After InTouch published a 2006 police report last week that detailed Josh Duggar’s molestation of his sisters, Josh admitted to the abuse in a statement to People. His parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, also gave a statement declaring that “that dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.”
But there’s another accusation in the police report that the Duggars have not addressed. In a police interview with an unnamed Duggar child, the child admits to an investigator that the Duggar parents spank their children, and that “they have a rod.” Here’s the summary of that conversation from the police report, which was redacted by InTouch:
Inv. Taylor asked [redacted] about getting spanked. [redacted] said that when [redacted] is bad that [redacted] mother and dad spank [redacted]. Inv. Taylor asked what they use to spank. [redacted] said they have a rod. Inv. Taylor asked if they do this to all the kids and [redacted] said yes. Inv. Taylor asked if they leave any bruising [redacted] said no.
Perhaps spanking children with a rod is what Jesus would do? It’s hard to say, because although Jim Bob and Michelle have been vocal about how they raise and homeschool their children, they’ve never publicly admitted to administering corporal punishment. When a fan asked Michelle directly in 2010, “Do or have you ever had to spank your children?” she wrote an evasive response on her TLC blog.
“We have people ask us that all the time,” Michelle began. “We’ve really chosen to focus on praising our kids for good character, for Godly character. And as we do that, we find that we have a lot less trouble with correction when we are constantly looking for ways to praise them.”
She then goes on to explain that “in training the little guys, day in and day out, if I see the little ones not being kind to each other, I will take them aside and I will deal with them and talk to them and have them work this out amongst themselves and learn to communicate and be kind to each other. And then when I see them being sweet and doing what’s right, I make a big deal!”
“Deal with them” could mean a lot of things; the key word in Michelle’s statement, however, is “training.” According to The Duggar Family Blog—the most trusted and thorough fan-maintained resource regarding the Duggars—Michelle practices “blanket training” with her children when they are toddlers.
Blanket training is a parenting method that comes from the dangerous, backwards, evangelical parenting book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. The Pearl method relies on corporal punishment to teach children total obedience, and it’s terrifying—at least three child deaths have been linked to the teachings in the book.
Blanket training is the Pearls’ first step to molding obedient children: starting in infancy, parents put their baby on a blanket and flick them with a flexible ruler or other instrument if the baby tries to roll or crawl off. Eventually, the baby is “trained” to ignore his or her natural curiosity and stay on the blanket, because he or she is scared.
Michelle admitted to using this type of training in a 2011 interview with The Duggar Family Blog, but she did not specifically mention using the corporal punishment aspect. “It’s not waiting until they do something wrong to correct them, but actually taking moments to train them,” Michelle said. “What they’re learning is self-control. ...They’re learning to obey Mommy’s voice.”
The police report indicates the Duggar children were disciplined by more than just “Mommy’s voice,” but the Duggars and TLC don’t want you to know that.
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