I wasnt sure what forum to put this in so, I put it here
It's long, and sensitive, so please forgive me.
DH and I are Christian. He was raised going to church and in a Christian home, and I was raised in the type of home where we went to church on Easter Sunday.
My husbands best friend growing up, his wife, and his sister all discipline using the Pearls method. We've been somewhat close to them since they moved where we live (Idaho from California) and we've seen their children around once a week or so since they've been born, with a few months of not seeing them spattered in. I've always had a very very hard time with how they treat their children. They use a switch and hit her 5 or 6 times with it every time she disobeys. This can be anything from sulking (she's 3) when asked to do something, or not having a joyful heart. The more she cries the more they spank her. Their sister is proud of the fact she first switched her daughter at 9 months.
I need to say, that up until a month ago, I spanked my son. I didn't use the Pearls method (I've read bits and pieces and it breaks my heart and disgusts me). Please don't flame me. I feel horrible sadness and guilt as it is. Everyone I know told me that to raise godly children I had to spank them. My inlaws (whom I love so much), our friends, grandparents, everyone. When my son did something wrong, I'd ask him not to do it again. If he did it again then I'd take him someplace quiet, tell him he was getting a spanking and why. then I'd spank him twice hug him and tell him how much I loved him. He'd maybe get spanked once or twice a month, as we tried to use other forms of discipline and only spanked for things where he was hurting someone.
I started watching my friends and how they spanked their daughter 15 times in one BBQ. You could hear her screaming from the other room. I couldn't contain my tears. She and her cousin have always been mean children. I know it is because they're being abused. On three separate occasions I've seen them hurt my son when they don't think anyone is watching. I didn't say anything because I didn't want them to be switched, but I am always having to keep my son away from them and not let them play alone, to protect him. They're very withdrawn, the one we're closer to, she is becoming extremely violent. I have continued a friendship with them, albeit strained, because I was trying to think of ways I could help the girls. I began praying and when my MIL came and saw how they disciplined she also began praying.
Well, I noticed that after I spanked my son for shoving one of the little girls down he got ANGRY. He started screaming wildly and hitting me and punching me and screaming "YOU NEVER hit me YOU NEVER NEVER!!!". I burst out crying and hugged him for an hour. When he'd get in trouble for something he'd scream "Don't spank me no no no no no!". Even spanking him MAYBE twice a month he was so traumatized.
I began praying and the response I've received from God is so powerful I am quite taken aback. I will never, ever hit my child again. I'm so ashamed and sad that I have, I can't even put it into words. I am not abusive, I am not a bad parent, I love my son SO MUCH but I truly believed if I didn't spank him I would ruin him.
I'm finding it so painful that the Christians I know are the most abusive parents I know. They beat their children in the name of God. They hit tiny babies, they go to churches where they have child training rooms, and if the children speak or jump or move they're beaten with switches. These are children as young as 1. Last time we had a play date, the little girl was switched for having a bad attitude. She is three years old.
Her parents keep talking about how she's just getting worse and worse, and they keep disciplining and its not working. they believe in a consequence for every action. And that consequence is switching. I'm trying to see how this relates to God. It seems like they're bringing on the flood for every minor transgression. That is NOT the God I know. I can't find anything Jesus says about spanking children but I can find a lot he says about harming them.
I need help now. I believe God is going to use me and my awakening to help them. Their father has tears in his eyes when he describes her behavior because she is getting worse and worse and obviously the whippings are making it worse. They truly want to do the best for their children but don't know how.
I've been to gentle christian mothers, but I so admire so many of the strong Christian women here. I would love to know you discipline your children. I would also love any and all book recommendations on christian discipline.
I feel at a loss now, as how to parent my own son and especially how to help these little girls. My guilt is making it so I don't do anything now and I'm letting him run amok, and that needs to change but right now I'm just kinda going with the flow. He's such an amazing little boy and I love him so much.
Thank you for sticking with me (if you did
) and again please don't flame me for spanking my son. It won't help me and it won't help my situation. I know better now and will never raise my hands to my children.