It’s happened again.  Every few years someone buys the book, “To Train Up A Child”, by Michael and Debi Pearl and is outraged, OUTRAGED! that anyone would print such malicious, child violence propaganda.

In this most recent case, it has been causing some dramas for a small, family run business here in Australia, resulting in a trashy, dramatic segment on the evening current affairs program.  (Why do people watch that stuff?)  After sharing the plight of this family on a forum, of course a hot debate followed on the horrendous nature of the book’s content, V’s the commonsense parenting techniques others have found in it.

As it happens, I have read the book.  I think it has some very practical ideas for child training, and I personally would rather read a book about raising children written by someone who has done that to my definition of success, as opposed to reading one written by someone  the world has deemed an “expert”.  Do you know how often scientists and medical “experts” have been wrong? (ever seen the pictures of the of the first icepick lobotomies? The ones they gave to women for…uh…headaches?  Yes folks, you can believe science has all the answers if you want to…)

But more than the question of the validity of the Pearl’s advice on parenting, this issue raises for me questions about the right to free speech, personal opinions, and the need to apply discernment in reading, and to take responsibility for your own actions.

Here’s an interesting quote from one of the book’s detractors;

“Child protection activists are outraged that parents are being urged to inflict pain on children and say the message undermines Australia’s obligations under the international convention on children’s rights.This is promoting violence towards children, and to me this is going too far,” said Joe Tucci, chief executive of lobby group the Australian Childhood Foundation.

One word for you Mr Tucci – ABORTION.

O.k, concise is not my specialty,  I am fairly riled at present, and one word won’t actually slake my desire to rant.  What, WHAT are they thinking?  When legislation has just passed which allows people to KILL a baby who is about to be born, and when the world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of “human rights” (one of those rights being the right to kill babies)  how could any thinking person object to merely smacking a child? Seriously?  It’s ludicrous!

Here’s another little gem from the Doctor;

“It’s counter-productive to the parenting task, which is to educate your children about rules and about values,” Dr Tucci said. “It’s just not effective and it’s also morally wrong. The fact that these texts use a religious argument to support their propositions distorts the immorality of using extreme force against a child in order to teach them a lesson.”

Morally wrong eh?  Morally wrong using what yardstick?  Where are the moral absolutes, if you are not using the Bible?  If it’s your opinion that it’s morally wrong to spank, well, by all means refrain from the practice.  But if your opinion is the highest authority you can call on, or if the collective opinions of other people who have observed children, parenting, outcomes, and then formed decisions based on those observations, is the highest authority you can cite,  don’t be thinking for a moment that those opinions and observations are of any more value than the next person’s, who also claims to have observed children, parenting,  and outcomes.

Dr Tucci urged parents to not to buy the book.

Notice how the doctor exercises his freedom of speech?  He has every right to voice his opinion on the book, and whether or not people should buy it.  The Pearl’s also have the right to exercise their freedom of speech by sharing the things they have learned about parenting along their life journey.

Let’s stop and think for a minute:

Do you have to buy this book? No.

Do you have to agree with it if you have bought it? No.

Does anyone put a gun to your head and force you to implement ideas you don’t agree with?  No.

My hearty recommendation, should you be in strong opposition to corporal punishment, is for you to raise your children as you think best, and afford others the same courtesy.