Let me revise and amend my remarks, in light of this New York Times story about spanking advocates Michael and Debi Pearl, and their followers who apparently killed their child.
Debate over the Pearls’ teachings, first seen on Christian Web sites, gained new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To Train Up a Child,” in their homes. On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse.
More than 670,000 copies of the Pearls’ self-published book are in circulation, and it is especially popular among Christian home-schoolers, who praise it in their magazines and on their Web sites. The Pearls provide instructions on using a switch from as early as six months to discourage misbehavior and describe how to make use of implements for hitting on the arms, legs or back, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line that, Mr. Pearl notes, “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.”Spanking advocates? I think "beating advocates" is more like it.
Listen: The subject of child discipline is highly fraught, and it's really easy to sit in judgement of people who do it differently than you. But let's be plain: If you read books about how to make weapons to hit your child, you are probably an asshole who doesn't have sense or compassion enough to be a parent.