chlid rearing

Mark D. Fulwiler (
Sat, 03 Jan 1998 15:19:03 -0700

Daniel Ust wrote:

> Finally! Someone recognizes me in this thread!
> At 01:50 PM 1/2/98 -0700, Mark D. Fulwiler <> wrote:
> >> I hate to admit it, but I agree with Hara Ra.:) Being in child abuse
> situations
> >> myself, it is my recollection that physical abuse only taught the child that
> >> whoever is stronger makes the rules: the grand lesson of dictators!
> >
> >I think we disagree on what constitutes child abuse. I do not consider a
> >few whacks on the butt after a kid has just about killed a cat (an
> >action that I believe would be considered a crime in all states) to be
> >abuse. Now if this father hits his kid 5 times a day for any old reason,
> >well, then I might agree with you.
> My point is that if things get that far, there is probably no hope for the child
> anyway. Some corporal punishment might avoid him from doing it in front
> of his parents again, but the child has already demonstrated he has little
> value for life and is willing to lash out at innocents. My question: since most
> kids don't do this sort of thing, why did he?

I don't think 7 is too late to turn a kid around. (And I don't believe anyone of any
age is ever totally hopeless, do you?) OK, a few whacks on the butt alone is not
likely to do turn the kid around, but obviously this kid needs some severe
punishment and should be brought in to see a good therapist. Have you heard about
the "tough love" concept? The idea is that you take away all privileges from a
misbehaving child and gradually give them back when the kid starts behaving again. I
understand this approach often works.

> >I also believe that parents should have broad discretion regarding how
> >they raise their kids, not because they are stronger , but because they
> >are paying the bills! If that includes an occasional whack on the butt,
> >I'm not going to interfere.
> I never claimed I'd interfere. There is a difference between believing
> something is wrong and believing it should be forcibly prohibited. I
> often think wholesale slaughter of politicians is wrong, yet I doubt I
> would lift a finger to stop it. (OK, I would cheer it on!:)

OK, however, there are some nut cases at Social Services who would like to take kids
away from their parents because they got a spanking. As for the wholesale slaughter
of politicians-well, you are justified in killing people in self defence if there is
no other way to protect your liberties. However, you are a damn fool if you go on
the Internet and advocate specific people be knocked off.

To digress a bit-take the Oklahoma City bombers- please. What cowardly morons! Do
they try to take out anyone important? (I am not advocating this.) Nope, they
indiscriminately kill innocent children and low level government officials. Also,
they didn't have the sense to realize that in order to start a violent revolution,
you need about a third of the population on your side to have any chance at all.
George Washington, for example, had about a third of the colonists on his side and
he knew damned well that there was a hangman's noose in store for him if he lost. He
took full responsibility for what he was doing. You don't see many people of such
high character these days. Yes, he had his major faults-he owned slaves( which, to
his credit, he freed after his death) and he wasn't a pure libertarian, but the man
had mostly good principles and a lot of courage. Contrast William Jefferson (I gag
associating him with our 3rd President) Clinton. But back to the topic at hand...

> >> Also, when I was hit, I never thought I was wrong, I just thought I needed
> >> to get even.
> >
> >Well, were you wrong? If so, I guess being hit was not effective. When I
> >got belted, it was always for a good reason and it impressed on me (pun
> >intended) the fact that if I misbehaved there would be unpleasant
> >consequences.

> At least your parents were consistent then. My own experience, and not
> mine alone (I also mean seeing how other abusive parents behaved) was
> that punishment was inflicted for any number of reasons and almost never
> fit the crime in its intensity and duration.

I agree that inconsistent and arbitrary punishment is worthless.

> >> In the example that Mark D. Fulwiler used, of a kid kicking a cat into
> >> unconsciousness, we should ask Why did the kid think this would
> >> "work" as a solution to not getting his way? I think it is because the
> >> kid was spoiled already. I've noticed that parents who abuse tend
> >> also to spoil. They go through cycles of heavy abuse and spoiling
> >> permissiveness, often because they feel guilty about the abuse.
> >> The child then grows up with unreal expectations -- he or she does
> >> not know if any encounter will be injurious or indulgent.

> >Well, maybe. However, there are excellent parents who sometimes have
> >problem children despite their best efforts. I would be interested in
> >why the kid kicked the cat, but wouldn't you agree that the kid should
> >get some punishment (and a severe one at that) for this really vile act?

> I agree here. Of course, something should befall the child. I just hate to
> see these things brought up as isolated incidents. Sometimes, parents
> do have a problem child and only massive intervention might ever change
> that, but I feel in most cases this is not so. I think the family is the
> training
> ground for how the child deals with the rest of the world and life. Ergo,
> that's why I ask why that child would do what he did.

> >Shouldn't actions have consequences? If not, I'm afraid this awful
> >little kid may be in Juvenile Hall at age 14 for murder.

> Do you really think a few beatings from now 'til then will change his
> path in life?

Probably not, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. In any event, I think
you would agree that there has to be some major intervention here.

I don't see the father as being a "child abuser" based on this one incident. Of
course, none of us probably knows the real story here. News reports often leave out
many important facts.

> >> I believe a few books have been written on these phenomena.
> >
> >If you can cite one, I'd appreciate it.
> The one that first comes to my mind is Mazlish and Faber's _How to Talk
> so Kid's will Listen and How to Listen so Kid's will talk_ (or is it vice
> versa?). It proved helpful in my life.

I'll check it out.

> Anyway, would you be willing to admit there must be some limits on the
> ways and intensities of force used by parents? I'd hate to see someone
> say, "Hitting is okay, therefore the next time Junior steals a strawberry
> from the fridge, I'm going to beat him into a coma."

> Daniel Ust

Absolutely. I don't approve of doing any real physical damage and a kid should only
get a few whacks in extreme circumstances when everything else has failed. And, as I
said, I have no problem with parents who don't believe in corporal punishment under
any circumstances. However, I do believe there always should be serious consequences
for serious bad actions. Parents who let their kids practically commit murder and
then shrug it off drive me nuts.

Mark Fulwiler