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The Will To Dominate

August 15, 2000

The following article deals with a very important subject that we have touched on before but never discussed in detail—a child’s will to dominate. I chose this letter because it so clearly represents the many letters we receive. Though this mother has a good attitude and represents her responses as calm and controlled, she has failed to properly train. She is perplexed because her younger daughter is not so dominant. She feels there is something different about this one. All children occasionally manifest a will to dominate, but only a few are as intense as this child. Things can get out of hand in a hurry.
I underlined portions of her letter to draw your attention to key statements that reveal the child’s attitude.
I know this article is going to liberate many of you from uncertainties that have kept you from being firm and forceful with your little dictators.
I have also given practical solutions for eradicating this diabolical will to dominate.

Dear Michael and Debi,
Our daughter Sue is almost four. She has been a handful right from birth. In the hospital nursery they had to keep her in a separate room because her screaming disrupted the other babies! The hospital nursery workers told my husband that we were going to have our hands full. Sue never wanted to be cuddled until she was sick for the first time at 8 months of age. She wouldn’t even let us take her hand to show her things, even pat-a-cake! Sue was frustrated (and still is) about everything. frustrated that she couldn’t roll, mad that she couldn’t sit, furious that she couldn’t walk or talk.
We didn’t help matters by always putting her to sleep by means of walking, rocking, or nursing. Consequently, she never learned patience. We always went to her or picked her up with the first whimper, since we knew it would soon turn into a full blown, purple faced, raging fit. She had a temper. Finally at eleven months of age we began proper and consistent training, and when she turned one she at last began sleeping through the night.
When I asked her to put up her toys, she would throw the toys the other way, even after I would make a fun game of it, doing most of it myself. Or sometimes she would pick one item up as slow as a turtle, or place the toy on the edge of the bucket, so more often than not it would fall out, not in.
And yes, after a long time of working on the cleanup concept, I’m sure I applied pressure – nothing ever got cleaned up!
She’s still the same, picking up items with her feet or mouth, or going on to play with something else when I leave the room. Funny how her sister Ruth was taught the same way, and right from the start she loved putting things in buckets, and is a wonderful cleanupper.
Sue is the same if I ask her to put her sandals on and go collect the chicken eggs. She puts her boots on instead. I’ll say, "No Sue, your sandals." So she puts her sandals on backwards. I’ll say, "No Sue, put them on properly," and she’ll put them on and run out, only to take them off when she gets outside. When I realize she hasn’t returned with the eggs, I look out and see her sandals are off her feet and she is playing in the mud. I finally had to take away the privilege of collecting eggs, adding it to my responsibilities.
Staying in bed has been an issue since the 2nd week after we put her in a big bed. The novelty wore off and she realized her freedom, even though she understood the rules – no getting out of bed unless she calls and asks. Nap time and bedtime became spanking time. Off the bed she would come 2, 4, 10, 20 or more times! When we couldn’t take her bottom getting another spanking, we began to look for other penalties. If she got off the bed, we put her in the playpen (the crib was then occupied by her baby sister). She hated that, and would throw a fit and a half. She quickly learned how to climb out of the playpen. We finally took down her big bed and let her sleep on the floor.
Now that little brother has arrived, Sue and Ruth share a room. Ruth, who never questioned our authority about when it was time to go to bed, and who would be breathing heavily in less than five minutes, now jumps off the bed along with Sue. Sue will also call out many, many times, keeping herself and us up until nearly 10:00 some nights.
We make sure all needs are met before lights are out (potty, drink of water, read a Bible story, tucked in, one song while I rub backs, a few more minutes of ‘talk about’ if it’s not too late, and send daddy in one more time). Then the games begin. She wants more water. We say no. She wants a teddy bear or doll. She wants to talk some more. She wants another hug. She wants her back rubbed again. She wants more kisses or hugs. She wants to blow us kisses. The problem is, we have found that if we deny her any of the things she requests, and she goes to sleep on a bad note, like if we spank her for anything, she wakes screaming in the middle of the night, demanding the one thing we denied her before putting her to bed.
This literally went on for weeks. Lack of sleep was affecting everyone. We warned her before bed not to wake everyone up in the night or she would be spanked the next morning. That did not faze her. If she goes to sleep on a good note, with no spanking, then there is no problem in the middle of the night. But we can’t give her everything she demands at all hours of the night.
Sibling rivalry is another issue. Sue is selfish to the extreme, and very mean to her sister. She ‘bugs’ her sister all the time, which warrants a spanking, and she usually takes advantage of the times I am nursing her brother. (He was on oxygen and monitors for a long while and so was used to nursing in a quiet room – now if I try it in any other location, he refuses. He also has to be upright after feeding so I can’t just lay him down and go chastise her during his feeding.) She knows she will be punished, but enjoys the moment to it’s fullest.
Her behavior during spanking is difficult as well. I will ask her if she knows why she’s going to get a spanking, and she will say, "for being mean to Ruth." Then when I spank her she will flail, arch, and start SCREAMING, "huggie, huggie, huggie," over and over. I’ve told her before that when she’s ready to hug to stand up and come get one, so I now consider this screaming a form of talking back and I spank her again and again and again. We go through this every time. It is a very tiring day.
Now, this whole letter has begun to sound as if we have WWIII going on in our home constantly. Admittedly, my husband often comments that Sue may be only a skinny little 30 pounds, but when she wakes in the morning in a foul mood, the whole family is completely affected the rest of the day. She can be a real sweetie, saying "Mama, you’re the best!" Or in the middle of brushing her teeth she’ll stop and give me a hug, or she’ll put a whole bunch of toys together into a bag and give me her "present."
She is so easily distracted, and most times her behavior is not necessarily out and out disobedience. Yes, there is a standard that she has to meet, but spankings don’t seem to change her behavior. She even has missed out on numerous family outings. If she throws a fit, we do not allow her to go with us, but take her to my mother to keep. When we return, she acts indifferent and boasts of what a swell time SHE had.
This letter has become quite lengthy. I have been "Rambling" a bit myself. Sue has so much energy, a short attention span, a wicked temper, and a very strong will, and it all manifests itself in a disregard for rules. We thought that by age four we wouldn’t need to spank nearly so often. But instead of decreasing, the instances have increased!
Can you offer any suggestions?

Michael discusses the letter
This mother said of her daughter, "She has been a handful right from birth." She tends to think her child’s problems are not learned but rather inherited. She continues, "She never wanted to be cuddled." There are many physical reasons why a newborn may be very uncomfortable, in pain even, from being touched. Originally, the screaming may have had a physical cause. However, the physical problems will remedy themselves in time, but the attitude that she developed while in that state of discomfort is not a product of genetics or a birth condition. Pain doesn’t make a child selfish and mean, but it can provide an opportunity for selfishness to grow. Note: this mother called her one-year-old daughter’s actions "temper." She may have begun life with some kind of discomfort, but eleven months later, her anger was a learned habit.
She said that when she "asked her to put up her toys, she would throw the toys the other way," or "she would pick one item up as slow as a turtle, or place the toy on the edge of the bucket, so more often than not it would fall out, not in." The actions of this child cannot be explained in terms of personality. She had developed a willfulness to defy authority. Her slow "obedience" was a deliberate statement that, though they had the power to force compliance, they did not have jurisdiction over her soul.
This mother said her daughter is "still the same, picking up items with her feet or mouth, or going on to play with something else when I leave the room." By picking up items with her feet or mouth, she was technically obeying while proving her independence. It was symbolic obedience, designed to avoid the crises of disobedience, while at the same time making a statement of defiance.
She said, "Her sister Ruth was taught the same way, and right from the start she loved putting things in buckets, and is a wonderful cleanupper." It is true that one child will be born with a personality that is more social and group minded, while another from the same family will be more independent in nature. When a mare has two colts, one may be wild and full of spunk, hard to break, while the other may follow its master around like a dog. Both of them can be broken to the saddle, but with different techniques. If a trainer uses the same methods on both horses, he may train the compliant horse, while making a rebel of the spunky one. Another trainer, using a more overriding technique, may train the spunky horse while crushing the spirit of the gentle-natured horse.
All children are different. You may have four that are gentle and one that likes to jump fences and investigate the unknown. The more independent natured horses are more likely to ‘go bad’ if they are not handled correctly. If the gentle horses ‘go bad’ it is not so obvious because they don’t jump fences and kick you. They just stand with their heads down, afraid to enjoy themselves. Ruth is gentle in nature while Sue is independent, but we expect a good attitude and complete obedience from both of them.
Here is where it gets interesting. Mother said, "If I ask her to put her sandals on and go collect the chicken eggs, she puts her boots on instead. I’ll say, ‘No Sue – your sandals.’ So she puts her sandals on backwards. I’ll say, ‘No Sue, put them on properly,’ and she’ll put them on and run out, only to take them off when she gets outside. When I realize she hasn’t returned with the eggs, I look out and see her sandals are off her feet and she is playing in the mud." Again, what you are seeing is a will to dominate. Sue is consumed with the joys of independent action. She is exhilarated by defying authority. We are seeing the heart of a rebel. It is not as if she had a preference for backward shoes. She will always choose the opposite side of an issue. She wants conflict, because only in conflict can she prove her independence. She wants to do the opposite because that is who she has decided to be.
When Sue would not stay in bed, Mother removed the bed and let her sleep on the floor. Sue won the battle. Every time she sleeps on the floor she knows that her spirit has not been broken. Mother is the one that broke. Her parents gave up. They couldn’t win the battle of the bed, so not trusting their own authority, they disposed of the game. "Ha, weak, spineless parents; they can’t tell me what to do!" That ‘fit and a half’ is just a tool to intimidate her parents.
Mother said, "We make sure all needs are met before lights are out. (potty, drink of water, read a Bible story, tucked in, one song while I rub backs, a few more minutes of ‘talk about’ if it’s not too late, and send daddy in one more time. Then the games begin. She wants more water. We say no. She wants a teddy bear or doll. She wants to talk some more. She wants another hug. She wants her back rubbed again. She wants more kisses or hugs. She wants to blow us kisses. The problem is, we have found that if we deny her any of the things she requests, and she goes to sleep on a bad note, like if we spank her for anything, she wakes screaming in the middle of the night, demanding the one thing we denied her before putting her to bed. "
She was correct in calling it a game. Sue is not thirsty or lonely or needing to go potty. She is seeking one last symbolic victory before going to bed. If I read this home correctly, she is not starved for affection or approval. She is not suffering from "low self-esteem." She is enjoying the conquest. She knows where her sensitive mother is vulnerable, where she is more likely to feel guilt, to feel the need to comply. How can she refuse one more hug, one more kind word? She has her mother where she is most tender. Her actions say, "Don’t be a bad mother, prove that you love me by doing what I want. I am just a poor, thirsty child about to go to bed dehydrated. I just need to hear your compliant voice one more time before I go to sleep. I need a token of obeisance before you turn the lights out on my kingdom. Prove your loyalty and my worth one more time, and then my ego will be big enough to cradle me until morning."
It is a game of tug-of-wills. Games are played for the sake of playing. If Sue cannot win the prize, then it is enough to know that she fought a good fight, that she went down swinging.
It is horrible in its implications, that when her parents force compliance, she goes to sleep with that defeat brewing in her soul, and that she wakes in the night with renewed zeal to revive the battle and establish her dominance. Even should she lose the battle, the fact that she woke her parents and stirred their anger gives her a satisfaction that she is still alive, still vital, still autonomous, supreme in her independence.
Mother said, "Sibling rivalry is another issue. Sue is selfish to the extreme, and very mean to her sister." Extreme selfishness is not only valuing self above others; it is viewing others as material to be spent and wasted for one’s own entertainment.
Mother said, "She ‘bugs’ her sister all the time, which warrants a spanking, and she usually takes advantage of the times I am nursing her brother (he was on oxygen and monitors for a long while and so was used to nursing in a quiet room – now if I try it in any other location, he refuses. He also has to be upright after feeding so I can’t just lay him down and go chastise her during his feeding).
On a side note to this mother: By catering to your son’s sensitivity, nursing him where and how he is comfortable, you are allowing him to dictate the terms under which he will be happy. Wean him from his demands for solitude. If you don’t, he will follow in Sue’s footsteps. The way to re-condition him is to go to your secluded place and leave the door open so as to make him a little uncomfortable, but not enough to prevent him from nursing. Every time you nurse him, introduce just a little more noise and confusion until he finds himself nursing while you are singing and jogging. It will work. What you condition a child into, you can condition him out of.
Mother said, "She knows she will be punished, but enjoys the moment to it’s fullest." I know prisoners that will hit a guard, knowing that they are going to have their sentences lengthened, spend time in solitary confinement, lose privileges, have their parole date put off, and possibly get a beating as well. Why do they do it, knowing the suffering it will cost them? Because at that moment there is nothing more important in the universe than "showing this punk guard that I will not take this off nobody." That attitude started before 12 months of age, and no one was ever big enough to stand up to him.
When Sue interrupts a spanking, crying "huggie," it is nothing more than a ploy to stop her immediate suffering. At some time in the past, this diversion worked, and she keeps trying to use it, hoping it will work again. She is appealing to motherly instincts—engaging in psychological warfare, a way whereby she can gain the upper hand in the contest. She is seeking to redefine the issues by focusing on mother’s feelings rather than her own disobedience.
In the case where a kid is truly broken and contrite, and the child approaches you for reassurance, the hug would be appropriate, but not when it is used as a diversion.
I did not hug my kids after spanking them. I didn’t want to confuse the issue. Spanking is a time when you are rejecting an attitude or behavior, not a time to confer a reward. I had no fear of communicating rejection, for I spent 100 minutes smiling into the face of my child for every one minute that I spent disapproving of him. Don’t confuse the issue by trying to do two things at the same time. Spank your child. Then tell her to dry it up. And with no show of emotion, tell her to get back to what she was suppose to be doing to begin with. It is all over in thirty seconds. No trips to the bedroom—no special, emotional sessions. When they do something lovely, then you can love them.
She said that Sue "can be a real sweetie, saying ‘Mama, you’re the best!’ Or in the middle of brushing her teeth she’ll stop and give me a hug, or she’ll put a whole bunch of toys together into a bag and give me her ‘present.’" Children that have a will to dominate do not always seek confrontation. They can appreciate love and peace just like anyone else. It is just when you cross the child’s will, or when the demon of dominance (speaking figuratively) takes her that she is compelled to crush all contenders. A foul mood is animosity. It is a rejection and condemnation of others. In short, it is hatred and anger.
Mother said, "She even has missed out on numerous family outings. If she throws a fit, we do not allow her to go with us, but take her to my mother to keep. When we return, she acts indifferent and boasts of what a swell time SHE had." Her ‘act’ of indifference is just another way of robbing her parents of winning the contest, or it is a way of professing to have won by claiming to have had a better time than she would have had if she had gone with them. She sees that it hurts them and she enjoys the appearance of control, even in the midst of defeat.
What motivates her?
When we see this nearly four-year-old child exhibiting bizarre defiance, our first thought is, Why? What is in her mind when she puts her sandals on backwards? It seems so pointless. What motivates her to be antisocial? Why antagonize her mother, who’s approval she must value? We could understand if she was trying to avoid some difficult responsibility or gain some secret pleasure. Deviant behavior makes sense if it is driven by a desire to eat forbidden fruit, but who wants to drink water when you are not thirsty, or get up out of bed so you can get another spanking? Why create your own misery?
In criminal cases, the prosecutor must first establish a motive, for no one acts without sufficient cause. Was it passion, greed, lust? What did the perpetrator hope to gain? When the one known to have committed a crime has no motive, the authorities consider him mentally ill. A sound mind will always choose the path of pleasure, passion, or profit. His trail may be twisted and evil, but it can always be explained in terms of self-gratification—except in the case of the psychopathic and children like Sue.
She will sabotage any parental attempt to introduce control and reason. It is as if everything was wired backwards. Not all children are like this, but there are enough of them to make birth control popular and to keep the pharmaceutical companies wealthy selling Ritalin.
This concerned and perplexed mother is not alone. We receive hundreds of letters describing conditions identical to Sue’s.
Disciples of the New World Order line up to drug their children into oblivion, while Christian parents are lining up to get the devils cast out of their kids. I could wish the problems were as simple as demon possession. The Christian family can rid their children of devils in a thirty second prayer. But if this deviant behavior we see in children like Sue is a manifestation of their own character, then the fall of Adam is still in progress, and parents have a front row seat to ongoing depravity.
Defiance itself
The only factor common to all her weird acts of defiance is defiance itself. She seeks to dominate because that is where her greatest pleasure lies. Sue finds pleasure in standing crossways to the will of others. She is on a quest for sovereignty—to be the supreme potentate. She will not make the compromises necessary to be a part of society. She has set herself against the rules of group cooperation. She seeks to live beyond authority.
The original sin
Lucifer was the first one to take independent action. The Bible speaks of his motive: "I will ascend up; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (above other angels and cherubim); I will be like the most high (be like God) (Isaiah 14:14)." The original sin was not committed by Adam. It was committed by Lucifer, the cherub. He developed a will to dominate, to control, to call the shots, to direct not only his affairs, but the affairs of others. He wanted to be sovereign.
Lucifer (now known as Satan) was disembodied and cast down to the earth (then called Eden) before Adam and Eve were created. (Is. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:13-17; Job 38:7; Luke 10:17; Rev. 12:9) He knows that he will end in the fires of hell. He has no hope of winning, yet he still seeks symbolic victories. With defeat certain, he seeks gestures of defiance. He wants to express his rebellion in tokens of contempt. Satan finds pleasure in the knowledge that he is not giving God the pleasure of supremacy. In his twisted thinking, his very existence, every defiant thought and act of noncompliance, is a denial of the sovereignty of God. In that alone he finds meaning and purpose. There can be no ultimate pleasure for Satan, so he lives for the immediate pleasure of reveling in his own autonomy, in defiance of God. Seeing this, we can understand why "God prepared hell for the devil and his angels."
So, who is to blame?
Who is at fault? Did Sue’s parents bring her to this, or is it the fault of something that occurred on the theological battleground before she was born—the fault of God? Did she inherit this behavior? You will be in step with current trends if you label her behavior as "the sins of the parents visited on the children." When we mortals are called to account for our stewardship, we are prone to pass the blame.
To hear Christians explain their failures, either Adam is to blame, the devil, or my "sinful nature." I am a victim. My child is a victim. We are helpless. To be known as psychologically astute you must not demand anything of your child or yourself, for, according to trends, we are capable of nothing but toleration and compassion. This concept has been prevalent in all generations, but our day could be called "The Age of the Victim."
Likewise, in this era of "science," everything, including behavior, can be explained in terms of chemicals, genetics, predispositions, personality types, in short—a sort of cosmic fate. No one is responsible. So the politically correct approach is to either ignore bad behavior or sedate it with chemicals.
But this mother does not subscribe to a philosophy or theology that leaves her helpless. Though she is perplexed as to what she should do, she knows that there are answers, things she can do that will purge her daughter of this diabolical will to dominate.
How and Why
Even before Adam and Eve sinned, the element in their natures that drew them to disobedience was a desire for pleasure—the pleasure of taste, the pleasure of sight, and the pleasure of mental ascendancy. God created us with a desire for pleasure, something that is an essential part of his nature. God seeks the pleasure of his own will. Pleasure in any form is the elementary motivation of the human heart.
We think of pleasure as primarily physical or sensual, but there is also pleasure of the mind, the spirit, and the emotions. The third aspect of Eve’s temptation was an appeal to her desire for the pleasure of knowing, of being on the inside, of ascending by means of the power of knowledge. It was not her desire for pleasure that was evil. Eve sinned because she sought pleasure without regard to duty.
God placed the pleasure seeking parts of Adam and Eve under the control of their spirits and minds. Their volitional part determined just which pleasure they would ultimately value—the pleasure of existing in fellowship with God, under his authority, or the pleasure of independent, self-centered action. Eve chose the lower road of personal sovereignty and independent action. Children recapitulate the fall of Adam and Eve in their own quests for pleasure.
Pleasure and Pain
During those first weeks, Sue became conscious of the pleasure of her existence. Infants know only pleasure and pain—the pain of being hungry, and the pleasure of nursing; the pain of being sleepy, and the pleasure of a quiet room and soft blanket; the pain of a wet diaper, and the pleasure of having mother change it.
At first Sue found all of her pleasure in having her bodily needs met, but in a few days, as she nursed and satisfied her hunger, she came to view the act itself as pleasurable. When her tummy ached and mother burped her, she came to enjoy being held and cooed. Life opened up and she discovered the world was a wonderful place to excite not only the senses, but the mind and spirit as well. Her drives were all instinctive. She was incapable of any sense of responsibility or duty. Her only value was pleasure for the sake of its inherent satisfaction.
As she experienced the gratification of having her physical and emotional needs met, she developed wants as well—things that weren’t essential but felt good all the same. To her, there was no distinction. During those early months, parents cannot make any distinction either, and by the time they do, it is far past the time to begin training. Parents live to serve the child, and the child lives to be served. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. It is when parents allow the child to stay on the throne too long that problems occur.
The Contest Begins
When Sue was just weeks old, because her parents rushed to meet her every need, she developed a conviction that the world owed her constant pleasure, and that her parents were there to serve her. But there were times when she was cold or hungry, and her parents were unaware of her needs, or for some reason they failed to act immediately. At such times she responded as any human or animal would; she expressed discomfort through body language and whining noises. Her parents did what is natural for parents; they rushed to satisfy the needs (and wants) of their helpless infant. Since the whining brought a favorable response, she very quickly realized that she had control over those people meeting her needs. The whining was adopted as a form of communication. Why not? Parents understood it and responded favorably.
In time, whining lost some of its power, so she increased its intensity until it became screaming fits, which worked even better. Wow! She had the power to manipulate her parents. So her communication took on a more demanding and belligerent tone.
She was pragmatic. If it works, use it. If it feels good, do it. And all this by her first birthday! It was at this time that Sue’s parents started training her. Not too late to train, but certainly too late to start.
The roots of domination
When Sue got a little older, her parents lost some of that instinctual tolerance that parents have for their helpless infants. They became increasingly dissatisfied with her intimidating aggression. They kept thinking she would grow out of it, but instead she perfected her techniques. Having decided she was old enough to be disciplined, they started resisting her demands. But Sue did not want to give up her throne, so she intensified the use of tools that had always been effective—"fits and a half." Sometimes she got her way and sometimes she lost the battle. But she found her occasional victory-of-the-wills to be a great pleasure, because at the end of the battle she obtained the indulgence she desired.
Symbolic victories
But it didn’t stop there. Originally the war-of-the-wills occurred over issues of indulgence. The child wanted to eat, stay awake, put her shoes on, take her shoes off, not eat a certain thing, etc. Parents had one view and the child had another. But after winning enough battles, Sue developed an addiction to the heady sensations of sovereignty. She found great mental satisfaction in using other people to serve her wants. It made her drunk with power to stand against what she knew to be the greatest force in the universe—her parents.
Note carefully. Here is the final step that brought Sue to where we find her in this letter. She now seeks symbolic victories over her parents—over all authority. She will take a position for no other reason than that it is the opposite of her parents’, thus enabling her to experience the exhilaration of the fight, with the only prize being the title of winner. Sue now seeks opportunities to score victories over her parents. She finds pleasure in humbling them, in taking the wind out of their sails; just to win the contest of wills, to prove her prowess, to demonstrate her autonomy, to be her own person, to know that no one can make her bend or bow—what joy unspeakable and full of power!
The seed of sin
This was the third aspect of Eve’s temptation—to be like the gods, to know good and evil without making any judgments. The Apostle John calls it "the pride of life." Originally it was just a child’s desire for pleasure, but not any more. It is now something much worse. This child’s desire for pleasure has now mutated into a desire to dominate. This will to dominate is amazing in its strength, profound in its dedication and consistency, and evil in its disregard for the needs of others. We have discovered the soil in which the seed of sin is germinated.
When the will to dominate grows up
When tyrants grow up, they learn to control their inclinations in situations where they could embarrass themselves or loose their jobs or friends. The shameful thing is that when they go home, out of the public eye, they take out their need to dominate on their families. Most marital problems are rooted in the fact that one or both parties are trying to dominate the other. Women, normally thought of as more passive than men, are just as prone to have a will to dominate, but, due to their inferior physical statue, their tactics are more subtle than Sue’s. They will use weakness, bitterness, or emotional intimidation as a lever to control others.
Reclaiming your authority
Now for some answers. As Christian parents, we do not want our children to grow up belligerent and controlling. We are not content to wait until social concerns cause them to redirect their aggressions. We see it as a heart problem that needs to be treated at the root.
In one word, I am going to give you the basic principle that will lead to banishing this disease of dominance—WIN—because that is the rule by which the child is playing. When the child decided to be confrontational and challenge your authority, it was for the purpose of winning a game. When you win, the child looses, and the game ceases to be fun. There is no pleasure for the child in always loosing. A gambler is compelled to gamble as long as there is hope of winning. Addiction is kept alive by the hope of an occasional win. If a gambler suffered the misery of losing his savings, home, car, job, family, health, and honor, he would still gamble, because even in losing, his senses are brought to a pitch of keenness and vitality. He finds pleasure in the game, whether he wins or loses, as long as there is hope of winning. However, if he knew that the table was rigged so that he could never win, it would instantly purge him of his compulsion, because there would be no game, no suspense, no risk, and no possibility of the thrill of winning. Gambling at that table would become as dull as the lawnmower blade.
Addiction
Sue’s addiction to dominance is as strong as any addiction to heroin, alcohol, pornography, or gambling. Lust seeks opportunity. The possibility of opportunity keeps lust simmering on the front burner. This mother said that spanking was just not working. Just as the gambler will lose time after time, yet ignore the pain and press on in hopes of a better day, so a child will suffer the pain of spanking time after time, in hopes of winning the blessed reward of dominance the next time—or maybe the next. If Sue became convinced that there was no game and no chance of winning, that there would never be the "thrill of victory," only "the agony of defeat," she would drop the game and go where she could find true pleasure.
Peace on earth, good will toward men
Leftwing dogma would advocate turning the other cheek. They would advise us to give the child everything she wants, and when she is bloated with her personal expressions, she will normalize. But the Jungs, Darwins, and Deweys are ready in the wings with drugs in the event their social experimentations don’t work. If their promiscuous approach to child development fails, they have reserved the privilege of labeling the child as a victim of a brain disorder.
If you leave a child to function as if his independence and dominance were a viable option, you are not loving the child; you are allowing him to march blindly into certain destruction—not to mention the harm he causes to others along the way.
Sue has adopted a false worldview. It is a narrow, blind, and selfish endeavor that offers false hope and empty pleasure. To allow her to continue on this path without meeting a greater power is to allow her to continue to believe a lie that will damn her soul. Those who set aside goodwill and adopt a will to dominate are enemies of God and of the fellowship of humanity.
Fear God and the king
When adults or children choose the wrong path they must be brought to repentance. Modern, Christian psychology with its feather-pillow tactics will not work. Sue and other children like her need to come smack dab up against the fear of God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus said, "I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him (Luke 12:5)." Modern Christianity has had the fear of God driven out of it by counselors, motivational preachers, praise music, and Christian bookstores. Sue is too young to fear God, but properly placed fear is essential to mental and spiritual health. Sue needs to fear her parents as Christians fear God. I am not talking about fear of a spanking, nor fear of their presence, but rather, she should fear the authority they command.
When the rod fails
Dear Mother, as we said, you cannot depend on spanking Sue into compliance. Do not fail to spank, but don’t expect it to work until you have made some other adjustments. And when you do spank, make sure that it is forceful enough to get her undivided attention. If she can scream "huggie" while you are spanking her, you are probably not spanking hard enough.
Do not allow 15 seconds to lapse between the offense and the spanking. And do not allow more than 10 feet between the place of the offense and the place of spanking. The association is essential. Don’t hug her in reference to the spanking. That is an apology, and it is a diversion from the issues. Again, spanking will not be the deciding factor, but it will help keep the pressure on.
The Key to Victory
The key is to cut off all her attempts to sabotage your authority. When she draws a line and sets herself against your command, never, I say never, allow her to win. She is looking for opportunities to prove her independence and sovereignty. You need to look for opportunities to demonstrate your sovereign governorship. She must be thwarted by a superior power. So far, she has been stronger than you.
When you tighten up, she will bear down with her most defiant anger and hostility. Out of desperation, she will try every trick that has ever worked. You do not have to win the battle all at once. You just have to win every contest she throws at you.
A plan
Put the bed back in her room. Explain to her that she is going to sleep in it all night. Make a list of things you will do before bedtime. Each evening, check off the list with her, and when it is concluded there will be no more repeats. This list will be helpful because you have been allowing her to set the agenda spontaneously, whereas by writing it down, you are making her aware that you have an agenda from which you will not vary, and it is her responsibility to do the conforming. Place a glass of water in her room, and also a little potty. Let her watch the clock with you. When the hand gets to the bedtime hour, you will kiss her good night and leave the room. Do not answer any more questions, and do not respond except with a switch, in the event she breaks any of the rules. If she gets up to potty, there had better be yellow liquid in the pot, or she gets another switching.
Do not threaten to spank her until she stops crying. For some children that would work, but you do not want to challenge her to a contest that you cannot win. She may be able to tolerate the pain longer than you can tolerate giving it. Once she outcries the switch, she will keep on doing so, stretching her endurance longer and longer each time. You can harden a child to your ultimatums by allowing her to win the switching-or-else contest. The point is to win any objective contests she initiates. You can’t make her stop crying, but you can stand over her and make sure she does not get out of the bed. You don’t have to spank excessively. Your goal is to get her to "voluntarily" return to the bed.
You can get an intercom and mount it high on the wall so you can hear everything that goes on in her room. Don’t let her know that her room is bugged. If you can’t get the intercom, you may have to sleep outside her room. If she gets out of bed, go in there, and without saying a word, give her one or two licks—whatever it takes to get her back in bed. If she rushes to obey when she hears you coming, give her five licks anyway.
Do not drag her to the bed. It is important that she exercise her own will to obey. If she throws a screaming fit, give her several moderate licks every few minutes and wait beside her until she is so tired she obeys. Do this all night long, every night, until she readily complies.
If she puts her shoes on backwards, do not threaten or complain, just commence giving her licks right on her feet or ankles until she gets her shoes on the right feet. If she takes her shoes off in the yard, do not warn her, just go out in the yard and spank her feet until she finds her shoes and puts them back on.
Now above all, to make this effective, you must always maintain the dignity of a judge. You cannot be stressed or emotionally upset. She has been winning the emotional battle—a field you must conquer if you are to win the larger game. Pretend to be indifferent to her suffering at the end of the switch. You must always be calm and deliberate.
Lastly, you should reward all good behavior with lots of smiles and participation. Spend time enjoying her when she is in a state of goodwill. Try to keep her in a state of fellowship and participation at all times. Make it difficult for her to turn against the pleasure of fellowship and to sink into a bad mood.
Fellowship
When you take away a twisted pleasure, like the will to dominate, give her something to replace it. Fellowship and group cooperation is a powerfully stabilizing factor. Don’t allow your child to get bored. Be sure to wear a smile that comes from your heart. Look in your child’s face and show delight and satisfaction. Establish the child in a mental pleasure that is more pleasurable than the will to dominate.
Consistency
Be consistent. Repeat the former sentence 25 times and then diagram it.

Leave a Reply

79 comments on “The Will To Dominate”

  1. Thank you so much for this article...Today is my third time reading it...I am a newlywed and NGJ has given me a foundation for starting off my marriage and raising future children...Things in the "world" are for the most part severely out of order...Most would call your suggestions "child abuse" but IMO there is no other way...

  2. Thank you so much for this article...Today is my third time reading it...I am a newlywed and NGJ has given me a foundation for starting off my marriage and raising future children...Things in the "world" are for the most part severely out of order...Most would call your suggestions "child abuse" but IMO there is no other way...

  3. I have a "Sue" and lately, this bedtime defiance has been the issue. My husband is in the military and is away for several more months. This is our first time apart. Thank you so much for this article. It was just the encouragement I needed to be a stronger, more loving mommy. Not stressed and defeated! Thank you again for helping me love and raise my children better.

  4. I have a "Sue" and lately, this bedtime defiance has been the issue. My husband is in the military and is away for several more months. This is our first time apart. Thank you so much for this article. It was just the encouragement I needed to be a stronger, more loving mommy. Not stressed and defeated! Thank you again for helping me love and raise my children better.

  5. I too would like to know how to "handle" her while pregnant and all that goes with that. Also, She shares a room with her older sister. I don't think it is fair to make the older sister listen to the tantrums of her little sister ALL night, what should I do with the older with out fostering a bad habbit in her?

  6. I too would like to know how to "handle" her while pregnant and all that goes with that. Also, She shares a room with her older sister. I don't think it is fair to make the older sister listen to the tantrums of her little sister ALL night, what should I do with the older with out fostering a bad habbit in her?

  7. In response to Michelle:
    Believe me, better a week or two or ten of no one getting much sleep (because of initiating the proper responses Michael so very well describes) than a lifetime of defeat, poor relationships, manipulative behavior, etc...

    If your child's future spouse could know all this, they would thank you and bless you for dealing with the issues. Spouses can't do this work but parents can.

    And praise the Lord, the necessary measures will eventually be effective and, well, no longer necessary!

  8. In response to Michelle:
    Believe me, better a week or two or ten of no one getting much sleep (because of initiating the proper responses Michael so very well describes) than a lifetime of defeat, poor relationships, manipulative behavior, etc...

    If your child's future spouse could know all this, they would thank you and bless you for dealing with the issues. Spouses can't do this work but parents can.

    And praise the Lord, the necessary measures will eventually be effective and, well, no longer necessary!

  9. "I had no fear of communicating rejection, for I spent 100 minutes smiling into the face of my child for every one minute that I spent disapproving of him."

    This resonated with me. When I am reluctant to discipline my child, I realize it is because I know I have been lax with training, and with ensuring my heart is turned towards them. There is no guilt or reluctance when my children have been having their needs for my attention, time, smiles, and cuddles met above and beyond the minimum.

  10. "I had no fear of communicating rejection, for I spent 100 minutes smiling into the face of my child for every one minute that I spent disapproving of him."

    This resonated with me. When I am reluctant to discipline my child, I realize it is because I know I have been lax with training, and with ensuring my heart is turned towards them. There is no guilt or reluctance when my children have been having their needs for my attention, time, smiles, and cuddles met above and beyond the minimum.

  11. I was really appalled by both the situation described in the letter and the response. I'm so sorry that your family is struggling so much with Sue, but I do not agree with using force or cruelty to control her. God and Jesus use love and patience... and intelligence. You can too.

    1. I agree that there are other ways to discipline than to spank and depending on your child, they may or may not be affected. However, it seems that so many are quick to make the comment that what Michael says is wrong but do not offer any other options of helping this woman. My sister works with autistic children and a great deal of them would benefit from firm parents. She is often commenting that it is the lackadaisical attitude of the parents that allows the autism to see the worst. That doesn't mean that all of them should be spanked but it does mean that consistency (like M stated) is probably the most important factor. The article to me does not seem to show that the girl has severe autism, she may have some sensory issues but her behavior is not typical of a severely autistic child. I would like someone to state how to help this woman and not just state that M is advocating abuse...give her options then or keep quiet!

  12. I was really appalled by both the situation described in the letter and the response. I'm so sorry that your family is struggling so much with Sue, but I do not agree with using force or cruelty to control her. God and Jesus use love and patience... and intelligence. You can too.

  13. Thank God for the Pearls. Thank God that they have dedicated their lives to teaching others what the Bible truly says about raising children.

  14. Thank God for the Pearls. Thank God that they have dedicated their lives to teaching others what the Bible truly says about raising children.

  15. My comment is to Ann-Marie, it is obvious that you don't have a 'Sue' in your household. I am scared for my son if his 'will to dominate' is not cured. What you do not understand is that this method is not cruel, it is taking every instance of disobedience and giving it the necessary consequence it deserves. With these type of children there just happens to be more instances towards the parents, their siblings, friends, and anyone in vicinity. Please realize that these children if not 'cured' WILL take their anger out on someone.

  16. My comment is to Ann-Marie, it is obvious that you don't have a 'Sue' in your household. I am scared for my son if his 'will to dominate' is not cured. What you do not understand is that this method is not cruel, it is taking every instance of disobedience and giving it the necessary consequence it deserves. With these type of children there just happens to be more instances towards the parents, their siblings, friends, and anyone in vicinity. Please realize that these children if not 'cured' WILL take their anger out on someone.

  17. We also have a 'Sue' and I thank God for you sharing this! Sometimes she seems to control the family and I needed to know that someone else had the same issues. Thank you for the godly advice!

  18. We also have a 'Sue' and I thank God for you sharing this! Sometimes she seems to control the family and I needed to know that someone else had the same issues. Thank you for the godly advice!

  19. Given the early sensory issues [extreme displeasure at being held, screaming so severe that experienced nurses who see thousands of infants a year, felt the infant needed to be removed to another room], coupled with what appear to be cognitive dysfunction and insomnia... you might just be switching your kid for being on the Autism Spectrum.

    I'm relatively sure no one has ever managed to discipline a neurological disorder out of a child.

  20. Given the early sensory issues [extreme displeasure at being held, screaming so severe that experienced nurses who see thousands of infants a year, felt the infant needed to be removed to another room], coupled with what appear to be cognitive dysfunction and insomnia... you might just be switching your kid for being on the Autism Spectrum.

    I'm relatively sure no one has ever managed to discipline a neurological disorder out of a child.

  21. I am a preschool teacher in a Christian environment with a "Sue" in my class. This child is disobedient, disruptive and defiant. Mom is an enabler who swears that "she doesn't act like this at home". Don't think for one minute that "someone else" or school can fix these problems. Parents, you can run but you can't hide. Instead, my concern is that the other children witnessing the fits and tantrums will decide to follow suit - believe me, some have. I removed my own child from the class because I started seeing behavior at home that mimicked "Sue's". My discipline options during the school day are ineffective and limited by law. Parents, God loves these kids more than you ever could. He has a plan for their lives and unless you can get these early years under control, believe me the schools will label your kids and put them in a cellar somewhere or worse - kick them out in the early grades. Don't let it come to that. You may want to homeschool in order to get a good feel for what's going on and send your kids to school when they are able to exercise self control. If you think you see a will to dominate (it is unmistakable behavior and you'll know it when you see it) BELIEVE it when you see it. Few people will care enough to tell you the truth. Be a good listener when that rare person DOES express a concern.

  22. I am a preschool teacher in a Christian environment with a "Sue" in my class. This child is disobedient, disruptive and defiant. Mom is an enabler who swears that "she doesn't act like this at home". Don't think for one minute that "someone else" or school can fix these problems. Parents, you can run but you can't hide. Instead, my concern is that the other children witnessing the fits and tantrums will decide to follow suit - believe me, some have. I removed my own child from the class because I started seeing behavior at home that mimicked "Sue's". My discipline options during the school day are ineffective and limited by law. Parents, God loves these kids more than you ever could. He has a plan for their lives and unless you can get these early years under control, believe me the schools will label your kids and put them in a cellar somewhere or worse - kick them out in the early grades. Don't let it come to that. You may want to homeschool in order to get a good feel for what's going on and send your kids to school when they are able to exercise self control. If you think you see a will to dominate (it is unmistakable behavior and you'll know it when you see it) BELIEVE it when you see it. Few people will care enough to tell you the truth. Be a good listener when that rare person DOES express a concern.

  23. I'm feeling a bit confused and frustrated with this article, because I have a "Sue" in my home and she was like this from birth. I have two kiddos, my first, the "Sue," and my second, also a girl. "S," my oldest, has very specific needs that "J," my second doesn't. While I am in agreement that the world is full of sin, I do not agree that this behavior is not inherited. From DAY ONE she has been like this. Just like from DAY ONE my youngest has been sweet and kind. If we love our children where they are, keep expecting them to improve, and treat them with respect, they will learn to be kind, responsible, loving adults.

  24. I'm feeling a bit confused and frustrated with this article, because I have a "Sue" in my home and she was like this from birth. I have two kiddos, my first, the "Sue," and my second, also a girl. "S," my oldest, has very specific needs that "J," my second doesn't. While I am in agreement that the world is full of sin, I do not agree that this behavior is not inherited. From DAY ONE she has been like this. Just like from DAY ONE my youngest has been sweet and kind. If we love our children where they are, keep expecting them to improve, and treat them with respect, they will learn to be kind, responsible, loving adults.

  25. I have a son, now 18, who was what I have concluded is oppositional defiant. I have to say, this article, although it came too late for me, was the first thing I ever read that gave a glimpse into our lives with him since age 2. I hope and pray other desperate parents find it.

  26. I have a son, now 18, who was what I have concluded is oppositional defiant. I have to say, this article, although it came too late for me, was the first thing I ever read that gave a glimpse into our lives with him since age 2. I hope and pray other desperate parents find it.

  27. I agree with the firmness described here 100%. I strongly disagree with the spanking. It is unneccesary and as described by the parent does not work with these children. When the child becomes aggressive turn them around and cross their arms in front of them and hold their hands at their back. It is best to do this sitting as you may also need to wrap your legs around there legs. This keeps them from hitting or kicking you. You must not let them free until they are 100% compliant, no screaming, trying to bit etc. This is how to stop physical aggression. Spanking just encourages it, remember that kids role model.

    As for the rest. Of course dont take the bed from the room. But if they cant take care of their thing everything else can go. Leave them two changes of clothes and let them earn the rest back with good behavior.

    The short book 123 Magic gives exceptional info on how to handle these kids. These methods work IF you are willing to do the hard work. If not look forward to doing the hard emotional work of dealing with an adult in and out of the system.

  28. I agree with the firmness described here 100%. I strongly disagree with the spanking. It is unneccesary and as described by the parent does not work with these children. When the child becomes aggressive turn them around and cross their arms in front of them and hold their hands at their back. It is best to do this sitting as you may also need to wrap your legs around there legs. This keeps them from hitting or kicking you. You must not let them free until they are 100% compliant, no screaming, trying to bit etc. This is how to stop physical aggression. Spanking just encourages it, remember that kids role model.

    As for the rest. Of course dont take the bed from the room. But if they cant take care of their thing everything else can go. Leave them two changes of clothes and let them earn the rest back with good behavior.

    The short book 123 Magic gives exceptional info on how to handle these kids. These methods work IF you are willing to do the hard work. If not look forward to doing the hard emotional work of dealing with an adult in and out of the system.

  29. I agree that this mother needs to be firm and set some boundaries, but I disagree 100% with the spanking and abuse recommended. Obviously this child has a strong will, and by spanking, you are only entering into a battle of wills that can have serious lasting physical and emotional consequences for mother and child. What happens when spanking doesn't work? You hit harder and harder and harder until when??? Either the child wins or you've crossed that fine line between spanking and child abuse. I prefer to teach my son that hitting is never ok. It's not ok for him to hit another child. It's not ok for him to hit an adult. It's not ok for adults to hit each other, and it's certainly not ok for an adult to hit a child. Violence is NEVER an acceptable solution. I would recommend Dr. Sear's Discipline Book for some much more peaceful alternatives, that take the child into consideration as well. Discipline is not just about making a child do what you want, it is about teaching them and giving them the internal controls and motivations to do what is right because it is right, not because they are afraid of getting spanked.

    1. Erin, the word "abuse" was never used, until you decided to use it. That is very unkind of you. Please be careful with words, our Lord has commanded to guard our tongues. Thank you.

  30. I agree that this mother needs to be firm and set some boundaries, but I disagree 100% with the spanking and abuse recommended. Obviously this child has a strong will, and by spanking, you are only entering into a battle of wills that can have serious lasting physical and emotional consequences for mother and child. What happens when spanking doesn't work? You hit harder and harder and harder until when??? Either the child wins or you've crossed that fine line between spanking and child abuse. I prefer to teach my son that hitting is never ok. It's not ok for him to hit another child. It's not ok for him to hit an adult. It's not ok for adults to hit each other, and it's certainly not ok for an adult to hit a child. Violence is NEVER an acceptable solution. I would recommend Dr. Sear's Discipline Book for some much more peaceful alternatives, that take the child into consideration as well. Discipline is not just about making a child do what you want, it is about teaching them and giving them the internal controls and motivations to do what is right because it is right, not because they are afraid of getting spanked.

  31. Thank you so much for this article. Its just what I needed to read. We have a two year old that we adopted three months ago--it is obvious that she is VERYdefiant and rebellious. I do not loose hope as she is not our first "toughie." Again, this article spurred me on to not give in or give up. Blessings upon NGJM, one of a kind!

  32. Thank you so much for this article. Its just what I needed to read. We have a two year old that we adopted three months ago--it is obvious that she is VERYdefiant and rebellious. I do not loose hope as she is not our first "toughie." Again, this article spurred me on to not give in or give up. Blessings upon NGJM, one of a kind!

  33. What is sinful about Sue's behaviour is it's direction, not its foundation. I am not sure if Mr. Pearl realises this or not - from what I have read so far, he seems to be universally against stubborness in children. If that is true, it is a failure of understanding. Our worst sind are perversions of God's greatest gifts to us. Sue may be defiant and pushy, but her stubborness is a gift. A strong-willed little girl who demands a good reason and a proven authority to direct her actions is a future teenager who will not let her friends convince her to do anything she does not believe is right; a future woman who will not accept lies, just because they come from the mouth of someone who claims to speak for God; a future mother who will not have trouble out-stubborning her own children. The object should not be to teach Sue thoughtless submission to authority, or to break her of her stubborness, but rather to teach her that her parents are trustworthy and strong. She does not believe that now because she has no reason to: they have not shown consistent devotion to their own rules, and they have folded before the whims of a four year old. How can she rely on these people as bastions of strength and wisdom? What choice does she have but to demand her own authority, when no one else has shown that they have the authority to protect her? That refusal to accept authority that does not stand on its own is valuable, and precious. Where it has gone wrong is that instead of seeking out trustworthy authorities

  34. What is sinful about Sue's behaviour is it's direction, not its foundation. I am not sure if Mr. Pearl realises this or not - from what I have read so far, he seems to be universally against stubborness in children. If that is true, it is a failure of understanding. Our worst sind are perversions of God's greatest gifts to us. Sue may be defiant and pushy, but her stubborness is a gift. A strong-willed little girl who demands a good reason and a proven authority to direct her actions is a future teenager who will not let her friends convince her to do anything she does not believe is right; a future woman who will not accept lies, just because they come from the mouth of someone who claims to speak for God; a future mother who will not have trouble out-stubborning her own children. The object should not be to teach Sue thoughtless submission to authority, or to break her of her stubborness, but rather to teach her that her parents are trustworthy and strong. She does not believe that now because she has no reason to: they have not shown consistent devotion to their own rules, and they have folded before the whims of a four year old. How can she rely on these people as bastions of strength and wisdom? What choice does she have but to demand her own authority, when no one else has shown that they have the authority to protect her? That refusal to accept authority that does not stand on its own is valuable, and precious. Where it has gone wrong is that instead of seeking out trustworthy authorities

  35. Are you kidding me?!?!! Beat a 4yr old on her feet and ankles until she puts on her shoes?! You'll be lucky if you don't break bones!!!
    I was spanked as a child, and I fully admit that I am a better woman for the butt-whoopin's I took, but this is above and beyond any form of reasonable discipline.
    It is one thing to spank a child on the behind (I've done it to my nephews and will continue to do so as needed), but NEVER with any implement and certainly never on a place on their bodies that wasn't "properly padded". As a child who was spanked, I can say with full authority that it is the FEAR of punishment, the FEAR of disappointment from my parents, that improved my behavior...NOT the pain of the spanking.
    My father, who is the toughest, scariest man I know, and whom I love wholeheartedly and unconditionally, and RESPECT completely, always says that kids are like animals: "A lil bit of pain instills the fear needed to correct behavior." However, he's also quick to point out that you don't need to make blood flow, or leave marks or bruises to get your point across. It's much more about the attitude of the parent than the force or implement used to give punishments.
    There is a reason why, to this day, I can look at my nephew and say "If your aunt has to come over there, you are NOT going to like it." And he immediately modifies his behavior. It's not because he's terrified of how much it will hurt if I swat him on the butt, it's because I instilled a heathly dose of fear and respect into him at a young age....and it certainly was NEVER by beating him.
    Attitude - yours in response to your childs', is what REALLY counts when it comes to discipline.

    1. Lisa, I don't mean to sound disrespectful, so let me say this nicely...Mr. Pearl never said, "Beat" in the whole article. Where did you get that? Your comparisons are your own, not his. Seems like there are many people who are not hesitant to put words into others mouths. I really think that God does not want us to do that. We must be very careful in how we disagree and how we treat those we disagree with, so we can show Christ in all things. Thank you.

  36. Are you kidding me?!?!! Beat a 4yr old on her feet and ankles until she puts on her shoes?! You'll be lucky if you don't break bones!!!
    I was spanked as a child, and I fully admit that I am a better woman for the butt-whoopin's I took, but this is above and beyond any form of reasonable discipline.
    It is one thing to spank a child on the behind (I've done it to my nephews and will continue to do so as needed), but NEVER with any implement and certainly never on a place on their bodies that wasn't "properly padded". As a child who was spanked, I can say with full authority that it is the FEAR of punishment, the FEAR of disappointment from my parents, that improved my behavior...NOT the pain of the spanking.
    My father, who is the toughest, scariest man I know, and whom I love wholeheartedly and unconditionally, and RESPECT completely, always says that kids are like animals: "A lil bit of pain instills the fear needed to correct behavior." However, he's also quick to point out that you don't need to make blood flow, or leave marks or bruises to get your point across. It's much more about the attitude of the parent than the force or implement used to give punishments.
    There is a reason why, to this day, I can look at my nephew and say "If your aunt has to come over there, you are NOT going to like it." And he immediately modifies his behavior. It's not because he's terrified of how much it will hurt if I swat him on the butt, it's because I instilled a heathly dose of fear and respect into him at a young age....and it certainly was NEVER by beating him.
    Attitude - yours in response to your childs', is what REALLY counts when it comes to discipline.

  37. I was wondering if this little girl might have some degree of autism? A lot of autistic kids have sensory issues and don't like physical affection all that much, which seems in line with her frequent crying and not liking being held as a baby.

  38. I was wondering if this little girl might have some degree of autism? A lot of autistic kids have sensory issues and don't like physical affection all that much, which seems in line with her frequent crying and not liking being held as a baby.

  39. Dear Sue's mom and dad...your child may have a behavior disorder that is just as real as being born without a leg. Your child may also have a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Have her evaluated before you start spanking her every time she's not compliant. I have a child that has Asperger's and is Oppositional Defiant and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He does just fine without us having to spank him. He simply experiences the natural consequence that comes with making a bad choice.

  40. Dear Sue's mom and dad...your child may have a behavior disorder that is just as real as being born without a leg. Your child may also have a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Have her evaluated before you start spanking her every time she's not compliant. I have a child that has Asperger's and is Oppositional Defiant and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He does just fine without us having to spank him. He simply experiences the natural consequence that comes with making a bad choice.

  41. I agree with both Denny and Aaron. I also think that all signs here point to Sue being on the Autism spectrum. She really needs to be assessed. I don't agree with the child abuse being advocated here anyway but this child needs professional assessment and assistance and the parents need to be educated about parenting a child on the spectrum.

  42. I agree with both Denny and Aaron. I also think that all signs here point to Sue being on the Autism spectrum. She really needs to be assessed. I don't agree with the child abuse being advocated here anyway but this child needs professional assessment and assistance and the parents need to be educated about parenting a child on the spectrum.

  43. We had a child like this, and with help to get proper training for him, now ,at 8 he is one of the most obedient and respectful children you will ever see today.
    We did it by 'proper' spankings, loss of privileges and training sessions for him and a lot of pray and fasting for myself. I wish I had known how to train when he was younger.
    I am thankful for him and his remarkable maturity today. I have been stopped in stores by total strangers who 'just have to let you know what a good boy, he is'. People who knew us before have complimented us on his turn-around. I am only saying this to encourage other mothers out there. It may seem discouraging, and never-ending when you are in the midst of it, but it won't always stay that way. You will be greatly blessed!

    By-the-way, for you out there who says she has autism, etc. My son was labelled with so called medical problems that totally disappeared when he was brought under control!

  44. It is with a mixture of sadness and hope that I write this post. I do believe in spanking, and understand it to be part of God’s plan for disciplining children… but in the hours that I spent yesterday examining this site (came across it by accident through a link after searching for medical info) my heart felt very unsettled. Many articles stirred feelings that “this isn’t right,” but this article caused the most dissonance with my spirit. I own To Train Up a Child, and have read it and agreed with most (if not all) of it in my younger years, but now age and wisdom and mentors in the faith have shown me a more grace-based view of parenting. I reviewed the book yesterday before composing this. Let me say that I believe that children should be taught to obey, without complaint or delay, with respect & cheerful hearts. I would probably spank for most of the same things that the Pearls recommend, but in a very different spirit. It seems as though their “punishment” spankings are seen as retribution, a payment for sin….that is not the purpose of spanking! A spanking does not save a child’s soul from sin any more than a whipping saved the soul of a rebellious slave in the 1800’s! It seems that a dangerous notion is being purported here: that the parents are king and queen, ultimate rulers who must be obeyed…but without a focus on Christ or the means of grace being imparted to children. Where is the humility of a parent who comes alongside a child and says, “I am a sinner, too”? The issue is not obedience to the parents as sovereigns in their kingdom, but to teach children to obey authorities in order that they may learn to obey God ALONG WITH US. Where in this discipline process is the appeal to the child’s conscience? The entreaty to follow the Lord’s way instead of the way of rebellion? MOST disturbing to me was the cold, hard nature of the process of spanking described here. “I did not hug my children when I spanked them. I did not want them to be confused.” Confused about what?!? Spanking is a form of loving your child. We are to discipline our children in the manner that God disciplines us, with entreaties, with patience, with love and gentleness, even amidst the pain. Pearl says that he just told his children to “get back to what they were doing” and that there was nothing “emotional or special” about the time of discipline. “When they do something lovely, then you can love them,” Pearl says. What adult wants to receive that type of discipline from the Lord? A calculated, painful process of discipline with no restoration? No, that is not the God I serve! My Lord draws me to Himself after correction, when my heart is soft, when I long for Him the most. This is how we must discipline our children if we want to reach their tender hearts. The Pearls admonish parents “not to show weakness” by demonstrating displeasure with the act of inflicting pain, but to be emotionally detached… that isn’t how God disciplines His children! He often does it with tears! Think of the weeping prophets! Discipline isn’t a way of measuring justice but a way of demonstrating loving limits in a tangible way. Why shouldn’t a parent show pain to a child? The child needs to know that the parents don’t enjoy inflicting pain, but that it will be done in obedience to the Lord. After discipline is administered, the child should be taken in the parent’s arms and held, cuddled, assured of unconditional love as fellowship is restored. There should be a time of prayer, asking God to continue His teaching work in the child’s heart…and the parent’s! Our children should see us as fellow sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Christ! I could go on forever, but for anyone who seeks a more grace-based view of child discipline, I strongly recommend Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. He advocates spanking for many of the same reasons as the Pearls, but the process as outlined in his book includes a lot of the “before and after the spanking” components that make them more effective, if your goal is to reach a child’s heart and not just modify his behavior. If even one family has children who are parented with grace instead of legalism as a result of this post, praise Jesus! (P.S. I agree with many of the others who have posted… this child seems to have problems that go beyond those of a typical child…)

  45. I have 3 boys 7,5,3 I have been allowing them to win the battle emotionally and even in me being consistant, rather then spank I threaten, rebuke them ove rand over for bad behavior, give lots and lots of warnings, and I see how its affected them, they are mean at times with eahother speak mean sometimes and say words that I dont approve of like eew your a poop head to eachother, or sing songs and say peepee butt underwear in their songs and I am busy cleaning or cooking with the girls and just rebuke them from the other room as to not be inconvienced with spanking them, I mean dont get me wrong i do occasional spank for the offense yet its inconsitant so thats why they continue in it, well i ahve had enough and I am DONE! Bedtimes are horrible as they all share a room the 3 boys and 2 of them sleep ina full size bed which is plenty of room for them both yet they bicker and argue and fight and play with their flashlights talk and get out of bed and me and their father are so tierd we just rebuke them from the livingroom and after the 4 or 5th time we fianally go spank them, our inconsistency is the problem and they know it.when we would spank we would do it privetly as to not embarass the child and then hug thema fter and pray witht hem after reading this article tonight was different we gave a command no talking or playing no lights you will stay in bed no bickering no playing no noise. and my oldest tested he is 7yr old he talked to his brothers i stood outside the door and heard him i went him switched him 3 times and he protested prior why am i introuble i didnt do anything wrong, i didnt give in i told him did you obey or disobey he said i disobeyed and i said ye syou did now bend over he did willfully and went back to bed 10sec later he did it again he talked, i switche dhim agian this time he said i wasnt talking I whispered, I said you did you obey or disobey he said disobeyed but i just whispered, i didnt engage i switche dhim 5 times this time, and guess what he went to bed and he was asleep in 5min, his brothers didnt make so much a peep, he served as an example to them and they all swere asleep in less the 10min, usually its an hour or 2 of bedtime battles. I AM THANKFUL YOU CONFIRMED FOR ME that its okay to switch without hugging after as thats rewarding them and confusing them...

  46. I have read the sheperding a childs heart but to be honest a 3 or 4year old will only associate a spanking as advoated by tedd tripp, with being hugged and kissed, it only promotes them to disobey to obtain the before and after hugging and kissing as any child wants and desires the affection of their parents. a anegative action gets a negative response a positive action gets a positive response, very simple, up until the age of 7 most kids arent that complex i mean its very simple fellowship and discipline aare the key a great balance of both, getting to your 3 year olds heart is knowing that he is selfish and depraved and is in need of training, you train that child by showing them that your the authority as theya re in training how they respond to your authority is how they will respond to Gods authority, my child needs to know I want complience and obedience and when thats not given then a spank is appropriate and I dont have to hug them and kiss them after as they will assoicate the bad behavior /disobedience with a spanking and hugging and kissing, thats confusing them dont want to do that

  47. I think the real issue here is this: What we want to teach our children? If all we intend to teach through our discipline is compliance to our directives, then the hugging/praying/restoration of fellowship after a spanking isn’t really necessary. The pain of a spanking could be quite productive as a behavioral deterrent, for sure. What is being described in this article, and in many of these posts, is a conditioned response—scientists have used this for many years with laboratory animals. Acting in a desirable way produces a reward (love, attention, something desirable), and acting in an inappropriate way produces pain or an unpleasant response. But our children are far more than animals, and I believe that there is soooo much more to discipline than merely teaching compliance. I don’t want my children to merely obey me because they fear a spanking or they know I’m the boss; I want them to obey because it is RIGHT, and because it pleases the Lord. I want their HEARTS to be trained, as well as their wills.

    When I was very little, and I was spanked, my parents always held me afterward and reassured me of their love for me. I was not confused, and I always felt loved and secure. I knew that my parents were in charge, and I usually obeyed them. I never disobeyed to get attention, and I never felt resentful of those spankings. When I got older, my parents adopted more of the philosophy of “spank and go,” and, although I still knew they were in charge and didn’t cross them very often, I also was not sorry after very many of those spankings. I sometimes felt that they were unfair. I knew my parents loved me, but this discipline seemed somewhat cold and distant—not a part of their love—just a payment for whatever “crime” I had committed. I took the discipline and moved on with my life, but my heart was not changed. We are not law enforcement; we are the nurturers of our children. All discipline (physical or not) should be done in a spirit of love and in a way that will bring our children to repentance—not fake repentance to get the spanking to stop, but true repentance that comes from the heart.

    When I spank, (and even sometimes when I rebuke or correct without a spanking), I pray with the child BEFORE administering the discipline. I ask the Lord to help the discipline to be effective. One of the main reasons I do this is to show the child that I am depending on the Lord to give ME wisdom as I discipline, but also to show them that I am depending on THE LORD to change the child’s heart, not the spanking! God uses spanking to drive foolishness from a child’s heart, for sure, but HE is the one doing the work, not a switch. I want my children to depend on the Lord in every area of their lives, and I want them to see that I am trusting the LORD to change their hearts. Sometimes just an entreaty to a rebellious child along with praying with them for guidance changes their heart without a spanking! You know why? Because God doesn’t need a rod to change our hearts! Yes, He uses it sometimes, but He doesn’t “spank” us every time we sin. (Thank goodness for that!) I have heard it said that God’s LOVE is what changes our hearts. If He loved us enough to bear our sin in His own Body on the cross, to reach out to us while we were still sinners, not with a stick on our backs, but taking the blows on Himself instead, I am confident that expressions of love and reassurance to a disciplined child are pleasing to Him. When the spanking is over, I hold that child in my lap for several minutes reassuring them of my unconditional love: “I will always love you, no matter what you do—and my love is free; you do not have to earn it”; then I ask for an apology, and pray with the child again, asking God to help the child to be obedient in the specific area in question and also asking Him to continue His work in the child’s heart. When Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto Me,” He wasn’t just referring to those who were being obedient at the time.

    God’s love for us is not conditional upon our obedience. Rather, we are told that “God demonstrates His love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). I think it is MORE dangerous and confusing to a child if we refrain from hugging them and showing our love when we administer a spanking. It is true that younger children are more concrete and less abstract. For this reason, I think they will benefit MORE from the hugs and reassurance of “I will always love you” from a parent after a spanking. A very young child will not associate pain with love and may begin to question if a parent truly loves him or her if “left to themselves” after a painful spanking. Children tend to view God through the lens of their relationship with their parents, and this may lead them to feel that their parents (and God) only love them when they are obedient. The older child, who may have a relationship with or at least an understanding of the Lord, will probably benefit more from the prayer than a younger child will, as the heart of the older child is more likely to be convicted… but I think giving both the hugs and reassurance of love, along with the prayers, with a spanking at ANY AGE are a good and godly idea if your goal is truly to help your child understand God’s view of sin and His view of us in the midst of our sin. God hates our sin, but He loves us in the midst of it, and His love does not stop temporarily when we sin! We preach the gospel to our children every day with our words and actions. We need to consider carefully what we are saying to them.

    I find it rather strange (and even a little disturbing) that the idea of comforting a child who is in pain is considered a way of confusing them. Let’s think about this: if your child touches a hot stove, he learns from the pain of a burn that it’s a bad idea to do so. Does this mean you wouldn’t hold or console your burned and crying child because you’re afraid he would associate touching the stove with extra hugs and attention??? It seems that the real issue of confusion here, as Mrs. Lopez admitted, is the inconsistency of the discipline, not the hugging, prayers, and cuddling after a spanking. The consistent discipline on the night she mentioned was far more effective than the other times when the children knew multiple warnings would be given. She was very specific in explaining to her son why he was receiving discipline. I doubt if he would have been confused had she hugged him afterward and prayed with him that Jesus would help him to obey by staying quiet in his room and going to sleep. In fact, she may not have had to return to spank a second time! The 3- and 5-year olds would have seen that “Mommy loves us, but she sure means business tonight!” Probably everyone (including Mom) would have felt better as they went to sleep. When administered properly and consistently, a spanking is not confusing to a child, nor is the restoration afterward. However, if you feel that your child is “earning a spanking” in order to get your love and attention, than I would venture to say that there may be a greater issue at stake. Are they getting enough hugs and cuddles during the day? If they long so much for your attention that they will earn a spanking in order to get it, then maybe they really do need some extra hugs!! Regardless, consistency is the key: when children know that disobedience will ALWAYS result in an unpleasant consequence (whether or not it be a spanking), generally, they will obey.

    Reader, I ask you this, what do you want to teach your child? If all you want to teach is compliance, then the way you spank isn’t that important. Even an abusive spanking will likely result in compliance! (I’m not saying that a spanking without a hug is abusive, just that abuse can be effective in changing behavior.) I want my children to be assured of my love EVEN MORE THAN they are assured of my discipline. I would never spank my child and send him/her to bed without taking that child in my arms and assuring the child of my love. I want my children to know that, as surely as discipline will follow disobedience and disrespect, so also reassurance of love will follow that discipline.

    Think about the Lord, and the way He relates to us as adults. Remember that our own hearts are just as depraved as our children’s. How does God He discipline us as His children? Does He use His power over us to force us to obey Him? When we disobey, does He punish us and send us on our way to hopefully do better next time? How would you respond to that type of discipline? You might obey out of fear or discomfort—but would you wonder if God loved you? Would you fear that He loved you only when you were “good”? Rather, doesn’t our Lord woo us with his love and then lovingly discipline us when needed? Doesn’t He follow up the painful times of discipline with tender love and care for us? Doesn’t He often discipline with entreaties…with assurance of judgment, yes, but also with assurance of love? What is the character of God in discipline? I want my character in disciplining my children to be like that of the Lord in His discipline of me. He is the perfect Parent. I want to follow Him. I take comfort in the fact that Jesus loves me, even when I sin. Even when I mess up, I am not merely punished and rejected or sent on my way…I am disciplined with love EVERY TIME. And by God’s grace, that is how I will discipline my children.

    ( Some other books I’d recommend that teach parents how demonstrate God’s character in nurturing and training their children are Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and Romancing Your Child’s Heart by Monte Swan.)

  48. Dear G, What a beautiful and comprehensive response to this article. It's easy to see (sadly) how in the hands of emotionally unstable people, Mr Pearl's words of advice could be used to do great and irreparable damage to a child. (staying all night in a room switching a 4 year old?) And since there's no way for Mr Pearl to know all who read and follow his words, he is doing a mamoth disservice to many, many children in this world. I just don't think I'll ever understand the mission of the Pearls rule over and thrust violence upon little, curious creatures who are brand new to God's world.

  49. I appreciate this article. My little tyrant has just turned two. She was a mostly easy baby, & we didn't have consistant problems with her until she was around maybe 18 months. I have only just read "To Train a Child", which a friend gave me. I've had similar trouble with getting compliance simply from a spanking. I know in your book you say that putting a child in his or her room will only cause them to brood, become bitter, etc. Often, we spank & put our girls in their room (if warranted) for them to calm down & as a way to further reinforce the punishment. Our older daughter, now almost six, rarely gets in trouble any more. Yet our younger, in ways seems very much like Sue. She's not gone to some of those extemes...yet, but she's only two. I know the battle must be won while she is still young.

    I guess one of my main questions is, since you said the mother didn't win the battle over the bed by removing the bed (which I sort of get), how will I know when I'm actually losing a battle, though it may sometimes appear otherwise. For example, when Emma refuses to do something she's told, & she's been spanked repeatedly...I can relate to where the mom said they couldn't bear to spank Sue's bottom again...& we finally put her to bed & let her scream it out. Often these occurences are when she is tired & really needs a nap, & when that's the case she usually falls asleep shortly. Yet, despite our best efforts (& short of feeling abusive, & while trying to control our tempers & not overreact), we ultimately failed to get her to comply. So are we failing?

    One of my biggest causes for concern over this is that my husband is currently having to work third-shift hours. So, today, for example, I was afraid she was going to wake her father when I put her in her room. Yet I didn't want to let her "win". Thankfully my husband is a heavy sleeper, but I feel like I'm still falling short somewhere. When Emma is spanked she will appologize & seems so pittiful. Yet, at times she still refuses to obey...so is she truely sorry? I'm at a loss. I pray for God to help me know what to do & that He will break her will, but not her spirit. The way you spoke of the horses really hit home to me. I see that with my two daughters. I also see that even though my younger daughter has that strong, stubborn, independent, & even defiant will, she still also has that sweet, loving spirit too. I don't want to push her to the point where her spirit is broken. I fear it may be a fine line, & I've known of others who, trying their best, ended up with a young adult child who completely rebells against them.

  50. Wow! I'm reading this as a mother of a 13 year old. Unfortunately, I have allowed him to believe that he is in charge. I am recognizing this behavior only now. I talked myself into believing that because he was so intelligent that he deserved to argue his side of things.
    Had I nipped this in the bud 10 years ago, I wouldn't be sitting here crying now because my son has run away from home.

  51. This child needs to be evaluated for Autism. The early sensory issues (not wanting to be held, crying/colic), wanting feet to be in mud or boots rather than in sandals, high energy with short attention span, sleep disturbances, picking up items with mouth or feet... That's a sensory-related developmental disability. And that can't be beaten out of her. That's in her DNA. She needs a loving and supportive environment with some good occupational therapy, ABA, and LOTS of patience. I have a child on the Spectrum and it breaks my heart to imagine what would have been suggested to me for her "defiance" (which was not true defiance but the fact that she has severe autism and a neurological disorder). PLEASE take this child to Early Intervention and get her the SUPPORT that she needs. These issues will only get WORSE if you view them as a discipline issue, and not as a developmental disability.

    1. Michael has said elsewhere that if spanking is not working, then stop. He also recognizes that there can be physiological reason(s) for behavior. Even in this article he recognizes the differences among children and the need to adapt parenting and training accordingly. Many have stated that Sue may be autistic. this is possible except for her ability to to behave properly. Autistic children are usually very consistent in their behavior, rarely deviating from their compulsive behavior.

      1. I am afraid that you are sadly mistaken. Children on the autistic spectrum often do *not* behave consistently and are also often able to behave in typical ways at times while acting out at other times, particularly when under stress, confused, unable to communicate their needs, or when they aren't receiving the understanding and accommodation that they so desperately need.

        I am speaking from experience as I have worked with dozens of kids on the autistic spectrum and done quite a bit of research on the topic.

  52. This article should be titled "A Parent's Need to Dominate"

    There are children with sensory issues that fit this EXACT profile. Physical punishment only sends their senses spiraling and will not deescalate a situation. Since this has been happening since birth - how about taking your child for an evaluation prior to trying to "break" her and teaching her that physical action is the best way to get things done? I feel sorry for you and the children everyone reading this article and taking the advice to heart. Bottom line - it's a DANGEROUS approach to parenting. You'll learn down the road, but it'll be too late for your sweet child at that point.

    I'm not against spanking, but if it's not working, then there is more going on. Try getting into your child's head instead of beating her into seeing the world your way. This is so messed up. I can't even believe there are people who encourage this behavior. And for the people buying into it - please see a neurodevelopmental pediatrician to make sure there's not a diagnosis behind your child's behavior. If there isn't, they won't make one up. Then you proceed with other behavioral therapies.

    Mark my words - disregarding your child's demands as being defiant for the sake of being defiant will ruin their life and they will not learn the proper lessons from it. Parent's can't be so selfish and that's what this is all about. Help your child acclimate to the world; don't try to force them into seeing it the way you do. It doesn't work.

  53. I cannot believe what I am reading. A 'weeks-old' infant has no sense of "win" or "lose". It understands only that its needs are met, or they aren't.
    And yes, I do have a "Sue". My son also happened to have a good 90% of the behavior Sue's mother is describing. When he wanted something, he threw fits and screamed, rather than talking. He was often distractible and defiant. He hit, kicked, and screamed. And I was at my wit's end. I tried spanking. It failed.
    Then he was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder, on top of his epilepsy and hemiplegic cerebral palsy. And I have never felt worse in my entire life - I had literally spanked my son for things he could not control. He had no control over his distractibility, he literally would forget he was supposed to be "collecting the chicken eggs" or whatever I'd asked him to do. A three year old child has no business collecting eggs in the first place, unless you want them broken!
    To Sue's mother: your daughter has several signs of sensory processing disorder. Please, please have her evaluated. And for the love of God, DO NOT listen to this article. You will regret it and you will harm your daughter's spirit more than you ever thought possible. She is so young. There are other ways. Conscious Discipline is the tactic we have found most effective on most behaviors our son, and now our 18 month old daughter, displays.
    With love and prayers (yes, btw, I am a Christian woman)

  54. This is insane. Child abuse in the name of Christian child training. Jesus was the Prince of Peace and called us to show grace and compassion. Yes, children need guidance, limits, and boundaries, but the kind of approach laid out here is completely unbiblical. I am a youth worker in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in a hospital. The fact that this young girl struggles so much with interpersonal relationships and emotion regulation speaks to the very real possiblity this girl is on the Austim spectrum. For those who think this can be beat out of a child, that is appalling and not at all representive of the Gentle Healer. Hitting her is clearly not working and seems to be making things worse. Spanking her over and over again is violent, heartless and disrespectful to the dignity of this little girl. How about loving her unconditionally inspite of her brokenness, comparing her to your other children is devasting to this child's self image. Yes, set limits, guide her, but see her as a child not as a horse to be broken. God help this little girl.

    1. I suggest that you read the entire article with its emphasis on establishing and maintaining fellowship. If there is a good and healthy relationship between the mother and child, the mother will soon discern whether there are other factors involved than just her daughter's will to dominate.

  55. What on God's Earth is WRONG with you people??? This poor child clearly has some sort of learning disability, likely ADHD or high-functioning autism. All you are doing is torturing her for something she can't control.

    Get her evaluated by a doctor and get her treatment, and you're much more likely to get the sweet, obedient child you want. Continue to abuse her and beat her unceasingly when she is unable to do things she CANNOT do, and you are going to permanently scar her and ruin her life.

    1. All of the suggested training should be done after it is determined that there is not a physiological reason for the behavior. This is true of any child. Parents should also heed the following advice from To Train Up a Child.
      “Parent, if you are having problems with your children, you can be assured that you are not alone. Your children are also having problems with you. You are going to have to make adjustments in your own life if you are going to help them with their problems.” “… the responsibility for making a significant change is completely yours.”
      Such adjustments would include medical examination if what they are doing is not working.

  56. This poor child is suffering from having a brain in a house full of nitwits. God help her escape you for coming to this awful website to seek advice. Al Quaeda would offer you similar tips. God help anybody who buys into this crap. But I doubt it will be God, its more likely to be a social services worker. But seeing as how even the comments are orchestrated to support this advocate for abuse, I'm sure my comments will disappear. I can only hope that any real people reading this fake crap will have the sense to discern it from the truth.

  57. I have never spanked my child once- he is nine years old, good natured, respectful and trusted. He is also bright and adventurous, courageous, kind, sincere and we are frequently complimented by other parents and acquaintances.
    He has of course played us up, had tantrums and refused to do simple tasks- We explained why we wanted what we wanted- we used time out and we based pocket money on his keeping his commitments, which were never more than he could manage but still meaningful.
    My child does not fear me- but he knows to when listen and obey and when to question- for example the difference between crossing a busy road and choosing where to eat.
    I pity the children of parents on here and I do not understand how they can surrender themselves so easily to the role of bully and dictator- But I suppose being an Atheist I am not burdened with so much "morality" that I need to beat my child into submission.

    1. Having worked several year with troubled youth, I tell you that your child is the exception. They all fell into one of two groups. Either they had never been spanked or had been abused. Not once did a come across a child who had been raised under the child training philosophies of NGJ and the Pearls. Only in your own imaginations are the parents adhering to this philosophy bullies and dictators. FYI, beating into submission is not a part of the philosophy.

      1. Unfortunately for you- I worked for years in EBD childcare and am still involved in youth work and I now you are wrong, a lack of discipline does not equate to a lack of physical force.

        1. Your own anecdotal experience (exactly how is that "unfortunate" for me?) does not invalidate the reality that the vast majority of troubled youth were either never spanked or abused as children. The Pearls child training philosophy (which includes spanking, not beatings or abuse) continues to produce the successful results of happy, healthy, productive members of society as the norm, not the exception.

  58. Hello,

    I am so tried and frustrated with my daughter. She is so angry and unhappy. Will not listen, yells, screams, and says nasty things all the time. I am at loss what to do with her.
    We are in the military and have moved a lot and daddy is gone a lot. She says how she wish she had animals, the freedom of country, and the things her cousin have in the country. I don't know what to do. I homeschool her and am so tried of fighting her. Spanking doesn't work. We take things away that's important to her, but the anger is still there. I know I am doing something wrong if not everything for if she is the way she is, it is because of me as you say. Please help me.

    1. You do not mention your daughter's age but I suggest that you read Training Children To Be Strong In Spirit and Jumping Ship and watch the Movers and Shakers video. From your description of her desires it appears that she is well beyond the training and spanking time in her life.

  59. Dear Michael,

    Thankyou so much for this article. It has blessed me tremendously. In our early days of homeschooling I read most of your publications, still have your books, which I have kept to pass onto my own (now adult) children. I am, by nature - one of those 'soft hearted' mommies (oftentimes a danger to myself!) and it was difficult for me to apply a lot of your wisdom, but I did - and it has paid off. Today, our adult children are having children of their own. They live 'just down the road'. They visit every day, and work within our family business. On weekends, they choose to be with us. If we try to 'slip away'... they track us down, and ask to have coffee / meals with us! We cannot express our gratitude that somebody out there has the guts / bravery (because it takes that, nowadays) to tell the truth, stand through adversity etc. Our children nowadays are respectful, diligent, considerate young adults. They are leaders. They have savvy and gumption. We are still training them, in different types of ways, being considerate and conscious of their age and (newfound) responsibilities as parents and home owners. We know that training our children will never end... Again, thank you so much. Keep up the great work! If you have eyes to see, you will - see.... Helen, Australia

  60. This article is like looking in a mirror! I was a "Sue" as a child. I would get in power struggles because I liked to win, whether it was miserable getting there or not. I didn't have any sort of neurological issues, I was just a horrid brat.

    I wish that my parents had read something like this, and stopped me in my disobedient track. I would be a better wife and mother if I had had my defiance dealt with in my childhood. I still get into power struggles with my husband, and now with my little ones. I try really hard to be a submissive wife, and a consistent, but fair mother, but find myself failing often.

    I love my parents, and I know they did their best, but I really wish that they had been more strict and consistent.

  61. I wholeheartedly agree. I am a normal human being. I am not Autistic, do not have Asperger's, and was never diagnosed with ADD. I will admit that I never took the battle as far as Sue did. But oh, how I felt the need to win! I could talk my way out of anything - justify anything - all while KNOWING I had done wrong and putting up the fight solely for the slight chance of winning. I have good Christian parents; I was homeschooled; I was spanked; and I was trained. I have no regrets and I fully intend to raise my own children (my firstborn is one and the second is on the way) the way my parents raised me. The fun for me was in the winning. The punishment was worth it if I won. To those who disagree and insist that Sue has a medical condition...perhaps she does. In fact, it would not surprise me. I can guaranteed she also has a healthy amount of her own will. Just as a normal child must be trained to overcome it, so must she. And I think it is quite obvious in the article that Mr. Pearl practically discouraged this mother from spanking, pointing out that it hasn't been working and she must work on other areas of training as well. He is balanced and he is wise. 🙂