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Spanking a 7-Month-Old?

June 15, 2003


Dear Pearls,
I am a pastor’s wife and have a question for you. Is it right to spank a 7-month-old for crying when put down for bed? I grew up with just ignoring the child, thus training them that they will not get their way. My husband wants it to stop all together. I know all the verses for training a child, but I am not sure how to approach this situation. I know you will give me a straight answer.
– Charity

Debi Answers:

Dear Mama,

Different families feel differently about this. Most babies quickly learn to adapt. Train your baby to become familiar with a special blanket or soft toy that she gets when she goes to bed. One of our friends uses white, soft, worn-out pillow cases so that she gets a fresh clean one each day. Babies find comfort in the familiar. Also, they like to know that they are not alone or abandoned. So keep a light on, a ticking clock in the room, or their door open so they can hear noises from the other room. Daddy needs to be in charge, and you need to learn to trust and honor his judgment. If you don’t, then the children will never trust and honor you. He is the head, and you are the heart of the home. Let the head decide, and the heart makes those decisions sweeter.

– Debi Pearl

Mike adds his two cents:

The above question is loaded. Since we do not know your attitudes or the details of your circumstances, it is impossible to give a yes or no answer. But I do caution: A 7-month-old is too young to be spanked as such—too young to be punished. They do not have any understanding of good and evil (Deut 1:39; Is 7:15-16; Romans 9:11) and cannot reason weighty matters. But the 7-month-old is already learning the dark art of self-will, and must be wisely, gently, and firmly constrained to yield to authority.

The very nature of authority is the power to constrain to obedience through enforcing negative consequences. “A child left to himself will bring his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Leaving the child in the bed to cry herself to sleep is indeed a negative consequence, and may be used as a last resort, but it is a result of a failure to train and is not the most effective training. Obviously, we wouldn’t want to see her crying herself to sleep on a regular basis, any more than we would want to spank her every evening. Difficult measures and unpleasant con-sequences should be thoughtfully employed so as to effect a positive change very quickly—in two or three nights. If negative consequences are not soon productive, they become counterproductive. So before I would resign to allowing her to spend her evenings crying, I would try other measures first.

Arrange circumstances so as to lull the child to sleep in a peaceful and natural manner. Don’t keep her up until she is exhausted. Don’t try to put her to sleep when her heart and respiration are racing from excitement. Be consistent in the details of how she is put to sleep each time. Create a thirty-minute “unwinding” ritual that ends with laying her down to sleep. Once you condition her to expect to yield to your overtures, she will lie down and sleep with only minimal suggestion, and even in more distracting circumstances.

When you have taken the child through her night-time paces and left her to sleep, never, never allow her to come out of the snooze mode and become active again. To do so is to leave her with the belief that time and place of sleep is left to her discretion. Humans are made by God to operate according to stimulation. Things that activate any of the senses are stimulating and pleasurable. Children love pleasure, and they love to be stimulated. They so love excitement that they will fight going into the “shut-off” mode. Wind them down gently so sleep comes naturally.

If the child has been mistrained, or if you have failed to provide a good prelude to sleep, and the child rises up to fight and resist, you should evaluate your whole procedure so as to improve your pre-sleep ritual for tomorrow night. But for the moment, you must constrain the child to obey authority and remain lying down. As a last resort, you may have to prove the power of your word by enforcing it with one or two stinging licks (applied with a small flexible switch) to the child’s leg that says to the child, “There is no reward for getting up; Mama means business; she is not going to give over to my demands; the path to greatest pleasure is to go to sleep; there is no alternative; my parents always get their way; what can I say? Good night.”

Commands are not negotiable; authority must be obeyed. The soul of the child needs that kind of authority in her life to be stable emotionally and to develop a will to accept discipline.
Finally, if you are angry or frustrated, do nothing more than allow the child to cry herself to sleep. You are momentarily unfit as a trainer. Get your head and heart together and do better tomorrow night.

– Michael Pearl

Leave a Reply

27 comments on “Spanking a 7-Month-Old?”

  1. Please, please read the work of Dr James McKenna, ( As a Christian I find it hard to read this site – children/babies are not animals and the word “train” is offensive. It is not a sign of failure that a baby (0 – 3yrs) does not like to sleep alone, it is not a sin, it is part of what we are, who and how God made us – do you think the Israelites put their babies in a cot in the tent down the lane way, training their baby to sleep? For goodness sake a baby has needs, they are not out to manipulate. Humans (including the early Christians), the Palestinians, the Israelites, nomadic, tribal peoples all human communites ( except ours of the 20th C)….COSLEPT!!!! What is being peddled here is a western, industrialised, routinised way of dealing with babies and children, wrongly trying to be backed up by Christian/Bible verses. Have you ever seen a baby strapped to the back of a mum as she worked in the fields – do you think that baby needs a spank cause it can’t go to sleep on its own somewhere in the field, laid down on the grasss? Please, please read widely and understand the deep compassion of Jesus toward children. This site is scarey and I’m a Chrisitian!

    1. GOD BLESS YOU ANGELA!!!! Thank you for your comment. I can’t see baby Jesus being treated like an animal that was evil and needed to be “trained”. I can’t imagine mary or joseph hitting Jesus with a switch to show him who’s boss (yes, he was God and perfect, but also had all the human experiences). I am so un-peaceful when I read most of the articles on this site. I want my children to obey out of love and because they understand its the right thing to do, not out of fear of pain or blind obedience. “my parents always get their way”???? isn’t that the exact attitude you don’t want your children to learn? But its ok because the parent is bigger and stronger to push a small child around (literally and not so literally)? That’s nothing but a BULLY!! People submitted to the nazis out of fear of pain, and even though some germans disagreed with them, they blindly obeyed because of that fear of pain and punishment. Please, truly pray and ask God to guide your raising of children, and I think HE will lead you to a much more loving and GENTLE way of raising HIS children on loan to us.

      1. Elaine said: “my parents always get their way”???? isn’t that the exact attitude you don’t want your children to learn?

        My response:
        Nope. That is what I want my kids to learn: that daddy is the authority and mama is his second, because that is the GODLY way of doing things. I want my kids to learn to do things because they’re right, too, but a small child does not understand right and wrong. They only understand pleasant and unpleasant.
        You learn not to walk in the snow in bare feet because of the cold, wet snow! You learn to look forward to chocolate cake because it tastes good. These are simple examples, and they are as complicated as the baby can understand. Rewarding positive behavior and making negative behavior unproductive works for every single creature, man and animal, with two brain cells to rub together. It will also work on your baby.

        Mama Hunter said: “Why teach your baby that expressing distress will be met with pain?”
        Is the baby expressing fear? Or anger? I know well the difference between “I’m frightened” crying and “I’m angry!” crying. We don’t know which this is.
        If the child is frightened, then the wind-down ritual, with its safe and familiar routine, will alleviate the fear. If the child is angry at her parents because they know she needs to sleep, then she should be trained that expressing anger for no good reason is counterproductive.

        It seems to me there are a lot of mamas who just don’t want to believe that their babies are capable of being anything other than sweet cuddle-dolls. These mamas are going to reap the pain of their foolishness with monstrous teens.

        1. You seem to be just as crazy as Michael Pearl is. If a baby cannot express themselves, how do you know if that child is frightened to go to bed? My son was hving trouble with his 8 month old daughter going to bed at night. She would cry and stand up in her crib, jump up and down sobbing when he laid her down. No one could figure out why. He decided to leave her alone to cry. He left a video camera in the room. The end result was that she was having night terrors after she fell asleep. Of course he did not know this, because he and his wife were asleep down the hall, and if she did wake at night crying, he lef ther be. This poor baby was firghterned to go to bed. Chidlren dream, even as little infants. They also experience separation anxiety. To swat a child on thr back of a bare leg, so that they associate bedtime with pain, is horrific. My class is studying the negtive effects of hitting (taining?) a child, and I cannot express enough to you, how horrible they are. True many children who are hit with pipes may in fact grow up to be normal. One-third will not be. Smoking cuases cancer in one-third of those who smoke. The other two-thirds may not get cancer, but does that mean we take our chances. Michale Pearl has absoultely no degree in child development. There are those who have studied children for over 30 years, from infancy thorugh adulthood, and I can assure you that their studies prove that we should not teach our children to get good results out of others by “hitting” them.

    2. Angela, if you have a problem with “training”, then you have a problem with the Bible. “Train” up a child is directly from scripture. And it’s not just animals that are trained…athletes, soldiers, workers, everyone gets training in something. I teach my children to “train” their hand in neat penmanship. If they are careful and controlled in the early stages, it will become automatic later. I want their obedience to be natural/automatic.. not optional.
      I’m a Christian, too, and this site doesn’t scare me a bit. It has helped me tremendously in being a mom…I’ve learned how important it is to take delight in my kids, how to really understand them and their needs, how to put my agenda aside and join with them in work and play. The depth and understanding…wisdom here is amazing.
      The world has taught our generation that any form of physical training or spanking is equal to violence. When you believe that, you are failing to use your discernment.
      I also read how important it is to hug and kiss my kids. Physical discipline does not equal abuse any more than hugs and kisses equal sexual abuse.

      1. Joan, I really liked your example of training/violence and hugs & kisses to sexual abuse. Some of you are missing the heart of all of this… You are not going to win the heart of your child with out training, discipline and love. God chose Abraham because he knew he would “teach his children”… the point that is being made is if we wait until we think our children are old enough to “understand” or “comprehend” we are deceived and have already lost. That is why the comparison is made about animals with no understanding or comprehension are able to be trained. How much more our precious little ones. You want them to obey you out of love and heart? Then train them in the way they should go… Train their heart to obey from love. God is not a man that He should lie… His Word is truth. In Proverbs He makes it plain – “if you spare the rod, you hate your child”. The problem is not with the Pearls’ ministry, but with the Word of God. Do you believe God or do you lean to your own experience and Understanding? I’m choosing to walk by faith and trust God’s Word. Thank you for teaching us how to train Pearls! I truly appreciate you…

      2. I say and ask again….did the Israelites “train” their babies to sleep? Did they, in the deserts,and in their communities in Jesus’ times spank a 7month old baby for not being silent and going to sleep when put in a “cot” or as actually what would have happened in those communities, was layed on the covered floor next to them?

        The answer is if we read widely about how humans have lived – the Israelites and early Chrisitians – they did not lay a baby in a cot, blow out the candle and expect the baby to sleep, nor did they spank or as you say “train” the baby to shut up and go to sleep if it cried. Did they actually see that as an act of disobedience needing to be addressed?

        The World Health Organisation endorses continued breastfeeding up to the age of 2 and beyond – they acknowledge and know the hormones within a mothers milk make not only her drowsy when she breastfeeds that baby, but the baby too will feel sleepy, enabling the baby to fall (as God intended) asleep in her/his mother’s arms or snuggled in under her arm pit as she sleeps.

        What I’m asking is for this site to separate western American 1950’s child rearing baby practices from bible scripture verses and indeed entwining them together. I believe the early Chrsitians and the Israelites would have rejected and been abhored by what is being espoused on this site.

        Please listen to me: “training” up a child in the ways of the Lord is not about smacking them into reasoning and being frightened of their need to be close to us – pushing them to be rugged individuals from so early.

        Even without the current knowledge in child/baby development civilisations knew what we refuse to acknowledge because of current the evils of marketing, baby formula and the idolatry of working for the dollar – that babies up until the age of even 7 and beyond long to (for survival reasons) sleep near their caregivers and protectors.

        Joan I don’t believe “training” a child has to involve violence and yes I include spanking in this. It is the road of peadophiles and the unthinking. Physical discipline should not and does not have to include physical punichment.

        The type of child rearing Joan you are describing is called behavioural conditioning and it’s father is Pavlov – most Christians would reject this approach which actually leads to a learned helplessnes in children and an inability to think through why they respond in the way the do.

        1. Angela –
          If you read other articles on this website, you would see that the Pearls actually did co-sleep with their children, and Debi breastfed for 2 years. They also had their children that were no longer sleeping with them sleep with older siblings. That was not what this question was about, because obviously that is not what the questioners family was doing. And no, I am quite sure the Israelites did not leave their babies in a crib to sleep alone, seeing as how the baby could be taken by an animal or something. That and the fact that they lived in tents. The advice given on this site is to train your children, but that you can’t unless you love them and they trust you. At least that is what I get out of it. Also, I don’t believe that this is “western American 1950’s child rearing baby practices”, seeing as the 1950’s parents were rather permissive and led to the hippies of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Have you read Dr. Spock? That is what childrearing advice in the 1950’s was like.

  2. An infant is NOT capable of reasoning like “Mama means business; she is not going to give over to my demands; the path to greatest pleasure is to go to sleep; there is no alternative; my parents always get their way; what can I say?”
    Why teach your baby that expressing distress will be met with pain? I don’t see that in Jesus’ teachings anywhere, and it reflects no understanding of a child’s development.

  3. “Behavioral conditioning”? PLEASE. Even complacency produces that. Stop speculating on what the Israelites did/did not do, none of that matters and you couldn’t prove it if it did.

    If you co-sleep you are training your kid to sleep with you; will one day need to train your kid to sleep on his/her own. If you place the little plastic things in the electrical outlets and let your kid try to pull them out you are training them to think outlets are safe. Training is not a bad word.

    The World Health Organization could care less about babies. We co-sleep and breastfeed our 10-month-old. And most of the time he eats ALL NIGHT LONG; I see no difference in sleeping habits when he does not or when he is put to sleep by rocking.

    Swatting a kid on the hand when he goes to grab an electrical outlet is not spanking – there is no violence in the sense that you are using the word. It doesn’t need to hurt or cause the kid to go into convulsions. Read your Bible:

    Proverbs 23:12-14:
    (12) Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
    (13) Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
    (14) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    2 Kings 2:22-24:
    (22) So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
    (23) And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
    (24) And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    The word beat in Proverbs 23:14 means to strike. The word tare in 2 Kings 2:24 means that God allowed two MOTHER bears to ripe 42 children into little pieces …

    Here’s another one. In the OT (since we like to compare our current day tactics to the ways the Israelites “trained” their children…)

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21:
    (18) If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
    (19) Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
    (20) And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
    (21) And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

    For a modern-day example:

    We do not do things the way they ‘used’ to be done and no one on this web site was advocating spanking, in this context, a 7-month-old; and I quote: “…is too young to be spanked as such—too young to be punished. They do not have any understanding of good and evil (Deut 1:39; Is 7:15-16; Romans 9:11) and cannot reason weighty matters. But the 7-month-old is already learning the dark art of self-will, and must be wisely, gently, and firmly constrained to yield to authority.”

  4. i am not perfect and i do not have perfect judgment but it does seem to me like a lot of you need to be spending more time with God and your kids and less time criticizing the Pearls!

  5. The irony of all of you who are screaming at this response – the Pearls actually cosleep with their children until they are about one. I forget which book I read it in, but they sleep in mom and dad’s bed, and then graduated to a sibling’s bed. They are merely addressing someone else’s situation.

  6. I have a baby girl, now 7 months old. She might not be able to discern right from wrong, but she definitely knows what “no” means, AND, she knows that if she does not obey, there will be consequences. I gave her her first swat when she was about 4 months old. She did not sleep well on her back, but learned to roll over when I placed her on her tummy in bed. I would hug and kiss her, lay her down, and then wait. If she rolled over, I gave her a light swat on the leg with a small wooden spoon. It only took a couple of times before she gladly went to sleep on her tummy. For those of you who would critisize, she was not scared, but she was tired, and Mama knew that she needed a nap. Why give the example? I knew it was for her own good to sleep on her tummy, and since she would not sleep on her back, I had no choice. She now sleeps fine on her back, so if she chooses to sleep that way – fine with me, but as with the previous example I do not allow her to sit up when I lay her down for a nap. Does she resent me or shrink away from me? NO! When she wakes up and I go to get her, she greets me with a giggle and outstretched arms. Again, it’s establishing authority in her life for her own good!!!!! Thank you Pearls!

  7. God is pleased with the passion from which all of your hearts flow! Let us all now allow ourselves to please him and take the truths you have heart and ask Him how He wants YOU to appropriately apply these to your lives. Thank you Paul for corralling in the herd using God’s loving Scriptures. Thank you Michael for your original humility in not being fully aware of the questioner’s circumstances and attitude that ultimately allowed you to provide some steps she can be sure to take “tomorrow”.

  8. Has anyone here noticed how much freedom of speech these “evil Pearls” are allowing?… how could they ever be overbearing if they haven’t deleted your posts yet?

    I don’t know them personally, but can’t you tell from what you read that they deeply love their children? When you love someone, you don’t reward him/her when they do something that will hurt them. If you love your child and are paying attention, I think the Pearls’ plan will work for you.

    If you have issues and would prefer that your children learn life’s lessons outside of your house… maybe a play-station would be more appropriate.

    I’m a physicist and I want to do an experiment. Let’s enter everyone’s parenting styles and children’s behaviors into a huge multidimensional database and do some statistics. Who’s up for it?

  9. Wow, you people scare me. As adults you have to ask about hitting a baby. You call yourself followers of God. Kids are God gift in life. How could you think about hitting something that only wants you to hold and love it(him/her). There will be time to correct and talk to them. Creating fear only stops the behavior when your looking. As for anonymous of course the child comes to you with open arms. Only for now because she wants your approval. This will change as she is older or she will abuse other things instead of you. Either way you are not and will not raise a healthy child by hitting them. I say if you hit for not going to bed, hit for back talking, hit for not getting good grades when will the hitting end, never end the cycle and hug and praise. Teach the children you are right there and will be there always just like we know God is.

  10. …Am I the ony one here who doesn’t believe in God? Why is so much of this site based around God. You should make some kind of advice that doesn’t have anything to with religion. I think the worst kind of abuse to a child is brainwashing it into believing in religion it may not have agreed with, had it not grown up with it. I also don’t fully agree or disagree with these disiplinary tactics. Yes, parents have gotten soft. But SOME of these things aren’t necessary.

    1. Your disbelief in God is your own choice. Since God is the source of truth the counsel and advice is based on that truth and it does not have anything to do with religion. Brainwashing by definition is the removing (washing) of something that is already learned and replacing it with a other information that is generally a lie. This is a very common practice of communist and fascist regimes. Parents (whether believers or nonbelievers) teach (not brainwash) their children. Many of today’s believers grew up with non-believing parents and many non-believers grew up with believing parents. Each individual will make that choice for themselves no matter their background.

  11. I can respect the views of all of you who disagree with the Pearls’ methods. It doesn’t offend or worry me at all, because I understand that it is in human nature to be gluttons for punishment. We do what feels good now even though we know we will suffer the consequences later. Naturally, we want to cuddle our babies for as long as we can because they’re just so sweet and cute. We laugh at all their funny little behaviors that would earn an older child a spanking. We excuse our own children’s naughtiness as personality quirks, even while judging other parents for their own children’s shortcomings.

    Just know that eventually you will have to train your child in the behaviors that you believe are correct. If you don’t want your 7-year-old sleeping in your bed, at some point you will have to train them to sleep in their own bed, or with a sibling. If you don’t want them to cry and throw fits every single night at bedtime, you will have to discover a way to train them out of it. The age at which you train them in these and other areas is completely up to you, as is the method that you use, but be assured that it will have to happen.

    I myself am the mother of a 3-year-old and a 13-month-old, both girls, whom I love dearly, and spank regularly. I do not believe in spanking in anger, or leaving bruises, or beating your child over and over again until you “get your way.” But I do believe that children who are too young to be taught verbally must be taught physically. Everything in this world that they do will have either a positive or negative PHYSICAL consequence. Touching a hot stove will burn their hand and they will learn not to touch it. A cat will scratch the child if he/she pulls its tail. Are the stove or the cat then abusing the child because they hurt him/her? Most of us would answer “no.” So why do so many of you feel that physically conditioning your child to a specific response is tantamount to child abuse? If I don’t want my 13-month-old to touch the keyboard when I’m holding her on my lap at the computer, I teach her that it is unpleasant to do so by spanking her hand whenever she reaches for it. As long as I am 100% consistent, she will always associate that action with that consequence. Those of you who feel a baby will not relate the two events have not tried it and been consistent enough to see that it actually works.

    Being completely consistent, immovable, and uncompromising, does not mean being uptight, harsh, or abusive. Most of us would agree that the place to pee is in the toilet and nowhere else. Does it make us abusive parents that we expect our children to behave in strict adherence to that belief?

    Those of you who find fault with the strict methods of the Pearls should look closely at the intended outcome, then ask yourselves if you would like your children to behave that way. If the answer is yes, then ask yourselves if it is really a bad thing to be 100% consistent, immovable, and uncompromising when trying to achieve those results.

    The only reason this question was even asked is because the proper training was not implemented from the birth of the child. When that happens, it is important to correct undesirable behaviors as quickly as possible, rather than waiting until the child “understands.” Really, do you think it will be any easier on the child (or the parents) for him/her to learn to self-soothe after 12 more months of inconsistent sleep-training? Nip it in the bud!

    1. Children are curious because of the beautiful minds God gave them… If you don’t want your sweet baby playing with the keyboard in front of him or her, don’t place him or her in front of an interesting grown up object just so you can catch up with Facebook or whatever else you might be doing. I guess I just don’t understand anything here… Are we not here to steward to the little children who our savior loved the most?

  12. I strongly second the advice to establish a predictable, calming sleep routine–one for nighttime and one slightly different for naps–and the use of something soft and comforting like a stuffed animal or blanket. Like Michael said, don’t wait til the baby is overtired; it will backfire and result in their not being able to relax. Our daughter learned to sleep 10-12 hours a night just by putting her to bed at the FIRST sign of tiredness (eye rubbing, yawning, whimpering), putting a routine in place, and putting her to bed awake but calm, when she was 4 months old. She learned to soothe herself and drop off to bed once we became persistent in the routine. It only took about 3 weeks to get to this point, and we never had to let her cry for more than 5 minutes. Both at that time, and when she regressed at 6 months and started waking up multiple times a night, I used a few techniques to calm her back down and put her to bed. At first, I fed her and this helped. I started out feeding on demand because I thought she might be thirsty in the dry desert climate, but I soon realized that she was trying to fall back asleep on me and was not actually eating. From then on, I limited how often I would breastfeed her, usually not between 8pm and 5am. Like Debi said, a baby needs to know she has not been abandoned, so if she cried inconsolably I picked her up, talked to her calmly, and rubbed her back until she stopped crying long enough to listen and take a breath. I then put her immediately back down in bed. She sometimes cried again, but when she saw/heard me walk away she almost immediately stopped and did her self-soothing (sucked her thumb, rolled over, grabbed her lamb) and went back to sleep. I think we need to remember that the word “training” isn’t a bad word just because we carry some bad connotations with it. Athletes train, professionals and skilled workers train–training is not just for animals. We are spiritual creatures, which means that inasmuch as we live in bodies, we do need training from time to time. Our nature craves it! The use of routines and sleep cues discussed in this post and my comment are well-researched, employing both classical and operant conditioning from basic behavioral psychology. While not everything done in the field of psychological research has historically been best for babies or people, learning to calm and soothe oneself, and to sleep well are a lifelong skills–and routines and cues will be useful even in adulthood. Self-soothing is learned behavior, and training a baby to do it is a gift to her and to you. You have to ensure that your purpose in training is noble, and that your means suit your ends. For example, if you were training a pit bull to attack on command, that might be a less noble goal than to train a rescue dog to sniff out people from among the rubble. Yet both trainers would we using principles of dog behavior to accomplish their goals, and depending on their methods, they might succeed or fail at producing the desired result. Training a person to do something good, something for themselves, and training them in a way that is good give “training” a positive connotation again. I think we have to remember that the body itself is not evil, but that it is susceptible to many of the same neural circuitry as animals, and it is our responsibility and privilege as self-aware, spiritual beings made in God’s image to be aware of our brain chemistry and how it affects our behavior, and then use that knowledge to better imitate God. This is a way of honoring God with our bodies and it is an act of worship. When I look at my daughter sleeping peacefully, knowing that I let her learn to calm herself down and drop off to sleep, I know that this is true.

  13. I used this and another article to train my little girl to settle down to sleep. She was 2, and had already been trained to stay in bed, but would consistently call out.
    I know she’s older than the article age, but I would probably do the same, if she was under a year, especially since none of my children have ever gone to sleep with mom or dad present (past the age of 2-3 months).

    Proverbs 22:6 about “Train up a child in the way he should go . . . ” is my prayer, and my 2 boys (8 & 5) know that is why we train like we do. My 8-year-old even verbally ‘helps’ with the training of his sister*. I can trust him to look out for her, in large part based on training that took place when he was younger.
    I know this is a little off subject, I added to show proof of reward for what happens when you consistently train. EVEN when they are very small.

    * I do not mean anything inappropriate with training; he is not the parent. I do however mean encouragement to obey mom, and helping her pick up her toys, etc.

  14. I have a 5 year old daughter who has never been spanked. Never. She is very very bright (in fact at school she works with children two years older than her), she always settles for bed straight away (and always has) and is probably one of the kindest, most thoughtful kids you could ever meet. She has been taught by example! We treat her gently and she treats us and others gently.

    All you are are poor parents looking for easy answers to things that actually require energy and commitment to handle. The only parents I've ever seen hit their kids are lazy ones and without exception their children have been the worst behaved I've known.

  15. I “sleep-trained” my baby at only 4 months. 🙁 Later, when I realized how wrong I had been, I worked for weeks to reverse what I had done, and to teach him he could trust me to be there when he needed me. I feel that teaching a baby he can count on you makes him more secure. Now, at 17 months, I still rock my baby to sleep sometimes, when he is willing. Sometimes, he wants to get in his bed. He likes to lift the curtain, or play with his 2 stuffed animals, and then, after a few minutes, and generally with very little (if any) protest, he settles on his own and goes to sleep. Your baby will only want to be rocked to sleep for such a short time, why rush it? Make him comfortable and secure, and help him to learn that his bed is a comfortable, safe place, and you are never far away if he needs you. Babies don’t understand that you haven’t left forever–they have no understanding of time, obviously. An older baby may understand if you tell him, “I’m going out now, but I’m only going to the living room. That’s where I’ll be, right out there in the living room, ok?” I do agree with Michael, about establishing a calm, relaxing bedtime routine. Children definitely thrive on predictability.

  16. Thank you for the article. I liked the verse Proverbs 29:12 however, when I looked it up in the KVJ the scripture read, “A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother”. Which Bible did you read to get that scripture because the Ancient Texts of the KJV read ENTIRELY DIFFERENT and mislead me as a mother.