I've wanted to blog about discipline and parenting for quite a while now.
I think I'm going to do this in sections so it doesn't become the longest post ever. This seems a good time with all the info regarding the Pearl Method. While we all (at least most of us) look at that and see abusive ways, it seems like people think you have to be either a spanker or permissive person. I disagree.
So many Christian parenting books advocate what I call "adversarial parenting". This is basically where you look at your child as someone you must "win" against with the motivation not only being a well behaved and obedient child, but also a Godly child. The first ones that come to mind for me are:
"To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl
"Growing Kids Gods Way" by Gary Ezzo
"Shepherding your Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp
"The Strong Willed Child" by James Dobson
Not all of these books are outright abusive, but in my opinion they are focused on using discipline to change your childs heart. They can make a parent feel like they're out of God's Will if they do not use the methods. They all use the "rod" as an instrument of physical discipline. My child is not my adversary or enemy. Obedience based on fear is not necessarily heart obedience. It is externally motivated. I want my children to have internal motivation. I will talk more about this in another post.
My children are not things I can and must control. I cannot make them have a Godly heart or spirit. I personally do not believe that breaking their will makes them better people. However, I can work with them on proper behaviors and actions that help them act or think with kindness, gentleness and love for others. I can call them on bad behaviors and help them adjust.
I believe the Lord calls us to be a good Godly example to those around us, most importantly to our children. Being a "light in the darkness" of this world to our kids is the best way for us to show the Lord to our children. Only God can change hearts and spirits. Only God can purify and make clean someone's soul. I cannot. I am human. And I can only pray that God will guide me to be the best parent possible for the children he has given me.