as an abuser, and not a nurturing mother.
    I am very saddened to see how many well intentioned parents turn to the book To Train Up a Child and other materials from the Pearls, and believe this must be the infallible way to teach a child. In this book and others (including Created To Be His Helpmeet) the Pearl’s misuse scripture and do not relay the Gospel message, and instead of a God full of mercy and grace, you see one only full of [often arbitrary] judgment.
    I pray that these people who have damaged so many homes and hearts with their dangerous teachings will see the truth and repent publicly.

    1. Alisha,
      We do thank you for your honest opinions.
      I looked into your original comment, you had a link on it leading it off of our website. And those never get through, we do not know what/where they are leading people to so our system automatically holds those. ~NGJ