Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A disorder or disorder?

"Even a child is known by his behavior, whether what he does is pure and right."  Proverb 20:11

I am astounded at the many "disorders" that are used to label children's behavior.  The list is a mile long--each with it's own acronym, specific characteristics and the drug/psychotherapeutic method that is used to "treat" the child.

What I find quite ironic, is that each and every behavior listed in any given "behavioral disorder" is found in the Word of God as "deeds of the flesh," which Gods says leads to disorder, "the disruption of peaceful behavior," not a disorder.

"For where there is selfish ambition, there will be disorder."  James 3:16

The deeds of the flesh are found in Galatians 5 and Romans 1:

S*xual immorality
Idolatry {extreme love for something or someone}
Enmity {hostility}
Strife {angry or bitter disagreement}
Fits of anger
Dissension {disagreement}
Disobedient to parents
Foolish behavior
Maliciousness {intending to do harm}
Ruthlessness {showing no compassion}

The most popular behavioral disorders are characterized by: {the bibles description in bold}

Easily angered and annoyed-strife
Frequent temper tantrums-fits of anger
Refuses to obey rules-dissension
Seeks to blame others-Adam in the garden and the blame game
Refuses to obey parents-disobedient to parents
Tendency to use drugs and alcohol-drunkenness
Lack of empathy for others-ruthlessness
S*xual abuse-s*xual abuse
Keenness to start physical fights-maliciousness

Self {the flesh} is the at the heart of ALL sinful behavior.

"But each person is tempted {with sin} when he is lured and enticed by his/her own desire.  The desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."  James 1:14-15

It is part of our ministry as parents to teach our children the devastating effects that sin can have on their lives.  Until they have their "souls awakened" we must function as their conscience.  I like what Michael Pearl says in his book "To Train Up a Child" {yes, I realize that many of my readers do not agree with the Pearl's parenting philosophy, yet my husband and I have been "built up" by their ministry}.

"Even before a child's conscience is partially operative, he must be trained to practice self-restraint.  For if a child is allowed to violate his budding conscience, and continues to do so as he grows to full maturity, he will find himself already fully give over to his flesh long before he begins to develop a sense of duty.  Therefore, before moral development begins (at about two years of age), parents must bring the child's flesh into subjection."

By labeling a child's sinful behavior as a disorder, they are no longer being held accountable for their actions.  This is exactly what satan wants.  Blaming your sin on someone else.  Adam did the same thing in the garden when Eve gave him the fruit,

"The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the 
tree, and I ate." Genesis 3:13

It sounds so familiar to modern day psychotherapy--ones behavior is the direct result of someone else's wrong against them.  The blame game is an old trick of the enemy, used from the beginning of time.


As parents, we are the "governing authority" {Romans 13] that God has placed over our children. 

"Parents, train up a child in the way he/she should go."

"Children, obey your parents."

Are we going to use our "authority" as parents to lovingly teach our children the devastating effects of sin and the "power over the flesh" found in putting on Jesus Christ, or are we going to "make provision" for their sin by labeling them with a disorder?

"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."  Romans 13:14

"As Adam and Eve were given a garden to dress and keep, you have been given loan a little heart and mind to dress and keep.  There will come a time when your child must stand alone before "the tree of knowledge of good and evil."  As the purpose of God has permitted, he will inevitably partake of the forbidden fruit.  Now, in the developing years, you can make a difference in how he/she will respond after he has "eaten."  M. Pearl


Would you please pray with me.  I was hit hard with malaria and my recovery is slow going.  This mama needs to get strong again to tend to her little lambs.


Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! I need to print this post and stick it on my refrigerator. Such wisdom. Thank you for sharing it.

I will certainly pray for you to have healing and strength to care for your family.

God Bless,

Melissa said...

Praying for you Summer.

Last night Richard and I went to this informational meeting for adoption, of children in the "system" here in states. This was a Christian organization, working with CPS to place children.


I was bitting my tongue the whole night. All the classes that you have to take on restraining the child, giving the child psychotropic drugs, how you can't tell them they are in "time-out" you have to say they are in "time-in" as if calling it something different somehow makes it "easier" for the child to handle. Then it was suggested that while they are in "time-in" you give them something to play with while they were sitting there.


Of course there was going to be a waiver of no physical discipline.

We expected that.

What we didn't expect was their definition of physical discipline. It pretty much was being interpreted as ANYTHING in a physical nature. It could very easily go as far as forcing the to clean up a mess they made, when they don't want to, would be considered physical discipline.

Yes, these children, particularly those in the foster care system have been hurt, most terribly abused, and they need healing.

There method of healing?

Drugs and allowing the child to continue to fee the flesh.

I am just scratching the surface here. I plan of writing a post on the most disturbing thing of all.

It is sad that in an effort to help these children, they end of hurting them more in the long run.

I am not a big fan of the Pearl's, however, I am going to say there is a lot of wisdom in his teaching. We were just talking the other day how we indulge our children in every way until the age of about 2 1/2 in this culture, then are shocked when we stop indulging them they are angry little tyrants. Then we turn around and call it the terrible twos, as if it's all about their age.

There is a big difference between caring for a child's needs and enjoying them as the gift that they are, and indulgence of their every whim.

A family being transformed said...


I have a good friend in the states that you would consider a kindred spirit. She and her husband want to adopt from the system but have decided that they will only adopt an older child {who is pass the age of spanking}. It is so sad. A generation growing up with the "system" as their rear guard.

I would love to know why you are not a big fan of the Pearl's. I have read many a blog that would air in your opinion. I have read and re-read their books and have found their child training/parenting methods to be biblical and grounded in love.

I respect your opinion, I hope you know that. And am ALWAYS blessed by the wisdom you add to my blog.

Love from the North,

lauradodson said...

Sorry to hear you got malaria again. Praying.

I think you are doing a fine job of shedding light on this topic of psychological healing. The title of your last post 'can the flesh heal the flesh' has stuck with me and I keep meditating how I try to do the same thing in my every day.

Quick healing for you, Mama.

natali said...

i love this post, Summer! there are WAY too many disorders slapped on kids these days, when most of the problem is behavioral. thanks for posting :))
and i will be praying for you to get well quickly!!

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Good post... except that the Pearls are riddled with legalism :( . I actually threw those books away after I read them as they were not worthy of a place on my bookshelf and I didn't want to even pass them on as to cause another to stumble. It made me want to take a shower ... no grace in those books.

Shonni said...

I just got back from TX and am catching up on your blog. I am so sorry that you are sick and I will be praying for you.
I loved this post by the way

Melissa said...

Goodness, the typos in my last comment!

Makes a homeschool mom blush.

I agree that the Pearl's child training methods are rooted in scripture and love. When the story broke a few months back about the family, who sadly ABUSED their child to the point of death and the other to the point of needed hospitalization, the Pearl's methods were of course to blame. Not the out of control abusive parents. I DO NOT in any way think that the Pearl's promote child abuse. One could never read To Train Up a Child and come away with that.(Well, one who was reading in light of scripture) I think that my objection is really rooted more in personal taste. In one section of the book (and it has been a couple of years since I read it) he refers to child training as being in the same vane a horse training. It's stuff like that (and I get what he is saying) that just doesn't sit well with me. Child training and animal training are two different things. Does that make sense? I just sometimes don't like the way the material is presented. I know they love and value their children, sometimes I just don't like the way his words come across.

I had started to write in my last comment about the different ways we approach babies. For the most part in this country we cater to every whim of a child until they are about two years old. Then when we change our ways, we have on our hands a screaming, fit throwing, mini-tyrant....then call it the terrible twos. Not even realizing that we have taught them (yes, they are being taught as infants) to feed the flesh at every turn, how can we then expect them to stop suddenly at the age of 30 months? I totally agree with the premise that child training begins at birth.

I can take my children ANYWHERE. Nope they are not perfect, they are often naughty, but they know how to behave and often choose to do so. I can't tell you the number of times people have come up to us in restaurants and doctors offices and commented on how well behaved our children are, and what a delight it is to watch them. They comment that we must be some sort of super parents or something...we just tell them, No, we have trained them how to behave and they do's called parenting and we take it seriously.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Pearl's, that kind of training begins at birth.

We did the opposite with Grace. Between various circumstances, and a choice to follow the "attachment parenting model" we created a daughter with some pretty series self love issues that she now has to be trained to overcome. We were not truly loving her by following that model. While it does have some positive aspects(of course I think all the lies of the enemy have truth in them), allowing the child to rule and dictate is not in anyway biblical and we have reaped what we have sown to the detriment of our daughter.(I should add that she is daily improving and looking to Jesus, I don't want this to be a complain about Grace post)

Anyway, all that to say, children are born sinners. they don't become one at age two, or four, or twelve. They are not spared being a sinner because of abandonment, abuse, adoption, trauma, ect. Those things need to be legitimately dealt with in light of the healing power of God's word, but CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NEVER AN EXCUSE FOR SIN. The BEHAVIORS need to be dealt with in the same manner(SCRIPTURE,PRAYER,JESUS), but as SIN. We need to start as soon as they come into our home.

Renee Leonis said...

All I can say is AMEN to all your posts!!! The Bible is REALLY all we need to raise our precious blessings :)
I will be praying for your healing sweet sister-in-Christ
Love you Renee

A family being transformed said...


I understand the qualm you have with the Pearls use of animal training as useful in child training--I took that part of the book with a grain of salt. But like you, I believe there is a lot of wisdom in his teachings. I love how he stresses the need to "tie strings" with your children.

I am sorry that you found such disgust with the Pearl's books/ministry. I have read and re-read their books and find a great love for children, relationship and godly character. As for NO grace. I just do not see that. They use the "law" lawfully, to point out sin/rebelliousness. I am all for grace, but the law is our "school master" so that we appreciate grace all the more!

Janet said...

I have read the Pearl's book and found it to be fairly good. I still prefer Tedd Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by far. Just because I see more of the need to reach a child's heart, rather than his/her behaviour. However, the Pearl's book does NOT advocate child abuse, etc, as some claim. Spanking your child is not abusing them. I think that's where society goes nuts. They see spanking as abusive, but a parent that yells and screams at their kid in anger isn't? Doesn't make sense to me. The discipline advocated in the Pearl's book does NOT equal abuse. It is controlled, redemptive discipline. Child does something WRONG (there is a distinction made in the book between wrong and childish.) Child is spanked. (In a CONTROLLED way, never in anger.) Child is prayed with and promptly forgiven.

choose joy said...

Oh, dear sister in the faith! This post really spoke to the heart of what I've been struggling to communicate to many of the people in our lives. Thanks for verbalizing it.
I'm not sure why all the comments seem to be about your Pearl comment. I don't know who they are but it seems in the context of your post it was just an aside you were making, not the point.
I would also add, that as an adoptee from a large family with cousins and nephews and our children, etc. adopted from foster care and orphanages as well as special needs adoptions, I hadn't even heard of some of the specific diagnoses children have these days until reading blogs. Amazingly, NONE of the dozens of us had those diagnoses! Looking back, I think we would have had we not been adopted 40 years ago or had we been adopted into different families. Our own adopted children have many diagnoses (such as FASD) however I never considered using that as an "excuse" for their behavior. One would have to read into the Bible verses that there's an exception clause for special needs (example, be kind to one another, unless you have a neurological condition that makes it too hard). For me, the saddest bit of education I have received through people's blogs is the level of frustration and despair parents are living with. How can this be? Moments of losing our focus - I can see that. But to spend months and be at the point of burn-out? I'm really confused as to how people have gotten there. I should clarify, I'm confused how people who have access to the very throne of God, have lost hope. I will say, there are those of us who are living joyfully and victoriously in spite of the horrors our children experienced prior to coming to our homes. Are we perfect? No. Do we have bad moments? Yes. But endless days of misery? No! God's Word has given us everything we need for life and godliness (which includes raising children).
Many blessings as you minister to us moms through this blog! Jennifer

A family being transformed said...


Thanks so much for your great wisdom and insight, I agree with you 100%. I would love to get to know you more. Feel free to email me {address on my side bar}.

Hugs from the North,

Sheila said...

I, of course, agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. ;o)
And Melissa, I'm that "friend in the states" she mentioned... My heart breaks over the kids in the "system" b/c the younger ones need discipline and it's not allowed. Right now I feel very strongly that they make it very, very hard to adopt the kids in the foster system.
Anyway, the PEARLS say that if you feel like you are not enjoying your kids b/c they can't live up to your expectations, then lower the expectations and ENJOY your kids. To me, that is A LOT of grace! The NGJ ministry has encouraged me to LOVE my children and enjoy them.

the johnson crew said...

this post was an encouragement to me. thank you.