Parental Bullying for Religious Reasons?

I rarely post anything of a political nature, but this falls into the dysfunctional family and emotional abuse category. Glenn Beck recently told his viewers to shove their children against a wall to reinforce their religious beliefs.

“Well, they’re going to cry,” Beck says. “I’ll hurt their feelings. PUSH ‘EM! Because if you don’t do it now, it’s going to be much worse when they’re pushed and they’re shoved and they’re shot. Push them! Teach them! They need to know the truth, and they need to be pushed up against the wall once in a while, so they know they can defend themselves, they know they can survive, they don’t run around like little girls crying at the drop of a hat! PUSH ‘EM!”

As a child who was physically belted to conform and emotional derided if I disagreed, I can tell you it won’t work. Shoving, belting, calling names, blaming– all of these things activate and flood the fight or flight center of the brain. It won’t teach kids what to believe because the thinking center will be bypassed when the flight or fight is activated.

Using force to teach children to comply with your religious beliefs will only teach kids to act without thinking out of fear at the first sign of trouble. Letting the lizard brain do your thinking is usually a bad idea. This will create followers instead of free thinkers. I think history has proven over and over what happens when a group of people act from the fear instinct instead of thinking for themselves.

Bullying your child will only alienate the adult children from their parents someday. They will never stop remembering the way you made them feel. Unless you someday take responsibility for what you have done, you will continue to have a broken relationship.

I have friends raised this way who rarely if ever take their children to church. Some cite a feeling of nausea when entering a church due to being bullied as a child. Others became Atheists due to abusive and controlling Christian parents.

As to preparing them to survive against being shot, this is certainly not a true Christian martyrs stance. Jesus said whoever loses their life will find it and whoever saves their life will lose it. The gospel of Jesus does not teach us to protect self, but to serve in love.

If a parent follows Beck’s advice, they will be taking advice that contradicts the Bible and may be causing their children to stumble away from God.

do not provoke your children to anger
by the way you treat them.
Rather, bring them up with the discipline
and instruction that comes from the Lord.
-Ephesians 6:4, NLT

But if you cause one of these little ones
who trusts in me to fall into sin,
it would be better for you
to be thrown into the sea
with a large millstone hung around your neck.
-Mark 9:42, NLT

Check out my blog

Can’t Get Saved by the Lizard Brain

Here is a video clip of Glenn Beck, can you see Jesus using such a tone with children? Once again we see the pattern of how people become like the god they worship.

6 thoughts on “Parental Bullying for Religious Reasons?”

  1. I think you may have taken his comments the wrong way…I think he doesn’t mean to bully but to be able to stand for the truth and defend the truth. Parents aren’t always there to speak for their kids, they have to learn to stand for what is right, for the truth. If you have listened to other programs, He speaks of his time with his kids,I think he is a very loving, devoted Dad. But he doesn’t shield them from reality from what evil looks like and from being strong and unafraid to defend what you believe in. He has a great relations with his grown kids. With his young ones he limits use of TV and games and expects them to read and do useful things…I think that is where is feels like he has the right to set limits and be in control until they are mature enough to make wise decisions on their own…which is his goal….to grow kids that aren’t weak.


  2. While I don’t want to judge his motives and not all of those things are wrong, I think I can hear the tone of voice he uses and his idea of pushing a child against the wall seems based on fear and seems like a bullying tactic to me. I could have misread him and only time will tell how his parenting plays out with his own kids, but I know many people who don’t go to church today because of similar fear and control tactics. It only takes a little poison to kill. I firmly believe that it is only by love that love can be awakened.


  3. Cherilyn, I think you are correct to say that forcing beliefs on children does not work. It often leads to one of three results:

    1. Unthinking acceptance of belief
    2. Reactive rejection of belief
    3. Survival of belief at a more mature level

    I am glad you are a survivor.


  4. I never did care for Glen Beck. Always kind of felt like he was a bully when I listened to him. Guess I wasn’t too far off the mark, right?


  5. I don’t know the guy and I hate to judge anyone, but I am firmly against using any physical force on children especially belting or shoving against a wall. My parents belted me, but they never shoved me against the wall. I want to give Glenn Beck and my parents the benefit of the doubt, I believe my parents belted us because they thought it was what they were supposed to do to raise us, but it didn’t make it right.


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