Re: “Kids today wouldn’t be kids today if they just got a good spanking.”. (Picture of a bunch of young toughs in bandannas and tee shirts). Change the hairstyle and accoutrements and they could be “greasers”, or “punk rockers,” depending on your generation.)

Yeah, I know. Look how well it worked with the rock and roll generation, and the hippies. They were brought up with firm discipline and see how well their parents kept them on the narrow path. I wonder if the prohibition era gangsters’ parents spanked them. <gasp> What about those settlers and cavalry officers who intentionally massacred Native Americans? Do you imagine their parents spanked them? Slavers? Slavers couldn’t possibly have been spanked as children, could they?

All those mercenary armies that roared back and forth across Europe raping and pillaging while fighting the battles of the Catholic church and the nations that wanted to tell the church to go screw itself (but only itself and nothing else) were just in good need of childhood discipline.

Gawd. It was staring us in the face the whole time. The reason people are evil is because they were never spanked as children. Definitely Lucifer’s problem. Were angels ever children? If not, there you go.

You show me a generation that didn’t gripe about “those kids today” and I’ll show you a bunch of primates without language. Hell, I won’t even guarantee that apes don’t gripe about their kids.

There’s a fine line between discipline and abuse if you resort to this kind of physical violence to chastise your child. If you step over that line, you’re actually increasing their chance of becoming a criminal, since that’s one thing nearly every criminal has in common is a history of abuse. At one time nearly ever criminal out there suffered abuse.

This isn’t an excuse, because plenty of us have and haven’t turned to crime. But not everyone has the same mental and emotional tools to work with, and some things have unpredictable results when the happen to anyone. We can’t all graduate high school at 15, or read college level in grade school, or beat the school record for running a hundred meters.

Abuse and trauma change the brain in very unpredictable ways, and it’s not a line you want to think you can dance along with impunity. But the argument continues and probably will for some time.

The real flaw with American parents is a refusal to set and keep limits. You don’t even have to be harsh. Just firm. When your children are little, if they don’t come when you call, you get off your lazy ass and go get them. You need to make it clear that life isn’t a choose your own adventure. If you have the time and interest to explain to them your reasoning (much preferable to “because I said so”)

What this does is teach the child how and why boundaries are set. And, of course, at times s/he will resist and push against the boundaries. Do not waver. Let the child express his or her displeasure, but make sure he or she knows this doesn’t nothing to change the rules. The rules will not change until s/he is mature enough to negotiate those changes, and can show responsibility enough to earn them.

And in these few words I’ve utterly countered everything from all those hyper-religious “beat your kid into obedience” books some morons are reading.

This was written in a tongue and cheek manner, but the subject itself is very serious. If you want to raise a sapient, rational, enlightened child, you have to commit to treating them with respect and expecting them to earn that respect. This is how you teach real self-respect. 

Can’t respect others if you don’t know what it feels like. Can’t respect yourself either.