Why Parenting Support is So Critical

apilogoI read the Attachment Parenting International blog tonight, API Speaks, and the post really shook me up. I encourage you to check it out.

The author writes: “Parents and caregivers are not passive guardians of children in the earliest years; we’re active participants in building their learning foundations and we need support, not blame, in this extraordinarily important role.  In the most simplistic view, spending on education can only be as successful as its antecedent:  early care.”

He draws attention to the tragic recent child abuse case of Lydia Schatz, 7, and her 11 year old sister Zariah, who suffered at the hands of their adopted parents. Lydia died from her beatings.

The article from this family’s local newspaper reported:

“Both girls were allegedly whipped by the their adoptive parents with a quarter-inch plumbing supply line – the instrument suggested by Michael and Debi Pearl, founders of No Greater Joy Ministries and authors of the controversial religious parenting book ‘How to Train Up a Child.'”

I was reminded of a fellow AP Mama in Austin who shared a story a few months ago. She said a repair man came to her home and following his visit sent her a letter admonishing her for the permissive parenting style he observed while in her house.  He went on to highly recommend that she and her husband read this same book.  He claimed he parented 8 or 10 kids….can’t remember exactly….and that he and his wife knew what it took to raise respectful children.

THIS BOOK FLAT OUT RECOMMENDS CHILD ABUSE.  According to reviews that I’ve read, there is a page that actually recommends whipping infants.  Are you kidding me?!

I want to swear like a sailor about this book and about churches that believe and preach “spare the rod, spoil the child” and actually recommend this book.  I started to go down the path of feeling really angry that Amazon is still selling it and began questioning my association with them on my site….and then I reminded myself about what I love so much about being American… and that banning books — no matter the subject — just ain’t right. All books must to be available to the public in schools, libraries and bookstores no matter what they’re about.

Everybody gets mad at their children. We’re human! And I can imagine every parent has felt angry enough to want to smack his or her child at one time or another. Thankfully most of us know this is a terrible thing to do — and we stop ourselves before actually causing them harm.

There have been a few times when I’ve been so frustrated with my little girl that I’ve grabbed her arm entirely too hard in an attempt to stop whatever behavior triggered me. I’m so grateful that this is the only thing physically domineering that she has experienced from me.  And I still seek to find new ways to handle those intensely frustrating moments in time when the flash of anger feels over-powering to the point of impulsive, arm-gripping reactions.

So what can we do in contrast to “training a child up”?  We can get whatever support we need to maintain gentle parenting in our homes and advocate for parental support in our communities.


  • Join or start your own Mama support group.
  • Take an Early Parenting class. Carrie Contey is Austin’s gift to new parents. Her e-books are fantastic for families in other states and countries.
  • Read one the Attachment Parenting Books I recommend on the Shop page of  Attachment Mama. Not listed yet, I’m also a huge fan of Sandra Blackard’s Say What You See.
  • Consider a financial donation to non-profits that provide critical parenting support like Attachment Parenting International and/or your local chapter.
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8 Responses to “Why Parenting Support is So Critical”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    OMG – I just read the first chapter of the Pearls’ book online. It’s horrible and unbelievably brutal. Words cannot express how sad I feel for any child that is subjected to the measures they suggest in the name of parenting.

    • So terrible, right? No one in my circle is reading that book as gospel so there is no one personally for me to gently suggest they please consider getting different parenting counsel. But scary to think how many people out there are getting advice from Christian churches to read this and believing it’s the right thing to do.

  2. Darcel says:

    That is so sad. I’ve heard of this book, but never read it. I think spanking is for lazy parents. Over the years we have found different ways to communicate with our kids.

    • Darcel – I just discovered your blog. So beautiful! Your family is precious. Thanks for coming by mine too. I was spanked as a child and don’t remember it at all. I don’t hold it against my parents. But I think what the Pearls are advocating for is much more severe than spanking — solid abuse for sure.

  3. Louisa says:

    I can hardly even stomach reading stuff like this, especially because it’s probably a lot more widespread than we can even imagine. Thanks for bringing it up, though (I think… ;-). It really is the reason why organizations such as API are so critical.

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