How kids in England are smeared in the press, and what to do about it

Discuss

125 Responses to “How kids in England are smeared in the press, and what to do about it”

  1. TroofSeeker says:

    Does it post when I preview?
    I didn’t hit no “reload”. I swear.
    I’m in Vista. I hit Post, then I hit Home.
    I have BoingTown near the top of my front page, so I just jump back in to see what’s come up.
    What am I doing wrong?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      TroofSeeker,

      Do you have some kind of auto-reload working? I learned early on that it’s just better to avoid reload when you’re anywhere near BB. I hit the BB logo to reload the front page or ‘return to original entry’ if I want to do that.

  2. Iunnrais says:

    It seems that the report is particularly opposed to parents spanking children, considering this a -human rights violation- and denounces any nation that doesn’t criminalize it. That’s pretty extreme, I think.

  3. robulus says:

    @Star35 #109 – Great post. Nice to see this argument so well made from someone speaking with the authority of experience.

  4. Nelson.C says:

    Dainel @50: I cannot comment on your country, since I do not know what it is. As to other nations, in common with other commenters on this thread, I think you’re suffering from a bit of selection bias, some of it of your own making, and some of it as a result of exposure to that highly biased source, the British media.

    If you think the Japanese, for example, believe Japanese children uniformly to be little angels, then I can only suppose that you have read no Japanese journalism at all, not even translated, and must be thoroughly mystified as to why Battle Royale was such a popular movie in Japan.

    Why, following a posting about the way in which the UK media mis-portrays British children, have so many commenters decided that the media which is known to be so accurate about so many technical and social issues [/sarcasm] is unbiased in the case of UK children, have essentially ignored the issue raised by the post, and have instead gone off on a wild goose chase about the physical disciplining of young children, an issue which has never been resolved and will never be resolved in the history of Mankind?

    Is it that the commenters believe that the reputation of the BBC somehow mystically extends to all British media? Is it that they are all too lazy to read the PDF? Perhaps, while they are keen to point out that anecdote does not equal data in other subjects they are familiar with, when it comes to a fabled, far-off land that they know only from reading media shorn from context, the more provocative the anecdote, the more truthiness it is held to contain?

  5. Takuan says:

    far from it Nelson
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Mole

    good reads I heartily recommend to all.

  6. Nelson.C says:

    Okay, I didn’t hit preview. The third paragraph above should read:

    Why, following a posting about the way in which the UK media mis-portrays British children, have so many commenters decided that the media which is known to be so accurate about so many technical and social issues [/sarcasm] is unbiased in the case of UK children, have essentially ignored the issue raised by the post, and have instead gone off on a wild goose chase about the physical disciplining of young children, an issue which has never been resolved and will never be resolved in the history of Mankind?

  7. chris2001 says:

    #1 – I witnessed a stabbing in Amsterdam once. That doesn’t make the Dutch a nation of violent savages.

  8. TroofSeeker says:

    Maybe there’s a little confusion here between FEAR and TERROR. I don’t advocate terror in many cases. But had I been in Kagehisa’s shoes when he saw that kid strike his mother, I would have intervened. Like so: I would have have chased him down and grabbed him by the front of his shirt and lifted him up, got right in his face and yelled something like “What the f*ck is wrong with you!! You don’t EVER hit your mother, you got that? I’m gonna follow you home, and if you EVER hit her again, I WILL TEAR YOUR ARM OFF! DO YOU HEAR ME?! Now go tell her you’re sorry.”
    I wouldn’t harm a hair on his head, but I’d give him a memory not soon forgotten. Encoding.
    I’ve done that sort of thing before. I’m an ugly bass turd anyway, and when I act angry, it’s frightening. Well.. to little kids, anyway.

  9. sum.zero says:

    without offering an opinion on the legality on hitting [spanking is hitting] your child, parents would be well served by considering some of the messages sent by physical punishment:

    1 – love and concern can be expressed through violence
    2 – it’s ok to harm someone if you think they are wrong or if they disagree with you
    3 – rules can and should be enforced through physical coercion
    4 – might makes right

    the medium is the message and all that…

  10. Raj77 says:

    Corporal punishment of children is much, much, much less socially acceptable in the UK than it is in the US. There’s also a linguistic difference- when someone from the US says that children should be “beaten”, that has the same meaning for us as saying they should be “beaten up”.

    If anyone’s interested in the actual issues about the UK media and government’s demonization of children and young people rather than going off on a tangent, I recommend several books by my old tutor, Phil Scraton.

    And KanedaJones, you can’t discount neuroscience and genetic research and expect to be taken seriously.

  11. TroofSeeker says:

    My younger son was four, his buddy JT was six. JT made my suck his dick.
    When I got home my wife told me. the boys were in the back yard. I went out there and calmly told my son to go to his room. I did just as described to JT- picked him up and yelled in his face, then told him to never even talk to my son again. He didn’t.
    We never discussed it with our son because we didn’t want him to imbed the memory. I really doubt if he remembers it. But I’ll bet JT does.

    Our species would never have survived without fear to warn us about dangers- growls in the jungle, loud noises, screeching tires.

  12. sleze says:

    So kids in England aren’t a bunch of hooligans that terrorize neighbors while the police look the other way?

    I guess all those MSM stories and news blog articles are wrong?

  13. KanedaJones says:

    everyone sees troofseeker mention fear and think the worst. as it turns out though fear is a part of why society runs the way it does (good AND bad)

    Fear is a necesary fact of life. Without fear of societal scorn (or arrest) more people would urinate in the streets. Now there is social peer pressure I can get behind. Problem is how words have various degrees of strength and people imagine troofseeker’s kids cringing in the corner crying and that prob ain’t the case.

    now replying out of order for a sec..

    @#99 TroofSeeker
    “My sons know that there are lines that, if they cross them, I will beat their ass. If either of them ever struck their mother I would pound him senseless. So they wouldn’t dare. They never would, anyway, because they love her too much.”

    any child under my care doing a crime gets the fullest extent of the law and they loose my respect of them until its earned back. (obviously jay walking not so much). I find it interesting how biblical eye for eye your example is either intentional or not.

    fear and respect of the consiqences matters. fear of a individual’s physical response can be mitigated. What you said is that your kids, if wanting to beat your wife, should make sure they do it when you aren’t around and run like hell. Common mantra with small kids is that one day I will be too big to be hit, and big enough TO hit.

    a strongly instilled belief in laws and/or morals and/or ethics is something much harder to mitigate.

    and in regards to @#92 TroofSeeker

    We are talking at cross purposes where we are so close to being on the same topic with the same opinion.

    My neph considers me a great friend, and if he has to have a baby sitter he asks for his Auntie Ris and Uncle Mikey (hoping we show up as a set)

    I totally understand what you say about wanting a one to one personal relationship with your dad you felt you were lacking.

    I consider a friendship necessary cause he then knows I enforce rules for a decent reason.

    When my nephew breaks a rule I enforce the punishment and then I get a whine. I laugh off the whine, minimize the perception of ‘the end of the world’ and then proceed to add to the punishment the more its not followed, with no repeals later so why dig a bigger hole right? Meanwhile I was happily playing with him before and after the punishment he is happily playing with me again. On his own he has left so called friends to their criminal schemes just because he thought it was bad for his near future freedoms (fear of cops or his mom locking him up)

    its when the parent’s self esteem is hurt by the child’s behaviour to the point of being lenient on the punishment enforcement. I see it often and parents tell me what can I do? I knew a 13 year old who swore at her mom for not loaning her a smoke now and then – getting the smoke after calling her a bitch. WTF!? The mom would defend it. telling me she would go buy the smokes behind her back anyways. Sorry, even looking like a hypocrite smoker I would’ve said no smoking until you move into your own place and when I catch you you are grounded as for spending your own allowance on smokes well maybe you should quit such a pricey habit huh. When they know you can have your mind changed by being yelled at then geez I wonder if they will yell at you???? is that really that hard to figure out?

    for what kids are real snots I believe its like the mom smoker mentioned above. I see way to much of it in the working class and lower circles I hang with (not stereotyping). I also believe they are not as many as the press make it out to be since the media must retain its doom and gloom negativity.

  14. KanedaJones says:

    @#105 sum.zero

    (to troof) “fear is the tool of the dictators and tyrants. is that how you see your parenthood?”

    don’t dis my dream of being a dictator.. some are well loved by almost 10% of their population! First person to give me a tank gets his name put on my ‘do NOT roll over’ list. common, somebody gimme a tank.

    @#106 zuzu

    “Just so long as you fear and respect that escalator!”

    I find it an interesting point that the poster of the youtube clip said this is what happens when you don’t beat your kids enough and yet in the clip all Jason lee says is that people have to instill a fear and respect of the elevator.. show them the clip and I think that does the job without a beating hahahahaha

  15. IamInnocent says:

    @ 97

    Accordingly to the rules of BB I can’t fully speak my mind on what you just declared. You are a man that is deeply afraid of his children: that is so strange to contemplate…

    I’d wish you better luck but you are so assertive of your good right that I have very little hope for you to see where you’re heading.

    Funny since you are obviously a very clever man who has quite interesting things to say quite often… this world is so strangely populated.

  16. LightningRose says:

    Everything I know about British youth I learned from watching “A Clockwork Orange”.

    No, not really. :)

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Sum Zero @117, you missed the verb: “made.” That’s not the kind of episode one dismisses as “normal childhood curiosity.” What was far closer to normal was Troofseeker’s reaction to his child being abused.

    These days, if the episode came to the attention of child protection agencies, they’d ask the next question: where and how did a six-year-old learn that behavior? One can’t know the whole story at this remove, but if that was the occasion of the six-year-old learning that people don’t do that to each other, ever, he may later have found the information useful.

    Wuzimu, that’s a remarkable comment. Thank you for posting it.

    My background was quite different from yours, but the gist is the same: if they’ve given themselves permission to hit their children, and they’ve gotten physical punishment tied up with anger, awful things will happen that bear no resemblance to the thoughtful use of force described in so many of the preceding comments.

    Anger and violence become a habit, and habitual behavior is by definition unconsidered. Still, there’s an illusion of certainty and authenticity that comes with losing your temper. Your center of gravity drops. Your coordination improves. What’s actually happening is that the thoughtful awkward uncertainties of conscious life are giving way to old and much-rehearsed scripts you know by heart. You no longer have to think about what you’re doing. On the other hand, you no longer have control of the outcome.

    Young people in Britain didn’t invent hooliganism. We’re social primates, and we learn our behavior by watching others. When you see an entire country or ethnicity or generation being demonized like that, it generally means they’ve been mistreated, and the people who were complicit in their mistreatment are staving off guilt by saying they had it coming.

  18. dainel says:

    Yes, children are people. But no, children are not adults. They do not have all the full rights of an adult, and they are entitled to some rights adults do not have.

    Adults can eat whatever they like, even if it kills them. If you weigh 200kg, can hardly walk, and still want to eat hamburgers everyday, nobody can stop you. But how many times have you seen bawling kids being dragged away by the parents from a fast food joint?

    Kids are not entitled to come home anytime they like. If at all. Kids do not have personal freedom. If you decided that your kid has been naughty, and is to be locked up in the house for the next 2 weeks, except for school, there’s nothing he can do about it. Do that to your neighbour and see if you don’t end up in jail.

    If you beat your children, you teach them that when they grow up, it is OK to beat children. There’s no reason to suppose that they will generalize this and think it is OK to beat wives, old people, sleeping policemen, or sick tigers. If you beat them when they deserve it, as a crude application of behaviourist psychology, then that is what you teach them is not that it is OK to beat up children whenever you feel like it (unless that is what you actually do).

    I do not live in the UK or America. In my society it is OK to beat your children but not to abuse them. The difference is, you beat them to cause pain, so that they will associate the unwanted behaviour with pain. You do not beat them with a 2×4 (baseball bats are kind of rare here, the game not being popular). You do not cause any permanent damage.

    The most important rule is, you beat your kids for their own good, as a form of mind control, to mould them into the person you want them to be when they grow up. For instance, it is not OK to hit your little sister. Or, no, don’t put that thing that came out of the dog into your mouth. It is abuse if you beat your kids to vent your anger.

    The world is not black and white. There is a whole continuum. The people who say, it’s the parents right to beat their kids however and whenever they like are wrong. What about the people at the opposite extreme, who thinks it is wrong to ever beat your kids? What about those people in the middle who thinks it is OK in some circumstances, but not others? Me thinks the people in the second group have gone off the deep end, due to too much tv shows depicting the first group.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      dainel,

      If your parents beat you, it’s because they were shitty parents who were too stupid or evil to parent you in a way that didn’t involve physical abuse. If you do it to your own children, you too are a shitty, abusive parent. You don’t beat them for their own good; you do it because they’re defenseless and you can get away with it. How are you any different from a husband who pulps his wife and then says, “Look what you made me do to you?” The whole point of adults having more control than children is so they can protect the children, and you’ve taken it as license to inflict pain. You and your sick excuses for being an abuser fill me with disgust.

  19. TroofSeeker says:

    I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no reload.
    But if you’re still willing to come hit me, well, I guess that’s okay. But no pen/stabber. I hate that pen/stabber.

  20. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    So one day I was helping a couple of friends pack up their stuff to move, just sitting there folding up towels and washcloths. One of my friends was sitting a few feet away, behind and to one side of me, so I could only see him in my peripheral vision. He was sorting and bundling up some wire coathangers.

    I didn’t realize I’d registered a gesture he’d made until I heard him say “Coathangers, eh?”

    What he’d done was pick up a wire coathanger by wrapping his hand around one of the shoulder points. It’s the way you hold a coathanger if you’re going to hit someone with it. Apparently he’d been testing that, and found that having it happen in my peripheral vision was enough to make me look around briefly without even being aware that I’d done it.

    I didn’t need to ask how he’d learned to spot that reaction. He had to know from coathangers too. Understand that we weren’t looking at each other as we talked.

    “Yeah,” I said. “And the wire handle of the flyswatter. That was worse — lighter-gauge wire. You could hear it whistle before it hit. You?”

    “Well, leather belts, of course.”

    “Of course.”

    “I particularly disliked the buckle.”

    “Never got the buckle,” I said. “I don’t regret missing it.”

    “A few times, my father used a riding crop.”

    “Oh?” That was new. Riding crops are usually something adults use on each other. “How was it?”

    My friend said, “It made me want to go, fast.”

    ===

    I was in my twenties before I found out that most families don’t hit little kids with wire coathangers. I found that out by mentioning it as a circumstantial detail in a story I was telling my friend Patrick, and having him turn white.

    I looked at him, studying his face. “Not usual in most families?” I asked.

    “No,” was all he could get out.

    ===

    What’s the matter with hitting kids? First, even if you do it perfectly, you give cover to parents who hit as a first resort, and hit way too hard. You also help them convince themselves that there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing.

    Abusive parents say exactly the same things about discipline that people are saying in this thread. You can’t tell the difference by listening to them.

    Second, I don’t believe anybody does it perfectly. Discipline tends to happen when kids are at their most maddening. To listen to this thread, you’d think spankings were delivered with cool scientific precision. In fact, they tend to happen when parents are angry, and thus prone to hit harder than they would think appropriate when they were calm.

    Spankings are likelier to happen when parents and children are both tired and cranky, which means the parents’ judgement is impaired.

    Spankings also tend to happen when parents are frustrated and can’t think of what else to do. The problem there is that not being able to think of what else to do is no guarantee that spanking is the right answer. And if it doesn’t get the desired result? People who are in severe frustration mode tend to do the same thing over and over again, even when it isn’t working.

    Third, giving yourself permission to hit your child at will tends to flatten out your range of other responses. It’s hard to sort out the issues with an upset kid and come up with appropriate disciplinary measures. Hitting them is something you already know how to do, and it fits all circumstances.

    Fourth, if you don’t consciously break the habit, odds are you’ll keep hitting them when they’re past the age where it’s even theoretically appropriate. Then you’ll hit them harder, trying to get the same effects.

    It doesn’t take many beatings to permanently warp your relationship with someone. One time can do it, if it leaves them frightened thereafter, and convinced that anything is justified if it keeps you from doing that again.

    ===

    It’s interesting how this thread has so far been dominated by guys talking tough with each other about what a good idea it is to hit your kids, and how much good it did them when they were growing up.

    Statistically speaking, we should have had a lot more women commenting. We should have had more men who don’t hit their kids. And we should definitely have had more commenters saying that being hit as kids sure as hell didn’t do them any good. It’s not like the abuse survivors are short of opinions on the issue.

    So where are they? I know they read Boing Boing. Why aren’t they here, commenting at their usual rate? I believe it’s because when they see a thread like this one, they hold their tongues and go elsewhere. There’s more than one way to shut people out of a discussion.

    I’m not saying anyone in this thread has behaved horribly badly. What I will say, as a dispassionate and abstract observation, is that loutish exchanges have killed more comments and conversations, and shut down more commenters, than an army of moderators could ever manage to do.

    ===

    Now that that’s out of the way, I have just a couple of brief remarks about the actual subject of the entry.

    – Kids are extraordinarily responsive to expectations. Telling them you expect them to grow up to be little thugs is a great way to make it happen.

    – If kids in the UK are so awful, where are all these UK adults coming from?

  21. KanedaJones says:

    @#69 Raj77

    “And KanedaJones, you can’t discount neuroscience and genetic research and expect to be taken seriously”

    firstly someone site sources of neuroscience data related to spanking or even child discipline. Then I can either pick apart their small sample base or I will acknowledge the study was done above board and what I said doesn’t apply to them. :)

    @#70 TroofSeeker

    thanks for replying so I guess its ‘I had hit and we currently don’t punish’.. I say that not like a grammar nazi I just mean to acknowledge I missed the related time between the statements.

    as for “If you think it’s a mistake to be a friend to your child, then it’s no wonder that they don’t like you.”

    I never think its specifically bad to be friendly to your child its just the interpretation where the child does not see your authority. It turns out in western culture you try to say parents show authority people immediately think of oppression, but its a care taker position and like I had stated my love for those under my care is rock solid non-shakeable but their are people thinking their child’s love for them is conditional on the child liking them.. I make rules to make their life better overall not to make them like me. and yet I don’t hit them and people think I’m a hard ass, and yet my wife and I share the same policies and the relatives beg to come see their auntie Ris.

    Kids appreciate a hard ass so much its a common theme in media where the idea is they are only bad to test limits. I’m just saying be a hard ass first then go ahead be a friend. just get the order right heheh.

    @#71 Ito Kagehisa

    although your friend’s life was wildly mitigated by outrageous circumstances it is a tangential evidence of what I said about feeling too responsible for a parent’s happiness or disappointment.. its no good.

    and again.. @#76 Ito Kagehisa

    “It sounds like you you didn’t use an ideology to deal with your son’s troubles. You dealt with it as an individual problem requiring an individual solution and engaged it head on. Kudos to you, my friend.”

    nobody ever realizes you can do it both ways. an individual solution to an individual problem that re-enforces that monolithic overall ideal that’s good for society.

    @#72 Perla

    “..Time article wondering why the UK had such a large number violent children. Part of the article’s conclusion is that UK society DOESN’T LIKE children and that’s from before this current ‘wave’ of violent children.”

    I can only know the UK through its exported media and what little influence it has on us here in Canada, a former colony. But it seems that their has been a war on the youth for as long as I can remember and hated people are NOT in the mood to be nice to the haters, that’s for sure – an never ending cycle of who pissed on who first. UK.. the land that gave us mods, punk, and ska.. eew and nazi skinheads (original skinheads perfectly fine). One third of Pink Floyd’s The Wall is about feeling alienated as a youth, had to come from somewhere. Maybe if it is really getting worst its just that they don’t like all the cameras and cops insinuating they are criminals.. if you wanna label someone first, whats to stop them from living up to the expectations.

    as for children out in public we give scowling looks to noisy kids but mostly in trapped spaces like buses or elevators. Canadians mostly just roll their eyes, so I guess we are half way in between UK and civilized countries. ;)

  22. IamInnocent says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t feel accommodating after reading through this pile of crap. Physical punishment is the method of the emotionally coward who is too chicken to work on creating a relationship with his/her kids.

  23. Tzctlp says:

    I will tell you about systematic vilification:

    - Being called “Paki” (I am Mexican btw).

    - Being threatened with a dog.

    - Being shouted at because I dare to have a partner of a different so called “race”.

    - Being left with an ear drum problem because I was shouted at on my ear, while sitting on a bench in a shopping centre while checking my phone messages.

    - Having had to repair damage to my property for several thousand pounds.

    - Having been talked to implying I was mentally handicapped because my English accent.

    Well, all of the above was perpetrated by teenagers under the age of 18.

    So cry me a river, but frankly I am with the journalists on this one.

  24. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    JJR1971 @17:

    Wanting to criminalise judicious parental corporal punishment is one of the more ANTI-liberty ideas I know of, the ultimate expression of “Nanny state” indeed!

    Sure, violently abusive parents and sexual molestation are another matter entirely,

    No, they aren’t. It’s a continuum. And in my opinion — not that I’m alone in this — they start with parents giving themselves permission to do to their children things they’d never allow someone else to do to them, or to do to their fellow citizens.

    Yes, children need more care, guidance, and discipline. But if you can’t imagine circumstances where it would be appropriate for police, medical personnel, or your boss to correct your behavior by hitting you, you should revisit the question of how appropriate it is to hit children.

  25. mwiik says:

    hmm the link to the Convention on Modern Liberty returns 404

  26. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Star35, I apologize for the thread hijack (it wasn’t me, originally, but I certainly played along).

    I saw a kid, somewhere between 9 and 13 years old, smash his mother in the face as hard as he could, with his closed fist, in the grocery store in full public view (not in the UK). She was physically harmed, although certainly not permanently. I offered to spank the child for her since she was obviously physically overmatched. She said no, she was alright. Her kid now knows he can physically abuse people if they won’t buy candy on demand. The most important person in a child’s life – his mother – has given him permission to abuse her. It was easy to see this behaviour was not abnormal for this child.

    When my sister bit my mother, she bit her back. Then, my sister was enlightened. She understood what it felt like to be bitten, among other things, and perhaps had the epiphany of empathy.

  27. TroofSeeker says:

    Frickin’ limies.
    The same English band that refered to “Teenage Wasteland” (they’re all wasted!) also said “The kids are allright”. Who was that band.?

  28. Takuan says:

    where precisely in the UK do the werewolf children live?

  29. KanedaJones says:

    thank you for posting that Teresa that covered pretty much all of the thoughts in my head that I am too incapable of putting down in readable, non rambling form.

    I’ll point out to my signi-oth that there does seem to be a lack of women in this topic and hopefully she’ll type something since she has personal insight on the topic.

  30. High On Markers says:

    I’m on the fence about spanking. I’ve known good parents who’ve spanked, and good parents who never spanked. My mother spanked me and she also loved the crap out of me. A large part of my ability to go far in life come from that quality (the loving the crap out of me part).

    So would I condemn her for spanking me with a wooden spoon, looking back? No. At the time I just hid all her wooden spoons in the map pockets of the car. Then when she wanted to make cookies, she never had any.

    But I do buy into the argument that parents can spank in times of stress or for the wrong reasons. So, I’ve never spanked a child, and may never.

  31. mwiik says:

    Grim figures:

    “3.9 million children – one in three – are currently living in poverty in the UK, one of the highest rates in the industrialised world. This is a shocking figure given the wealth of our nation.”

    http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

  32. star35 says:

    I have two responses, if I may.

    Firstly, I am saddened that an article about the demonisation of British kids turns into a long list of comments about how kids actually are scum, feral, b*stards etc, which really go to show how right the original article was. The fear and hatred of children is a pervasive and destructive culture within British society. It was always there but with the help of reactionary mass media it is getting far worse than it ever was.

    I run a sports club in London, on a daily basis dealing with kids from poor areas, kids with difficult family circumstances, kids with behaviour problems, kids from marginalised communities, kids with all the issues that you would expect to feed the bad behaviour that the media constantly whips up anti-youth hysteria. Guess what, we don’t get that bad behaviour. We show those kids that we care, invest time, give respect. We give them a safe and fun environment to enjoy sport and they recognise that. They are part of something positive, that they can feel they belong to, that makes them feel good about themselves. Sure we have the occasional beef, the disruptive individual (this is London not Utopia) but we manage that situation to a positive resolution in a calm and sensible way. I’m proud of my kids, ALL of them. I’m well aware that without our sports club – without adults giving them a chance – many of them would be doing the wrong thing. You have to look at the agenda behind the creation of children as folk devils, and that agenda is all about driving children off the street, harsh penalties, institutionalisation, hatred of working class culture: all negatives, nothing positive. All driven by ignorance and fear. We need to engage with young people, help them build self-respect, give them opportunities. We have to break the hegemony of fear. Don’t forget that if there are anti-social kids out there, that the biggest victims are not adults, but other kids.

    My other response is to the disappointing diversion of this discussion to justifications of hitting children. I was beaten pretty relentlessly as a kid, with hands, fists, sticks. My parents thought they were doing the right thing (and were later shocked when we explained that their grandkids were not going to be staying with them until they had learned to talk). I thought at the time that it was normal. It was always their frustration over minor things – not going to bed quick enough, not eating all my food, never anything serious. All of you who think that hitting children is OK are WRONG WRONG WRONG. Your justifications are phony.

    I could not wait to leave home and although I don’t hate them I have never forgiven my parents. When I became a father one of biggest things for me was that I never wanted my children to feel that way about me. And they don’t. They are brilliant, well-behaved, confident, considerate and tough inner-city teenagers. No violence or fear of violence required for this outcome.

    The cycle of violence has to be broken for a change to be made.

  33. error404 says:

    Kids in England are little thuggish bastards nowadays.

    But then they were little thuggish bastards in 8th century England too.

    And everywhere else, every when else.

    Not all though, just the usual percentage of them.

    It is the removal of consequences that moves thuggish bastardry into thuggish bastard actions.

    Be the consequences negative, a Birching*, or positive, a good job, and knowing that you can’t have it if you have a criminal record, there need to be consequences.

    As it stands there are no disincentives and no consequences so the wee bastards do as they please.

    (* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birching )

  34. Hawkman says:

    How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

  35. Nelson.C says:

    If you took a survey of the wolf-children of the UK, I doubt that you’d find a significant difference between them and the well-behaved children* in the quantity or quality of corporal punishment they’ve received.

    *Assuming you can find any, since we have the incontrovertible evidence of anecdote and yellow-journalism to assure us that, in fact, the present generation of children in the UK are solely composed of monsters that would make Grendel retch with fear.

  36. TroofSeeker says:

    @KanedaJones:
    >”please make ‘I hit’ and ‘we don’t punish’ work together for me. am I missing a joke or a fact? At least you get the love them dearly concept.”

    Two or three times I gave the elder a quick smack.
    I soon found better ways to amend his behavior, and quit punishing and did more positive mentoring. We’ve let them slide on a lot of things because they were both always very responsible about doing their homework without prodding, and both did very well in school. We have always been friends to them and love their company. If you think it’s a mistake to be a friend to your child, then it’s no wonder that they don’t like you.
    Our sons went in together to fly Cat and I to Chicago so we could all spend Christmas together. It isn’t just love; there’s a lot of like between us.

  37. assumetehposition says:

    Bad behavior causes poverty more effectively than poverty causes bad behavior. I wish people would stop blaming their circumstances and take responsibility for themselves.

    Then again, I grew up next to a junkyard so what do I know?

  38. Anonymous says:

    there’s no better way to prove you’re not a pedophile (very important in England) than by yelling at children and otherwise treating them like worthless scum.

  39. robulus says:

    Out on the moors. Beware the moon.

  40. codereduk says:

    In 2006, I was made redundant from my job in the financial services industry. I decided to retrain as a teacher.

    After finishing my PGCE course (a one year teacher training course offered in the UK), I took a job at a rural high school in Norfolk. A Good School, by OFSTED standards.

    I was told by a pupil to “fuck off” in my very first week. Subsequently, I was told “fuck off” by pupils on a pretty regular basis, including being called a “fucking American c***” (I’d been living in the UK since 2002)

    I lasted four months before I turned in my resignation. I know several of my fellow students on our PGCE course are currently experiencing the same thing.

    There is something deeply, deeply wrong with British youth right now.

  41. star35 says:

    #120 wuzimu – 100% with you there.

  42. KanedaJones says:

    @#109 star35

    I never intended to leave out of my statements that kids should be treated as competent individuals with their own mind and deserving of respect, capable of giving valued input. I never treat kids as equals when it comes to deciding their punishments but their opinions always get listened to on all matters regardless.

    you are absolutely right that treating them like human beings goes a long way.

    Thanks for pointing out that we were possibly skipping that essential point.

    the prob around boing boing is that often it plays out too much like this debate. (thanks a lot Zuzu for getting me on Kevin Smith link-tag grr)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2DxyAGzGxM&feature=related

  43. sum.zero says:

    theresa

    i noted the term “made” and am of the opinion that it is more representative of troofseeker’s interpretation of the event [and general societal attitudes] than it is of the reality of the situation. his refusal to ever discuss the situation with his child afterwards speaks to this.

    also, can a six year old actually be held responsible for sexually abusing a four year old? i’d say not.

    at any rate, it is NEVER ok for an adult to physically assault a small child in this way. i don’t care how angry you are. or what your perception of the event is. it is not “normal” in any way, unless you accept abuse and assault as “normal”.

    lastly, i am very familiar with the operation of child protection services as my partner is a cfs worker. while i did wonder about where a child of that age might see something like that i cannot arrive at a conclusion without more information. however, i am not willing to assume that the six year old is deliberately acting out a power fantasy [he likely has no understanding of what he is acting out] or that the “information” imparted to him by troofseeker will help him in any way. you don’t teach non-abuse through further abuse.

  44. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Thanks, Kaneda.

  45. sum.zero says:

    and i apologize for misspelling your name, teresa.

  46. dainel says:

    Antinous, you’re conflating a slap on the wrist with a whipping with a belt. “Don’t eat that soap”, slap; is different from a big ugly red welt that takes 5 hours to subside.

    The husband who pulps his wife and then says, “Look what you made me do to you?” is not doing it for the good of the wife. Clearly he was angry and has lost control. Anyway, wifes are adults, and adult brains can no longer be moulded to your liking.

    If you failed to teach (mind-program) the kid by about 10 or 12, it’s too late. It’s best to do it before 5. Teenagers and adults can be forced to behave the way you want, using violence, threats, bribes, cajoling, nagging, etc; but that is only pretense. If you’re away for an extended time (jail, international posting, death), they will soon revert to their natural behaviour.

    I mentioned it’s OK to hit your kids where I am. But they are kids. Little kids. You don’t hit them hard. If your kid ends up in hospital or is limping tomorrow, off you go to jail for abuse. And you don’t hit adults, old people, or big kids, or other people’s kids. However the kids do not know this last rule. ;-)

    Different societies, different values.

    Tzctlp, I assume those are big kids. Clearly, someone has neglected to teach them empathy. Don’t you wonder, why 50 year old adults do not behave like these teenagers? Why don’t teenagers in other countries behave like this?

  47. zikzak says:

    @JJR1971: I bet one can pretty consistently distinguish paleo-conservatives from libertarians based on their answer to the question “should parents be allowed to beat their kids?”

  48. mdh says:

    If you failed to teach (mind-program) the kid by about 10 or 12, it’s too late.

    That place you’re from, is it by any chance the 19th century?

  49. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Diesel12 @97, I’m glad for you. You got a one-time lesson that was clear, appropriate, and effective.

    Nelson.C @98: No kidding? They do worse? I’m not even sure why I find that so amusing. I just do.

  50. pecoto says:

    In my experience as a teacher, it is not poverty that causes kid to have bad behavior, it is mostly bad parenting combined with a breakdown of the social order in the community.
    Rich or poor, my worst behaved kids have parents who are disconnected from their lives. They do their thing and the kids are left to do whatever they want, with little or no consequences from the parental figures. The parents expect the schools and the police to fill their role and to teach their children morals and values…In many cases the parents have poor morals and values in the first place.
    When parents take an active interest and play larger role in their children’s lives, then their children tend to be better socialized. If the parents uphold high ideals of morals and ethics, even if they do not explicitly teach these values to their children their children tend to uphold these same values.

    It’s Simple Stupid: Raise Your Kids.

  51. Takuan says:

    the children’s violence comes from poverty, the poverty comes from Thatcher, where did Thatcher come from?
    Long shadows indeed.

  52. aeon says:

    Antinous @ #39

    I think you’re going to find that there are a lot of people out here who you will consider make “sick excuses for being an abuser”. I’m certainly unashamedly one of their number and in return believe overly liberal views like yours lead directly to the situation in the UK where undisciplined kids literally get away with murder and adults are frightened to be around them.

    I was smacked by my father on several occasions. In each case I deserved it and it taught a valuable lesson. But I can count the number of times it was needed on the fingers of one hand – if physical chastisement is used as part of an escalating progression that’s consistently applied then it’s rarely required:

    “These are the boundaries we set, the rules of our household – do as you will within them. Transgress and you will first be asked not to, then *told* not to loudly, then sent to your room. Carry on then you will be grounded or have pocket money and/or activities docked and finally if you really don’t learn then you get smacked. It will hurt.”

    If physical chastisement is overly used then it *is* abuse and children become inured to it anyway so it loses it’s ability teach. Take away the option altogether then there is no ultimate punishment to anticipate and cause a second thought. You can only confine to a room, ground or fine so much before that becomes abusive in itself or even the new normal with no deterrent effect. Somewhere between never smacking and beating all the time and for anything, there does lie a happy medium. Those who never experienced moderation in a loving home may not agree…

  53. Anonymous says:

    As another female survivor of abuse I shall add to the list of absent commenters those who admit to have inflicted violence on their child(ren) and that it was abusive. They would be in a much harder position to admit to themselves nor speak out. Thus, we get the bulk of the comments between those who deny abuse and those who condemn abusers.

    It took me years to recognize how much violence I had suffered in my childhood, although my parents would never admit to have abused me in any sense. It would have been much easier if I could dismiss them as inferior coward beings and hate them for perpetuating violence in the household. I know how they themselves had suffered abuse in their childhood, how they had fought against societal norms in later years to create space for themselves and us children.

    When a parent beats a child, I think more in terms of the society beating the parent to beat the child. Not that I justify the beatings in any way. Nor that I blame ‘society’ when I’m fully grown and partly responsible for it.

  54. sum.zero says:

    troofseeker

    what you have just described is you physically a small child who has no relation to you over what sounds like fairly normal childhood curiosity.

    be glad that the other child’s parents did not file charges. i certainly would have. in the future you would be well advised to not physically touch anyone else’s child in any way without permission to do so.

  55. Raj77 says:

    The aforementioned expert on the transformation of the UK’s children into folk devils, Phil Scraton summed up my feelings in a first-year lecture I sat in on. He said “Don’t fuckin’ hit kids. Right? Right.”

  56. sum.zero says:

    troofseeker

    what you have just described is you physically terrorizing a small child who has no relation to you over what sounds like fairly normal childhood curiosity.

    be glad that the other child’s parents did not file charges. i certainly would have. in the future you would be well advised to not physically touch anyone else’s child in any way without permission to do so.

    edit: sorry for the double post. typoed my markup…

  57. Takuan says:

    You know, there are shelves and shelves of books available for free at your local library on the topic of human development. Amazingly enough, many smart people have put years into study and recording how kids grow. And the best part is, a good ten percent of what they wrote down isn’t utter bullshit.

    There is no good reason to strike a child.

    That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to sometimes use the poor reasons, that is part of being human too. But all things being equal, there’s not a damned thing you as a parent can teach your own child that has to be done with a fist.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of valuable life lessons that can be taught with physical pain. Giving someone a good thrashing in the ring for instance, so they learn they won’t die from a mere beating and should therefore not be afraid. But as a parent? Every blow you strike just shrieks out to the world: “I FAILED! I FAILED!”

    If you can’t coerce your child’s good behaviour by wracking them with guilt over your sorrow, ur doin it wrong.

  58. mdh says:

    Nothing calms a child down and sets them on a better course like a traumatic beating at the hands of a rational adult.

  59. wuzimu says:

    I’ve read Boing Boing for years and perhaps never been as moved to comment as I have today.

    I’m from the UK. My parents were working class people in the north of England who had me in the late 60′s. They both had pretty grim backgrounds; poverty, alcoholism, and familial violence were familiar concepts to them, but they had a desire to improve upon their beginnings and provide a loving, affluent and stable environment for their children. They did this and then some; me and my brothers were lucky enough to live in a nice house, spend quality time with loving parents, get a decent education, amongst many other wonderful and valuable things.

    So why was my childhood so miserable and why was I desperate to leave home? Not because, as my parents would claim, I was a fiercely independent person, but because the violence and I grew up with became more unacceptable to me each day. My parents would be appalled to read this now and find it difficult to equate their understanding of the past with mine simply because they had considered what they did to be normal.

    It started with a simple tap on the bum as a small child which, later in years, became a forceful slap across the face, still later a kick, or a rabbit punch, or the belt, or the slipper, or throwing a heavy object at us. More often we were disciplined in other, less violent ways; being grounded, having our favourite book/toy taken away for a period, television privileges or pocket money with-held, but the corporal punishment always occurred when one parent or another responded with uncontrolled anger. When this happened I don’t believe for one moment that they were teaching me anything of value, such as “show respect”, “it’s not acceptable to hit your brother” (oh, the irony), it was a simple rage response, an almost casual emotional reaction which, as adults, they should have been ashamed that they had no control over.

    For me it ended when, at age 18 and arguing with my mother about her dislike for the boyfriend I had at the time, she slapped me hard across the face. I slapped her back. Following years of the behavioural example that my parents had unwittingly set us, I responded in the manner they’d taught me. I’ll be forever ashamed that I once hit my own mother. Even now as I write this 22 years later, I’m mortified and feel a profound sense of disgust with myself… which is exactly as it should be. My mother’s response that day was to grab me by the hair, repeatedly smack my head against the wall as she dragged me down the hall, hitting and scratching me with her free hand as she did so. I packed my bags and left home.

    I grew up thinking that the, almost casual, violence was a familiar, routine, even mundane detail in every child’s life and that I was a pretty poor excuse for a human being for misbehaving so badly that my parents clearly had no other option than to beat me. I believed that it was my fault. Does that reasoning sound familiar to you?

    Did I learn respect for my father when he hit or kicked me? No, I learned that my father was someone to be frightened of, not someone I could turn to when I needed support or guidance, or even a hug. Did I learn respect for my mother when she flew into a rage? No, I learned to pity her and fear that, one day, I would become just like her. And all the hard work my parents put into providing an otherwise wonderful start to life? Utterly negated by their inability to control their anger. It took another 10 or more years of love and support from other people before I finally developed a life that was meaningful, joyful, successful. You know, the sort of life that my parents had probably wanted for me.

    My parents aren’t bad people per se, they were acting on patterns of behaviour laid down by their parents and, just as importantly, the communities in which they grew up. The kind of communities in which the “delinquent, violent, aggressive incarnations of evil” and “thuggish bastards” of the UK are currently growing up. They all lack the emotional intelligence to control their rage and deal with their naughty children in an appropriate non-violent way. Do you?

  60. Kennric says:

    Dnl, dn’t wst t mch tm rgng wth ntns, y r tryng t mk sbtl lgcl pnt nd dn’t thnk tht wrks wth hm.

    I was also, very rarely, hit as a child for behavior above and beyond naughty. It was a very clear statement to me that there were consequences to actions, and that adults were in control. By ntns’s lgc, m nw rvng mnc wh gs rnd btng ppl whnvr fl lk t – bt by th lgc f th rl wrld, snc my parents also taught me responsibility, morality, decency, and the strict limits and uses of physical strength (their careful, rare and carefully explained use of spanking was part of that lesson), I actually have to be asked very nicely by someone before I will beat them, and then only if I really trust them.

    This hyperbolic inflation of physical discipline to rampant abuse reminds me a bit of anti-gay-marriage activists, who insist that if gays can marry, they’ll be marrying dogs and horses next. Or those that are pretty sure gay means promiscuous, pedophiliac and drug-addled.

    Sure, there are logical arguments to be made on both sides of spanking – there are real data, cultural considerations, and actually a lot of neuroscience on both sides. It is something that can be debated rationally. But apparently not with everyone.

    h, nd ntns, t’s nt cl t sht n ppl’s prnts. Mk rsnd pnt nd stp yllng nslts, t’s hrd t rspct yr pnt f vw whn t’s xprssd tht wy.

  61. sum.zero says:

    i reposted with corrected markup, but that post doesn’t seem to be making to the thread so here is the corrected text from the first paragraph…

    “what you have just described is you physically terrorizing a small child who has no relation to you over what sounds like fairly normal childhood curiosity.”

  62. Nelson.C says:

    Dainel @42: Why don’t teenagers in other countries behave like this?

    Yes, why can’t the children of England be more like the children of the United States, for example, who, without fail, fill in their permission slips before bringing firearms to school, do not even know what bad language is, let alone contemplate using it to teachers, and are, every one of them, gentleness and good manners itself to all of foreign mien. Oh, the little apple-cheeked darlings!

  63. dainel says:

    MDH, no, I’m not a time traveller. A poor third world country called Malaysia.

  64. Rendoggle says:

    @ #1 Digilante

    maybe the smearing comes from the fact that many are indeed delinquent, violent, agressive incarnations of evil…

    Not all of us. Thank you very much.

    @ #10 CoorderedUK

    Teaching at a college (i.e. 16+) might be a better prospect.

  65. Anonymous says:

    You know, there are shelves and shelves of books available for free at your local library on the topic of human development. Amazingly enough, many smart people have put years into study and recording how kids grow. And the best part is, a good ten percent of what they wrote down isn’t utter bullshit.

    There is no good reason to strike a child.

    i think i know which the 10%. it’s conveniently separated to the last line…

  66. mdh says:

    they need the fear

    No. Nobody needs more fear. Plenty to go around without needlessly inflicting it on minors. Have you considered that you need to be feared?

  67. Simon Bradshaw says:

    CodeRedUK @41,

    This isn’t a new problem. When I was in the RAF I knew several former teachers who’d given up and joined the military for a less stressful life (not to mention better pay and working conditions.)

  68. Takuan says:

    Kennric? Were you ever beaten to the point of abuse?

  69. dainel says:

    The world is more than just the UK and US. I’m thinking more of my own country and it’s neighbours; or Japan, or South Korea, or Taiwan. We don’t hear of kids in those countries terrorizing the adult population. I’m sure there are teenage hooligans in every country in the world, but they seem to be very few, and well hidden. Unlike the unfortunate Tzctlp, I have never encountered one myself. Is it just that the people in the UK complains more about it?

  70. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Antinous is only unreasonable on two subjects as far as I know. I respect the obvious depth and sincerity of his feelings though I don’t share them and I don’t enjoy being targeted by his ire. Overall I’m probably less reasonable than he is so I shouldn’t criticize.

    I have not experienced anything I would call child abuse. Nor have I inflicted anything I would call child abuse, though on occasion my son has disagreed (he says making a child go to school, pick up his room, and take baths is abuse. I’m not kidding.)

    I went to college with a young man who never spoke of his past. I never noticed that until later. He and I and another young fellow were nearly inseparable; when we weren’t in class, we were partying and dogging after girls together.

    Shortly after exams in his second term, we found him laying alone in his room in a huge pool of blood. Around him the walls were pocked with the marks of his fists and splatters of blood from his slashed wrists.

    While he was in hospital, it was discovered that he was a carrier for a nasty disease. Everyone who had shared a beer glass, a cigarette, a bong, or a kiss with him had to get a painful shot. There was a long line of us at the hospital. None of us were permitted to see or contact our hospitalized friend.

    Inevitably gossip ran through the school, and somehow, the state of his grade point average became common knowledge. It was apparent to everyone that he would not be returning to school even if he wanted to.

    I was afraid I’d never see him again, never understand what had happened, how this bright, happy, funny guy came to this state without his best friends knowing anything. Together with the other fellow previously mentioned, I determined to penetrate hospital security and talk to him.

    It didn’t work out like we’d expected. Naturally, we got to see him – he was on suicide watch, not in the pokey. He would tell us nothing except that he’d given his life to Christ, and that he was happy and getting better, and that we should not worry about him. It was like beating on an impenetrable wall. Eventually we were ejected when voices were raised.

    I gave the hospital staff the slip and was making my way back to his room alone when I met a man in a clerical collar leaving. I was young and upset, and I upbraided this man, and using my fairly extensive knowledge of christianity and of my friend I verbally abused him to the best of my ability. The minister took me to a waiting room and told me a story.

    He was my friend’s foster father. My friend had tried to commit suicide, first by throwing himself from a building, then by eating poison, and finally by slashing his wrists. He didn’t know how to do it right, though, and he kept waking up still alive, so he would pound the walls with his fists to get the blood started again until he passed out. When we found him he was nearly bled out.

    He’d tried to commit suicide because he could not come to terms with the idea of facing his foster father, the minister, and telling him that he had failed out of college. My friend quite literally would rather be dead than see a look of disappointment on this preacher’s face. The man told me this with wet eyes and a calm, even voice.

    The minister told me my friend and his sister had been systematically abused by their birth parents from the time they were born until he was nearly a teenager. Their mother was abused also, yet she never betrayed her husband and was convicted on most of the same charges he was. All three were sexually molested and beaten regularly. Neither child was born in a hospital or attended school, and neither had any records of their existence until my friend escaped and was picked up wandering the desert by police.

    The minister had taken my friend in, and spent many years doing everything possible to pull my friend from his nightmarish past into a sane and healthy present. By the time I met him, you couldn’t tell he was illiterate at age 12, that he’d never watched TV as a child, that he was frequently kept on a chain. The minister loved my friend, with the clean passion of a good father, and they both knew it. This man was the best and finest thing my friend had ever known.

    I don’t know what happened to the sister. The preacher implied that it was for love of his sister and hatred of what was being done to her that my friend escaped and betrayed his birth parents. But everything I know about her I’ve already written.

    I never saw or heard from my friend again, although I made sure he had a way to contact me, a way that would still work today.

    I don’t believe that I’ve been abused. I know the difference between my mother using her “board of education” on me, and what was done to my friend. These things have different names.

    I also know that if I was perfect, I would find ways to influence my children that did not involve striking them. They’d be softer and weaker for it, but nothing that a martial arts education couldn’t easily remediate. If I was perfect, there’s a lot of things I would do better than I do.

    My kids haven’t been struck by me in years, but if I raised my hand I’m sure they’d flinch. They should fear me, and so should everyone alive – because I am a human being, and all human beings are capable of unlimited evil. That capacity is what makes it meaningful to do good. My kids love me, too, though, because I care about them more than I care about myself, and I would never strike them if I could think of a better way out of whatever situation we were in.

    Sorry about the outrageously longwinded post; I don’t know a better way to say these things, and I’m not entirely sure why I’m saying them. I guess it’s to explain why I will neither condemn Antinous’s fervor nor will I ever back down from my own conviction that the spankings my kids have experienced is not abuse. It’s more than a matter of degree, and more than a matter of intent, there’s a functional difference between discipline and abuse.

  71. Takuan says:

    Dainel: my understanding of childhood in Malaysia is primarily informed by a few books of the cartoons of Lat. Do we have common ground here?

  72. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    An article in Prospect:

    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10625

    It’s making a case for universal compulsory civic service, which I don’t agree with; but it has some interesting remarks on the condition of young people in Britain.

  73. Anonymous says:

    hi Teresa,

    I am Kaneda’s gimpy wife (I surf from my wii) and a regular (necessarily anonymous) poster.

    My father spanked me once when I was five (no question I should have been disciplined) so hard that my butt was all purple-bruise and I couldn’t sit for a week. He never hit me or my two younger sisters again. Then when I was 12 he kicked me out because his new girlfriend didn’t like me. To this day, I don’t know which was worse.

    My mother, however, is a classic example of the point you make about frustration, communication, and discipline. The problem between us was that we didn’t understand each other, ever. She would kick me or hit me with anything handy whenever my behaviour became too exasperating for her. Since this was entirely subjective to her state-of-mind, I never knew it was coming. It happened probably once-a-month, on average, but the fear was constant. Oddly, it only happened a few times before I was 10.

    Examples: I left my radio on all day, had plug-shaped bruises all over my arms. Told my teachers, they did nothing.

    Sleeping on the couch one night, I woke up being slapped in the face with a wet washcloth. Got up to escape it, blacked out, narrowly missed the wooden corner with the base of my skull. Apparently her *pen* had dropped on the floor, and this was not only my fault, but the end of the world.

    A classic — heavy but not cast iron frying pan to top of head, I think because I “wouldn’t listen”

    But by far the most common — “get me the thingamabob from the whatchamacallit” and I never had any idea — since a question would get me hit, I tried bringing random things, which at least had an infinitesimal chance of not-hitting, can’t remember if it ever worked.

    I actually don’t think she *meant* any of it, and in her apparently selective memory, she never did it. I think it’s exactly what you said — when you give yourself permission to use hitting as discipline, you end up hitting whenever you don’t know what else to do. I think my purple butt taught my father about his mistake; I think my mother lacked self-awareness.

    So there you go, the trifecta of diversity: a woman survivor, a woman perpetrator, and (gasp!) a man who learned a lesson. (sorry, gallows humour)

  74. skramble says:

    kids are nasty little beasts and should be kept apart from society

  75. Takuan says:

    “so a new generation of young people—especially those from poorer backgrounds—struggles to grow older, younger. Many emerge with a thin conception of citizenship, sceptical about whether there is such a thing as society—and, even if there is, what it’s got to do with them.”

    That’s the thing about giving power to a Thatcher, you pay for generations, not just years.

    Britain should look to the history of China and the Cultural Revolution.

  76. TroofSeeker says:

    @mdh

    “…they need the fear…” (me)

    “No. Nobody needs more fear. Plenty to go around without needlessly inflicting it on minors. Have you considered that you need to be feared?”

    My sister-in-law gets kicked, pushed, slapped and verbally abused by her daughter who is nearly 60 pounds lighter than her. There’s a child that doesn’t fear her parent.

    Fear me?
    In the 6th grade I got into a fight with a good friend. I got mad and literally saw red. When my vision cleared he lay slumped in a heap across the room. I decided I better not lose my temper any more, and I have not.
    I haven’t been in a fight since 1969, and I wasn’t angry then- I was keeping a friend from being arrested (I wasn’t fighting a cop- it was a store clerk- a big one.)
    A soft word turneth away wrath.

  77. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Thatcher telling them they’re worthless, and Blair telling them they’re superfluous.

  78. Casual_Casualty says:

    This article made me think of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.
    Nurture plays a huge role in behavior. I do not believe anyone or anything is born bad/evil, and as such I think behavior CAN be altered; especially before a child has reached full maturation.
    Programs like Big Brother/Sister have been proven to be effective; if you have the ability get involved in them. If you don’t, at least insure that the kids in your lives (family, friends, acquaintances) are being treated fairly. This can be as simple as acknowledging their presence. I am astounded at how often I see adults simply ignore kids as if they don’t exist: from cutting in front of them in a grocery line to forcing a skateboarder off the road/concrete (if you are on foot, it is not that hard for you to walk on the grass/gravel of a public trail -get over yourself).

    Sorry, rant over. I have worked in an alternative high school for about three years now. Because of the nature of this school, I’ll admit some kids are going to be shits for the sake of it, but you’d be surprised how dramatic a change little things like directing your attention and respect towards can make on most kids behavior’s.

  79. aeon says:

    Takuan @45

    It’s a bit difficult to reason with a naughty toddler who is perpetually trying to run into danger. With the best will in the world your attention may slip for a few seconds. If during that time he’s ruminating over the sting of a quick slap that was delivered last time he ran off, rather than running under a moving car then you may save your kids life (and your marriage – marriages often fail after the death of a child).

    I’ve lifted my hand to my son less than 5 times between age 2 and age 7. He’s now 8, and still hard work on occasion but I doubt I’ll need to strike him again: he’s amenable to reason and deferred punishments. Our daughter is only one year old. She’s never been hit (why would anyone hit a baby?) but already she looks at us before she touches anything new because “NO!” and rapid relocation to another part of the room has been so very effective. I hope neither of us ever need to strike her. But it will happen, if need be and as a last resort if talking then shouting then time outs have failed or if the sting of a smack on the back of the legs can substitute for a life-threatening event.

    People like me are not the problem. The problem comes in 2 guises: the liberal parents who set no boundaries and never chastise so kids grow up spoilt and unable to see past their own selfish needs and the neglectful parents who lashes out from temper when kids get under foot but otherwise set no boundaries. Both types are all too prevalent. They create damaged kids who grow up into flawed adolescents who frighten society around them and lead to “kids [being] ..smeared in the press.”

  80. Nelson.C says:

    I was walking along the street a few weeks ago, here in the UK Midlands, minding my own business, when a passing youth leaned towards me and, with a shocking leer, said, “All right, Grandad?”

    Out of control, I tell you! Birching’s too good for them! (I’m only 48.)

  81. JJR1971 says:

    Wanting to criminalise judicious parental corporal punishment is one of the more ANTI-liberty ideas I know of, the ultimate expression of “Nanny state” indeed!

    Sure, violently abusive parents and sexual molestation are another matter entirely, but interfering in basic parental discipline? I don’t think it bodes well to pain everyone with the same broad brush and fail to make important distinctions in service to some higher, politically correct ideal.

    It’s the same mentality that’s behind banning swords, firearms, etc in the UK. More Nanny state action that is the very antithesis of Liberty. How very Orwellian.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Wanting to criminalise judicious parental corporal punishment is one of the more ANTI-liberty ideas I know of, the ultimate expression of “Nanny state” indeed!

      Invoking Orwell as an excuse to beat up someone smaller than you. You poor, poor oppressed man, not allowed to bully your children.

      If parents can beat children, then husbands should be able to beat wives, and employers should be able to beat their employees if they fail to execute their duties properly, eh. Or is it only you and your buddies who get to beat people up? What you’re really saying is that you should be able to beat up anyone smaller and weaker than you. What you’re really saying is that children aren’t people, but the property of their parents.

      Some day you’ll be old and have bad hips and your kids will have the baseball bat. Let’s hope for your sake that the Orwellian nanny state is there to save your ass.

  82. dainel says:

    Yes, very few people of that age did not read Lat. I was mostly a TV addict though. There were only two channels, but I tried to watch every single English show on TV. :) It’s not all bad though. That’s how I learnt English.

  83. koichan says:

    @ #8 error404

    Pretty much spot on
    The ratio of ‘thuggish bastard’ to ‘average child’ is roughly the same as it’s always been

    The problem is the ‘thuggish bastard’ portion have cottoned on the the fact that until they reach 18, they’re essentially above the law and answer to no-one.

    Their parents don’t care (and sometimes even back them up if anyone complains) and short of crimes like murder, the police can’t touch them.

    what follows is the understandable blanket fear of teenagers, due to the unchecked thuggish minority running riot

  84. sum.zero says:

    any society that institutionalizes the concept of sending your children away to boarding schools instead of rearing them yourselves is going to have problems with the children. what did you think would happen? every single british friend i have ever known has had horror stories to tell of their boarding school experiences, including extensive physical and sexual abuse. not to mention the feelings of abandonment from being sent away at a young age in the first place…

  85. Perla says:

    To be honest, I think some of it is British society. I do remember reading a Time article wondering why the UK had such a large number violent children. Part of the article’s conclusion is that UK society DOESN’T LIKE children and that’s from before this current ‘wave’ of violent children. After living here, I kind of get it.
    I see the adults disgust whenever they see a small child on the bus or something in CONTRAST to Spain where I come from. In Spain, strangers coo at babies. I remember walking down the street and a little girl came by cutely on her scooter, fell down and started crying loudly, a natural thing and the mother came up to me and APOLOGIZED for the noise the 5 year old was making. This would never happen in Spain. I wonder at the type of people who would be offended at the sounds of a crying 5 year old.

  86. Kay the Complainer says:

    A comment from a non-parent: The parents who hit their kids seem to do it to make THEMSELVES feel better and in control – more “You will never do that to me again!” than “I want to change your behaviour and make you into a social and responsible person”.

    Like I said, I don’t have kids, but I do have dogs, and I have observed the same thing in other dog owners. If you call your dog and it doesn’t come, the right response is NOT to kick it. Focus on changing the behaviour you don’t want and encouraging the behaviour you do want, not acting out in anger.

  87. High On Markers says:

    Antinous, I know BB probably won’t post this, so I’ll speak freely – is it really appropriate to tell a poster they’d be better off dead while wearing your moderator hat? I wonder if you’ll see that person on this board much more now.

  88. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I’m glad my parents beat me when I deserved it. I’d almost certainly be dead now if they hadn’t.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’m glad my parents beat me when I deserved it. I’d almost certainly be dead now if they hadn’t.

      If you’re planning to continue the cycle of child abuse, perhaps it would have worked out better that way.

  89. Takuan says:

    Aeon: then we are in agreement, I’m on record as saying the same. A two year old is not fully human yet, a slap on the bottom over mortal peril is not amiss. I think the communication problem emerges when people who have no direct experience of physical abuse assume that that is the usual case.
    “neglectful parents who lashes out from temper when kids get under foot” is NOT the far end of the spectrum away from “liberal parents”. Unless you have lived through systematic abuse, I doubt you can comprehend it. Nor can you understand how people who have react to the discussion of it.

    Dainel: “Kampung Boy” is what I remember (I’ve not been to Malaysia yet, but a friend commissioned to design orchid gardens did and brought them back). I can see the universal experience of country children everywhere.

  90. Takuan says:

    hey, we all have our opinions and stories. Why shouldn’t a moderator be able to say what he or she thinks? Or knows? Expressing an opinion is one thing, are you making an accusation of oppression of opinion? Let see some evidence. And be aware, when you call someone’s honour into question it is usually offensive. Isn’t it?

  91. mdh says:

    @ ITO – It’s more than a matter of degree, and more than a matter of intent, there’s a functional difference between discipline and abuse.

    Agreed. But you should wonder if maybe every single stroke kills a little something precious inside your child, and if maybe there isn’t an alternative that might be equally effective if only you put in the extra effort yourself? just my 2c.

  92. Nelson.C says:

    Sum, you do realise that boarding schools are not the typical experience of UK children, especially today? Did you form your impression of Britain in the 21st century from reading the Narnia books?

  93. TroofSeeker says:

    Kaneda Jones quoted me: “If you think it’s a mistake to be a friend to your child, then it’s no wonder that they don’t like you.”

    I want to tell you how I came upon that philosophy.

    Dad was very active in a social club, and from photos I came to realize that he was a very funny guy; quite a goofball. But we kids never, ever got to see that side of him- he never goofed off with us kids.
    I think he was taking parental responsibility way too seriously. I yearned to be his buddy. Sometimes I felt like he didn’t like me.
    I wanted my sons to be friends with their dad, so I sat on the floor and entered their world and played silly games and we laughed until we cried.
    I’ve done a lot of fun things in this long life, but nothing has ever come close to the joy I’ve gotten from fatherhood.

  94. High On Markers says:

    well, Takuan, usually bb censors any comments like the one I made above, so I assumed antinous would just read it and decide what he/she thought.

    the comment I was talking about was at #30. I wasn’t saying Antinous was oppressing someone’s opinion, I was saying it seems to me to be crossing the line as moderator to tell someone they’d they’d be better off dead than alive and spanking.

    But maybe I’m out of the loop on what moderators do and don’t do.

  95. mdh says:

    Clearly things like this never happened before the 2000′s.

    Certainly nobody ever bothered trying to explain through modern media techniques what the problem is in being a teenager in Britain.

  96. High On Markers says:

    and I wouldn’t be hurt if you wanted to take these last comments down, as they really were just intended for Antinous

  97. Kennric says:

    Takuan @49
    No, I wasn’t, as I think I made clear. Antinous made no such distinction either, and as the relevant comment that began this ridiculousness was that the “report is particularly opposed to parents spanking children, considering this a -human rights violation- and denounces any nation that doesn’t criminalize it”, the context would seem to indicate we are talking about spanking here. Now perhaps the disconnect is in the use of the word “beating”, which seems to have been slipped in as synonym for spanking, (indeed many advocacy groups do equate the two) but I sincerely doubt that Daniel was advocating severe and angry beatings of children.

    As I said, there are arguments to be made on both side of the spanking/no spanking debate, and certainly distinctions between abuse and gentle swats become very important in such a discussion.

    Which is why it is so important to make such distinctions when declaring that someone “would be better off dead than” or that someone’s parents were “were shitty parents who were too stupid or evil to parent you in a way that didn’t involve physical abuse” etc, when in ostensibly “spanking” is the subject.

    I don’t object to declaring spanking wrong, I don’t object to making a case for spanking being abusive. I don’t even object to declaring these things under the apprehension that the discussion is about physical abuse while everyone else thinks it is about a gentle swat – mistakes happen. If you want to build a logical argument that a gentle swat leads to or just is physical abuse, I’m happy to engage in that reasoned debate.

    Let me be very clear here – what I object to is the abusive language, clear disrespect, the insulting and confrontational attitude. And yes, being a moderator -does- mean you have to be more careful when voicing your opinions – the moderator is in a position of power, the moderator can control the disucussion, edit or disemvowel comments, or remove them entirely. Even the appearance of asshattery in a moderator shapes and distorts a conversation. If someone is under the impresison that the moderator is unreasonable and abusive, they will self-censor, or worse just go away. By using this language, Antinous gives very much that impression.

    Yes, it’s entirely possible that the ambiguity and slippery language has led to the voicing of a strong opinion against child abuse on one side versus a defensive position about gentle physical correction on the other, but to my ears, I was told in no uncertain terms that my parents were shitty and abusive parents, because I was spanked a couple of times growing up. I am sure many here were. You can clearly see in posts like #54 that this appearance of intolerance, inflexibility, and complete inability to engage in discussion when presented with clarification rather than fling abuse has left an impression on people.

  98. Takuan says:

    bear with me for a moment and engage in a thought experiment. Imagine if you can that you were abused as a child. Abused in a sense that any reasonable, decent person would agree it was abuse.
    Are you with me? Can you imagine that? How would that shape your views in later life? Would you be patient with those that abuse? How would you deal with people who were fortunate enough to escape such and then maintain that it can’t exist because it didn’t happen to them? Especially with the certain knowledge it IS happening to any number of unknown and forgotten children out here RIGHT NOW?
    How bloodlessly objective would you be?

  99. Takuan says:

    might I also point out a very conspicuous lack of expressed appreciation for those that keep our garden clear of weeds and do all the other unregarded work that is so essential and so easy to take for granted. For every word of criticism, offer three of praise. That is, if your intentions are pure and good. Why should this place be any different from the rest of your world?

  100. High On Markers says:

    Well, Takuan, the words of praise I can offer are that this article motivated me to read the UN convention on the rights of the child, and to briefly scan the pamphlet by the Children’s Rights Alliance. So I thank BB for that.

    I wonder if the negative depiction of children is running on a par with the negative depiction of everything in newspapers?

    I know when I moved to a small town I was amazed at the difference in coverage. I actually enjoyed reading the local paper and seeing the squabbles in the letters to the editor, the local dress up your pet contest and all the other parts of small town life, with none of the doom, fear, sexism, and general crappiness you’d get in something like our National Post.

  101. Takuan says:

    we are responsible for what we can change.

  102. sum.zero says:

    no, i formed that from impression from discussing their experiences with expat british friends in bolivia in the early 80s.

    it seems to me that it was common enough at the time and, as stated, represents an attitude towards child-rearing and children in general that is somewhat questionable imho. how many of today’s parents and grandparents have had these experiences? how did those experiences shape their current views and attitudes towards their own and others’ children. how is the generational cycle of abuse playing out? and so on.

    nice attitude you have there though.

  103. Takuan says:

    so Nelson, how do you feel about Adrian Mole?

  104. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    It can’t do their regular school system a lot of good to have the children of the ruling classes sent off to private schools.

  105. sum.zero says:

    troofseeker

    you seem to confuse fear with respect. they are not synonymous. nor do you get respect by instilling fear. quite the opposite, in fact.

    fear is the tool of the dictators and tyrants. is that how you see your parenthood?

  106. zuzu says:

    you seem to confuse fear with respect.

    Just so long as you fear and respect that escalator!

  107. mdh says:

    @ito – I’m sure you do fine.

  108. Anonymous says:

    I think this issue is touches a nerve because it is on the continuum of violence. Those who say that there is no such thing as appropriately applied violence towards children would also most likely say that there is no place for violence against any other living creature.

    This seems a little naive to me.

    Is hitting your child for being a total disrespectulful little shit (as my parents only ever did) the same thing as fighting the Germans in WWII? No, but they beg the question; when is violence appropriate? According to who?

    It seems that some people would like to see the entire human race be at peace. Just because this is an unrealistic goal in any of our lifetimes doesn’t mean we should give up on it, right? Or is there a better way, a third path to finding contentment with the human condition.

  109. Digilante says:

    Maybe the smearing comes from the fact that many are indeed delinquent, violent, agressive incarnations of evil… I have not experienced such behaviour in any other country I visited.

  110. Diesel12 says:

    I am grateful for the spankings I got as a child. My experience is that spankings can be a valuable tool in shaping a child’s understanding of what is and what is not acceptable behavior. I’m not going to try and convince the nay-sayers, that’s just my experience.

    At some point in my childhood I decided I liked biting my playmates…. finally mom came into yet another scene of one of my playmates screaming at the top of their lungs after I had bitten her…. so Mom gave me a bite I will never forget… for some odd reason, that was the last time I bit a playmate…….

  111. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Well, MDH, I wouldn’t use such a metaphor (it seems a bit overwrought to me) but I get your point.

    Nonetheless I have to do what I think is best, eh?
    I’m raising my kids the way my parents raised me. I and my siblings are at least as happy as most people, have nice families and homes, and are comfortably well off. I’m not willing to experiment with my children’s futures based on other people’s ideology.

    And honestly, it’s not really fair for you to just assume that I’m too lazy to exert myself more. When someone says “I’m doing my best within my abilities” it might be true, you know.

    Um, if that sounded peevish it wasn’t meant to. I’m OK with other people doing what they think best, too.

  112. TroofSeeker says:

    Ito,
    Our younger son wasn’t the bundle of joy that his older brother was. “I hate you! I hate my life!” were things he’d say. I never punished him because I was afraid he’d commit suicide.

    We won him over with love, with happiness and kind deeds and words. Sitting on the floor playing with him. Now he’s a bundle of joy- just… a little taller than I.
    They can change, people.

  113. Nelson.C says:

    I never read much of him, Takuan, and recall very little. Did he go to boarding school?

    Sum, I think you could have benefitted from a larger and more randomised sample. I don’t think at any point in British history have anything but a small minority been sent off to boarding school (they tend to be expensive), so blaming them for the purported demonic nature of the children of the hoi polloi seems a little off-target at best.

    Teresa, private schools aren’t as bad as boarding schools, but they do lead to a certain insularity among the great and good. The only thing to recommend them (from a societal point of view) is that, once background and relative wealth are adjusted for, children educated at private schools seem to be less successful than those educated at state schools and so just a little bit less likely to maintain their position in the “ruling classes”.

  114. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Troofie, I always like your posts, although I suspect your life is even weirder than mine.

    It sounds like you you didn’t use an ideology to deal with your son’s troubles. You dealt with it as an individual problem requiring an individual solution and engaged it head on. Kudos to you, my friend.

  115. KanedaJones says:

    I going to post twice since I want to speak my mind on the topic but I also want to respond to so many peoples posts. Better I split them to let people ignore either of the long posts.. cause either long post is looong.

    First Off what I think in general on this topic.

    My mom was a single parent since I was four and she only spanked me once when I ran in traffic as a munchkin and smacked me in the face once for talking back when I was a teen during a heated argument – that was all. The traffic spank was perfectly fine I feel cause it induced trauma surrounding the event that prevented me from running into traffic BUT let me be straight, I feared how upset she was not the vague concept of being roadkill. The slap to the face during an argument caused me to loose any respect for her at the time and had me fuming for months.. when it wasnt on the forefront of the brain it still set the tone for quite a while.

    As a uncle, a babysitter, but not yet as a parent, I have instilled in children under my care that the rules are the rules and they have an almost mythical quality to them. Its when children think rules are maliable based on your moods that they then think they can game the system.

    To give in once on a rule with a small child is to set you back months and months.

    the other ABSOLUTELY necessary aspect of the rules is the fact love of the child is totally separate from the rules. Two ethereal entities connected by their rock solidness but neither influence each other.

    With the rules and dictatorship policy, my wife being upset,with an icy stare while she never stops smiling normally, gets more out of my nephew than a slap or tap ever could. (older he gets the more it works too)

    my cats don’t speak english so I raise my hand in the exact way they raise their paw when fighting (downward blows not sideways). With me making light contact once every thirty times to remind them its ‘real’ I now have trained cats. If my cats could speak I would obviously train with words but we are in the end mammals.. the threat of a loss or danger is what motivates.

    so to sum up iron will with unconditional love and a raised fist is never needed.. unless your children meow then just raise the fist but don’t bring it all the way down cause cat guts are messy.

    Once again I rambled on. just call me Lovecraft only less entertaining.

  116. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Kagehisa, you were in the wrong, and you got off lightly. First, you don’t know whether the child was retarded, autistic, emotionally disturbed, or otherwise afflicted. It sounds to me like there was something wrong with him. Physical punishment might have been a very inappropriate response.

    You say it was easy to see that this behavior was not abnormal for him. Were you picking that up from the kid, from his mother’s reactions, or from both? Nine to thirteen is pretty old to be throwing a fit in public over some sweets. That’s little kid behavior. If he’s as much of a brute as you hypothesize, he’s hitting her up for money and buying his own damn sweets. Also, I have trouble believing in a mother who’s so cowed that she’ll let her child punch her in the face, but who nevertheless draws the line at a little candy.

    Next, your model of the interaction appears to assume that it was the first time he’d hit his mother like that, and that this was the occasion on which he learned that it’s okay to hit people if you want them to buy you candy. However, you’ve left out an essential detail: on the occasion you witnessed, did he or did he not get the candy? If you didn’t watch to see how that played out, you don’t really know what was going on.

    And by the way, nobody starts hitting others by punching their mother in the face. They start small and work up. If the kid wasn’t afflicted in some way, as seems likely to me, but instead was the brute you’d make him out to be, he didn’t just learn that day that compliance can be extorted via physical abuse; and the lessons he’d been learning while doing it were a good deal more complicated.

    Whoops, I just realized there’s another important detail you left out: did you confirm that the woman was his mother, rather than a caretaker of some sort? Like the question of whether he got the candy, it makes a lot of difference.

    I don’t think he was a brute. Here’s one further reason why I think there was something wrong with the kid: I never got the impression from your story that the mother was terribly surprised by what happened, aside from the normal discombobulation that follows getting hit. If that was an unprecedented and/or inexplicable event, she’d have been a lot more surprised and upset about it.

    In short, what you’ve described of that interaction makes me strongly doubt your interpretation of it.

    But let’s temporarily assume that everything happened just as you described it, the kid is physically and mentally normal aside from being a conscienceless little brute, and this woman has, of all unlikely things, agreed to let a stranger hit her kid. What would he have learned?

    He’s not a toddler learning that hitting or biting people hurts them. He’s not a little kid learning that physical violence is against the rules. If he’s an otherwise normal kid between nine and thirteen, he already knows hitting people is against the rules. If he’s been hitting them anyway, he also knows that human society isn’t real good at enforcing that one.

    So, does he learn from you that physical violence isn’t a legitimate way to settle differences? Not a chance — you’re using physical violence to settle differences. If this kid really is someone who could deliberately punch his mother in the face, in public, over a minor dispute, what he learns from your spanking is to not hit his victims in public, because some weird guy might come along and hit him in turn. And if he really, truly is as thuggish as you say, the other thing he learns is to make it very clear to his mother than if she ever again sides with a stranger against him, he’ll make sure she regrets it when they get back home.

    In closing, a few remarks on some of your earlier comments:

    – Being spanked with a wooden board or paddle can amount to a fairly severe beating. In any event, there’s no legitimate reason to use such a thing on children.

    – Your frind in college was off the charts. Comparing your childhood to his doesn’t mean yours was okay.

    – It’s not normal for children to be afraid of their parents, or for them to flinch whenever a parent raises a hand.

    – If you haven’t hit your kids in years, but they still automatically flinch just because you’ve raised your hand, even though they’re much bigger and older now, then you really overdid the fear thing when they were small, and they’ve been afraid of you ever since.

    – It’s enough to tell your children that there’s evil in the world. You don’t have to enact it to get the message across.

  117. KanedaJones says:

    forgot to say an esoteric fear of the rules being broken is what builds good citizens and we don’t have to break their critical thinking. if you want to keep them from being oppressed point out the thing they are loyal to is not the govt but a moral and ethical belief. either way we have to teach them to obey for the sake of a giant huge vague concept to distance our emotional selves from ‘the rules’.

    now on to my replies. I recommend you ignore them.

    @#4 sum.zero

    “messages sent by physical punishment:

    1 – love and concern can be expressed through violence
    2 – it’s ok to harm someone if you think they are wrong or if they disagree with you
    3 – rules can and should be enforced through physical coercion
    4 – might makes right”

    you are totally right

    @#8 error404

    “It is the removal of consequences that moves thuggish bastardry into thuggish bastard actions.”

    you are totally right, luckily consequences has nothing to do with laying hands on the little brat.. or big brat for that matter.

    @#26 pecoto

    “When parents take an active interest and play larger role in their children’s lives, then their children tend to be better socialized. If the parents uphold high ideals of morals and ethics, even if they do not explicitly teach these values to their children their children tend to uphold these same values.

    It’s Simple Stupid: Raise Your Kids”

    you are right except come on, how bout considering explicitly teaching values necessary.

    @#27 Antinous

    “Some day you’ll be old and have bad hips and your kids will have the baseball bat. Let’s hope for your sake that the Orwellian nanny state is there to save your ass.”

    you are right but you sound bitter.. hope this topic ain’t pushing some buttons for you. :)

    @#31 TroofSeeker

    “I hit my older son a few times… Come to think of it, we don’t punish. We lead and teach, and we explain why “that” isn’t cool, and they get it. I dearly love my wife and sons. That’s what it takes.”

    please make ‘I hit’ and ‘we don’t punish’ work together for me. am I missing a joke or a fact? At least you get the love them dearly concept.

    @#35 dainel

    “If you beat them when they deserve it.. then that is what you teach them is not that it is OK to beat up children whenever you feel like it (unless that is what you actually do)”

    Problem is that IF the kid doesn’t get why they were hit they then build resentment, and in turn this resentment effects what they think is a ‘deserving’ action by their future kid to warrant a slap. You run the risk of them forever holding a disagreement with you over your aplication of ‘the hand’ and that just sours them to you and others. This CAN be ofiscated by lots of correct parenting but why take the risk.

    I hate how people miss out on mammal behaviour when considering humans.. they may have higher functioning thoughts but it doesn’t obliterate our fight or flight response or our bad habit as a species for holding grudges and putting those grudges onto other people. Transference is an issue here. Trust me even ‘lowly’ mammals transfer agression thus so must we. just watch animals at the zoo work out the pecking order.

    @#45 Takuan

    “If you can’t coerce your child’s good behaviour by wracking them with guilt over your sorrow, ur doin it wrong.”

    hopefully you are mostly joking since a parent instilling guilt creates an ampel amount of stuff one can transfer onto others. Feeling responsible for a parent’s sadness, ‘IF cronic’ can lead to a shame spiral where the kid then acts bad cause he thinks he’s bad. I didnt get over that till my wife gave me the new mate work over. What better example of ‘using guilt to control’ sucks than the catholic church.. nuff said! You DO need to make them feel they are letting somebody down, and that should be 10% the parents, 60% themselves, and 30% this nebulus thing called “society” or “greater good”.

    @#46 Kennric

    “Sure, there are logical arguments to be made on both sides of spanking – there are real data, cultural considerations, and actually a lot of neuroscience on both sides.”

    Oh dont drag neuroscience into it! it is one step from being eugenics or phrenology. modern science is all based on conjecture and data corolation of studies where the participants number in the TENS. not hundreds.. but two digits! mention brain scans or genetics and I will go anti.. uhm medival on you.

    “Oh, and Antinous, it’s not cool to shit on people’s parents. Make a reasoned point and stop yelling insults, it’s hard to respect your point of view when it’s expressed that way.”

    ya well one is lured into defending one’s point of view beacause internaly we hate to be judged wrong by our peers even the ademantly against us ones but lets consider antinous too viscious to play nice. Of course all of us here are processing to verious degrees.

    @#61 Takuan

    “might I also point out a very conspicuous lack of expressed appreciation for those that keep our garden clear of weeds… For every word of criticism, offer three of praise. That is, if your intentions are pure and good. Why should this place be any different from the rest of your world?”

    Due to both the use of ads and the usual high level of quality around here people kinda treat mother boing and its children like its a money making venture, a business if you will. The unfortunate state of the (westernized?) world is to treat people in businesses like the fixtures of said businesses. sorry the admins and mods don’t get too many props. as for me I saw how antinous reacted and felt that overwhelming need to fix something.. only damn parent induced behavior in me that’s useful.

  118. rain_globule says:

    If the the kids are poor then it makes sense that they act like that. You see that every where. Go into an inner city school in America and you will get the exact same thing.

  119. TroofSeeker says:

    My dad beat us when we deserved it. He was always fair about it, and like Ito, it served me well.

    I hit my older son a few times, but the younger, never. Didn’t need to. He’s 18 now, and he’s a great kid and a great human being and a leader among his many friends.
    Come to think of it, we don’t punish. We lead and teach, and we explain why “that” isn’t cool, and they get it. I dearly love my wife and sons. That’s what it takes.

  120. mdh says:

    TROOF – I’m going to beat you if you keep double posting three times a day. Stop hitting reload. Just stop.

  121. TroofSeeker says:

    I appreciate the spankings I got, but I’ve come to believe that it isn’t the spanking that’s effective. It’s the FEAR. Fear is our greatest and most efficient teacher and most valuable emotion, in terms of survival.

    A child really needs to believe that if they cross a certain line, they will be inflicted with pain. They don’t need the pain; they need the fear.
    My sons know that there are lines that, if they cross them, I will beat their ass. If either of them ever struck their mother I would pound him senseless. So they wouldn’t dare. They never would, anyway, because they love her too much.

    One of them was on the patio punching a heavy bag one day. I walked by and hit the bag so hard it went flying. As I walked away I saw his stunned reflection on the patio door. He knows I can hit. So I never had to.

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