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[P]
Child Abuse in the US

By spaceghoti in News
Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:00:39 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I've got quite a few rantings about religion under my belt, and I'm sure people are tired of it. But I ran across this new article at ABCNews.com that I couldn't ignore.


To summarize the news item, The Rev. Arthur Allen and five members of his congregation were arrested in Atlanta for physically abusing children in the church. 41 children have been taken from their homes, and the authorities are threatening that more will follow if the congregation doesn't stop.

According to Atlanta police, the two boys said they were beaten with sticks, switches and a belt while they were at church. The 10-year-old suffered from open wounds on his stomach and right side, while the younger boy had welts on his stomach and back.

Allen and his congregation defend their actions through Bible passages. They claim they did nothing wrong, and are showing "their love for their children by strictly punishing their misdeeds."

While I can applaud this group for their intention to teach their children discipline and respect, it looks like they're taking disciplinary actions to the extreme. Spanking a child is more humiliating than anything else, and some parents aren't willing to go that far. They'll restrict privileges before they raise a hand to their children. It's a very personal issue, but whatever a parent decides I think it needs to stop before physical damage is inflicted.

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Poll
Corporal Punishment
o Whip 'em 'til they bleed! 7%
o A thrashing with a willow stick behind the woodshed. 3%
o Spank 'em, but don't hurt 'em. 31%
o Revocation of privileges. 21%
o A stern lecture, maybe miss a meal. 5%
o A calm, quiet discussion between rational beings. 23%
o Ignore 'em. They'll grow out of it. 0%
o Let someone else worry about it. 6%

Votes: 134
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o new article
o ABCNews.co m
o Also by spaceghoti


Display: Sort:
Child Abuse in the US | 103 comments (97 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Don't forget mental abuse (3.36 / 22) (#1)
by pmk on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 06:55:02 PM EST

IMHO, raising a child to believe that some invisible deity is surveilling their behavior and willing to fry them forever in Hell is child abuse in and of itself.

Point, but... (3.33 / 3) (#2)
by spaceghoti on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 06:58:49 PM EST

Having already addressed this elsewhere, I thought I'd try to behave this time. I think the discussion on the abuses of religion has been done to death for the moment.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
the flip side of that coin (2.63 / 11) (#3)
by cory on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 07:00:16 PM EST

IMHO, raising a child to ignore God's magnificience so that he/she eventually burns in Hell for all eternity is child abuse in and of itself.

Course, that would be ignoring little things like "freedom of religion", "free will", and "tolerance".

Cory


[ Parent ]
Heh (2.00 / 6) (#8)
by LordHunter317 on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 07:26:56 PM EST

Amen brother :)
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
What god? What hell? (4.20 / 5) (#29)
by pwhysall on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 08:18:23 AM EST

Whatever happened to letting the child make up their own mind?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Truth (1.50 / 2) (#61)
by PresJPolk on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:13:17 PM EST

Do you let your child make up his own mind about whether to look out before crossing the street?

Do you let your child make up his own mind about whether it's harmful to down a hundred iron tablets?

No, not if you're a good parent. When parents know something their children don't, it's their job to guide, and teach while doing so.

So, if there's an eternity of suffering ahead of your child, unless your child does a certain thing, then a good parent will do everything to maximize the likelihood that the child will do that thing.

To say that religious parents should let their children decide for themselves, is to deny that people actually believe what they say they believe.

[ Parent ]
Says who? (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by pwhysall on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 07:28:23 AM EST

There's an eternity of suffering ahead of your child
Says you.

To say that religious parents should let their children decide for themselves, is to deny that people actually believe what they say they believe.
So, lemme get this straight; you're advocating religious indoctrination over allowing a child to make an informed decision as and when they are capable of so doing?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
does noone recognize "irony" anymore (2.00 / 2) (#52)
by cory on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:33:00 PM EST

Given the two replies to my post and the low score I earned, it's obvious to me that noone recognizes irony when it bites them on the ass.

Reread the parent, keeping in mind it was intended to be ironic, and maybe you'll get a better idea of what I was driving at.

Cory


[ Parent ]
Wrong term... (none / 0) (#75)
by locke baron on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 06:28:27 AM EST

I believe, s/irony/sarcasm...
Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
Let the law deal with it (3.66 / 9) (#5)
by onyxruby on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 07:10:22 PM EST

This is not a religious matter and should not be allowed to be made out to be one. This is a case of widespread child abuse. Their are legal checks that the goverment has in place to deal with this kind of thing. Besides the prisoners will give them a very warm welcome. They just love people that abuse children in prison. Again and again, right in the end, night after night. I'm sure they'll even be encouraged to call on God - frequently.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

Prison rape? (3.00 / 1) (#71)
by darthaggie on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:16:19 PM EST

Besides the prisoners will give them a very warm welcome. They just love people that abuse children in prison. Again and again, right in the end, night after night.

Ah, the old eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, eh?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

I was spanked as a child... (2.58 / 12) (#9)
by LordHunter317 on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 07:42:58 PM EST

Seems to have done me good. Spanking a child is good for them, till they reach a certain age. Then, it just ticks them off and inspired rebellion. That age depends on the child of course. Now, I'll be honset I was never hit hard, or with anything more that my mother's hand, but it was enough to get a point across. While I believe the pastor is in the right, I believe his actions are too far. Hitting a child to cause welts isn't right or proper.

Though I supposed, according to the Torah, a Jewish man has the right to put his child to death if the child refuses to behave.
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
an observation I made as a mother (4.14 / 7) (#15)
by mami on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 09:27:16 PM EST

I remember a time where my nerves were thin and I had the impulse to spank my two year old. As I am a pretty conscious observer of myself, my "spanking" ended up being a gesture of spanking, ending right before touching my son's cheek.

To my amazement he cried out loudly, deeply upset and completely outraged about this sort of spanking, as if he were actually really spanked, touched and hurting. That's some 26 years ago. I still remember it and I still wonder how he could understand the meaning of my "virtual spank".

I have never spanked my son after that, neither virtually nor really. An "evil" look of mine was all that was needed to get him in line.


[ Parent ]
My take on smacking. (none / 0) (#84)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 03:36:57 PM EST

I remember a time where my nerves were thin and I had the impulse to spank my two year old. As I am a pretty conscious observer of myself, my "spanking" ended up being a gesture of spanking, ending right before touching my son's cheek.

Have you ever struck him before? I'm wondering if he knew what was coming and just acted as if it did because it had happened before and he knew what to do or rather what to expect.

I've got three of my own (5, 1.5 and 2mos) and, aside from the "smack the fingers for touching things I told them not to" -- something I've only needed to do from about 1.5 to 3 years old) the only time I have found that I "need" to smack them has been with my eldest. There are just some times when either the threat "I you don't stop your screaming I'll smack your face!" or a light cuff on the back of the head or smack on the butt (again not hard at all, just more for suprise factor) is (I've found to be) required... It's like they get themselves so worked up over something (a toy being taken away for misbehaving or not listening, etc.) that they need this physical jolt to knock them out of their positive feedback loop... the cuff or smack on the butt surprises them because it's done so infrequently that they are taken aback and they'll then listen.

Me? I was spanked. Not lightly. It wore off fast. I don't like physical punishment as a general rule but you need to go with what works I guess. :-)



[ Parent ]
There's a difference (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by finial on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:06:15 AM EST

There's a difference between spanking and torture.

[ Parent ]
Spanking does good? (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by Pseudonym on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:23:37 AM EST

Can you remember anything that you were spanked for?

I was spanked as a child, too. I can remember spankings, but I can't remember what I was spanked for (apart from stories that the family tells over and over again to reinforce it). My conclusion is that spanking did not teach me any lessons that I've carried with me to this day.

Therefore I'm highly skeptical of the assertion that spanking does any good. It might not do long-lasting harm either if done "responsibly" (whatever that means), but in many cases it probably does teach the wrong messages.

"This'll teach you to hit your brother!" *whack* Makes perfect sense to me.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
You need to take it in context. (none / 0) (#85)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 04:01:30 PM EST

"This'll teach you to hit your brother!" *whack* Makes perfect sense to me.

Of course that doesn't work. But "Do you like how this feels *pinch*" or "Do you want me to hit you like you're hitting your sister?" is very effective. Sometimes they just don't realize that what they're doing hurts even though it makes perfect sense to an adult.

In a previous message I also mentioned that sometimes I find I have to cuff my 5 year old to knock him out of a screaming fit... The only reasoning I can find which matches why that works and talking/consoling doesn't is that he's stuck in a postive feedback loop of sorts and the physical sensation snaps him out of it like a shock reaction. "You... you hit me?" type of thing. It's done very infrequently and seems to be effective at getting his attention, not at discipline.



[ Parent ]
A rabbi told me (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by i on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:31:18 AM EST

that you don't have such right. Torah gives minimal restrictions and procedures for exercising a right, in addition to restrictions and procedures that may be imposed by society/state in your time and place. Torah says "free your slaves after seven years". It doesn't say there is a legal (or even moral) right to own slaves the first place.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
No it doesn't (2.00 / 1) (#36)
by LordHunter317 on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 09:59:46 AM EST

But that's not my point. He has to right. The rules to exercise it are completely different. Regradless if he will exercise or if its limited by the other factors, the Torah still says you can put your child to death for disobedence. That's it. Since the Jews haven't been following Torah for a long time now, I wouldn't expect them to do that.
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
No, no, no. (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by i on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 11:34:08 AM EST

Torah in general doesn't say you can do something, only that you must do this and you must not do that.

IOW it does not give you rights, only takes them away.

In this specific case, you may go to the relevant passage, with commentary (do not forget to move forward from there). It is believed that this particular law (stoning a child) was never carried out. In general, death sentences are very uncommon in Jewish law. Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) that carried out two death sentences in seven (or maybe seventy) years was deemed "bloody".

This may look like deviation from Torah but most (orthodox) Jews believe it isn't.



and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
In other news (3.07 / 14) (#10)
by jabber on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 08:13:09 PM EST

Misogyny reared it's ugly head a few months ago as Southern Baptists almost unanimously agreed that women should "submit willingly and cheerfully to the will of their husbands."

What's the point of the article. So a mob of religious fanatics got carried away in the manner in which they punish their children. Pity about the battered kids, but what of it? Religion makes people do odd things some times. Half way around the globe, they blew up 2000 year old statues in the name of religion. Western Christians sent tens of thousands of innocent children to the slaughter in the Children's Crusade.. Deranged Priests molest helpless altar boys in the next town over, and a small but prominent faith regularly mutilates the genitalia of their male children.

the world is a sick and crazy place. Film at 11.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

You're right. (3.50 / 2) (#11)
by spaceghoti on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 08:27:41 PM EST

It happens all over the place.

So, knowing this, should we ignore it? Or should I have posted this article under a topic other than News?



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Thin Ice (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by jabber on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 08:38:52 PM EST

News is not as good a place as Culture for this sort of thing. But what is there to be done about it? As soon as you try, you're dictating faith and imposing restrictions on the Freedom of Religion. Next thing you know, people will try to outlaw valid medical procedures, and jail people for witholding medical treatment on the grounds of faith.. And what next?

Given this unfortunate occurance, we might be tempted to say that people should be free to practice their faith as long as it doesn't harm others. But then to what degree does 'harm' need to be prevented? Open wounds, certainly. How about a Christian Scientists deferrence of medical intervention in favor of prayer - harm through willful neglect is still harm, right? And what about the emotional distress I suffer each time a Jehova's Witness wants to save my soul at 8:00am on a Sunday?

It's a slippery slope, and there really isn't a productive discussion to be held, I'm afraid. Maybe, instead of Culture, you could resubmit a fleshed out Op-Ed, and then we could all enjoy a cleansing flame-war. ;)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

no civil courage - fatalism - depression (4.00 / 3) (#14)
by mami on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 09:15:38 PM EST

I think your reaction reflects more a lack of civil courage to stand up against the prevailing general opinion and argumentation of the herd.

It's seems to me an easy cop-out to cave into resignation and it looks a bit of fatalistic. May be it's just simply an expression of your own depression ?

I had no idea that the ideal of freedom of speech and freedom of religion would be so counterproductive to the well being of the American society as a whole. I see here over and over a logical shoot-yourself-in-the-foot bug in the argumentation of where to draw restrictions to the implementations of absolute freedom rights. There is some demonic soul searching going on about the moralily to draw any kind of restrictions to those freedoms to the point that it is damaging yourself.

May be THAT is an issue which should be discussed.

[ Parent ]

You just might be on to something (4.75 / 4) (#16)
by jabber on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 10:59:48 PM EST

The sentiment of Thomas Jefferson has been burned into my mind. For it is no more right for society to impose it's will onto an individual than it is for an individual to impose his will onto society, or something to that effect. And so, while I may disagree, at times even strongly, with the beliefs and practices of others, I find myself hamstrung by the above statement, and lose resolve to even go as far as to state my own beliefs for fear that someone somewhere, living under this rock or that, might take offense.

I try to comfort myself with the thought that maybe, just maybe, the profound words were hatched by the Great Man while he was in bed with a nubile daughter of one of his slaves. This deflates the phrase ever so slightly, but still cripples me like so much red tape.

Freedom and Liberty are slippery eels, and too much of these is not healthy. A society ought to have a common moral compass, yet who is to dictate it's direction in a land which claims to not discriminate against the least of it's citizens?

I'd chance writting up the topic for discussion, but I fear being tarred and feathered like so many a troll. Feel free to take up the gauntlet, and I will vote it to section.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

tarred and feathered (none / 0) (#18)
by spaceghoti on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:27:05 AM EST

Bah. Don't let that stop you. Write it up and I'll vote it Front Page. Furthermore, I'll contribute, even if I think some people are tired of hearing from me.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
try to write something up (none / 0) (#48)
by mami on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:14:36 PM EST

It's too much of an important subject and I don't feel up to the task to tackle it adaequately. I mean you can write a whole book about it and research it for a year. It's not a piece of cake.

[ Parent ]
Small but prominent faith. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by i on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:57:29 AM EST

What? With about one billion followers worldwide, Islam
.
.
.
Oh I see. You were talking about that other faith. Nevermind.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
You know guys.. I learned something today. (none / 0) (#35)
by jabber on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 09:34:21 AM EST

I did not know that. Thank you.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Stunning (4.13 / 22) (#12)
by CheSera on Wed Mar 21, 2001 at 08:31:23 PM EST

So when I first read the article I was expecting a slightly over zealous parent taking the advice of a local minister a little too far. By the time I finished reading I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. This is just incredible. Any moron who reads the bible and gets the main message of child care to be "Beat the crap out of the kid with sticks if he misbehaves" deserves to be locked in a small room away from children for all time.

And the parents! For god sake people, if you love your child don't allow yourself to become easily lead sheep. Trust me. Your children are more important than your God. If your preacher tells you "Its ok to beat your children so that they'll behave", its time to find a new preacher who read the real version of the bible, not whatever this guy was reading.

The article quotes the parents as saying they're actions were influenced by the number of school shootings. Christ in heaven people, violence begets violence! Beat your kids and they will feel the need to beet, shoot, stab, or strangle others. Learn a damn lesson. Turn the other cheek. And if you hit your kids, you deserve that violence returned upon you ten fold.


============
**TATDOMAW**
============

The condundrum that is Christ. (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by darthaggie on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:13:09 PM EST

Christ in heaven people, violence begets violence!

And didn't Christ Himself fashion a whip out of cords and chase the money changers out of the Temple?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Shocking (3.14 / 7) (#19)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:46:47 AM EST

After reading this article more thoroughly, I too am shocked and dismayed. Mainly by this section:

Police and child welfare investigators began talking to teachers, doctors, former church members and children, and two weeks ago they began asking church members to sign pledges not to hit their children until the inquiry was completed.

When parents refused, their children were taken. DFCS officials said the investigation has not been completed, and indicated that more children could be taken into custody.

That's right, people's children were taken because they wouldn't sign a paper saying they wouldn't do something that might be interpreted as breaking the law. They didn't actually break a law, nor were they convicted of breaking any laws. They weren't even convicted of thinking about breaking the law. They were merely suspected of being potential abusers by people who work for the government, and their children were confiscated. It's as common, I think, for this to happen than the abuse it's ostensibly trying to prevent. And, just as much as the abuse, this needs to be stopped.

You have a problem with that? (4.50 / 4) (#40)
by error 404 on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 11:41:39 AM EST

I have a problem with the paper being offered.

On the face of it, there is some fairly heavy child abuse happening - open wounds are not part of any legitimate discipline. Under those circumstances, there really shouldn't be any question about getting the victims of a serious and ongoing apparent crime out of danger. Pledges from the apparent perpetrators? Please. (full disclosure: I recently got a parking ticket from one of the two cops (or at least one with the same last name, on the same force) who gave Jeff Dahmer his last victim back to finish off.)

Now, it may be that the situation isn't what it looks like. Maybe those open wounds were from some other cause. That's what investigation is about. But while you investigate, you secure the situation so nobody else gets hurt. This isn't about punishing the parents. Sure, they won't like it. But given the choice between allowing what looks like a felony to progress and making some people feel bad, well, it ain't a hard call.

And this isn't about spanking. Spanking does not result in open wounds.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Shocking? Yes. Appropriate? Maybe. (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by MarkCC on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 12:55:55 PM EST

It's not a pleasant thing to contemplate taking children away from their parents. But I think it's undeniable that sometimes, it's necessary.

This is a pretty extreme case, where the entire community, as a whole, was acting in an extremely abusive manner, where multiple adults held a child down while another adult hit them with a stick until they were bloody.

This is not acceptable behavior, under any circumstances. Child protective services should not ever leave a child in this situation. I think they acted well within reason. They didn't just randomly start taking kids away: they said "Beating your children in this way is unacceptable behavior. Unless you agree to not do this, we are obligated to take your children in order to protect their safety.

In this situation, refusing to say that you won't beat your children in this way amounts to admitting that you're prepared to do it. And I don't think that CPS should leave a child in that situation.

Stepping slightly back for a moment, CPS agencies are frequently stuck in really lousy situations like this. If they take the kids, then they're portrayed as evil child thieves who take kids away from their parents. But if they don't, and the kids gets beaten to death, who's to blaim? The negligent CPS agency who left the kids with an abusive parent.

[ Parent ]

CPS agencies *are* evil child thieves (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:45:05 PM EST

I agree, this is certainly an extreme case. But even so, the parents, and the children, have a right to due process of law. Certainly the adults that can be proven to have participated in this ought to be thrown in a dungeon. I tend to think that the adults who didn't participate are merely cowardly sheep who were too weak to object or leave, but wouldn't beat their own children. Maybe I'm just naive. But it is wrong to punish someone on suspicion that they might commit a crime.

My reaction would probably be different if I didn't have personal experience with CPS (a friend, not myself... I don't want to go into it). My experience with one agency (Oregon) leaves no doubt that they are brutal, power mad busybodies who think they are above the law. And parents who are victimized by these fascists feel they have no legal recourse, because they stand to lose their children permanently.

See also Wenatchee, Washington, http://www.cpswatch.com/

But if they don't, and the kids gets beaten to death, who's to blaim? The negligent CPS agency who left the kids with an abusive parent.

Hardly. You sound like you think the parents are merely babysitting the children for the state. The abusive parent is to blame. Do you want CPS in your living room investigating every scratch, black eye, or bruise that might indicate abuse? In my experience, if CPS had the ability, they would without a doubt have a camera sitting on your hearth.



[ Parent ]
CPS agencies are *not* evil child thieves (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by MarkCC on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:44:25 PM EST

I'm sorry that you've had a bad experience with some jerks at a bad CPS. But don't extrapolate that to everyone who works at every CPS.

I don't think that parents are babysitting kids for the state. But I do think that kids are largely helpless, and that there are lot of thoroughly evil people out there who beat the living crap out of their kids on a regular basis.

Ideally, CPS is only called in a clear case of abuse. And ideally, CPS will only intervene when there is clear evidence of abuse.

In the case we're discussing, I argue that the CPS agents more than met the appropriate burden of proof. Is it appropriate for us to decide that it's OK to allow parents to beat their kids with a stick until they're bloody? How far does it have to go before someone intervenes?

Of course, just like anything else, the power of the CPS agency can be abused. But when it is, there are legal avenues to challenge it, and to be compensated for it. The key question here is: is the abuse prevented by CPS agents sufficient to justify the potential for abuse perpetrated by CPS agents?

I argue that it is.

To put my view into perspective: my mother was an abused child. Her father beat her bloody on a regular basis. And everyone around her new it: her friends, her neighbors, her schoolteachers, her doctors. But no one intervened. She's now over 60 years old, and still living with the emotional and physical scars of that abuse.

I live in NY. Around here, there've been at least a half dozen cases over the last three years where kids were being severely abused, and CPS was called. The CPS agents either decided not to remove the children, or removed them temporarily and then returned them to the parent. The kids wound up dead.

I cannot accept that as a society, we are not obligated to protect children from this kind of thing when it can be prevented. And I've known some CPS agents, and they're some of the kindest people I've ever met, who do a terrible job with incredibly long hours and obscenely low pay because they truly want to protect children.

I see this as being very similar to the situation with police. There are some thoroughly evil people wearing police uniforms. Plenty of evil things have been done by policemen. Again in my local area, we had a cop try to buy drugs from an innocent black guy, and when the guy refused to tell him where to buy drugs, the thing escalated until the cop shot the innocent guy. And the police department and city government defended the cop for doing it.

But I don't believe that you can build an argument that we shouldn't have cops, because some cops are abusive. A civil society has an obligation to see that its laws are enforced, and to protect its citizens. That is the job of a policeman, and the fact that some people abuse that power only means that society must be vigilant to punish the abusive cops.

I see CPS exactly the same way. We have an obligation to protect children from evil, abusive adults. It is unacceptable for us to stand by, and quietly watch as innocent children are beaten and killed by their parents. CPS agents act on our behalf to protect innocent children from abusive parents. If a CPS agent abuses their power, the appropriate response is not to eliminate the CPS, but to punish the abusive agent.

[ Parent ]

Mostly agreed (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:04:22 PM EST

I agree that we, as a society, have an obligation to protect children against abuse. However, the possibility of abuse of power is too great with the way CPS is currently organized. There are at least two restrictions that should be placed on these agencies:

  • They must have clear evidence of abuse, and a warrant, before removing children from their parents.
  • Parents must be convicted of child abuse before children are placed in foster care. If parents are not tried within a reasonable amount of time, or they are acquitted, their children must be returned.

I don't know, it may just be Oregon and Washington that have fascist CPS agencies. But at least here, nothing like these restrictions is in place. In the case I was involved with, the father was barred from any unsupervised contact with his children (he lived with me) for almost two years without a shred of evidence of abuse except an unexplainable bruise on his 3 year old daughter. The local CPS was finally given a deadline by a judge to come up with some proof. They couldn't.

(By the way, the page about Wenatchee I gave before is very badly written. This should be a little better: http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/powertoharm/)



[ Parent ]
Not Quite (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by odaiwai on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:42:13 AM EST

They had a previous record of carrying out a particular action which was harming others, they were asked to guarantee that they wouldn't continue doing this, so the injured parties were taken out of danger. A slightly different interpretation from yours. dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#94)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:08:25 PM EST

The article doesn't say that. All you can conclude is that they were associated with people who had a record of carrying out that particular action. Presumably, the people who did have a record of child abuse were arrested, and rightly so. If the other parents committed a crime, they should be arrested, and if not, they should be left alone.

[ Parent ]
Spankings and such. (4.40 / 5) (#20)
by gblues on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:52:57 AM EST

Yeah, I was spanked as a child. But you know what? My parents hated it even more than I did. They didn't take pleasure in disciplining me, and they always waited until they were calmed down before they did it.

But discipline is supposed to be between the parent(s) and the child. NOT THE WHOLE STINKING CONGREGATION. And causing actual open wounds! The worst I had to deal with as a kid were bruises or welts that went away overnight.

That's just too messed up.

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
Bizarre, but what about freedom of religion? (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by TuxNugget on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:35:36 AM EST

According to the ABCNEWS article:
"DFCS officials said children told them that when they misbehaved, they would be taken to the church for discipline, which would be organized by the pastor. Two or three adults would hold them down while two or three others would beat them until the pastor said to stop, according to the children's accounts."

I think most of us would rate this as bizarre and probably abusive. Why do the children need to be beaten so hard that 2 or 3 adults are needed to hold them down?

On the other hand, people are supposed to be free in their religious practicies and the state is not supposed to create its own religion. A religion speaks to more than the existence of a god or gods, but also includes teaching about what that god wants or how that god thinks families should best live their lives.

The Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut (and later Roe v. Wade) upheld the idea of a right to privacy in family planning matters. This is an interesting idea, as it was an act of judicial activism. There is no right to privacy in the constitution, but there are a lot of others (speech, religion, etc).

A good question is why this right to privacy from the state in family matters doesn't apply to discipling and raising a family, instead of just reproduction. Or was the use of the word 'family' in 'family planning' just a toss to appease the conservatives in an issue that was really just about sexual freedom?

The child's religion (4.33 / 6) (#27)
by Peeteriz on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:32:19 AM EST

Freedom of religion does not mean that you can force your religion's views on other people, not even your children. If your religion says that one should be beaten up for sins, then that is fine, however, it relates to believers of your religion, and if your children do not like that religion, then you have no right at all to beat them up. What about the freedom of the child's religion?

[ Parent ]
Parents have the freedom of religion. Not kids. (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by TuxNugget on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 08:33:31 AM EST

Well, if we can have Christian Scientists deny their kids' medical treatment in many states, it stands to reason that the freedom of religion rests with the parent and not with the kids. Otherwise, the kids could renounce their faith or switch to something that included modern medicine, and/or the right not to be beaten by 3 or 4 adults holding you down.

I suppose one thing that bothers me is the inconsistency of it all. I mean, if the Christian Scientists can let their kids die..... then why can Georgia troopers take away the kids of those who only want to see non-lethal discipline carried out in church?

[ Parent ]

Not quite true (5.00 / 3) (#47)
by mami on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:05:55 PM EST

Parents have freedom of religion and are allowed to propose to their children to follow the same religion as they do. Usually any religion has some sort of schooling for pre-puberty children to teach them the morals and rules of that religion or church.

After the child has gone through this schooling, the young adult MUST have the freedom to deny to become a member of that religion, even against the will of his parents. If religions can be that abusive and human rights of the child are violated in the name of religious freedom of their parents, there is no way to call that religion a religion. It is simply a spiritual hide-out to allow adults to play out their cruel and violent impulses unchecked by the community's and society's norms. Of course, if abusive beating IS the community's norm than we are in hell anyway.

Get your facts straight. Those parents and this church have abused their children, period. The line from a very controlled, light spank on a cheek of a small child to just a tiny bit heavier spank is thin and you slip from disciplining to killing your child in just a second. NO WAY to justify it. A mother who can't control herself and needs to spank a child, needs help herself, immediately. And the child needs to be protected from that mother. If all that can be done is to transfer these poor kids to the next abusive foster parents, to hell with you all. Are you a bunch of sickos or what ?

Kids have human rights. Their body's well being is to be protected. If the parent becomes the abuser, the parents have to face responsibility for their actions.

The same is true for the child. If a child can collect some guns under his bed and threaten his parents, the child is the abuser of the parent and has to face responsibility of his actions. This already happens too often in this country as well.

I mean, don't you guys see where you are headed with your sicko logic of absolute freedom of religion and absolute privacy rights?

Parents who are worrying how to discipline their children when the child is still in diapers, have some problems of their own, which they need to work on.

Don't try to hide the battle with your own demons behind freedom of religion, freedom of speech and privacy rights. Those rights end for yourself exactly where they start for your next fellow human being living aside to you.

[ Parent ]
Spank yourself (4.22 / 9) (#28)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:48:40 AM EST

This article (after the main text and a warning) contains photos of children that were spanked and beaten; those who justify spanking "if administered responsibly" and talk about this case without any sign of emotions should maybe take a look at them. If this doesn't break your heart, nothing will. Also, read Nospank to find out more about the real effects of spanking: teaching fear instead of responsibility, hate instead of social competence (especially follow the research link).

Children are not property. If spanking kids is a fetish of yours, or you think/feel ("it didn't harm me, it won't harm them") that it will be helpful in "aiding" the learning (despite heaps and heaps of scientific evidence to the exact contrary), that's your business. If you hurt your children so much that they can't sit for days, it's the responsibility of the state to step in.

BTW, if spanking is so effective that it can be applied in schools, then why not apply it to adults as well? On prisoners first, then as a disciplinary method on the job? The problem is, some of the spanking advocates would probably like the idea.
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Actually (3.80 / 5) (#32)
by farmgeek on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 08:43:50 AM EST

That link contains images of children who were beaten. Spanking does not leave bruises. Beatings and abuse do.

I also found the pro-spanking message at the bottom of the picture page very persuasive. Thanks for the link.

As far as the research links from nospank, after reading through all the ones that specifically addressed spanking as opposed to abuse or severe physical punishment, the evidence they offer to support the opinion that spanking (see the above definition) causes undesirable effects are slim. Mostly because they do not make a distinction between what is generally accepted as a properly administered spanking,(done calmly, without anger, administered in immediate response to the action and administered consistently) and what most spanking advocates would deem improper spanking (violent, angry, delayed).

If yourself or any researcher are going to attempt to demonstrate that spanking (again, done properly) produces undesirable results you should address it directly rather than lumping all forms of corporeal punishment together.

As far as the positive effects of spanking, I see them everyday in my children, and the children of others around me who raise their children in a like manner.


[ Parent ]
There's always one... (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:11:24 PM EST

In any crowd, there's always one person who confuses spanking with beating someone until he/she has welts, open wounds, or internal injuries. Apparently in this crowd that's you. I challenge you to point to ONE study that was done ONLY on children who were "properly" spanked(ie no marks, no injuries,) and shows any ill effect, and which was conducted in a reasonably scientifically rigorous fashion on a reasonable sample with a control group and so on.

Just one will do.

Good luck. It doesn't exist. Not even one.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Before I reply .. (none / 0) (#53)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 03:46:19 PM EST

.. would you, or farmgeek, please reply to the last paragraph in my original comment?
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[ Parent ]
You mean about spanking adults? (none / 0) (#55)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:04:32 PM EST

Sure. You want to smack prisoners around a bit, I have no real problem with that. They should be inspected by physicians from time to time, because I don't believe in injuring them, but while you're probably not aware of this, prisons do this every day, in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

If you mean other adults, then no. Why? Simple: you don't punish adults without convicting them of something. That's how things work. Parents have special authority to punish children; if you want THAT to end, then your argument is NOT about spanking, and you should admit it up front.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Your boss has authority, too (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:14:43 PM EST

Why? Simple: you don't punish adults without convicting them of something.

What about companies? There are often disciplinary methods in a company for dealing with people who misbehave (by the definition of a superior). Do you think that companies should adopt a spanking policy, since, as you yourself assert, spanking is such an effective way to teach people the difference between right and wrong? Should a coder be spanked when he can't keep his deadline?

After all, if he's against spanking, he can always switch to a company that doesn't do it (if there are still some of them left). I don't ask you whether a company should be allowed to set up such a policy, I ask you whether you think it would be effective and reasonable to do that. Would you, if you ran a company, want to spank your employees?
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Spank employees? (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:23:44 PM EST

No, because past the age of somewhere between five and twelve or so, spanking achieves the exact opposite of what it achieves in five year olds. You can pretend that five year olds are just like tiny twenty year olds if you like, but it isn't likely to be believed. When I was five, spankings were both terrible and embarassing, and added significantly to my trepidation in doing certain improper things. When I was ten, they just pissed me off. If you tried it now, you'd be surprised at what a wiry guy like me could do to your face, your genitals, and so on.

(As for the question you didn't ask, there is a simple distinction: if you want to start enforcing the rights we accord to adults fully to all children, then you're going to have to enforce the responsibilities we require of adults too. Some five year old threw a brick out a third story window and killed someone? Fry the bastard! I doubt that's what you want.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
We're getting closer.. (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:31:20 PM EST

No, because past the age of somewhere between five and twelve or so, spanking achieves the exact opposite of what it achieves in five year olds.

Yeah, I expected something like that. After the magical age phase when children can be "properly spanked" to adjust their behavior, suddenly, the human brain magically alters its structure in an unexpected way and -boom- spanking doesn't teach right behavior anymore, it teaches hatred and violence.

But your logic is incomplete. Why then do you think that criminals should be punished to teach them the right behavior? Wouldn't that then achieve the exact opposite?

you'd be surprised at what a wiry guy like me could do to your face

You'd be surprised what good restraints can do to your self-defense.

if you want to start enforcing the rights we accord to adults fully to all children, then you're going to have to enforce the responsibilities

No.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

More spanking (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 04:41:53 PM EST

You're working hard to avoid having to post that study. I guess that's necessary...
After the magical age phase when children can be "properly spanked" to adjust their behavior, suddenly, the human brain magically alters its structure in an unexpected way and -boom- spanking doesn't teach right behavior anymore, it teaches hatred and violence.
Spanking is not about teaching right behavior. It is about providing a disincentive to wrong behavior, and it works as long as the child considers the parent to be an absolute authority. This is something children have to grow out of, but that does not mean spanking is useless before they do.
Why then do you think that criminals should be punished to teach them the right behavior?
Physically punishing criminals is not about teaching right behavior. It is done to provide disincentive to misbehavior and also to maintain control; the guards are outnumbered, and as in all such situations, the best way to maintain power is to be feared. This is entirely different from the non-criminal issue of lightly smacking children on their asses, though, in intent, intensity, duration, and end effect.
You'd be surprised what good restraints can do to your self-defense.
Do you really believe anyone would go to work for an employer with a policy that included restraints for "misbehavior?" I don't.
No.
Parents who act like you are the reason so many kids run around acting like criminal adults. Rights yes, responsibilities no, do whatever you want and we'll make it all better for you. That's bullshit. Either you deserve the protections due to someone who is capable of independent thought and action, and are therefore bound to act the part, or else you do not and are not.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
So we need a police state (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:07:10 PM EST

Spanking is [..] about providing a disincentive to wrong behavior, and it works as long as the child considers the parent to be an absolute authority. [...] Physically punishing criminals is [..] done to provide disincentive to misbehavior.

Differently worded: It works while the child still believes that the consequence can truly be applied. When the child grows up and he realizes that his parents aren't the all-powerful-gods they seemed to be, that he can defend himself and run away if he wants to, he no longer needs to fear the punishment. Similarly, corporal punishment in school works because a kid can be thrown out of the school if he defends himself against the punishment, so there is real authority to back the threat of punishment up.

So it is not a change in the human brain that you give as a reason for your assumption that most adults shouldn't be spanked, it is a shift of power. Why then should the state not stage public spankings or similar punishments in case of light crimes like petty theft? This has been done in past centuries and is still done in other countries.

What I do not understand either is why the strength of the punishment matters. Shouldn't the reward/punishment-model work according to a simple scale: the stronger the punishment, the stronger the incentive to avoid the related behavior? (Of course, in such a system, minor misbehavior should be punished with light spankings, while bigger misbehavior should be punished with belts or paddles.) Why does it matter to the human brain whether the punishment applied leaves bruises or not, or whether it is done with a paddle or the hand?

Do you really believe anyone would go to work for an employer with a policy that included restraints for "misbehavior?"

Why not? Why shouldn't he argue "Spanking hasn't harmed me as a child! I see no reason why it should harm me now"? Wouldn't that be in his enlightened self-interest? The first tool for motivating people that actually works! "My Secret to Success: My Boss Spanked Me!" Would you want to be spanked as a way of motivation?

The guards are outnumbered, and as in all such situations, the best way to maintain power is to be feared.

Only if you assume that the majority of criminals are wild beasts whose primary interest is assuming power, not maintaining a stable mini-society. The German prison system, for example, doesn't work with "spreading fear". It works by providing a social order into which people are integrated. Then the prisoners, in their own self-interest, help the guards in maintaining control.

Parents who act like you are the reason so many kids run around acting like criminal adults.

No. Parents who deny children the love, help and security they need are the reason for that.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Yes, well... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:20:22 PM EST

As I already said, the one difference between children and adults is that we grant parents extremely broad discretion with regard to children, and adults have no such supervision save for the case in which they break a law. Employer supervision is nothing of the kind; an employer has no real recourse except to fire you. All the "verbal warnings" and "written reprimands" and so on in the world do not mean a damned thing except insofar as they are steps on the road to firing you.

The police state idea is untenable in the long run, and violates the rights of those who live in it. Children simply do not have the full set of freedoms we accord to adults, and nobody sane is suggesting they should, either. You want five year olds driving cars? How about operating heavy machinery in proximity to the public, or flying commercial aircraft? Maybe you want them allowed to carry guns, too. I have an idea. Let's let them fend for themselves. That'll work out really well. They'll be free!

As for employee motivation, I'm motivated by liking my job and my salary.

As for the German prison system... well, let's just say I doubt that theory works much better in Germany than it does in the US, where it is a dismal failure. Prison gangs are the primary problem. Why fit into a social order if it means someone's going to stab you in the kidney? Doesn't make much sense. And of course, you can't fight the gangs, because they bribe guards and so on; they've got friends outside the prison, so you can't get away from them. They're pretty nasty, in fact.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You are dodging my questions (none / 0) (#64)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:32:11 PM EST

  1. Why then should the state not stage public spankings or similar punishments in case of light crimes like petty theft?
  2. Shouldn't the reward/punishment-model work according to a simple scale: the stronger the punishment, the stronger the incentive to avoid the related behavior? (Of course, in such a system, minor misbehavior should be punished with light spankings, while bigger misbehavior should be punished with belts or paddles.)
  3. Would you want to be spanked as a way of motivation?
As I already said, the one difference between children and adults is that we grant parents extremely broad discretion with regard to children, and adults have no such supervision save for the case in which they break a law.

True, dat. But why should adults not be spanked in public when they break the law?

Employer supervision is nothing of the kind; an employer has no real recourse except to fire you. All the "verbal warnings" and "written reprimands" and so on in the world do not mean a damned thing except insofar as they are steps on the road to firing you.

Sure, just as a school can decide to throw out a student. But in many cases, the employee would want to avoid the ultimate consequence of being fired, especially if his particular working field doesn't have many free jobs, so spanking should be just as efficient as it is in schools.

Children simply do not have the full set of freedoms

I have not argued for that. I am saying that children can have a lot more rights than they have now without necessarily having the same responsibilities as adults.

As for employee motivation, I'm motivated by liking my job and my salary.

Isn't additional motivation always a good thing? Give me one good argument why you do not want to be spanked. We're both reasonable adults - we can talk about it.

As for the German prison system... well, let's just say I doubt that theory works much better in Germany than it does in the US

I'll spare you the statistics.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

No, I'm not:) (none / 0) (#65)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:39:45 PM EST

Why then should the state not stage public spankings or similar punishments in case of light crimes like petty theft?
Assuming there is a conviction, good question. Why not?
Shouldn't the reward/punishment-model work according to a simple scale: the stronger the punishment, the stronger the incentive to avoid the related behavior?
Not necessarily. People's aversion to punishment is a rather interesting topic. I don't know as much as I'd like about it, but I suggest you consult psychology literature. For instance, once a prison sentence gets past about ten years, adding years has no additional effect, really, except to keep the person incarcerated longer. Someone told "You can do ten years for that" is just as motivated not to do it as if he'd been told "You can get life for that!"
Would you want to be spanked as a way of motivation?
This doesn't even seem relevant, but I already said no.
Give me one good argument why you do not want to be spanked.
Simple: there is nothing I could do to an employer that wouldn't be something that would end up in court that deserves such a punishment.
I'll spare you the statistics.
That's what you've been doing ever since I wrote my first reply, as you may recall. Find that study on spanking yet? :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Exploring the abyss of a diseased mind .. (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:54:14 PM EST

Assuming there is a conviction, good question. Why not?

So if you steal a pack of cigarettes at your local Wal Mart, and you get caught, it would be appropriate to strip you, put you on a public platform, and spank you, with hundreds of people watching?

Someone told "You can do ten years for that" is just as motivated not to do it as if he'd been told "You can get life for that!"

The key difference here is that the life sentence can only be applied a single time. The human brain is simply unable to imagine in advance the difference between 10 years and 30 years -- these are just numbers without past experience to back them up. With a spanking, on the other hand, it is different: You can very well remember the difference of being beaten with a belt or with the hand, and extrapolate the future results of your actions.

So, again, why shouldn'twhipping a child with a belt (regardless of whether blood is spilled or not) in some instances be more appropriate than spanking a child with a hand? Why is the one a "proper spanking" and the other an "improper spanking"? Even if you were right, at worst the effect would be the same, so a little more can't harm, right?

there is nothing I could do to an employer that wouldn't be something that would end up in court that deserves such a punishment.

Oh, really? A kid can be spanked when it screams too long and too loudly, but you say you can only be spanked when you do something that's really bad? What makes you think that only in these instances, a spanking would be an efficient way to teach you to avoid certain kinds of behavior in the future?

Find that study on spanking yet?

I don't have to search.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Whip his ass! (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by trhurler on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:16:06 PM EST

So if you steal a pack of cigarettes at your local Wal Mart, and you get caught, it would be appropriate to strip you, put you on a public platform, and spank you, with hundreds of people watching?
I bet I wouldn't do that again.
So, again, why shouldn'twhipping a child with a belt (regardless of whether blood is spilled or not) in some instances be more appropriate than spanking a child with a hand?
Because the harsher form can cause long term problems for the child. Unless and until you cough up that study you promised about ten posts back in exchange for my reply, I still don't believe that light spankings of small children are harmful if applied consistently, fairly, and without anger.
What makes you think that only in these instances, a spanking would be an efficient way to teach you to avoid certain kinds of behavior in the future?
It would never teach me anything. It would merely coerce me. I've already learned what I'm going to learn. That's another large difference between me and a five year old. Five year olds can and do learn. If I haven't figured out the basics of morality and legality by now, I'm hopeless.
I don't have to search.
Cough it up, then. Remember, it needs to be scientifically conducted(and needs, as with all proper research, to state explicitly how it was conducted,) and it needs to be about spankings, rather than blatant abuse. You can refuse to recognize the distinction all you want, but if you do, you're merely going to convince me that I'm right and you're engaging in dishonest package dealing of things which are not truly alike.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
More contradictions .. (none / 0) (#72)
by Eloquence on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 07:15:52 PM EST

Seems like K5 is slashdotted.

I bet I wouldn't do that again.

So you revise your earlier statement "If you mean other adults, then no"? If this is the case, I still can't see why spanking shouldn't be an effective employee education technique.

Because the harsher form can cause long term problems for the child.

What kind of problems? Why do they occur, and why do they not occur if the punishment is applied lightly?

It would never teach me anything. It would merely coerce me. I've already learned what I'm going to learn. That's another large difference between me and a five year old. Five year olds can and do learn. If I haven't figured out the basics of morality and legality by now, I'm hopeless.

Oh, it doesn't work, then. So you revise your earlier statement that a thief who steals a pack of cigarettes wouldn't do it again after being publicly spanked? So you revise your earlier statement that a prisoner should be spanked to create an incentive for avoiding misbehavior?

Cough it up, then.

These threads are separate. I will reply when this thread has ended.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Warning, Ad Hominem attacks within! (none / 0) (#77)
by Pimp Ninja on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 08:56:56 AM EST

i can't believe what i'm reading here. You're basically running around in verbal circles, trying desperately to avoid having to demonstrate a damn thing conclusively. i'm seriously impressed at how far your head has gotten stuck up your ass

Going back several layers into this thread, i have to agree with th that it's people like you that lead to squalling little tantrum-tossing brats running roughshod over their parents, their teachers, and their babysitters... Until the real world runs roughshod over them. Face it. Kids, up to a certain age - definable both biologically and sociologically - are influenced in a positive manner by properly applied discipline, whatever the method - and let's face it, if it don't hurt, they don't care. God knows, i never did. All a "time out" would have meant to me would have been time for thought and fantasies and amusing myself with self-told stories. Some punishment, yep. Oh, that's gonna keep me behavin'

Sorry, man. Your argument, even if it weren't so flawed that a lobotomized monkey could poke holes in it, just doesn't hold water. And, speaking of monkeys, ever notice how other species discipline their young? Not with "time outs", i'll tell you that for certain... And you know what? It seems to work pretty well for them!


-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


[ Parent ]
Are you reading what I'm writing, by chance? (none / 0) (#78)
by trhurler on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 10:50:51 AM EST

So you revise your earlier statement "If you mean other adults, then no"?
We're talking about someone convicted of petty theft. I specifically said I thought it was a reasonable thing to do to criminals. The "other adults" part was people NOT convicted of any crime. I don't really want to get into personal attacks, but are you even reading what I'm writing closely enough to produce cogent replies, or are you just deadset on running me into the ground through sheer volume of posts?!
What kind of problems? Why do they occur, and why do they not occur if the punishment is applied lightly?
Depends. Physical problems, if it is severe enough, and the reason is obvious. Maybe psychological problems, although that seems to vary widely from one individual to the next. Some are traumatized by having once been given a nasty welt, and some seem immune to the craziest and most cruel of treatment. Why? Ask a professional; neither you nor I knows or is going to find out by arguing about it.
So you revise your earlier statement that a thief who steals a pack of cigarettes wouldn't do it again after being publicly spanked?
Nope. I don't think he'll learn anything in terms of "doing the right thing," but I do think he won't do it again, because it isn't worth it. You're creating a circumstance where effectively stealing is like placing a bet, and if you lose, you lose a lot more than you can possibly win. Most people are far more risk averse than they are desirous of benefits; they'll prefer inaction to the possibility of loss. It might not stop him from stealing something worth lots of money, though, because there the reward can be much larger, making the "bet" seem more worthwhile.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You don't know what you're talking about (none / 0) (#90)
by Eloquence on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 03:59:28 AM EST

I'm sorry that I didn't find the time to reply earlier; upgrading infoAnarchy took some effort. Since most people are probably no longer following this, I'll make it short and also post a longer reply to your earlier request. I'd be interested in continuing this thread, though.

We're talking about someone convicted of petty theft. I specifically said I thought it was a reasonable thing to do to criminals. The "other adults" part was people NOT convicted of any crime.

I understood that (in the context of "smacking prisoners around a bit") as meaning only people convicted to prison sentences should be spanked. So conviction of any crime should be punishable by spanking? Copyright violations can also be criminally prosecuted. Should Napster users be spanked, too? Crackers? Tax evaders? If your vision becomes reality, I'll bet the sound of "whipped asses" becomes even more common than it was a couple centuries ago.

Depends. Physical problems, if it is severe enough, and the reason is obvious.

Sure, but most bleeding wounds heal after some time, or can be properly treated. Accidents happen. That's the excuse wifebeaters use all the time, so I don't see why it shouldn't work for people who beat kids.

Maybe psychological problems, although that seems to vary widely from one individual to the next. Some are traumatized by having once been given a nasty welt, and some seem immune to the craziest and most cruel of treatment.

So you don't really know what you're talking about when you talk about potential trauma. You don't know when a spanking is strong enough to cause it and when it isn't, and in which kind of kids, and what kind of trauma. You have read no studies on the subject whatsoever and have no psychological education. Still you think that it's right to do it, and that you know what is a "proper" (non-traumatizing) spanking and what isn't. I personally have no problem with arrogance, but I have a problem with the mix between arrogance and ignorance that people like you exhibit. It's a very, very dangerous thing.

Perhaps parents should do tests on their kids -- spank harder and harder, see when they start overreacting, and then use a spanking method that is slightly weaker, to "test their limits". If there are no other problems associated with it, it may very well strengthen the memory of the punishment, thus strengthen the lesson learned. The broader the spectrum of pain you can apply, the more sophisticated becomes your reward/punishment model. You can even set up a scoring system.

And after all, parents know their kids better than anyone else. They know which kids can take a lot of pain, and which ones can't. And you can train kids to become less sensitive to pain -- start by giving them cold showers only, for example. A hooligan in a recent German TV documentary explained how this -- and the obligatory spanking, of course -- made him a stronger person, so strong in fact that he compared beating up other people to an orgasm.

That's the kind of person we want our kids to grow up into, right? I'm sure they - like you - would also enjoy public punishments. Really enjoy them indeed.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Re: More spanking (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by MarkCC on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 11:20:57 AM EST

Parents who act like you are the reason so many kids run around acting like criminal adults. Rights yes, responsibilities no, do whatever you want and we'll make it all better for you. That's bullshit. Either you deserve the protections due to someone who is capable of independent thought and action, and are therefore bound to act the part, or else you do not and are not.

Sorry, but this paragraph that I quote is the real bullshit.

You can discipline a kid without hitting them. And saying that a child is deserving of the same fundamental human rights as an adult is not the same thing as saying that they should be treated as an adult.

Kids are kids. They don't have the same understanding of things as adults. They don't have the same reasoning skills as adults. They don't have as much knowledge as adults. But they are still human beings, with all of the rights that belong to any human being. Appropriate discipline for children needs to take into account both the proper degree of respect for their humanity, and their ability to understand what they did.

In your earlier example: if an adult throws a rock out a window, they understand exactly what's going to happen, and exactly how much harm they could do to someone standing below. A five year old kid knows that it's wrong to do that, but they don't really understand how badly they could hurt someone. The adult is far more responsible than the child, and should be punished far more harshly than the child, because the adult has knowledge and experience that the child doesn't.

But that's an entirely different question from whether or not a child has intrinsic human rights.

Recognizing that your child is a human being with rights is not the same thing as letting your kid run around and do whatever they want. And disciplining your child with respect is an effective way of teaching them the difference between right and wrong. You don't need to hit them, and you don't need to humiliate them.

[ Parent ]

A minor problem. (none / 0) (#82)
by trhurler on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 02:12:22 PM EST

If you protect children from the consequences of their actions, you have to make certain that it does not appear that you are doing so. Otherwise, they learn quickly that actions have no consequences worth speaking of. Yes, it is advisable to not let kids ruin their lives, but they're far too coddled today; most of them have a real rude shock when they get out of high school and realize all of a sudden that, hey, this is your life, and you have to live it, and nobody's there to save your ass if you don't. I'm guessing this is a large part of why so many of them screw it up so badly. I'm also guessing that this is a far worse thing than spanking. Do note that I'm NOT talking about beatings here; a swat on the ass is not a beating.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Who said anything about avoiding consequences? (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by MarkCC on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 02:28:36 PM EST

If you protect children from the consequences of their actions, you have to make certain that it does not appear that you are doing so. Otherwise, they learn quickly that actions have no consequences worth speaking of. Yes, it is advisable to not let kids ruin their lives, but they're far too coddled today; most of them have a real rude shock when they get out of high school and realize all of a sudden that, hey, this is your life, and you have to live it, and nobody's there to save your ass if you don't. I'm guessing this is a large part of why so many of them screw it up so badly. I'm also guessing that this is a far worse thing than spanking. Do note that I'm NOT talking about beatings here; a swat on the ass is not a beating.

Who said anything about protecting children from the consequences of their actions? As a parent, I firmly believe in strict discipline. I just do not believe in physical discipline.

I was never spanked growing up. I was, at times, severely punished when I did something wrong. But instead of hitting me, my parents punished me in much more intelligent ways. Ranging from withdrawing priviledges (you don't get to watch your favorite TV show) to making up for what I did in some way (you'll fix the flowerbed you messed up by yourself)...

That kind of punishment is both less violent, less prone to get out of control, and more likely to have a long term impact than a smack on the butt. It doesn't just have the point-source influence of a moment of pain, but the lasting memory of what you did wrong and how it was connected to the punishment. ANd that's far more effective at teaching about the consequences of your actions than hitting.

[ Parent ]

Selective perception is a powerful mechanism (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by Eloquence on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 05:11:00 AM EST

You want evidence that "proper" spanking doesn't cause negative effects. On the Nospank page I provided in my original comment, several such studies are documented -- often including links to the full text of the studies themselves. Yet you kept asking for that study like some complete illiterate -- which you aren't, you are a highly intelligent and literate man, which just illustrates my point below. Just to give you a couple examples of the studies listed there:

Spanking by Parents and Subsequent Antisocial Behavior of Children
Murray A. Straus, PhD; David B. Sugarman, PhD; Jean Giles-Sims, PhD
Article - August 1997-- Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescents Medicine

Full text linked above, summary from AMA news update, all emphasis mine:

CHICAGO--Spanking children to correct or control their behavior may seem to work in the short term, but has the opposite effect in the long term, according to an article in the August issue of the AMA's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Murray A. Straus, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, Durham, and colleagues studied data on 807 mothers. Each had at least one child age 6-9 years when they were interviewed as part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-Child Supplement in 1988.

The researchers found that 44 percent of the mothers reported spanking their children at least once during the week prior to the interview. On average, the children were spanked 2.1 times during that week.

After measuring the children's antisocial behavior scores through interviews with the mothers, the researchers found that children who were spanked even once during the week prior to the base interview, showed an increase in antisocial behavior two years after the base interview. They also found that the more times a child is spanked, also known as corporal punishment, the more likely the child is to display antisocial behavior.

Antisocial behavior in this study is based on six items:

  • cheats or tells lies
  • bullies or is cruel or mean to others
  • does not feel sorry after misbehaving
  • breaks things deliberately
  • is disobedient at school
  • has trouble getting along with teachers

The researchers write: "We suggest that reduction or elimination of corporal punishment could have major benefits for children and for reducing antisocial behavior in society."

Unlike previous studies, this study was able to separate corporal punishment and antisocial behavior from parenting style, socioeconomic status, sex of the child and ethnic background.

Despite the fact that some parents believe that emotional warmth and cognitive stimulation can override the effects of corporal punishment, the researchers found that it had no bearing on the situation.

In addition, the link between corporal punishment and antisocial behavior remained valid after adjusting for socioeconomic status, the sex of the child and ethnic background. The increase in antisocial behavior because of spanking was smaller for girls and minority children; however, the researchers caution that the increase was in direct proportion to the amount of corporal punishment the children received.

They write: "Considering research showing that antisocial behavior in childhood is associated with violence and other crime as an adult, society as whole, not just children, could benefit from ending the system of violent childrearing that goes under the euphemism of spanking." Spanking has also been linked to low self-esteem, depression and low educational attainment.

They add: "If the finding in minority group children is valid, it is particularly important because many minority group parents believe that under the conditions of inner-city life their children 'need strong discipline' ... Children growing up in those difficult circumstances no doubt need closer supervision and control, but attempting to do this by corporal punishment may exacerbate rather than help the situation."

Corporal punishment in this study is defined as "the use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correction or control of the child's behavior." Parents using corporal punishment almost never use the term, rather they call it "a swat, "a spanking," or "a whooping."

In the current sample, 10 percent of mothers reported spanking their children three or more times during the week preceding the original interview; 14.1 percent spanked their children twice; and 19.8 percent spanked their children once. (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:761-767)

Or take this study:

Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a general population sample
Harriet L. MacMillan,* MD; Michael H. Boyle,* PhD; Maria Y.-Y. Wong,* MSc; Eric K. Duku,* MSc; Jan E. Fleming, MD; Christine A. Walsh,* MSW
Canadian Medical Association Journal 1999;161(7):805-9

This study examined adults "who did not report a history of physical or sexual abuse during childhood, was used to assess the relation between a history of slapping or spanking and the lifetime prevalence of 4 categories of psychiatric disorder." Summary:

The majority of respondents indicated that they had been slapped or spanked, or both, by an adult during childhood "sometimes" (33.4%) or "rarely" (40.9%); 5.5% reported that this occurred "often." The remainder (20.2%) reported "never" experiencing these behaviours. Among the respondents without a history of physical or sexual abuse during childhood, those who reported being slapped or spanked "often" or "sometimes" had significantly higher lifetime rates of anxiety disorders (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.041.96), alcohol abuse or dependence (adjusted OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.273.21) and one or more externalizing problems (adjusted OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.363.16), compared with those who reported "never" being slapped or spanked. There was also an association between a history of slapping or spanking and major depression, but it was not statistically significant (adjusted OR 1.64, 95% CI 0.962.80).

There are many more studies like this, including many European ones. Some of them have been done in the seventies. Large scientific organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics have released official statements discouraging parents from spanking their kids. Of course there are also many studies on severe child abuse, but most of those who examine spanking have gone to lengths to exclude this kind of abuse from their samples. Although this is of no scientific value, even conservative governments in some countries have accepted the impressive amount of research which shows negative effects of spanking and discouraged people from spanking children. In some countries, this has been turned into law.

Science is obviously not the problem. Selective perception is, and my discussion with you has clearly illustrated this. You have changed your arguments as I have changed my questions -- because the brain works first by giving you the emotion and then it produces the desired result. The emotion is "spanking = good", and your brain will do everything it can to convince yourself and others that this is the case. It will adjust itself to the respective situation, often ignoring contradictions with past statements. (Religious fundamentalists are another good example for this.) You will question any scientific study on grounds that the kids referred to therein were not properly spanked, or that the scientists were prejudiced, or that their methodology was flawed, or that the whole study was bought, or that the effects were not really that bad, or that they spanked their kids too often, or that science is not an appropriate way to describe reality and should be replaced with faith (of course, in your case, there would be emotional reasons not to use this last argument, but in other cases, there aren't). If that all doesn't help, there's still ad hominem.

Humans have pretty powerful processors, but our value system is very primitive and animalistic. Selective perception is a very powerful mechanism, and there's nothing I can say to convince you -- I am not talking to your rational mind, I am talking to your limbic system, your reptile brain. It has been programmed to accept spanking as necessary long ago. If I'm wrong, then please explain this:

The article to which this discussion is attached reports that a 10-year-old was beaten so severely that he had open wounds on his stomach. The people doing this justified it as necessary to prevent children from committing crimes. If you discussed it with them, they would use the exact same arguments you have used, plus some Bible crap. You know that. Yet few of the pro-spankers have clearly condemned these actions. Instead, many have started their comments with "I was spanked, and it didn't harm me". I don't say that you or these people are justifying the actions of these barbarians, although the spanking ideology leads downward this spiral, as my discussion with you has shown.

There are people working to stop serious physical child abuse. Why are you, the pro-spankers, not helping them and put your personal pro-spanking agenda over condemning obviously barbaric acts instead? If spanking is such a great tool that is only dangerous when "abused", then why not found a pro-spanking organization that explains the scientific basis of your arguments and rebuts the arguments of those who argue for strong physical punishment? I'll tell you why: Because your argument base is the same. You know that if you start questioning the "improper" corporal punishment seriously, your own mindset is in danger. That's why you don't do it. When a child is beaten half to death, you don't condemn the action. Instead, you point to your right to spank your kids.

Selective perception is a powerful mechanism, and a very dangerous one. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to change the mind of those that already have an emotionally strengthened opinion. But if you know that you're wrong and only feel that you're right, you should at least have the honesty to STFU and stop spreading this obviously completely idiotic, self-contradictory and dangerous spanking meme. Because this time it's not some excuse for censoring speech -- it's really about the children.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

That link isn't about spanking (none / 0) (#86)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 04:27:18 PM EST

That link is about beating. And putting the pro-spanking story on the page with the pictures is a pathetic attempt to connect spanking with those pictures. Pathetic.

I agree with many of the sentiments of the pro-spanking story. As I've mentioned earlier in this story, I don't often discipline my kids with physical punishment but sometimes it is far more effective than anything else I can think of.

A perfect example: My 1.5 year old daughter. She likes to turn the TV on and off (and on and off and on and off)... Must've gotten that button-pushing gene from me, heh. Anyway, she does understand no. I know this. When she turns the TV on I tell her to turn it off. (She also understands this very well). If she doesn't I'll repeat myself. Then I'm on my feet and she's running for the couch because she knows what I'm going to do. I grab her, put her in front of the TV, take her hand, touch the on/off button, say "NO" and smack her hand.

Of course, she wails and screams for a minute. Is she brutally beaten? Of course not. WHo does she come to in a minute? Dad. And I always pick her up and tell her "You will learn, my little bear." She does... for a couple days.

She's also the one who sticks her fingers in the VCR tape door and gets them stuck. She also knows not to do this. Honestly I think she just likes looking inside (and same with the TV, she likes having the ability to control it) which is why she does it every few weeks or so.

What do you want me to do with my 1.5 year old daughter? Move the TV up higher? Rediculous, that doesn't teach her not to touch, that teaches her that I don't trust her. The TV isn't dangerous, I am setting out a rule and she (usually) follows it. I know she understands it. Would you like me to talk about this with my 18 month old daughter? Or not let her watch any TV for a week? Physical discipline is clearly the best method for this indescretion because of the nature of it and her age.

My almost-five year old stepson is a different matter. The only time I smack him is to snap him out of a screaming fit (very infrequent) or to demonstrate that what he's doing to his sister hurts. "*pinch* Do you like being pinched? No? Then don't do it to your sister." Sometimes the immediate feedback of physical punishment is MUCH better than any drawn-out and intellectual punishment.

Kids are not little adults. They do not rationalize like adults and they don't have the intellectual capabilities of adults. The sooner the adults realize this the better. I'm not saying beat your kids. I'm saying raise them and choose appropriate disciplines. In my mind spanking is not to be used as a default discipline but it should not be ruled out.



[ Parent ]
Sorry didn't see the last paragraph. (none / 0) (#87)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 04:34:26 PM EST

BTW, if spanking is so effective that it can be applied in schools, then why not apply it to adults as well? On prisoners first, then as a disciplinary method on the job? The problem is, some of the spanking advocates would probably like the idea.

After a certain age it is often more effective to rationalize or use an intellectual approach to discipline. Fines, "demerit points" etc. For some this doesn't work and I full agree with spanking an adult in this case, just the same as I would a child.

Question: Why don't I spank my 5 year old stepson? Why don't I smack his hands like I do my 18 month old daughter? Because his mental capacity and his intellectual abilities have progressed beyond the need for direct physical punishment. This paragraph of yours is flip to say the least.

Wouldn't it be embarassing to be spanked as an adult? Hell yes. Painful? Should be. Maybe the stupid ass would learn then and everyone else would be able to see he hasn't go the cognitive abilities of my 5 year old.



[ Parent ]
Spanking adults (none / 0) (#89)
by JonesBoy on Mon Mar 26, 2001 at 10:16:08 AM EST

As we all remember from an international vandalism incident in Eastern Asia (hong kong?) some cultures do believe in spanking adults. In that case, an American kid spraypainted a car for fun, and was sentenced to a usual punishment for the area, a caning. He complained to the US counsul, but the sentence was carried out, and he got several lashes with a wet bamboo cane, leaving large welts on his backside.

I think he learned his lesson.

I think it is a lot better than fining him or putting him up in a jail for a short time. Both of those would be far more expensive and offer less of an incentive for repeat offenses.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Nope, not Hong Kong (none / 0) (#93)
by odaiwai on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:53:26 AM EST

It was Singapore. Hong Kong generally follows British Criminal Law and has no corporal punishment in the prison system.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
Your methods... (4.40 / 5) (#30)
by Rocky on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 08:23:27 AM EST

Throughout this discussion, I've seen many objections to spanking, most of them quite justified. However, I've only seen a few messages concerning alternatives to discipline.

My question is, how do you effectively yet humanely discipline your children? Discipline is obviously vital: part of a parent's job is to provide bounds for a child's behavior so they (the child) can know what is acceptable to society and what is not. How is this accomplished? If not spanking, then what?

Just as a full disclosure, my first child is rapidly approaching his first year, and I am struggling with this issue, as I'm sure every parent has.

BTW, from what I've seen of other parents (friends, relatives), "Time Out" seems to be pretty ineffective.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
Book suggestion (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Pseudonym on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 08:53:58 AM EST

I suggest investing in a copy of The Discipline Book by Sears & Sears. In fact, anything by Sears & Sears is a good investment. :-)

This book has lots of practical stuff in it.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Effective discipline without hitting (4.80 / 5) (#34)
by MarkCC on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 09:33:21 AM EST

I'm also a new parent, and my daughter is only seven months old, so I'm in a similar situation. My comments are based on a combination of what my parents did while I was growing up, and what I've seen watching friends with older children.

What I've seen work for discipline is very simple: denial of priviledges.

This isn't time out. The point of time-out is that many kids tend to become very overstimulated, and that leads to hyperactive mishebavior. The easiest way to fix that is to force a few moments of quiet time on them. If you're using it right, it works great. But it's not an effective way of punishing a child for misbehavior; it's just a way of temporarily halting the overstimulation that leads to the misbehavior. The point of it is to calm them down before they get so out of control that they do something really bad.

Denial of priviledges is exactly what it sounds like. Does you kid like watching Barney? Then if they misbehave, they don't get to watch Barney today. Or they don't get their favorite toy for a while. Or they don't get to go out and play with their friends this afternoon. Etc.

Denial of privs is very effective. It doesn't have the immediacy of hitting, but it seems to have a much stronger long term impact. From what I've seen from kids who are disciplined primarily with spanking, there's a big difference in how the kids react to punishment. Spanking is immediate and instant: the kid gets hit as soon as they misbehave. DoP doesn't have that immediacy. But when a kid is being spanked, the focus of their thought is on the pain and humiliation of being hit, not on the reason why they're being punished; whereas with DoP, when the kid is upset about not getting to do the thing that they wanted, they're much more aware of why they are being punished.

(For full disclosure sake: my mother was severely physically abused by her father. Knowing what that abuse did to her certainly colors my beliefs about the appropriate way to punish children. On the other hand, I grew up with one brother and one sister, we were not spanked, DoP was the primary discipline method, and we all turned out to be well-behaved reasonably well-adjusted adults.)

[ Parent ]

My dad's method (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by ncohen on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:27:17 PM EST

This is the method my dad used one me, it worked.

Whenever I would do something wrong, dad would always come into my room, turn off the computer/TV and sit down and lecture me about why he believes that what I did was wrong. He would explain consequences, he would explain benefits of avoiding misbehavior, he would do this until he knew that I understood what I did was wrong, and that I, honestly, would not do it again.

To twist an old proverb:
A word is worth a thousand spankings
-----
"(A+Bn)/n = x, hence God exists, reply!"
[ Parent ]

That's all fine and well (none / 0) (#88)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 04:52:30 PM EST

Whenever I would do something wrong, dad would always come into my room, turn off the computer/TV and sit down and lecture me about why he believes that what I did was wrong. He would explain consequences, he would explain benefits of avoiding misbehavior, he would do this until he knew that I understood what I did was wrong, and that I, honestly, would not do it again.

That's all fine and well but did he do that to you when you were 18 months? How about 5 years? I would imagine this type of "punishment" to work well on intellectual kids of about age 7 (grade 2) and up.

My 5 year old is pretty advanced as far as being able to understand conequences of actions but this wouldn't work well... there's no "permanancy" to it and no real discouragement. He gets to sit and listen to me lecture and nod his head and promise me the moon. Taking away his Pokemon cards or not letting him watch Junkyard wars is more effective for certain types of infraction.

My 18 month old needs immediate physical response to misdeeds. She is still learning the cause-and-effect nature of the world (if I turn off the TV dad'll get upset... If I run away or don't turn it back on he'll become upset and smack my hand) and her sense of curiousity has far surpassed her sense of judgement and cognition.

Of course my discipline method varies with infraction as well. If my stepson's pinching my daughter, I warn, then I pinch him to get his reaction and reinforce that the other guy has feelings just like he does. If he goes to run across a street I yell at him to stop, followed by discussion. If he won't listen, it's revocation of privelages. There isn't one magic wonder-punishment.

My primary discipline varies with age but once they're all in school I imagine it will largely be revocation of privelages followed by discussion and, failing that, a much more "low level" light smack on the ass or the back of the head. Try to work on the high levels then go down a notch if the higher level process isn't responding. It's just like debugging a design. :-)



[ Parent ]
lucky (none / 0) (#97)
by coffee17 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 06:29:01 PM EST

from the brief blurb, it sounds like your father might have been one of the few people genuinely worthy of raising a child (IMHO). Congrats, and if you have kids may you pass this on to your kids.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Tips? (none / 0) (#81)
by cr0sh on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 01:47:58 PM EST

Ok, first off I want to say I am not a parent, so this is coming from my perspective as I remember it as a child:

1. Tell your kid you love him. Tell him often. Show him you love him by spending time with him, answering his questions, helping him do things, showing him your knowledge.

2. Watch your kid. Let him play in the front yard or back yard, but always with supervision. Don't let him go over to a friend's house alone before around age 8 or 9, and even then, take him there, know the parents, have their phone number - be friends with them. Let them know you want to know when your kid misbehaves, and that it isn't tolerated. Don't let your 4 or 5 year old just "run around" unsupervised (I have seen this, and it is frightening).

3. If your child misbehaves, use your best judgement. Sometimes restriction, grounding, etc are effective, esp. if denial of privileges/things are used. If it is serious, physical punishment might be necessary. My dad was partial to spankings with his hand, my mom would slap my mouth if I talked back, or chase after me with either a hot wheels track (!) or a switch from the tree. Hurts like a bastard and leaves marks, but I rarely got hit by them. As a male parent, I wouldn't slap my son or daughter - perhaps that is best left to the female parent, because it could degenerate into a punch. A spanking should be the male parents job, except in the case of a daughter - where while I don't know much in the psychology realm, I would think that might cause some kind of schism in terms of male relationships and hitting vs love, etc.

4. Before/during/after punishment, let them know you still love them. Always let them know you love them. Tell them why what they did is wrong. Tell them they will have to earn back your trust (but never your love - tell them no matter what they do, you will always love them).

5. When they become teenagers, watch them like eagles. You won't be able to catch everything, but you will be able to stop a lot. Don't let them drive until they are 18. They may be mature enough to drive before then, hell, they may be great drivers. But driving allows them to go away where you are not, and cannot be - leaving them to do damn near anything. Heck, tell them they can't drive, but when they turn 18 you will buy them a new car - if that is what it takes. Otherwise, don't let them use your vehicles.

This is what my parents did, for the most part. About the only thing that I didn't get from this was that I tend to be socially inept (though it doesn't matter much when you are a geek around computers)...

[ Parent ]

Rapunzel (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by coffee17 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 06:38:09 PM EST

Personally I think that letting kids drive before 18 is a good thing. They start getting used to some freedoms before turning 18 where they are suddenly handed everything. I was raised rather similarly with my parents trying to over parent me, so I viewed them not as a guide in life, but as a caregiver and nothing more. When I left for college I realized that with the increased freedom the only caregiving that they could offer was paying for college, so I minimized contact as much as I could without their revoking sponsorship, and when I left college and was financially independant I cut contact with them. They had nothing left to offer me, It would sting my pride to take more money from them now that I had income, and I had no positive emotions for them.

While a parent should definately be in a child's life, over parenting typically (IME) leaves the child either forever dependant upon them, or cutting most/all contact as soon as independance is established.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

watch them like eagles (none / 0) (#103)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 06:09:37 AM EST

You say that the way your parents raised you caused you to become socially inept, then then dismiss it because you're a geek and work with computers. Do you like this situation? Would you have liked to have learned social skills?

If your parents raised you to be socially inept, they screwed up bigtime. When kids are teenagers, the last thing that they need is to be kept at home and watched all the time. They need to go out and start learning about places that are not home or school. If you are a good parent then you will have taught them the right choices to make, and they won't turn out to be a stoner or a slut, or whatever your worst nightmare is. They should turn out to be good kids. Watching them like eagles during their teenage years will just screw them up.

[ Parent ]

my method of handling pets (none / 0) (#96)
by coffee17 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 06:24:35 PM EST

To teach my rats and cats to behave (not destroy too much stuff, and be nice to humans) I used classical conditioning. I would be nice to them in a neutral state, reward the better states, and had either scolding or timeouts in cages devoid of toys).

however, cats and rats are probably easier to train than children. I think that this would work OK for young children, as they are more like pets then, but maybe once they get to age 5 one has to start trying to talk with them, discuss what is right/wrong, and if they don't think what they did was wrong, find out why they think so and address the argument. People think more than animals, so I think the best approach is to make us of the child's brain. People either learn to fear their parents from hitting, or they just aren't affected by it much it seems. End result, is that it will be somewhat neutral or negative.

but I admit that I don't have a good approach for how to raise a child, there are too many ways to break them. Because of this (well, this is just one of *many* reasons), I have had a vesectomy so that I will never have kids of my own to raise. Personally, unless someone has a good approach for how to raise a child I don't think that they should be having the child.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Spanking is bad (1.66 / 3) (#37)
by wiredog on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 10:03:51 AM EST

Because negative reenforcement never works, right? I'm sure that psychologists have proven that negative reenforcement never works to modify behavior. Only positive reinforcement works.

And if you believe that, I've got some oceanfront property in Wyoming for sale. And a bridge in New York City. Great view of Brooklyn.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

Negative vs. Positive Reinforcement. (none / 0) (#44)
by Alarmist on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:38:12 PM EST

Quibble:

Negative reinforcement is a method of behavior modification that involves withholding something that the subject didn't want in the first place. (e.g. "You got an A on your test? Great! You won't have to do the dishes tonight.")

Positive reinforcement entails giving the subject something that the subject did want. (e.g. "You got an A on your test? Great! Have some ice cream with dinner.")

Reinforcement is defined as causing a desired pattern of behavior to occur more often by rewarding the subject in some way.

On the other hand...

Negative punishment is what happens when the subject has something that was desired taken away to prevent the recurrence of a pattern of behavior. (e.g. "You got an F on your report card. You don't get to watch TV for the next week.")

Positive punishment involves applying something to the subject that the subject didn't want. (e.g. "You got an F on your report card, so now you have to do the dishes every night for a week.")

See the differences? Reinforcement is a reward, and punishment is, well, a punishment. Positive means that something is given to the subject, and negative means that something is taken away.


[ Parent ]

I'm going to go way out on a limb (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by weirdling on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:06:27 PM EST

I firmly believe the government and society has no place interfering with the life of a child until the age of 12. When I read this article, I found the behavior to be repugnant to me, personally, but the parents do have a right, in my opinion, to raise their kids *exactly* as they see fit. The government tends to behave rather irrationally where children are concerned. I guess I'm biased; my brother-in-law was arrested for child abuse and subsequently released without being charged due to the fact that what he was doing wasn't child abuse, but the fact is that he was arrested without anything to go on but the statement of a neighbor given to the police over the phone from inside her apartment that a child was screaming (the child habitually threw temper tantrums and wasn't his child but a foster child), and the police assumed that because she was screaming she obviously was being mistreated.
The funny thing is, that, once again, the majority of actually mistreated kids will be ignored while law-abiding people will suffer. It's just like the sexual abuse scare of a while ago where just about everyone suddenly remembered being sexually abused when very few did.
So, yes, this case is extreme, but it is also isolated and not particularly significant statistically, so it doesn't justify removing any rights and certainly doesn't justify the breaking up of families wholesale and the arrest of more people.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Distinction (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by spaceghoti on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:15:54 PM EST

I agree with you except for one thing. According to the news article, authorities spent several weeks investigating the church group (probably bearing in mind how much fire they'd come under from the religious community as a whole) before taking action. Here's the direct quote:

Authorities began investigating the church several weeks ago after a 10-year-old complained in school about a beating he had received at church. Police and child welfare investigators began talking to teachers, doctors, former church members and children, and two weeks ago they began asking church members to sign pledges not to hit their children until the inquiry was completed.

The authorities admit they're probably erroring on the side of caution, but because the welfare of children is at stake they're going to do it anyway. Whether or not they were right to ask parents to sign pledges is a separate issue. The authorities didn't rush in to arrest anyone because a nosy neighbor thought she knew what screaming meant.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Your .sig... (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by deefer on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 02:29:27 PM EST

There is no problem which cannot be solved by the judicious application of firepower.

Really? What if you run out of ammunition? :)


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]
Rights in conflict, no clear answers (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by pmk on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 01:55:13 PM EST

I've been thinking about this story since it hit the queue yesterday. Its implications are important for U.S. society. Yet the more I contemplate it, the messier it seems to me.

I read an earlier comment to the effect that the "government" should have no right to interfere with a child's upbringing until the age of 12. Other comments, including one of mine, take an opposing position that children should be protected against all kinds of unhealthiness, including nonphysical emotional abuse. I find myself in a weird spot: a strong civil libertarian who wants to curtail parental freedoms.

Before you dismiss me as merely confused, consider these mental test cases:

  • Does a parent have the right to punish a child? To what degree? What if the parent adheres to a strict Biblical view that permits stoning a rebellious child (Deut 21:18-21)?
  • If one says "anything but physical injury or neglect should be permissable", what about emotional abuse that can cripple a kid's self-confidence and mental health? Should the state step in to prevent the kid from needing years of therapy later? What if the state has to pay for some of that therapy?
  • Does a parent have a right to teach a child to hate others on a basis of skin color, homosexuality, religion, or other prejudice? Should children of Klansmen or Nazis be protected from the beliefs of their parents? Who decides?
  • The state has a duty to provide education. What if the parent obstructs that education? Should Amish kids be taken off the farm and given Internet access? I don't think so, but what if they want it?
It seems to me that a large proportion of our governmental budgets go to the task of cleaning up after bad parents, who are rarely held to any accountability. We don't bill them for juvenile incarceration, for example. Having children and raising them up without interferance is treated as a fundamental right, but it's not actually an explicit part of our written Constitution. You don't need a license or anything.

This story emphasized for me the degree to which the rights of parents and the rights of the larger society conflict. I think I could argue both the affirmative and the negative sides in a classical debate format. All I've learned, I guess, is a reinforcement of my suspicions against any answer that is broad or simple.

Are you sure you're a libertarian? (none / 0) (#68)
by darthaggie on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 06:07:33 PM EST

what about emotional abuse that can cripple a kid's self-confidence and mental health? Should the state step in to prevent the kid from needing years of therapy later? What if the state has to pay for some of that therapy?

Then no one has the right to raise children, if the possibility of emotional damage is reason enough for the State to step in.

Welcome to Cuba, Comrade pmk.

The state has a duty to provide education.

Where, exactly, in the Constitution is this stated?

Having children and raising them up without interferance is treated as a fundamental right, but it's not actually an explicit part of our written Constitution. You don't need a license or anything.

It's this statement that makes me question your standing as a libertarian. Someone who's thought about the US Constitution in context realizes that its purpose is to restrict the government, not the people. Read Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. The Founding Fathers felt that human rights where granted by a Higher Power than the State, because what the State Giveth, the State may Taketh away.

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

I don't regret being spanked (3.75 / 4) (#66)
by AgentGray on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 05:47:17 PM EST

Not one bit.

I was spanked as a child, but never out of rage or abuse. At the time, I hated it, but as I got older (and compared myself to my siblings) I realized it's purpose.

Upon getting in trouble my parents sent me to my room. This was my "oh crap, I'm gonna get it session" and my parent's "time to cool down session" I think waiting was the worst part.

My parents hated spanking me. I was never hit with bare skin such as their hand on my bare bottom. They used a paddle (the paddleball kind) so it wasn't anything thick and heavy. Yes, it did hurt. However, I soon learned that if I relaxed when it happened it wouldn't hurt so much (if not at all).

ALWAYS after the fact my parents would help me dry up my tears (and their own) and give me a hug and tell me that they loved me. We would then have a discussion as to why I received the discipline. Sometimes the discussion would come before. I was never co-erced into saying anything. I had to think out my own actions and see why it was wrong.

As a result, I love my parents. It takes a lot of courage to "hurt" someone you love in order to make them better. I put hurt in quotes because looking back on it, it really didn't hurt me physically as much as it made me THINK. If I would have THOUGHT before doing the action or bad deed I wouldn't have been discplined.

I'll proabably do the same thing to my children. I don't look forward to it. However, I want the best for my kid. I want him to be responsible and to realize that there are consequeces for his actions. Timeout doesn't cut it, although it does serve a purpose.

However, not everyone has to spank their children. Everyone is different. I hope that I don't have to disciplne my child by spanking, but if I have to, I will. I know I deserved my discipline, and I don't regret one bit of it.

That church did go too far. How could they even justify using the Bible as their basis? I'm a Christian and I come from a good Christain home. I may be conservative in my beliefs, but this was downright abuse and taking the Scriptures to a fanatical level. I don't thin God intended it to be that way where it says in the Bible to not "spare the rod. "There was nothing mentioned but aggressive discipline. It seems as if the people took their love out of the equation that makes discipline work. I would strong even consider if they are really Christians or just talking the talk but not walking the walk. Sad.

Interesting... (4.50 / 2) (#73)
by scriptkiddie on Thu Mar 22, 2001 at 09:36:30 PM EST

My mother is the director of the child abuse treatment program for a large U.S. city. This kind of thing happens way more often than anyone would like to believe. Although there is pretty much no doubt in this case that some fairly serious abuse was taking place, the field is also full of some 17th-century-vintage witchunts. The whole situation is so messed up it's hard to think about.

But what's really interesting here are the different attitudes toward child punishment in the various U.S. subcultures. If you aren't from the U.S., or you are but you live in suburbia, it might help to know that the cities are extremely stratified along fairly rigid lines: people of European ancestry generally run legislatures that make state law, but African-Americans create their own communities in which they run nearly all the businesses and lower rungs of government. Within the white neighborhoods, physical punishment of children is fairly rare and getting rarer. In the black neighborhoods, there's a much greater belief in spanking and hitting children to make them comply. While I don't think prevalence of spanking would make permanently injuring a child any more appealing, I do think if many children are being spanked frequently, identifying serious abuse is more difficult.

How much does this case have to do with race? I am not a sociologist, but my high school does have an annual program to get students of different races to mix in which one of the forums discussed spanking children. Of about thirty randomly-selected individuals, about a third white or Asian-American and the rest black, all of the black students had been spanked except for one Eritrean immigrant, and none of the white students had except a white girl adopted into an African-American family. When one of the students described a parent slamming her head against a table in her youth and causing a scar (borderline abuse), the white students were mostly outraged while the black students seemed more interested in what she could have done to deserve that.

Personally, I would like to see laws like those in northern Europe that criminalize almost all forms of physical punishment. I think doing so would help teach children to think rationally rather than react emotionally, which is really the root cause of spanking. But I can completely see how one might disagree. And I don't think it's a good time to implement such a plan because this would be a law that would affect black culture greatly while not really changing white culture; it could easily be seen as oppressive.

On other thing: does child abuse have to do with religion? Maybe in this case (I haven't seen enough details to say), but I think generally not. I have my own beef with organized religion, but I don't think I can accuse it of condoning child abuse....

To spank or not? (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by 0xA on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 06:23:24 AM EST

I remember getting the occasional swat in the ass as a child. My father used his hand, my mom used a belt. I don't recall ever being hurt physically, to be honest I don't really remember the details of any incident at all. Its' just not an issue in any way.

Here's one that will probably shock the hell out of some of you. I grew up in rural Alberta and my school used "the strap" when you got too far out of line. Just to date this for you, I'm 24 now so we can say this was somewhere in the mid eighties. I was never subjected to this as I generally behaved myself (until I was about 16 anyways) but a few of my older cousins were frequent recipients. You had to stand in the principal's office and he chewed you out, then wacked you on the palm of the hand with a leather strap. Afterwards you left the principals office and he called your parents and explained the situation to them so they could follow up with any more punishment, not necessarily physical, they felt was required.

So I guess I'm supposed to have a bunch of nasty repressed feelings about this or something but I frankly don't think it a big deal. I really don't think that a little swat is a bad thing. Obviously if the child ends up with cuts, bruises or big welts its' is going too far.

Was does get me lately is some of the absolutely horrid public behavior of children I see occasionally. A couple weeks ago I was standing in line at the 7-11 and a man came in with a boy of about 6 years old. As soon as they passed the candy isle the kid started screaming his head off. "I WANT, I WANT, I WANT", so loud my ears hurt. The man, I am assuming it was his dad, stood there and tried to convince the child to calm down in a nice soothing voice for a couple minutes, then gave in and bought the little brat a candy bar. I was absolutely stunned, there is no way my parents would have put up with that. I would have been out the door and at home in my room for a couple hours in no time. I probably would have gotten a swat in the ass for my troubles as well.

I just can't believe parents put up with this, in public no less.

I hear ya! (none / 0) (#80)
by cr0sh on Fri Mar 23, 2001 at 01:28:12 PM EST

My school had the "paddle" - kinda looked like a ping-pong paddle, though a bit bigger - made of wood, with large holes drilled through it, so as to not allow a cushion of air to impede the pain...

I undertstand what you mean about kids in public. My GF and I have gone so far as before to tell the kid to be quiet when the parent wouldn't - shocks the parents (and the kid), to say the least - every time we have done it though, while the parent looks angry, we get a round of applause from everyone else.

[ Parent ]

:s/humiliating/terrifying (none / 0) (#95)
by coffee17 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 06:11:49 PM EST

Spanking a child is more humiliating than anything else

Maybe your childhood was much different than mine, but I remember spanking as being a terrifying thing. When young, my mother and father were people whom I tought cared about me. Seeing their face twisted in a grosteque expression of anger, coming after me knowing they were going to hurt me was genuinely scary. If I was lucky (in retrospect, I think this was more unlucky as it prolonged the experience) I'd get away and run to my room, only to have them eventually force their way in (there was a great amount of fear of trying to hold the door closed as it's forced open by someone who is for all practical purposes infinitely stronger than you, with my parents at those moments seeming like a monster, as opposed to a guardian), which was probably worse than the pain inflicted by the spanking. I was only spanked about 10 times, and always with a bare hand, and never serious damage, but I remember these experiences as being fairly traumatizing, and one of the many things which has resulted in my not speaking with my parents as an adult. Perhaps it has to do with the age of the child, I was around 4-7 for all of my spankings. I hate to consider just how much worse the experience must be with more severe cases of abuse.

I never learned discipline from a spanking, I only learned that my parents did not truely love me, and that they could, and would greatly scare and hurt me. Perhaps my parents really did hurt me out of misguided love, but I could only justify the beating of a child whom on supposedly loves in a life or death situation. Certainly not for some minor mis-behavings which can be corrected else where.

Perhaps the xtians really believed that they were beating their kids for the ultimate benefit of their soul, but as there is proof of life, while not proof of life after death, I see such a beating for a mere belief (belief being quite different from knowledge) to be a truly loathesome act.


-coffee


pain lets people learn (none / 0) (#99)
by captain soviet on Sat Mar 31, 2001 at 06:16:28 AM EST

The way, the human brain works, a very negative experience is much more likely to stay in memory than a positive one.
When employed wisely, pain can be a very efficient means to teach a child whatever it is supposed to learn. However the child must know why it is beaten, or it won't learn anything.
If the child knows it's beaten because it acted against its parents orders, it learns not to break the rules or to do it in a more subtle way. That is called education, not child abuse.
If the child is just beaten without knowingly breaking any rules, all it can delude from its punishment is, that its parents beat it, and it will associate its parents with the beatings it has received, not with the breaking of a rule.

[ Parent ]
when used wisely. (none / 0) (#100)
by coffee17 on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 07:06:33 PM EST

When employed wisely, pain can be a very efficient means to teach a child whatever it is supposed to learn.

When employed wisely ... The only problem is how many parents use it wisely?

I agree that pain and fear can be great teachers, however I have never seen a parent use them correctly. Classical conditioning (which this is) says that the pain must be immediate. Most parents lag at least a few seconds, and how many familys had the "wait until your dad gets home; you're going to get spanked good."

And even when pain is used correctly, what is it being used for? Break a child's nose right as it is playing with matches; that's acceptable to me. Slap a kid for talking back to you, and I think that you've chosen poorly.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Break a child's nose? (none / 0) (#102)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 05:30:48 AM EST

Break a child's nose right as it is playing with matches

That is child abuse. That is wrong. No one should ever punish their child like that, period.

[ Parent ]

Negative Reinforcement (none / 0) (#101)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 05:25:50 AM EST

If you get beaten by your parents, for breaking a rule, what are you going to remeber, your parents beating you or that your shouldn't break some rule of theirs?

You will remember your parents beating you long after the rule, and whatever lesson they were trying to teach, is forgotten.

Beatings may work as child discipline, but only in the short term. It will make the kid do what you say, but they will also cause the kid to fear you. The beatings will fuck the kid up, and will cause problems later down the road.

[ Parent ]

Child Abuse in the US | 103 comments (97 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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