[music playing]

Debi Pearl:  Papa and I are going to record, so y’all go ahead and shut the door. [door closes]

Child:  It’s nice out today. [laughter]

Child 2:  That cloud looks funny. It looks like a dinosaur.

Announcer:  Selfish temper tantrums. We’ve all seen them. This week, the Pearl’s continue this tough letter from a parent that sounds like many of us.

Michael Pearl:  All right, Deb. The letter goes a little further, here. It’s a little more difficult. Would you read the rest of it?

Debi:  “The other problem he has is with sharing. Like I mentioned, he’s a perfectionist and he will have his cars in a line and his little sister will come over and move one. He will start crying and screaming. I immediately take him to his room and spank him.”

Michael:  Hold up there, right there Deb, before we go any further. She said she takes him to his room and spanks him. That’s a mistake right there. Whenever a child commits an offense, it’s most effective to spank him right there on the scene. That way you create a relationship between what he’s doing wrong and the spanking. When you take a child and remove him from the scene, panic sets in. Fear comes over him, anxiety and by the time he gets to his room he can’t remember, quite often, where he was and what he was doing. He comes to associate fear with the room itself, and with the mother, rather than with the event that occurred.

Rather than go through this big, formal withdrawal from the scene and a lot of talking and rebuke and spanking in the room, if you just keep a little switch on hand and just reach over and pat him once or twice on the ankle, or the leg, or across the back of the hand.

Not even enough, necessarily, to make him scream. Just enforce your word. Not enough to make him cry. Just enough to enforce your word.

Sometimes, parents get the idea that they’re judges and executioners. That they’re going to take the child in the room and spank him and he’s going to be afraid to commit that same offense again. That’s entirely the wrong approach in spanking.

If you find yourself using it repeatedly, over and over again, and it’s not working, then there are definitely other factors that you’ve left out that you need to consider. Don’t keep relying on the spanking. Find out what you’re doing wrong. Experiment and find some way to channel that behavior without continuing the spanking.

Debi:  OK. Also, little sister needs a little swat across her hand, too, to leave his cars alone. The rest of the letter says, “I immediately take him to his room and spank him, but when I’m finished, he rushes back over to her and grabs the toys. Back we go for more spankings.” “Sometimes, this scenario continues for 30 minutes. This continues throughout the day, and the next day, and the next day. Even at church, if someone takes a toy he wants, or is playing with, he starts crying and screaming. I’m sure there is something that I am doing wrong. I just need someone to point it out to me.”

Michael:  All right. The crying and the screaming is always unacceptable. You need to break that. That’s not a proper response in life. The child does have a right, little boy does have a right to line his cars up in a row and enjoy them without his little sister butting in. You said he has a problem with sharing. I have a tractor and a couple cars and two pickup trucks. I park them out in front of my house in a nice row and if my neighbor were to come over and move one of my cars, I’d have trouble sharing, too. Now, if my neighbor asked me, could he use one of my pickup trucks to, say, haul some firewood, I’d tell him, sure he could.

Those trucks are under my governorship and I have a right, and a duty, to take care of them. When I park them, they shouldn’t be moved until I’ve given permission for someone to move them. That’s just the facts of life.

We have articles on this thing of sharing, also in our second book, “No Greater Joy Volume One.” I’d suggest you read those. We’d like to see our children voluntarily and willfully share, but that won’t come about by forcing them to submit to the tyranny of another sibling.

I would take steps with the little girl to make sure that she leaves him alone and he’s permitted to play with his toys, as he will. When she does interfere, or when some other child interferes with his play, he should not be allowed to scream.

One thing you could do is deny him his toys at that point. Tell him, “You screamed, so you can’t play with these,” and put the toys up.

But, as I said, give him a little swat right where he sits and say stop screaming. Just stand over him firmly, without being angry, without being upset. Take your little switch, swat him on the leg, and say, “Stop crying.” Just stare him in the face, stop crying, give him another little swat on the leg.

Just stand over him and exert your authority. When parents don’t have authority, in their voice, in their posture, they often resort to spanking excessively.

Debi:  OK, here it says, “Even at church, if someone takes the toy he wants, or he’s playing with, he starts crying and screaming.” It’s not necessarily a toy that he has been playing with, just a toy that he wants that’s causing the crying and the screaming. That is not just a perfectionist there. That is selfishness that’s obviously being displayed. He wants it, and if it takes screaming to get it, then that’s what he’s going to do. This shows that his heart has been bent on getting his own way. When he wants it, on getting what he wants.

Michael:  We call that a will to dominate. It is the kind of mentality that Hitlers and Mussolinis have. It’s a desire to control and posses everyone and everything around you. Today, he uses screaming. Tomorrow, he’d be using violence. The day after that he might be in a reformatory in a jail. It’s definitively a problem that needs to be dealt with. It’s not too late to conquer it, but it’s something you’re going to have to exert firm authority over.

Just demand through your presence, through dominating him by just standing over him with a firm statement with unwavering emotion, and say, “You will not scream. You will not receive…You can not have that toy. It’s not yours. Take your hands off of it. Lay it down.”

Don’t take it away from him. Have him lay it down, have him give it back to the other person. Don’t take him out of the room and spank him. Take a little switch right there and spank him on the leg until he hands the toy over to the one who was playing with it originally.

I guarantee you, if you’re consistent with this, if you are consistent, 100 percent consistent and thorough, you will conquer this. The child will learn not to cry.

He will learn to passively submit. He will learn not to take what belongs to other people, and he’ll learn that he can voice a formal petition of complaint when his sister takes his toys or mess him up. He will learn that he could to come to you and say, She is messing up my toys,” and he knows that you will come and say to sister, don’t mess up his toys. If sister continues, he knows that you’ll spank sister.

Right now, he’s a vigilante. Rather than come to you as the rule of law, he’s taking the law on his own hands. You’ve got to take control of this.

Debi:  For three years, your son was his own master. He took what he wanted. He demanded what he chose and he got it. You’re not going to be able to completely and suddenly conquer this. It’s going to take work. It took a long time to make him what he is, and it’s going to take a while to make him what he should have been all along. You’re going to have to have a commitment. You’re going to have to love him with your eyes. You’re going to have to love him with your heart. You’re going to have to have a strong desire in your heart to do it right this time.

You’re going to have to be able to convince him that you mean business, and that you love him, but you’re not rejecting him, that because you love him, because you’re pulling him closer into you, that you’re demanding these things.

But it’s going to be a firm resolve. I don’t want his child to be what he is, and I’ve created him to be what he is. From this moment on, this child is going to learn to be thankful. This child’s going to learn to be a giver. This child’s going to learn to be a child that’s going to bring honor and glory to God.

Announcer:  Join us next week for the final installation of Mike and Debi’s answers for this tough letter. Mike’s answers about spanking may surprise you. Don’t forget. Check out Cane Creek Corner for their specials.


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