Controversy at the Carnvial
This will probably get me taken off the Blogs Against Hitting Kids list, but oh well. I've never made my issue with the Pearls about spanking as that is not the problem I have with their teaching. I do have an issue with spanking the way they lay it out. But not every swat is tantamount to child abuse. The abuse done upon the child for the mere act of removal from the home is so far greater, it is not even on the same plane. We need to be careful throwing around the term "abuse" before it has absolutely no meaning at all.

I suppose it was inevitable, but the controversy has spilled over to the Carnival of Homeschooling with quite a little discussion going on in the comments box. When you first read it, you figure Linda must be beating her poor children. That ubiquitous rod seems to be at it again, with a fervor equal to all I've read in the Pearl debates. But then I read the actual entry. I had to read it twice to realize what the uproar was about.

The Strong Willed Child is about training just such a child. Training has become a bit of a buzzword these days but she is not talking about swithching your kids for every transgression. She is talking about true child training. Despite this commentor's offense at "trying to contain the spirit of a child, and manipulating and controlling responses, even using pain" that isn't what the post is about. It is about respecting our children's God-given personality and developing their strong will, helping them to learn to take control of themselves.
When my three year old starts to have a tantrum, I often remind him, “Son, you are the boss of your body. Don’t let it tell you what to do. You make it obey you. You are the king of yourself.” (This gives a child a sense of power, rather than helplessness and they rise to the challenge.)
There is nothing in this post about controlling and manipulating the child. It is essentially about teaching the child that they have power over themselves. The keys she shares are natural incentives, focusing on others, moral motivation and the occasional infliction of pain. It is that occasional infliction of pain which now has LindaFay classified alongside Lynn Paddock and has put the The Carnival of Homeschooling
on the list of boycotted sites.

While reading her entry the second time so that I could even catch that (as I said, that isn't what the entry is about), I noticed an intriguing title in the sidebar. Hmm. Maybe that is what the controversy is about. Hints On Child Training. It turns out this is a book, one I had not heard of. I don't read that many parenting books, although I recently found out that our church recommends "Shepherding A Child's Heart" to new parents. Haven't read that one either.

I love the quote she pulled. It summarizes all I dislike about the Pearls' teaching. It further shows that her philosophy has nothing to do with containment, manipulation or contol. I have not read the book and am taking her word for it, but here is what she took from it:
Breaking a child's will is bringing the pressure of external force directly upon that will, causing the will to give way under the pressure of that force; Training a child's will is bringing such influences to bear upon the child that he is ready to choose or decide in favor of the right course of action.
And I don't know her stance on the Pearls, but I took this comment as a gentle prod against their teaching:
He does not rely solely on the Proverbs of Solomon, but the entire words of God.
Interestingly, none of us bigoted Christians have ever threatened to boycott the carnival for its inclusion of atheists, homosexuals, Marxists, pagans or any other group of people. I don't feel particularly "yoked" to the other participants. And I don't feel my character is drawn into question because I discuss things with such groups or because we both have an entry in the carnival. Someone from the occult once linked to me...that was eerie for me, but he certainly wasn't endorsing my decidedly conservative Christian views by linking to my rambling about Satanism and public education. Nor am I endorsing the BBC's decidedly left-leaning politics when I link to them.

My stance on the Pearls that I have shared so far can be found here, here and here. My stance on good parenting and leading a child rather than dominating a child can be found by following the links in my sidebar under Motivation. And LindaFay provides a pretty good summary of that.

, , , , , ,