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DuckHairback
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21 Jul 2023, 8:43 am

Okay, I don't want to open a can of worms here. I know some people here are ex-JW, I don't remember exactly who, but maybe they can answer something for me. Maybe this belongs in parenting.

I've just been listening to one of my neighbours, who are JW, telling off her little boy for something. I'm kind of stunned.

She was being really mean, repeatedly yelling at him, calling him a 'naughty boy' over and over again. Demanding he explain what he did and ever time he'd answer she'd yell "WHY?"

Perhaps that doesn't sound so bad in writing, but it was the level of anger she had and how long it went on for that disturbed me. The kid was really upset, obviously.

I don't know what he did wrong but it seemed disproportionate to me to be yelling at a child like that - I think he's 3 years old. I know everyone flips out from time to time and overreacts and motherhood is hard and she's got another younger one to deal with too.

But listening to that boy crying and saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over while she yelled at him made me really sad for him.

So I guess my question is, are JW's typically hot on shaming and guilt tripping their kids? Or is it just these JWs?


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babybird
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21 Jul 2023, 9:03 am

Dunno man but it was partly down to the jw's why I almost lost legal custardy over my daughter.


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delvian
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21 Jul 2023, 10:25 am

I don't know anything about the specifics regarding JW parenting practices but what you're describing sounds like a pretty abusive way to treat any child, whether they belong to any specific religion or not. I hope it's a one off, which she'll somehow find the sense to apologise to him for and explain adequately why she was wrong and how he shouldn't ever have to put up with being screamed at like that. Otherwise, I hope when he grows up he doesn't have to wait too long before he can afford to move out of that house away from her and can afford some good quality therapy.



delvian
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21 Jul 2023, 10:27 am

I'd just like to add that if it is connected to any religion-specific beliefs, that doesn't change anything. It's still abusive.



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21 Jul 2023, 12:39 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
Okay, I don't want to open a can of worms here. I know some people here are ex-JW, I don't remember exactly who, but maybe they can answer something for me. Maybe this belongs in parenting.

I've just been listening to one of my neighbours, who are JW, telling off her little boy for something. I'm kind of stunned.

She was being really mean, repeatedly yelling at him, calling him a 'naughty boy' over and over again. Demanding he explain what he did and ever time he'd answer she'd yell "WHY?"

Perhaps that doesn't sound so bad in writing, but it was the level of anger she had and how long it went on for that disturbed me. The kid was really upset, obviously.

I don't know what he did wrong but it seemed disproportionate to me to be yelling at a child like that - I think he's 3 years old. I know everyone flips out from time to time and overreacts and motherhood is hard and she's got another younger one to deal with too.

But listening to that boy crying and saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over while she yelled at him made me really sad for him.

So I guess my question is, are JW's typically hot on shaming and guilt tripping their kids? Or is it just these JWs?


I'm not in the UK and unsure whether this merits the official report (and what are the laws there), but if yes, I'd report them to the authorities. That definitely sounds like child abuse to me. I've reported here (southern Europe) when I saw Roma children being forced to beg nearby, the police actually called back. I've never seen a child beg here near that place again.


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Last edited by Chuckster on 21 Jul 2023, 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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21 Jul 2023, 12:41 pm

Just in case it might help: https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice ... ild-abuse/


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TwilightPrincess
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21 Jul 2023, 5:14 pm

I'm a former Jehovah's Witness. Yes, they are big into shaming and guilt-tripping their kids. Shame and guilt are pervasive aspects of the religion as a whole. (Discipline for adults, especially disfellowshipping/shunning, is quite horrific, too, and yet, they are taught that it's loving.*) When I was growing up, corporal punishment was the gold standard - even with toddlers. They don't seem to be as bad about that as they used to be. I had welts sometimes, which made it hurt to sit, from being beaten with belts and wooden spoons. Most of the other kids in my church received similar treatment. Sometimes I would apologize and say "I'm sorry!" over and over again. Mom would say: "It's too late. You're getting the belt when your father gets home!" That made for a wonderful day, especially when the offense occurred in the morning. :roll: My mom usually had my dad do it because she couldn't hit me hard enough. One elder family in my church would keep a rubber hose in the front of the car and would swing it at kids in the backseat when they misbehaved. I knew of another elder who would throw his kids into a wall. My grandmother approved. :roll: People look up to the elders, so if an elder is abusive, others will (and do) imitate his behavior.

A problem scripture: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die" (Proverbs 23:13). A JW hymn I grew up hearing and singing has a verse which says:

Quote:
Precious gifts from God our children are,
A possession to train and to teach.
Like the arrows of a mighty man,
We must aim them the target to reach.
They are gifts from God;
He says: ‘Use the rod.’

https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Sin ... -From-God/

Now they are pushing a more figurative interpretation, but corporal punishment is still a big problem. Instead of saying that it's up to parents which is what they're currently doing, they need to urge them not to do it at all because the practice is too deep-rooted due to their former stance, but they can never admit to being wrong. The cycle of abuse continues in some families. I broke it, and my family complains that I'm a "permissive parent."

I definitely struggled with guilt a lot as a kid and well into adulthood. I was regularly told directly that I was bad. My parents often disciplined me in anger, too, yelling and lots of abusive rhetoric. I wasn't even an especially difficult child.

Something to keep in mind is that Jehovah's Witnesses tend to be in a lower socioeconomic bracket,** and they tend to have lower education levels because they are against higher education.*** They often don't know or understand anything about normal child development which causes them to expect behavior that is beyond their kids' developmental level, like expecting toddlers to sit perfectly still in church. It isn't uncommon for them to say that they know more about children than child psychologists because they have the Bible.**** JWs place more importance on what church leaders say than on anything from real experts. They tend to be suspicious of doctors, anyway, because of their position on blood transfusions and abortion.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that abusing children is not at all uncommon among JWs, but the reasons for it are somewhat complex. (This post is just the tip of the iceberg; it's a huge topic.) I think most human behavior can be understood when it is taken in context. That doesn't make it right.


* https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines ... provision/

From the 2015 Watchtower article "Why Disfellowshipping Is a Loving Provision:"
Quote:
[D]isfellowshipped ones who are no longer members of the Christian congregation—their spiritual family—may come to realize what they have lost. The bitter fruits of their sinful course, together with the memories of happier days when they enjoyed a good relationship with Jehovah and his people, could bring them to their senses.

** https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads ... us-groups/
Quote:
Among those denominations with the lowest household income are two historically black churches, the National Baptist Convention (9% live in households with incomes of at least $100,000) and the Church of God in Christ (9%). Jehovah’s Witnesses also have low household income (4%). In all three of these groups, nearly half of all members have household incomes of less than $30,000 per year.

*** https://www.npr.org/2017/02/19/51058596 ... %20college.
Quote:
Pew Research shows that only 9 percent of Witnesses get undergraduate degrees. That's well below the national average of 30.4 percent and the lowest of any faith group. The likely reason for this trend is the religion's official warnings against college.

**** https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/198 ... king&p=doc

From the 1987 Watchtower article "Discipline Yields Peaceable Fruit:"
Quote:
Imperfect people need discipline. They need it from childhood onward. God’s Word says: “The one holding back his rod is hating his son, but the one loving him is he that does look for him with discipline.” (Proverbs 13:24) Many child psychologists dispute this divine wisdom. Years ago one asked: “Do you mothers realize that every time you spank your child you show that you are hating your child?” Yet their permissiveness produced such a deluge of juvenile delinquents that a Brooklyn court judge made this caustic comment: “I think we need the woodshed for some young folks. But that is not considered fashionable now. Now we are told you must not strike a child; you may be stunting a genius.” But their permissiveness produced no crop of geniuses​—only a lawless wave of teenage criminals.

^ No citations were provided to prove any of the claims in this Watchtower article, but that's typical.


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DuckHairback
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22 Jul 2023, 7:30 am

^Wow. Thanks TP for the insider knowledge, and sorry that was the environment you were raised in.

This telling off seemed very much about making the kid feel as awful as possible about whatever he had done and she wasn't going to stop until he was completely wretched. When I became a parent, I learned that it was better to label the unwanted behaviour as bad, rather than tell the child he/she is bad, so they don't internalize that about themselves. This was like the opposite of that approach so it was really jarring to hear it.

For those who suggested this should be reported, by my estimations this wasn't something that I'd report to any authority. I heard nothing to suggest there was anything physical happening, just a verbal berating that seemed out of proportion to me to anything a 3-year-old could feasibly do wrong. I know that's still something many of us would consider abusive but I think it would fall under parenting choices, sadly.

It's the only time I've heard that coming from their house so hopefully it was a case of mum being uncommonly stressed about something and losing control completely. It does happen. Doesn't make it right of course, but could hopefully mean it was an isolated event.


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Lecia_Wynter
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24 Jul 2023, 4:14 pm

You see one of them proselyting on your property? Here's what you say.

"Get off my lawn".



TwilightPrincess
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24 Jul 2023, 4:22 pm

^ Don’t say that!

Instead, say: “Please put me on your do not call list. Thank you.”

It’s polite, and it’ll keep them away permanently. Otherwise, they’ll still come back in a year or two.

There’s no need to be mean. They probably want to be there even less than you want them to be. When people are mean, it just feeds into their persecution complex.


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24 Jul 2023, 5:27 pm

TwilightPrincess wrote:
^ Don’t say that!

Instead, say: “Please put me on your do not call list. Thank you.”

It’s polite, and it’ll keep them away permanently. Otherwise, they’ll still come back in a year or two.

There’s no need to be mean. They probably want to be there even less than you want them to be. When people are mean, it just feeds into their persecution complex.


They are evangelicals, they think they are serving God or some other dumb rubbish. If you think their culture is harmful to kids you shouldn't be nice to them, they should feel uncomfortable when they are advertising their dumb crap on people's lawns. What you suggest might dissuade them from advertising to you, but it doesn't make them start to question their purpose, you want them to feel defeated and give up entirely.



TwilightPrincess
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24 Jul 2023, 5:49 pm

Lecia_Wynter wrote:
TwilightPrincess wrote:
^ Don’t say that!

Instead, say: “Please put me on your do not call list. Thank you.”

It’s polite, and it’ll keep them away permanently. Otherwise, they’ll still come back in a year or two.

There’s no need to be mean. They probably want to be there even less than you want them to be. When people are mean, it just feeds into their persecution complex.


They are evangelicals, they think they are serving God or some other dumb rubbish. If you think their culture is harmful to kids you shouldn't be nice to them, they should feel uncomfortable when they are advertising their dumb crap on people's lawns. What you suggest might dissuade them from advertising to you, but it doesn't make them start to question their purpose, you want them to feel defeated and give up entirely.

I’m a former Jehovah’s Witness, so I know what I’m talking about. Yes, their beliefs suck, but they are people who deserve to be treated with common decency. When people are mean to them, it makes them feel persecuted which confirms their beliefs.

This is a major part of their theology:

In John 15:19-20, Jesus says: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

They aren’t going to give up just because people are rude. That’s not how their belief system works.


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25 Jul 2023, 6:17 am

DuckHairback wrote:
But listening to that boy crying and saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over while she yelled at him made me really sad for him.

Gotta prepare him for religion somehow.


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25 Jul 2023, 6:28 am

Lecia_Wynter wrote:
TwilightPrincess wrote:
^ Don’t say that!

Instead, say: “Please put me on your do not call list. Thank you.”

It’s polite, and it’ll keep them away permanently. Otherwise, they’ll still come back in a year or two.

There’s no need to be mean. They probably want to be there even less than you want them to be. When people are mean, it just feeds into their persecution complex.


They are evangelicals, they think they are serving God or some other dumb rubbish. If you think their culture is harmful to kids you shouldn't be nice to them, they should feel uncomfortable when they are advertising their dumb crap on people's lawns. What you suggest might dissuade them from advertising to you, but it doesn't make them start to question their purpose, you want them to feel defeated and give up entirely.


They should be uncomfortable? No way man. They're just achin' for someone to hurl abuse at them so they can tell all their friends what a sinful world this is and how glad they are they're not a part of "the world" (I love this concept of "we're not part of the world" even though everyone lives in the world). Kill 'em with kindness and they'll be furious because it robs them of their desperately needed desire to feel persecuted.


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25 Jul 2023, 7:15 am

^ I can’t say that I ever loved being treated like s**t (it’s probably why my social anxiety is so bad) but many of them do love the idea of persecution because they think it confirms their beliefs AND is a sign that Armageddon is nigh.


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DuckHairback
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25 Jul 2023, 7:34 am

Personally I would never give a JW who knocked on my door anything more than a polite "no, thanks", because their beliefs might be 100% right for all I know. I'll take my chances being a godless heathen but I'm not going to tell anyone else they're wrong.

I live in a cluster of 4 houses. Two of them are now inhabited by JWs, every time someone moves out, they seem to be replaced by JWs. There are more in the houses a little way off. It's becoming like a little JW community. They don't push their beliefs round here from what I can tell. My partner had a falling out with them a while back so they don't talk to us.


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