Child Training...or Child Abuse?
Please judge for yourself: Is this child training, or is it child abuse?
- There is an outreach meeting at the home of one of the Leading Brothers. The evening is warm, and so the windows are open. As one walks up the driveway, one can hear SLAP SLAP SLAP coming from a lighted room. A child is receiving a spanking. The sounds of whatever the parent is using (leather strap, wooden dowel, hand, wooden spoon?) slapping against the child’s bottom is audible several yards from the window. Please note: there are neighbors on both sides of the house, as well as directly across the street.
- A mother wants to take a nap. She and her toddler, who has awakened recently from a nap, are home alone. The mother decides to put the toddler on its mat, while she lies down on the couch. When the child makes too much noise, or tries to get off the mat, she swats him with a leather strap.
- A young boy is cold. He grabs the nearest thing to
wrap up with, which happens to be his mother’s robe. His father
comes home from work, and is appalled to see his son wrapped in such
“Why are you wearing momma’s robe?” the father asks angrily.
The boy, sensing his father’s anger, doesn’t know what to say, so he just sits in stunned silence.
“WHEN I ASK YOU A QUESTION, YOU’D BETTER ANSWER!!!” screams the father, grabbing his son by the collar and dragging him into a bedroom, where he spanks the boy. The mother witnesses her husband dragging their son into the bedroom, and says nothing. Also witnessing this scene were two single women and a single man who lived in the home.
- A shy little girl doesn’t want to say, “Good morning,” to one of the single brothers living in her parent’s home. The mother takes her into the bedroom, and proceeds to spank her all morning (according to the mother), until the toddler will say, “Good morning”. News of this “all day spanking” made its way throughout the local assembly as an encouragement to parents. Please note: This type of beating to “get yieldedness" occurred many, many times in all my years of Assembly membership, by various members, who got their “inspiration” after hearing this story.
- A Leading Brother and his wife visit the home of a single sister, who has a young child. The purpose of the visit is to make a plan of escape from the house, in case Child Protective Services (CPS) is called to their house on suspicion of child abuse. The Leading bBother says that CPS is part of the “persecution” of Assembly families.
- A young family is having difficulty disciplining their oldest child, age three. Spanking him isn't working. Their solution? Put him in his baby brother's crib, call him a “little baby” in order to shame him, turn off the lights and close the door, leaving him in the room alone. The three-year-old is afraid of the dark.
The Growing Kids God's Way and On Becoming Babywise programs developed by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo were used to undergird Assembly teaching on children. The Ezzos were formerly very involved in John MacArthur's Grace Community Church where Gary was an elder. At some point, the elder board became alarmed at certain elements in their teaching and issued a public statement distancing the church from it. Grace Church now has a website devoted to the problems with the Ezzo program. In earlier years the Assembly used What the Bible Says about Child Training by Richard and Virginia Fugate. Here are some readers' comments on the Fugate program.