THAT Book ‘To Train Up a Child’ and why people are so angry….


So, by now you’ve probably become aware of the twitter meltdown that has occurred as a result of ‘that book’. You might have read some of the articles and blog posts about it. You might already have made up your mind about what you think – you might think it’s disgusting, you might have signed the petition. For all those that haven’t, for whatever reason, this post is addressed to you.

Let me start by explaining why I feel so strongly. I am a mother who has watched my daughter blossom into the centre of my universe. When I was pregnant, as a future first time parent  I was desperate for advice. I bought every parenting manual I could get my hands on. Why would I trust my own instinct when I had never embarked upon this before? Now, as an older and somewhat wiser veteran, I’ve come to realise that some of these ‘expert’ books would have been more productively used as toilet paper.

This brings me to my first point. It’s sold in the ‘child development’ category, and listing it as such can be seen to give this book some sort of authority, some scientific ‘clout’ if you like. I can assure you this book comes from no such place, in fact any evidence-based research you might care to look up will inform you of the exact opposite of what this book recommends. If it was your Paediatrician giving you this advice, you’d be concerned about his practice right? I was introduced to this abomination by the equally outraged parenting consultant Jane Evans. Indeed, many leading experts in childcare (such as Sue Gerhardt) signed the original petition to remove books such as this from sale.

This brings me on to my second point. As some people have pointed out, this book has been on sale since 1993/4 so why has it taken until now for people to complain about it? The fact is, there have been multiple ongoing campaigns to get rid of this book over the years. The situation regarding this book is complicated; Amazon have been asked a number of times (including by the NSPCC)to remove this book from sale and have so far refused, which brings me to my next two points…

We are not calling for the ‘banning’ of this book. We are not suggesting that we hoover up all worldwide copies and burn them. In fact, we are not concerned with the authors at all. What our campaign is about, is that companies like Amazon who have a corporate social responsibility, are profiteering from a book that validates child abuse. Let’s be very clear about this here – this book doesn’t just suggest you smack your child, it tells you to hit babies and children repeatedly with various implements including a switch (stick), flexible plumbing pipe or belt. I’d include some quotes but they make my stomach turn and there’s plenty available on the internet.

Now you may still be thinking you disagree, and of course in this country of free speech (that I am extremely grateful for) censorship is a tricky issue to navigate. If, like some, you are of the opinion that Amazon et al are doing the right thing by refusing to take down ANY books, I’d like to point out the following……

Amazon HAVE in the past, removed books from sale that were deemed inappropriate. Presumably if you think we are “descending down a slippery slope” when we remove books from sale, you must therefore think they should re-instate these?

‘Taking My Drunk Daughter’

‘The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.’

Do you? If you do, maybe a better use of your time should be petitioning Amazon to put these books back up for sale. You think I’m being ridiculous? It’s a different issue? I would urge you to look more closely at your own argument for continuing to sell this one; after all, they are all about the same theme – illegal child abuse. Some people have also suggested that taking it off sale will ‘make it more desirable’. Really?  These are usually the same people that say that ‘normal’ people would ignore it, and that you have to be into that sort of thing to buy the book.

You can’t have it both ways I’m afraid. Either you think only abusers would buy it (in which case they will get hold of it regardless of whether it is/isn’t on sale @Amazon so why make it more easily accessible), or you think this campaign will ‘encourage’ people to buy it. What people? You and me? Naive parents? In which case, you’ve only strengthened my argument for taking this revolting text down. While we are at it, if you are one of the people arguing against removing it when you have no idea what it’s about yet, I’d strongly urge you to take a look before you wade into the argument.  If you are going to have an opinion, please for all our sakes make it an informed one, for credibility if nothing else.

Lastly, and this is my other main reason for objecting so strongly to this book, I work in mental health. I am a third year mental nursing student about to begin my placement rotation. The enormity of how our early years shape our ongoing adult mental health, are all too familiar to me. One in four people suffer with mental health issues, and any quick Google search will provide you with and outline of the impact of poor attachment, abuse and neglect in relation to increasing risk of mental illness. Every day I am faced with the resulting distress of individual childhoods that no human being should ever have had to experience.

This is why I am standing in solidarity with the fantastic Saying Goodbye UK, in asking companies to remove this material from sale. If joining this campaign means that one less person buys this book, then that is good enough for me, and worth every minute of my time. If it’s worth a minute of your time, please take it to sign my petition, read the wonderful open letters written to Amazon and Apple by the lovely @ADadCalledSpen,  or let Amazon know what you think. Many people are already standing with us, including MP Nadine Dorries, who’s concern is so great that she has raised the issue in the House of Commons. We need to stand up for those who are more vulnerable, who aren’t allowed a voice – will you be standing with us? #lovenotbeat

Feel free to follow me on twitter by clicking HERE

If you’d like to join me in #BoycottAmazon until they remove all formats of the book, we’ve got a ‘pledgebank’ at the bottom so you can promise the same. In the meantime, as it’s coming up to #BlackFriday, please PLEASE change your picture on Facebook/Twitter to the Boycott Amazon picture above, and feel free to retweet the link that led you here or the following….

I pledge to boycott @Amazon until ‘To Train Up a Child’ is withdrawn from sale #BlackoutFriday #BlackFriday Please RT if you agree

Also feel free to SHARE SHARE SHARE this article or anything on Facebook, and if you haven’t yet signed the petitions, you can find them all HERE on the Facebook page or click on the following link. ..

Pledge to boycott Amazon until they remove “To Train Up A Child” from sale worldwide in all formats.


Posted on November 8, 2013, in To Train Up A Child and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Best wishes from Jerusalem.

    Regarding the TTUAC book, thanks for what you are doing.

    You might find my own book (which is given away free) of interest concerning this subject and to be aware of the impact it is having to combat the work of the Pearls (among many others).

    For more info, check out 22 testimonies from mother’s about my free ebook –

    Samuel Martin

    • Thanks, great to hear from you. Yes I am learning gradually of the many others in addition to the Pearls. It breaks my heart that so many children are suffering, and so many parents are being persuaded to miss out on such a wonderful relationship with their children in favour of ‘the Rod’

  2. have made several memes about this book and it’s damage.

    • Hello from Jerusalem.

      Just a quick question. You told me you read some of my book? I wonder if you’ve give your impression?

      I’d really like to see more downloads from the UK 🙂

      Thanks for your help.

      Good stuff happening all around and the trend is with us.

      Samuel Martin

  3. Reblogged this on @adadcalledspen and commented:
    A brilliant post on To Train Up A Child which explains things more eloquently than I could ever put.

  4. As an expectant mother, with my first child, I am always keen to hear peoples advice on parenting tips, but seeing something as disgusting as a book that recommends hitting babies just makes my stomach churn. With us all wanting to be the best mothers we can be, can we actually blame the awful parenting skills of some people out there if there is advice like this so widely available. I will be signing the petition and recommending others to do the same.

  1. Pingback: THAT Book 'To Train Up a Child' and why people ...

  2. Pingback: When do we decide its time to ban a book? | Suzanne Zeedyk

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