What can we do?


I rarely get on my soapbox, and as a Me, I’ve never felt able to criticise something I’ve not read or know stuff about. But today I’ll make an exception. Stick with me team, you’ll feel the same angry anger in a couple of minutes.

There’s this book. It’s called To Train Up A Child.  The link to this book is here and… well. Just take a look at the reviews.

Just in case you haven’t got time to do that I’ll list one here.

‘This drivel contains instructions on how to ‘break’ a child by beating them until they no longer resist your blows. This filthy rag is an instruction manual on child abuse in the name of a made up religion’

Much of the other reviews are variations on this theme.

It doesn’t talk about Discipline. Rather ‘training’ your child. I’ve had a read of some of it online, until I got so angry FOAM started coming from my mouth. Here is one of the training sessions it advocates. You might need a sit down after reading this.


So yeah. Put temptation in a child’s way and smack them, hit them, beat them so they’ll learn.

FML. Really? Really really?

It states that the information contained in the book, this advice, is ‘not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, but rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.’

Okay then. Let me point out a thing here. Children are not mules.

It does seem bizarre and 50 shades of wrong that Amazon are selling this. Surely there’s enough evidence by the reviews and the UTTER DRIVEL WRITTEN INSIDE to show that… well. They shouldn’t be selling such a book.

I’m all for free speech but if this book does advocate hitting a 4 month old then it goes against all parenting advice, throughout the world, ever. And not just that, it’s also illegal. Innit.

So. Surely Amazon has a responsibility to not sell a book about something illegal, just as they might not offer a book for sale about how to make a bomb from fertiliser or how to self-euthanise.  Surely these series of words on a page, as I can never call it literature, should be withdrawn, disallowed, excommunicated, just REMOVED from sale via their site. There. Remove it from sale. Sounds better than ‘banning’ if you’re all touchy feely about such a word.

This article here, about a young girl ‘trained’ to death, a 7 year old that died of massive tissue damage after her parents had beaten her with a length of quarter-inch plumbing supply line, might help you think I like I think. Withdraw this book. Now.

How can people make a difference in this world? I could go chain myself to some railings. I could, and even though it’s raining I’d do that. But we can contact people. We can communicate. We can talk, tweet, and blog the crap out of this.

If you do feel this should be withdrawn from sale then please just copy and paste this into your Tweety box and send it.

Dear @amazon please REMOVE this offensive book advocating beating children from your website. http://www.amazon.co.uk/To-Train-Up-Child-children/dp/1892112000#_
RT if you agree.

There is also an online petition here which, if you sign it and pass it on might also cause Amazon to do the decent thing and remove this… THING from sale.

You never know. If we all shout very loudly about this then we might just make a difference. Maybe a child won’t get ‘switched’ tonight.

Thanks for reading. And thank you to  Hayley Goleniowska @DownsSideUp for bringing this to my attention and thanks also to Zoe & Andy
@SayingGoodbyeUK for providing some of the above links.

*Gets off soapbox and chains self to railings*


25 responses to “What can we do?

  1. Tears are in my eyes just thinking about people possibly following this evil doctrine. Can you imagine beating the curiosity, the love, the desire to learn from a child? Unthinkable drivel and thank you so much for blogging about it Spencer. You are a true legend.

  2. oh my god, this is vile. I can’t believe anyone would write such cak, and words fail me that any retailer would be willing to sell it.

    My daughter plays me up every morning when it’s time to get her school shoes on. If I lived by this bilge I’d be beating her black and blue until she had no gumption about her, and didn’t dare to utter a word. That is unacceptable.
    Disgusting. Am signing the petition.

  3. I contacted the NSPCC with your blog through FB today and got the following response:
    Hi Eugenie,
    Thank you for highlighting your concerns to us.
    This publication has previously been brought to the attention of the NSPCC. Having been in touch with Amazon in the past in regards to the removal of this product, ultimately we have been unsuccessful, and as such Amazon have continued to stock this product.
    The NSPCC advise that anyone wishing to complain about the product do so by going directly to Amazon. Hopefully with enough complaints Amazon will withdraw the product.

    Many Thanks

    I guess we just have to share your blog with as many people as possible and share the petition link. Thanks for campaigning like this!

  4. As mentioned on twitter, I’ve seen numerous campaigns to get this removed from sale over the past 10ish years after high profile abuse cases were highlighted in the media, including a couple of deaths. I personally know of folks over in the states who were brought up under this method who have blogged about their experiences and have worked to get this book banned.

    I really, really hope that you can succeed where others have failed, and I definitely think that social media will help if people push push push. Wishing you every success!

  5. what?
    i can’t write the thoughts that this post generated i think you know me well enough to know what they might have been!
    why is this book in print and for sale?

  6. Yes, it’s sick, and yes, it’s vile, but as previous commenters have said, let’s not pretend this is anything new.

    The Pearles have been pushing their views for ages, via their “No Greater Joy” ‘ministry’ (which I refuse to dignify with a link – However, abuse trigger warnings apply if one goes googling). Amongst the other snippets of info to be found in their materials is “How to keep Child Protective Services off your back” (IIRC, it usually involves conspiring with others and making legal threats)

    Religiously-Motivated Child Abuse, plain and simple. They cite a couple of Bible quotes and think it gives them a Divine Mandate to do this. And this, for many in the USA, is the face of Christianity today. No wonder Atheism is on the rise in the States

  7. Pingback: An open letter to Jeff Bezos and all @Amazon about To Train Up A Child | @adadcalledspen·

  8. I don’t disagree with you.

    In fact I’m right there beside you waving the ban this flag.

    But where does it end? In my own humble opinion sleep training in the form of ‘controlled crying’ or ‘crying it out’ is also a form of child abuse that’s just as emotionally and psychologically damaging albeit there are no physical scars.

  9. I shared on my FB and twitter.. even left a review on the Amazon page. I read the article about the death yesterday and was feeling sick over it. Thank you for giving me a way to focus my anger and sorrow.

  10. Is my child a dog? I can imagine treating a dog like this because I know that the dog will never be able to interpret my words, though I wouldn’t be hitting my animal, but why in God’s name would I treat a child whom I love and know will learn what my words mean, this way? Why would I resort such methods when I know time, love, and language will work so much better?

  11. In a way,I wish I hadn’t read this before bedtime,it’s so incredible disturbing. I felt sick to my stomach just imagining parents hitting a defenceless baby. On the other hand,I’m happy we were made aware of this book,and were able to sign the petition. I’ve heard of another book like this (written by a preacher,or some religious figure) in the US. I hope that has been banned too,

  12. I completely agree with your analysis of the book. And I speak out about respecting children all of the time. I did want to comment and say that banning books is not the answer and it’s not Amazon’s responsibility to vet books. We DO still live in a free country. While this book is completely sad, I’d rather not start the precedent of having some sort of authority tell me which books I can and cannot read.

    By getting the word out, you’re doing the best you can. I think people who find this book useful are already lost and people who have a radar will already distance themselves from it.

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