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Today in the Horrors of Child Abuse


Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush talks about “harshly disciplining” his 1 year old daughter.

And no, this is not just an NFL thing

…Bush now claims (per update at above link) that this he does not hit his daughter. But the original language leaves me very skeptical of that claim that could easily be made for PR purposes. When one says, “I definitely will try to obviously not leave bruises or anything like that on her, but I definitely will discipline her, harshly, depending on what the situation is” there is no other real way to interpret that statement.

Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson called Peterson’s situation “unfortunate” but that he will still discipline his kids.

“Knowing when, how to discipline your kids. This whole situation, you know, it’s very unfortunate,” Johnson said. “Then you have pictures come out which made it even worse. I’m going to discipline my kids, you know, and can’t nobody tell me how to discipline my kids.

“Like I said, that’s not my situation right now. My situation would be private. It’s not a public matter when you discipline your family but unfortunately for him, it had become that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disciplining your child. It teaches them discipline at the same time.”

Johnson did not indicate how he disciplines any current or future children, but said he felt child discipline should be private. He felt differently about domestic abuse.

“There are some things that just shouldn’t be done,” Johnson said. ” You shouldn’t put your hands on a woman, simple as that. Talking about Adrian and going from that to the domestic cases that we have are two totally different things to me.”

Yeah, no. The two things might have some differences, but they are both physical abuse.

….Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer arrested for domestic violence this afternoon. Of course, unlike the 49ers and Ray McDonald, Dwyer isn’t good enough for the team to ignore this, so they will probably cut him.

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  • DrDick

    This is all too common in many segments of American society. I have seen a couple of pieces on the issue which have tried to frame it as an African American thing, but it really is not. This kind of thing is still common among poor and working class whites in many parts of America (especially the South and Southern Plains).

    • LosGatosCA

      Again,see ESPN for real time broad sampling of latest reaction to Peterson suspension:

      That’s a 2 day improvement over the 64-36 in favor of Peterson playing, but look at the states where the audience doesn’t agree:

      OK,AR,MS,AL,GA, NC

      TX is 50/50.

      Props to LA, FL, TN, even SC, WV, and KY for bucking peer pressure.

      Rest of ESPN country: north of 60% approving Peterson suspension.

      • Lee Rudolph

        TX is 50/50

        What’s not entirely the matter with Texas?

        • Denverite

          Lots of sports fans in Texas with easy internet access aren’t from Texas.

          • KarenJo12

            And most of Texas’ liberals are both sports fans and have Internet access. Sports fans, especially football fans, in other places skew conservative. In Texas, everyone’s a fan.

            • Manny Kant

              This seems questionable. In the first place, given that football fans are disproportionately male (and I would be astonished if this wasn’t true in Texas as much as anywhere else), they’re going to skew more conservative than the population as a whole, even ignoring any other issues.

              In the second place, even if we assume that football fans in North Carolina are disproportionately conservative compared to the state’s overall population, while football fans in Texas aren’t, North Carolina is still a state that is considerably more liberal to start with, so I’m not sure I don’t see why that’s a wash.

            • GoDeep

              Does anyone know why sports fans skew conservative?

              • Denverite

                I’m not 100% sure it’s as universal as “all sports fans skew conservative.” I’d expect football, baseball and hockey fans to skew conservative, but not soccer or basketball.

                As to why the three sports I’d guess skew conservative, they all skew at least two of wealthy, white and southern.

                • Richard Hershberger

                  Eh? Which two do baseball fans skew? White, I’ll grant you, but baseball is traditionally a northern sport. There are, barring early onset senility on my part, five MLB teams in the Confederacy, two of which are in Florida, which doesn’t really count nowadays. This leaves wealthy. I don’t have any actual data, but it is not obvious to me that baseball fans skew wealthy. They certainly don’t traditionally.

                • Denverite

                  White and wealthy. It’s an expensive sport to play, and it’s a very time-consuming sport to follow — the games take a long time and there’s one almost every night during the season.

                  I’d also suspect that participation skews heavily southern and sun belt these days for climate reasons, but I could be wrong about that.

                • djw


                  MLB fans are more wealthy than NASCAR and NBA, less than college sports and NHL. Not as wealthy as I’d have thought, actually.

              • elm

                While what the others say is true, I think the most basic reason is that sports fans skew male and men are more likely to be conservative.

            • DrDick

              It is also the case that in Texas there are regional differences (East Texas is very conservative this way and Austin is generally not).

              • Lee Rudolph

                Isn’t Austin basically a rounding error in Texas?

    • MikeJake

      I blame lead.

  • DrS

    You know, “everyone else does it” wasn’t a valid excuse when I tried it on my parents, but it seems to be the go to for beating the shit out of innocent kids.

    It’s touching that he does his best to not leave any bruises on a 1 yr old.

    • catclub

      A catch-22 situation. If you said “nobody else does it”,
      your parents would say, “Of course not, they are good children.”

  • Murc

    I’m going to discipline my kids, you know, and can’t nobody tell me how to discipline my kids.

    I’ve got news for you, asshole; we absolutely can. The same people who make it illegal for you to beat down your neighbor in the course of a disagreement can, should, and if those of us who aren’t human scum have our way, will tell you that can’t assault some of the least powerful members of our society that an accident of genetics has left in your care.

  • Schadenboner

    What the fuck can a 1 year old *do* that Mr. Bush even thinks would require (or, rather, benefit from) discipline?

    At least based on my 11-month-old, the kid is crying because he/she’s hungry or tired or wet, none of these are really an appropriate basis for discipline.

    • When Mini__B was one, three years ago, he was fearlessly running places he shouldn’t. When we got tired of chasing after him, we lifted him up and put him in his crib, where no harm would come to him. Because, you know, BABY WHO DOESNT UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE.

      Sorry about the yelling. I agree with every word you wrote except you could cut out “really.”

      • Manju

        When Mini__B was one, three years ago, he was fearlessly running places he shouldn’t

        He was the head of Goldman Sachs?

        • Couldn’t do worse than those that are and would be considerably more honest.

      • Not that I trusted my parents (Obviously.) but they told me that when I was that age-ish (maybe “terrible twos”) my father had to put the side piece from another crib on top of mine, literally caging me. Be glad you’ve a different “M.B.” on your paws.

        (And a good thing I don’t have that energy today.)

        • Did they put the neighbors’ kids in there as well, with one well-sharpened spork for both them and you?

          • Come now, N__B. One baby with a spork and a throwing net is traditionally matched against an armoured, helmetted opponent.

            • You’ve just described the network replacement for the NFL, circa 2025.

        • CD

          That’s what play pens are, no? Little jails. Mine was referred to as the pig pen.

      • DrDick

        When my son was 1-2 (about 40 years ago), he wandered and stuck his finger in a light socket. Fortunately no substantial or permanent damage (other than scaring the hell out of him and me). On the bright side, he never did that again.

    • Denverite

      This is almost why I believe him walking the statement back. I can’t imagine what a baby would do to make you hit him or her (and I’ve had three of them).

      • trollhattan

        “Discipline harshly.” If that means taking away Miss Fluffy for twenty seconds as a negative consequence for something overt and comprehensible to a one-year-old, then okie-dokie.

        “It’s not nice to bite daddy.”

        You will get their attention; they may or may not link the consequence to their behavior, however.

        Strike that child and it’s phone call to CPS time.

      • Aimai

        The Pearls (“To Train Up a Child“) absolutely do advocate beating and striking very young infants. The idea is to enforce instant compliance and docility in very young infants–teaching them, for example, not to move away fromthe spot inwhich they have been placed. You don’t child proof the room–you room proof the child. Several deaths have been associated with Pearl based training in beatings and whippings of children.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Several deaths have been associated with Pearl based training in beatings and whippings of children.

          Well, those kids aren’t moving away from the spot in which they’ve been placed, are they now?

    • rea

      He says, in the linked article, that his daughter hits people when they don’t do what she wants.

      • MAJeff

        Wonder where she may have learned that.

        • Denverite

          In fairness, kids can figure out how to hit all on their own.

          • NonyNony

            Yes but if you want to have a classic example of “mixed messages mean bad parenting” there it is.

            The worst thing you can do if you want to stop a toddler from hitting people when they don’t do what the toddler wants is to hit the toddler when they aren’t doing what you want.

            • Denverite

              The worst thing you can do if you want to stop a toddler from hitting people when they don’t do what the toddler wants is to hit the toddler when they aren’t doing what you want.

              I’d call it a tie between hitting them and doing what the kid wants when hit.

              (The revelation we had — alas, too late for our first, who generally gets whatever she wants from me — is that if you come down like the hammer of god* whenever they start to do whatever the behavior is to get what they want [blubbering, hitting, whining, etc.] then they cut that shit out QUICKLY. If they know, for example, that blubbering about not getting a cookie or whatnot earns them an immediate stint in timeout plus an early bedtime if they keep it up while there, and they still don’t get the cookie, then their capacity to STFU when threatened is boundless.)

              * Not in a violent way. More in a metaphorical one. Well, I guess violently would still be metaphorical, so in a nonviolent metaphorical way.

          • DrDick

            There is also clear evidence that children are much more likely to hit others if the are physically punished and less likely to do so if they are not.

      • NonyNony

        Well of course the best way to fix that behavior is to smack her every time she does it! It isn’t like kids “learn” from the behavior that adults “model” for them or anything like that!

      • Hogan

        He didn’t say that. The exact words were “kind of swings at you.” With a one year old, I suspect this is getting into “was it a blink or a wink” territory.

        • Aimai

          Christ–“kind of swings at you.” What on earth? Kids at age one to two barely have balance–she’s probably trying to figure out a way to hang on to him or right herself while falling. Of course striking her or otherwise “correcting” this problem of TODDLING is the right thing to do.

    • burritoboy

      Yeah, that basically gives the lie to his whole rhetoric – nobody should be disciplining a 1 year old.

    • Nobdy

      His daughter is very advanced for her age and is running an Arnold Rothstein style operation to rig the NFL, thus endangering his livelihood.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        A dirty bomb was about to go off somewhere in Manhattan, and his daughter was the only one who knew where it was.

        • Vance Maverick

          This made me laugh.

          One-year-olds are definitely old enough to have intentions that need correcting, like hitting people. The form of correction they need, though, is at most a clear word, or as N_B says, moving them.

    • Schadenboner

      I guess I read “1 year old” as being just that, 12 months. Given the span from 12 to 24 months (although I usually hear those counted in three-month increments: one-year/15m/18m/21m/two-year) the child can exhibit moral agency of a sort and as such need some sort of correction.

      But seriously you man-child: don’t hit kids. Just don’t. What’s hard about that?

      • catclub

        What’s hard about that?

        The usual, as Augustine put it. Controlling yourself.

      • Vance Maverick

        Yeah, hang around among new parents and you won’t hear “one-year-old” too much. I remember I was likelier to say “17 months”, only relaxing into normal year-counting towards the second birthday.

        • Schadenboner

          Week by week until 12 weeks, month by month until 12 months, quarters until 24 months is how I seem to see it around here.

          • Somehow, saying that you’re counting the days gives a bad impression.

          • Denverite

            We prefer moons until 28 moons, seasons until 20 seasons, and solar sunspot cycles after that. For example, the twins are 17 seasons and 2 moons right now.

    • tsam

      We can talk about what discipline means–it should never involve any violent act. There are hundreds of things you can do to educate a child, and violence is the least effective among them.

    • JL

      I mean, if you use “discipline” to actually mean any kind of discipline at all and not as a euphemism for corporal punishment, you can discipline a one year-old for, say, whapping another one year-old over the head with a toy (a real example involving kids at my wedding rehearsal bbq a few years ago). You could do that by, for instance, taking away the toy and telling them “Toys are not for hitting people with” or some similar message.

      Notice how this discipline doesn’t involve hitting the kid.

      • Barry Freed

        Yeah, I don’t get how discipline = hitting at all.

        Hitting isn’t going to impart discipline. The only thing it’s going to instill is fear and its attendant anxiety disorders.

      • if you use “discipline” to actually mean any kind of discipline at all

        I usually see it next to an hourly rate…

  • rea

    Bush now claims (per update at above link) that this he does hit his daughter

    Bush now claims (per update at above link) that this he does NOT hit his daughter

    • Yes, I noticed that rather key word missing.

  • ChrisS

    Nobody can tell me what to do with my property.

    • Child AND girl. Double Property! Like Boardwalk with a hotel on it….

    • carolannie

      This is what bugs me about all of these people: children are thought of as their property. This is a common feeling among adults, hence the idea that you can treat them any way you want. But children aren’t property. I suppose we will get rid of the notion that no one can tell you what to do with YOUR children when we get rid of the notion that family matters are inherently “private” (they aren’t, they are a matter of community welfare) and of personal “privacy” (this is touchy, but you know, sooner or later we will need to have a grown up discussion about human rights, not the illusion of “privacy”).

      • GoDeep

        We don’t feel like children are our property but we do feel like we have an obligation to raise them up properly, and for some of them–at an appropriate age–that might include spanking.

        I’ve never seen anyone spank a kid under 3yo, I have seen them maybe smack their hand if they were doing something dangerous–like going near a fan or hitting others.

        • DrS

          Oh, so since you’ve never seen someone hit an under 3 yr old…

          Cool story, bro. As ever.

          • GoDeep

            Its “sista”. If you’re going to be snide at least get the gender right.

            • Aimai

              Needless to say what you’ve seen, or not seen, is not dispositive.

              • GoDeep

                I wasn’t making the asinine assertion that no one has ever hit someone under 3yo, it was the beginning of a thought that ppl I know who spank would consider it irresponsible to spank someone under 3yo.

        • sharculese

          I’m curious. Is there anything at all you don’t think violence is the solution too?

          • GoDeep

            Sure. I think violence solves some situations but doesn’t solve others. Take this ISIS thing. I’m skeptical US military force can solve the situation. I don’t think that spanking is a magic pill but I do think that it should be used as part of the parental tool kit…The author of the excerpt below intends this to be a repudiation of spanking, aimed at black readers. I had the opposite response: Why would I want my kid to grow up to be entitled, spoiled, and whiny?

            In college, I once found myself on the D.C. metro with one of my favorite professors. As we were riding, a young white child began to climb on the seats and hang from the bars of the train. His mother never moved to restrain him. But I began to see the very familiar, strained looks of disdain and dismay on the countenances of the mostly black passengers. They exchanged eye contact with one another, dispositions tight with annoyance at the audacity of this white child, but mostly at the refusal of his mother to act as a disciplinarian. I, too, was appalled. I thought, if that were my child, I would snatch him down and tell him to sit his little behind in a seat immediately. My professor took the opportunity to teach: “Do you see how this child feels the prerogative to roam freely in this train, unhindered by rules or regulations or propriety?”

            “Yes,” I nodded. “What kinds of messages do you think are being communicated to him right now about how he should move through the world?”

            And I began to understand, quite starkly, in that moment, the freedom that white children have to see the world as a place that they can explore, a place in which they can sit, or stand, or climb at will.

            The world, they are learning, is theirs for the taking.

    • Nothing but a legacy of slavery. The Southern Bible says it’s O.K. to beat people, especially if they are w/o agency or property & there is therefore no way but violence to control them.

      • GoDeep

        That’s offensive. You’re suggesting that black ppl today are emulating our old masters. You can take that opinion & shove it.

        BTW, its not just offensive, its stupid. You’re ignoring the fact that billions of ppl around the world w/out any history of slavery use corporal punishment on their kids.

        • ChrisS

          because they consider children their property.

          Would you be OK with it if your neighbor spanked your child outside of the home?

          • GoDeep

            I don’t even know my neighbors, but with a family friend, relative, or teacher? Sure. “Its takes a village to raise just one” includes more than just taxes!

            • Aimai

              African culture influenced Southern White culture, and Southern White cultures influenced African American culture. Both are honor cultures in which violence is exalted and seen as the way to repair lost masculine honor and in which the authority of elders is seen as important, fragile, and ever under threat from uncontrollable youth. Both are extremely authoritarian and god-ridden. That’s just the fact of the centuries of cultural assimilation between the two communities.

            • “Its takes a village to raise just one” includes more than just taxes!

              Ahhh. “Taxes.” Thanks for revealing your sincere interest in the issue of beating people a fifth your size bloody.

        • You’re ignoring the fact that billions of ppl around the world w/out any history of slavery

          Really? Where are these magical countries that have no history of slavery?

          You’re inferring some kind of racial meaning to Bouffant’s post that wasn’t there. Reading comprehension, that modern magical wizardry that eludes so many, reveals no offense there….

          • GoDeep

            You’re right, by ‘legacy of slavery’ he meant Jews in Egypt, not blacks in America. My bad.

            • He meant the legacy of slavery as supported by the Bible. You were the one who brought up the billions of other people.

              Meanwhile, I am waiting for you to find me a place that doesn’t have some history of slavery….

        • Yes, & I’m suggesting that Southern Americans of recent European descent are as bad. They started it, if you’ll pardon the cliché.

    • How can you have a free society if you don’t even have property rights to your family members?

  • Cheap Wino

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disciplining your child. It teaches them discipline at the same time.

    Calvin Johnson doesn’t express himself well so I’ve edited for accuracy:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disciplining beating your child. It teaches them discipline beating at the same time.”

    Who could disagree with his conclusion?

    • brad

      I’d say the addition of “at the same time” makes the editing unnecessary, accurate as it is. The supposed discipline is a “lucky” side-effect of the real motivation behind the beating; self-gratification. And I have zero problem with saying that violent assholes who enjoy beating other humans need to be stopped from doing so.

    • Four Krustys

      How very Randian. A=A, where A is for ass whuppin’

  • rea

    Too many people here are conflating two distinct things–and it’s the same conflation that gets the big majorities favoring “disciplining” kids. There are a lot of people that believe that sometimes spanking kids is not inappropriate discipline. Beating your kid bloody with a stick is not in the same category as spanking!

    • Joel

      Disciplining your kids is definitely not a public matter. Committing a crime definitely is a public matter. Sane people need to know when the former crosses into the latter. Many parents, including those who are also NFL players, are clearly not sane.

      • rea

        Although in fairness to the two NFL players quoted in the post, they’re not very articulate, and heaven only knows what they meant.

    • mpowell

      I don’t really agree that it is easy to draw a line distinguishing categories. I would agree that there is a level of violence beyond which government should intervene, but that this line is lower than the permanent injury level that, to me, clearly establishes a different category.

    • DrS

      “Spanking” all too often goes right in to beating. The fact that there’s no external implement and marks are not often left does not change how this gets processed by the child’s developing brain.

      There’s no reason for any adult to be hitting a child.

    • tsam

      Both are intended to instill fear and pain. What’s the difference, aside from the severity of the pain?

      (The answer is none)

      • DrS

        Well, and how much physical evidence is left behind.

        It’s the same reason lethal injection is favored for execution. It’s easier to look at the results.

        • tsam

          The point is that violence can easily be demonstrated to be traumatic and counter-productive, whether it’s a smack on the rear with an open hand or a beating with a stick.

          There may not be a ton of empirical evidence to show that spanking produces bad results in kids, but there is mountains of empirical evidence that documents the traumatic effects of being victimized by violent acts. It may be logically unsound for me to insist that spanking will always produce bad results, but I can certainly say with all confidence that it has a high probability of doing so. So why hit a kid? What does violence teach? I know a few things violence teaches, and that’s not a lesson that kids need to be learning.

          • GoDeep

            It may be logically unsound for me to insist that spanking will always produce bad results,


            • DrS

              Now that’s taking things out of context.

              Well done.

            • …but not as logically unsound as insisting that spanking produces GOOD results, in the face of mountains of evidence.

              • Aimai

                Here is a great essay which is very much on point:

                I’m almost 30, and still to this day I have vivid memories of many of the beatings I endured. After a parent-teacher conference in second grade during which my mother was told that I was acting out, she came home, and I got the paddle while standing in Time Out (my mother elected to employ a wooden paddle-ball paddle and usually hit me while I was standing in a corner). I will always remember her saying, “If you think this is bad, just wait until your father gets home.” What kind of sick person says this to an eight-year-old?…
                I want to speak about the so-called “positive” aspects of corporal punishment. First off, there are NONE. It’s ridiculous for any human with a normal IQ to think that hitting a highly impressionable young child—one who looks to you for nurturing, support, and affection—would reap any positive outcome. It does not teach a child to respect his or her parents; it teaches you to fear them. It took until I was 17 for me to get over this fear, and the only way I did was to finally fight back during two beatings I was receiving, one from my father and one from my stepfather. It took until I was strong enough to fight back and injure these two men who I was supposed to look up to to feel like I didn’t have to fear them. Corporal punishment didn’t teach me right from wrong; it taught me that if my parents were upset, I was probably getting hit. I swear they would beat me sometimes if they just had a bad day at work.

                Read the whole thing. The guy is from an upper middle class white family, btw.

                • DrS

                  I remember the last time my dad hit me. It was when I was strong enough to stop it.

                  No worries though, cause it was “just spanking”.

                • But YOU turned out OK!

                • Is this why G. Bush the Least wanted to have a punch out w/ G. Bush the Not As Less?

                • DrS

                  Man that was rough to read, for various similar experience type reasons.

                  Sure, I’m OK. Knowing what has been a root cause of my anxiety and depression have really helped me get a better handle on those things. It helps to know why, and to recognize that those things aren’t happening now, even when it starts to feel like something bad is happening.

                  I cannot imagine what causes people to justify hitting children. Sure, it was “just spankings”.

            • tsam

              Seriously? That how you want to do this?

              Is this REALLY the hill you want to die on? You can puke up all the bullshit justifications you want for striking a defenseless child. I’m a parent of three grown daughters. I was spanked as a child. I also never wore seatbelts and frequently rode in the back of a pickup on state highways before there were passing lanes and softer curves and leveled valleys and hills. I learned, I adapted, and used my head instead of my hands and educated instead of controlled.

              You’ll never convince me that violence, whether you insist it comes from a loving place or not, is a good way to raise a child.

      • gmack

        Well, sure. But there’s a continuum, say, from smacking the child’s hands as she’s reaching for a hot stove on one end through, say, beating your child with a switch on the other. It’s not that I’d be willing to defend any of these practices, but the question is when we want the government to intervene in them. Particularly since this issue has (wrongly) started to get encoded as an African-American phenomenon, I’m a bit less gung-ho than some are about calling all corporal punishment child abuse.

        • DrS

          Sure, there’s a continum. But it is one in which a parent, in discipling a child, has no idea on which part they are landing.

          There are plenty of things that are and have been considered “just spanking” that lead to massive psychological trauma.

          Hitting your kids is playing roulette with their psychology for zero benefit in actual behavior modification.

          • mpowell

            I could imagine that lots of non-physical disciplinary measures can also lead to psychological trauma. I’ve actually observed it. Emotional abuse is also a thing. Is there something special about physical discipline? Is this a matter of science or your opinion? I’m genuinely curious because I’m not familiar with the literature on this issue.

            • DrS

              This article that M. Bouffant links to below has references to several studies indicating links to spanking and various types of maladaptive development.

              Why would we think that violence that is unacceptable for all other people is ok when you are talking about children? They are still in the early stages of cognitive development.

              And yes, other things can induce psychological trauma. That doesn’t mean that we cannot and should not get rid of a thing that we know does and that has is of no positive benefit to the child.

              • other things can induce psychological trauma

                He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

                UPDATE: The main outcome of my preferred disciplinary methods is that the Doktorling Sonja now uses sarcasm and dramatic irony on me.

                • From the first time I heard that skit (on an LP!) until I managed to parse the words “he napalmed Cheltenham” must have been ten years.

              • GoDeep

                The problem w/ the studies is that you can only show correlation, not causation. Is it that physical discipline makes kids more likely to be maladaptive, or is it that maladaptive kids need more physical discipline?

                • DrS

                  Really, really want that justification for hitting children, doncha?

                  I dunno, maybe the kid really was such a bad kid that bruising is completely appropriate.

                  That’s a really dumb argument. And immoral. And I’m judging you cause I think you’re a bad person who hits children.

                • I think you should hit him, Dr. S. It’s the only way he’ll learn…

                • Aimai

                  No, that’s wrong. You can absolutely show causation because they are doing brain imaging studies of kids who are being beaten and abused and they are showing changes to the brain. Also you are rather giving the game away by talking about “maladaptive kids.” I think you, yourself, don’t have kids so the idea that you are standing up for the beating of other people’s kids when you have no first hand experience of child raising is kind of jaw dropping but let me tell you something: children are not “maladaptive” and they never need “physical discipline.” They need years and years and years of careful, attentive, thoughtful, rearing. I have successfully raised two wonderful children and never—ever–spanked them. If they needed correction it was always in proportion to their size and their understanding. You start small and you deal with them in an age appropriate way. By the time they are large you are never in the position of having to beat or physically coerce them–why would you be? Do you have to beat and coerce your friends?

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Bruising is the evidence of the devil in the child.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Do you have to beat and coerce your friends?

                  Are you really sure you want to go there?

                • DrS

                  I think you should hit him, Dr. S. It’s the only way he’ll learn…

                  I’m pretty sure that GoDeep is ineducable, so I’ll stick with my withering disdain.

                • GoDeep

                  Its true that I don’t have kids, Aimai, but I have had occasion to spank my nieces and nephews. And they’re old enuf now that we even laff abt it.

                  As far as studies go, the brain imaging stuff is pretty lousy empirically speaking, on a sample size basis alone.

                  Obviously our experiences with spanking differ. Just b/cs you successfully raised 2 girls w/out spanking doesn’t mean my experience counts for less. I think the main difference b/tn us is really philosophical. If studies said that spanking improves childhood behavior, for instance, I doubt that you would adopt it.

                • JMP

                  Or that parents who beat their children are abusive assholes in other ways too, and so are more likely to raise screwed-up kids.

                • DrS

                  Yes, that’s it. I was just a maladaptive kid.

                  Gay in a conservative household…can’t get more maladaptive than that. If only I’d tried harder.

          • gmack

            Please don’t misunderstand my point. I’m not defending the use of corporal punishment. I’m pretty convinced that it’s probably always a bad idea. I tend to think that the most common use of it has little to do with punishing or instructing children and is instead mostly used by parents who are pissed off and and lose control of themselves.

            My only question has to do with state intervention. As a general point, I’m wary about efforts to use the law to “send messages” about how abhorrent we find a practice, and my sense is that there’s a bit of that attitude going on in this thread. I don’t disagree with those who want to emphasize that corporal punishment is bad for children. However, I’m at least worried about the move from that position to the conclusion that all corporal punishment = abuse that the state must prevent.

            • SHORTER: The rights of children are trumped by the possibility that an imaginary message-sending nanny-state will interfere w/ the “right” of the already powerful to do what they bloody well like w/ their property slaves children.

              • djw

                I think that’s an uncharitable reading. One reason to be wary of state intervention in relatively minor cases is that whatever negative outcomes we can identify with corporal punishment, they’re probably trumped by the negative outcomes associated with removal, which admittedly involves selection bias, but is associated with significant negative outcomes. I didn’t take gmack to be skeptical about traditional forms of state intervention from a “rights of parents” perspective, which I don’t see in his comment at all. “Does this do more harm than good?” is a tricky question.

                In general, I’m deeply skeptical that criminalization and police enforcement of an extremely widespread–in this case, possibly majority–pathology is likely to be an effective way of addressing that pathology, at least in a non-authoritarian society. Some other technique to shrink the practice needs to come first, before we can have much optimism in the kind of state intervention I assume gmack is talking about. The state is an powerful hammer but not every rights-violating practice is a nail.

                (To be clear, I have no problem with the prosecution of Peterson, and the use of state power in that kind of extreme abuse, especially when the custodial parent files the report.)

                • As a general point, I’m wary about efforts to use the law to “send messages” about how abhorrent we find a practice

                  I am of the school of thought that if the goal is to send a message, you should hire an advertising firm. Legislation says little about what society accepts or doesn’t accept, and a lot about the agenda of whoever holds power, and I imagine that most people understand that.

              • gmack

                What djw said above will suffice for my response. I haven’t the faintest idea how you deduced this “shorter” from my initial comments.

                • Cynicism. And desperation. Just what are the powerless to do? “Organize?”

        • I disagree that the two points you mention form a continuum. Smacking a hand away from a hot stove is a physical intervention, not a punishment, intended to directly insure the child’s safety. Depending on the position you’re standing in it might be simpler to grab them and pull them away. Intent is key.

          A big distinguishing factor is that physical interventions are not reserved solely for parents/authority figures, nor are they applied only to children — if I saw an adult inadvertently about to touch a hot stove, I would feel justified in grabbing or hitting their arm even when normally that would be unacceptable. Similarly, you might grab or push someone to get them out of the way of an oncoming car.

          • gmack

            In forming my examples, I had in mind specific cases I’m familiar with or witnessed; in the hand slapping case I saw, the small child (maybe three?) was reaching for a hot stove, and the father grabbed her hand to stop it, gave a sharp “get back!” and smacked the child on the hand. It was not a hard smack, but it most certainly was not just a “physical intervention” either. I suppose the parent meant simply to impress upon the child the danger of the situation, but it was not a case of simply pushing the hand away. Granted, it really wasn’t a “punishment” in the normal sense of the term either. The parent wasn’t trying to convey the message that the child had done something morally wrong, but it was clearly a case of physical discipline (and the child was upset by it).

            In any case, I personally wouldn’t defend what I saw as a case of good parenting. The hand slap was, in my view, probably unnecessary and harmful. I’m pretty uniformly opposed to using corporal punishment, including the case I saw. Still, I am reticent to label this a case of “child abuse,” at least if the label is meant to imply that it’s something the state should intervene in.

    • Sly

      There are a lot of people that believe that sometimes spanking kids is not inappropriate discipline.

      And the problem with this argument is that it relies on personal testimonials. Actually, there are three problems:

      1) It relies on post hoc rhetoric. “My mom/dad spanked me. I turned out fine. Ergo, I turning out fine is a direct result of being spanked.” Chances are, this person would have “turned out fine” had they not been spanked, since spanking is used to address behaviors that children grow out of anyway.

      2) Its anecdotal. Statistically speaking, there is no known correlation between being spanked as a child and positive adult behavior.

      3) Most people don’t want to think ill of their parents (this urge becomes particularly pronounced when people have children of their own), so parental actions are witnessed through rose-colored glasses. My grandmother repeatedly beat by father bloody with a metal skillet when he was a boy, something that no one could reasonably call “responsible discipline,” and yet he insists that (a) she did nothing wrong, (b) that he deserved it, and (c) it made him a “better person” (it should be noted that his children disagree on all three counts).

      • GoDeep

        2) Its anecdotal. Statistically speaking, there is no known correlation between being spanked as a child and positive adult behavior.

        You can’t make a statistically valid argument here b/cs the statistics likewise show that time-outs and other non-forcible means of punishment also have weak correlations. The difficulties of doing real science here are legion. Ergo, this entire debate comes down to personal experience.

        • Sly

          You can’t make a statistically valid argument here b/cs the statistics likewise show that time-outs and other non-forcible means of punishment also have weak correlations. The difficulties of doing real science here are legion. Ergo, this entire debate comes down to personal experience.

          Exactly. Positive results for any particular child-rearing technique are difficult to discern. But we do have strong research to suggest that violent discipline produces long-lasting harm, and I think its obvious that this should be the foundation of whatever discussion is had on the subject.

          • GoDeep

            A lot depends on what you mean by violence. Spanking is one thing, child abuse is another.

      • sharculese

        3) Most people don’t want to think ill of their parents (this urge becomes particularly pronounced when people have children of their own), so parental actions are witnessed through rose-colored glasses. My grandmother repeatedly beat by father bloody with a metal skillet when he was a boy, something that no one could reasonably call “responsible discipline,” and yet he insists that (a) she did nothing wrong, (b) that he deserved it, and (c) it made him a “better person” (it should be noted that his children disagree on all three counts).

        Yeah, this is a huge chunk of it. People are complicated and irrational. It’s completely possible to genuinely love your kids but have a huge blinder when it comes to using terror and violence to control them. So when people who were hit as a kid hear critiques it’s really easy to go to a defensive place of ‘what, are you saying my parents didn’t love me,’ which no, absolutely not, but I understand how someone would read it that way.

        • Sly

          So when people who were hit as a kid hear critiques it’s really easy to go to a defensive place of ‘what, are you saying my parents didn’t love me,’ which no, absolutely not, but I understand how someone would read it that way.

          And this is the exact response my father gives whenever his conclusions about his own abuse have been challenged, and he’s pushing 80 years old. It’s… really fucking sad.

          • Aimai

            I just heard an expert on child abuse–yes, child abuse–talking on NPR. She said that basically 100 percent of the time the parents believe, or begin by believing, that they are doing something that is necessary for their child’s education. But they cross over very rapidly from discipline/education to violent abuse.

            And from the other end, as you say Sly and Sharculese, the very ubiquity of these behaviors and the fact that they are nested within the family lead children to be the first defenders of their parents putting down to love and/or to ignorance the very real harms that have been done to them.

            • GoDeep

              Please don’t infantilize us. Its like Spanish missionaries to the Americas saying the Heathens don’t know what’s good for them. Its an incredibly condescending thing to say. And, logically speaking, its a tautology: “You were harmed by spanking b/cs I said you were harmed by spanking even tho you say you weren’t harmed by spanking.”

              • DrS

                Please stop trivializing child abuse

    • One of the joys of parenthood is that if your kids misbehave in a public place, every passer-by feels entitled to judge you for not disciplining them properly.

      • tsam

        This reminds me of a story.

        My former wife and I were at Sears with our kids, waiting for Xmas pictures to be taken. Of course my 6, 4 and 3 year old daughters are running around, playing, making noise and the youngest was just NOT into this whole “put on a dress and wait for an hour to do something incredibly stupid” business, and was getting cranky and such.

        Across the waiting room was a very young couple with a newborn baby. They watched our kids, and slowly a thinly veiled look of disgust came over their faces, and then the whispering between them….

        I know what they were saying. “OUR kids will NEVER….”.

        I laughed and laughed and laughed. To this day I get a kick out of that story because I did the same damn thing when mine were little, before reality took hold.

    • GoDeep

      Beating your kid bloody with a stick is not in the same category as spanking!

      Yes when it says ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’, it clearly meant using a silly putty.

      • DrS

        Oh sweet Jesus.

        Not all of us hold on to barbarism just cause it was in a book.

        • Everything I know about dealing with tweens I learned from Lord of the Flies.

          • Karate Bearfighter

            Edited to remove a tasteless and offensive joke.

            The edit button is awesome!

            • Too late, I already laughed.

            • I thought it was tasteful, which is probably a sign it’s better off deleted.

              • DrS

                LOL…me too. On both counts.

            • tsam

              PUT IT BACK! I never saw it.

              • Barry Freed

                Seconding this. PLEASE!

              • yeah, in a thread where someone is energetically defending hitting children, how much more tasteless could sit be?

    • TopsyJane

      Beating your kid bloody with a stick is not in the same category as spanking!

      This has been hashed out in previous threads,but there is no bright line. Your statement is true to a point, as long as it’s acknowledged that spanking and beating are simply located in different places on the abuse spectrum.

  • Karate Bearfighter

    Stolen from a Deadspin commenter: Your parents hit you because they were shitty. You think that it was for your own good because they broke you. You hit your kids because you were made shitty too.

    • rea

      Stolen from Phillip Larkin:

      They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
      They may not mean to, but they do.
      They fill you with the faults they had
      And add some extra, just for you.

      But they were fucked up in their turn
      By fools in old-style hats and coats,
      Who half the time were soppy-stern
      And half at one another’s throats.

      Man hands on misery to man.
      It deepens like a coastal shelf.
      Get out as early as you can,
      And don’t have any kids yourself.

      • Vance Maverick

        Literally everything that happens to us “changes brain chemistry”. I think we have to anchor the moral argument somewhere else. Like, the pain of corporal punishment is real pain, to a person that counts as a person, and it does no good.

        • I think we have to anchor the moral argument somewhere else.

          Agreed. The following is not aimed at you, just adding to your point.

          There is no other social interaction between ordinary people where we accept hitting as an acceptable response. Can’t hit your boss, employee, teacher, student*, waiter, cashier, customer, and so on. Your child is smaller, more helpless, and more innocent than any of those adults, so how do you justify hitting him or her?

          *For those on school boards who vote to allow this: fuck you. You’re barbarians.

        • DrS

          If you read the article, you’ll see more about the “changes in brain chemistry” because the actual changes are what are important. They produce changes that are often completely maladaptive to the world we live in and produce higher rates of anxiety and depression. They produce changes that make it more likely that they will be in an abusive relationship. They produce changes that lower intelligence.

          Don’t hit kids.

          • PTSD is generally regarded as a bad thing, except (a) when you inflict it on children (when it’s “toughening them up”), and (b) when it was inflicted on you as a child (“It never did me any harm”, “I turned out fine”).

            • We’re toughening Mini__B by pickling him in brine. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

              • I am impressed that you found a big enough jar.

                • You should see the jars Mrs__B found six years ago when we were steeping our own flavored vodka.

                • DrS

                  I’m not sure if I’d want vodka based on my own flavor.

                • We made habanero vodka. Burning, burning hunk of phlegm every time I drank some, but it was fantastic.

                • Everything is better with bacon.

                • DrS

                  That does sound fun. There’s a place the soon-to-be-former-MrsS and I like to go for brunch that has a great cocktail with jalapenos. They really nail a nice balance, with just a touch of sweet and that nice heat on the backend.

                • Burning, burning hunk of phlegm

                  A term of endearment among your people, I take it.

      • Hannity also claims to ‘have turned out fine”

        • Ha. That’s kind of funny.

        • tsam

          Well now I’m convinced.

          Argument OVER.

  • mpowell

    Yeah, no. The two things might have some differences, but they are both physical abuse.

    I think there really are some big differences here. A lot of parents who physically discipline their children really and honestly believe that this is the best way to teach them what they should or should not do. And they genuinely do not believe it is harmful to the children. What is going on with AP or CJ or Bush, I don’t know in those particular cases, but this view is consistent with saying, “I’m going to raise my kid the way I think is best”.

    It may have at one time been the same for men engaged in domestic violence; that they believed it was appropriate to instruct their wives how to behave and to use physical violence to enforce their will and maybe even a few handful of religious folk still honestly believe this, but I expect that almost all people engaged in domestic violence do not actually believe this. They may feel they are justified, but not because they honestly believe it is their job to ‘correct’ their partner’s misbehavior and teach them how to behave properly through physical violence.

    • joe from Lowell

      I read “the two things” in Erik’s last line as referring to the two cases Calvin Johnson was talking about at the end of the block quote: the Adrian Peterson case and the Ray Rice case.

      Both of those cases are about physical abuse, severe enough to cause serious physical harm.

    • Nobdy

      Ray Rice (AFTER the incident): “My job is to lead my family, my job is to lead my wife”

      He may not have intended the punch as “correction” but he definitely has some “traditional” views that might have influenced his actions.

    • McAllen

      But why should we care what a parent’s justification for hitting their children is anymore than we should care what a husband’s justification for beating his wife is? Thinking striking your child or your wife is the right thing to do doesn’t lessen the physical and mental harm done to them.

      • Nobdy

        Different strategies to solving the problem. If someone thinks they are doing something good when it’s really bad, teach them why it’s harmful and they are likely to stop.

        If they are doing something they already know is wrong then the problem is either impulse control or that they don’t care about right or wrong, well, you need to approach that problem differently.

        • McAllen

          I don’t disagree, to be clear. I think how we respond to the act can change depending on what the perpetrator’s intention is; I just don’t think the act itself is any less reprehensible just because the perpetrator meant well.

          • mpowell

            First of all, I agree with Nobdy. It’s much easier to imagine reforming someone in favor of physical discipline than a wife beater. Second, I am pretty confounded by your claim that an act is no less reprehensible if the perpetrator meant well. That just doesn’t make any sense as a general proposition. I am guessing there is something here where you are thinking, “well they really ought to have known better”.

            • McAllen

              Thinking about it, maybe “reprehensible” isn’t the right word to use. Better to say I don’t think intentions make an act less harmful, or less worthy of condemnation. To use jfl’s example, we judge first-degree and second-degree differently, but the victim isn’t less dead in one case than the other.

              Although for this specific example I don’t think “this is how to teach them what to do” is less reprehensible than other justifications. Like, you say that you don’t think many domestic abuser use that justification, but do you really think those who do are less reprehensible than those who think “the bitch had it coming”?

              • mpowell

                I’d agree that it doesn’t make the act less harmful and so for acts with similar levels of harm I can see the point of looking for similar levels of condemnation.

                In the spousal abuse case, teaching or leading your spouse as an excuse isn’t a better justification, but that’s mostly because it isn’t your job (or place) to discipline your spouse to teach them how to behave, whereas you are supposed to be teaching your child how to behave.

          • joe from Lowell

            I just don’t think the act itself is any less reprehensible just because the perpetrator meant well.

            We put people who fire a gun at someone, miss, and cause a little damage to the brick wall behind their target to multi-decade terms in prison.

            The difference between manslaughter, second degree murder, and first degree murder all come down to intention.

            We enhance sentences in hate crime cases, compared to cases in which the victim receives the same injuries, based on the perpetrator’s intention.

            Of course intentions, and not only outcomes, matter in judging the morality of people’s actions.

            • Aimai

              If you intend to hurt your child (as discipline) and you do hurt your child (in fact) what then? “I meant well” is not a defense if you intend to assault your neighbor and you do assault your neighbor and land them in the hospital. Why do children not have the same right to bodily integrity as other people?

        • shah8

          But wait:

          Few people really want to do that.

          They’d have to stop thinking about how superior they are, and maybe relate (as needed) to people they don’t like, for the greater good.

        • JMP

          But teaching someone that abuse is harmful is a lot trickier than it sounds; just look at how many people even here are justifying Peterson’s actions by saying (effectively), “Horrific child abuse is OK because I was abused as a child and turned out fine, and don’t you dare call it abuse!”

  • Jordan

    So … when does the NBA start up again?

  • tsam

    Smacking a grown woman: Hey..don’t do that!

    Smacking a child: Can’t nobody tell me what to do with my child!

    Rant 2.0: Spanking, smacking and hitting kids is shitty parenting (This is a categorical statement. If you argue with it, I WILL HIT YOU). Parents and home are supposed to be a SAFE PLACE. The world will impose plenty of fear and pain on your kids. Don’t be an asshole who uses your hands instead of your head to educate a child.

  • benjoya

    hmm, a ‘game’ built around brute force, hero worship, repeated brain trauma and $$$ has some morally questionable practitioners. i’m shocked.

  • joe from Lowell

    I’ve always found it interesting that, not matter what the issue, the more extreme and unpopular a certain position is, the more likely it is that the people holding it will be unable to recognize distinctions among the other 97% of society.

    Like libertarians thinking that “statist” is a meaningful category

    I’ll bet that, right now, someone who considers Adrian Peterson’s parenting admirable is chastising someone who only uses a bare hand to deliver 10 spanks to a five-year-old for being a softie.

    • leftwingfox

      Of course people recognize the difference.

      If you spank a child, you’re a shitty parent.

      If you beat them bloody, you’re a shitty parent AND you go to jail.

      • joe from Lowell

        The world is divided into “Parents who never use physical punishment” and “shitty parents.”

        Kooks gotta kook.

        • DrS

          No, there’s plenty of shitty parents who don’t hit their kids.

          But if you hit your kids you’re a shitty parent.

          • joe from Lowell

            Kooks gotta kook.

            So much for the Vulcan shtick.

            • DrS

              Sorry you feel like you need to call me names to justify hitting children, joe.

              • Joe doesn’t have anything except ad hominem on this issue, as we discovered in the last thread.

                • joe from Lowell

                  You wish.

              • joe from Lowell

                But if you hit your kids you’re a shitty parent.

                Sorry you feel like you need to call me names to justify hitting children, joe.


                Whine a little more, tone troll.

                • DrS

                  Reconsidered responding

                • joe from Lowell

                  Why do I get into it with these cranks? Why do I do this?

                  Why? Why? Why?

                  There will be a whole thread full of thoughtful, intelligent, even challenging comments by thought, intelligent commenters, but I see some crank write some overwrought bit of silliness, and I’m like Hell-o! Like nobody is going to figure out that histrionic crank is a crank unless I tell them.

                  And then I take them down, and now I have some histrionic internet crank with holding a grudge towards me. I’ve developed a tail of these people. Remember when that kook from Reason was screwing around here?

                  I’m not doing this anymore. If you’re used to me arguing with you, and notice that I’ve suddenly stopped responding to your comments, just go ahead and assume that I’m intimidated by your intellect.

                • DrS

                  I think it may be because, even after some has stated that they have reconsidered angrily responding to your taunting trollery, you still feel the need to get one last kick in before you go.

        • tsam

          No–there’s a big difference between a shitty parent and parents who sometimes practice shitty parenting (which is all of them, myself included).

          Spanking, hitting and whipping are bad parenting. The lessons they impart aren’t anything close to the intended lessons. I’m not saying that parents who spank kids have evil intentions, I’m saying that they’re doing damage that is entirely avoidable and unnecessary. There are other ways to educate.

  • Nick never Nick

    I don’t want to get into the discussion of spanking, beating, or child abuse — but I would like to point out that it’s totally natural that black Americans would be more severe with their kids, because they have more severe lessons to impart. It’s been observed very often here on LGM that black people have a higher burden of public behaviour, and a much shorter distance to travel for that to be transformed into violent and fatal encounters with police or vigilantes. Suppose you were raising a child in that environment? You might not feel that the child has room to experiment, and take the view that they need to understand what you’re telling them, without testing it. But kids like to test things. So you, as a parent who cares for your kids, believe that strict or harsh discipline is more likely to get your kid’s attention, and teach them a lesson that they will internalize. It is, you think, for their own good.

    When I worked at an NGO in Thailand, I had a bit of the same problem — Thai society has taboos that may not be safely transgressed; and in the West, some of these are not taboos, and some of them are very weak taboos. I had to train volunteers how to function in Thai society, and to understand these taboos without testing them. It’s human to test things. Now, I couldn’t spank them, obviously — but if I had known that doing so would prevent them from ever stepping across dangerous boundaries, I would have . . .

    • Vance Maverick

      it’s totally natural that black Americans would be more severe with their kids

      Natural or not, it hasn’t been established.

      • Nick never Nick

        Good point — a lot of people black and white, are assuming that, and I did too.

      • GoDeep

        Consider it established:

        “The majority of parents across all ethnic groups spank at some point,” said Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor and researcher on corporal punishment at the University of Texas at Austin.

        But among the groups most likely to use it: African-Americans.

        In a study Gershoff co-authored that examined 20,000 kindergartners and their parents, she found that 89% of black parents, 79% of white parents, 80% of Hispanic parents and 73% of Asian parents said they have spanked their children.

        • Ronan

          not a huge difference though .. do you have a link (not that i dont believe, but to read more)

    • Karate Bearfighter

      This is an interesting point, especially in light of the study published earlier this year that found that people, (and specifically police officers,) consistently overestimate the age of black children.

    • McAllen
      • shah8

        Oh, my god, thank you for linking to this.

        • Ronan

          it’s a little convenient, no ? beating your child is a reaction to white supremacy (because your child has to better)Is it not more compliacted than that ?

          • Aimai

            That is not what she is saying. You might try reading it again and giving it its proper due.

            • Ronan

              maybe Im being stupid, and I dont want to get into an argument over it, but having read it again that seems to be largely what she’s saying

              not to pick and choose quotes, but this was my takeaway

              “Stakes are high because parenting black children in a culture of white supremacy forces us to place too high a price on making sure our children are disciplined and well-behaved. I know that I personally place an extremely high value on children being respectful, well-behaved and submissive to authority figures. I’m fairly sure this isn’t a good thing.”

              Im not saying that’s not *part* of it, but as you said on another thread ( i think) this is also an outgrowth of southern (mixed white and black) culture (masculinity, respect for authority)

              Her article is solely about parenting a black child in a white world (fine) but would you not agree that that’s only part of it?

    • “Now, I couldn’t spank them, obviously — but if I had known that doing so would prevent them from ever stepping across dangerous boundaries, I would have . . .”

      But you couldn’t. And yet you did manage to teach them not to cross those boundaries, I assume?

      That’s the point. It is perfectly possible to teach a child how to behave toward a cop, or any authority in the world, without beating that child bloody several dozen times (or more!) while he is too young to fight back.

      It is perfectly possible to keep children out of the street, away from hot stoves, and safe from electrocution without slapping them. Or even shouting at them — without punishing them in any way, in fact.

      Teaching works best without punishment, without violence, without fear. That’s not an opinion; that’s fact. We wouldn’t beat a dog or a horse or a co-worker we were trying to teach. How do we justify beating a child?

      • Nick never Nick

        No, I didn’t manage to teach them consistently — I’d guess that at least a third of them ignored what I talked about. People test things, and it’s impossible to simply tell 30 people that something they think of as normal or inoffensive is not normal and is offensive, in such a way that all thirty of them will believe you.

        Why should children learn without fear? There are many things in the world that they should fear. When they do something dangerous, they need to see that you are frightened and angry that they did it, and your anger and fright should frighten them.

        And yes, I have beaten a dog I was trying to teach (it was chasing hens), and I’ve seen any number of people do the same thing. Where did you get the idea this is beyond the pale?

        • DrS

          Stay away from my dogs.

        • Jesus, really? You beat your dog?

          You do know that everyone who knows anything about animal training will tell you what a fucknuts move that is, right?

          No wonder your students don’t learn anything.

          • Nick never Nick

            My good Internet commentator, I’ve EATEN dogs before. Does that make me a cannibal?

            And, I was a good teacher too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that violation of one single upper-middle-class norm in the early 21st century signifies an entire suite of social monstrosities. I’m guessing that you haven’t traveled very much, or have much experience with farms. I’ve seen dogs shot for chasing sheep and hunting chickens, beating is pretty benign compared to that.

            Incidentally, my initial point — that the experience of black people in America makes them stricter disciplinarians — is now a full thread on the main LGM page. Maybe you should go there and tell them that you know better than they do, how to teach their children to avoid danger.

          • You beat your dog?

            Perhaps that is the point of owning one.

        • Barry Freed

          Why should children learn without fear?

          That’s probably the scariest thing I’ve read in this thread (and I’m including GoDeep’s comments).

          • Nick never Nick

            When my wife was young, she lived in a village with a fair number of rabid dogs. When she was five or six, she was playing outside in the road when one came half running, half staggering up to her, drooling and gasping. Her aunt screamed from the yard next door (loosely translated) “Holy mother of God get out of the fucking road it’s a rabid dog!” She was so terrified she pissed down her leg as she fled. After that she had a very healthy fear of mangy dogs that acted weird.

            I suppose if you wish, you can read into my statement that I believe children should be afraid of adults; or you can take this statement to indicate that my wife’s home wasn’t a SAFE place (see tsam, just below), and her relatives are to blame; but for myself, I prefer to believe that that moment of terror was a very effective teacher.

            Is that the scariest thing you’ve read in this thread? If it is, then you probably shouldn’t leave this thread and go look at other threads, or, God forbid, the World.

            • Barry Freed

              Parents shouldn’t give cause to have their children fear them. And I don’t see how your anecdote is relevant to a thread about discipline, punishment and child abuse.

              • Nick never Nick

                It’s not — I got jumped on for pointing out that fear is useful in teaching kids, and that kids should understand when they’ve done something that frightens and angers their parents; and I didn’t imply that it was necessary to hit them to do this. A couple of people here have taken ‘don’t beat your children’ and turned it into ‘don’t shout at your children, don’t let your children feel afraid, home is a SAFE place.’ No matter what you think about those prescriptions, they’re quite different from ‘don’t beat your children’, and are by no means received wisdom.

                But you’re right, it’s getting farther off topic, sorry.

        • tsam

          Like I said. Home and parents are supposed to be a SAFE place. You don’t have to hit kids to make them fear bears and country music, half of that is instinctive, and the other half will develop through experience.

          The world will inflict plenty of pain and fear on kids. They need a place in parents to escape that. A parent is supposed to help kids deal with their natural fears, not introduce new ones. Parents should provide education, comfort and safety. Spanking and hitting provide none of those things.

      • Aimai

        I’ve just been engaged in child rearing for the last 17 years. One of the things that you are doing when you are raising a child is to try to raise the eventual adult: a person who can determine for themselves how to act, when to act, why to act when you are not present. Take the seemingly intractible problem “child runs out into the street and nearly gets hit by car.” This is a real problem–very young children do not have the awareness that we do of what the cars will or won’t do, how fast they are moving, or what the ball they are chasing is going to do. But no amount of beating will educate the child about that. You can hit a child and make them fearful of crossing the street, or even getting near the street or near something else that appears to trigger your anxiety, but that doesn’t prepare the child for making good decisions when they have to walk somewhere on their own or cross the street. That is a long term process. YOu are just as well off holding your child’s hand tightly when they are toddlers and slowly and repeatedly explaining to them why running out into the street is bad as you are jumping up and down shrieking hysterically and hitting them for forgetting or doing the wrong thing when you have looked away and they’ve acted like a child and dashed out into the street.

        Know your child’s limitations, works with their dawning understandings, be slow and deliberate in your methods and you will raise up an adult who can make his/her own decisions. A lot of these authoritarian parents are terrified of that–they don’t really believe that children and young adults ever achieve mastery over things. They want their children to always depend on adults/authority for the right behaviors. I’m not planning on always being my children’s authority on everything. That has been my whole goal in child rearing: to raise good people who make good choices without being threatened or feeling fear.

  • Mike in DC

    “I was beaten with a tire iron for hours when i was a 9 week old fetus, and i fined out just turn…”

  • I think what we’ve got here is what we always get: certain people whose parents beat them who can’t (yet, I hope) admit that their parents did anything wrong.

    I mean, I get that. When you’re young, your parents are everything. You will literally die without them, and your loyalty to them is absolute.

    But eventually you (ought to) grow up some. No one’s perfect, and that includes the people who raised you. You ought to be able to see the things they got right, and the things they didn’t.

    We can hope that those defending beating children will attain that stage before they have small children of their own to take belts and switches to.

    • joe from Lowell

      I think what we’ve got here is what we always get: certain people whose parents beat them who can’t (yet, I hope) admit that their parents did anything wrong.

      delagar says:
      September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm
      Joe doesn’t have anything except ad hominem on this issue


      • Joe, son, do me a favor: look up ad hominem, please. This is really sad.

  • JR

    Whew, I’m 63 and trying to remember things that happened 60 years ago…crazy.

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