The cult leader was not competent to give us parenting advice

One of the gals I follow here on WordPress posted an excellent essay called:

Book Review: Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart

I hope you read it.

I’ve been out of the cult for over eight years, and in that time I’ve seen so much about what was wrong there. One of those things has to do with his influence regarding our parenting practices, especially when the children were infants. He told us that they had to be afraid of us, that they needed to fear for their lives! Yes, this is what he told us, not an exaggeration. Bible verses were used to justify this advice. And we followed it. I had to override my gut almost constantly, which, unfortunately, I was completely used to doing due to my chaotic childhood, where I had to override my gut on a daily basis in order to get along.

I remember my husband joking about spanking our newborn daughter, right after she was born (we were still in the hospital!). Oh my God I felt so angry and even said, No. He said he meant it as a joke, but now I believe that he was “virtue signaling,” meaning, he was letting me and our friends know that he was on board with the corporal discipline regime. We all “virtue signaled” at different times about different things so my intention is not to single him out. It’s just one example of what went on there.

I remember seeing one of the boys, as an infant, get spanked with a wooden paddle that was probably 18 inches long and at least one inch wide. This happened at a meeting; everybody saw it. The infant was maybe a year old or less. The cult leader openly commended the dad for doing this, saying that he was a good example of how to discipline a child. There are many other examples I can give, and people didn’t just do it to their own kids, they did it to others’ kids too. Unfortunately, I also participated in this inappropriate use of the Bible to justify taking out my anger onto my children, and other people’s children as well. It was wrong and when I think back on it, I feel sad and ashamed. So much pain, so much missed opportunity to express love, patience, forbearance, gentleness. Missed teaching opportunities, missed opportunities to forge meaningful connections.

**sigh**

Infants need to know they are safe and loved. That comes first and it takes time. I completely agree with this pyramid, which appears at the post linked above:

4 messages framework_NEWwithTag

Years later, while the cult leader was in the midst of an affair with one of the married women in the cult, he retracted those remarks in an attempt to please her. This all came to light when he disclosed his affair. That is when the spankings stopped. The eldest of the children were probably around 10-11 years old. It was the summer of the year 2000.

 

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Author: everybodysdaughter

I'm an adult child of divorce, having been raised in multiple divorce/remarriage situations. I'm writing in order to shed light on the problems of divorce from the perspective of the child. I will also discuss problems with other non-triad family structures, since there is a lot of overlap. People often think that better parenting skills will overcome problems in non-triad arrangements. While I agree that parenting skills are important, they cannot overcome the problems I discuss such as fractured ontology and perpetual liminality. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, and will discuss Catholic things from time to time as well.

3 thoughts on “The cult leader was not competent to give us parenting advice”

  1. Hey, thank you for the link back to my blog. I grew up in abuse and spanking was a huge thing (my mom was in a sort of cult as well). Anyway, it’s taken me so long to “get it” in the parenting department. The weird thing is that I never liked or condoned spanking at all as an adult but was told by many Christians in many different churches and denominations that spanking was biblical. It never made much sense to me though. I feel very peaceful about how I parent now. I have to look at my heart and examine myself before I go and point out the sins of my children. And when I do point out those sins, it’s not in an angry, haughty, looking down at them way. Instead, it’s a loving way with much empathy as if to say “I struggle too. Isn’t God good that He has so much grace for us in our need?” That’s the blessing of Connected Families. It’s helped me change the way I think about my children and about myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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