Parenting Positively Means Much More Than Not Hitting

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Din Jimenez.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on May 11, 2015.

Yesterday as Sally climbed into the car, she knocked over a can with flowers in it, something she’d brought home from school, and in the process spilled water on the seat. Sally began to fret about the water, but I didn’t have a towel or other rag in the car. Since we were about to head home home, I suggested that she sit on the wet spot, soaking up some of the water with her dress, and that she could change when we get home. Sally responded that the water was in a corner of the seat, so she couldn’t.

By this time I’d been out with the kids to the park and elsewhere an hour and a half, and we’d already had to go back to the park because Sally left her backpack there, and I was feeling overwhelmed and annoyed. So when Sally followed her fretting about the water up by saying she couldn’t soak it up with her dress, I was just done.

Fine,” I said. “But if the car rots—”

And there I stopped myself. I’d been about to say “if the car rots, it’s your fault!” But then the entire point of such a statement would be to make Sally feel bad—to use guilt and blame to manipulate her feelings. This is the kind of thing I’m trying very hard not to do! Sally already felt bad that she had spilled the water and was already worried about the car. Why make her feel worse? Why wield her own emotions and feelings as a weapon against her? That’s really not okay.

So when I actually finished the sentence, it looked like this:

Fine. But if the car rots—we’ll deal with it.”

Sally looked relieved as she buckled her seatbelt. “That’s right mom,” she said cheerfully. “We’ll deal with it!” And somehow, just like that, the mood shifted from antagonistic to cooperative.

Giving up corporal punishment was easy. It’s giving up the rest—the myriad ways parents can be punitive and negative in their parenting—that is difficult. Not physically abusing a child is so much easier than not emotionally abusing them.

While I was at the park, before Sally left her backpack and then spilled the water, I observed an interaction between a father and son. My own son Bobby was swinging, as I gave him pushes, when a little boy of about two came up and wanted to use the swing. His father tried to call him away, telling him he should come play on the playground equipment until the swing was open. The boy stepped back and stood by the swings. His father called to him again, from about fifteen feet away, but the boy didn’t move.

“I’m waiting!” the boy explained.

I could hear the boy’s words because he was standing only a few feet away, but his father could not. Instead, all he saw was a boy who wasn’t doing what he said. The father was growing increasingly upset and agitated, and began raise his voice.

Get over here and play like I told you to!” he yelled at his son.

I winced. Who would want to go play when told to do so in such a tone?

The boy’s father did not take the time to come over to his son, get down on his level, and have a conversation with him. If he had, he would have known that the boy understood he would have to wait his turn for the swing, and simply wanted to stand by the swings and wait patiently. If the father, for whatever reason, had still wanted the boy to go play on the playground equipment, he could have explained that to him, and they could have talked about it, and the boy probably would have listened. But he didn’t do any of this. Instead, he yelled at his son in the middle of a park outing.

The thing is, on some level I understood. The father was there alone, without the backup of a parenting partner, and he had a baby under his arm. I used to go to the park on my own with Sally and Bobby when Bobby was a baby too, and it could be very trying. The boy may have spent the drive to the park fretting about something or nagging his father for something, or the father may have had short nerves for other reasons—he may have had a hard day at work, or perhaps things were tight financially.

I know how easy it is to snap, to become frustrated and angry. Raising little people is hard work, and just being an adult in and of itself can be stressful. I’ve raised my voice on occasion too. But just because something is understandable does not make it justified. As parents, we need to call ourselves to extremely high standards, because we hold our children’s hearts in our hands.

We often talk about parenting as though there are abusive parents and good parents—a dichotomy of sorts—but real life isn’t this simple. It’s a continuum. Some abusive parents are more abusive than others, and plenty of parents we wouldn’t term abusive are sometimes unkind to their children or parent in suboptimal ways. For some, this dichotomy may make it easier for bad parenting to go unchecked, because being self-critical of our own parenting can be difficult when the only parenting categories out there are “good” and “abusive.”

In our society today there’s also much more recognition of the problem of physical abuse than there is of the problem of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can be horrific. I know people whose parents never laid a hand to them who were nevertheless horribly abused. In fact, in my experience, the effects of emotional abuse can last longer and be more severe than the effects of physical abuse. Even parents who are not emotionally abusive overall may do things on the emotional abuse checklist at some point without even realizing it. We are in serious need of awareness raising regarding emotional abuse and children.

I find it helpful to think in terms of practicing healthy relationship skills with my children. Would I have snapped at a friend if she spilled some water in my car, angrily telling her that if the car rots, it’s her fault? No. Would that father in the park have yelled at a friend of his for not coming when called, rather than walking over to him to clarify the plan? No. Sure, adults and children are at different developmental levels and different developmental needs, I get that, but I think remembering that a friend could walk away but your child can’t is incredibly important. We need to get serious about how we treat our children.

While I understood the frustration the father in the park felt—as perhaps will anyone who has been to the park with an infant and toddler—I felt strongly for his son, who was trying to communicate and in response being ignored and yelled at. In the car with Sally, I was only able to stop myself and turn the conversation around because I paused for a moment to step out of my frustration and put myself in my daughter’s shoes. As parents, we need to do that more often.

Parental frustration should be a prompt to be careful about our actions toward our children, not an excuse for bad behavior. A boss taking out his frustration at his impending divorce and the collapse of his home life on his employees may be understandable, but no one would see it as justified. I think we as a society make more allowances for bad parenting than we realize. Because of their dependence—and because they cannot simply walk away—children are incredibly vulnerable, a sort of captive audience. We should see that as a reason to be only more careful about how we treat them.

If you’re a parent, there are probably times you’ve snapped at your children when you shouldn’t have, or times you vented your own frustrations onto your children. I know I have! Some mothers, especially those raised in abusive or dysfunctional families, beat themselves up over their mistakes and wonder whether they are “bad” mothers (there’s that dichotomy again!) or worry that they are becoming their parents. Other mothers glibly point out that “no parent is perfect” and then go on their merry way without a further thought or any intent to do better in the future.

I would call for a different response, one where past mistakes lead not to dwelling on guilt but rather to resolve to do better in the future, and where mistakes aren’t glibly justified as acceptable rather than merely understandable. We may not be able to control actions we took in the past, but we can control our actions in the present. We can also apologize when needed. Our children don’t need to think we’re perfect. There’s no facade we need to uphold—they can see right through it. Being honest and real with our children is important.

Parenting in a healthy and positive way means so much more than just not hitting your child. It’s not something I could achieve immediately or automatically by giving up spanking, though I had once hoped it would be. Instead it’s something I have to keep doing, over and over, every day. It takes intent and commitment, and it sometimes means stopping myself in mid-sentence or pausing to take a step back from a situation and reset my approach. But when my daughter throws her arms around my neck and declares “I love you, mommy,” when she is unafraid to be open with me, when she is comfortable in who she is and in her relationship with me, I know that it is so, so worth it.

Parenting Beyond Our Past: A Resource Guide

Simple Things

Photo Credit: Darcy Anne

“Train up a child in the way he should go……”

I have yet to meet a religious homeschooler who can’t finish that scripture from memory. If you’re like me, you grew up in a very authoritarian, punitive family environment. Punishment and pain, both physical and emotional, were believed to be the best means to teach a child “the way he should go”. Spanking and instant, cheerful obedience to authority were the norm, with many other kinds of punishments used as retribution for a child’s wrong-doing. Parents were the ultimate authority, and children had no choice but to obey or be punished, sometimes very harshly. I honestly didn’t know there were any other ways to parent. Either you spanked and “trained” your children, or you let them run wild and that meant you didn’t love them.

We were the generation influenced by “child training” teachers like the Pearls, Reb Bradley, Charity Christian Fellowship Churches, James Dobson, and myriads of other Christian authors, all providing materials from within a hierarchical, authoritarian family paradigm. “Break their will”, was a common tenet of “Biblical Parenting”. Spanking was said to be ordained by God. Never let your child win a battle, parents were told. Failure to conform to these tenets would produce perverts and criminals and unbelievers.

But what if they were wrong? What if that’s not the only way to raise strong and wise and good children?

I’ve written elsewhere about my journey from that authoritarian parenting paradigm into non-punitive, or peaceful parenting. Non-punitive parenting is defined as “a style of parenting that breaks the punitive mold by avoiding physical punishment, treating children with respect, and focusing on developing a strong parent-child relationship. It is a method that raises children without spanking, shaming, or yelling, and avoids the punishment-reward cycle of traditional punitive parenting.” Peaceful or gentle parenting is often defined as parenting by connection, relationship, and respect for children as human beings with the innate right to be treated as such. Treated as you would want to be treated. Christian proponents of gentle parenting sometimes call it “Golden Rule Parenting” for this reason.

But no matter the label, the root is the idea that children are people too, and that as people, they can grow and learn and develop best in an atmosphere of peace and connection, not punishment or coercion. We seek to validate our children’s emotions while teaching them how to appropriately express them. Traits that define how peaceful parents interact with their children include empathy, compassion, respect, boundaries, and unconditional love. This philosophy is based in the most recent findings of science, psychology, human development, and sociology. Contrary to popular belief, non-punitive parenting is not permissive parenting. We still set limits and uphold them, we let natural consequences teach life lessons, and above all, we keep a healthy emotional connection with our kids that will be the foundation of everything we do. This is not a “parenting method” with formulas and rules, but more of a philosophy and value set that different parents put into practice in many different ways.

I know that many of us are breaking new ground in parenting our own children. We know that we don’t want to have the antagonistic relationship with them that we we had with our own parents. But often, while we know what not to do, we are lost when it comes to knowing what to do instead. Some of us have yet to find an alternative to punitive parenting. Some of us have discovered the world of non-punitive parenting, yet have no support and are often ridiculed by people that don’t understand our reasons or our methods. Some of us perhaps have never been told “did you know you can raise good kids without spanking them?” and we are longing to hear that we can do differently and succeed.

So I thought I’d put together a resource for those of you who, like me, want to do differently for our kids.

Those of us raised in Homeschool Land have a lot of the same issues, same foundation, and were raised similarly under “Biblical Parenting” rules. I understand the nuances of coming from a parenting framework riddled with fear and control and authoritarianism; the emotional turbulence we have as we try to parent our children and find we are parenting ourselves. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I hope to add to it as more good materials are brought to my attention. I hope it can help in the journeys of those who, like me, just need a little direction and encouragement.

Peace and health to you and your family.

~Darcy

Parenting books:

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
The Whole-Brain Child, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The Child-Whisperer, Carol Tuttle
Siblings Without Rivalry, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Parenting From the Inside Out, Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell
No Drama Discipline, Daniel Siegel
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame, Janet Lansbury
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, Laura Markham
The Explosive Child, Dr. Ross Greene (specifically for non-neuro-typical kids, but helpful for everyone)

Websites:

Aha! Parenting
Little Hearts (For Christian parents)
Elevating Childcare- Janet Lansbury
Positive Parents

Individual articles:

The Road to Non-Punitive Parenting
Parenting Without Punishment
Raising Humans
I Was That Parent
Natural Discipline for the Early Years
10 Steps to Guide Children Without Punishment 
Non-Punitive Discipline Does Not Equal Lazy Parenting
Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me, Samuel Martin (from a Christian perspective)

Articles on Spanking and Punishment:

The Case Against Spanking – APA
The Long-Term Effects of Spanking
How Spanking Harms the Brain
Is Corporal Punishment an Effective Means of Discipline?
Study on Physical Punishment and Mental Disorders
Should You Spank Your Child?

Of Children and Horses and Spirit-Breaking

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Darcy’s blog Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings. It was originally published on September 19, 2014.

My husband and I were talking and he mentioned picking up one of the Pearl’s child-training books years ago. He read the chapter on teaching a child to come to you. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever read. He shared this with me about his thoughts on the matter:

“I kept thinking about training horses to come to you. You don’t set up the horse to fail then punish it when it does to teach it to come. You make it easy for them to listen and follow, then you continually reinforce the good behavior with positive rewards that could be anything from a scratch on the ear to a sugar cube. Mostly you just reward them. You do this over and over again until they learn to come at just a word because they want to come to you to be with you, to go for a ride, to have fun with you, to get a handful of grain.”

“Some people use punishment and negative situations and even cruelty to train a horse. There was one trainer popular years ago who did this. For example, to teach a horse to neck-rein, he’d tie the horse’s head cocked to it’s side so it couldn’t move, then leave it there for hours. The pressure of the rope would create a reaction and the horse would forever ever turn it’s head to the side every time it felt even a small pressure on it’s neck from the rein. It was conditioned through negative reinforcement. It works and it takes far less time than using positive means to train a horse. That’s why many people found it ideal. I always just thought it was cruel and unnecessary. Why use cruelty when you can train a horse through connection and kindness, making it easy for them to listen and follow you? Well, because it takes a whole lot longer. More time and effort and patience. A lot more. But I think it produces a much better relationship with the horse than using physically negative methods. The negative method does break the horse, but that’s all it does….break them.”

I’ve watched him spend all day just teaching a horse to lift its foot to be cleaned. Or to come, walk forward, or back up. He’s about to start breaking our 2-yr-old filly. It’s a process I love to watch but lose patience with after a while. I’m in awe of the man who can get such a huge, powerful creature to follow him around like a happy puppy, not by “showing who’s boss”, but by connection, relationship, setting limits, and upholding them.

The man is only recently familiar with children, but he’s known horses most of his life. He has much respect and love for the majestic creatures. His horse was a troubled gelding when we got him, high-strung and out of control. The horse had been through a lot of previous owners who had no idea what to do with him and he had a reputation for bucking people off, not following any directions, and being wild. When my husband got him, there was a quiet determination that dominated the interactions between them; the head-butting sessions where each tried to out-stubborn the other. My husband was firm like a rock and patient like I have never been for anything. He respected and honored the spirit of the horse while teaching him how not to kill someone with that same spirit, setting limits on the creature’s behavior that would be profitable for both horse and rider. They were quite the pair when we were teenagers. They won every race down the dirt roads with friends, climbed every mountain in their path, and had a relationship and connection that was undeniable. And when the horse pushed the limits, the man would start all over again, working with him, pushing him, teaching him.

I saw the man angry at the horse a few times. But it never came out in his behavior or changed his actions toward the errant horse (though there certainly was some quiet cussing happening under breath a few times). Today, we still have this high-spirited horse. There really is no other human for this horse than my husband. Til death do them part. The horse is almost 20 years old but he doesn’t seem to know it. He still follows my man around like a puppy and pushes the limits if he’s bored, just to stir up a little fun. A friend once said “Your husband is the only one in the world that loves that crazy horse and the only one that horse respects.”

Maybe this is why the man is naturally more patient with our children than I am. Maybe it’s just his nature or maybe it’s because he understands wild things. Whichever it is, I am overwhelmingly grateful. He’s been made fun of for his gentle approach with training horses. He’s been mocked for his respectful way of parenting. He’s even been put down for having an equal partnership with me, his wife. But he knows something those people don’t.

He knows the reward of a relationship based on respect and kindness, and the value of honoring the spirit and freedom of another being, be they horse or human.

Raising Godly Tomatoes: Book Review By Sarah Dutko

By Sarah Dutko, member of the LaQuiere Group (1991-1999). This review was originally posted on Amazon September 2, 2014, revision re-posted on September 9.

I feel that I need to write this review because as someone who knows Mrs. Krueger personally, and lived out the methods she teaches in her book, I feel I need to warn any parents considering buying this book or using her methods. This is the second time I’ve posted this review, because Amazon removed my review the first time, after someone apparently complained about it. I’m not sure why Amazon feels the need to censor negative reviews of Mrs. Krueger’s book, but no matter, I will keep posting it if Amazon removes it again, because I am determined to reach parents who are considering Mrs. Krueger’s methods and tell them the truth.

I not only know Mrs. Krueger, I grew up with her and her children: for 8 years I (and my family) were a part of the same fundamentalist cult that she and her family still belong to. I’d like to provide some valuable perspective on what it is like to grow up under this kind of child “training”, and the kind of damage it does to children.

Mrs. Krueger’s child-training methods are not original to her, or just “common sense”, as she claims: they come directly from a man named Joe LaQuiere who was the leader of our cult up until he died this past year (she mentions him and his wife in her book as a “godly older couple” who gave them advice). This cult to which Mrs. Krueger and her family still belong is an insular, legalistic group with neo-Jewish practices, such as eating no pork products, celebrating the Sabbath (Saturday), condemnation of Christmas trees for being “pagan”, as well as using emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse to control its members. Having lived through it from age 6 to 14, and having family members who are still a part of this cult, gives me a unique insider’s perspective, which will hopefully provide you with enough information about the damaging and evil results of this method of “child-training” that you will help in warning against it, as it has become far too popular in the ultra-conservative, homeschooling movement, which is beginning to see a whole generation of survivors speak up about the abuses they’ve experienced, and give warning to the dangers inherent to the homeschooling community.

I am going to quote here both from Mrs. Krueger’s book, and from an article she wrote at the same time as her book.

Here is the first quote from her book. Mrs. Krueger writes:

“Let me share my experience with my third born…One day we were visiting some close friends and he decided to exert his new found power. He blatantly refused to come to Dad when Dad called him. He ignored Dad and continued playing with our friend’s telephone instead, about six feet from where my husband and I were sitting. The friends we were visiting were excellent parents and offered their advice, which we readily accepted. They coached us to outlast him, instructing Dad to keep calling him. When he didn’t budge, Dad was directed to go over to him, administer a little swat on the bottom (over clothes and a diaper), then return to where he’d been sitting and call him again. We were encouraged to repeat this, pausing appropriately between repeats, until he obeyed us…Finally, after approximately an hour and a half, he began to cry and take a few steps toward us, but he still refused to come all the way. He still did not want to totally give up the power he had enjoyed exerting over us. Each time he took a few steps toward us then stopped, we would replace him back by the phone and call him to come to us again. We devoted the next half hour to making sure he obeyed completely, not just partially…This one outlasting session had a considerable and exciting long-term impact on our child. He clearly learned he was under our authority and must always obey us…The initial two-hour ordeal never needed repeating.”

 

These “friends” who were “excellent parents” that she refers to are Joe LaQuiere and his wife, her mentors, and they are the people who taught her to use the methods in her book (as well as much more abusive methods which they themselves used on children, including my own siblings). This method of teaching toddlers to obey by spanking them…and then repeating…and repeating…and repeating…for 2 straight hours….or as long as it takes (which is what she means by “outlasting them” – a concept she refers to many times in her book)…is exactly the kind of child-training my family and I experienced in the cult. I’d like to share one more quote, this one from her online article that she wrote at the same time as her book. This article is from “Christian Moms of Many Blessings” (http://www.cmomb.com/child-training/). I quote a portion of what Mrs. Krueger writes:

“Don’t be afraid of a confrontation. It is helpful to set up a confrontational situation in the case of a toliler [my note: I think this is a typo for “toddler”] who is “out of control.” For example, tell him to sit on the couch next to you. When he tries to get down, give him a firm swat on the bottom and say, “No” in an `I mean business’ tone. Continue this every time he tries to get down until he stops trying. If he actually makes it off the couch, tell him to climb back up himself, if he is big enough, or replace him if needed. Don’t restrain him. Don’t give in. Ignore his crying. You are not done until he sits there quietly for as long as you want him to without resisting. Let him fall asleep if he likes. Even after he stops resisting, don’t let him down too soon. Ten or 20 minutes or even an hour is not too long. Once you have done this, continue to expect him to obey everything you tell him to do.”

Both this method and the method described earlier by her in her book were used to train young toddlers, as young as one year old, in our cult. These methods in particular were used on my little brother, Joshua, during one of the “training sessions” that Mrs. Krueger’s mentor, Joe LaQuiere, conducted in order to teach his followers how to train “obedient” children. Joshua was made to sit on my mom or dad’s lap, and spanked every time he tried to get down. He was a bright and happy baby, but very stubborn. He didn’t want to give in, but kept on trying to get down, and getting spanked for it, over, and over, and over, and over. He’d cry and cry, but he wasn’t allowed to be comforted until he “submitted” and gave in. The goal was to get him to “sit there quietly for as long as you want him to without resisting”, as Mrs. Krueger wrote. This “training” session started in the afternoon, and went on…all afternoon…and evening…late into the night. It was 2 or 3 in the morning before Joe LaQuiere okay-ed stopping for the night. At this point they had been “training” him to sit still and not cry for over 6 hours. He was not allowed to nurse during this time, or to see his mother (my mom), because that would “comfort him”, and they wanted him to be miserable until he gave in and obeyed. You may think “a small swat on the bottom” does not sound over-the-top for a small toddler as a way to get them to sit quietly (as if toddlers were created to “sit quietly” – their nature, and their developmental needs, as any child psychologist can tell you, require them to explore, not sit quietly for hours). What about spanking them over…and over…and over…for 6 hours straight? Does that sound abusive? Mrs. Krueger’s methods (really, Joe LaQuiere’s methods) say that you CANNOT GIVE UP until your child (or baby) submits to you and obeys, no matter how long that takes. If it takes all night, so be it. If it takes dozens, or a hundred spankings, so be it. This is not training, this is child abuse. My one-year-old brother Josh was subjected to this “training” day after day, until he finally, sullenly, gave in, and was now a “well-trained” baby, who would sit quietly on demand, and not try to get down and play in normal toddler fashion. In a few short months, he went from a bubbly, laughing one-year-old to a quiet, sullen, baby who rarely smiled. He was mostly silent from then on: he didn’t speak until he was nearly 4. Joe LaQuiere, (who, remember, is Mrs. Krueger’s mentor, and the one who taught her these methods) said Joshua was an exceptionally “rebellious” baby, and it was necessary to discipline the “rebelliousness” out of him until his will was broken.

See, Mrs. Krueger’s book, and her advice, is really the somewhat-milder face of Joe LaQuiere’s teaching: the public face, if you will. She watched more violent abuse occur, and was taught that it was acceptable: babies having their faces stuffed into couch cushions to teach them not to cry – children being beaten mercilessly with “The Paddle”, not once, as she writes in her book, but often 20 or 30 times. Children being dragged by their hair, thrown against walls, or dangled in the air by their throats. My own siblings endured all of these abuses, and I was made to watch.

Mrs. Krueger, whether or not she treated her own children quite this severely, watched this abuse happen to other children, and agreed with it. Her book is merely the milder, public face of private child abuse, because she knows that some of the stricter methods taught by Joe LaQuiere would be too unpalatable to put in print, as well as likely to land her (and him) in trouble with law enforcement. But make no mistake that it occurs. To be fair, Mrs. Krueger and her husband I don’t believe followed every child “training” (abuse) method that Joe LaQuiere taught: she and her family are best friends with him (one of her daughters is even married to one of Joe LaQuiere’s sons), and while their methods differ somewhat in severity, the principle is the same: OBEDIENCE is paramount, and it is of little importance HOW you get your children to obey, or how often you must beat them, as long as the end result is IMMEDIATE, UNQUESTIONING obedience, from children of any age, even through adulthood. THIS is the goal (which is in itself a very bad goal) and the methods used to achieve it, as touted by Joe LaQuiere, through the mouthpiece of Mrs. Krueger, are cruel and damaging.

To this day, I suffer panic attacks and horrible flashbacks to watching my brothers and sisters abused through this method of child-rearing. I grew up emotionally-stunted, being taught that ‘a cheerful face’ was the only acceptable expression, and that any negative emotions I felt, like anger, or sadness, or frustration, were sin, and needed to be corrected. Thus I learned to disassociate myself from my emotions, effectively divorcing them from my conscious mind, which is a process I am still trying, with the help of therapy, to undo. The children, including those in my family, who grew up under these methods, are emotionally unstable; are fearful of and often unable to make their own decisions; are unable to move into independent adulthood without the constant guidance of parents telling them what to do; and worst of all, have a false and damaging picture of who God is, and who they are meant to be.

After leaving the cult that Mrs. Krueger belongs to, I was confused, depressed, and suicidal. I believed that God was an angry God who despised me for not reaching His standards of perfection. I learned nothing about grace through this experience. Thank God, I discovered it after I left, and realized that God does not treat us like Joe LaQuiere and Mrs. Krueger do their children: punishing every crime and dealing out justice until we are perfect. Instead, He already provided the perfect righteousness that we can never achieve through Jesus, and gave us in one fell swoop, a perfect record and status with him, and complete forgiveness of all sins, past and future! He doesn’t demand perfect performance from us to gain His acceptance. We are not “spanked” until we learn to obey Him instantly, with no questions, and with a false smile. Instead, He loves on us, extravagantly, and at great personal cost to Himself, in order to draw us to Himself…by LOVE. LOVE is what calls us to CHOOSE to obey Him – not repeated punishment, or the fear that He will only “enjoy us” as long as we fulfill the letter of His law. THIS is how we need to treat our children: with the same mercy and grace that God showers on us. To follow Mrs. Krueger’s method instead will give our children an outward layer of “goodness”, on which they think their acceptance by God depends, while inwardly they remain full of sin and darkness, needing God’s redeeming love and GRACE to flood in and wash them clean! Mrs. Krueger’s book and methods create little Pharisees: looking pretty good on the outside, but with aching hearts inside, knowing the misery of never being “good enough”. Thank God we don’t HAVE to be “good enough” for Him: we already are, thanks to the sacrifice He made for us!

Please PLEASE do not buy this book, or use these methods on your children!! Try instead something like “Families where Grace is in Place”, or “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Children with the Love of Jesus” both EXCELLENT books! Leave Mrs. Krueger’s book where it belongs…forgotten, gathering dust in her basement somewhere, while your children flourish in the LOVE and GRACE of God!

If you have any questions, or would like to ask me specifics about why Mrs. Krueger’s methods are so damaging, please feel free to email me at sarah.dutko77@gmail.com! I’d love to talk with you 🙂