To Train Up a Child

To Train Up a Child

by Michael Pearl, Debi Pearl
Trade Paperback, 108 pages
Current Retail Price: $5.95
Used Price: $3.00 (2 in stock) Condition Policy

In our day, it is rare for someone to take a stand and speak up for an unpopular practice—even if it's a biblical one. Examples include keeping the Sabbath, tithing. . .and spanking. Authors Michael and Debi Pearl are willing to be unpopular—as you can see from the reviews below! Although we don't agree with everything they have to say, we laud them for their willingness to openly discuss the topic of using the rod.

To Train Up a Child offers a biblical defense for spanking as a legitimate training tool. The Pearls hope to help you maintain fellowship with your child(ren) as you discipline, end up spanking less, and still have the results of consistent obedience. They are careful to say that parents should never spank in anger—they should spank only in a spirit of love and with the intent to keep children from greater harm. We don't think they advocate abuse: in fact, we believe that failing to discipline children biblically is a much worse form of abuse! If you disagree with spanking outright, please take a look at the following passages in Scripture: Proverbs 19:18, 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15, and 29:17.

That said, there are people who can take the methods offered here too far, giving credence to the shock of the reviewers below. If control-freak parents take some of the ideas presented here out of the context of loving discipline, those methods could become cruel and unusual punishment. But we believe the problem in that case is primarily the parents and not this book. We, of course, recommend balance and suggest you also read these other titles for additional instruction in child training and discipline:

Old Cover (same edition):

Additional Reading for Context:

Excerpts from chapter 1:

"We live in a horse and buggy community where someone is always training a new horse. When you get into a buggy to go down a narrow, winding, state highway filled with eighteen-wheelers and logging trucks, you must have a totally submissive horse. You cannot depend on whipping him into submission. One mistake and the young men will again be making several new pine boxes and digging six-foot deep holes in the orchard.

"Parents that put off training until their child is old enough to discuss issues or receive explanations will find he has become a terror long before he understands the meaning of the word. A newborn soon needs training.

"Training is a technique that always works on every child. To neglect training is to create miserable circumstances for you and your child. Out of ignorance many have bypassed training and expected discipline alone to effect proper behavior. It has not worked.

"Disciplinary actions can become excessive and oppressive if you set aside the tool of training and depend on discipline alone to do the training. I observed a proud, stern father, ruling his children with a firm hand, and making sure everyone knew it. His rod was swift to fall, especially in the presence of company. His children trembled in his presence, fearing to incur his displeasure. I wondered why, if he was so firm and faithful to gain obedience, he had not achieved it before entering the public arena. I was impressed, but not in the way he hoped."

Table of Contents:

  1. To Train Up A Child
  2. Childish Nature
  3. Parental Anger
  4. Tying Strings
  5. The Rod
  6. Applying The Rod
  7. Philosophy of the Rod
  8. Selective Subjection
  9. Training Examples
  10. Safety Training
  11. Potty Untraining
  12. Child Labor
  13. Attitude Training
  14. Emotional Control
  15. Training in Self Indulgence
  16. Bullies
  17. "Religious" Whips
  18. Imitations
  19. Homeschool Makes No Fool
  20. The Flavor of Joy
  21. Personal
  22. Conclusion
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  Try This Book Instead
Wife of Or, 12/19/2009
"The Pursuit of Godly seed" by Denny Kenaston. You have to order it from the publisher

The pursuit of Godly seed book changed my entire life. I give out copies whenever I can.
Unbelievable, 10/16/2008
This is nothing short of child abuse promotion. I have 9 children and have never had cause or desire to harm my children in this way. This approach is an absolute disgrace, a distortion of the bible in the the most insulting way and the most deluded way of child rearing I think I have read of in the last 2 centuries. We do not require a trip back to the dark ages. Children are unbeatable. I have had to give this book a star rating - its not worth anything like the 1 awarded.
  To Train Up A Child
Loving parent of UK, 10/16/2008
This book is testimony only to the cruelty that still survives in the name of God and Love. It is a tragedy that this book has been written and published. Read it at your peril, for it will surely make your blood boil if you have an ounce of human compassion and peace in your heart. This is very sick. God help the children raised in such a barbaric manner.
  Wickedness or Ignorance?
Concerned Parent and Grandparent of UK, 10/16/2008
What a nauseating book!
I am not sure whether to feel pity for these child-abusers (of much the same kind I would feel for a rabid dog - sorry for their plight, but determined never to let them near any child) or simply horror at such apparently wilful wickedness. If this is a Christian approach, then Christianity must abandon all pretension to any doctrine of love.
Ashamed to be called a Christian of United Kingdom, 10/16/2008
How can parents advocate violence against even new borns? Children have rights & should be protected by adults from this type of treatment. The book does not desererve publication, & the Pearls certainly should not benefit from the sales. I had to give a star rating. I'd compare this 1 star book to bubonic plague as a 5 star alternative.
  Don't Buy This!
Concerned Parent of UK, 10/16/2008
This is awful, children do not need this treatment! a child is not an animal.. and I wouldn'd treat an animal like this either! Only one reason to be glad this is here.. it gives us reasonable loveing parents in the UK chance to say.. YOUR METHODS ARE APPALLING.. NEITHER YOUR ORGANISATION NOR YOUR BOOK IS WELCOME IN THE UK!... here's hopeing your own government see's this and does something about your organisation.
  Should Not Be Sold - 100
Appalled, 10/16/2008
In the days we have come to appreciate that children and all humans should have respect and be treated as human beings and an individuals in their own rights, this book represents nothing more then a breach in childrens' rights and the Convention of human rights should be addressing issues, such as books like this being published on the open market...
  Should Have Minus 5 Stars!!!
Disgusted of UK, 10/16/2008
The Pearls advocate treating your children as belonging to a lower class, to be cowed into submission and kept there. They recommend you use a willow withe to prevent a 5 month old climbing stairs(have they never heard of safety gates?). They also insist if a child does not willingly submit to 'lashes' then the number of lashes should increase until the child does submit willingly. These people should be reported to the authorities not published. A truly loving parent should respect their children's autonomous choices, not repress them.
  One Star, Way Too Many!
Jemima Eaves, 10/16/2008
A disgusting and tragic interpretation of biblical discipline. I am ashamed to call myself a Christian if that's what the Pearls call themselves. I serve the God of the Bible through His son Jesus Christ and nothing that I have read in the Bible supports this. God desires that we should do everything we can to help our children bloom and blossom and nothing to crush their spirits. "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trust in me to lose faith it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large milstone tied round his neck" Matthew 18:6 A more fitting end for the Pearls and their ministry I cannot imagine!
  One Star Is Too Many
Sickened Parent, 10/16/2008
The philosophy and methods of the Pearls are utterly abhorrent. I have spent a great many hours researching the Pearls' website, DVDs and books and I can honestly say that their approach is nothing short of abusive. To deliberately place a tempting article in the way of a baby so that you can then spank or thump the child for reaching for it, or to give a six year old ten lashes per day because you think he is a liar but have never caught him lying - can only be described as abuse - such practises cannot be excused or justified. I was hit with a belt by my own father - a practise the Pearls recommend for older children. Nevertheless, I did not visit such abuse on my own children nor did I ever seek to "break their wills", yet we have no battles in our house. We work on mutual trust and mutual respect and I value my childrens' autonomy instead of seeking to crush it. Girls who are physically abused by their parents are being set up for abusive men. Boys who are abused by their parents are being set up to be abusers. We are responsible for the choices we make. Make a positive choice not to view your children as the enemy and buy a different book. Try Jan Fortune-Wood to find a radical alternative.