Friday, December 2, 2011

Michael Pearl's Interview with Dr. Drew on CNN October 2011

Link to the transcript of the interview with Dr. Drew on CNN.
(The clip does not include the entire feature and discussion.)

SMITH: Two children dead, two couples held responsible. At the center of it all? A controversial parenting book and a fight over discipline. Is it ever OK to hit your children? The author says absolutely, and he`s here, but buckle up, my other guests really disagree.

. . .


SMITH (on-camera): Tonight, we have a live exclusive about a controversial subject that literally goes back hundreds of years. When is it OK to spank your child? Is it corporal punishment the way to go? And you know, this has become a big subject now, because people are wondering, how do I discipline my child?

What do I do to help their growth but also to discipline them and make sure they follow my instructions, and maybe, sometimes, to keep them safe. Now, we`re going to take a look at two couples who took it to the extreme, resulting in the deaths of two little girls who didn`t stand a chance. They were abused and tortured by their parents who claimed to be disciplining their kids.

CNN correspondent, Gary Tuchman, went to Paradise, California to find out what happened to seven-year-old Lydia Schatz. She was beaten numerous times with a quarter inch plastic tubing and ultimately died from her injuries. Take a look.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The small town of Paradise, California, where these children lived with their parents in a fundamentalist Christian home. For the nine children, life in Paradise was anything but. We cover up eight of their faces because they are the survivors. Survivors of a violent form of discipline practiced by their parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz.

The one face not covered is their seven-year-old adopted daughter, Lydia. She was killed by her parents. Authorities say Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz beat their children regularly because they believe God wanted them to.


SMITH: You know, one thing both couples had in common is the book you see right here, "To Train up a Child." It advocates whipping and switching children and declares that any spanking effectively -- to effectively reinforce instruction must cause pain. Now, we want to talk about this subject, and we`ve got the author with us. His name is Michael Pearl.

He`s the head of the No Greater Joy Ministries. Michael, thank you for joining us. Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, is also here. He`s the creator of the happiest toddler on the block DVD, and we thank him as well for joining.

And also, we have on the phone, district attorney, Mike Ramsey, of Butte County, California and CNN correspondent, Gary Tuchman, is also with us who did this piece and went to this. Gary, great to see you as always.

And Gary, talk to us about what these parents were saying about how Michael`s book influenced them in disciplining their children?

TUCHMAN: Well, the parents in both these cases in California and Washington haven`t said very much, but what`s very notable is the district attorney in Butte County, California who you have on your program says he believes this book was a major reason this couple ultimately killed their poor little daughter. And the Washington State case, it just happened, these parents have just been arrested.

Their daughter also died. Right now, the district attorney there is investigating the case and is going to read the book cover to cover, as a matter of fact. They found several books and videotapes from Michael and Debi Pearl in the house. They are not yet saying that the book had something to do with it, although, they`re open to the possibility the book had something to do with it.

What we do know is on the affidavit, the seven brothers and sisters who are the survivors are all likely to testify against the parents and say that because they had these small little infractions, that they were whipped in the name of God.

SMITH: And Gary, let`s back up for a second and talk about these two cases just so all of our viewers get a perspective here. One is the Schatz case, but then the other one is the case involving Hanna Williams. And tell us about the abuse that both inflicted. And you talked about it a little bit in their piece, in the piece that you had, but what is being done?

What`s happening now with parents on both sides? I mean, we have a sense of what happened with the Schatz parents, but the parents for Hanna Williams, what`s happening with them?

TUCHMAN: Well, in California, the Schatz`s has pleaded guilty to the case, and they`re going to both be in prison for a long time. In this case, it`s just beginning in the Washington State case, you have Larry and Carrie Williams who are accused of homicide in the death of the 13-year-old daughter who they adopted from Africa. The judge has ordered -- they`re out on bond.

The judge ordered the parents live apart from each other, because he doesn`t want them discussing legal strategy together, ultimately one may testify against the other. And the children, the seven surviving children are all living in foster homes for two reasons.

One to protect them from the parents, and two, because some or all those children may testify against their parents, and they don`t -- parents are ordered not to be in contact with those kids, because they don`t want the parents to influence or say to the kids you better not testify against us.

[Text included in video clip begins, noted in blue font.]

SMITH: Michael pearl, you know what, let me just stop for a second. You know, you hear something like this, and you can`t believe this is still going on in our country that children are being beaten and getting killed by their parents in the name of discipline. Now, Michael Pearl, I have to ask you about this.

How do you feel about this book being in the homes underlined, people folding over pages, using your book to do this kind of discipline and ending the lives of two children? What`s your response to that?

MICHAEL PEARL, AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": It`s really sad that these kind of things happen. I tell you what, I wish our book was in the home of all abusing parents, because if they paid attention to what we say in the book, if they`d actually listen to what we said, then they would not have abused their children. We`ve got 300,000 people out there right now that have happy, obedient, cheerful children.

About three million people have been exposed to our ministry. And, I receive letters every day from thousands of people, even from the children, who tell me about the blessings that they`ve experienced from their parents reading this material and applying it in their lives. All we teach is traditional child training as has been practiced for 6,000 years.

And we do not advocate beating children. We do not advocate abusing, hurting, or leaving marks on them. We decry that, and that`s the purpose of our ministry, to bring that to an end.

SMITH: But you`re saying you don`t advocate beating children.

PEARL: Absolutely not, no. We tell parents never --

SMITH: Then, Michael, I have to ask you -- Michael, I have to ask you about this. I`m sorry. It says I`m looking at page 56 of your book. It says --


SMITH: It`s about whipping a three-year-old child until they`re broken. I just want to read this. And Michael, look, you can clear this up for me, because this sounds like beating to me. You`re talking about a parent, she then administrates about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs, meaning a child. He cries in pain.

If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself or expressing anger, then she will wait for -- wait a moment, and then, again, lecture him and again spank him when it`s obvious he is totally broken. She will hand him a rag and very calmly say, Johnny, clean up your mess.

He should very contritely wipe up the water. And this is, I guess, when a child is spilling water. Michael, that sounds like beating to me.

PEARL: No, it`s not beating at all. In fact, what we advocate is what 230 million Americans believe and practice all the time, which is simply old-fashioned corporal chastisement. Not beating, not punishing, but just gaining their attention through spankings.

These spankings are done with very light instruments, something that cannot bruise the tissue, cannot harm the child in any way, and you know, if it were beating, then, we`d have to say that every president in the United States was beaten, because all of them up until modern times, at least, experienced corporal chastisement, and they practiced it on their own children.  [Blog host note:  The instruments are light and cannot bruise the tissue?  There are children who died and who suffered renal failure because of these "light instruments, Mike.  I understand that you don't want them to damage the tissue and cause bruising, but they, in fact, do damage the tissue and cause rhabdomyolysis.]

So, what we advocate is traditional. It`s not violent. It`s a big leap to assume that loving, kind, patient administration of spanking is in any way going to be violent or lead to violence.

[Online Video Clip ends here.]

SMITH: All right. Michael, I want to bring in Mike Ramsey as well. He`s the Butte County D.A. He handled the Lydia Schatz case. And Mike, thank you so much for being here as well. And Mike, as I understand it, you believe that Michael and his book should be held responsible in the deaths of Lydia Schatz?

VOICE OF MIKE RAMSEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Everyone has the First Amendment right to say awful and destructive things, but I do believe in looking at the Schatz`s underlining and their statements to officers and to probation officers that the Pearl book was certainly very responsible for their method of chastisement if that`s what we want to call it, call it beating.

I believe it is an evil book, and the philosophy is entirely without Christian grace.

SMITH: And Harvey, I want you to jump in real quick. I only have a couple of seconds here, but what do you think about what Michael is saying about this not being beating, about this being corporal punishment that`s been practiced for years. This is the way to discipline.

DR. HARVEY KARP, PEDIATRICIAN: Well, I know it`s been 6,000 years, but you`d think in every other area of our lives, we are learning to do things better. You don`t go down to the river and wash your clothes anymore. You don`t have an outhouse so you don`t sleep on a store mattress. We can learn better ways.

I`m not saying people didn`t do it 6,000 years ago, but that`s no excuse for doing it today. There are better ways to discipline kids. And I believe, and I`ve taken care of thousands and thousands of kids. Nobody would hit their kids if they had simple, effective ways that worked better.

And what we try to do in the parenting field is try to give parents those skills so they don`t have to revert to 6,000-year-old, you know, ways of teaching kids to behave by intimidation instead of by love.

SMITH: All right. We`re going to keep this conversation going. Keep talking about this. Michael, you know what, if I -- I guess I don`t have a second here, but we`re going to come back, and we`re going to keep this conversation going.

But, we`re also going to cover a little bit later in the day the Michael Jackson trial, the defense witnesses on the stand. We`ll go into all of that, because it was a powerful day in court. Keep it right here.


SMITH: Coming up at the top of the hour, Joy Behar`s special guest is legendary entertainer, Bette Midler. Tune in at 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on HLN.


PEARL: Look here, let me show you something. Does that hurt?

TUCHMAN: It doesn`t feel good.

PEARL: Look what it`s doing to your whole body. See the hit? Here`s your hand over to somebody (ph), that`s a carotid --

TUCHMAN: But you`re telling me, though, when you use this material that it can`t cause permanent pain?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It stings the skin.

PEARL: My children never had marks left on them.


SMITH: Now, welcome back. I`m Ryan Smith sitting in for Dr. Drew. In the past two years, two little girls lost their lives, found beaten and bloodied, if you can believe that. Lydia Schatz, at the hand of her parents. Hannah Williams found outside her home with mud in her mouth.

And the question we`re asking, is more than just are her mom and dad responsible, but it`s also we`ve got a book that we`re talking about, because this book was used as guidance in disciplining each of these children.

I want to bring back in Michael Pearl. I want to also bring in Gary Tuchman, also Dr. Harvey Karp. And Michael, let me talk to you about this. Now, here`s my problem. And again, you have every right to your view here. But, if I hit another person, then I go to jail for assault, I go to jail for battery, I maybe spend years in jail. Why is it OK for parents to hit their kids?

PEARL: We don`t hit our children, we spank them. The bible teaches that we should train up a child in the way it should go, and it says that we should apply the rod when the children are disobedient, and it`s been traditionally practiced by all religions, all cultures, at all time, and is up to this day right now.

Seventy-five percent of all Americans still practice corporal chastisement. In fact, 19 states in the union still have corporal chastisement as legal. In 2008, over 223,000 paddlings or spankings occurred in the public school system. The Supreme Court has ruled that spanking is not cruel or unusual, and, that it`s not harmful.

And so, the concept that spanking is abuse is a strange concept that heretofore has never existed, because I know many loving parents that produced absolutely wonderful children. I just came out of the makeup room, and the woman doing the makeup said that she was spanked as a child and she spanks her children.

In fact, any time you come across wonderful, cheerful, delightful, creative children, you`re going to find parents using traditional methods. When you come across children that are medicated and drugged and out of control, those are the children the parents have ignored, allowed them to run rampant, and have not used traditional child training methods.


SMITH: Michael -- Gary, go ahead. Jump in.

TUCHMAN: You know, I should tell you that Michael and Debi Pearl were very gracious when we visited them at their farm in Tennessee where you saw him hitting me on the leg to demonstrate how you`re supposed to do it. But one thing we talked about with Michael, there`s no question about the bible does talk about not sparing the rod, but it doesn`t talk about inflicting pain.

And it doesn`t talk about when you have an infant, if the infant bites at the breast, to pull the infant`s hair. There are variations in your book, Michael. We talked about this that aren`t really what`s in the bible, and we`ve seen this with some of the other stories we`ve covered, principles of fundamentalist schools that humiliate student in addition to beating them.

And we say why did you humiliate the students, they go, well, that`s a custom, you know? And I say, well, that wasn`t in the bible. Well, that`s a custom. Maybe, I guess, we should humiliate. So, seems like everyone carries it a little farther than the bible, perhaps, intends, right, Michael?

PEARL: No. Everyone does not. And you are not familiar with the bible when you say the bible doesn`t say that chastening inflicts pain. I`m reading right now from Hebrews chapter 12 verse 11. It says, "For no chastening for the present seems to be joy us but grievous, nevertheless, afterward, yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness under then which you exercise thereby."

There are many passages in the bible that speak of the application of what it called the rod, which was spanking to children, and it speaks of it as a grievous, as a painful thing that the children experience, but in the end, it works good for their soul, and that`s testified in my five children, my 19 grandkids, and 500 people I know personally, and then, three million people who we minister to.


TUCHMAN: Michael, I met your --


TUCHMAN: I met your children. They`re wonderful. They`re wonderful people, and there`s no question about it, but I know lots of people, Michael, who don`t hit their children and they have wonderful children, too.

SMITH: And you know what, I`m one of those children. I was one of -- wait, wait, wait. Let me just interrupt here, because Gary brought up something about, and Michael, I understand that you`re reading different passages from the bible and using that as guidance. Here`s the thing, though. When you talk about disciplining babies, and I just want to read an excerpt from your book, Michael, I really do to kind of make sure we`re understanding what we`re talking about here.

You mention in your book one particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. Now, you say my wife did not waste time finding a cure when the baby bit, she pulled hair, an alternative has to be sought for bald headed babies.

Now, Michael, please explain to me how a baby is going to know what that discipline means? Pulling a baby`s hair, Michael, I got to be honest with you, that does sound to me like abuse, because --

PEARL: That`s not discipline.

SMITH: That baby can`t fight back. That baby can say nothing.


PEARL: That`s conditioning. Throughout the animal kingdom, all animals, I have a farm, and whenever the mother cow, whenever the calf is nursing, the mother cow, and he becomes obnoxious or bites, the mother cow --

SMITH: But these aren`t animals, Michael. These aren`t animals. All due respect, Michael, these are not animals. These are children. Go ahead, Harvey.

KARP: We do have to condition kids. We do have to teach -- I agree with you, Michael, that children are not born civilized. We have to socialize them and civilize them, but if a child spits in your face doesn`t mean you spit in their face to teach them not to spit. It`s kind of confusing.

PEARL: Of course not.

KARP: If you hit me, I`m going to hit you back. What does a child learn when we hit them for hitting? Or what is they learn that it`s OK for big people to hit little people? That`s really the easy lesson for them to learn.

I agree with you that we need to have a response, we need to set limits for kids, and so, they`re taught to be respectful and they`re taught to be obedient when they need to be obedient without resulting in someone being injured or being killed.

SMITH: And Michael, I`ll go ahead and let you respond.

PEARL: All nursing mothers get bit from time to time. All our children were nursed. All nursing mothers have some way of dealing with. You have to express to the child that it`s an unpleasant event and that shouldn`t be done, and the way you do that is you pull on his ear, pull on his hair, pull him away from the breast, thump him, you do something to communicate.

KARP: Just to interrupt.


PEARL: The hair is not pulled as an act of violence. The hair is not pulled as an act of violence. It`s pulled gently just enough so that you send a signal to the child, you shouldn`t bite. Mothers have been doing that for thousands of years.

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