on hitting your children.

“My parents spanked me, and I turned out okay!”

God, how I loathe this argument in favor of corporal punishment.

I wasn’t spanked as a child. If someone had set up a nanny cam in our home between the time I was in, oh, first grade, and the time my mother finally left the no-good sack of shit my father was at the time, it would have recorded frequent occasions of what these days would be considered savage child abuse. My father liked to drink, which was a problem because he was not a happy drunk. As his alcohol level increased, he got in turn gregarious, boisterous, morose, and angry. When he was toward the end of that scale, he could get furiously pissed off at anything.

During my childhood, my father ran a series of pubs into the ground. He liked to be the proprietor of the local watering hole, but he wasn’t a very good businessman, so we moved around a lot as he started place after place with much enthusiasm and high hopes, only to see everything shuttered and me having to change schools again when the initial excitement of a new business had worn off and the money stopped making it to the suppliers and the power company again. I suspect this had a great deal to do with what I now, with my adult knowledge, understand was a latent cycle of low self-esteem and depression. It didn’t take much to put him in a bad mood—a pub patron upstaging him or making a light-hearted joke at his expense, that sort of thing—and then the hair trigger was set.

I was his first-born, and after my mother I was the biggest target around that couldn’t fight back and kick his ass. (The one time he picked a fight with a patron he ended up getting cold-cocked and laid out on the floor of the pub in just one hit. The guy warned him not to be stupid, and only hit my father in self-defense when he didn’t take repeated warnings. That didn’t do much for his self-esteem that week, let me tell you.) It didn’t work in my favor that I was shy, bookish, and in many ways not the rough-and-tough son he would have preferred. Sometimes it was stuff that I said or did, but more often it was something I didn’t say or do and should have, in his opinion. Then the belt would come out, and he’d beat the shit out of me. Not just “a spanking”, or “a slap or two on the butt”. We’re talking five or ten minutes of continuous and indiscriminate application of the belt on any exposed part of the body. Struggling pissed him off and made him hit harder. Staying passive and not showing the proper level of distress was taken as defiance or implication that he didn’t hit hard enough, and that made him hit harder too. 

But here’s what I realized at long last, with many years between me and that wretched childhood of mine: he was never the bad guy in his own mind. He was never an abuser in his own eyes. There were always the classic make-up actions borne of the shame of knowing you’ve gone too far: ice cream consolation, promises of future fun, and half-hearted apologies that weren’t really apologies because they always placed the responsibility for his loss of control in my court. See what you made me do? That hurt me way more than it hurt you. Why can’t you just listen to what I’m telling you? In his own eyes, he was the stern but loving disciplinarian, straightening out a defiant kid that had stepped too far out of line by disrespecting parental authority. I never understood the reasoning, of course, at eight or ten or twelve years old. I only understood that I was a wimpy disappointment of a son who spent too much time with his nose in a book, and that it was wise to become invisible when he tromped up the stairs after a long evening tending bar.

And here’s another thing I realized long after the fact: I don’t remember the good times with him.

I’m sure there were some. I have pictures from my childhood that show us all on vacation, or at local amusement parks, at parties, out playing with cousins in backyard pools on family visits—but I hardly remember any of those moments, and I don’t recall much in the way of happy things from that time. What I do remember are the beatings, and being scared of my dad most of the time, and the physical and mental effort to go out of my way to not cross paths with him. 

I’m sure he loved me and my siblings. But I don’t remember the acts of love. I remember the open hand and the belt, and the tears, and the late-night huddled fear.

And that’s why the idea of hitting my children makes me physically sick.

There is no clear delineation between “necessary discipline” and “abuse”. Physical violence is always abuse. It doesn’t teach anything but fear and resentment, and it will always, always, always come back to you in some form.

 “My parents spanked me, and I turned out okay!”

Bullshit. You turned out okay despite the corporal punishment, not because of it. And don’t say there’s a difference between your spankings and my abuse, because then you’re operating a really slippery moral sliding scale, and I can guarantee you that my father too was convinced at the time that what he was going was an unpleasant but necessary parental duty to recalibrate my moral compass. You know, so I’d turn out okay as an adult. What you need to do is to take that justification of “appropriate” violence and realize that what you’re doing is to establish what level of physical and mental pain is okay to inflict on your child intentionally. The answers should always and unambiguously be none.

My father died over fifteen years ago, in his early fifties, alone and eaten up with cancer. He’s buried in a welfare plot somewhere in Frankfurt. I met him only once after my mom left him. When I saw him again, he was in his early fifties and in bad health, and I was in my early twenties and in prime shape, so the power imbalance went the other way, and there was no animosity. I don’t feel anything other than pity when I think of him now. I should have had a good childhood, and he should have had a loving family and children and grandchildren by his side when he got sick and died, but it was all wasted, and it was all due to things solely in his control, and it’s the saddest fucking thing in the world.

I was hit as a child, and I turned out okay. Eventually. After a long time and much perspective, and after having kids of my own. But that shit leaves scars in the head that won’t heal, ever. And from one parent to another, I’m telling you that you don’t want to risk putting those scars there. Because love and fear can’t take up the same space, and what you want your children to feel when they hear you walking up the stairs is the former, not the latter. Hitting doesn’t teach a child anything, at least not anything close to what you think it will teach them. 

32 thoughts on “on hitting your children.

  1. Thanks. I appreciated you telling your story (although “story” might be an unintentionally diminutive word); it reveals a lot of hard lessons, growth, and wisdom.

    As a personal code your stance wrt corporal punishment is well considered. But I’m curious as a libertarian’ish person where you think public policy should be on this issue.

  2. Reminds me that most good writers have some sort of scar that drives them.

    Sad for your childhood and I am glad you have some perspective.

    One of the precepts of the 12 steps for alcoholics is realizing they are responsible for their actions.

    Violence rarely solves issues.

  3. In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, a parallel is drawn between the old method of housebreaking a puppy – – smacking it, telling it “No!” and rubbing its nose in its feces – – and raising children not to become juvenile delinquents. May I take as a given that you disagree with Heinlein’s belief in these methods? Do you think that your own childhood of abuse has made you incapable of believing that discipline and abuse can be kept separate when raising puppies – – or children?

    (I say this as a man whose own father was an alcoholic who was abusive on very rare occasions, yet who was capable of dispassionate discipline toward myself and my sister when we behaved like little monsters – – whippings with a belt, but carefully measured in severity so as not to cause more than temporary discomfort – – and my mother was artful with a hairbrush on occasion while being a teetotaler).

  4. Violence and abuse never help a kid. Ever.

    I was spanked as a child. I turned out ok. Generally. My father has *apologized* for spanking me, and to be honest that did far more damage to my self worth then if he had not, simply because the way he did it made me think he wasn’t happy with how I turned out, since he was apologizing for it since he wonders if he hadn’t spanked me if things would have gone better.

    However, one thing my parents both did, which *did* work (though it may have given me a twitch for a while) was when they wanted to get my attention and make sure they had it, they’d catch me by the ear, give it just enough squeeze that it was uncomfortable, and hang on til they were done talking.

    I’m not sure I’m particularly behind that method *either*.

    But by gods did it work. I have no children. But I am close with some of my friend’s kids. I’m the non-blood uncle.

    And none of those kids are spanked. But they put a huge amount of worth (at this age) in how their parents see them, and are happy with them.

    So, for example, I was over helping a buddy out since he was out of town and mowing his lawn. I’d promised his kid I’d fix the swing set when I was done.

    Kid was rather impatient and asked me why I had to finish mowing the lawn first.

    My response went like this, “Well, I told your Dad I’d get it done. So I better do it. If you told your dad you were going to clean your room, and you didn’t do it, would he be very happy with you?”

    “No.”

    “Same deal – he wouldn’t be happy with me either. So, Lawn first, then we fix the swing set. It won’t be long”

    He’s four, but if you explain it to him using examples he can understand it goes a long way. He is still four though, and a terror 😉

    But he’s a reasonably well behaved terror.

  5. “But that shit leaves scars in the head that won’t heal, ever.” Word.

    Thank you for sharing. I know I’m not alone in the world and it helps to hear other’s stories. Since becoming a father seven years ago, I have learned to fight my propensity to physical “correcting” my children’s “incorrect” actions. With the help of my wife, and by following her example, honestly, I’m far better than I used to be, while still not perfect.

  6. “My parents spanked me, and I turned out okay!” usually means “I’m continuing the cycle of abuse” and “I got hurt when I was a kid; it’s my turn as an adult now to hit my children”.

    They are really sad cases of human beings that haven’t grown up, that haven’t worked with themselves, and have remained in that place of denial that the first significant others don’t love me, of denial that they’ve been humiliated.

  7. My wife philosophy was simple – If a spanking was what it took to get a child to stop dangerous behavior than that’s what they got. Following that, my philosophy was the first swat (open hand only on a clothed bum) was to stop that behavior. Any other swats (there were none) would have been for my benefit not theirs so I consciously never took them. I never wanted to venture to the place where hitting a child would make me feel better. What a dark place that must be.

  8. I’m actually very much opposite the argument you presented. I wasn’t smacked much as a child but I was smacked. My mother viewed things like grounding, fines etc as cruel as they kept the punishment ongoing and most of the time I hadn’t done anything too bad. A quick over and done with tap (no bruises etc) with a lot a theatre meant that 2 minutes later it was all forgotten and life moved on.

    The main thing is that I was never hit in anger and I always knew why I was in trouble.

    The main memory of discipline that I have is about biting somebody. After biting somebody my mother bit me back. She made me think about how much it hurt me and then how much it hurt the other child. She used the pain to illustrate her reasoning and that lesson has stayed with me forever.

    I think by not smacking children today we are doing them a disservice as all laws are ultimately upheld by force. If I refuse to follow the direction of the police then they will forcibly remove me etc. of course the force has to be proportional but they will use it.

    My mother was abused, battered for no good reason. I see how that has shaped her but the strong discipline she used has earned her my everlasting respect. She never went too far (neither did Dad) but I learnt that she had reasons for what she did and learnt from them.

    Even today she’ll flick me around the ear for being ‘cheeky’ but that is just her being playful and not designed to cause pain or discomfort.

    I am sorry for you Chris and everybody else here who’s parents went to far.

    The key point is that discipline is important and each child is unique along with each parent. But discipline should never be issued in anger.

    Its also stories like these that are one of the two main reasons that outside a glass of Champaign every 6 months or so – I don’t drink alcohol.

    Thank you all for sharing your childhood memories and emotions. Its not always easy.

  9. It is rather difficult to make a 3-4 yr old child understand why a wall socket or (insert dangerous activity here) is a bad idea. Cognitive reasoning isn’t well developed at that age. A swat on the hand or butt, however, does give the child the understanding that the action has unpleasant consequences. By the way; i never used my bare hand; the hand is relatively heave and can cause injury. Rolled-up newspaper works fine, causing very little pain, but sounds scary. Use rarely.

  10. Look, I was abused as a child — both by my mother AND by the nuns at school. (One year I had a daily scheduled beating from the principal, on the theory that, if I wasn;t actually accused of someting, I probably didn’t get caught, and even if hadn’t done anything, I probably was going to do something without getting caught that would justify a beating at some point.) My mother beat the Hell out of me on a regular basis, ripping holes in my skin (she liked to swing the heavy buckle end of the belt full force, and landed them anywhere from back of the head to the ankles) and leaving bruises that didn’t fade for up to two weeks.

    Those beatings managed to convey exactly the opposite lesson they were intended — since I was going to get beaten anyway, I might as well enjoy myself. Especially since, while I may have earned SOME form of punishment in most of the cases where I got beaten (although not the beatings; no kid “earns” a beating), at least a quarter of the time, I was beaten for something that I never did.

    So, I know what abuse is like, from the receiving end.

  11. I’ll note that my father spanked me MAYBE a half dozen times in my life, always for something I had, in honesty, done, never left a mark or a pain that lasted more than five minutes, and the INSTANT the last spank landed, the matter was closed forever — not brought up time and time again (unlike my mother, who would frequently beat me multiple times for the same incident). But he had a punishment worse than any of my mother’s beatings — he could force me to THINK about what I had done and why it was bad, by engaging me in conversation while demanding my full attention, without denigrating me.

    There IS a difference between corporal punishment and abuse. And whether or not corporal punishment is even needed and how much varies by kid. Which is why my little sister (I was the ONLY father figure in her life) needed very little corporal correction (literally, we can count the number of times she got a swat on the butt), and my daughter has needed NONE. But the option has always been on the table, if needed — it simply hasn’t been needed.

  12. The old method of housebreaking a puppy isn’t used any more because it didn’t work. Puppies don’t understand human language when you yell at them, they don’t understand why you are shoving their nose in the feces and they don’t understand why you are hitting them with the newspaper. What they do understand is that you are angry at something and that you’ll hurt them. And that teaches them intense fear at your presence, traumatic stress, and leads to destructive and sometimes dangerous behaviors, such as biting, fear urination, chewing, panic attacks, etc. What does work is taking the puppy outside and praising it to the skies when it goes to the bathroom. Love always works better than pain at teaching someone to practice loving and cooperative behavior.

    Likewise, when you smack very small children who are still learning language, all they know is that you get angry suddenly and hurt them. They learn to fear you, and as they grow up, they keep secrets from you, engage in destructive and dangerous behaviors including conditions like anorexia, cutting, and drugs, are more likely to bully others and have less respect for the rights and feelings of others, and emotionally shut down and have difficulties in relationships. They suffer trauma, high levels of stress and cortisol that affect the body and cause health problems, high levels of anxiety, body hatred and depression, higher levels of crime and violence, etc. The enormous body of scientific study over the last thirty years all points to major neurological and physical bad effects from corporal punishment, which has led to pediatric associations discouraging it in favor of non-violent methods.

    Effectively, if you hit your child, you turn your kid into a soldier who is trying to survive the enemy that is you and who inherently learns not simply to distrust other humans as an adult but to combat them, often violently or neurotically, whether they love those people or not. Whether you swat at the kid with a hairbrush or beat the hell of them (and studies have found that the majority of those kids who are “spanked” are also heavily beaten and abused as well,) you are not teaching them coping or socialization skills. You are teaching them pathology and violence. That isn’t being “okay,” if you have the idea that hitting a small child is a good teaching method. Having non-violent consequences that teach the kid to be a socialized and thinking person in the society, rather than simply violence and fear, and explaining the reasons at the level of the child’s cognition rather than simply screaming at them, are way more effective over the long term. And they don’t teach unquestioning compliance with authority, including orders to do violence without thought. And they don’t teach a kid that when he or she gets to be an adult, they can hurt others physically as long as they can justify it to themselves. And they don’t teach a kid that he or she is a bad person just because they made a mistake.

    As a fellow soldier of the abuse wars, Kloos, thank you for writing this and so eloquently.

  13. Abusus non tollit usum. I’m certainly sorry you were abused, but it’s the same sort of rational that tee-totalers and anti-gun types use– some people use something wrongly, so no one can ever use it correctly.

  14. I waited a day or two before I replied to your post. I did so because I wanted reason, not emotion to drive my response.

    First, as a fellow survivor of child abuse, I feel your pain. Been there done that, complete with the Alcoholic father. You can add to mine a clinically psychotic mother, who was as bad as Dad ever was.

    When I had my own children, I decided to really think about what spankings do and don’t do.

    First, a spanking or any other corporal punishment done more than a few minutes after the event is pretty pointless.

    I used spankings, first as a simple swat on the hand to my 1 1/2 year-old daughter who had a positive fetish for power outlets. You can’t explain danger to a 1 1/2 year-old. But they WILL understand “I touch the thing and it HURTS.”

    And this is what guided my use of spankings.

    My daughter never had a hand laid on her after about age 6, because she could grasp action and consequence in a meaningful way.

    I am very averse to parental spanking after about 6 for this precise reason. You can get the message across just fine without using violence to make the point.

    As to your supposition that spanking and child abuse are the same things, frankly, as a victim of the latter, I’m calling giant loads of BS on you Marko.

    A spanking leaves AT MOST a child’s bottom a little sore and a little red for a few minutes. A BEATING does a lot more damage, And more to the point, leaves the very emotional scars you complained about.

    It’s like comparing the Trayvon Martin case with Medgar Evers. Yes, they both involved violence against black men. Beyond that, they bear no resemblance to each other.

    You describe something with is a FELONY in every state in the country with a swat on the butt and say they are essentially the same thing. That’s a ridiculous comparison and on reflection, I think you know it.

    My daughter doesn’t think I scarred her. She doesn’t have the issues *I* had with violence, because she wasn’t BEATEN. She got a swat or 4 on the butt as an exclamation point, not 50 lashes with a belt that left the kid bleeding, as I did.

    I find it personally offensive to have the two compared. Not that THAT makes any difference, but ya, it pisses me off. My child was not abused. Not in any way, shape or form.

    *I* on the other hand, well, if even in 1968 people had known what went on in my house, my parents would have been in jail and rightly so. I know that others who knew them commented on it and were appalled, but too chickenshit to step in. I’ve talked to a few of them many years after the fact.

    We are mammals. We are BUILT to learn from pain. A small amount of pain to a child too young to have the slightest grasp of ethics, morals or even the concept of real danger is not harmful. and EVERY study I’ve seen on the subject is so woefully inadequate in it’s starting methodology that it’s a waste of time to start with. -Forget their “results.”

    My 2 cents, worth what you paid for it.

  15. It’s about the raw terror that hit-ee experiences as hit-or whales away with perceived lack of self-control or other constraint. This produces a primal, soul-draining fear that typically leaves life-long fucked-up baggage. This is always true, I believe, when hit-ee is a small child and hit-or is a large strong adult. This general belief is borne by my experience as erstwhile small child hit-ee.

    Yes, a “potch” on the tushy may at times and for certain children be an effective and relatively benign way to get the little tyke’s attention. This approach may be especially apt when she’s prone to sticking her pink paddywacks into a live socket. But that’s different in kind from the beatings our dear author decribes.

    It’s about judgment

  16. You know, I came into this post about to disagree with Marko, to try and make the argument that there was a difference between carefully administered corporal punishment and physical abuse, but the comments changed my mind.

    The passion of the commenters justifying why they felt it necessary to willingly inflict pain on children… Just, damn. It’s too bad y’all can’t read your replies as an outside observer.

    You know the old saying: It’s the hit dog that yelps? Yeah, that.

    Great piece, Marko. It’s not often I get my mind changed by something I read on the internet.

  17. I see parallels here with the US tolerance for slavery early in our history. At the time of the founding, slavery worldwide was already in decline, particularly in Europe, due to the influence of the Enlightenment. While the slave trade itself ended fairly early in US history (1808), the practice of slavery lingered in the southern US due to its agrarian economy, even though 75% of southerners weren’t slave owners. As generations of Northerners grew up without any widespread slavery in their midst, it was only natural that they would develop a sense of moral superiority to their southern cousins who still engaged in the anachronistic practice.
    This sense of smug superiority fed southern outrage and led directly to the Civil War.

    The same thing is occurring regarding corporal punishment of children, and pretty much divided along the same geographical lines as the slavery debate: the progressive northeast and west coast on one side, the backwards hickville flyover country of the west and south on the other. Few would deny that corporal punishment is as much an anachronism in the 21st century as slavery was in the 19th – – or, perhaps, that abortion might be in the 22nd or 23rd century?

    There’s two reasons that people are in a passion over Marko’s words: first, he argues moral equivalence of discipline to abuse; second, he is practicing oikophobia toward those who grew up under traditional parenting methods, and who practice the same toward their own children. We’re oiks, in other words.

    No one likes to be thought of as an oik.

    • Protip: Any time you need to use the historical custom of owning humans as property to bolster your argument, it’s a sign that you’re pretty fucking comprehensively on the wrong side of it. Just sayin’.

    • Yes, if those northerners weren’t so gol-darned smug, we could’ve avoided the Civil War altogether! And the South could have continued with an agrarian economy based on slave labor, complete with beatings to the inch of one’s life! Hooray!!!

  18. To this day, I am irrationally concerned that someone in authority over me might be on the verge of losing their temper. Such situations are extremely difficult for me to cope with appropriately. I have a bad temper and, guided by childhood experience, try to keep it under control.

    And you know what? That’s as detailed as I care to be about it.

  19. Was my reply passionate? I thought Marko’s post was rather passionate, along the lines of urban types who’ve never lived around guns and can’t imagine a house full of guns without constant death, or tee-totaling baptists or pentecostals who can’t imagine that people can drink without “pursuing drunkenness”.

    And yet you’re going to decry the passion of others who feel wrongly maligned by his passion? The dog yelping loudest here is Marko. He got truly hurt as a kid, so it’s understandable that he’s shy of the idea of spanking. But let’s be honest about it. He didn’t get spanked. He got abused. He doesn’t have experience of proper spanking.

    So, when you’ve done it correctly and have wonderful relationships with your kids, your parents and your spouse’s parents did it correctly, and you have wonderful relationships with them– but some hurt, angry guy says you’re an abuser and you were abused? That’s not supposed to elicit some passion in response?

    Are you really going to let Caroline McCarthy tell you you’re a murderer because you carry a pistol? I bet you she’s written a pretty passionate screed about her experience and how pistols are only tools of murder. That’s all she knows them as. But that’s not the whole story, is it? Would you let Carrie Nation tell you that you’re a drunkard for imbibing in wine, beer, and spirituous liquors, when you’ve never been a drunkard? It’s a fact that her husband was an alcoholic and an abuser. I understand that she displaced the blame from him to the alcohol. I understand someone who has not been taught the right use of alcohol choosing to forgo it, but that does not make the use of alcohol evil. Neither does someone beating his child invalidate spanking as a proper parenting tool.

    Marko’s post sounds exactly like something written by Caroline McCarthy or Carrie Nation. It’s an emotional response to abuse, not a rational examination of the truth. The dog yelpin’ loudest here is Marko.

  20. I really do not like the idea of equating occasional ass-spankings with the sort of abuse you went through. Not because I’m trying to justify beating my kids, as Tam suggests (I don’t even have kids), but because you’re implying that my own parents were abusive. They were not. I love my parents and they did their damndest to try and raise me right. Whether it worked or not could be up for debate (I think I’m a pretty decent dude) but to this day the biggest complaint I have about my upbringing wasn’t that I was spanked a couple times, it was that they didn’t let me see Jurassic Park in theaters.

  21. I was going to point out that I was not whipped, beaten or abused as a child, but I was spanked. I did not have convoluted explanations and timeouts and removal of privileges, so to argue that beatings are the equivalent of spankings is to engage in the same sort of broad brush argument assassination the Leftists do with every position they take.
    That being said, I have to add my voice to that of Roberta X. I think in part because my parents would only spank me at the moment of their anger, It was only a single swat, with a hand or a wooden spoon, or the belt, but it was, I recognize, done in anger. As a consequence, I don’t want to make people mad. I put up with s*** I should not, because I feel that I will need that person’s cooperation later, and I don’t want to make them mad, this really wasn’t that important.
    And more than that I will not say.

  22. Lots of butt hurt here. I was spanked as a kid and deserved everyone of them. That said I wasn’t abused and have a good relationship with my parents. I think the key in this whole conversation, which has caused me to contemplate how I discipline my own kiddos (thanks Marko) is that it be as actual discipline and not done in anger. Just like every child does not learn in the same manner, discipline must be tailored to achieve the desired behavior. I’ve found the old stick your nose in the corner works well on my 7 year old because she doesn’t like the sensory deprivation.

    However as a member of the local overly militarized jack booted Gestapo (municiple police officer) I am regularly dispatched to calls for parents with 12 to 16 year old children who are out of control and have no respect for their parents or any other authority. I blame the parents for a complete lack of discipline during formative years that causes the rest of society to have to deal with these children until they develop their own discipline or become guests of the state.

    Rearing children is probably the most important, difficult job anyone gets and too many people view it as an inconvienience or punishment for a brief ill conceived relationship.

    An attention getting swat or Gibbs style smack on the back of the head are a far cry from child abuse. A worse abuse is complete lack of interest or discipline.

  23. Then there’s the opposite. Some pasty faced flit sanctimoniously proclaiming he was NEVER spanked and he turned out just fine!

    Buddy – you’re a house husband that writes crappy science fiction for other effeminate pasty faced flimps like John Scalzi! LOL! Are you going to start posing in a dresses too? Maybe start talking like a fake surfer dude?

    I’m sorry – but take your feral kids and go fuck a train. If you don’t discipline your kid and they go off on me – I will do it for you and you sure as hell WON’T like it.

    Just sayin’.

    • “I’m sorry – but take your feral kids and go fuck a train. If you don’t discipline your kid and they go off on me – I will do it for you and you sure as hell WON’T like it.”

      Fortunately for men as discourteous of others’ opinions as yourself, it’s the “pasty faced flits” that don’t spank their children that protect people like you from being disciplined for your poor behavior as an adult. In a more civilized time, if you spoke to a man like that you’d be responsible for your words, and you sure as hell wouldn’t like it. Today, were you taught a lesson in manners, your instructor would be facing charges for battery.

      Btw, “Old Man’s War” was a great book.

  24. “I blame the parents for a complete lack of discipline during formative years that causes the rest of society to have to deal with these children until they develop their own discipline or become guests of the state.”

    I would add, “or dead”. But shortbus just about summed it up right there. And to paraphrase his final line, the worst abuse is complete lack of interest, or discipline, or responsibility. That right there is why Chicago is Chicago.

    What form should discipline take? Must force be used or is reason enough? There’s no right answer to that question though you think yours is. But, different strokes for different folks, as it were.

    God provided His children with the instinct to protect, provide, nurse, and nurture their young. In humans, the capacity for love is added and when those concepts are combined, individual methods become just that, individualized for success. But when they are not present or are removed by outside forces, the chances of failure and the addition of one more goblin, or ward of the state, or resident of the cemetery, becomes a sad but safe bet.