Adding Your Voices About Child Abuse

If you haven’t read my article, “Child Discipline or Child Abuse?” yet, you may want to read it first! It’s just below this one on the blog. This post here is a compilation of excerpts from just some of the responses I received in my inbox since I originally published it two days ago. I’m putting them here because these ladies bring up some great food for thought, as well as ideas on how to reach out to others.

First though, some link backs to two home school authors who have been kind enough to link to my article and add their voice to the cause:

Rob Shearer, noted home school author and publisher:
http://redhatrob.com/2010/02/tragedy-in-a-homeschooling-family/

Karen Ehman, author of many books and popular Proverbs 31 conference speaker:
http://karenehman.com/home/2010/02/23/box-bashing/

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I wanted to let you know that I appreciate that you addressed this issue of child abuse. I also want to encourage you to continue encouraging others to actually get involved in the lives of those around them. We all know when something just doesn’t seem right and kids just are not happy. When we see these that something is wrong, we have to purpose to make friendships so we can have a position of influence. We need to enlist others to befriend and encourage good works and develop parenting skills. It is okay to build a visiting schedule quietly with a few devoted families to discern and give direction. With God’s help you can change the direction and perhaps hear one day that those times you came made “all the difference.”

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I appreciate you sharing this. It is horribly tragic, and the sad thing is that for those of us wanting to home school and appropriately discipline our children it is so hard. We don’t want to shy away from the true God-given authority we have nor the appropriate discipline that is required in parenting. Yet I know I tend to shirk away and want to withdraw when I hear a story like this. I appreciate you sharing the voice of corrective balance to remember where appropriate and inappropriate differ. Knowing the extremes to which you are pushed as a parent in your own capacity, I realize that I (seemingly a sane and loving parent) have capacity to go beyond healthy and into inappropriate expressions of anger or frustration that could become directed at my child. I imagine many of these parents start out with good intentions, but their own woundedness and brokenness, misdirection, etc, can lead to inappropriate behavior that gets into abusive category. I appreciate you sharing this with your readers, and challenging them (us) to consider whether we have crossed certain lines. I don’t think it’s as far out of the average person’s ability to go over the limit when we are pushed by the stresses of our day, being isolated from our community, and being guided by our own anger out of control. I also think it’s very hard because this is such a bad witness to Christian parenting and home schooling. It’s a slap in the face to all the parents who have done such an outstanding job with their efforts, and have loved their children and loved the Lord and followed His lead. No parent is perfect, but the sad thing is what a bad rap home schooling is getting anymore, and this just is another example that critics will point to. I want to have the balance of discipline which the world does NOT offer appropriately in their schools, nor do I want my children exposed to abusive behavior. I want to find the Godly path of leading them, but this can be scary. I am appreciative that there are so many good resources for parents who want to choose healthy Christian parenting, with healthy godly discipline, and I hope we can all continue to encourage each other and also keep each other accountable in this important area of balance. Thank God for his grace and mercy for us, and the grace of our children.

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Your email was galvanizing for me. It crystallized many thoughts and feelings I have been having about the use and abuse of authority in the Christian home school movement – vs the authority the Holy Spirit wants to have in our lives. Kids are people too! I was particularly devastated by the destruction of a family…one whose goals may have been so similar to ours..filled with books – like Frog and Toad books – that my children have loved…. The law – the religious spirit – is insidious. No wonder Jesus went on about it. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor – not even being perfect disciplinarians will do it. Thank God.

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The bummer is that they are a home school family and now we run the chance that all home school families will be labeled as such. And may I add that “deeply religious” really has nothing to do with true Christianity for one can be deeply religious about anything. Someone truly deeply into Christianity would NEVER even think of hurting anyone else in the name of Jesus. Bad things happen even to those that love Jesus but we should never justify it with religion. Guess I am ranting too…

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Thank you for this info. This is important and it appears God has allowed it on your ‘grace plate’ to take the time to research and communicate to others. I pray it goes to the right in boxes and bears much fruit.

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I think that we parents of older children who still have younger ones learn that less is more. I wish I could go back and relax a little in the way I schooled and disciplined my older ones, but it was never anything near this. How these people can close their eyes and pray or sleep I do not know! God will surely judge them, but until then I agree that we need to be as out spoken on the “DON’TS” of discipline, especially in the homeschooling community! I join you in prayer and work to try and keep this from happening again.

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It’s interesting. My 12 y-old daughter came into me this morning as she was woken from a sad dream she had of a little girl she tried to rescue but was unable to, from her abusive parents. We discussed the responsibility God places on parents to be their child’s protector. A small helpless child most often has ONLY their parent/guardian to keep him/her safe. How said it is when the only person appointed to be that child’s protector is the one that does him/her harm. We had ourselves a time of grieving for all the children who are so betrayed by their parents. I reminded her that the Bible warns about God’s fierce wrath toward those who harm little ones. Defenseless ones… even aborted ones. Why does God put up with our depravity? And how much longer with He continue to have mercy on us? But, let us NEVER waiver in speaking out against what God hates…Let us never fail to warn others of God’s wrath, and that its ONLY because of His unmatched mercy that any of us are breathing! Thank you Virginia for doing just this. And I among many stand with you…CONTINUE TO SPEAK TRUTH IN LOVE!

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I hear what you are saying loudly and clearly. My husband and I are in the midst of and working through many fallouts of the early homeschooling parenting techniques that have been just as abusive if not more so than the physical – the control and manipulation used by parents – the worst being the use of God, Scripture, and religion to beat children into submission. I have been reading several blogs and am blown away by what I read. An incredible blog I read is called http://www.quiveringdaughters.com/. The author is the eldest in a large fundamental family. She is completing a book out by this spring. You will be very intrigued by her writing! We have worked with more couples and young people than we ever imagined, who find themselves in abusive situations. My thinking has been challenged and I feel like a different person as I study the Word and allow God to take me into the lives of these precious people who are being controlled and manipulated by those who were supposed to love them the most! Thanks for the words.

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Thank you for taking the time to inform on this and for taking a solid stand. You are so right, abuse can never be tolerated. Abuse in the name of Christ is so very wrong.

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I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for sharing your feelings. It seems like people stay silent on the issues of child abuse and homeschooling, and it has bothered me for years.

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I’ve graduated my last homeschooled student/kid two years ago, but my heart remains in the home school community and I mentor several younger women. I can’t tell you how many times I received calls from home school moms who want to know what to do about situations like the ones you’ve described. They suspect something is “just not right.” Either in neglect, NON-homeschooling, father/daughter relationships, or promiscuity, or even in inappropriate dress of fellow students in the home school co-ops. I encourage them to pray for those they are concerned about and go to them directly as the Bible instructs us to do to share their concerns, then to their elders. Over and over again the response is similar. When information is brought to the attention of the parent the response is denial, or preference to keep their heads in the sand and not look at the tough issues, to hostility and accusations of “witch hunts.” It’s painful to not see transparency and humility in the approach to lovingly bring something to the attention of another believer and have this response. I do think this is a serious issue with homeschooling parents as they attempt to guide and instruct, yet self-righteousness begins to cover over-bearing control to produce perfect kids. Thank you for tackling this tough issue, and I want to encourage you to continue. I’ll pray for you and your family and those homes your newsletter reach; but above all that the gospel will become more and more meaningful in our hearts and lives. God bless you sister.

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About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Abuse in Families, Parenting, Stress~Weariness. Bookmark the permalink.

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