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Author Topic: Spanking  (Read 124222 times)
calgal
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2010, 04:20:48 pm »

Gene, I think my oldest son (I have three and the oldest two were the primary targets prior to my exit from the cult) would be able to relate your experinece. He was five when we got out. His father remained in the group and continued to spank him until I insisted he didn't. He then argued that he had the 'right' to do so as long as he didn't leave a bruise. I threatened to move with the kids to Mexico if he ever touched the kids again and it finally stopped.

But it was painful as a mother to be in the group at the time and see the severity of this conviction.  I rarely if ever spanked the  kids (maybe a swat if they tried to run in the street).  But for my husband at the time, it became a test of his own spirituality and potential leadership skills.  Every evening after work, he would "set up" training sessions for the older boys.

When they were one or two, he would place them on a blanket and train them to stay on the blanket and take them to the bathroom to spank them if they got off. This would train them (like a dog!) so we could sit through a bible study with "well behaved" kids.  At dinner, it was so painful. The minor infraction (and it was HIS standard and he would LOOK for ANYTHING) he would take a boy out of the room to be spanked. He would go to the bathroom (and spank with multiple paint sticks taped with duct tape) and spank and spank until and my son would stop crying as crying was a sign of rebelliousness.    It was a useless situation for these boys.  It was painful to be sitting at the table listening to this at the table.  I had been thinking of leaving (divorce was not part of my vocabulary at that time) and I had to protect my children was part of this.  My daytime (with their dad at work)  with my boys was so peaceful and beautiful and then evenings were so tense.

The first day my husband moved out and we had dinner just the three boys and I (age 5, 4 and 1 in a high chair), I told them that from now on, we would be having dinner without Dad.  Without my prompting, the two older ones jumped up on their chairs, raised their hands above their heads clapped their hands and cheered.  It was the most stressfree dinner .....

From the mouths of babes.

And everything that is written in this post about the old material given for instruction is spot on ... and this was in the late 80s
The lasting affects are evident as my older son has a difficult time trusting adult men and my middle son trusts them too much.

Calgal
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childofgcm
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2010, 06:53:11 pm »

Gene, my experience was somewhat similar to yours. I was raised in a Great Commission Church from birth, in the late 70s through the 80s, and my parents homeschooled their kids and followed the church's discipline rules to the letter. It's hard to express what my childhood was like -- the terrified obedience, never knowing what would bring on a spanking, and never ever being good enough to avoid being spanked. They used wooden rods and spanked for any and all infractions. If somebody did something wrong and she didn't know which child did it, my mother would spank all of us, on the advice of someone in our church. All the children in my family turned into chronic liars, hiding everything about ourselves, silencing ourselves, suffocating ourselves. My parents had great success -- I was the perfect daughter, they spanked every bit of assertiveness out of me, beat the word "no" out of my vocabulary. This led to my utter submission and compliance with every authority figure, which made my parents proud but had catastrophic results: my sisters and I were sexually abused by a family member for years. And our education was so restricted that we had no idea what was happening to us.

Even today I feel like I am missing some elemental part of me that everyone else has -- for example, I never ask questions about anything. It's not that I have questions and don't ask, it's that I have no questions in me, no curiosity, no ability to reach outward. It's like, mentally, I stay on that blanket calgal described. Like my soul never grew legs.

I have almost no relationship with my parents now. They left the church many years ago and are divorced; I haven't spoken with my father in a decade, and my mother has no idea who I actually am inside. As Gene put it, "Who I was really, what I thought, what I was interested in, what I was scared of, what made me laugh, what made me happy, what made me tick, was all secret. Happily accepting that their son was the virtual GCx kid, my parents never got to know me and still donít even today."

I guess this is my introduction -- my first comment here anyway, though I've been reading for a while. This was the first conversation that made me want to reply. I don't know if my example is extreme, or atypical, or what. Today I have a good life on my own though -- a decent job, a few friends, hobbies, happiness. I am in my 30s now. But I cannot even look at a church, any church. Too many reminders.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 07:03:14 pm by childofgcm » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2010, 07:42:34 pm »

Welcome childofgcm. Thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry.

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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2010, 08:37:52 pm »

The damage this doctrine of perfect obedience has caused is breathtakingly sad.  I found that many of the GC children I knew didn't question anything.  It was very unusual.  I thought that the word picture of a soul never learning to walk on legs was spot on.  I'm so sorry Cal gal and Child.  It's so damaging to the soul to have God linked with such atrocities.  I'll never forget one GC friend commenting how he loved it when his kids disobeyed because it was a chance to train them, and he was always looking to train them.  It sickened me at the time, but also made me feel that my parenting skills were suspect and not strict enough.
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Linda
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2010, 09:48:50 pm »

I remember hearing a pastor speak on discipline once. He, too, orchestrated situations where he "tested" his children by telling them to do certain things that made no real sense to see if they would do it. If they didn't immediately do it, or asked why, he spanked them. At the time I thought, "That is terrible, he certainly has a lot to learn about raising children." It never occurred to me that this was a common teaching in the movement. I just thought it was one father's misunderstanding of teaching children to obey.

The verse that comes to mind when I hear stories like that is Colossians 3:21, Fathers, do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.
They preach on the verse before that, the children obeying their parents part, but stop there.

Similarly, they do that with Hebrews 13:17 (which is a different Greek word for "obey" than the word for "obey" in the Colossians). They don't temper it with 1 Peter 5 which says:

"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;  not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock."

I used the ESV, but other translations say "not lording it over".

Opening the Bible, reading a verse and telling people to "just do what it says" is profoundly unwise.
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Rebekah
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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2010, 10:14:30 pm »

Oh, childofgcm and calgal, I'm so sorry. This makes me so angry; I don't know what to do.

I remember some college friends talking about one boy at a different GC church who was so naughty and spanked all the time. They laughed about how often he got spanked, and I laughed too. Why the hell was I laughing?

That blanket s*** still goes on. One of my former GC friends posted on facebook about sewing her own "training blanket".

Another maddening anecdote: My mother-in-law bought small wooden dowel rods and gave them to my sister-in-law to spank her kid, saying "This is the best birthday present I can give your son."

They gave us the material, we read them, and returned them politely. But why the hell didn't we say "I can't believe you still think this is ok. Why are you giving us materials that encourage us to abuse our son?"

Why? Because my husband was a GC kid who was spanked a lot and is too scared of them to have those kinds of conversations. So we smile and nod, demurely declining their invitation to continue the cycle of abuse.

AAAAARRRRGGGGGGG
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Linda
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2010, 10:24:34 pm »

Okay. This is sick. I'm getting mad.

Hug your babies, people.

Give your babies and grand-babies good gifts. Things like trucks, and dolls, and colors, and books. Not spanking spoons.
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G_Prince
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« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2010, 12:10:05 am »

Dear Child and Calgal,

I'm sorry that we share similar experiences. I think both of you had it worse than me. My parents we about dead center in the GCx discipline spectrum; we were spanked often but we never had "training blankets." That seriously makes me want to call social services. People don't even train their dogs this way. Dogs get treats, kids get beat. Calgal, I'm very proud of you for standing up for your kids and getting out of that relationship.

Spanking and obedience training is really the seedy underbelly of Christian fundamentalism. I've heard of the blanket method elsewhere. Do the Pearls use this?   

Going back to my earlier post, I don't mean to imply that my childhood was a dark, and fearful experience; there was a lot of love in my house too. My parents did lots of special things for us and frequently told us that they loved us. However, spanking really made our relationship confusing. No matter how often they explained why they were spanking me, I always sensed that spanking was abnormal. When your parents ritually hit you, logic goes out the window and is replaced by fear. Spanking can be justified with skewed reasoning but it never makes sense emotionally or psychologically. I loved and feared my parents equally and simultaneously.

Spanking also had implications for my religious beliefs. I was taught to obey my parents because ultimately we need to be obedient to God. This association established God as an all powerful parent with a switch. Yes, he has lots of love for you if you behave, but man you had better not cross him. Of course man is wretchedly sinful (as I was constantly taught) and thus God is constantly bringing down the hammer. Ultimately, if you don't get it together by the time you die, you will go straight to hell and endure one mean-ass spanking for eternity.

This kind of theology really negates the message of the crucifixion. Christ came to love us and save us not to punish us. It is through his sacrifice that we are free from death and suffering. Even as a kid I understood the paradox between God's judgment and Christ salvation. I often thought with a little laugh that if they really wanted to model Christ's behavior, my parents would spank themselves the next time I messed up.  Grin

This topic has really opened a can of worms for me, and I feel as though I'm suddenly seeing things as they really are for the first time. Thanks to everyone who has said nice things to me over the last few days! I am really in a good place and feel as if I am going to a better one. The road ahead will likely be harder than I anticipate but I am strong and confident and I can get through anything. If anyone out there had a similar childhood, you can too.     
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G_Prince
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2010, 12:25:57 am »

I'd be curious to know what percentage of parents who practice these methods, have normal relationships with their adult children. Of course there is no way to really know, but a recent pull I conducted, were I randomly guessed, said that it is about 2.5 %

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Mr. Toad
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2010, 05:16:19 am »

"I often thought with a little laugh that if they really wanted to model Christ's behavior, my parents would spank themselves the next time I messed up."

lol G! 
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2010, 07:25:02 am »

One other comment I would like to say is this.  I have noticed that people who are sure in what they believe (even if it is false), have a look in their eyes.  It's as though they are blindfolded and can't see anything anymore.  I felt this way as a child.  My parents couldn't SEE me when they were spanking me so severely with a belt!  I truly believe that they were SEEING the future me that they were afraid of, pregnant, runaway, humiliating them, I guess.  (Which never happened... I was a total goody two shoes!)  Anyway, they weren't cruel people if that makes sense at all.  I can't explain any other way how someone would think beating a toddler or spanking a little, scared girl with a belt was okay.

I just want to say that one practice I have used in my own parenting is to sloooooooow waaaaaay down.  LOOK at my children.  Just look.  Observe their body language, the looks on their faces, their posture, their breathing, their voices.  That act of looking and Seeing and not giving way to fear of the outcome, but looking at the reality, helps me to analyze what is going on.  As Gene said, sometimes kids don't really know what is going on or even what exactly they are doing wrong.  I happen to have a child who we're pretty sure has bipolar (pray for us, please) or very severe ADHD.  If I had been a GC parent, his life would be miserable.  Instead, I have a community of gentle parents to help me.  I have the benefit of online support for those parenting children with behavior issues, and I have a gentle church.  GC would offer none of these things to parents due to the insular nature of their movement.

Gosh, one more thing.  There was a parent who had a child with SEVERE disabilities.  He had a very low IQ and was the sweetest guy you could imagine.  It was recommended by Rick Whitney that he be spanked for disobedience when he couldn't even understand the request.  The mom ignored this advice and instead used a positive behavioral approach which worked great with him.  All he wanted was to be told, "Good job, buddy!  You are the best!" 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 07:47:41 am by AgathaL'Orange » Logged

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calgal
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2010, 07:40:53 am »

Hey all:

For as much as I thank God I got out when my kids were young, the spanking has had a lasting effect on my oldest two sons, especially my oldest son.  I have a lot of regret for not getting out sooner, for I participated in this behavior even if I didn't administer it directy myself.  I did adhere to it early on but when it became obsessive and bizarre, I just couldn't.  And I really didn't have to as my husband was more than happy to take the 'lead.'   

It was the 'testing' that really bugged me ... like lying in wait for your child to be 'tricked.'

The years that followed, first starting to raise three boys under five on my own, were difficult.  But sweet.  I could love them, kiss them, nurture them, talk kindly to them and give them instruction that was firm and directional.  If the two oldest fought, I would simply place them on the two ends of the couch and insist them work it out or they couldn't get off the couch. Viola!  If they argued in the car while I was driving, I would pull over, and sit silent untll the calmed down.  If they acted up in the store, I would pull them gently into my arms and take them into the car.  I told them we can go into the store when they can be calm and quite.  I learned, thanks so my pediatrition and parenting books, new methods to teach my kids how to behave in the real world.

What I didn't realize then but I do now, I was also teaching (deprogramming) myself also how to behave in the real world. After all, it was 1994 and it was the first time I had ever heard Madonna and it was over the loud speak of a department store!@

Calgal
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2010, 07:44:49 am »

Calgal, beautiful examples of gentle and practical parenting.   I love it.  Thank you.
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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2010, 07:46:41 am »

This really gets me going.  I have 2 adopted children that have been physically and emotionally abused that will never be "normal" because of their early trauma and abuse.  It is illegal to spank foster children. (thank God for that!)

This is ABUSE people!!  When my normal birth children were young 2-4 I used spanking as a tool -- not as the ONLY means of discipline.  I can't imagine what this would do with children with abuse and trauma.  This IS TRAUMA.  What you describe from Calgal, Gprince, child of GCX and others are trauma events.  You were abused -- child abuse is child abuse even from well meaning people that are following cult leaders!  This should be reported.  Not sure how but from someone inside the system that is currently seeing first hand the abuse.  This needs to stop.  I'm sickened by this and by the reports of the adults that were raised with this abuse.  

I'm thankful we got out when my children were young - although my oldest daughter still has bad memories of our over spanking.  She was 4 when we left.  Cal gal -- your reports are scary -- but yet I know they are true.  I was there during the time you were with the church.  I knew your husband and the people that discipled your husband.

I hope that the adults that survived this abuse are getting some therapy and are able to talk to the parents about the abuse at some point.    It makes me sick and sad......

I think this abuse needs to be reported to DHS -- any suggestions as to how?  We need to protect the children there now receiving this abuse!!
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2010, 07:55:21 am »

Quote
I think this abuse needs to be reported to DHS -- any suggestions as to how?  We need to protect the children there now receiving this abuse!!

Honestly, if I currently knew of anyone RIGHT NOW using these practices I would.  I don't have any evidence of current abuse because anyone who would tell me about it is either 1.  Not my friend anymore so I don't know how they parent, or 2.  An adult who has left the movement.
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G_Prince
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2010, 08:06:22 am »

I know, what are we supposed to do? Last night I was feeling such rage about all of this and trying to figure out if the authorities need to be involved. Even though I have some relationships in GC, they're distant enough that I don't know what's going on.

I did send a link about the damage of spanking to some GC friend moms who I thought might possibly be spanking. Only one responded, and I don't think they were doing the whole system but maybe some of it. It was hard to hear for sure.

I'll contact the friend who said she'd finished her "training blanket" to find out more--not to get her child taken away but to try to help her see that these practices are abusive.

The trouble is they've all been taught to be pretty tight-lipped about it.

Is there anything we, as a group, can do?
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2010, 08:20:58 am »

Well, honestly until they leave bruises or inuries, spanking isn't legally abuse, I'm pretty sure.  Blanket time is not considered abuse as far as I know. 
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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2010, 08:33:47 am »

from a person who has dealt with the system and abused children for years -- even if there is no bruise -- this is still abuse.  Parents can be charged with emotional abuse as well.  There are levels of abuse, founded, confirmed and non-confirmed in our state.  It differs state to state.  But if anyone calls in an abuse charge they HAVE to investigate regardless!
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calgal
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« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2010, 08:40:49 am »

I think I have an answer!

I viewed the Cedar Rapids church and found archives of their sermons and they have a current one on spanking!

Check it out!!!!  http://www.newlifecr.com/Sermon_Archives.html

My speaker won't work on this computer so I'm going to another to listen to it right now ... maybe that is enough for DHS!

Calgal
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2010, 12:13:40 am »

The Kurt Jurgensmeier message on spanking is horrible. Makes me very sad. Calgal, thanks for the link.  Awful.
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