“To Train Up A Child” Child Abuse Manual?

A few days ago, an irate Pearl devotee asked if Chuckles had even read “To Train Up A Child.”  The person went on to request page numbers to back up how we come to the conclusion, “To Train Up A Child” advocates Child abuse.

First of all, I don’t believe that Michael and Debi Pearls book only advocates child abuse. This book is a child abuse manual.  In the mid-90’s, Chuckles went to a “Child Training” seminar weekend that was taking place at a local Independent Baptist Church.  Michael Pearl chose to use a 9-year-old boy from the audience to demonstrate on!  Unbelievably, he really whipped the little boy.  Not long ago, Micheal Pearl was back in this area, advertised to speak at the same church.  This time he brought a full size male doll to whip.  Pearl giggled with glee as he were whipping his “dummy.”

Now for those page numbers from “To Train Up a Child:”
The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant’s hair (p.7)

They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1).

The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9).  Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).
On p.44 they say not to let the child’s crying while being hit to “cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking.”

On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway. And “if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher.” “Defeat him totally.”

On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway.

On p.47 they recommend their various whips, including “a belt or larger tree branch” to hit children.

On p.59 they recommend whipping a 3-year-old until he is “totally broken.”

The Pearls describe tripping their non-swimming toddler so she falls into deep water (p.67).

On p.80 they recommend giving a child having a tantrum “a swift forceful spanking.” On the same page they say to whip small children on their bare skin until they stop screaming. “Don’t be bullied. Give him more of the same.” They say to continue whipping until their crying turns into a “wounded, submissive whimper.”

On page 86, The Pearls recommend ignoring an infant’s bumped head when he falls to the floor, and ignoring skinned knees.

They also say “if your child is roughed-up by peers, rejoice.” (p.81)

On page 103 the Pearls say if children lose their shoes, “let them go without until they [the children] can make the money to buy more.”

I am aware of Michael Pearls official statement on the No Greater Joy Ministries facebook group about the death of Hana Williams.    As I see it, while Michael Pearl is not laughing as he did after the death of Lydia Schatz.  Michael Pearl appears to be trying to have it both ways.  While claiming that a parent can use his materials and not abuse their child, he doesn’t tell them how to do that.  My definition of abuse and his definition of abuse differ greatly. (See quotes above)  Furthermore, Michael Pearl is wrong about the Williams obtaining the book in an effort to solve the problem.  They were using the Pearls’ materials for years before they adopted Hana and Immanuel.

A few more facts, there are plenty of people who took and implemented Pearls’ advice who didn’t end up on trial for murdering a child, but have lived to regret their decision to follow the Pearl’s advice.  Following the Pearl’s teaching on child training, has resulted in a number of parents being investigated by Child Protective Services. Children been permanently removed from parents. In one recent case, a restraining order against a father. A babysitter was sentenced on felony child abuse charges!  Those are just a few examples.  Yet, when Michael Pearl hears of tragedy’s like that of Hana Williams his main defense of himself, is that the parents were not using the materials correctly.  If the materials are that confusing, then the materials need to be changed.  Michael Pearl should take responsibility for what he wrote, and clarify, rather that deflect from the problem.

Lastly, Michael and Debi Pearl are just people.  They are not God.  Their interpretation of what they claim is “godly child training” is their opinion.  Neither of the Pearls have any training in child behavior, psychology or education.  Neither of the Pearls have any theological training either.  Their books are their opinion! For those who defend Michael Pearl because he is a “man of God,”  may I please recommend you do a study on how and in what context, the phrase, “man of God,” is used in the Bible.

Micael Pearl makes the claim that if you follow their advice you will have godly children when they grow up. Having a godly home does not guarantee godly  or even good grown children.  The point is, no one of should be trusting a particular parenting method or philosophy to turn out godly children – we should ultimately be turning to God and giving Him the glory when our children follow Him.

9 thoughts on ““To Train Up A Child” Child Abuse Manual?

  1. These people are very sick in the head. They hate their children and all children. How can you abuse sweet innocent children like that. I love the wonder in my kids and these horrible people take that right out of them. I still say this is straight from the pits of HELL!!!

  2. Now where are the burners of the Bible versions which are not KJV, –the Koran, prayer rugs, and other man-based “spiritual help” books. Why don’t they burn THIS book?? Hmmmmmmmmm?????? Where are those book-burning churches on this one? Grab a shovel and start shovelin that manure!

  3. I (C.P. Traveler) conversed with the noted commenter multiple times. I was urged to “research” the Pearl material. My method of research (as is the case with many out there in academic situations and otherwise) is to do some reading and some research on what others have seen and understood. In addition, I relied heavily on my own current station of spiritual growth and discernment. Yet, none of this was seen as “research” by the commenter. All that was offered was defense of Pearl as an “innocent man” undeserving of all the slander.

    We have ceased conversing … sometimes you just have to walk away. As always, we turn the focus back to helping those who have been hurt so deeply.

  4. First of all thank you for putting this together. I’ll be referring to this often so I don’t have to go back through my own copy to find these quotes.

    My favorite thing you said was this:

    “Yet, when Michael Pearl hears of tragedy’s like that of Hana Williams his main defense of himself, is that the parents were not using the materials correctly. If the materials are that confusing, then the materials need to be changed. Michael Pearl should take responsibility for what he wrote, and clarify, rather that deflect from the problem.”

    As I’ve thought over this the past few days, I’ve wondered how it is that Michael Pearl and I could have such different notions of what constitutes abuse. I read his book- could barely stomach getting through it knowing that some of my friends were using it on their children- and it SCREAMED out abuse to me. Now, we are non-spanking parents of two well-behaved children, but I know many parents who do spank their children who read this book and were also appalled. So obviously, this material is totally confusing at best. Lydia Schatz was sat on by her parents and whipped into submission. That’s EXACTLY what Pearl says to do in his book! Does he really think people are going to read that and think he doesn’t mean for people to do exactly that? He seems to think people will recognize when he is allegedly exaggerating. He never clearly delineates what he thinks abuse is- I suppose a child has to DIE before he thinks people are taking his advice wrongly. People follow his advice to a T and children die. Pearl refuses to take responsibility for the well established FACT that his teachings have played a part in those deaths. I have never seen such hubris.

    • And, again, we should point out that Pearl’s parenting experience does not automatically translate into a being an “expert”. He is self-proclaimed in that way with no tangible credentials and a host of Bible verses lifted way out of context to back up his point.

      For those of you who still cannot see the wrong, go to your local hardware store, get a piece of 1/4 inch plumbing pipe, come home, and hit yourself repeatedly across your own thigh with it! That is NOT the “rod of correction” or anything close to an appropriate, corrective spanking.

      C.P. Traveler

  5. This method doesn’t guarantee godly children — it churns out compliant children who can parrot back whatever the parents have drummed into their little minds. It churns out children who are not a bother to their parents because fear-based control is what rules the household.

  6. Please help me spread the word about these abusers with severe mental health issues. Their story involving “To Train Up A Child” in a nutshell is below. Please feel free to copy and paste it elsewhere on the web.

    After a serious report of child abuse was made by numerous people against Danielle and Curtis Kekoa III, they are once again promoting their use of the abusive principals taught by Michael and Debi Pearl in the book “To Train up a Child”

    Their website:

    It took Social Services several weeks to actually investigate the report, giving the Kekoas plenty of time to cover up whatever might have been going on.

    Now Dani Kekoa claims that Social Services commends them for using the abusive tactics taught by the Pearls. The Pearls openly encourage “discipline”, as early as 6 months old, “Whippings” with the “rod” as they call them are ineffective unless it causes pain. The Pearls teach how to “Whip” in such a way that it causes pain but doesn’t leave any marks so that the “government” can’t prove the abuse. Someone needs to stop these abusers.

    Obviously Adams County Colorado doesn’t take child abuse seriously NOR substance exposed newborns given Dani Kekoa’s self admitted marijuana usage throughout her pregnancy. Apparently Colorado Social Services also doesn’t feel it necessary to examine ALL 6 children during an investigation, in particular the youngest two who are the most venerable and the potentially substance exposed newborn.

    Also alarming is that these children aren’t registered with any school district, aren’t involved with any church or social groups, or extra curricular activities and therefore have no visibility in the community. Outside contact of any kind is strictly prohibited. Social services is aware of all of this and did nothing. We wonder how children die. Let’s be proactive instead reactive when a child is in imminent danger.

    Call Adams County Colorado Department of Human Services and tell them to reopen the case! (303) 287-8831

  7. This book is a manual on child abuse. The problem with these people is that they take spanking to an extreme. My parents continued to escalate until they were whipping me completely naked with a leather belt. They even whipped my bare genitals sometimes. The abuse these people cause is so horrible. They really need to be arrested.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s