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Spank and Save a Child

April 15, 2010
Happy african american dad with little curly headed son

You may have noticed No Greater Joy and Michael Pearl receiving a lot of negative press lately over advocating corporal discipline as part of a comprehensive child training program. Television reporters came out to the office. We were in newspapers from coast to coast. Even CBS, after running an uninformed criticism of us, offered to fly us to New York to answer their unfounded charges on The Morning Show. I was eager to answer, and readily agreed. Those of you on our email list were immediately informed and many of you prayed for the will of God to be done. CBS called for a pre-interview and then canceled the afternoon before the show. I think they discovered in the pre-interview that I was not the Bible-thumping caricature they had hoped. One news outlet reviewed our website and gave a very positive review, saying there was nothing in our material that would ever lead to child abuse. On the bright side, our sales skyrocketed this month. Even before this recent publicity, one out of every 75 Americans have been introduced to our ministry.

It’s a battle I would not have fought so boldly twenty years ago when we still had small children at home. The potential for institutional retribution is too great—almost a certainty. But I am now too old to be intimidated, and the battle is much bigger than the spanking flap. They’re not just coming after me, but all parents who believe parenting is a God-given responsibility.

The anti-spanking campaign is a front for an anti-family agenda, a progressive socialist movement to reengineer society with government the only mentor of children. A few well- placed individuals in government, media, and the educational system religiously promote a new world order where the collective state replaces God and the Constitution. They must control the minds of the citizenry if they are to institute their totalitarian policies; and they are well aware from history that mind control must begin with the youth—thus the public school system. But homeschool parents and Christian parents protect their children from corrupt worldviews. The socialists know that the last remaining bulwark against brainwashing children is parental headship—thus their hostility toward the family. As long as parents are free to pass on their culture and faith, totalitarian government is impossible.

Their earlier promotion of organic evolution was an effective wedge against Biblical faith and the dignity of man, but it has taken them as far as it can, for it is losing credibility in the face of genetic discoveries and contrary evidence. The leading edge of the attack upon parental authority is now the anti-spanking movement. They will use any means to police the home and mandate parental conduct, but they know that to receive public support their home incursion must be seen as a necessary act of compassion. They paint themselves as concerned now for the children they would have aborted a few years earlier.

Public schools are the propaganda wing of the socialist agenda. They rewrite history books and social studies, purging the texts of the part fundamental Christianity played in forming our constitutional republic. They are teaching America’s children to be ashamed of our past, to despise free enterprise and individualism, knowing that when the kids grow up they will be willing to adopt the more “moral” socialists’ agenda that puts the powers of God into the hands of the state.

But along came homeschooling, growing larger every year, and with it a general awakening to the fact that the subtle changes occurring around us are not just encroaching liberalism, not just ideological evolution, but an orchestrated purge of truth and human dignity with totalitarianism as its end. In the progressive vision individuals are of no importance beyond their contribution to the perpetuation and health of the State. One judge presiding over a custody case said, “The children of homeschool families will not fit into the new world order.” He was dead right. The first countries to ban spanking were the most ardent communists and fascists. Leading the way were China, Russia, and North Korea, followed by some of the socialist countries of Europe.

My critics don’t bother to read our material. They get their quotes—supposedly my statements—from web sites that got their quotes from other web sites that along the way sliced and diced my writings, changing words like “spank” to “beat” to create a caricature that any clear thinking person would find offensive. They build a straw man and then expect us to defend it. I am not whining. It goes with the territory. But why all the lies and hostility?

Why All the Lies?

There are many ordinary people in our country that do not identify themselves with the progressive/socialist faction, yet unknowingly are spokesmen for some of its important tenets. You see them duped into supporting the global warming crowd, the radical environmentalists, animal rights activists, the gay agenda, and any number of “social justice” movements. They may join the crusade against spanking, “hate speech”, cult indoctrination or any number of social issues that are none of their business.

How do otherwise ordinary people get caught up supporting some part of a movement to re-engineer society? They have big compassionate hearts, and the social engineers have painted each of these issues as a moral struggle. Who doesn’t want social justice (in the classical sense,) and to “save the planet,” and save the children from cruelty? Many people need a crusade, and the media, especially television, offer them causes that make them feel they are part of the solution.

The Fringe

The uninformed who listens to the media would think that spanking is something done by the fringe, an angry and abusive minority. The media uses inflammatory rhetoric like “beat” instead of “spank” or “corporal punishment” instead of “physical discipline,” obscuring a line that is extremely clear to responsible parents.

I read an anti-spanking article by a psychologist that said she did not believe in spanking, but she went on to confess that on occasion she got so angry with her children that she did scream at them. She told of receiving a ten minute lecture in a grocery store from another shopper rebuking her for angry, abusive language toward her children. She also confessed that on occasion her anger had caused her to slap her children in the face. She was ashamed of her behavior and was making a candid confession, but she went on to use her experience as an example of why parents should not adopt a policy of “hitting their children.” The occasional slips were bad enough; don’t institutionalize the practice, she said.

My advice to this professionally trained mother is, “Don’t hit your children; don’t even think about spanking; you need to receive counsel from a hillbilly mother with a sixth grade education before you have any more children; you are out of control.” But her confession points to the reason a small minority associate all spanking with hitting and violence, and why they are categorically against it to the point of pushing for laws criminalizing parents who spank their kids. Indeed, knowing their own weakness and anger, they transfer that violent nature to all parents. When you add to the equation the movie and media characterization of stern, legalistic parents “beating the fear of God” into their kids, they have reason to stand against all spanking. The opponents of corporal discipline have never experienced the kind of peace and stability that allows a parent to spank in love for the good of the child. They know that when they strike their children, it is definitely abusive, and they project that motive to everyone.

They see government as the savior of all children, standing between cruel parents and their helpless children. They would have us believe that untrained parents are incapable of knowing what is best for their children, while a few hours of liberal arts training and personal therapy transforms on-duty government employees into wise and loving mentors.

Hitting Children

No one advocates “hitting children,” but our angry opponents can’t seem to read. We say “switch;” they quote us saying “tree branch.” We say “spank;” they quote us as saying “beat.” They deliberately do not distinguish between the loving, compassionate, measured spankings we advocate and the out of control violence of parents reacting in anger and aggression toward helpless children.

Parents who strike out in anger are most often anti-spanking proponents who reach the end of their tolerance curve. Not having spanking as part of their toolkit, they end up frustrated with their rebellious children and eventually explode in retribution. In contrast, parents who wisely employ spanking with their training soon have such happy and compliant kids that no one is ever provoked to anger.

History will show that parents have not abandoned physical discipline because it proved to be ineffective, but because many parents have become ashamed of the way they apply it. That is why No Greater Joy teaches parents to patiently “train up a child in the way he should go.”


Dr. Aletha Solter, founder of the Aware Parenting Institute, argues that corporal punishment teaches violence to children otherwise born innocent: “What happens in each home is at the root of world peace. If we’re going to be hitting children, they’re going to go around wanting to hit and hurt other people. If we raise them with gentle discipline, then we’re creating a gentle world.” Well, ten percent of the children never get hit. Are they examples of world peace and emotional stability?

Opponents make the false assertion that children who are “hit” by their parents grow up to be violent, citing studies that support their claim. But if you look at the details of their studies, you will note that they gather their data from interviews with violent criminals or psychiatric patients. “You murdered six women; were you spanked when you were a child?” Since 90% of all U.S. parents spank or “hit” their kids, what do you think the results are going to show? That’s right; nine out of ten violent criminals were spanked when they were children. I have never seen a study that asked a group of well-adjusted professionals if they were physically disciplined as children and what part they thought it played in their success. What would our critics conclude by the fact that 90% of the successful, nonviolent professionals were spanked by their parents?

Research Supports Spanking

Many pediatricians believe that responsible spanking outperforms faddish disciplinary approaches. Marjorie Gunnoe, a developmental psychologist at Calvin College, did a study of 2,600 people, about a quarter of whom had never been physically chastised. She concluded that young children spanked by their parents may grow up to be happier and more successful than those who have never been spanked. According to the research, children spanked up to the age of 6 were likely as teenagers to perform better at school and were more likely to carry out volunteer work and to want to go to college than their peers who had never been physically disciplined.

Child psychologists Diana Baumrind and Elizabeth Owens conducted a study. Owens is a research scientist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California at Berkeley. As a mother of a three- and a five-year-old, Owens says, “As a parent I am morally opposed to spanking.” But as a scientist, she says, “A blanket injunction against spanking is not warranted by the data. If you look at the causally relevant evidence, it’s not scientifically defensible to say that spanking is always a horrible thing. I don’t think mild, occasional spankings in an otherwise supportive, loving family will do any long-term harm.”

Media Campaign

The media campaign against spanking is designed to win the perception war. If they can make parents think that they are out of the mainstream, part of an unpopular minority, they will come to doubt their natural parental instincts and shrink from their responsibilities to continue the tradition of nurturing the young through tested means, of which spanking is a part. The progressives will then be free, without dissent, to pass unconstitutional legislation making any form of physical discipline a crime punishable by imprisonment and loss of their children to the state.

Common Law Right

A Minnesota trial court has ruled that “laws against school paddling do not supersede the common-law right to spank a child.”

The Supreme Court in Ingraham v. Wright, 1977, held that school corporal punishment of students does not violate the federal Constitution—does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The constitution of the United States recognizes the existence of common law rights and offers protection in the exercise thereof. These rights are said to be unalienable. That is, these rights, springing from God, being part of our nature, are inherent in our humanity and cannot be transferred to government, nor can government assume those powers that belong to the individual alone. It is no wonder that we should find it addressed in Holy Scripture, for before it was a Biblical precept it is found to be a natural right embedded in our human natures.

A natural right is a moral duty. To breach a natural right against one’s neighbor is an act of violence and thuggery. For a government to breach that right in promotion of its own ends is tyranny. It is the duty of every man to promote the human rights of all men.

Society was more stable and more moral before government intruded into our common law rights. When I was in school in the fifties violence against teachers was unheard of. Kids always obeyed the teachers or were paddled with the oak “board of education.” I cannot remember a moment when things got out of control in school. There were no drugs, no alcohol, no cursing, and no talking back to teachers.

Still Legal

Note that 22 states still practice “corporal punishment” in public schools. The anti-spanking campaign Center for Effective Discipline, extrapolating from sample statistics collected by federal authorities, estimates that the number of students spanked or paddled in 2006 in U.S. public schools was about 223,000.

Contrary to the perception produced by the media, you do have a right to spank your children in all 50 states. In Tennessee, Child Protection Services says it is not abuse unless marks remain on the child 24 hours after the fact. You can read the laws for your state online.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines physical child abuse as “any non-accidental physical injury to the child, and can include striking, kicking, burning, or biting the child, or any action that results in a physical impairment of the child.” In my opinion, that is an acceptable legal definition of child abuse that does not infringe upon parental rights, but my personal definition of abuse would be broader, including mental, verbal, and physical abuse where the spanking is not severe but is not done in the proper spirit of love and good will. Yet I recognize that not all abuse rises to the level of requiring government intervention. When children are in genuine danger, under proper guidelines the government should step in and remedy the situation.


Opponents like to characterize those of us who advocate corporal chastisement as a minority, as fringe, less intelligent, behind the times, religious nuts. The opposite is true. Down through the ages in every culture, wise and compassionate men have promoted and practiced corporal training of their young. The practice is mainstream, traditional, grassroots, natural, and effective.

Corporal discipline is a natural part of parental nurturing, of caring parents seeking the best for their children. Hence, it is not surprising to find it promoted by God himself, the creator of all children (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15, 17).

But God also recognizes that parents can abuse their authority. Jesus warned, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). He continued by advising the offender of little children, “if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee.”

Many polls have shown that 65 to 75 percent of all parents endorse the use of physical discipline. Even the progressive ABC News conducted a poll that concluded that 65 percent of parents approve of physical discipline while 31 percent disapprove. Additional studies reveal that of those who say they disapprove, two-thirds of them confess to hitting their children in anger. Only about ten percent of parents profess to not believe in physical discipline and to not have practiced it. So who is in the mainstream? The traditional parents who believe in and practice corporal discipline are the vast majority and have the support of tradition and history. We likewise have the support of the Constitution and the findings of the courts. We also have the blessings of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the public schools who still practice it. Most of all, we have the support of God. The anti-spankers are the small minority who don’t trust their ability to act in a restrained and productive manner and do not believe you can either. Our children rise up and call us blessed; I will let their children tell us what they think of their parents.

The Exception Proves the Rule

Our opponents sit in front of their TV sets or computer screens waiting for months or years until some out of control parent beats his child to death in the name of corporal punishment. They then call for a ban on all spanking. They reason that if one parent can misuse the human right to physically train their children then all parents should be denied the traditional right. It is our contention that all authority is abused at some time or another by a minority, but that does not negate the need for that authority.

Every day several people overdose on prescription drugs and die. Many children die from just aspirin alone. The label warns against abusing the drug, but some people are not motivated by reason, and they or their children die. Should all aspirin be banned because it is sometimes misused? Obviously not.

Out of the five million people who are familiar with our teaching, our opponents may have finally found one family that severely abused their children. The anti-spanking lobbyists come alive like fire ants in a disturbed anthill. “It’s your teaching that led to this tragedy,” they scream. A tragedy is always tragic and sad, but why must someone else be to blame? Are men not independently capable of error or evil? If a man leaves an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and gets drunk, do you blame the twelve step program? If a man under psychiatric care commits a heinous crime, do we charge the psychiatrist? If a teen kills himself in an auto accident after taking drivers ed at school, do we stop the program? When an angry, abusive parent recognizes his need to reform and seeks help through our material, but lapses back into his predisposed habits, injuring his children yet again, is our material that teaches caution and moderation to blame? The bias and underlying agenda of the anti-spanking minority is obvious.


Marching On

We will not be deterred from our sensible course by social engineers who want to replace parents with a failed philosophy. We will go on doing what our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have done for many generations: we will train our children with all the means we deem best to bring them up to be responsible, emotionally stable, productive individuals. Get used to it. We are here to stay.

By the way, our happy children are multiplying at four times the national average. Your unruly and undisciplined children will soon need a job. Don’t worry; our properly spanked, highly motivated, well-educated kids will be hiring.


Leave a Reply

90 comments on “Spank and Save a Child”

  1. I’ve been teaching in Los Angeles for 12 years now. I would really like to see a list of states in which public schools continue to use physical chastisement, because I would like to move there! (It’s not that I myself would need to be the specific person to administer it; rather knowing it’s there as a real consequence sounds very supportive.) We *supposedly* have a Zero-Tolerance Policy regarding drugs and weapons, but I have never seen it imposed, yet I have known of students who have brought drugs and/or weapons to school. In one case, a boy was being bullied, but the knife he brought to school was a “pen-knife” (is that the right name?) anyway, the blade was “too short to count” for …? I’m not sure what the rationale was, but that kid was back at our same school in less than 1 calendar year. Last time I checked, a short blade could still cut a jugular.

    I regularly see children getting their own ways in all sorts of public settings, and I always think, “Great! In a few years, your kid will act even worse than now, and you’re going to expect this child to sit down, behave, and do WORK?? And then you’re going to blame your kid’s failure on me (teacher) and everything else around when it all started long before I even saw your kid bullying you here and now.

    Even when I was a waitress, I was almost injured because some parents allowed their toddler to play (run around) in the busy restaurant: I couldn’t see the toddler amongst all the tables and legs of customers on a busy Saturday morning breakfast shift. I was working as hard as I could to get everything to all my customers, and this little guy ran headlong into my shins! Now, let me be the first to say I think the little one meant no harm. I think he was just running around having fun…but that’s what parents are for: to keep the toddlers AT the table, not accidentally tripping waitresses!

    As a teacher in California, I had to walk around for my first year with my hands clasped behind my back. And I mean **clasped** because I was shocked practically every day by some new unbelievable behavior.
    Teaching public school has made me to NEVER want to have children!

    You are right, too: I DO doubt my confidence/ability to be a good parent.

    I often cringe when I read what you say, Mr. Pearl, about Public Schooling, but I cannot refute what you say.

    CA textbooks specifically teach from an evolution standpoint and treat it as fact.

    And you are totally right that liberal arts-educated government employees with some kind of Psychology 101 under our belts are NO replacement for parents…because that accurately describes ME, and I cannot possibly hope to replace their parents…but the State seems to want us teachers to parent the children!

    We even have to teach Empathy to students now in the name of preventing bullying. Empathy?!?! Is this no longer taught at home?

    In my first year teaching, the mother of my worst-behaved student asked me to please spend extra time with her daughter, for example during our morning nutrition break and during lunch. I wanted (but was not brave enough) to say, “Why don’t YOU spend more time with your daughter!” Seriously, I couldn’t BELIEVE what I was hearing!

    Off topic, I also want to thank you and your Wife for “Created to Be His Help Meet”. It has helped this “1990’s woman” to become a much sweeter wife to my Manly Man!

  2. I live in a country where corporal punishment is still legally meted out in the schools. I personally work in a loving, Christian school where it is applied correctly, with great results. BUT, even in this situation it is NOT an apt replacement for proper training at home! Parents who send their unruly children to us to “fix” them find that their children are incredibly well behaved for their teachers, and still unruly terrors at home! The answer is NOT ever going to be found in a government, an institution or by means of laws (allowing or prohibiting Godly chastisement), it is found when God-fearing parents take control of their OWN homes and their OWN children and hold themselves responsible for the behavior and training of the SOULS of their precious little ones!
    (in the mean time, we have plenty of God’s work to do here in a country where we do have the liberty to carry out one of God’s tools for parents if anyone is looking to get away!!!)

    1. So what you are saying, Sarah, is that children who are subject to corporal punishment will only behave where the threat of that punishment exists. I entirely agree.
      Therefore, when your child is away from you (visiting friends, going to college, moving out as a young adult) they will no longer have that threat and so won’t feel the fear of it. What do you think will happen next then Sarah?

  3. Well put, Pearls. My husband and I first read TTUAC over 12 years ago, read the NGJ volumes too, and receive the newsletters. (Raising seven boys has caused us to read some of the stuff over and over again!) Never once have I read something that could be interpreted as abuse. I am so saddened by this recent tragedy, but it certainly isn’t the fault of the Pearl’s or NGJ’s teaching.

  4. Keep on keeping on. I am now expecting number 6 next month and my wife gets at least two complements on how well behaved her children are. She always makes a training comment. Your books have made it much easier to have a happy, healthy home. Just wish more Christians got it. It is a shame how many folks ask us if we are this religion or that one and they are all surprised when we just answer no just Bible believing Christians that don’t have a fear of some up and coming tribulation. I wish people in the Church today would connect their inherited poor eschatology with their improper justification of a small family size.

  5. Thank you. I get so tired of feeling like I have to be ashamed of my child-rearing beliefs. The studies published against spanking do not account for the differences between actual abuse and lovingly administered spankings. I know this, but the onslaught ( I’m an Education major planning on homeschooling my own children…) really wears me down. While there are exceptions, my time in the public schools makes me think of them as orphanages. I don’t mean to offend the many good parents that do involve themselves in their children’s educaiton and upbrining, but in some of the schools I’ve been at, the parents do nothing more than to provide shelter to sleep in at night ( children get most meals at school). These people would never spank their children, but they can’t be bothered to raise them either. It breaks my heart, but furthers my conviction.Thank you for the encouragement.

  6. Im no expert on studies or statistics but what i am an expert on is my own 2 children.My oldest gets comments on her report card saying “behavior is perfect as always”. My youngest who is 3 and in e.s.e because of being hearing impaired and needing therapy has a teacher who says “she may not know how to speak well but she sure knows her manners”.They do not run around in public and they generaly listen .They are a joy to be around and guess what THEY ARE NOT SPANKED.Nor am i a christian.Discipline is very possible without spanking or being a christian.

  7. I’m incredibly offended by this article. I am open on the issue of spanking; although I have an intuitive preference for one side, I was looking for logical arguments to disprove all of the radicalism on this topic. But, when you claim that people misunderstand you as a “Bible thumping caricature,” but then claim that everyone who is anti-spanking or “supporting the global warming crowd, the radical environmentalists, animal rights activists, the gay agenda, and”

  8. I have young children at home. When I first started spanking, it was hard to not spank out of anger. However, spanking has worked so well in training my children, it is very rare now that I feel angry at my children while spanking them. Whatever you spank your children with is a training tool, not a weapon. In my opinion, a child will only learn violence from spanking if spanking is violent. You have to ask yourself what hurt you more as a child, spanking that was administered consistently and fairly or frantic tounge lashings from your parents. At least with consistent and fair spankings, I knew where the boundries were.

    1. I think you are kidding yourself. Hitting (spanking, smacking call it what you will) is ALWAYS a violent act. By default. If you don’t believe me, go and hit, spank, smack an adult and see what the law tells you about it.

  9. I am afraid I disagree greatly, and I could spend time citing the overwhelming number of studies that support my views but I will only link to the most recent to save time. Anyone interested in further discussion may email me and I will be happy to have a lively talk with them about this. Just be warned that I am in Japan so my replies wont happen right away.

  10. It worked for me. I raised 4 well-adjusted, financially independent, medically healthy children who love their parents, other people and God. I spanked, on the rear-end, as often as needed. (I did NOT yell at my children!)

  11. You discussed some law and statistics of spanking. This is timely, thank you! There is a secular article published in a law journal that also discusses these things (including, interestingly enough, how unspanked children are turning out in countries that have banned the practice). Fascinating! I would recommend it. See (And you can even get the whole article for free with the “One-Click Download” option).

  12. That was an amazing article! Still from the comments people are not getting your message. Still people are trying to read between the lines saying finding ways you are wrong. Unbelieveable! Our family believes in you as well as a few families I know personally. Keep up the good work Pearls. My children are happy, healthy and intelligent because they know they are loved! That is the difference!

  13. Thank you for your ministry. Your reading material is always so edifying, and to the heart, and root. I have grown and learned so much from your ministry as a mother of four young children. My husband really respects your teaching as well. Thank you for your service!

  14. As an anti-spanking advocate, I can assure you that we are not a “socialist front.” Comments such as these only contribute to the general absurdity and thoughtlessness indicative of this site. The anti-spanking campaign is made up of many Christians who reject the fear based parenting approach you advocate. Many of us were abused as children…my parents followed a discipline curricula very similar to yours, and believe me the results have not been good. We have experienced your techniques first hand and know the hopelessness and terror they create. We are working to end such abuse and inform those using it about the disastrous physical and psychological consequences. Your “socialist” excuse is an immature and uncreative smokescreen against facts, criticism and personal testimonies which contradict your agenda.

    For anyone using or considering using the Pearl’s techniques, I urge you to do your own research. Get the facts…talk to people who have been spanked, find out about other parenting methods and make a decision based on love and hope rather than fear and guilt.

  15. You make a claim in the very first paragraph of this article – why didn’t you provide the link to back up your assertions? I would sincerely like to learn more and would like to see the scholarly research articles published in a peer-reviewed journal that support that position. Not a study done by popular media or press or anything like that. Thanks.

  16. People should not read between the lines. Spanking is only effective if you train your children (just as the Pearls teach in their books), and when done in love and not by an angry parent. We have 4 happily adjusted blessings who delight in us and want to please us. We don’t need any professional to tell us what is good for our children. God’s word if our standard and I would highly recommend for people to not wait for some professional study to give them advice to spank or not to spank…Because by the time they have a report like that, your children will be so wicked in their sinful lusts that it might be too late even if you did decide to spank…God’s word is full of wisdom, and before wasting time on waiting for articles and research by the secular professionals, it is WISE to heed to God’s Word NOW. Take the time to study the Word of our Creator with the same fervor and diligence as you spend reading the daily news and watching movies. I’ve noticed people who are passionate about what the professionals say about family life, have no time to spend finding out what our God and Creator has to say on such topics. For thousands of years spanking in the context of love has worked and up until now, people are confused about the sinfulness of man and we are reaping the consequences.


  17. @Lauren: since you decided to leave a comment without reading the whole article, here: “Marjorie Gunnoe, a developmental psychologist at Calvin College, did a study of 2,600 people, about a quarter of whom had never been physically chastised. She concluded that young children spanked by their parents may grow up to be happier and more successful than those who have never been spanked. According to the research, children spanked up to the age of 6 were likely as teenagers to perform better at school and were more likely to carry out volunteer work and to want to go to college than their peers who had never been physically disciplined.”
    thats on the 20th paragraph.

  18. I wanted to say that I am so grateful for the ministry God has provided me through your literature. TTUAC has completely changed how my runs. We are happier and my children are sooo much happier and well-behaved. They are NOT afraid of me or my husband, and since we have implimented the technique that you (and God) have shared with us, our children are so much more loving than before. They seems to be very confident in the fact that they have clear boundries and that they have clear consequences. They never have to guess what crazy thing dad will yell about this time, or how mad he is going to get and what he will do. They just listen now. They behave. It is amazing! Also, I just finished “Created to be his Help Meet”. I am completely in love with the plan God has for my life. I grew up in a broken home with divorced and re-married parents and never knew how to be a “good” respectful, submissive wife that shows reverence. I have to say, now that I know what I was created for, I find only joy in doing just that. I have joy in doing what God wants me to… and that is serve and show reverence to my husband. Our home is peaceful, and happy! and I have to say, I am soooooo in love with my imperfect husband. My first love (Jesus) is teaching me new things every day through this man he gave to me to serve and to love.

    Thank you for your example, and for putting it into writing so that I may benefit from it and serve the way God wants me to.
    Spanking and serving have changed my family, and we are blessed!

  19. It’s all in the word of God so there should be no question. It’s funny how parents assume childrens’ textbooks at school are true and accurate and they allow their children to read them everyday without hesitation. However, the word of God means nothing to them. It’s the greatest HIS-STORY book out there! Read it for yourself…it really is a good read!! Mr. Pearl, we all know you offend people on a regular basis, but so do words on a quarter so don’t feel bad. 🙂

  20. you are doing that correct . people can say what ever they want but the bible teach diferrent i agree with you guys thankyous for everthing i learn from you pasco

  21. For me the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes. When the Pearls materials are followed by parents full of Jesus’ love and grace the children are amazing! Resectful, happy, cheerful and full of playful fun. In my circle of experience the only child I have know that came from a no corporal discipline home was a surly, beligerant boy who didn’t listen to anyone or play very nicely with the other boys. His attitude was one of quiet definance not carefree fun. I can only go by personal experience but training and true love far surpass any modern “gentle” hype. So I really don’t care what the so called “experts” say. They have their agenda and I have mine. I desire healthy, strong emotionally stable children who can stand on their own two feet and from all apperances I am getting my wish.

  22. Very well said, Mr. Pearl! Your conclusions fit with everything I’ve seen and experienced, having known many different families with different discipline methods growing up. I’m thankful to have had loving parents who spanked out of love for us and created a household of joy through time spent with us. I saw friends who were not spanked and had parents who yelled instead or did nothing but make behavior suggestions, put guilt trips on their children or even bribed them. All of these things failed in various degrees. One specific friend grew up in Sweden (in an upper class Christian family no less) where it is illegal to spank. She was so unruly and rebellious that her parents literally had to hold her down kicking and screaming to even brush her teeth! This went on for years.
    Thank you and Debi (and staff) for standing in the gap, holding fast to the Word of God and speaking truth in a time when people want “tolerance” and a desire for their ears to be itched instead of their minds and spirits challenged to grow and learn.

  23. i’m not on the fringe, i typically vote to the right, and do not believe in violence toward children of any kind. It seems to me this is an issue of semantics. And people who use God’s word to hit children are the problem. Jesus said love the children. Not hit them.

  24. I have a few observations that I would like to make. For the poster who claimed that gentle was a modern hype, may I gently remind you that gentleness is a componant of the Fruit of the Spirit that we are given in Gal. 5. We are to treat eachother with gentleness, compassion and love. The physical act of drawing a hand or object back, and applying force to the rear of a child may have a gentle motive, but it is not a gentle action. Many of the people who disagree with Mr. Pearl are believers. Who do believe the scriptures. When one delves into the verses in Proverbs that teach about the Rod, there is a beautiful picture of authority represented. It may surprise some of you to know that the word actually means a shepherds staff, or a kings septer. It is a large walking stick traditionally held by the head of the family, as a symbol of his spiritual authority over his household. Should we take this word to mean that we should apply force to the rear side of a child, we would all be forced to toss the plumbing supply line for a large stick, about 6 or 7 feet long, and an 1 1/2 thick, apx. If this is your understanding of these verses, why not use such an instrument? The hebrew does have a word to describe the type of instrument commonly used, and it is different than the one in all 6 of the verses used to advocate spanking. Is this good interpretation? Does God error or misspeak? Please understand me, I advocated spanking very passionatly until someone simply handed me a hebrew lexicon, and challanged me to reseach it. I could not ignore what I found. I do not believe that God makes errors, and the imagry of the staff or septer in Scripture is so clear when cross referaced with other places the same word is used, that I could not ignore the fact that either God was asking us to spank our children with large wooden staffs, (Or an alternate translation is club, as used in warfare), or what the verses mean is that we have the God given task to train our children, and diciple (The root of dicipline by the way) them into Godlyness. After left with the conviction that these verses are molded into support of something that the original writers never intended, I was left asking the question, how should I then train, treat, and dicipline my child?

    My husband and I were led by God to study the relationship he has with us, and to contemplate how he teaches and trains us. After all, He Himself set the example as our Father. We seached the New Testement as re-read the Gospels, ans well as Romans and Galations. We noticed that the entire reason Christ came to earth was to take the punishment for our sin. If the punishment was taken, that means its no longer applied to our account. We landed in Matt 18, the parable of the unforgiving servant. It screamed its message to us that morning as we studied it. God had taken away the debt of our sin. How dare we demand payment for sin from our children? The NT states over and over again, esp in Revelation, that God is responsible for sifting through mens hearts, not us. It is not our job to decide if a particular offense is worthy of Grace. We show grace, because of the grace that Christ has shown to us. We forgive our children, because Christ forgave us. We disiple our children in the ways of Godlyness, because Christ disciples us. We hold our children accountable to standards and boundaries, not vindictivly, or as a means to shame them into good behaviour, but because Christ holds us accountable so we can learn, and grow to be more like him. We read through the fruit of the Spirit, which should be the essance in which we affect everyone around us, especially our children. A wise man once said, “If you are not Christ-like to your family, you are not Christlike at all.” What did Christ do? He put himself aside for us. He did not punish us, but rather removed the punishment. He did not shame us, but removed the shame. What then is our calling to our children? Do not misunderstand me my friend, refraining from punishment or shaming is not permisive. Not at all! God has called us to raise our children in the way of godliness and if we are remis in that task, we answer directly to him. Parenting with gentleness does not mean not parenting. It means teaching your child right from wrong with grace and love. It means holding them to a standard, setting and enforcing boundaries. It means treating them with the same love and respect Christ showed you, even when they frustrate and anger you. There are parents out there who are anti dicipline, are they are vocal about being against spanking. But there are those of us who are anti spanking, but very actively pro dicipline. “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Against such their is no law.

    Notice that Judgement, shaming, and harshness are not on that list.

    There is another aspect of spanking that has shattered many children, including myself that is never talked about. I would never share this in real life, because it is to personal, and my parents never intended me this harm. God made us all as sexual creatures. Some people respond sexually to a spanking. Their parents NEVER intend to cross that line. They want to protect their child. But if the spanking is felt that way, and causes the child to feel sick, and perverted, could this be of God? Please do not attack those who have been affected that way. I was never in any way sexually compromised, I had no ideas what the sensations or feeling were until I expierianced them in the bounds of marriage. When I realized why I felt so ashamed, and dirty, and used, it was very hard. I am not specualting about some other people, I am sharing what happened to me. I was sheltered from sexual perverseness in a strong baptist homeschooling home. I am stil strong baptist and homeschooling, but I will never allow my son or daughters to be hurt, if I can help it. I know that my father spanked me out of love. He did it calmly, and not out of anger, in fact, he trained us much the way Michael Pearl did. We always were well behaved and recieved compliments. That does not erase the damage it caused me, or the stress that is in my marriage because of it.

    My friend, before you generalize those of us who have concerns with teaching that call for spanking, please remember that some of us are conservative baptist homeschoolers, who love the Lord, and put him first in all we do.

    In Christ,

    1. Well maybe you should put your children first instead? It saddens me that in 2015 there are people who value the words of a book written thousands of years ago ahead of their own children and their needs.

  25. J,
    Thank you for your beautiful description of Christ-like discipline. I have a young son and am anti-spanking but pro- teaching, explaining, and setting boundaries.

    I was raised with the Dobson approach and had expected to spank my children. Everything changed, though, when I read some very disturbing spanking materials and learned about how a similar (Roy Lessin) spanking program damaged my husband and hurt his relationship with his parents.

    His parents, too, thought they were doing the right thing for their kids but didn’t realize the side effects of their “medicine”: a distant relationship with their kids and, for some, unintended sexual violation.

    J, thanks for showing the way of Christ–grace!

  26. Spot on! I’m tired of these spineless losers who want to pretend that their emotional weakness is a moral superiority. It’s obnoxious and gag-worthy, and I’m fed up with being forced to endure the self-centered little thugs they raise.
    I can say that I received some spankings when I was young, and to this day I admit that I deserved them when I got them. They didn’t destroy me physically or mentally. It was a rarely employed tool to keep me in line and show that there are consequences for bad or unacceptable behavior.
    In closing, I say ‘Amen!’ to your article and to your work. I’ve been reading your publications for years, and have always appreciated the logic and rationality that infuses your work. So I’m not at all surprised that the dimwitted liberal intelligentsia don’t understand it.

  27. What I see here (comments) is that a lot of people have been spanked correctly as a child and have turned out healthy and happy. A lot of people have been spanked incorrectly and have been damaged/hurt for a lifetime. Some have not been spanked at all and had a loving, nurturing family life. Some have not been spanked and turned into bullies and angry rebellious people.
    This reminds me of a graph, and everyone is trying to get the most points in “their” quadrant in order to prove they are correct. But something to remember is that the Pearls aren’t just about spanking or not spanking. The ARE about love and joy and peace in the home. After reading all their literature, I saw their agenda was joy in the family, NOT a crusade to make sure every family spanks their children. Spanking won’t be bad when it’s applied correctly (which he even mentions in his teachings will differ per child) and will be devastating when applied incorrectly (which has MANY avenues). The Pearls want parents to find joy with their children, smiling at them, loving them, teaching them, having fun with them, and being consistent. Spanking has to be consistent if a parent is to make it effective. Let me point out that the word consistent is not the same as constant. A good parent is also judicious in times and places where a form of discipline is required. Not all trespasses are dealt with by spanking. There are creative, healthy ways to correct behavior infractions, and the Pearls do list many of those in their published works.
    I see math equations in all the comments left by the readers. I see myself in one of those quadrants, and I am the sum of one of these example equations:
    Bad Spanking + Child = Happy adult/child
    Bad Spanking + Child = Damaged Adult/child
    Good Spanking + Child = Damaged child/adult
    Good Spanking + Child = Healthy Happy child/adult

    And since all children are individuals created differently, with their own weaknesses and strengths, we can expect different results. These were basic equations that of course do not include anomalies such as commenter “J’s” situation. I also fit one of those anomalies, but on the brighter side. I was spanked as a child, and I was molested by my father. For 7 years (ages 4-12) I performed various “tasks” and received them as well. But however the Lord created me, it made me different. The abuse was bad, yes, but for some reason that I am grateful for, it didn’t affect me in the same ways as other victims. Yes, I am a different person today and those actions shaped me in some way. But even after the abuse was stopped, I was not bitter, or fearful, or angry. Now don’t pyscho analyze me. I know I am “damaged” but I also know that it’s not NEARLY to the extent as others. I am a happily married woman with 2 children. I have a healthy marriage despite my past. I follow lovingly the Lord Jesus, growing and changing in maturity the further my relationship with Him goes.
    I only have a HS education, and I don’t have polls or statistics to show you how each quadrant supports itself and negates the others. I am not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a doctor, or a behavioral science guru. But I am a Christian. I do know that God is sovereign above all, and His wisdom and understanding will transcend any of our most wise thoughts and ideas. What we understand and know as true and we think we’ve “got it”, His understanding of it is still higher. He knows what each child needs. Spanking didn’t hurt me. I was screamed at, and grounded, for such minor things that even the oh so strict Pearls would roll their eyes at.
    So before you pick your quadrant, remember that God created you, and your neighbor, and your child, and the strangers driving by you on the highway. He knows what each needs and how they need it. The Pearls do provide a safe, healthy, biblical approach to raising children. They reach a great many families that are successfully using their examples. Other families follow teachings of other methods successfully. In BOTH cases, there are bad apples. But don’t let the bad apples spoil the whole bunch. All the research in the world isn’t going to account for human error, or diversity. That old saying “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, well, yes, sometimes. And no. Whether you choose to spank your children or choose to correct them differently, do it RIGHT. Spend time and energy with them, be happy with them, love them, and smile a lot. Create the memories that you want them to have.

  28. Maddie,

    I am assuming that you meant me when you said “spineless losers who want to pretend that their emotional weakness is a moral superiority” and again “dimwitted liberal intelligentsia ” I would ask you where you base you claims from? Please do not take this as a harsh response, but after reading it, I went through and read my post, as well as others who support our position. I didnt see anyone who was name calling, or even saying anything that was argumentitive… So I am a little confused why your post sounded so hurt or offended by our position… Since, I am sure as a follower of Christ your intent was not to resort to name calling, but rather a vent of frustration.

    God created us as emotional creatures, and even Michael Pearl acknowlages in his writings that children have emotional needs.. So I am not sure how talking about how spanking has emotionally damaged people is “spineless, obnoxious, or gag worthy.” I am left scratching my head wondering how you know what kind of children my husband and I am raising. Do you know me in real life? And if so, what part of my childrens characters qualify as “thug-ish”?

    Laura- Perhaps you said more gracefully what I was trying to convey. Though I know for mysef, a good spanking proudouced harmful unintended consequences, I would never say that would happen with every child. I was more responding to the wording used in the original article, and the actual stance of the Pearls if I have understood their writing correctly, (though they are free to correct me if I am wrong) that those who stand against spanking are rejecting God’s method for raising children. I do disagree with that understanding of scripture, because I do not think it is fair to the text. It does not stand up under cultural and hebraic scrutiny, and like I said before, I do not belive God makes mistakes or mis speaks. The decision on whether to use spanking as a tool with your children is between you, your husband and God, and I cannot tell you what is right or wrong.

  29. I am a Christian and have decided to be obedient to God,no matter what. When the Lord lead me to the Pearl’s website it was timely and an answer to my prayers concerning how to be the wife and mother that God purposed me to be. I have learned so many valuable lessons from reading the No Greater Joy materials and articles. I didn’t have a lot of joy in being a wife or mother until I found this website. I am an advocate of using spanking as a disciplining tool and have seen the benefits in each of my children. Spanking isn’t the only form of discipline in our home, but sometimes it is neccessary. For someone to read the materials from the Pearl’s and come up with the fact that they are advocating child abuse doesn’t make sense to me.Spanking is only a part of training and disciplining our children. The Pearl’s do stress fellowshipping with your children-something I hadn’t heard much of in the “Christian”
    community. All of the people who view spanking their children as abuse don’t even like their children-it’s evident in the way the talk about them or to them in my presence. And their children are wild,rebellious,and seem to have not only no respect for their parents or anyone else, but are the first to tell you that their parents don’t love them.
    I want a loving relationship with my children and that is evident in the Pearl’s relationship with theirs and their grandchildren. I am so grateful for the Pearl’s and their taking a stand and being obedient to God’s Word. They are a blessing to me and many others!..Press on Pearl family, for you are truly blessed!

  30. I think Ben Stein had it right when he made a speech of sorts and said that our society has told God to get out of schools,government,culture and lives to name a few and yet we are shocked when children kill children and so many horrible things happen in this world. The people say “Where is God in all of this?” Although God never leaves us, if the people continue to push him out and push him away he will gentlemanly oblige. The same holds true for physical discipline. Back when it was part of a normal way of life there was no such things as school shootings and kids driving other kids to suicide. The mouth of society says discipline is evil! But what we can see is a very different story. Humans are unintelligent in that way. We sit crying about a problem we’ve created and expect God to fix it all the while pushing him away. As i like to tell non believers who are hesitant about letting their kids go to church with my family – “No one became a bad apple because they had a little too much Jesus in their life”

  31. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been spanked in my 18 years. Always it happened when I’d already gone way too far, and in one instance as a youngster, almost getting myself killed by a car. I was an obstonate, spoiled little girl. Very headstrong. Mom, seeing as I was her baby of three kids, and the only little one she had with my father, always resorted to things like “Time-Out” or giving me a good “Talking To”, or sometimes even trying to reason with me. Now, I love my momma, and she has always tried with a most sincere heart to do right by me. But now that I’m a bit older, I heartily wish that on a few occasions I had been spanked liberally. Growing up headstrong and sharp tongued, I have often had to learn lessons during the already very hard teen years that would have been so helpful to have learned as a youngster! I have made up my mind that I will never do my future little ones that disservice. I will never use spanking as a means of bullying them into doing what I want them to do, or as an outlet for my own anger. That IS abuse, and that is NOT what the Pearls teach. You CAN be a gentle, loving, fun momma AND spank your children when it’s needed. It’s not either one or the other y’all! Love them, cuddle them, kiss them when you get them off to bed at night, hold them when they cry. Get to know their hearts. I will admit times when I’ve seen a mother spank a little one that should have been picked up and cuddled instead, like fussin and crying ’cause they are tired or hungry, not because they’re spoiled and angry. But I’ve seen so many mothers trying to “reason” with an absolutely out of control kid, and let me tell you what, it aint pretty. And it don’t work. Just my two-bits. Nice article Mr. Pearl. 🙂 Thanks for telling it like it is. 🙂

  32. I’ve got a great idea — instead of everyone trying to impose their views on others (esp those who would try to force parents to discontinue spanking since the ones who spank aren’t really on the offensive to force parents to start spanking), why don’t we just mind our own business as parents and families and then we will see who is right — those who spank or those who don’t. We can call it an experiment with ‘natural selection’.

  33. What really impresses me are parents who raise well-behaved children without hitting them.

    Anyone can raise well-behaved children through fear.

    Those who can do it without violence are truly good parents

  34. After reading the article, and the comments, I am definitely more convinced of the truth in the biblical method of spanking that Mr. Pearl advocates. Those of you who are anti-spanking, remember that Mr. Pearl is offering the wisdom he has found in God’s Word to his best understanding. And that he is offering that wisdom to parents who are looking for guidance. It seems unfair to come to this site and bash Mr. Pearl’s suggestions instead of writing an article yourself, and letting us parents decifer between biblical truth and worldly foolishness. Nevertheless, I am glad you did post, because to me there is a clear difference in your arguments and the biblical pattern suggested in the article.

    Before I go on, it seems as though all of the “studies” done about the effectiveness of spanking don’t have any significance at all. God has prescribed the “rod” to impart wisdom and the scripture seems to be quite clear concerning chastisement, and that it is NOT pleasant at the time, but brings forth fruit. So regardless of the effectiveness of physical correction in today’s society (and the way it is implemented by the current generation), God’s word still commands it. And since we would all heartily agree that the God we serve would not command us to abuse children, the only logical conclusion is that we’re not doing it right.

    For those that seem to have found some discrepancy about the word “rod,” your point needs clarification. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the “rod” really WAS the shepherd’s tool you described as being absurd. But your description of a Hebrew word that somehow threw a wrench in your understanding was wholly unclear. What word? How was it used? It sounds like an invalid argument to me considering the apparent clarity of so many verses. What exaclty are all these verses describing? “the rod will drive it far from him”; “whom the Lord loves he chastens”, “no chastisement is pleasant at the time,” “smite him with the rod and save his soul.” You offer no alternative interpretation, and your arguent is very ambiguous and poorly worded at best.

    For those of you who are convinced that your childhood experience has taught you profound truths about spanking, I ask again, why God would be so clear in his instructions? Remember that bad experiences don’t make God’s word false. Bad experiences do, however, give Satan an opportunity to plant a seed of doubt and produce evil fruit from it. And Mr. Pearl’s point is true that one bad experience does not give irrevocable cause to abandon the procedure. It makes much more sense that one (or a few) bad experience(s) only further proves that it was an improper implementation of the procedure.

    Now, some criticism for the other side. – It is NEVER permissible to slander. God calls us to LOVE our enemies, so we should have only respect for fellow saints that are trying to do what they feel is right. Those posts that use harsh, unloving rebukes are sinful, as God calls us to “preserve the unity through a bond of peace.” And I feel that Mr. Pearl has stepped over the line in his article by bringing in his political views in the section he titled “why all the lies.” Regardless of the validity of his point, it was NOT part of the issue, and only gave skeptics something to grab hold of. This and other remarks such as “non-spanked children will end up working for the spanked children” are unproductive and arrogant. Besides, I am not trying to raise children who are “highly motivated and well-educated.” I want to raise “arrows” in God’s kingdom who bring Glory to God in all they do. In fact, knowledge puffs up, and it is VERY difficult for a rich man to enter heaven.

    Also, as far as determining “good parents” by seeing if they can raise their children without “violence,” I assume that by “violence” you mean physical correction. God says in Prov. 13:24 that “the one who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him chastens him.” So, you may be a “better parent” in your own eyes, but it seems that in God’s eyes you hate your child if you do not use loving chastisement.

    And lastly, those of you who do not use loving chastisement with the rod, how do you require obedience?

    Do you coax your children into obeying? – If so, I would assume that every request from your mouth has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and that sounds exhausting and wholly unbiblical.

    Do you bombard your children with guilt until they obey? – If so, your children must be emotional punching bags and I would think that one day they will become immune to your appeals.

    Do you bribe them into obedience? – If so, I bet they learn to never obey unless they can get something out of it themselves and instead of being humble servants, they will probably be greedy work-aholics.

    Do you trick them into obeying? – If so, I would think the day will come when they are too smart for your tricks, and they will cease to “obey” you or any other authority including God.

    Do you give them time-outs? – If so they will probably come to enjoy solitude where they can do and think whatever they want to and wallow in the self-centered mind that you trained them to have.

    I don’t mean any of this to sound arrogant, rude or slanderous. If it does, let me apologize now! I’m sorry! May God bless us all with the wisdom we need in order to raise up children who glorify God with their lives!

  35. My parents read your books when I was a child, and mostly lived by what you taught. I’ve turned out to be a well-behaved twenty year old, but I’ve had to deal with a lot of issues. I wondered sometimes when I was a young why my parents would want to physically injure me if they really loved me so much, and why it was good for them to hurt me when I was mean/rude/etc, but bad for me to hurt others when they behaved in the same manner. I had to work through a lot of self-loathing later also, which I think can be tied back to my childhood. You should be more careful what you publish and consider all of the consequences that it might have for your readers and their children.

  36. I have been spanked by both mom and dad. I’ve also been grounded, yelled at and many other things. Groundings and time outs never worked, because I’d purposely get into trouble so I could get solitude. My dad spanked me very rarely, but I really deserved it, like the time my brothers and I broke the back door window and I lied for my brothers, or when I carved my name into Antebellum era antiques. My mom on the other hand, would spank out of anger. To this day I’m more willing to obey and cooperate with my dad, but with my mom I second guess as to what her motive may be.

    Spanking doesn’t seem to be the horrible thing many people make it out to be, and it truly does hurt the parents more than it does the kids. My dad hated it when I messed up, and it took a lot for him to spank me. Every child is different, and every situation may be different. Before any punishment was rendered, we had a discussion on why we did what ever it was that got us into trouble, and WE got to decide our punishment most of the time. While I was reading “Little Men” my dad thought we should do an experiment like the Professor Bhear and Nat did, where I had to strike my dad, and to this day it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I have not gotten into a fight since that day.

    I love my parents, and think that my dad really tried to show God’s love for us. When we sin, he does forgive us, but he still makes us face the CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS. Newton’s 3rd law of motion even states that there will be an equal or opposite reaction.

  37. Baurind and Owen’s study defines spanking as “striking the child on the buttocks, hands or legs with an open hand without inflicting physical injury.” You advocate hitting the child with an instrument. There is a big difference. I am a researcher with an interest in child welfare and I know of no studies (and yes, many studies on spanking have been conducted on the general population, not just criminals) that find any positive outcome from hitting children with objects in the manner you suggest.

  38. I am both a martial artist and a parent, and a psychologist. I switched my children when they were small, for the very reason that it is very hard to do terrible damage to a child, to leave handprints or break bones with a little switch, but it does produce a very unpleasant “sting.” Hitting a child with your flat hand may require quite a fair amount of force before the pain is noticeable. I think hitting a child anywhere but the legs and buttocks is very unacceptable, and nothing is more dreadful than watching a frustrated and angry parent trying to whack a child with their hand through three or four layers of clothing. This isn’t discipline, this is frustration manifested. Getting that switch, stinging those little baby legs in serious punishment, formal discipline mode is much less painful, abusive and uncontrolled than anything you can do with your hands.

    1. Switching, spanking, slippering, paddling, ie hitting is NOT discipline – it is punishment. It is also VERY wrong. For everyone – old or young. As a grandparent I am appalled at how intelligent people can think it anything but abuse. As a martial artist myself I also know that hitting someone should only EVER be done as self defence or defence of another.

      Oh and btw .. Christ NEVER told us to spank our children. He died for ALL of us… not just you and me.

  39. I have been spanked since I was old enough to receive punishment for my own actions. I believe in using the rod of correction as a tool for the training of children. I am a 17 year old honor student and am highly active in my church. I’ve never had a behavior problem in school and I am known by my friends as a peacemaker among my peers. They come to me for advice when dealing with difficult family, social, or spiritual situations. I have held a job since I turned 16 and was able to work. I play piano, flute, piccolo, and tenor saxophone. I am responsible, goal oriented and a hard worker. I owe all of my achievements to my God, my parents, and the discipline they provide. I have loving, caring parents who I know only want the best for me. I hold my parents in high regard and truly believe that I have the most wonderful parents a child can ask for.

  40. I got saved a few yrs ago & read “To train up a child” when my youngest was a year old. My oldest was 9 yrs. My 9 yr old controlled us. We never spanked. When she was younger I hated going ANYWHERE with her. It was quite disgusting. After reading TTUAC. We started spanking… & wow! What fruit we saw! My (now almost 4 yr old) Is a sweet boy. I get compliments on how well behaved he is everywhere i go! He’s not scared of us, he just knows that actions have consequences. & he makes the choice in how he behaves. My, now 12 yr old daughter thanked me for spanking her. They are not scared, beaten kids, they are happy, confident good kids, who will grow up stable. My 3 yr old comes & says sorry (without even being told) after he is spanked & hugged & kissed. He’s not confused at all. At 2 he would see a child in the store throwing a fit & look at him with a surprised look & say “he needs a spanking.” He still looks almost shocked that children are behaving that way. He is a sweet boy with a very repentant soft heart. I wish i was spanked as a child. I see the blessed fruit, that can only be defined as a miricle.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story about your 4 & 9 yr old and the before and after results you saw with spanking. My mom spanked with a conscious effort to be calm when she spanked me and talked to me about the reason. So a consequence for my bad behavior and training of what was the right choice to do. I’m grateful for it and to this day my mom is my best friend and counsel.

  41. People have misinterpreted the bible many time over…The “rod” the bible is referring to is NOT a stick to hit your kid. It was originally referring to the Rod Shepherds use to GUIDE their sheep in the direction they want them to go. The Shepherds NEVER HIT their sheep, they held the rod out to move them in the proper direction.

  42. @Taiya – I suggest you do a little more research into the occupation of shepherding. As mentioned in the 23rd Psalm, shepherds traditionally had two instruments: a Staff (to guide) and a Rod (to correct). It’s a beautiful illustration of how God shepherds us in our spiritual walk as well as insight into raising up godly children.

  43. You wrote a good article here, Michael. It was very well researched and not only spoke well on the issue of spanking, but revealed a good picture of our downtrodden society. My wife used to watch adults in the news and would say, “Somebody needs a spankin’ “. I keep telling her that she should write a book titled that. We think it would be great if many adults could receive spankings today. It might just make for a better world.

  44. Thank you for this wonderful article. There is a difference between abuse and proper correction. Spanking is not abuse if it is done to correct because we love our children. If we mimic the parent/child relationship that God has with his own children, then the word ‘abuse’ would never be used, except by those who are ignorant of God’s Word.
    Thank you for taking a stand!!!!

  45. It was immediately apparent that Mike Ramsey, the DA in Butte County, CA, never read the book. He would have learned that it does not, in any way, suggest physical abuse. We have applied the principles and methods and they have worked wonderfully on my three children, ages 22, 18, and 15 now. All always seem to receive compliments on their abilities, maturity, and ethical behavior. I’ll go to bat for you folks any time!

  46. “nothing in our material that would ever lead to child abuse”…do you honestly believe that? I know of a half dozen or so cases in my small community…ardent followers of your teachings whose children are clearly abused. These children look downward, defeated. One mother I know walks around her home with a “hose” wrapped around her neck. I have no doubt that many of your followers are loving parents, but your teachings are misused and misinterpreted by many.

  47. I respectfully disagree with hitting children for any reason and this is why: my motherly instinct will not allow it. I spent 10 months with my child in my womb, carefully nourishing and taking care of him while there, gave birth to him with love and here he is, just giving me love. I can’t quote statistics or research, just my core inner instinct to guide and protect my child, not hit him. I could not live with myself if I hit my child. It’s not civilized. Again, this is from my innermost motherly instinct, and I believe anyone who does hit (even just for a sting) just isn’t willing to take the time to properly teach and supervise a child, giving them a safe environment. Hug your children! Love them unconditionally! Did Jesus hit? No, he blessed children and loved them. He loved and loved. I know you’ve read the Bible and are trying to interpret the “rod and staff” that was used by the Shepherd as rationalization for using a switch on a child, but reconsider, please! Your poor babies just want love. Don’t let them rule your lives, of course, teach them consideration and patience, but use some effort and teach them rather than hitting. Please post this, I feel I have written a respectful reply, though I cannot back my words up with articles or other sources.

  48. Again, words of truth from a man I am proud to call, “brother”. This issue, like all issues, is based on the Bible. It’s a no-brainer conclusion that we do what God tells us in regards to raising children. WE, as created beings, are either FOR GOD, or AGAINST GOD. You choose. I have 4 amazing children, one even has high functioning autism… and they all get spanked for disobedience. Am i spanking everyday, all day? No. But when there is disobedience? Yes. I love my children, and want the best for them, and God has given me His Word to follow, even in training my children. And I am grateful.

  49. My soul is sceaming “AMEN” At the top of it’s lungs!!! You go Pastor Pearl! I know God will bless you for standing up for righteousness sake. 🙂 (homeschooling mom of 5 boys and 1 girl, and I’m loving it!)

  50. I guess it comes down to whether or not we are going to choose as Christians to raise our children Biblically or not. If the Bible says “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, will we obey it as part of “training up a child in the way he should go”? We cannot obey some parts of Scripture and ignore others because we might offend people who do not understand or care for the Word of God as their standard of living. I’ll tell you one thing, if it were illegal to preach the gospel in America, I’d be in prison right now knowing that God must want a prison ministry going, because I will want to remain obedient to the Word of God because I know WHO I account to in the end.

    1. Just a note: “spare the rod, spoil the child” is not a verse anywhere in the bible. Go ahead & check. And the Hebrew translation of “Rod” actually is referring to the type of rod a shephard used to guide the wandering sheep. Not the hit them. Nowhere in the word of God does it say “spank” (or any related word) your child. Shephards didn’t beat their sheep- how much more should we be guiding our children? They are certainly more important than sheep. Love is Gods #1 commandment. And love is kind, patient…. How did God discipline us after Jesus took our sins? With love, mercy, guidance, loving rebuke… But do you think you’d ever see Jesus spanking a child? I can’t visualize this since I see a loving, correcting & accepting God. I think God has better ideas for “guiding” His children & maybe we should be patient & humble to ask Him what He would do.

      1. Well said Abbie ! God is love. Period. “There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.” 1John 4:18

        ” And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

        Now, I don’t know about you – but most normal people – and I include children here – ARE angry when they are hit – and yes, spanking IS hitting. Your hand or your belt or plumbline impacts a body, namely that of a child. It’s hitting. It hurts – the child, the parent and our heavenly Father.

  51. It’s not spanking when it’s done with anything but an open palm. using a weapon against a child (and yes, belts, switches, and wooden spoons are weapons) is never appropriate.

  52. @Jill – By definition an instrument used for spanking is not a weapon. (Although spanking can be done with either the hand or an instrument, the hand is less effective and we do not endorse this method.)

  53. Why do children have to be spanked to be taught a lesson?? It doesn’t make sense to hurt a child to prove a point. Discipline means to teach, train. Not to spank or hurt. If you are a good parent then you should be able to teach your child right from wrong and be an example. Most parents nowadays spank their children out of anger and are not good examples for them. So I don’t think spanking should be done on a child. That is just plain stupid! Especially if they are 6 months old!! Really??!! They cannot even talk and you want to spank them. What idiot would do that??!! Teach your children and let them make mistakes so they can learn and guide them. I think you giving parents advise to spank is just foolishness! God doesn’t punish. God justifies. The bible does say he loves justice. Therefore, we should practice justice not punishment. If the child acts out then teach them and take things away so they understand right from wrong. Spanking them isn’t a way to teach right from wrong but it teaches them pain and teach them anger. That is why kids hit parents back because thats what the parent does. WAKE UP AND STOP BEING FOOLISH!

  54. Well I respectfully disagree with your advise to spank because I grew up being spanked literally everyday because I acted out. I wasn’t “taught” to do right but spanked not to do it again. But what did I do, I did it over and over again. Because I was punished not disciplined. And there is a difference. Punish means to hurt and discipline means to teach or train. I don’t understand why children have to be spanked to teach them right from wrong. They need to be taught by discipline and example. Most parents nowadays are not an example to their children and spank out of anger and rage not because they want to “discipline”. I think spanking should be illegal in all states. But even that wouldn’t stop parents from spanking because “that’s how they were raised.” I think we need to bring up a generation that doesn’t include spanking rather living by an example and taught right from wrong. I use to nanny a 4 year old and in that household they didn’t believe in spanking. They had 2 girls at the time that were 8 and 10, I believe. They were very good little girls and were involved in church, school and just all around good kids. I have caught up with them and they are still good kids because the parents were an example to them and didn’t spank them. They did teach them right from wrong and disciplined. They were nice little girls and not angry like most teenagers even children who get spanked. I just don’t agree with spanking and don’t see why it should be enforced in homes. Children are precious gifts from God that should be taken care of not spanked.

  55. What does being a supporter of animal rights have to do with being anti-Christian? There are actually many passages in the Bible that support vegetarianism. God gave man dominion over animals but that doesn’t mean we should abuse them. God has dominion over us, and he blesses us every day. Shouldn’t we do the same? And what’s wrong with trying to prevent global warming? Maybe it’s God’s way of punishing people for being greedy with his resources. Anyone who cares about humanity should try to be slowing global warming-it’s effects will be disastrous on the developing world. Crops will fail, there will be water shortages, and great flooding. Does this sound like something Jesus would want? Second of all, making generalizations about groups of people takes away your legitimacy. The public schools are not a wing of “socialist propaganda”. The public schools offer an opportunity for children to relate to others of different backgrounds. Believe it or not, not everyone in the world is Christian, and children need to see that from a young age. I’m a devout Christian, and my two best friends from public school are Muslims. Has that made me a weaker Christian? No, it’s actually strengthened my own beliefs in Jesus and shown me that wonderful people can be found in every faith. Also, Jesus had very socialistic tendencies-rd Acts, Matthew, and the rest of the New Testament. “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” I’m not saying America needs to be socialist, but if Jesus showed socialistic tendencies, is what you’re saying moral?

  56. And on more thing:
    Children are raised, not trained. The word “training” sounds like you’re referring to all of God’s other creatures that you clearly don’t care about. Dogs and circus animals, not children, are trained.

  57. @Susie – We are leaving your comments up on this article as an example of all those making comments who are ignorant of (or purposely ignoring) the traditional child training philosophy presented by NGJ. They and you simply take 1 or 2 statements and twist them, to the exclusion of the philosophy as a whole.

  58. This is very McCarthy like indeed. Let’s hunt down all the reds, eh? I only say that because you really seem to have it in for the socialists, so much that you even claim that Russia, China, and North Korea were among the first to ban corporate punishment for children… The problem is that NONE of those countries have done that ever, as a matter of fact it is often condoned. On a separate note I’d like to know what ‘genetic discoveries and contrary evidence’ you’re referring to that have debunked the idea of organic evolution. Your article contains generic accusations and statements that are not supported by any facts but the ones you have invented yourself.

  59. I am reading this as of February 2012. If as many people as you yourself state are familiar with you and your philosophy, I don’t believe for a second that only sixty-four comments to this article were posted in over two years, even after the deaths of at least two children were connected to families who attested to follow your book in a disturbingly dedicated fashion. You are moderating comments (understood and expected) and only leaving those up which illustrate your purpose in some way (deceitful and sneaky). You will probably leave mine up in an attempt to “disprove” to further readers that this is what you are doing. Good job. This must make it so easy to convince yourselves and your “followers” that you are right.

  60. I wonder why everyone always hyper focuses on the spanking/training swats end of the Pearls materials when much of it is interacting, training by example and building up a good relationship with your child? Just because some evil person claimed the book cause thier abuse does not make it so. They were already abusive and evil to start with. Bad people always shift blame off of themselves and onto someone or something else. Claiming a child training book told them to abuse is lame. That everyong else is foolish enough to believe the abusive person’s lie is astounding. Well maybe not so much considering the average American is a sheep that can only think what the media tells them to.
    Child training is a whole package. The Pearls teach it as a whole package. Only those who fragment the teaching run the risk of becoming unbalanced and potentially harmful.

    1. The reason why we focus on the spanking that the Pearls advocate is because it is wrong to hit a child. It is NOT Biblical. Not ONCE did Christ tell us to hit our children and yes, spanking, switching IS hitting. Even the dictionary tells us that. Why is it that we adults are given all the grace in the world – Christ died for us ALL. Hitting children is NOT going to ‘save their souls’ only Christ himself can do that. He won’t be doing it by hitting any of us either. He is gentle and loving. He showed us how to treat one another – and told us to treat one another as we would want to be treated. Hitting and hurting was not mentioned. However He did warn us of hurting a little one, telling us that it would be better if we had a millstone put around our necks and were flung into the ocean.

      I honestly believe that there will be a lot of use for millstones….

      Children need love, and understanding, patience and care. Everyone should learn about ‘age related behaviour’ – and realise that children are programmed [by GOD no less] to learn by doing certain things that we find difficult to handle or are dangerous. A parent’s job is to care for the child, take it away from danger – not to hit it to ‘train it not to touch things’ – for that .. is teaching it to stop striving to learn …. It is also NOT peaceful.

      I don’t eat food that has tainted spots just because SOME of it is still edible. I throw the whole lot out. And when reading the Pearls books – they are SO full of errors regarding the translations of the Holy Bible, so cruel and so self serving …. the best thing any of us can do … is to destroy that evil. For evil it is. Satan hides in many shapes … the devil is laughing every time they sell a book, give advice or any of us take notice of them and spank their child.

  61. Thank you for all you went through, my children’s generation is at stake. I love your Biblical material, it has given me a deep passion to be the best parent with the Lord’s help. I am amazed at the sweet relationship I have with my children, thank you from my husband’s and my heart. It is one of the greatest gifts, thank you!

  62. I just want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for you and all of you at Cane Creek. I would have loved to have the opportunity to raise all of my children where you all are. God is still good even though, I do not have the support system that you do, but He is still guiding. I am wondering if the media and the ones that are trying to rip your books apart are reading and comprehending your books.. If my memory serves me correctly, there is one place in the child training books, that you say.. IF you are a Parent that has anger problems, then there might be another option for child training, I think you even warn some of us that are from broken and rough homes, that if anger is a problem and that if we spank our child too hard, to find some other form of dicipline, and not only that, for us to get counselling or encouragement in dealing with those issues.. I am thinking that even Debbie, states, in her help meet book, also, the consequences of a ladies anger.. anyways, God bless you, and I am praying that the ones that are attacking you and this wonderful work actually read what you write, and comprehend. If us old hill billy women can comprehend what you are writing, surely these high educated, high minded men and women of success can comprehend your teachings, or should I also say, our biblical teachings.. Either way, God knows the truth in what you and your family are doing.. There are some of us out there, that live and know the truth, and the joy that comes from it ALL… Thank you and a hand up the Father the maker and the finisher of our FAITH….

  63. I just thought you (whoever is reading this) would benefit for hearing about my childhood. I wasn’t spanked, switched, slapped, or swatted. Oh, I also went to public school. And guess what? As a child, I am told, I was one of the happiest, most caring kids anyone had met. I am not saying I was perfect. I did get in trouble. When I did do something wrong, I would get sent to “the corner” or be grounded. Most importantly, though, I would get talked to. My parents would explain why what I did was wrong and why I shouldn’t do it again and that was it. I wouldn’t do it again because I understood. Now, I am a 28 year old, educated, married woman getting ready to start my own family and I will be using my parent’s parenting method.

  64. We have read your material and listened to your tapes for many years. Do you ever consider it appropriate to slap a 14 year old son in the face for lying? Can it be done in an attitude of discipline and not anger? I am not trying to create a debate or cause a problem, but as Paul had righteous indignation (Acts 17) in Athens, not pure anger, is there a situation that makes it appropriate for a face slap, again for a 14 yo son? I appreciate your wisdom and your work. Thank You

  65. What I, in my ignorance as it seems, don’t quite get is the use of the word “training”. English is not my mother tongue and yet I’ve only heard the term when talking about athletes and animals. Now, my kids are neither olympic champions nor dogs or cats: to think one has to “tame” them as they would do with horses (or rebellious women as Shakespeare wrote), is kind of irking.
    Nonetheless, I’d like to know why you use “training” instead of “educative process” or something along those lines.

    1. Training is not limited to athletes and animals (and children). Physicians, attorneys, soldiers, firefighters, etc. and many other professionals are trained as well. As with these professions, training is a part of the education process. Training in any area is for the purpose of getting the desired results (a surgeon that heals instead of harming), and avoiding negative and destructive results. Training children as part of the education process is no different.

  66. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Pearl. Thank you for such wisdom. thank you for standing and obeying God. Thank you for giving us such great wisdom-the how tos. thank you. thank you. you have given me courage and grace for my and I to homeschool our children not to mention train them right. May God increase you.

    1. Hello Martina,
      Mike wrote an article designed to be used as a resource in defending your stand on Biblical child training, and it is available at the following two links. We recommend that you and your husband read these together.
      In the mean time, you may find this article helpful:

  67. I was first taken bare-bottomed across my mother’s knee as a five-year-old, and lastly at age 16. I was a well-mannered girl and a reasonably successful student, but I was also prone to reckless impulsiveness. My best friend and I once set off the fire alarms in the town hotel. And we got in trouble for making crank calls to the phone-in show on the local radio station.

    Good, sound spankings, even with a wooden hairbrush, were given as the punishment I always knew I had coming to me. It seemed I was forever testing the waters of personal accountability. A bare bottom hairbrush spanking returned me to the path of righteousness, but I was 16 before I finally closed the door for keeps on making mischief.

    The whole experience of my getting my bottomed spanked always felt perfectly natural to me. I was having to privately answer to my mum in my bedroom, and being bared and turned over her knee was a kind of rekindling of my fight against waywardness. It was just that every so often, I needed a well-spanked bottom to put me back in the Lord’s corner.

    I echo absolutely everything said in this excellent article about the robotic disparaging of child spanking by its tunnel-visioned enemies. My mother’s love was a constant, and not in the least diminished by her spanking me. In a very real sense, my spankings were a tonic, given to me as needed to keep me morally alive and well. All Praise to Mother Nature!

  68. I was first taken bare-bottomed across my mother’s knee as a five-year-old, and lastly at age 16. I was a well-mannered girl and a reasonably successful student, but I was also prone to reckless impulsiveness. My best friend and I once set off the fire alarms in the town hotel. And we got in trouble for making crank calls to the phone-in show on the local radio station.

    Good, sound spankings, even with a wooden hairbrush, were given as the punishment I always knew I had coming to me. It seemed I was forever testing the waters of personal accountability. A bare bottom hairbrush spanking returned me to the path of righteousness, but I was 16 before I finally closed the door for keeps on making mischief.

    The whole experience of my getting my bottom spanked always felt perfectly natural to me. I was having to privately answer to my mum in my bedroom, and being bared and turned over her knee was a kind of rekindling of my fight against waywardness. It was just that every so often, I needed a well-spanked bottom to put me back in the Lord’s corner.

    I echo absolutely everything said in this excellent article about the robotic disparaging of child spanking by its tunnel-visioned enemies. My mother’s love was a constant, and not in the least diminished by her spanking me. In a very real sense, my spankings were a tonic, given to me as needed to keep me morally alive and well. All Praise to Mother Nature!