Say what you will about parenting books, but they're just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to how parents raise their kids. We all have the choice to buy them -- or not -- and follow what we think is right. So I'm having a hard time with the cops who are saying a parenting book played a role in the murder of 13-year-old Hana Grace Rose Williams, a kid from Washington State.
Granted, it's hard to make sense of the murder of a child. But the laundry list of things that are disturbing about Hana's death just keeps on growing. For starters, cops have charged her parents with the murder of the girl they adopted from Ethiopia.
Hana was allegedly left out in the cold with inadequate clothing after a long period of starvation and other abuses that included being locked in a closet, having to shower outside with a hose, being beaten with plastic tubing, and being forced to sit outside while her family enjoyed Christmas inside. She died of hypothermia because her starved body was unable to keep her warm in the cold May night. It's the kind of stuff that court papers say Carri and Larry Williams learned from the pages of To Train Up a Child, a controversial parenting book by Michael Pearl and his wife Debi Pearl (described in some sources as an Amish preacher, Pearl is in fact an evangelical who lives near an Amish community)
Way to pass the buck.
Don't get me wrong. The Pearls' book -- popular in certain sects of the homeschooling community -- will turn your stomach. It details pulling the hair of an infant who bites while breastfeeding and taking a switch to a 7-month-old for screaming. They sound like sadistic people who should never have children.
But the kids hurt in the book aren't Hana or either of the two other children -- Sean Paddock, 4, and Lydia Schatz, 7 -- whose deaths have been linked to the couple's "pearls" of parenting wisdom. These kids were all allegedly killed by parents who carried out these horrific acts.
Those parents are to blame. I hate to defend a book that depraved, but putting the blame on anyone other than these people is too easy. They should have known better. Especially as parents who all adopted, who all should have been hyper-aware of the gift they were being given.
Sane, rational adults don't abuse children. They don't leave a child to freeze to death. They don't lock a child in a closet or beat them with a plastic tube. If they did, we'd have a lot more than the (already disquieting) three million child abuse reports logged annually by the National Child Abuse Hotline.
Do you think it's fair to blame a sick book for the deaths of these kids?
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