Hidden Lives - Raised by the Hand of God

Monday 23 April

raised by the hand of god: hidden lives (4/6) 21.00–22.00

According to Reverend Paul Bucknall, “if a parent does not chastise a child, a parent does not love a child.” Paul, who lives with his family in Pittsburgh, is one of a significant number of parents in the US whose ideas on the upbringing and disciplining of their children are directly informed by the Bible. In this latest in Five’s revealing and thought-provoking Hidden Lives strand, Paul and his family, together with two other families – one American, one English – talk candidly about their Biblical Parenting methods. In an age when the smacking of children is becoming increasingly taboo, does their belief in corporal punishment as the best form of discipline have any place?

Paul and his wife Linda raise their ten children according to strict guidelines, which they believe are supported by passages from the Bible. The Bucknall children are schooled at home using textbooks such as ‘Observing God’s World’, and come together twice a day for ‘devotion’ – a session involving prayer, singing and the recital of Biblical passages. They are also responsible for a number of household chores, and their access to television is largely limited to watching videos about the adventures of the Buttercream Gang, which carry clear moral messages. But the most controversial tenet is their insistence on physically chastising their offspring, usually using wooden ‘rods’ (“Scripture uses the word rods”, Paul points out) which are taken from bushes in the garden. For Paul, who sells Biblical Parenting manuals on-line, the approach is “new, modern and the way we should go. It’s exciting.”

Families like the Bucknalls are widespread in the States, but in the UK, Dover residents the Englands are still relatively unusual. Like the Bucknalls, Kevin and Beverley England school their children in their home, where Beverley has set up ‘offices’, separated from each other by makeshift partitions, where each child can work without distraction, pausing occasionally to raise a flag if they need assistance. And like the Bucknalls, Kevin and Beverley believe that children are inherently disobedient, and that corporal punishment is the best way of checking this tendency. Beverley, who uses a spatula to deliver punishments “because it’s flexible” sees her role as “pointing [the children] in the right direction.”

Joey Salvati, who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, takes his belief in Biblical Parenting further than either the Bucknalls or the Englands. Following instructions he says he received from God while praying in the shower, Joey and his daughter use their carpentry skills to make paddles that parents can use on their children, and distributes them by the roadside. He claims to have even received rules on how many strokes are necessary for different levels of disobedience.

Smacking, although still legal in England and the US, has been outlawed in a number of countries. Should it become illegal in the UK, the Englands’ respect for authority means that they would stop using it on their children, but Beverley says that they would “lobby and fight and not just go along with it.” Their determination to maintain this way of life is so firm because they believe the alternative would be, in the words of the 21-year-old daughter Holly, “catastrophic.”

The children in all three families share the convictions of their parents, and see the chaotic world of their peers, who drink, take drugs, get arrested and have multiple partners, as the result of a failure to correctly discipline children. As far as Holly is concerned, while her family may be out of step with prevailing mores, “as a Christian, you believe that the Bible doesn’t change, and God doesn’t change.”

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  • Anonymous

    People like the Bucknalls and Joey Salvati (who talks to God in the shower) give religion a bad name, abuse children, and really should have their anti-psychotic medication doses upped.

  • I agree with Anonymous above, these nut-jobs give religion a bad name, and they give homeschooling a bad name, they are the “dark side” of homeschooling. Hitting children is like hitting anyone, it’s wrong. And especially sick of Salvati to actually make things to hit and injure and traumatize children! What a sick bunch of lunatics.

  • Imogen Tsui

    I am a doctor. My family followed Buddhism, they never struck me and surprise surprise I have never taken drugs or drunk, or been in trouble with the law.
    On other hand, all the Christians I have met, ESPECIALLY fundamentalists like the above, have been highly irrational, violent and repressive. Strange, the words of Jesus seemed so wise and loving.

  • Hugh

    Sorry, I think you are wrong, I am a Christian and I respect authority, I respect people and their beliefs and if you believe smacking a child for bad behaviour is wrong then that is for you to decide, however, i believe that smacking, although not necessarily always the best way to go never does anyone harm and it can be a very good way of disciplining.

  • Anonymous

    i belive in spanking. with a wooden spoon, slipper and the palm of your hand on a childs bum. i think it is a very affective way of disipline and teachs a child whats right and wrong i got smack as a child and all that naughtey step stuff never worked i turned out allright but i no kids who didnt get smacked and they are extremly badly behavied i dont think it should be band its a paents choice on how they personally will disipline there child

  • Chris

    I was educated at a catholic grammar school in the 50/60’s where the ferula was freely used even for academic failure. It taught me total disrespect for arbitary authority, which has been well founded. As a man in his sixties who has successfully raised my own children without the use of physical violence, I realise with hindsight that these people hid behind the banterings of an unproven fictional book to practice a sadistic perversion on young and defenceless children.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so these kids grow up believing:

    1. They are sinful – i.e. they were born bad and nothing they ever do is right (psychological complex in the making)
    2. It’s okay to hit people, with instruments if necessary
    3. People in authority are scary and threatening
    4. You can’t even trust your parents
    5. Everything you naturally want to try and are curious about is taboo (sex, drugs, drink, TV etc.)

    Then, they are let loose on the world at 18 (or they escape, whichever comes first). Kids brought up like this have a big potential to go off the rails as teens and adults, as they have been oppressed all their lives and told not to do things. It’s no coincidence that the more taboo you make things, the more a kid will want to try it. I know quite a few from my Catholic school who went barmy once away from their parents – from the most religious families. So they go to university, get drunk, try drugs, get a tattoo…… and they have been taught from little that violence is perfectly acceptable, so they punch someone outside a bar.

    Scary. I really hope common sense prevails and we don’t get this happening in the UK on a large scale.

  • Matthew

    As I see it, the major problem with the kind of punishment-based discipline that parents such as these espouse is that it does not teach self-discipline. Instead, it teaches a child to rely on authority figures (parents, teachers etc) to control their behaviour for them with threats of punishment, raising the question of how the child will behave when the authority figure is not around. If physical punishment is the parent’s primary method of control, there is also a question of how the child will behave when that threat is lifted, as it inevitably will be at some point (for example, when the child reaches adulthood). Neither does smacking teach anything about the effects of actions upon other people, so it contributes nothing to the development of empathy and a concern for the welfare of others. As a long-term method of discipline, physical punishment is worse than useless.

    The two recent cases in which a man who organised dog fights was jailed while four women who goaded toddlers into fighting each other got away with community service shows the attitude that Britain has towards its children. Many European countries, the Netherlands being the most recent, have banned the physical punishment of children with no detrimental effects upon their societies. It is high time the UK did the same, giving children the protection from physical violence that all adults, no matter how appalling their behaviour, are granted without question.

  • Dave Webber

    This worries me. I am a Christian father of two great kids. I do not hit them, with my hands, a rod, a baseball bat or anything else. I do not want the words Christian, biblical, or bible to become assosiated with child abuse. The God I know and love is caring and real. He is not a scary authority figure waiting for me to slip up so he can squash me. Discipline of some sort is needed when bringing up children, but there is a difference between discipline and abuse.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous writes “i got smack [sic] as a child and……….i turned out allright”. Clearly anyone who believes using violence against another person,especially a person younger, weaker and emotionally dependant, as a means to express an opinion has not ‘turned out alright’
    If one hasn’t the ability to apply critical thinking to religion is unlikely to have the brains to apply it to good parenting.

  • Paul

    Oh dear!!

  • Anonymous

    the thing that strikes me about these parents are that they are trying to hide their children from the reality of socioty. the job of a christian parent is to give your children the moral courage to stand up against things in socioty that they do not want to follow and turn the other way and to be there for them lovingly when or if they fail and need someone to come home to. raising your children is the way that these parents are is only serving to keep socioty hidden from them and how can you trust your children to make the right descisions if there are no other ones open to them ..

  • Ollie

    these people taking the bible so litterally and to extreames really worry me.. they should realise that the bible was written in a totally different time to our own where women still had no rights whatsoever and people got stoned.. well our society has moved on a lot since then and to carry on following such a dated script to its last detail is total lunicy!!! these families also worry me because they have no grasp on the real world or how it works.. one boy said i have never been to a club because i know what happens there.. well thats as stupid as saying i have never eaten an apple because i know i don’t like the taste.. also there attitude that anyone who was not brought up in the same brutal way as themselves are less then themself and have a really low regard for them.. well im still looking for the bit in the bible thats says “and god said thou shalt look down on those who are different” bloody idiots!!! oh and don’t even get me started on thier opinions on gays!!!! ahhhhhhh!!!!!! thoroughly pissed off!!!

  • Anonymous

    Those people on that programme raised their children in a way that i would not raise a dog. Of course parents can bully their children through physical violence and fear. Would a greater way of raising children not be to stress the contience and allow children to admit to wrongdoing without the fear of being batteres with sticks and spatulas! They also seem to consider their many beautiful children inwardly evil. This is worrying, for how can you love a child when you depict is as a sinister being?

    Sick, scary, backwards
    (reply to Ollie) There are quite a few kids there, likelihood is one at least will be gay… i dread to think what that poor person will go through.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve just watched the programme in question. I’m a home educating, Christian Mum who loves her children passionately! I have to say that I have Christian friends who smack, Christian friends who don’t, non-christian friends who smack and non-christian friends who don’t. Thankfully all my friends love their children passionately too and all are looking to do the right thing by them as most parents are. I think it would be great if rather than “to smack or not to smack” the focus was on how to love our children correctly, respecting them, caring for them, teaching and guiding them… Some bits in the programme made me flinch, some bits made me cringe, some bits made me shake my head and some bits made me nod my head! I thought all the kids featured were lovely kids and it just made me mindful of children who don’t have parents who care, either ones who smack or ones who don’t…

  • Anonymous

    I’m curious, but did anyone else notice the way in which the interviewees would occasionally let a few ‘bad’ choices of words slip? For instance, when the father talked about ‘moulding’ his children rather than raising them. Or when the kids talked about themselves as a ‘we’ rather than as an ‘I’?
    Or the way in which their imposed isolation, through home-schooling and their parents decision to veto their friends and prospective partners, ultimately lingers on even into early adulthood?
    It’s all very atypical cultist behaviour.

  • Christian Girl

    what courageous people….i’m unsure about the smacking debate but it’s clear these guys (with the possible exception of the paddle-maker) don’t smack for kicks but offer the kids clear boundaries and effective deterrants for bad behaviour. it seems these children aren’t apparently and irrevocably damaged. i have the good fortune to know people in their 20’s who aren’t scarred by experiences they’ve shared with the kiddies on the programme. the methods do ‘work’…the parents seemed aware of the dangers of putting yourselves in the role of punisher…the need for consistency and to always be in control if that’s the way you choose to go.

    i’m taking it Ollie is a Christian that believes eternal truth can change. if you’re taking the historical-critical regard for scripture you need to be aware of the differences between fundamental truths of the human person and social-cultural factors. God’s message transcends culture. YOUR opinions worry me.

    were you to follow your arguments to their logical conclusions you could well end up in favour of abortion but vehemently against smacking a child’s knuckles to deter them from getting too close to a 200° woodfire.

    aren’t you the one who’s looking down on people who have actually made a choice not to float downstream (rather like a corpse) with the flow of popular culture? these people don’t like the way society is going and i can’t say i blame them.

  • Anonymous

    I was shocked by this documentary it was not the fact that the parents were smacking the children it was the use of instruments they used to carry out the “task”. The mother of the 10 children shocked me the most when she used a stick to punish a three year old child. I have a two year old daughter and would never dream of smacking her let alone use a stick on her.
    My view vary on the topic of smacking children. I think that smacking a child should only be used as the very last resort and should never be carried out using a piece of equipment. when I say used as a last resort I mean literally used only in the severest of cases of disobedience. We now live in a time where there are alternative options to discipline a child other than using violence.
    As for the whole religious part of the documentary I could not believe that the parents were saying their children could grow up evil and burn in the fires of hell if they did not get smacked to correct their behaviour. Do these people not realise that not every single person in the world grows up behaving like an animal. I was never hit as a child and I grew up to be a good person, I love my husband and child, I have never had an affair, I have never took drugs, I have never killed, I have never been in prison have never smoked. I grew up to be a decent person and love and respect my parents. I think that the people on the documentary who said they smack their children because they love them are cruel. the children may spend their whole childhood loving there parents but they will also fear them because of the punishment. Also what would happen if one of these children become a teenager and they make one mistake even though they have been taught right and wrong through smacking. this teenager would not go to their parent out of fear of what would happen to them. Fear is not love and a child fears the pain of being smacked, this is not love.

  • child psychologist

    I didn’t watch this programme but my clients have told me about it. I think it’s disgusting that people are allowed to abuse their children using ‘God’ as their excuse. A young child wouldnt realise what they have done wrong when being hit, the only reason they wouldn’t repeat the offence is out of fear rather than understanding what they have done wrong. When a child is ‘abused’ or ‘punished’ because they have done something wrong from an early age, can often make them a violent person later on in life. I have seen many cases to prove this. Many children have come to my clinic in the past and in recent years due to being ‘abused’ or ‘punished’ from a young age. It takes years of therapy to even find the main cause to their violence. I also feel broadcasting the programme shows Christianity in a bad light.

  • Jessica Martin

    I am a Christian with four children and I would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS use a ‘spanking paddle’ that looked more like a cricket bat on my children. Nor would I hit a six month old baby with a stick on the hand.

    Keeping children away from school is fine biut not allowing to mix with other kids is crazy – it’s a prison sentence. Poor little lambs. How screwed up are they gonna be?

    This violence is cruelty masquerading as discipline when in fact it is the height of lazy parenting and gross, wilful biblical misinterpretation.

    The common interpretation of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ is innacurate. The ‘rod’ was in fact a shepherds crook that was used to guide sheep, not hurt them.

    This type of extremist parenting gives Christianity a bad name.

    There is interesting info here. http://www.adders.org/drbilly11.htm

  • Shane

    Yet again religion is at the heart of truly destructive behaviour!

    Where will it end?

    I ask all parents to allow their children true freedom of choice by offering them an understanding of all there options. Whether biblical or scientific and thus allow them to decide for themselves whether they are indeed Christian or not! Or any other faith for that matter.

    I for one see no benefit whatsoever in my children being ruled by the fear of an object or worse still, their own parents. Even more unbelievable, is the the incredible naivety with which “religious” parents impart a GOD on their children that rules purely through fear, guilt that ultimately results in an incredible lack of self confidence and awareness.

    Granted, it may be written (bible), but by who and when and why and what evidence do we have for such unquestioned dedication to something that has historically been so destructive??

    We have more evidence for evolution, but most of us avoid the subject through shear fear and guilt, which was possibly imparted in the same way most of us impart it on our own children…..

  • lesley ward

    As a mother of 3 boys i have never resorted to such physical violence. I totally disagree with the opinion that smacking is a good form of discipline. I have always found that sitting my child down and explaining what they have did wrong (and remember that would be my opinion and I could be wrong) works better and is more effective. I think that hitting a child is a cowards way to teach your child the difference between right and wrong. I think it would ultimately lose you the respect of your child and teach them that physical violence is acceptable. I was horrified when i could hear the little boy crying whilst his mother was attacking him with the leather strap ( weapon ). It was not only painful but humiliating for him, and what was the crime!!!!!??? A fib. And a childish one at that! Completely disgusting. I can understand parents who lightly smack their children on the bottom now and again but to actually choose and impliment in which to hit their child with was very upsetting for me to watch. I am glad that someone replied and said that not all Christians beleive in this ‘corporal’ punishment as i would have maybe gone with the belief that all Christians thought this way, this was what i picked up from the programme. I was also saddened by the remark that one of the older girls made. She said she would be totally devastated if there was a ban put on hitting children!!!!

  • Karl

    I was gobsmacked by some of the material in this documentary especially when Linda Bucknall canditidly talked about using a rod on a six month old baby to prevent it from reaching a log stove. The other thing that shocked me was the statement that children are inherentley evil which was repeated by the Bucknalls several times. I absolutley do not beleive that corporal punishment is nessasary to bringing up child that repects itself, and others around it.

    My neices were never smacked and have grown up with a beleif that they should respect themselves, their family and others arround them, and with my own children I would see it as a failure on my part if I ever had to resort to something as barbaric as hitting them with anything to install a sense of discipline or right and wrong.

  • Mohammed

    I am an ordinary Muslim who belives it is ok and effective however nowadays if a Muslim was shown in the media for this reason immeadiately Islam would have been portrayed as a violent and pro aggresion religion. How come this is not the case for Christianity. Also i think this shows the true and genuine religion of Christianity which most people do not follow today and are always looking for a simple way out!

  • Anonymous

    These so called christians are bonkers and should be smacked very hard with a cricket bat!

  • Shane


    Thats a fantastic example of the pot calling the kettle! Its interesting that you refer to yourself as an ordinary Muslim. Are you then admitting that some Muslims are unordinary, and if so, maybe you should start by pointing this out to them and stop taking it personally and getting defensive?

    Your religious beliefs are irrelevant when it results in the barbaric and unjustifiable behaviour which is often the result of religious fanatisism……

    Please note that I refer to all religions that bring about this behaviour. Maybe the best thing ever written in the Bible refers to one looking at oneself before pointing the finger. A contradiction I know, but also common sense one would like to think….

  • Anonymous

    That’s simply because in western culture, Christianity is an important part of history. Christianity is the means by which Kings have been overthrown, empires destroyed, and in more recent times responsible for things like the founding of violent nation-states and the endorsement of black slavery through the ‘descendants of Ham’ excuse.
    Christianity has always coloured other religions as evil, and therefore portrays them as violent, close-minded and fanatical. And while there ARE some religions that are like that, the label applies far better to Christianity.
    Nowadays, much of that fear lingers in media portrayals of other cultures, like Muslims. Remember that there are far, far more Christian fundamentalists than there are Muslim fundamentalists. The fear is created through social viewpoints.

  • Abi

    I wrote a whole huge big rant about this and i’ve just deleted it all cos to be honest nothing really sums up just how bad i think this all is.

    I will never hit a child. ever.

    I’m glad so many other people agree.

    How that woman can call herself a mother i dont know. she is utterly deluded if she thinks God will praise her for hitting a six month old baby.

    Not that i believe in god… but live and let live right?

  • Lee

    I agree with this statement. These “Christian” parents are clearly trying to hide the realities of society from their children.They do not want them mixing with people who are not “good” enough. Did Jesus not mix with the outcasts of society? Prostitutes, leppers and the like? These people have an extremely poor grasp of reality, of scripture and of what it actually means to be a “christian” person in todays society. Did God not create us freely for freedom? To be human is to be free. These kids are not free to choose anything in life – they are being indoctrinated by a poor grasp of what it means to be a christian. They should be allowed to encounter life on their own terms. Their children are being moulded into fundamentalists and told to accept everything in scripture literally. Do these people accept “slavery” as it is written in scripture? As for beating your child with a rod or wooden instrument for telling a fib or being naughty – what is Christian about that pray tell!? The bible recognises that we are a mixture of good and bad. We are not perfect beings. I sincerely hope people with that type of undertanding of christianity are few and far between. It really gives Christianity a bad press!

  • Anonymous

    And your proof for your final comment regarding the number of Christian fundementalists is what?

    I assume you have accurate numbers to justify your claims?

    Please dont forget to include all those suicide bombers over past wks and months that many seem to overlook daily? Christianity by the way does not portray them this way, their actions do.

    However, numbers are irrelavent and one person carrying out the atrocities we see on the news daily due to religious fanatisism is as bad as a 1000 people doing so and the state of the world today is evidence enough.

    More to the point, It is wrong whether carried out by Christians or Muslims or by any other religion.

  • Una Owen

    I, too, wrote a long reply, but it seems to have evaporated into the ether. However, I can strongly recommend that anyone equally appalled at the attitudes on show in this programme research into the following (nowhere near all-inclusive, but you’ll get the drift):

    Duggar family; fundie; prairie muffin; Hyles-Anderson university; Patrick Henry university; godly play; modest clothing; Lydia of Purple; patriarch movement; fundamentalist LDS; dominionism; zion birth; quiverful movement; Colorado City, Arizona; Andrea Yates; Elisabeth Slater; battered women syndrome; Bill Gothard; fundamentalist forums; inside polygamy; biblical ideal betrothal; unschooling; wisdom booklets.

    All fundamentalism strives for power and control . Research and learn; knowledge is power and let’s hope that the pen remains mightier than the sword.

  • Anonymous

    After watching raised by the hand of god last night i wanted nothing more than a good cry what sort of lives are them poor children living in america each time the mother got the stick or the leather to BEAT because that is what it is a huge grin spread across her face, dont get me wrong i got a smack as a child never with anythink other than a hand though and i turned out to be a well rounded individual. Where are the child protection agengiencies people like that dugger mother should not be allowed near children let alone have her own 8. What is wrong with the world today is people like her lets hope her children grow up to disown her. people like her need to look at themselves before looking at the evil around her children because its only the evil she is that her children are subject to.

  • Una Owen

    In addition to all the topics listed for research below, please also look into ‘blanket training’.

  • Charlotte from kent

    People like the SO CALLED PARENTS on last nights show utterly discusted me. Im only 18 and to be quite honest they were evil people. the words that came out of there mouth discusted me. I cannot believe they were aloud on tv they should be locked tiny cell an have the key thrown away… They do not desserve children… If they have beleifs in a certain religion then fine but, they are destroying there kids all because of a BOOK!!! If god is such a great, loving, caring Person then he would not beleive in this. I would like to see them get wacked with Baseball bat!! see how they like it. they are brain washing there kids into a lifestyle they want themselfs, each kid is diiferent and desserves to have choices on how he/she wants to grow up. Im gay and i would hate to think what i would of gone through if they were my parents.. I would love to meet them in person and explain how there imprisoning there children they will never have any common sense they caged in there little houses and treated as slaves.






  • Olivia

    I am a Christian, and although I think it is up to the parents to decide whether to smack or not, there are several things I want to clarify from a Christian and personal point of view.

    -To the person who thinks smacking should be a last resort, this is exactly when abuse happens – you are so angry with your child and have tried everything else and are so frustrated that you fly out at them. That kind of physical punishment is dangerous. What these families were trying to emphasise is that you should never hit a child when you are angry, which is why they may have come across as cold.

    -The reason that the families used implements to smack their children is the verse I’m sure you all know “He that spareth his rod hateth
    his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” and several other well known verses that popped up in the programme. The more fundamentalist christians take this to literally mean a rod of some sort.”Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” What is more important to a Christian than that his children should be saved by God from hell?

    -Tapping a baby’s hand with a twig (for they were no more than that) is not going to damage it for life and is better than it hurting itself. Try explaining to a baby that is shouldn’t touch the fire.

    -The idea of children being inherently evil shouldn’t be so shocking: have you ever heard of original sin?

    I was never smacked as a child and as yet am unsure whether I will smack my children. I just honestly think that the thought of smacking has become so old-fashioned that people immediately think that a family who smacks, regularly hit their children hard and without thinking, for any little thing they do. I think, and hope, that the reality is unlike that, and that they are just normal families with a slightly more unusual method of disciplining, but one which, like all consistent methods, only has to be used occasionally. I am 17.

  • Anonymous

    I am a christian, But no way does the Jesus I know and Love, want a three year old little girl to be beaten with a tree branch. It utterley shocked desturbed and saddened me. I can’t beleive those insane parents abuse those poor children in the name of the lord. I used to believe that when I have children a smack on the backside wouldn’t do any harm, That progamme has put me off the smacking of children altogether. Those hateful parents need locking up. Please don’t beleive that all christians are like that.

  • lesley

    Asi said in my last entry, i think smacking should be a last resort and NEVER EVER with an impliment.
    Olivia, you are fair in your comment that the baby was only tapped with the twig, but surely rather than punish the baby for going near the fire, they could like many millions of other parents,install a safety device which keeps the baby safe, from the heat and also from tapping twigs?
    I disagree completely though with the possibility that a child could be ‘evil’. Dear god, what a horrible thing to bestow on a baby who knows nothing of the bad things in the world in which it has been born, and yet is seen as having ‘evil’ in them from the very ones in this world who should love them the most. I am sorry, i cannot understand how someone could possibly think that this could be true.
    Also,hitting a child with what is nothing better than a cricket bat is a lot more extreme than smacking.I do not follow any particular religion, it is i believe up to the individual what he wants to believe in this world and should live their life accordingly.
    I raise my children to be helpful, friendly, respectful and also to question anything that they do not understand or agree with. This includes those in authority, why should we just go along with things just because someone says so? (as long as it is done respectfully and with good reason).
    We should all question things we are unsure of and we should not feel that we have to go along with the crowd, do we not live in a so called democratic society? These children are brought up only to beleive in what their parents believe in, it is so sad. There is no room for idividuality amongst these people.

  • lara

    I watched this show and i was so upset about it, i am a mother of 4 and a christian and there is no way i would treat my children like this mother did.If as she said she never hit them in anger than she in my mind is perfectly capable of talking to them ,and reasoning with them about their behaviour .
    I have completed a course on practical parenting done through our church and not once do we promote smacking its all about building up a child into a thoughtful adult with good morals,reinforcing good behaviour .
    I could say so much about this programme but in my eyes it was bullying , and the fact she woke them to do chores while she watched well what more can i say.

  • Anonymous

    Let me define the word ‘discipline.’ To nurture a behavioural pattern. This would involve encouraging a child to carry out the desired behaviour such as doing their homework, waking up in the morning, brushing their teeth, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ The aim of ‘discipline’ is to raise a child who will eventually carry out the desired behaviour without a second thought BECAUSE IT IS OF BENEFIT TO THEM. But how low does anyone’s IQ have to be in order to think that ‘discipline’ means battering your offspring for doing things that children do – (like the three year old being battered with the twig)? Where is the logic in this? Is the rest of the world really so stupid that I actually have to DEFINE the word ‘discipline’? Or are they just sadistic and power-hungry? TAKE THE KIDS AWAY FROM THEM!!!!

  • Cort

    apparently i was on this show flipping at the beach WTF wen did i say i can be on TV! sum 1 call me agent! sorry if i just make a mockery of your TV show wen is it on again i love u all xxxx

  • Olivia

    Couldn’t agree more strongly about the cricket bat – whatever anyone’s personal opinions about smacking, I can’t believe anyone would think it was alright to hit a child with something of that size!

  • Niki

    I just watched a re-run of the show and I must admit I am really impressed with the way these parents are training their children to be sensible God fearing adults. Being a Christian and a mother of two myself, I think it’s very important that we listen to what God says about how to live our lives and to take every word literally.

    Watching the way these parents were discipling and talking to their children you got a real sense of how successful parenting should be. only hope that my girls grow up to be half as obedient and respectful as the children in the film.

    Thi programme has really inspied me and helped me to realise that eventhough I was smacking and my kids, I wasn’t doing it with love. This is crucial.

    As for the guy who was making and giving away the paddles. I must admit I did flinch at the first sight of it but having done some research and read the testimonials of other parents who have used it, I’m going to give it a go.

    Thank you channel 5 for such an informative life-changing programme!

    paddles available at http://www.spare-rods.com

  • MoralAtheist

    Anybody know if there is a download of the show ? Or if it’s showing again?

  • MoralAtheist

    No it isn’t children are not posessions they have rights and should be protected from abusers like your self by the state.

  • Anonymous

    It’s very strange when people say “if god existed he wouldn’t do such and such” How exactly do you know? that is exactly the problem with modern society, man has become so pumped up in his self that he actually starts to believe he is god. I am a Christian who was striked growing up, and it is a foolish person who feels they have the knowledge to take up God. Proverbs 23 does state that hitting a child will steer him in the right way. This is a fundamental way of life, it is only by trial that we realise things have consequences. Consequences being the operative word. I can’t say I agree with everything that was said, but the children are the fruits of their discipline, they weren’t the ones hanging out and pulling their pants down. Abuse is unjustified, hitting is a justified action if done for the better, which as we can see it was (if the woman smiled i question her motives). If a Christian decides it is better not to hit, then that is obviously the correct way for them to live. However, it is blasphemous to contradict the unchanging word of God which is the same as it was yesterday and will be until the end. I very much pray people will stop being ignorant of God. Approach the bible as a humble servant of God and Jesus Christ will surely bless you. Pride is a great barrier between God and the ones he loves. God Bless you all.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, but desere, let me remind you of something.

    It is also written that “When Lucy looked back, the wardrobe was no longer there”. Therefore you can tell that God approves of spanking, and hates homosexuals and abortions.

    See what I did there? I took a random quote from a fictional book, and made it into something that it clearly wasn’t, just to fit my own ends. Just like you do.

    Your kind are so fast to talk about others who, as you put it, “feels they have the knowledge to take up God”, but you’re so blinded by your own hubris and bullshit that you never realise that this is EXACTLY what you’re doing.

    You want to learn about consequences, look at the natural world. A child wants to touch a hot stove – let it. It will learn far quicker not to touch it again. You smack it, it will not learn, because it doesn’t experience real consequences. The only reason you choose to indulge in such a practice is to cement your own position of fear and power.

    Fear and power is a recurring theme in the mental illness you call a ‘religion’. I’ve read your bible, I’ve researched and understand your demented fanaticism, I’ve seen firsthand your obsessive glorification of the ‘End Days’ and your reverence for the Left Behind types of books. You imagine that Jesus will ride down to Earth and murder all those who disagree with you. You count that as justifiable homicide. You think that would be ‘divine punishment’. And yet you DARE to stand and accuse others of having poor morals?

    Your kith and kin do little more than spout your own personal opinions, without thought or intellect. You take what you (in your own infinite arrogance) demand is the word of God and spout it from your own lips. You declair yourself as ‘clensed of sin’ by your own dead God. Yet you decry others for elevating themselves equal to God, without the intellectual capacity to even notice that this is EXACTLY what you are doing.

    And rather than admit that you are angry at what I’m saying, you will don a facade of superiority and grumble that you will ‘pray for me’, because you are on such a high level with your God. Praying for someone allows you to be angry with them, without having to admit that you are. You are weak people, too weak to even embrace your own emotions. All you can do is cry “It’ll be better when Jesus comes” and go back to counting days, too deluded, too proud and too insane to realise that it will never happen.

    People like you had full rein of the world once. We called that time ‘the dark ages’. This documentary is an excellent example as to WHY that was so. You’re pathetic, you’re repulsive, you’re demented, and you’re as much a relic of old times as the pathetic corpse of a dead God that you cling to. Maybe one day you’ll encounter a renaissance of the mind and leave such deadwood behind you. But I doubt your kind has the intelligence and strength of character to accomplish it.

  • Anonymous

    im not a christian but wen i was watching the show i was very upset about the woman hitting him in the room i understand it is discipline bt come on u could hear him cry i was saddened i think smacking should be banned and not used 2 express ure anger AT ALL!
    bt 1 thing i didnt not understand was wy was the gurl hu was getting married not allowed 2 hold her boyfriends hand until they married?

  • Debbie

    I would also like to know if there is a download available for this programme – I’m in Ireland and we don’t recieve the channel 5.

  • Who is the government to tell people how to discipline their children? So when they grow up and break the law they end up in jail or dead. People like to discount the bible as fallacy but even when I wasn’t a believer I couldn’t argue with what made sense.

    Now, I’m not talking about abrusing or disrespecting the child (as in punching, kicking, or slapping), but a spanking on the bottom or hand. Sometimes taking priviledges away or time-outs will work but at other times spankings are definitely necessary. Our children’s discipline is of the utmost. It protects them from harm later in life, i.e. to listen, to think before doing, responsibility and accountability. It we don’t discipline our children life will, and we all know life is not kind.

  • Are you crazy? You are spewing so much anger and hate. You have not researched the Bible at all cause if you did you would become a believer. Many have tried to defunct the Bible, to know avail. If the Bible is fallacy why has it been around for so long, why is our money stamped w/”In God We Trust”, where did we get BC/AD, why do people spend so much time trying disprove the Bible if it is wrong. I could keep going. Jesus is not dead, He is risen and seated at the right hand of God the Father. Believers in Christ put Him first in life, above all! It’s not about us feeling superior or better than the unsaved, it’s about love and forgiveness. Man is evil and he cannot save himself from eternal damnation. But God through His love and sacrifice has made a way for us to escape. If you want to keep believing you got it altogether and that you’re just a mere happenstance, no more than a fly on a wall, it’s your choice. You’re born, go to school, get a job, retire then die all while dealing with life’s crap, does that make sense? If that’s all it is to life then go out and do anything and everything you want to do for tomorrow you may die. Then What? Then What? The Judgment of God. God loves you and suffered and died for you, even when we didn’t love Him or know Him and some us even hated Him, yet he still did it. I pray for you my lost friend that someday you will know Him as Lord of your life.

  • The is to the moralatheist. If you want to believe you’re just here to live and to die, then go ahead. Why even bother calling yourself moral. Did you know morals come from the bible? Why live morally it’s not like you have a conscience.

  • This is for all of you who think the Bible is outdated, a falsehood, doesn’t apply today, You’re Wrong! Read a bible then make you’re comments. Half of the people making comments about Christians don’t know anything about Jesus (God) or the bible. All you know is what seems right to you. God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts and you can’t mold God into who you want Him to be. He said, “I Am that I AM!” He gave us His Word (the Bible), Biblical Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.)

  • Lots of Christians don’t feel the need to pick up sticks and hit people with them. Hitting people with sticks is not “Christian” behavior. It’s violence. There’s lots of violence, rape, stonings, slavery in the Bible and we should learn from it, not repeat it. Jesus gave people a good example, and nowhere does he say to hit anyone with sticks.

  • Lots of Christians don’t feel the need to pick up sticks and hit people with them. Hitting people with sticks is not “Christian” behavior. It’s violence. There’s lots of violence, rape, stonings, slavery in the Bible and we should learn from it, not repeat it. Jesus gave people a good example, and nowhere does he say to hit anyone with sticks.

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