Archive for the ‘Tripp’ Category

Tulipgirl remembers the death of Lydia Schatz–“spanked” to death by her misguided parents.

This last week I’ve been consumed with writing a response to Ted Tripp’s book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Just so many thoughts finally coming to fruition. More may come later. . . .


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Tulipgirl reposted a good post about spanking. Many Christians don’t acknowledge that spanking is controversial, and in some cases, does cross lines into abuse. Here’s some down-to-earth suggestions in order to understand this issue.

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I have some other thoughts about parenting and power, and thankfully, “Thatmom,” Karen Campbell, said it already! Here’s what she writes:

The Pearls’ philosophy demands that parents place themselves in a position of control and power over their children, luring and enticing the parent into self idolatry. It teaches that a parent is to conquer the child’s will and body, doing whatever is necessary, emotionally or physically, to achieve success. It places the parent, especially the father, in the position of sovereign over the child, giving him prophet, priest, and king status, even saying that a father can offer righteousness to a child through the use of the rod. It is the same desire for power over God and creation that Satan used for his own purposes in the Garden. And this desire for power and control over children conceives the sin of abuse, which, in the case of little Lydia Schatz, caused her death.

That’s bad power; it’s a bad concept of power.

For a great read on parenting, discipline, etc. please read this post she put up today from a homeschooling dad.

Psalm 103:13 ~ “Just as a father has compassion on {his} children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.”

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that compassion is part of teaching children. Children typically imitate their parents so why not let them imitate compassion.

. . .

Ephesians 6:4 ~ “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that dads should be fair about discipline. For those who know the humble instructions of the Lord there is nothing more fair than that.

Colossians 3:21 ~ “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that children will give up and stop caring if they are never given positive reinforcement. Certainly beating a child until they stop crying as the Pearls are alleged to endorse is forbidden by this verse.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 ~ “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing {mother} tenderly cares for her own children.”

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that children are to be tenderly cared for. I remember passing my daughter around on a pillow, she was so small at birth.

1 Titus 3:4 ~ “{He must be} one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity”

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that bringing attention to good manners, emphasizing them and insisting that they be used produces a well run household having the dignity of self-controlled children. 1 Titus and 2 Titus mostly describe a well run house.

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Couple of things I want to say on this topic.

One main thing is that it’s better to cultivate the natural love power that God instilled in your child for you, than to spend most of your time exercising the punishment or negative power that you have.

What does this mean? Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline talks about the natural affection children have for their parents. I think Ross Campbell speaks of this, too. Parents are in a unique position to transmit love and acceptance to children that no one else in the world can do for that child.

Not long ago, I understood that God is not scared or repulsed by my sin. He dealt with it in Christ on the cross. Now I am perfectly accepted. And you know, it’s only that acceptance that moves me towards postive transformation—not fear, shame or guilt.

Be careful with parenting instructions that teach you to be heavy handed, to prove your parental authority by exertion of force, to use mental or emotional manipulation or unkindness with your child. How does God treat you? How does He feel towards you? The way you treat your chilren changes you. Who are you becoming?

Yes, there is a lot we want to see changed or developed or transformed in our kids—God sees the same with us. God doesn’t demand perfection from us, and we cannot demand this from our kids. He’s slowly working in us “to will to do of his good pleasure.” Childrearing is part of that process in your child’s life if s/he becomes a believer. It’s OK that it takes time, years, to be transformed. It doesn’t have to be when a child is 2 or 3 or even 10. Christlike transformation is a lifelong process for us all.

Use of positive desire in childrearing is extremely desirable. As much as possible, we should be dispensing positive elements like focused attention, time, pleasant eye contact, holding, hugging, etc. And doing that while we are instructing or correcting. It doens’t mean our kids never cry or experience unpleasant things. But the overall tone of our interactions should be positive.

Pleasant feelings are the healthiest motivators—if the pleaant feelings are moving in the direction of guiding the child to do what is right. For this reason, training should be as positive and pleasant as possible. And also for this reason, punishment should not be the primary means of relating to a child.

This important concept of using positive means to control your child’s behavior is exactly the opposite of what is being taught from some Christian sources today. . . . Misunderstanding the true needs of their children, reactive parents have gone along with harsh, discipline-oriented parenting and then later watched their chilren develop anti-parent, antiauthority, anti-God attitudes and values. (Campbell, RP, 165-166)

Bad power is the power like the unsaved “lord” over those beneath them. It’s an interesting thing for me to examine how I am using my power as a parent. Am I using it to spank? Yell? Punish by withholding myself? To assert my parental authority? Or am I using it to edify and nurture? To bless and give pleasure while training?

The commands to God for children to obey their parents are given to the children.  God didn’t say “parents, make your kids obey you.” Sure, at young ages, we definitely train and teach them to obey. But we do that knowing that they need to reach maturity where they themselves desire and choose to do this, imperfectly, sure. But Christ lived the perfect life for us all. And we are in Him, we have that perfection applied to our accout already.

Parents, need, at some level, to accpt vulnerability before their kids. Strangs as it may sound. But . . . I am still thinking . . .

more to come if i can get my thoughts in order . . .

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I admit, this was my automatic assumption earlier. The only way I knew or could conceive of to make kids behave was to spank.

However, as I started this unexpected journey into childraising options—mostly driven by my own desperation—I found that there are actually a lot of ways to graciously help children learn obedience. It requires a lot of physical activity on the part of the parent (hence, for example, this site’s name “get off your butt parenting“) and some thoughtfulness, but it’s usually a lot “happier” approach to childrearing.

Learning this stuff is a process. When I first started not spanking, I yelled in order to motive/punish. I quickly realized that instead of using physical force (spanking), I was using verbal force (yelling). Not great, but it was a stage I went through.

Then, I learned things like distraction (to get a child off of a not-allowed object to an allowed object) and natural/logical consequences.

I stopped thinking about spanking/punishing for every offense. Some parents are trained that this is vital. It’s not. Kids are learning and make mistakes. Now, if I am working on a particular issue with a particular child, I am consistent so the habit is learned. I do also have some general house rules, like you don’t eat if you don’t help clean up (and not eating is not an option).

But it also broadened my thinking about parenting in general, of all the positive training there is to do, that kids even want to do.

For example, right now I’m a bit concerned about how Skyla treats Vika sometimes, just disrespecting her person by hitting or shoving. It’s becoming a pattern that needs to be dealt with. So I’m catching it each time with verbal requests; then once I did to her what she did to Vika—that was unpleasant for her but it didn’t help her change. I actually forget what consequence I am applying right now—I hope I remember before tomorrow!

But the deeper issue I’ve been thinking about is that I need to teach Skyla ways that she can express love to Vika, to train her to make this a priority in her life. So I’m pondering how to do this. My first idea is to have her pray for Vika. After that, maybe thinking of a gift to give her or some other way to endear Vika to her on a regular basis. Maybe you have an idea?

Another thing I’ve learned is truth-telling. I used to use that old routine of . . . “If you dont’ come now, I’m leaving.” Walking away, waving bye. . . . All in the hopes that the child will come crying, running to you out of fear of being left behind. How many times have I done that? It’s miserable, but it usually works.

But all this stuff got me thinking that I would just tell the truth. So now I do. “Vika, I can’t leave until you come, so would you please come and get your coat on?”

Oh my word. Why did no one tell me how effective that is? They just come. Now sometimes, very rarely, I have to say, “If you don’t come now, we will not come back here to play” (logical consequence). But that’s the exception.

So anyway, I’m just trying to say that not spanking really doesn’t mean permissiveness. It could, sure. But it’s not a given.

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honestly, i like in some ways how ted tripp says to spank (i don’t like frequency, no other options for childrearing, and would prefer covered). why? because in the spanking instructions to parents he (unwittingly?) includes a lot of the positive discipline elements that ross campbell recommends.

tripp makes the actual spanking part a very small part of the whole interaction, and includes focused attention (parent and child alone, talking, time) and physical contact (positive—hugging, holding).

So if you’re going to spank, those are great elements to include.

What I find works for myself more often than not is just doing the positve elements when a kid is disobedient, then the disobedience usually just dissolves. I look at disobedience like my gas light coming on—the child’s emotional tank is low. If I spend a few minutes filling it up, the disobedience usually (not always) becomes obedience.

Next, spanking done wrong.

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I think the fundamental flaw in many childrearing authors today (pearl, tripp, ezzo, etc) is the belief/assumption that obedience is the watershed issue in parenting.

Let me say that obedience is very, very important. That God wants a child to come to a point where he freely (thougth imperfectly, as we all live) chooses to honor his parents. Especially when young, teaching obedience is very important.

But that needs to be tempered by the fact that it’s really not the ultimate goal, as many authors say it is.

So what’s the watershed issue for parents? I think it’s belief. Right belief. At the end of my parenting journey, I want my kids full of right beliefs, right faith.

Obedience is a sub-goal, a result, a symptom. Making it the main thing can be problematic for a few reasons—it can lead to adversarial relationships, it can lead to creating children who are obedient and submissive when they should not be—like in cultic or social situations, it can lead to children feeling constantly guilty for their imperfections and sins, it can lead to children misunderstanding major aspects in the nature of God toward them–for example, the basis upon which God accepts us.

That’s why obedience training has to be tempered or influenced by the greater goal of influencing or inculcating right beliefs about God.

For example, when teaching obedience, what beliefs are you promoting in your child? Beliefs like: My love and acceptance is contingent on your obedience to me. Your plans and desires are not important.

Or beliefs like: We are learning obedience together; let me show you how to obey and let me show you how to accept God’s forgiveness. Let me tell you about who was punished for your sins and why.

It’s interesting, that teaching, like tripp recommends (and ezzo?), the first-time, no questions, happy attitude obedience is a really strange concept. It’s not in the Bible. It’s a concept of perfection. Even if you get a child to that point, they will go out into life and not live that way. We all sin every day. Kids need to be taught to be ready for this. To have heart warm to God, to accept His love and forgiveness, His correction, and allow Him to transform us. Sanctification is His work. It’s a process of waiting on Him, of study, of understanding Him.

Teaching a kid that he is good and acceptable to God because he obeys his parent is a lie. We are good and acceptable only in Christ. This is our unique Christian freedom. We do not earn or deserve God’s favor. Right belief in Christ is what makes us acceptable all our lives long. All our obedience is just “Thank You, God.”

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