Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blanket Training from a Bill Gothard Homeschooling Mothers' Support Network (1999)

The Advanced Training Institute (ATI) is the name of Bill Gothard's homeschooling program under the primary organization called the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). This documentation turned up on a Yahoo Discussion Group for those who were considering leaving Gothard's system. I have met, in person, the woman who posted this information, and I confirmed the information which was also forwarded to me by the other administrator of the group at that time (ten years later). I've included the top of the email and the header from the administrator, and I've included choppy screen shots of a now defunct online forum where the information was also posted. (It still appears in the internet cache.) Two different administrators sent me identical information when I requested it directly from them.

I'm told by people in the ATI organization in 1999 that the information was altered and embellished by those who posted it, but given the reports that have surfaced about blanket training since that time, I do not find this information nearly as provocative. So I am posting it here to add to the growing numbers of references to blanket training practices as well as the corporal punishment of infants.

The Duggar Family have their children enrolled in Bill Gothard's ATI program and gush about the value of his IBLP resources. Jim Bob Duggar credits the financial freedom information from the Sammons as responsible for his success in business. The family is a part of the network of people who attend ATI seminars and conferences. They also admit to “Blanket Time” in their resources (online and in their books). They capitalize on the idea that it is a reward system for compliance, but the primary elements of it focus on and depend heavily on discipline through the use of a wooden spoon or paint stick.

Narrative as it appeared on the Gothard Discussion Yahoo Group
(a reposting from another ATI mother's support panel):

>>>Message: 4 Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 00:12:06 EDT
From: Subject: Knoxville Mother's Panel

Q) Lori-We learned about spanking babies. WE learned about disciplning a child with a rod at the age of 6 months, when the weedsare very little we pluck them out. We use a 1/4 inch wooden dowel when they are 6 months.If you ignore those weeds then by the time they are toddlers you have to do something drastic.

WE learned that if we started when they were babies, they were so much more obedient in
coming and sitting and being quiet. OUr goal was that they be able to sit quietly for 2 hours
on Sunday morning. Now it has been a joy. I have learned that just one whack on a baby's
bottom is not enough, it is 5 or 6 whacks. I found I was spankiing my children a whole lot
less when I did it right the first time.

[. . .]

Lori -- (on blanket training) I Cor. 14:40 "let all things be done decently and in order" and I remember one day trying to teach the CCC and getting alot of distractions and I just began to cry. I cried out to the Lord and I think blankiet training is just a lifesaver for a homeschooling family. I had gotten some training on how to teach a baby not to touch a plant so I wondered if I could teach a baby to sit on a blanket and not touch the carpet. So at about 6 months I put them on the blanket and I am there with a paint paddle and when the baby touches the carpet I spank the hand. First I go around the carpet and spank the carpet on all four sides and say, "no touch, no touch." This spanking just gives content to my words. This whole process is done so speedily---I have the baby on the blanket, the 2 ½ year old on the blanket and I can teach in peace. WE've even gone to dinner parties and put the child on the blanket and it's like there is a 10 foot wall around that blanket! When I met Jerri Dee, her baby was all over the place, but JErri DEe gave her blanket training. When Jerri Dee came to visit me later her baby sat on the blanket and let us talk for 1 1/2 hours and did not make a sound that entire time. Jerri Dee-They are not unhappy on the blanket. Everyone's spirit is so free and
so happy because there is order. When Mommy is upset and fretful that is much worse.

Another 1999 Reference to the Process of Blanket Training
(Included the same email along with the above June '99 reference):

From:  <>
Date: Thu Sep 30, 1999 8:50pm
Subject: Blanket Enticement or "Trick or Treat"

In a message dated 10/1/99 1:24:19 AM, you wrote:

<<On an unrelated issue.  I am not as versed in this subject as many of you.
have read the phrase, "blanket training" several times.  I am totally
clueless.  To what does this refer?>>

Here is the most recent tidbit right from the director's wife of ATI on how
she goes about blanket training.

">For blanket training, I would "test" baby by taking an enticing toy and rolling it off
of the blanket.  If baby goes off the blanket after the toy, I immediately
use this training opportunity to spank baby's hand with the paint stick and
at the same time, verbally get the point across.  We do this over and over
with various interesting objects until a cookie can be placed along the side
of that blanket and baby will invariable go to the farthest side of the
blanket away from the cookie!! <"