Commandments Concerning Children’s Behavior

And when it shall come to pass that thy loins shall have born fruit and that the size of thy household shall greatly increase that then shalt thou heed the words of the commandments concerning how thy children shall behave when there’s anybody watching. And of the church and the restaurant and of the grocery store thou shalt strike into thy child a great fear and overwhelming dread for in these places thy children’s behavior shall be as thy own testimony as a parent and everyone is watching.

Beware, for in that day when it shall come to pass that they child shall be loud or whine or be in any way stubborn in resisting thy commands then shall the entire world know that thou are a BAD PARENT and thy shame shall be upon thee. For nobody in the real world has ever had one of their own children act up or misbehave or talk back and they shall in anywise believe that thou art not a true Christian and thy testimony of the tract thou shalt hand them shall be ruined and their eternal soul shall be forever lost. And what’s worse, if thou art a missionary family you might lose support.

And so shalt thou do, that thou shalt take unto thyself a rod or a board, or a wooden spoon and thou shalt keep it in thy car so that thou mayest invite thy child to “go have a talk in the car” with thee if she shall misbehave.But thou shalt in anywise keep the secret of thy discipline from the public for when Child Protective Services gets involved, things becometh yea verily a mess. So shalt thy hide the implements of destruction from plain sight and only thou and thy children shall know what pain lieth in wait for them if they screw up.

And if someone shall enquire as to the secret of how thy eight children doth sit quietly without speaking at thy local Denny’s then shalt thou simply smile and say “We try to raise our children to glorify God” and forgo to mention exactly how that works. For of the making of sausages and of always perfectly behaved children people may like the result but they never really want to know the process of how they are made.

Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements, p 95

140 thoughts on “Commandments Concerning Children’s Behavior”

  1. Yes, I know some of you are going to accuse me advocating that children be allowed to run amuck and act like hooligans which is not the case at all. Those of you who had parents who would literally rather have strangled you than allow you to make what they perceived as a public scene (which is seen as the greatest of all childhood offenses) will understand the thrust of what I’m writing about here.

    The rest of you can just be thankful that you don’t understand.

    1. Why didn’t you tell me you were going to be a the conference Wednesday night? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just heard this message, how about that? God moves in strange and mysterous ways does he not? ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I was raised this way (and thus was *perfectly behaved* in public) and raised my first two children this way (Have since apologized profusely)and they were also *perfectly* behaved in public. My second two got much more civilized treatment, and guess what! They are ALSO (mostly) *perfectly* behaved in public. And when they aren’t, So what? NOW I can look at people who look at my kids with that look and say, “WHAT CHOO LOOKIN’ AT?” and continue with my shopping (or eating, or sunbathing, or whatever)

  2. We had a wooden spoon, a dowl, and a riding crop at my house. I always behaved when we went out because I knew what would happen to me if I didn’t. People would comment to me and my mother on what a good kid I was. They just never knew the fear that kept me from acting out.

    I was spanked a lot as a kid. In my opinion, spanked too much and not for just disobedience. I got spanked for not obeying fast enough, not having “good attitude”, breaking something, spilling something. Pretty much anything that pissed my mother off, I got spanked for.

    1. I got spanked for ‘attitude’ too, but nothing to the level you’re describing.

    2. Ugh…I can relate. I was terrified of my dad because he would spank at the drop of a hat. The problem was, he never, ever explained why I was being spanked. So, I would inevitably repeat whatever offence, and get hit again, and again, and again…I had no idea what it was I was doing wrong.

      He was the silent type, and he would hit very hard, then tell me to stop crying or I would get more. Man, I hated that. I was always good in public too, because I would fear getting it when I got home. Some kids I knew had parents who would count to 3 to get them to behave. Please…all it took was one look from either mom or dad, and I was struck with terror.

      1. My brothers and I nicknamed our youngest brother “Flinch” because that’s what he would do anytime my dad would walk by him.

      2. My dad had a sorority paddle that they used in college to hit each other with. He hung it proudly on the wall. We were terrified of that thing. Looking back, if there was such a thing as CPS I was unaware of it or I would have called.

        1. My middle brother did call a child abuse hotline one day, but hung up. They immediately called back, & since we weren’t allowed to answer the phone, my mom picked up. After assuring the person on the other end of the line that to her knowledge, no one in our home had called & that there was no abuse in our home, she interrogated us.

          My brother caved. She mentioned it to my dad later after we were in bed. I was awakened by my brother screaming as my dad yanked him out of bed & dragged him to the living room. He proceeded to yell to my brother he had no idea what abuse was, but he was about to find out.

          It was the only time I remember my mother intervening with one of my father’s “discipline” sessions.

    3. We had the wooden spoon and whatever my dad had at hand; I still wasn’t perfectly behaved, because I have ADHD and I just didn’t have the impulse control. So I got hit more, and I learned that mom wouldn’t actually kill me with that wooden spoon, so then I lost the fear of getting hit, leaving her with no tools left to make me behave.

      And yet, despite being a bad child all those years…I turned out to be an OK adult. Haven’t made a public scene in years, or gone to jail, or become an addict, despite all predictions by the “spare the rod” folks.

  3. I’m simply glad that Darrell finally gets his first “first”. It’s about time. He’s been around for almost as long as some of the old timers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I understand all too well about not wanting your kids to be hooligans in public. The one exception is Chuck E. Cheese, where kids are expected to be that way.

    My youngest has autism so the usual child rearing methods don’t always have an effect on his behavior, so I get the BAD PARENT looks often. I’m too worried about getting everyone out of there in one piece to be worried about someone else’s eternal salvation at that point.

    1. I have one who is likely on the spectrum too. Most times, I consider it a successful trip if we get out of there without a complete screaming meltdown.

    2. Two kids on the spectrum, plus they each have other diagnoses. We’ve been accused of trying to kidnap them a couple times because of how they have carried on. I’ve developed a sick, twisted sense of humor about it, plus a rating scale! Sometimes you just do what you gotta do to survive. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Rating scale: 1-3 Whining, maybe raising voice a little. Not so bad, except that it escalates so quickly and with no warning. If you have time to rate your child’s behavior as a 1,2, or 3, be grateful. It won’t last.

      4 – 7 Loud yells or screaming. Probably thrashing of arms or legs. You get negative attention from other people. Possibility of damage to other people or to items in immediate vicinity.

      8 – 10 Full-blown meltdown. There is no possibility that anyone in the immediate vicinity is not aware of what is going on. Drawn-out, high-pitched screaming, possibly with inappropriate words or statements. Child may very well run into oncoming traffic or do something else dangerous if not restrained. You are probably in tears or close to it.

      Note: any tantrum that occurs in public gets an extra point automatically. So a relatively mild level 4 tantrum at the grocery store is automatically a 5 because it is in public. Any tantrum that results in injury to you or someone else also gets a bonus point. If someone calls, or threatens to call, the authorities, you get two extra points.

      In theory, if you’re in public and people react sympathetically to you, it would reduce your score by a point. But I’ve never actually seen this happen, so it remains a hypothetical possibility.

      1. +2 if the meltdown is in front of friends or family with perfectly behaved kids.

        1. another +2 if said family and friends then send you articles about autism, possible causes and ‘cures’, i.e. no gluten diet, no immunizations, massage therapy, more sleep, more structure, and so on and so forth.

  5. โ€œWe try to raise our children to glorify Godโ€
    Reading that made me throw up a little….

    1. And all the while, the children are sitting there seething because they know what miserable fakes their parents are. It’s no wonder so many young people leave the faith.

        1. It seemed like it was the PK’s in the IFB circles that went off the deep end the worst in the circles that I ran in growing up. It was the whole being on display 24/7. I saw it happen many times growing up, and as a child growing up in an IFB pastor’s family, I kind of took my cues as to what not to do. My turning away from all things IFB was a more gradual thing.

  6. This brings back a lot of bad memories. Dad and Mom had 7 children and we never had money to eat out. But you can imagine how crowded we were around that little kitchen table. When one of us would spill out drink, Dad always reacted like the world was about to end. The one lesson that I took away from that experience is that today, in my late 60s, I have never made an issue when my kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids spill something at the table.

    1. Honolulu!

      Some of the best advise I ever heard about child raising (when I was single at that) was to discipline a child for disobedience, not for being a child.

      BTW: _discipline_ a good fundie word. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Love the last line! Fantastic!

    Mom always had a wooden spoon in her purse. We never knew if she was grabbing some mascara or the spoon. She could never use anything bigger than a spoon. Now dad on the other hand (no pun intended) had another whole arsenal at his disposal; his hand, a spoon, a board about 18″ long and 6″ wide with a handle on the end that we children called “Big Ben”, a belt, and the one we hated the most “String Bean” (what exactly does it show when we kids nicknamed our instruments of torture?), which was simply the leather drive belt off of an old pedal operated sewing machine. It was about the thickness of a pencil in diameter, but was flexible, whistled in the air before it hit the skin, and left welts that extended far beyond the buttock region. One of my brothers cut it up one day into little tiny pieces and to this day, no will admit who it took it. I can also remember myself or my brother being held by my mother by the passenger seat of the van while my father spanked us while he was driving down the road. Can’t remember what we ever did, but any little attitude while on the 50 hour to grandma’s house would get us a beating and if it was deemed serious enough that dad had to actually pull over to due it and throw us off schedule . . . well, let’s just say there was real Hell to pay then. Ah the fond memories . . . or not. But we behaved well in public, I can admit to that.

    1. I loved the last line too. I had tears streaming down my cheeks after I read it.

      The only name we had for our instrument of torture was “The Paddle.” My dad made it. The business end of it was maybe 12 inches with another 6 inches for the handle. And it was maybe 5 or 6 inches wide. Scary as hell. It didn’t take too many visits from “The Paddle” to learn it was just better to behave in public.

  8. It’s funny how several have commented about spilling stuff and getting in trouble over it, when oftentimes it was just an accident (with 3 brothers and a sister sitting around a table) sometimes it wasn’t. I made sure not to make a big deal of it in my home, if it was just an accident.

    My Dad had some anger issues, and unfortunately took it out on us boys all too often, had nothing to do with being fundy. None of us turned out to be ax murderers. My Dad was a a simple man and made mistakes, we never doubted his love for us, we all have a great relationship now, and have all forgiven our Dad for his excessive “correction.”

    I’m all for corporal punishment, and spanked my kids when they infrequently needed it, I believe the bible calls for it, but my mantra is still the same for parents of young children, if you believe in spanking, never, ever spank when angry, in fact, if you are angry walk outside, take a ride around the block, do not touch that child if you are angry, if you cannot settle yourself down, then don’t spank the child.

    Never, ever spank when angry!!

    1. My Dad had some anger issues, and unfortunately took it out on us boys all too often, had nothing to do with being fundy. None of us turned out to be ax murderers

      That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. ๐Ÿ˜•

    2. My father also had anger issues, but only once did he act on it. Even then, I’m not sure he got carried away. Just his angry look was frightening. But I also learned NEVER to spank when angry. My wife and I raised 5 children, 4 of them boys, 6 1/2 year spread. The only one that says anything is the youngest, who says I let him get away with too much. ๐Ÿ˜ณ ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. So….spank when NOT angry? I love this thinking. DO you have any idea how insane it is to hit on a child while calm and generally not angry? Do you know how confusing this is to a child? First off, I reject the premise. Any hitting of any kind is done out of anger. You maybe in more control of your emotions if you count to 10 or 30 before implementing, but you can’t hit a child without it being out of anger (you make me look bad, you inconvenienced me, you made me hit you….)

        1. I think there’s one thing you’re forgetting. Many people in fundamentalism who spanked (my mom included) did it out of fear and duty. They were told a lie–that God REQUIRES spanking, and that they did not love their kids if they didn’t spank for punishment. When my mom said “this hurts me more than you,” I believe her. It hurt her soul because she was such a sweet and selfless person in other respects, but she thought she HAD to spank to have good kids. She was trying to obey God.

          I spanked my son once and felt that soul-crushing feeling and KNEW I had to do something different. Thankfully I was able to find support online as well as advice for new parenting techniques. I’m not spanking ever again. Even if it didn’t scar my son, it would scar me.

  9. I was spanked as a child, but thankfully never in anger or with anything but a few pops of my mom’s hand. (My mom is a wonderful, loving, selfless person, so it wasn’t hard to overlook the couple of spankings I got.)

    I personally don’t think spanking is effective longterm and can easily backfire by destroying the relationship between parent and child and disrupting profitable conversation.

    I don’t spank my son (I DO discipline) so he’s definitely not an obedient robot at 22 months. Last week at a meeting someone told me I had the most well-behaved young boy they’d ever seen. I laughed so hard because they just have no idea. The next day he threw a melt-down temper tantrum at the library. :mrgreen:

  10. Pre-1960’s and 70’s this was a common thing among even what I would call “unchurched” folk. My mom’s family wasn’t saved but my grandmother treated them this way. My dad had a pretty rough upbringing and didn’t want us to experience the same. I don’t remember feeling that I obeyed out of fear of what others would think, or even got a spanking because others were watching. However, it’s still common among the hardcore IFB’ers. I’ve seen it…it ain’t pretty and awkward to be near.

  11. Excellent write up. Fundies call good parents bad, and abusive parents good. Anyone with a sane mind would look at a table full of silent kids in a Denny’s and think “wow those kids have to be borderline abuse victims at least”.

    Nominate for best of 2011

  12. I’m so far removed from my fundy upbringing that I don’t have the twitches here like everyone else but let’s just say that this a.m. me and my coffee mug are convulsing. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  13. I get angry at people who get angry at kids (and their parents) when the kids are just being ‘kids’. I can understand being upset if the kid stands on the pew and just screams to high heaven for no reason but come on. If he or she is wiggling or whispering they are just being children. Smile at them instead of putting on that ‘angry face’ because the kids aren’t behaving the way YOU think they should. You don’t want them to think church is full of grim looking people who don’t like them.

    1. I agree. It’s hard for kids to sit through a church service! It’s long, they probably don’t understand much, and for them that makes it BORING! My fundy ex used to say that his dad would take them out of church for wiggling (JUST wiggling- totally normal kid behavior) and spank them on the front porch, then march them back to their seats with their eyes red from crying and dare them to make even one sniffling sound. I believe this helps explain PART of why he developed serious psychological and personality disorders…

      1. I heard a guy on the radio today discussing his book called “The Spanking Room” about his upbringing in the JW church and how the newly renovated Kingdom Hall which his mom attended had a special room designated for parents to spank their kids if they needed to during the service.

  14. My husband recently took 5 of our 6 kids to Denny’s. He said that someone came up to him after they had finished and the man told him that he had never seen such well-behaved children. Funny thing was that it wasn’t because they were sitting silently. It was because all of them were engaging in conversation, joking, and having a great time together. The kids are 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12.

    When others have commented on our kids in public we just smile, say thanks, and tell them that we enjoy our children and have a lot of fun together. I think that glorifies God more than stoic obedience.

    Oh, and our kids are “normal” kids. They take each other’s stuff, pester each other, disobey, etc. They certainly are not automatons. But we enjoy them and they know it.

    1. That waqs how it was with my kids. They, and we, enjoyed going out. They knew that if they were making someone else not enjoy thier meal that it would lead to a trip to the car because they knew the rules. There was always an extended snuggle and a discussion of how to avoid such action in the future an it ended positively so it rarely happened.

    2. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read and what I hope to do for my kids.

      I still get the feeling sometimes when my husband and I go home for holidays, that despite that fact that my mom loves my sisters & I & likes having her family together, that she doesn’t truly enjoy our company or who we have turned out to be. (for example, she doesn’t enjoy the things we like or talk about and always has an air of disapproving)

  15. 20 years ago when I was in the Age of Spankability it was not uncommon to hear parents in the line at the grocery store threaten to spank their kids right out loud in front of everyone else. Somewhere around 1990 or so the specter of Child Protective Services started hanging over the post-Sunday-AM-service discussions and threats of spanking were replaced with threats of “talking with your father when we get home.” If memory serves there was very little talking involved.

    Incidentally, while we’re on the topic, the spankings abruptly stopped one day when I twisted out of the way of an incoming swat, grabbed the spoon, and yanked it out of my dad’s hand, all in one motion. It was all pure defensive reflex, no prior planning involved. Future threats were met with smirks, and the once-dreaded wooden spoon was forevermore a paper tiger.

  16. My parents believed in spanking, but most of the time, they reserved it for when I deserved it. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    On the other hand, I’m told that I was complimented for being a really good kid in public. This likely had little to do with the threat of spanking, and much more to do with the fact that I’ve always been quiet and shy. ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Same here. I was spanked <5 times as a kid, and the THREAT was enough to keep me in line.

      1. I didn’t get spanked much as a kid. All my parents had to do was give me a LOOK and I’d be terrified/in tears.

  17. Darrell- this may be your best line yet!

    “For of the making of sausages and of always perfectly behaved children people may like the result but they never really want to know the process of how they are made”.

    I was raised like the Duggar’s, and can not bring myself to watch that show. When unsuspecting civilians bring it up in conversation, I try, but but fail to put into words, the severe danger those kids are in and the things they’re subjected to. Your quote/example about sausages is brilliant and with your permission, I’ll use it.

    In other news, I used to get brought home from church, spanked with a leather belt on my bare ass, then brought back to church, which had given way to Sunday School at this point, tearstains and all.

    1. The last line is an adaption of a quote which apparently originally said “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”

      It’s attributed either to Otto von Bismark or John Godfrey Saxe depending on whom you ask.

      1. There was a similar line use on Aaron Sorkin’s show _West Wing_. (I think that it was during season 4.)

    2. I often wonder about the Duggars. Thanks for your perspective. I’ve seen their show, and although I didn’t grow up in a “quiver full” house, I knew families like them. It’s hard to say from watching the show how much discipline they get. However, from experience, it seems like they must at some point, because for the most part, they are always “on”, and pleasant. The littlest ones have tantrums now and then, but I have never ever seen a true meltdown on any of their shows. And, with 19 kids…that’s a miracle! So…I just wonder how they are truly kept in line?

      1. Ben – The Duggar’s follow the teachings of Bill Gothard and his ATI programs. The book, “A Matter of Basic Principals” does a good job exposing Bill’s fallacies and misuse of scripture. It’s been a great resource for those who have been raised like that and are looking for a way out.

  18. My two sisters and I were perfectly behaved, wore perfectly matching outfits and smiled and responded joyfully to any adult that asked anything about us. We always obeyed the “restaurant rules” and knew all the etiquette for acting properly. My relatives always marveled at our behavior and as an MK our behavior was expected. Nobody knew the amazing physical and verbal abuse that went behind getting us children to be good little Jesus soldiers. Nobody would ever know, even if they asked us. My mom used to do drills with us to make sure we were prepared if the DFS ever showed up (sign of guilt? I think so) she would tell us how kids were always stolen from their parents and the foster families always had dads that would sexually abuse the kids. She told us that if we were ever taken, she had a plan. She would come to our visits and sneak us a piece of paper that would tell us when she was going to sneak us out of the foster house. She said she would then take us to live outside the country. So, yes. If you see a table of young, perfectly-behaved children at Denny’s I’m betting there’s some abuse involved. ๐Ÿ™

    1. @mochajo, my comment is not referring to the story about your kids in Denny’s. I’m referring to Rob M’s comment.

      1. I was never impressed with “well behaved kids” like that in my life. I was always looking to have fun and get away with stuff, and anyone that wasn’t I didn’t really care why as a kid, I just didn’t want to be around them. Somewhere in my twenties I put 2 and 2 together to realize the only way to get young kids to behave like that in public was through severe abuse of either both or at least one of emotional or physical variety. I can’t stand the parents I see with “perfectly behaved kids”. Although I don’t see them often, fortunately for me.

  19. I think you just described my husband’s upbringing perfectly ๐Ÿ™ He is the only child of an IFB pastor.

    I was spanked as a kid, but never harshly. My parents used a 2×4 (seriously), wrapped in black electric tape. My brother and I called it Black Beauty (also, seriously). I was rarely afraid of my parents, though – they never spanked us in anger (so we were never afraid that they would lose it). My husband on the other hand was spanked until he bled, and was too afraid to say anything lest he get spanked again for backtalking.

  20. Darrell, thank you!
    This is something I didn’t realize I had carried over from my own childhood until I read your article. You’re right, it is a bit ridiculous to think no one will understand that your child is a human being just like every other kid!

    1. Clarification: not the spanking implement in the car part, but the absolute terror of what others will think if your kid makes a noise in public part.

  21. My parents always spanked me never in anger. They would wait until they had cooled down from whatever stupid stunt I’d pulled. I deserved every spanking I got, and I got a lot!

    They also explained to me why I was being spanked, so that I might learn to not do that again. I guess I was a slow learner, but that was my fault.

    1. Waldo – that’s what my parents did, too. They’d sit with us and ask us why we were being spanked then explain why what we did was wrong. Then they’d spank us, and hug us and pray with us and tell us how much they loved us and didn’t want to have to punish us.

      1. Theyโ€™d sit with us and ask us why we were being spanked then explain why what we did was wrong. Then theyโ€™d spank us, and hug us and pray with us and tell us how much they loved us and didnโ€™t want to have to punish us.

        This isn’t that far off my experience, but I ended up very scared of punishment and my parents. Who knows? Maybe the frequency/intensity/ritual/other parts of the relationship were different. Behavior that deserved spanking often seemed to be determined by what made parents mad. Just because they were in control of themselves when they gave the spanking doesn’t mean they weren’t angry (or that anger/embarrassment wasn’t the real cause for punishment). It messed with my head to be told parents love me but then get physically hurt by them, and be forced to “reconcile” immediately, without showing any of the emotional pain it caused. It’s caused problems for me in learning how to interact with authority and/or people who express negative emotions and how to set boundaries. Stiffening in preparation for the blows resulted in more spankings. The only acceptable emotion was submissive remorse. I remember so much fear, which I had no idea wasn’t normal, and feeling nauseous when my brother was being spanked. I just thought I should do better at being a good kid who didn’t make anyone upset, if I even thought beyond how-do-I-get-out-this. I always have and always will love them, but I’m still scared of them sometimes.

        1. Naomi – I’m so sorry for the damage of your experience. I think what made mine not damaging is that my parents were always showering us with love and affection and encouraging us in our interests…I’ve always been on very good terms with them, and only been deeply emotionally hurt by them three times that I can remember (none of which involving physical punishment). You’re right – the dynamic of your relationship with them outside of just discipline really informs how the discipline is perceived. Again, I’m so sorry for how you experienced discipline – inconsistency in a child’s relationship with their parents is a perfect breeding ground for emotional anguish. ๐Ÿ™

    2. My folks did the same thing; waiting for a cooling down when necessary. It was always private, never in front of anyone, and they always explained why I was being punished and told me the number of swats I would be getting. I totally appreciate the manner they did it and it was very effective. There is a huge difference between effective discipline (and deterrence) and beating your kids.

  22. This post has given me mixed feelings. I no many fundies, and some non-fundies, that this fits. But I also know those with well-behaved kids, especially in public, that have nothing to do with spanking. Personality, both individual and family, example, and desire to please all contribute to behavior.

    So many comments seem to equate both spanking and behaving in public to being abused. That is not so.

    While we share many “war stories” of being fundie, some of you remember that “one size does NOT fit all.”

    1. This is a conundrum that I often find on SFL, and it does exaperate. I contend that most of the regular posters on SFL are not just ex-fundies, but also very liberal. It is not very PC to believe that corporal punishment can accomplish any good, don’t concern yourself with what the scriptures teach, that will get explained away, every one that believes in spanking is a neanderthal IFB, oh yea, uneducated as well. When it comes to certain topics you must believe as the massive bunch of liberals do or you are out of touch. When you think about it for a minute, this kind of group-think was quite prevalent in the IFB!!

      1. You say “liberal” like it’s a bad thing. ๐Ÿ˜€

        And some people have chosen not to spank because of private spiritual conviction; others hate even the thought of spanking because of past experience. I think it’s a very broad and inaccurate generalization to say that the commenters on this blog have mindlessly swapped a conservative groupthink for a liberal one. That’s nonsensical. I’m guessing the vast majority of people who left the modern Fundamentalist movement did so because they learned how to think for themselves, breaking free from the cult-like methods of thought control inherent in that “society” (for lack of a better term).

        You’d need to provide a lot more proof to convince me that independent thinkers who broke free from an unexamined way of life suddenly stopped thinking and turned over their intellectual responsibility to the political system of their country.

        And as for your claim of groupthink on this comment board, I see anything but groupthink here. People have commented on their experiences and positions, and they range widely on the conservative-liberal scale. Certainly some like-minded groups have coalesced and discussed their principles, but these groups are made of individual persons, not the vast and nebulous group thinking “other”.

  23. This brings up a lot of stuff I talk about in therapy. My dad didn’t spank us often; I remember about 4 times he spanked me. It was bad, but he counted swats. My mom hit us all the time; it got worse after my dad died. One of her sayings was, “I’m going to spank (beat) you until my arm gets tired.” She used the belt, a wooden spoon, sticks, Hot Wheels tracks, her hand, a bread board that had a handle… And my mom would take advice from people at church regarding methods.

    Our pastor would spank his kids before they left the house to remind them of what they would get when they got home if they misbehaved. Mom thought that was a great idea, and tried it out a couple times.

    He and other men at the church advocated spanking your child until they cried, and then spanking them until the stopped crying. That way the parent was in control of the episode, and it didn’t become out of control emotionally with the child in control. She hit me with a belt for over an hour once, but I refused to cry. I think I stood for 3 days after that one.

    I was 16 the last time she hit me. She slapped me in the side of the head. I turned around and faced her and told her to never hit me again. And she didn’t. My brother was about 15 when he told her that she expected him to act like an adult. So the next time she decided to hit him, he was going to act like an adult and hit her back.

    My kids get a swat now and then, and I let them throw fits in the store. But I walk away from them and say, “Whose kid is THAT?” LOL

    1. That makes me think of my brother, who is seven years younger than me. He always was more openly expressive than me, and as a result received many more spankings. Many of them were quite harsh, leaving pretty substantial bruising. As soon as he became stronger than my mom, he immediately started doing what he wanted. He’s 17 now, has been on probation, and has problems with alcohol.

    2. OMG! I don’t even know how groups of people like that don’t all get arrested and have their kids taken away from them…

  24. My parents were among those who demanded perfect behavior in public and reinforced that expectation with spankings in private. By the time we were 3 or 4, we were already well-schooled in how to behave. I personally don’t remember many spankings because they started when I was still in diapers (they tell this story) so I learned EARLY to toe the line.

    When my own kids act less than stellar, my mom loves to say, “When you kids were little, we could take you to someone’s house and you’d sit on the couch, quietly and patiently.” I usually feel horribly guilty and frustrated that my kids won’t cooperate, but I refuse to use my parents’ method.

    1. โ€œWhen you kids were little, we could take you to someoneโ€™s house and youโ€™d sit on the couch, quietly and patiently.โ€

      I’ve heard this line so many times in reference to my 5. ::sigh::

    2. You know, I was one of those kids, perfectly behaved, sitting on a couch for HOURS and you knwo what? IT SUCKED and I would NEVER do that to my kids on a regular basis as was done to me. It was selfish and unthoughtful and dismissive of my mother to do that to me without any good reason other than the fact that she wanted to chit chat with so and so…..for hours. I could go on. PW, being raised like this you stuff your self away, you should try reference how YOU felt during those times, not how well you made your mom look or how bad you think you look now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Hang in there Pastor’s wife, I was beat often with anything my mom could lay her hands on when I had my own sons I vowed before God to raise my sons with reason, love, grace, and instruction. I never spanked them when they were little, but took a lot of time redirecting, explaining, and showing them what my expectations were.

      I’m sure my boys couldn’t have sat on a couch for hours on end like we could when they were little, ๐Ÿ™„ but they have grown up to be loving, respectable, and responsible young men. I often hear compliments from the older people in our church about them, and often get asked for advice from young parents about child rearing.

      So hang in there and do what you know is right before God. You can raise great kids without fear and abuse.

  25. I remember being spanked early on. Both my parents started off explaining why I was being spanked. As I grew older, the sit-down talks stopped. I was simply told to go get “the spoon” and meet them in my room. The number of swats was directly proportionate to the level of their anger.

    For a long time I thought that they did things correctly. But now that I’ve thought about it more, I believe those episodes are why my parents and I have never had a spiritual conversation. It’s always been a one-sided: “This is how it is.” Never a constructive conversation that helped me understand why what I did was wrong. Along with that, I was never encouraged to read the Bible with the purpose of making educated decisions for myself. It was either dad’s way, the pastor’s way or we were rebellious. We’re on good terms now, but it could be much better.

  26. Don’t you think this contributes to the two-facedness that seems prevalent among fundies? “Behave correctly in public” so that it appears you are godly?

    1. It’s such a strange unreality to live under because you’re constantly TOLD that what matters is your heart and your outward behavior is worthless to God if your heart isn’t right but you’re ALSO told that you HAVE to behave no matter what so you look good to other people.

      It left me personally often feeling passive and hopeless; I put on the facade but felt inside completely rejected by God because He knew that my inner heart wasn’t always 100% compliant.

      1. So very true, the cognitive dissonance is incredible. The guilt induced by such teachings has been really, really, hard to shake. On the slightly more positive (?) note, being able to effortlessly put on a “public face/persona” can be a very useful skill when used judiciously.

  27. We don’t spank our kids. They were spanked a couple of times when they were little, but not anymore. I often get complimented when we are out about how well my kids behave, and the teachers love having them in class. They are far from robots. We’ve worked with them since they were very little what our expectations were for them and they’ve always (almost) lived up to them. It took more effort in the beginning, but now that they are older (7 and 10) it’s not so hard. Now to see how #3 acts when she makes her entrance in 4 weeks ๐Ÿ™„

    1. Congratulations on #3! We have a 15 month old and we don’t spank in our discipline. Being raised in Fundystan, it’s my opinion that it’s actually a lot more work and takes a lot more awareness to raise a child without spanking. You don’t have to praise them, you don’t have to set a good example, you don’t have to be patient, you don’t even have to get a child’s attention to make sure they understood what you need from them. You get the desired behavior without all the work. ๐Ÿ˜• It takes a lot more work to encourage good behavior without violence and fear as a motivator.

  28. I remember listening to Shelton Smith of the Sword of the Lord telling parents from the pulpit that it is wrong to allow your child to chose what he wants from a McDonald’s menu. You always order for them.

    1. My FIL tried that on my kids. They wouldn’t eat what he ordered because they didn’t like pickles, onions, and mustard. My MIL asked him why my kids couldn’t order their own food. He said, “Because I don’t like it!”

      They ordered their own at the next restaurant. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    2. My mom was like this as well, except in a different way. I would get the children’s menu at a restaurant and pick something. If that wasn’t her choice she said no. Again I’d pick something and if she didn’t like it, she said no. It went on like that till I found the one choice she had already picked out for me. It was usually something I didn’t like but I was too afraid of her anger to complain.

      She was also a very selfish cook. She cooked only what she liked to eat and if the rest of the family didn’t like it, tough. It wasn’t simply the “eat your vegetables” kind of thing. If I expressed I didn’t like something I would get “I’m the cook. You eat what I make and if you don’t like it, don’t eat.” I understand trying to make your kids try new foods but she would constantly make food the rest of the family didn’t care for.

  29. My parents believed spanking was the only “biblical” way to discipline a child and only resorted to “worldly” methods like grounding and revoking privileges when they realized spanking teenagers wasn’t working the way it used to. To be fair they only used a small switch and did the whole-here’s why I’m spanking you, I love you, this hurts me more than it hurts you thing. But life could have been easier for them and for us if they hadn’t reject so many potentially useful child rearing ideas just because the idea comes from the dreaded “World”.

    I sometimes wonder if adult ex-fundy kids can even have a healthy relationship with fundy parents. The IFB culture is so focused on avoiding the outward appearance of “worldliness” that any normal lifestyle by the adult children is viewed as a sign of rebellion, backsliding, leaving the faith, etc and a failure on the part of the parents to “bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. ๐Ÿ™„

    1. You can but it takes a long time. It took me until I was in my mid 30s and had gone through some counseling for me to make peace with my dad. I’m just thankful I did so before he passed away.

    2. My parents also used the “this hurts me more than it hurts you” line. I tried to believe it because it was my parents and all, but deep down I never believed it.

  30. I did not grow up in the church as I was raised by “heathens,” not the bone-in-the-nose kinds, but non-Christians nonetheless. My wife was as well. I don’t think either one of us were ever disciplined harshly, mainly because we grew up with only one rule: “don’t do anything stupid.” Now, a lot of our friends were church kids and we have noticed something interesting. Most of my wife’s churchy childhood friends have have had premarital sex, possibly all of her circle of close girlfriends (I’m sure of all of them except one). One is now a missionary who has slept with both a boy and a girl she oversaw on her team, another married a pastor’s son who pressured her into things. Another left the church because quote “doing it is way more fun than church.” The last one married a worship leader (when she was 6 months pregnant). My wife and I traveled together, even sharing a hotel room once before we were married while checking out my seminary (we were poor). Never once did we do anything we ever regretted. I like to think we went to our wedding bed pure for two reasons: 1- Jesus was the priority and we knew his preference. 2- we had parents who largely treated us like adults and trained us to make good decisions, as opposed to training us to not get caught.

    1. “. . .as opposed to training us to not get caught.”

      I think you said perfectly what the typical result of over-disciplining is. I was never beaten as a child, but I was spanked often enough. I did, however, figure out rather quickly how not to get caught. I find myself doing it still. . .kind of like when I am reading SFL at work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. Wow. I love these commandments posts, but this one was pretty depressing. Poor fundy kids. My (non-fundy) parents were strict and believed in spanking, but I don’t think it was this bad. Definitely not with the same rationale.

    1. It’s a lot of pressure on a kid realizing that a minor squabble with your sister over who gets the last roll could send someone sitting in a nearby booth to HELL because you were such a poor example of the love and holiness of God.

  32. Like Pastormike, my parents were relatively moral, but not Christians. We (2 boys, 2 girls) were spanked, but not as outrageously as some have noted here.

    We certainly were afraid of being spanked; we NEVER had what people here called a “meltdown” that I can recall — nor did we throw tantrums; some whining and nagging was as far as we dared to go.

    In some ways we were probably a dysfunctional family; I only remember my father spanking in anger (have vivid memories of being spanked while he said through clenched teeth something like ‘You are to disobey your mother again’) and he would swear at us for being “****** stupid kids”. We were afraid of him if we roused his anger. Both parents never used anything but their hands; no devices. However, my father ONLY touched us to spank us, so we would flinch if we thought he was going to touch us. My mother did hug us and showed loved with her hands. To continue the oddness (we never thought it odd when we were growing up): we never took a family vacation; we never went out to eat as a family. My dad was not involved in our lives; it was my mom that took us to ball games and other activities. She would treat us to ice cream once in a while after such activities. I remember nearly my last spanking was a single swat in public from her — it embarrassed me to have people I know see me get into trouble.

    God did save me in His grace and mercy as a teenager, and He has been very good to me.

    My wife and I do believe that discipline includes spanking, but we try to do it right with our kids.

    Some of these stories are very scary.

  33. Living with my parents and 7 kids in an 800sf house, my mom couldn’t afford to let things get out of control. I only remember one spanking (that I richly deserved) but Mom collected paddles. One had a school and a diploma on it and the caption read “The board of education for liberal application to the seat of higher learning” Another had a fawn in the forrest with a bear cub following it that said “For the sweet little dear with the bear behind” I never saw them used and us kids were known to buy her new ones if we thought they were cute.
    With my own kids I held to a no more than three swats rule and they were rarely administered. I have to admit that when the mother of my children began to work toward divorcing me my patience and attentiveness suffered greatly. I have spent much time appologising to my kids.

  34. Another fundy parent rule: The punishment must ALWAYS be 7 times worse than the “crime.” That way the kid will remember being punished, and not ever repeat the offense. My parents didn’t spank often, but my mom yelled, and dad lectured. Those long, berating lectures delivered best by someone who went to IFB diploma mill “bible” college.

    1. OMG!! Wow, that just brought it back again! I used to hear that “70×7” thing so often, I hated it. In fact, it took my back to my parent’s room, waiting to be spanked… You know what the awful thing is? That passage was supposed to be about forgiveness, not punishment. How did things get so twisted and perverted in fundyland?

      1. Because, somehow, in that sick world, unpredictable spankings, berating lectures, and revoking “privileges” that weren’t even there were all ways of showing “love.” I never once felt any sort of love during those lectures, not being allowed to participate in any after-school activities (but being expected to bring home all A’s, and getting a huge lecture for even asking), and constantly being called a liar and deceitful. And for some reason my parents still sit back and congratulate themselves?

  35. I can only remember getting a couple of spankings. Daddy yelling at me was enough to get me to behave! I generally behaved well in public; I was the kind of kid who liked to be both noticed and liked. I realized very early that if I was well behaved grown-ups, especially women, would say what a cute, well behaved girl I was! That was enough to make me want to be cute and well behaved. :mrgreen:

  36. My parents spanked us, even when we were far too old to be spanked, and tried to continue to control us well into adulthood.

    While my husband and I will probably include spanking our children in an attempt to have a balanced discipline approach (ie, punishment equal to the crime & not when we are angry), the main thing I learned from my own angry father spanking me as a child, was to be angry. ๐Ÿ™

  37. I wonder if other ex-fundies on here will agree with me about the psychological manipulation that is often used on kids in our churches. PW gave a great example of it: “realizing that a minor squabble with your sister over who gets the last roll could send someone sitting in a nearby booth to HELL”. But how about when we keep hitting them over the head with, “Do you know how sad you are making Jesus by sneaking that extra cookie when you thought I wasn’t looking?”

    I didn’t even realize how harsh this was until a few years ago when my son snuck his DS to school on the bus and I found out about it. I really laid on the guilt. I told him how bad he made me feel, then I asked him if he had pleased Jesus with this action or made Jesus sad. I went on and on about how children are supposed to OBEY their parents and how the Lord knows they don’t obey even if we parents don’t, and that makes the Lord, who loves us so much, veeeerrrrry sad. Then I told him that he needed to pray and ask the Lord to forgive him. The poor kid was sobbing by this point. When I told my coworkers this story they couldn’t believe how hard I was on him. Honestly, I couldn’t have done much more if he had killed somebody!

    That was the day I realized how wrong it is to beat somebody over the head with the “Jesus” stick, which can be every bit as devastating as a harsh or cruel spanking. Now when my son does something dumb, like breaking our computer (!), I get mad, but I try to leave the spiritual manipulation out of it.

  38. Seeing the “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” brought back to mind one of the worst mistakes I ever made prior to getting my legs striped with a branch from a peach tree. I was a pretty mouthy kid. My dad was preparing me for a “daddy-whoopin” by repeating the above phrase. Even at the age of 8 or 9 I immediately realized the absurdity of such a statement. My response was “well then why don’t you REALLY punish me and let me hit YOU?” Needless to say I never said that again.

  39. Darrell! You forgot the verse!

    Proverbs 20:30
    The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

    My dad quoted that any time one of us complained of being bruised after a spanking.

    1. I don’t remember ever having that verse quoted to me, but I do remember very vividly being 7 or 8 and staring at myself in a full length mirror at the bruises that made it too painful for me to sit and the welts from the leather strap that wrapped around the outside of my legs in to the inside of my thighs and across my low back.

  40. My younger brother learned to take the punishment much better than I which resulted in a very twisted scenario as we got older. He and I made a deal, I would pay him to say that he did whatever “wrong” had been committed, he’d take the punishment, and I’d give him cash. He was always labelled as the rebellious child and I, the good one. And yes, I now have a wee bit of guilt about it.

    As far as raising my own kids, I love this quote by Alistair Begg in regards to the training he received from his father. “It was the correction of my father as an adolescent that taught me right from wrong, but it was the grace of my father as a teenager that showed my the Cross.”

  41. I was spanked with anger, spanked without anger, spanked with warnings and spanked without (though no one had the hypocrisy to tell me it hurt them more than it hurt me). The only thing it succeeded in doing was making me timid, anxious and deceitful – even now, I find myself reflexively telling silly little lies to prevent people getting angry with me. Despite the fact that I am 5 foot 10 and a judo brown belt.

    I would never hit any child of mine.

    1. I find myself reflexively telling silly little lies to prevent people getting angry with me.

      Yeah. I hate that. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I also majorly freak out inside when any authority (boss/teacher) seems less than perfectly happy with everything I’ve ever done.

  42. The advertisement on the right margin right now says, “Out of Control Child?” and offers a free downloadable guide on “5 Ways to Fix Child Behavior”.

  43. My fundy mother would “help” me with my homework by asking me questions and then slapping me silly when I couldn’t answer in time. I have a vivid memory of her punching my younger sister into a wall. Good old fundy pastors, knew of her abusive behavior but Mom was a great church member (ie tither) so she got a free pass. I left home for Bible college at 17 and traded one abuser for another.

  44. I’m just going to throw this out there, with the disclaimer that I’m in no way an expert and I could be totally off-base. Whether or not a person agrees with spanking, I hope everyone can agree that there comes an AGE when spanking is no longer appropriate, especially from the opposite-sex parent. I feel that it’s inappropriate to spank teenagers (and yeah, probably pre-teens too). Sorry, but if I hear of a father spanking his teenage daughter, that’s going to send up major red flags for me. There may be NO relationship at all, but my fundy ex was spanked frequently and brutally well into his teenage years by both parents, and he developed extremely serious sexually deviant behavior. I’m not saying it CAUSED it; but I am saying that it was one part of a serious dysfunction in that family that led to twisted ideas about sexual relationships and power.

    1. I agree with you, but I think that drawing the line for spanking at a certain age is a modern/cultural standard. Take for example the show “I Love Lucy” – in a couple of episodes, Lucy gets spanked by Ricky for her misbehavior. See this clip:

      I really don’t know enough about the show or the context to say that this means that in the 50’s, all husbands spanked their wives or that it was widely practiced. It was a sitcom, and it probably says more about what American society believed about its women at the time, rather than how husbands/wives actually behaved. But being able to show this kind of spanking on a TV show does seem to suggest a kind of cultural acceptance for it. By contrast, I don’t think you could air similar scenes today without some controversy or TV buzz afterwards.

      1. I remember those clips. I think it was meant as a “joke” on the show, but you’re right about the fact that it probably didn’t cause most people to bat an eye at the time. I’m pretty sure husbands spanking wives on national tv wouldn’t fly anymore! Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure ANY spanking on national tv wouldn’t fly these days! But my thing is, for better or worse, spanking has picked up a sexual connotation in our overly-sexualized culture (not for young children, I mean for adults). Due to that fact, I think most people would agree that it’s inappropriate to spank after a certain age. Besides the fact that there are MANY more significant punishments for teenagers that are likely much more effective (like, um, taking away driving privileges??)

      2. Bettie Page was quite popular around that time, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Seriously, Ricky spanking Lucy worked as comedy because it was slapstick. It was an absurdity, something the audience wouldn’t expect to see in reality, much like grown men throwing cream pies in each other’s faces.

        Even more seriously, things we’d (rightly) consider domestic abuse were also more accepted back then. There’s one episode of I Love Lucy where everyone is laughing at a story of a married couple having a “knockdown, drag-out fight” that resulted in bruises and black eyes. In another episode, Lucy accidentally gets a black eye and jokes to the Mertzes that Ricky slugged her. They believe her, and, while they express disapproval of Ricky’s “behavior,” Fred tells Ricky that it could happen to anyone and that he should send Lucy flowers to make up for it.

        All in all, I don’t think society evolving from “Don’t hit anyone unless they deserve it” to “Don’t hit anyone, period” is a bad thing.

  45. My super-fundy step-mom started spanking us @ around 2. She used to use a wooden spoon and make us bare-assed so we would feel it more. She had the 15lb KJV, taught at the Christian school, cried during all the messages, and beat us every day. Once when I was pretty little, I remember jumping out of the way on about the 8th swat. She lost her grip on the spoon and it hit the wall and snapped. Funny though, when she had a kid, he didn’t get spanked at all. She tried to friend me on FB the other day, and I literally laughed out loud when I saw who sent the request.

    I don’t have any kids yet, but if I do someday, my goal will be to try to get them to WANT to do what’s right, instead of forcing them to do what’s right. Any moron can beat a little kid into submission, it takes a PARENT to get them to want to do the right thing on their own.

    1. @After Glow–I really appreciate your comment about morons and parents. I really hope you did have the opportunity to be a parent one day. You would make a good one. So sorry for your treatment at the hands of your stepmother. ๐Ÿ™

  46. I remember hearing Proverbs 13:24 quoted ad naseum all the time when I was growing up. I never heard one verse quoted about love.

    I just hope I get the chance to put the ol’ step-mom in a nursing home someday. If I do get the chance, I’m gonna find the cheapest one in the state, and then beat them down on whatever their lowest price is.

  47. I’ve never hit a woman in my life. I despise cowards who do. I weigh 270lbs and I bench press 500lbs. Not too long ago, I was up at my Dad’s with my sister who has 2 adorable little kids. They are awesome kids, always smiling. One of them did something that set the step-mom off, and she barked at one of them in her tone that she used to use on us. For a second, the image of me shoving her head through the wall flashed in my mind. I think if she’d tried to hit one of them, I might have done it. I didn’t do anything, I just left the room. Not proud of it at all, but she is a truly evil human being.

  48. My former fundy pastor had very little tolerance for a child acting up during a service…I mean no tolerance for any noise at all. He would actually call for an usher to “help with that situation” immediately, with the goal of getting the parent to put the child into the nursery. This atmosphere made me hyper-aware of my kids’ noise level in public places, ’cause I knew we were being judged.

    It took a while after leaving the compound for me to stop having unrealistic expectations of my children.

    1. That’s awful! My (non-fundy) pastor now encourages children to stay in the service, and when my little son talks or says “yay” after a song, my pastor’s wife swears it’s his baby way of saying Amen. :mrgreen:

      A woman at our church complained to our pastor about our son’s distractions (when he was only a couple of months old and not making a noise except to drink a bottle or chew on his hands in the back pew). Our pastor pulled us aside and said, “Be aware that [this person] is distracted, but don’t change anything. I’d rather her leave than for your son to have to leave the service.”

      ******”Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”

      ******”But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things Jesus did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise”?'”

      1. One Sunday Morning about a year ago, at the end of the sermon, the Pastors 2+ year old, said: “Amen, Papa – Now Mr. ______ play the organ”. She was doing a play-by-play (and we all loved it!)

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