Posts Tagged 'spanking'

Quiverfull and Fatherhood

Part Four

(Warning: Graphic images)

Quiverfull is largely centered on women and babies, with a heavy emphasis on babies.  Men are largely breadwinners, provide half the genetic material, and the main discipliners.  Men are expected to fulfill specific roles.  Nurturing and hands on parenting for fathers is discouraged in Quiverfull, except for corporal punishment.

Quiverfull gender roles are largely derived from a theological belief called Patriarchy.  It is also called complementarianism.  Men are considered the head of the family, spiritual and physical.  Their wives are to obey them in everything but sin, though sometimes even then (see Debbie Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet for examples).  The justification comes from Ephesians 5:22-24 where St. Paul lays out wives being submissive to their husbands (while ignoring verse 21 which requires mutual submission) and Genesis 2:18 where God created a helper for Adam, the first man. 

(I could go into a refutation of woman as inferior helper and slave but the are multiple places that reveal the truth.  It is part and parcel of Patriarchy and comes.from Genesis 2.)

Since Patriarchy is an authoritarian belief system, the justification to abuse others using the Bible is rampant.  Women are kept financially, physically, and emotionally dependent on their husbands.  Husbands may beat, harass, threaten, rape, withhold money and support all in the name of being the head of the family.  And say the God approves.  I’ll get to children later in this post.

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Men in Quiverfull are just as hurt by its beliefs and practices as women and children are.  While there is nothing wrong with being the sole financial provider, men are usually expected to be the only provider.  Many lack a decent education due to restrictive homeschooling with its emphasis on religious beliefs and practices and disdain for government educational standards. 

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Many receive the equivalent or near equivalent of a high school education.  Many times the education is barely eighth grade level. Many are forbidden from going to college or can only go to an unaccredited Christian college.

A lack of education hinders many from getting a decent job or at least a job that would financially support a large family.  Men may even have to work multiple jobs to support their families. This leaves men overworked and even overwhelmed.  But the emotional health of men is not a concern. 

Men also have to live up the false standards of Patriarchy.  They are expected to be the spiritual and physical head of the family. Patriarchy says that men be authoritarian leaders who give orders and make demands that must be obeyed immediately and without question.  Disobedience and other infractions are to be punished with corporal punishment, i.e. spanking.  Disobedience is rarely or vaguely defined and almost an always arbitrary condemnation.  It can be much worse if the parents follow the teachings of Michael Pearl and his book To Train Up A Child.

(I suggest the site http://whynottrainachild.com to refute his teachings and to learn about gentle Christian parenting)

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Threatening a child. Threats may include things such as spanking, loss of friends, damnation to hell, being kicked out of the home, etc.

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Michael Pearl advocates parents start spanking as young as three months.  This baby was the victim of abuse but if the parents were followers of Pearl’s teaching then this could be a result.

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A child that has been on the receiving end of corporal punishment, probably been hit with a thin stick.  Again, fathers in Quiverfull are expected to spank their children for disobedience and any other reason they decide.

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Mothers, too, can and will spank their children in Quiverfull.  This particular picture gives the impression the mother is spanking in anger, something parents in Quiverfull allege they don’t do.

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One potential object used to spank a child.  Many children are spanked on bare buttocks with things like this spoon, hair brushes, paddles, and belts though this is not an exhaustive list.

Men in Quiverfull are not permitted to be hands on (except spanking) or nurturing.  Their fatherhood is defined in activities they do outside the home (work), their “God given” gender role (spiritual and physical head of the family), and their “God given” ability to spank their children info submission.  Men in Quiverfull are denied their whole being to fulfill man made gender roles.

Doing any of these is frowned upon or even forbidden.

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Remember, babies and children are women’s work.  Men are discouraged from being tender, gentle, and nurturing. It’s all about rigid gender roles rather than discovering how God made you to be and working in partnership with their spouses.  If men do do these things, it’s not talked about or hidden. 

Also, not all families in Quiverfull spank or spank to excess.  There are higher incidents of abuse and definitely a greater emphasis on obedience and physical discipline and corporal punishment in Quiverfull.  Rigid gender roles plus fringe religious beliefs plus lack of education plus limited finances plus other elements create an environment that encourages or at least greatly excuses abuse.

Men are just as hurt by Quiverfull as women and children are.  Their victimization is covered up or not even acknowledged.

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Quiverfull and Childhood

Part Three

Warning: I will be talking about various types of abuse in this post and have inserted photos where appropriate.  Be advised.

This post builds off the discussion from Part Two.  I mentioned previously that many girls are forced to raise their younger siblings because their mothers just don’t parent.  Or in the case of Michele Duggar, passes the responsibility of parenting to a daughter so that she can keep having babies.

Since Quiverfull is focused on babies and numbers, children as individuals with needs are in an odd phase.  They aren’t babies and they aren’t married adults.  These two phases are the only ones that matter in Quiverfull.  That’s where the priorities are focused. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are then ignored until they get noticed.  The phase of childhood itself is ignored until someone notices a child acting (as in any sort of movement, not just bad or irresponsible behavior) or speaking.  The phase of childhood is considered a messy wasteland to be conquered by the parents rather than enjoyed as a season of human life. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

First, children are just numbers, not actual individuals with wants and needs and desires. They are soldiers in a battles against the secular world.

Two, children are considered property of their parents.  The parents have rights.  The children do not.  The children are merely objects to manipulate.

Three, children are seen as inherently sin filled and willingly disobedient.  Children are only capable of sin and incapable of virtue. 

Four, children must be homeschooled because any other sort of schooling is un-biblical, full of dangerous anti-Christian agendas, and a means of government interference.

Fifth, children rarely receive medical assistance in any form.due to paranoia about the government and beliefs that any healing is God’s will and can only happen if He desires it.

While there are more, these are a good starting place.

Point One: Children are individuals but not in Quiverfull.  Quiverfull is a movement that emphasizes numbers of people and not actual people.  Add in the distaste for childhood as a phase of life and things get a lot worse.

Points Two and Three go together.   When children are not seen as people, they have no rights or protections.  They are also open to great abuses, neglect, violence, and even homicide.  Since many parents come to believe that corporal punishment and spanking are acceptable means of forcing a child to comply with their demands, many children are physically abused in the name of love and God.  Many use verses out of the Book of Proverbs to justify their spanking.  They also read and endorse abusive parenting methods like Michael Pearl’s To Train Up A Child (which compares training children to training animals and to start spanking at three months), James Dobson (again comparing children to dogs), Rev Bradley, and Shepherd a Child’s Heart.

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Courtesy of Google Images

There is no biblical basis for beating the sin out of children so that they become God fearing adults.  But it is a belief espoused in Pearl’s and heavily hinted at in Gothard’s work (though I don’t know if he advocated corporal punishment). 

Pearl advocated “first time obedience” and demands it of babies.  “First time obedience” is the expectation that when an adult tells a child to do something that child must obey immediately.  Any hesitation, finishing a task already started, or asking for directions on how to do that something is seen as disobedience and must be punished immediately. 

For example: a thirteen month old baby is sitting on the floor, playing with a toy.  He puts the toy in his mouth (babies like to put things in their mouth; this is normal).  The mother sees this and tells the baby to take the toy out of his mouth.  The baby keeps the toy in his mouth because he doesn’t really understand what his mother is saying.  However, Pearl says the child is actively choosing to be disobedient and therefore needs to be spanked right this minute.

But first time obedience is expected of all children.  And being disobedient or even “rebellious” (a vague term that parents use to justify any spanking or to justify their anger and their desire to hit a child). Spanking then becomes the default method of parenting instead of teaching the child why let alone understanding child development in any way.

Children in Quiverfull face lots of violence, abuse, neglect, and are forced to behave in developmentally inappropriate ways. 

Teenage girls are expected to parent their younger siblings. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Many children face the threat of corporal punishment which I’ve expanded to include not just spanking but any use of hitting as punishment which includes slapping, punching, using some type of implement. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Many children are verbally abused through threats of corporal punishment regardless if those threats are carried out, through name calling, through insults, and through intimidation. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are sexually abused not just through molestation and rape but also abused through body shaming, purity culture, and dress codes. 

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Courtesy of Google Images

Children are psychologically abused when parents threaten them, manipulate situations so that a child fails expectations,  play mind games, and through gaslighting.

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Children are spiritually abused because they are raised to follow an extreme belief system, are threatened with an angry, vengeful God that is out to get them and can’t wait to see them fail, and through the use of illegal and immoral tactics that are justified by the use of scripture verses.

Children are educationally neglected through the use of homeschooling.  Many parents use homeschooling as a means of isolating their children from others so that the parents not only do not have to teach their children a standard education but so that many parents can abuse their children and not have others know about the abuse.  Many children who receive a homeschooling education are usually very deficient in many subject.  Some children are not allowed to finish or even graduate high school.  This is especially true for girls.

Children in Quiverfull are medically neglected.  Many children are born at home.  If there is a midwife involved, she may be unlicensed. Licensing and training depends on state statute so many midwives are trained and licensed.  But there are those midwives and other medical practitioners who choose to operate outside the medical establishment. And with a heavy distrust of the government, many followers of Quiverfull will actively seek out medical assistance that is not regulated by any government agency.   Vaccines are seen as government intrusion so many parents refuse to vaccinate their children.  Or beliefs false information about vaccines.  Many children rarely see a doctor. Reasons include: lack of parental finances; government intrusion; doctors are typically mandatory reporters of abuse (depends on state law); belief that sickness is merely uncompressed sin and so the child needs to repent and get right with God; the belief that any sickness can be cured by prayer.

Children raised in Quiverfull suffer the most and are given the least amount of help and support.  They may live in an unhealthy home due to abuse, neglect, inadequate shelter, inadequate food, inadequate clothing, and inadequate resources and support. 
These children are victims.  They spend many of their adult years healing from the abuse they suffered, correcting their education deficits, and shedding false and dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

Quiverfull is Dangerous

Quiverfull is a fringe procreation movement with its name coming from Psalm 127:3-5 which states “Certainly, sons are a gift.from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.” 

Adherents believe that families should have as many children as possible.  There is no concern for a mother’s health, for a family’s finances or needs, and is seen as a reaction to secular culture.  Children born into this movement are seen as soldiers fighting against a corrupt United States (it is a very American centric movement as are many of the other movements/beliefs tied with it) that can be brought back to Christianity (usually a very narrow, fundamentalist Protestant version) through high numbers of births and raising these children in this belief system.

It is a movement that is touted as pro-life when in reality it very antithetical to life.  Babies are seen as commodities instead of people, as individuals.  Women are to have children at all costs, even at the cost of their own life.  Women are expected to have a baby just about every year.  The parents act selfishly in having babies to fulfill what is considered godly belief and behavior.

These women are also expected to homeschool these children.  Girls are raised to follow in their mothers footsteps by getting married and having large families.  This all justified as being godly and biblical.

Many children are born into families that are headed by parents where at least one parent has a college education which is surprising considering that children born into this belief system are forbidden from going to college. Though there are also families headed by parents that only have a high school education, if that.  Many of the children in this movement barely receive a high school education, if that. Most of the children in this movement are homeschooled, usually by parents who lack the ability to teach academically.

The father is the only employed member of the family since it is considered sinful and against God’s will for women to work and/or work outside the home.  Women are only allowed to be wives and mothers.  Education for girls (beyond the minimum, usually high school) is discouraged and early marriage after “courtship” is encouraged. 

Most of these families have little income so will at times suffer from a lack of necessities such as food, proper clothing, housing, education (even with homeschooling), health care, and dental hygiene.  Many suffer all these things almost constantly during childhood. 

Corporal punishment is also heavily pushed so many also suffer from abuse.  Not just physical but emotional, mental, financial, spiritual, and even sexual abuse.  Verses from Proverbs and books by the likes of Michael Pearl, Reb Bradley, Bill Gothard are used to support spanking and child abuse and prove that this “Biblical.”

Anything that may be seen as government interference or intrusion is considered evil and refused or looked at with suspicion.    Such groups such as Child Protective Services are warned against and followers are told that they will take away your children because you homeschool (which is patently wrong and illegal).  Fear is a common tool to coerce and force compliance of behavior of children and even adults.

Quiverfull is also dangerous to men.  They are expected to get married at a young age so that they can father many children, typically are the ones to carry our corporal punishment, expected to rule the home as a leader which ends up being a dictator or tyrant, and determine who their daughter(s) may marry.  They also discouraged from going to college (too worldly) and so have to find work with a high school diploma. 

More information just Google “Quiverfull Movement.”  The Wikipedia entry is especially helpful. 

The blog No Longer Quivering (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering) has stories from those who were in the movement. It also provides useful information and support.

Homeschoolers Anonymous (http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com) also has stories from the children raised in this movement because homeschooling is tied up with Quiverfull.

I also suggest Recovering Grace (http://www.recoveringgrace.org) which deals with Bill Gothard and his promotion of Quiverfull, plus his homeschooling curriculum, spiritual and sexual abuse.

Discipline and Spanking

Many are probably already aware of the Pope’s remarks last week about a father who disciplined his children. However, everyone has assumed that he supports spanking.  Nowhere does the Pope mention spanking.  He does mention that the father said he smacked his children but not in the face. 

I have yet to read in any of his remarks a support of spanking.  However, stepping back and looking at the whole anecdote reveals something much more necessary and useful: the importance of disciplining children, especially by fathers.

Before I go further, I want to clarify terms especially in regards to the term discipline.  Discipline is very closely linked to discipling which is the method to teach a disciple.  And disciples are followers of Christ.  So disciplining should be teaching children how to become a disciple, a follower of Jesus.  Discipline is not punishment.  It is teaching a person how to be a disciple.  Discipline is learning how to be a true follower of Christ by being the you God created you to be.

Spanking is pure punishment and retribution.  It does not have teaching at its core.  It is focused on pain and humiliation.  It is an action based in anger.

So back to what the Pope said.  He is pointing out the necessity of fathers to teach their children to follow Jesus.  That is the point of fatherhood.  Not just to raise children to adulthood but also to disciple children so that they follow Jesus.  To be faithful Christians, faithful Catholics.  And fathers play a very key role in this discipline.  That’s why the Church requires that those married in the Church promise to raise their children Catholic, not to keep up membership but to teach the faith with love so that children become true followers of Jesus.

So disciplining a child is not punishing a child for wrongdoing though that is what people assume it means when they hear the term.  But that is incorrect, even false.  Disciplining is teaching how to follow Jesus and live the life of a Catholic Christian.  Correcting behavior is part of that but punishment is not.  Punishment is about harshness and emotional reactions to what you perceive as bad behavior, a reaction based in anger as a means of retaliation for feeling angry.

Fathers are necessary in truly discipling children in the faith, not just as teachers, but as role models as well.  But most importantly as fathers.  Every child needs a father along with a mother.  Every child wants a father and mother.  Both teach and shape a child into a whole adult disciple. 

Is this easy? No.  But is it worth the effort? Yes.

Hitting

Why is not okay for a man to hit a woman?

Why is it okay for a man to hit a child?

The first is called a abuse.  The second is called discipline.

Aren’t women AND children  people ?  Don’t they both have worth and dignity?  Or is because a child is weaker and smaller so it’s okay to hit them in the name of God?

In Regards to Why We Hit Our Kids

Apparently the post on “Why we hit our kids” was popular. It was also, apparently, an invitation for some less than stellar elements to come out of the woodwork, so to speak. Due to the type of comments I received on that post and the nature of several of them, I will not be approving comments on that post. I will be deleting them. However, I will deal with several themes that pop up in those comments.

Response #1: I was spanked and I turned out okay.

My response: I’m going to quote Elizabeth Esther on her blog in response:
“Even so, in defending spanking we often hear people say: “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out alright.” Um…no, no you didn’t. By defending spanking, you have turned out to be someone who perpetuates violence against children.” (Source)

I agree with Elizabeth.  You have become an advocate of violence.  I also want to point out that you have repressed what spanking really felt like and what it did to you.  I should know.  I definitely stuffed down the anger I felt at my parents for hitting me. I was angry but I couldn’t articulate that anger and I definitely couldn’t show that anger.  My mother was going to spank and disciplining me was the least of her reasons to do so.  I also had to stuff down those feels of anger and betrayal because I didn’t know how to live without my parents.  My parents were all I had.  Spanking was the norm and as a child, I had to put up with it, allow it so that I had a roof over my head, food to eat, the ability to go to school.

Response #2: Spanking was the only form of discipline I listened to.

My response: I didn’t learn to associate the pain of a spanking with not doing a specific behavior.  All I learned is that it was okay to hurt a child as long as you had an excuse.  So spanking wasn’t the deal breaker many make it out to be.  Plus, there is countless evidence that spanking is NEVER effective in changing behavior.  Spanking actually damages the brain.  Many studies point this out.  Again, many people lie to themselves because they cannot acknowledge that their parents actually hurt them.  I suggest reading Leaving Home: The Art of Separating From Your Difficult Family by David. P. Celani to understand this divorce in the brain.

Response #3: Spanking is Biblical.

My Response:  Actually, it isn’t.  The idea that “spare the rod, spoil the child” comes from a poem called Hudibras by Samuel Butler and involved Sir Hudibras making a lewd comment to a woman who promised to get him out of jail (Source).  And the verses that do reference the rod in Proverbs is not the rod that most make it out to be and applies to nearly full grown men, not children.  See Samuel Martin’s book Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me to see a full, Biblical explanation of those verses.

Also, several deaths have been associated with the Pearls’  teaching.  Too many “Christian” parenting books advocate spanking and first tine obedience when that doesn’t work.  Even James Dobson of Focus on the Family compares child rearing to cruelly beating a dog.

Hopefully, this will cover the major comments I saw.  I won’t answer the really rude ones.

 

Why Do We Punish Ourselves? | Psychology Today

http://m.psychologytoday.com/em/155167

From earlier this summer, this article looks at a few possible reasons we may punish ourselves and punish more harshly in some cases. 

What would be really helpful would be to look at those who self punish as adults after being physically punished as,children and if the level/severity goes up.  That is, if you were punished as a children, largely through the use of spanking which occurred at least twice a week if not more spankings and those spanking were for different “offense” levels, i.e. spanked for not finishing homework versus say being spanked for disobedience where you took too long to do something such as not putting clothes away in ten minutes when it took you fifteen even though you put the clothes away and they were put away correctly or being spanked for running out into the street with oncoming traffic. 

To me, kids would learn to expect punishment for every failure and not having learned to manage failure and mistakes, choose to punish themselves instead.  Punishment could include self inflicted pain, self beating, negative self talk, withholding food and/or drink from yourself, withholding other items such as not allowing yourself to wear a favorite shirt or outfit, surrounding yourself with people who hurt you physically/mentally/emotionally/etc., talking yourself into staying in an abusive situation because you think you deserve that abusive treatment. 

There are certainly more and I honestly think, knowing my own experiences and things I’ve done to myself, that self punishment becomes a habit because I believe I deserve to be treated like garbage.  I think corporal punishment/spanking/abuse writes people’s brains to accept punishment and abuse and not mercy and love.


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