Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp 


 
This book is extremely negative and punitive towards children. Jesus’ words about not offending children, about children having the highest status in heaven, as well as Jesus’ injunctions to forgive, show mercy, and follow the Golden Rule are completely ignored. 
 
Tripp calls children cruel names: unruly, troublesome, rebellious, selfish, bossy, intolerant, idolatrous, arrogant, selfish sinner, twisted, warped, sinful, smug, crooked, greedy, “crass self-centeredness”, “wicked attitudes”, “choosing to sin”, “relationship junkie”, “selfish heart”, “impossible to live with”.

Tripp repeats the same themes over and over in this book: parents are “God’s agents”,
children are terrible sinners and must be forced to submit and obey instantly, God demands that parents spank bare bottoms, even infants, and that this brings “intimacy”.
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This book is very sick stuff.  Here are some quotes for your review, organized under 7 main themes: 

1)      Parents are “God’s agents”
2)      Parents should have total control
3)      Children are sinful, idolatrous, and “fools”
4)      Don’t encourage children’s self-worth
5)      Parents don’t protect children when they are abused
6)      Using “the rod”
7)      Hide the whippings from others
1) Parents are “God’s agents”
p.xviii “You exercise authority as God’s agent. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. Parents should be ‘benevolent despots’”.
p.34 “It is sobering to realize that you correct your child by God’s command. You stand before him as God’s agent to show him his sin. The parent must be aware of the fact that he is God’s representative to the child.” 
p.139 “Obedience is not simply an issue between the parent and the child. It is an issue between the child and God in which the parent is God’s agent.
 
2) Parents should have total control
p.xx “You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts. You need to show them not just the ‘what’ of their sin and failure, but the ‘why.’”  
p.23 “You want to control the flow of events so that it is never chaotic, but rather a well-structured home.”  “I am interested in helping parents engage in hand-to-hand combat on the world’s smallest battlefield, the child’s heart.” 
p.133 From birth to age 4, “The most important lesson for the child to learn in this period is that HE IS AN INDIVIDUAL UNDER AUTHORITY.”
p.134 “Acquaint your children with authority and submission when they are infants. This training starts the day you bring them home from the hospital.” 
p.135 “It is imperative that children learn to honor and obey. The disobedient child has moved outside the place of covenant blessing.”
p.138 “Obedience means more than a child doing what he is told. It means doing what he is told---
                                                Without Challenge
                                                Without Excuse,
                                                Without Delay.”
p.139 “When your directives are met by a discourse about why what you have asked is not fair, your children are not obeying. When you are met with excuses or explanations, they are not obeying. When they refuse to respond at once, they are not obeying. When you say to your child, “Dear, I want you to go to bed now,” there is only one appropriate response. It is not, “I’ll go after I finish coloring this page.” There is only one obedient response. It is to go to bed without delay. If you accept any other response, you are training your children to disobey. You must challenge disobedience and persevere until the lessons of submission are learned. Victory does not come to the faint of heart. Never allow your children to disobey without dealing with them.”
p.142 “You must provide examples of submission for your children. Dads can do this through biblical authority over their wives, and Moms through biblical submission to their husbands.”
p.145 “Don’t waste time trying to sugarcoat submission to make it palatable. Obeying when you see the sense in it is not submission; it is agreement. Submission necessarily means doing what you do not wish to do. It is never easy or painless.”
p.151 “Your children must understand that when you speak for the first time, you have spoken for the last time.” 
p.155 A parent poses the question “What if my child says, ‘But I didn’t hear you’?”  And Tripp’s answer is “One of our children seemed to have much trouble with ‘hearing.’ We sat down with this child and had this conversation: ‘You are having trouble hearing. I think, therefore, that you better start to develop the ability to pick my voice out of the other noise in your world. When you hear my voice, you should perk up your ears. From now on, if you fail to obey because you ‘did not hear’, I will spank you for failing to listen to my voice.’ We only had one spanking for failure to hear. After that the hearing problem cleared up.”
 
3) Children are sinful, idolatrous and “fools”
p.6 “Your concern is to unmask your child’s sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed.”
p.21 “Even a child in the womb and coming from the womb is wayward and sinful. One of the justifications for spanking children is that ‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him’ (Proverbs 22:15). The point of the proverb is that something is wrong in the heart of the child that requires correction.”
p.24 “Since it is the Godward orientation of your child’s heart that determines his response to life, you may never conclude that his problems are simply a lack of maturity. Selfishness is not outgrown. Rebellion against authority is not outgrown. These things are not outgrown because they are not reflective of immaturity but of the idolatry of your child’s heart.”  
p.54 Children “need to understand subtleties of the malignancy of their own hearts. They need to know the dangers of trusting in themselves.” 
p.67 Children must have their “character flaws” addressed, and understand the “deceitfulness” of their hearts. 
p.105 “The child is a sinner. There are things within the heart of the sweetest little baby that, allowed to blossom and grow to fruition, will bring about eventual destruction. The rod functions in this context. It is addressed to needs within the child. These needs cannot be met by mere talk. Proverbs 22:15 says, ‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.’ God says there is something wrong in the child’s heart. Folly or foolishness is bound up in his heart. This folly must be removed, for it places the child at risk.”
p.106 “The fool’s life is run by his desires and fears. This is what you hear from your young children. The most common phrases in the vocabulary of a 3-year-old are, ‘I want…’ or ‘I don’t want….’ The fool lives out of the immediacy of his lusts, cravings, expectations, hopes and fears.”  “Watch a baby struggle against wearing a hat in the winter.  Even this baby who cannot articulate or even conceptualize what he is doing shows a determination not to be ruled from without. This foolishness is bound up within his heart. Allowed to take root and grow for 14 or 15 years, it will produce a rebellious teenager who will not allow anyone to rule him. The spanking process drives foolishness from the heart of a child. Confrontation with the immediate and undeniably tactile sensation of a spanking renders an implacable child sweet.
p.143 “Show (children) how they are inclined to disobey and turn irrationally from what is good for them.” 
p.174 “Children need to be convicted that they have defected from God and are covenant-breakers. You must deal with the child in a deep way that enables him to see the implications of his behavior and to indict himself.”
  p.177 “You cannot, with integrity, tell your child that if he tries hard enough, if he is good enough, if he really wants it, he can be what God has called him to be. He can’t.”

4) Don’t encourage children’s self-worth
p.51 “When I ask parents why they put their children in these dance classes, they explain that it has helped their child’s sense of self-worth. Are there any passages (in the Bible) that make the development of self-worth a biblically mandated goal? Are we not encouraging pride that comes from the capacity to perform?”
 
5) Parents don’t protect children when they are abused
p.16 “Your children are responsible for the way they respond to your parenting.” 
p.53 Regarding schoolyard bullies: “You should instruct your children to entrust themselves to God in the face of unfair treatment, to face injustice without retaliation, and see the needs of those around them.”  
p. 58 “Faced with being kind to one who abuses you, there is nowhere to go but to God, who alone can enable a person to respond in love. When your child’s heart desires revenge, when she must love an enemy, when her faith demands she leave room for God’s justice—there is no place to go but to the cross.”  “Getting help from Christ was powerfully illustrated in the life of our daughter. As a ninth grader she seemed to get on the wrong side of her Spanish teacher. Through four years of high school she struggled with feeling angry over being sinned against. We spent many hours talking about how to respond. We discussed the impossibility of her loving this lady apart from God’s grace. We encouraged her to find hope, strength, consolation and comfort in Christ.”
 
6) Using “the rod”
p.31 “I recall many conversations that went like this:
Father: You didn’t obey Daddy, did you?
  Child: No.
Father: Do you remember what God says Daddy must do if you disobey?
  Child: Spank me?
Father: That’s right.
I must spank you. If I don’t, then I would be disobeying God. You and I would both be wrong. That would not be good for you or for me, would it?
  Child: No. (A reluctant reply)”
 
p.36 “The child learns to receive correction, not because parents are always right, but because God says the rod of correction imparts wisdom.” 
p.74 “A biblical approach to children involves two elements that you weave together. One element is rich, full communication. The other is the rod. ‘Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.’ Proverbs 13-14.”
p.104 Tripp describes spanking his son while guests are over: “Nick, a friend from church, and his girlfriend, Angela, were visiting for a Sunday afternoon. During our meal, one of our sons was disobedient. I took him to a private room upstairs to discipline him. “What’s he going to do with him?” Angela inquired. “Probably spank him,” my wife responded matter-of-factly. At that moment my son’s cry could be heard upstairs. Angela went running from the house in a state of great agitation.”
p.110 “The rod is a rescue mission. The child who needs a spanking has become distanced from his parents through disobedience. The spanking is designed to rescue the child from continuing in his foolishness. If he continues, his doom is certain. Thus, the parent, driven by love for the child, must use the rod.” “Failure to obey Mom or Dad is failure to obey God. This is the issue. The child has failed to obey God.”
p.112 “I know of nothing harder than spanking my children. It is difficult to hold your own child over your knee and purposefully inflict pain on him. Who benefits if you do not spank your child? You do. You are delivered from the agony of inflicting pain on one who is precious to you.”
p.114 “I have witnessed spankings administered through a double layer of diapers to a child who never stopped moving long enough to know he had been spanked. The spanking was ineffective because the parents never made the rod felt.” 
p.115 “The rod returns the child to the place of blessing. Left to himself, he would continue to live a lust-driven life. He would continue to seek comfort in being a slave to his desires and fears. The rod of correction returns him to the place of submission to parents in which God has promised blessing.”
p.149 “The ‘when’ of spanking is so simple that parents miss it.  If your child has not obeyed, he needs to be spanked.” 
p.151 Tripp describes the whipping procedure: take the child to a private place (so nobody can stop the abuse), make the child confess, tell the child "how many swats he will receive", put the child over your lap (as Tripp says, to "put the spanking in the context of your physical relationship" (!!)), pull the child's diapers or "drawers" down and whip them. Then pull the child up and show affection.
p.152 If the child is angry about being whipped, then "the discipline session is not over" and Tripp says to whip them some more until they are "sweet".

p.153 “Because you are dealing with young children, there is a heavy emphasis on the undeniably tactile experience of spanking."
p.154 “When your child is old enough to resist your directives, he is old enough to be disciplined. Rebellion can be something as simple as an infant struggling against a diaper change or stiffening out his body when you want him to sit on your lap. When our oldest child was approximately 8 months old, we were confronted with parenting our first mobile child. We had a bookshelf constructed of boards and bricks. Fearing the shelf would fall on him, Margy told him not to pull himself up by the shelf. After moving him away from the shelf, she left the room. As she peeked in on him, she observed him surveying the room. Not seeing her, he headed back toward the forbidden bookshelf. Here was a young child, not yet able to walk or to talk, looking to see if the coast was clear so he could disobey. Obviously, he was old enough to be disciplined.” (He’s not old enough to even understand English! – my comment)
 
7) Hide the whippings from others
p.114 Tripp answers the concern of a parent: “I’m afraid of being arrested for child abuse.” This is his answer: “There is validity to this concern. You must be careful to avoid unnecessary exposure to being reported by someone who does not approve of spanking. Spanking should be done in the privacy of the home.”

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