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Shouting vs. Spanking
November 7, 2009 12:34 PM   Subscribe


 
[Fixed the wording, do-over.]
posted by cortex at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2009


Country music.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


rap
posted by dibblda at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2009


If the parents had simply been real

Well, if they had that faculty things probably wouldn't have gotten to the point where they feel the need to scream. This is fluff.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:48 PM on November 7, 2009


Obviously, you should reason and negotiate with children, because they spring from the womb with their rational facilities fully intact.
posted by Malor at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


So, there are only two choices?
posted by jbickers at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why can't you do both?
posted by chunking express at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2009 [17 favorites]


I was spanked, yet I somehow escaped without any obvious psychological problems....strange...
posted by cyphill at 12:55 PM on November 7, 2009


Obviously, you should reason and negotiate with children to give them practice with reasoning, to help form their rational facilities.

While you're reasoning and negotiating, you can still physically prevent them from doing immediately harmful things.
posted by Jpfed at 12:56 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why choose when you can do both at the same time?
posted by geoff. at 12:56 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I prefer shanking and spouting.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't know, hitting your kids seems so... white trash.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:01 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


My brother and sister tell me hey suffered the tortures of the damned when they misbehaved while visiting at my grandparents house in the late 60's-early 70's. They still cringe when it comes up.

They were forced to watch The Lawrence Welk Show.

Simple. Effective. Diabolical.
posted by chambers at 1:01 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Shouting vs. Spanking -- What should the parent choose?

Hidden Option #3 -- Whiskey
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:04 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was spanked, yet I somehow escaped without any obvious psychological problems....strange...
posted by cyphill at 12:55 PM on November 7 [+] [!]


That's good for you, but unfortunately as an anecdote it doesn't say anything about the likely outcome of different parenting choices.

I've linked to this before, but I might as well link to it again: The AAP's Guidance for Effective Discipline.
posted by Jpfed at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2009 [17 favorites]


I don't know, hitting your kids seems so... white trash.

Not when you're in your oak paneled great room in Westchester, with a Brooks Brothers sweater and nursing a watered down Johnny Walker Blue while back handing your 17 year old kid yelling, "No son of mine is going to a safety school!"
posted by geoff. at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


I don't care for this at all. The title is misleading, there is no attempt to compare shouting or spanking. There is an unsubstantiated claim that parents who feel like they aren't allowed by society to spank their kids will shout at them instead. Then in some difficult-to-follow bonkers, we manage to learn (I think) that the problem is that parents are attempting to control themselves and "be good parents" (that's a bad thing?!). Since they fail some of the time, they should really just give up and "be real".

Of course it isn't clearly stated what being real would actually be. The strong implication is that it includes shouting when we are angry (be angry! It's real!) and that, boy, it's stupid pop psych that some people ever stopped beating their kids.
posted by Bokononist at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was ready to dislike this but it's actually pretty good and says important stuff.

Deep down, do you really parent the way you parent because you want to be seen as a certain sort of person? That can be a problem.

Because kids can figure that out. And it's not fun to be parented in order to make a certain impression.

Do you imagine that you relate to your kids according to some rational model of Proper Parenting, and fail to acknowledge that you're also a human being with feelings? That can be a problem.

Because kids can figure that out too. And it's not fun to be on the business end of what pretends to be a rational discipline model and is actually an imposition of power by a powerful emotional person who is not acknowledging his or her emotions' role in his or her behavior..

Those are both things that parents would do well to be aware of.
posted by edheil at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


Rock vs. Paper vs. Scissors?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2009


Oh, the title of the blog post is a bit misleading, and the title of the FPP is extremely misleading.

The article isn't about choosing between shouting and spanking at all, even a little bit.
posted by edheil at 1:12 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


A long, cold, piercing stare with dead, soul-less eyes is much more effective then either.
posted by pearlybob at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never strike your child in anger.
Wait 'til you're in a jovial mood to do it
posted by Thorzdad at 1:14 PM on November 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


Passive-aggressive vs. aggressive passivity?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on November 7, 2009


My opinion on corporal punishment is that the media and government need to focus on educating parents to avoid it, but the government should not step in unless there is clear child abuse (ie actual injuries or spankings without any good reason). Baby College, a program in Harlem designed by Jeffrey Canada, is pretty much how I think it should be handled. Parents are given advice on how to raise their children, and encouraged to consider using time outs and other methods of discipline in place of spanking.

In terms of policy, there is no question that spanking is the worse choice. The real question is how to discourage it without infringing on liberties. After all, every situation is different, and some violent, reckless kids may need physical reinforcement to get them to stop from hurting themselves. It's not ideal, but it may be all that works.

To hear more about Baby College and the Harlem Children's Zone, this episode of This American Life did a good explanation of the program. The Obama administration is considering replicating it in other urban areas with a lot of poverty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:21 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


“I’d like to think that most of the time we have a good interaction based on reason,” Lena Merrill said of her 4-year-old daughter, whom she has never spanked. But then there are the times when “she’s done something like poured milk on the floor or ripped a page out of a book,” Ms. Merrill said. “I just lose it.”

This lady needs to meet some real hellions. If she spent five minutes with my nephews, she'd not only lose it, she'd never find it again.
posted by palliser at 1:23 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sarcasm.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2009


Oh geez! The "last psychiatrist"! That's right! This is that overwrought blogger whose analysis of everything that happens is "narcissism!" I had forgotten about him.

OK, this article taken on its own is pretty decent advice. But he's generally off in his own grim, cynical, supercilious little world, and in that context, the article kinda turns out to be more of the same.

Choice quote: "Describe the march of history over the past 100 years. Answer: Fascism, then Marxism, then Narcissism."

Yeah.
posted by edheil at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know. My kid's only 3.4, but I haven't spanked her or shouted at her yet. "1-2-3 time-out!" hasn't failed me ever, so far. Someone else can teach her that adults yell sometimes.

I don't see how yelling makes me any more authentic or real as a parent than just calmly doing what works.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes, but has she SPILLED MILK YET?

You may lose it.
posted by palliser at 1:29 PM on November 7, 2009


Shouting so loud that it causes physical pain.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2009


When eating out with your child, spank quietly.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Deep down, do you really parent the way you parent because you want to be seen as a certain sort of person? That can be a problem.

Why?

Because kids can figure that out. And it's not fun to be parented in order to make a certain impression.

Yeah, they'll learn that certain parenting styles are considered social norms and try to be that way with their own kids. I'm not sure I see the problem with that.
posted by delmoi at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2009


What a narcissistic ass, but yes he does have a point. Your child knows better than you do why you are disciplining them and will learn how to function accordingly.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:59 PM on November 7, 2009


So, there are only two choices?

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who think there are two kinds of people in the world; and people who know better.
posted by flarbuse at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2009


I do think we should reason and negotiate with children. Kids do have an understanding of fairness, even though they may not have it at the age of 0 days, I nevertheless think it's innate, and I think children can be reasoned and negotiated with. I think parents who use their power of veto without regard for whether they are playing fair by the kid, or without explaining it, or taking the child's wishes into account, (addressing them, explaining why they are untenable) is being just as rude as if they tried to veto anyone else without discussion. Throwing your weight around is not the way to go, it makes the relationship between parent and child and unhealthy one. I think if attempts are made to reason and negotiate with children from an early age, to offer substitutes for the things they want when they can't have them, to explore exactly why they want things and what they think the benefits will be, and make them understand that the things they want aren't quite so essential to happiness as they seem to believe, and that alternatives might eventually be found if they are willing to make concessions, headway might be made to less stressful interactions overall. Beating or berating a child is unfair, because of the size advantage most parents have. Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge. Underlying psychological mechanisms don't alter at all as one progresses from child to adult, the only things which change are responsibilities, pressures, and expectations. Adults do not somehow acquire some amazing wisdom, they don't know any better than kids do most of the time. And as miniature people we should allow children to be part of all discussions and decisions, and never try to coerce them without proper involvement.

I think if a child exhibits bad behaviour it is because they have been allowed to reach the stage where they see that as their best option. We should try to stop them reaching that stage by treating them as equals.
posted by salo at 2:07 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Everyone could use a hug, especially your kids.
posted by mistersquid at 2:09 PM on November 7, 2009


I think if a child exhibits bad behaviour it is because they have been allowed to reach the stage where they see that as their best option.

Have you ever spent time looking after kids?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge.

Ouch. Experience and knowledge are part of what makes us grown-ups so different from our children. Also, the brain itself does develop as one journeys from the womb to adulthood.

That said, treating children with respect is great. It has worked as the number one strategy in my work as a parent (and as a teacher). When you respect your child, you rarely yell at them or spank them. If you do lose control now and then, it will not harm your child. Do not beat yourself up because your four-year old infuriates you just after a hard day at work and you lose it.

However, it should go without saying that screaming, spanking, or emotionally abusing your child in more subtle ways - the more common and perhaps more damaging parenting technique not mentioned here - is not a good idea.
posted by kozad at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2009


salo: Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge.

Some developmental psychology might do you some good, there are all kinds of subtle and non-obvious but meaningful and predictable ways in which kids become progressively less like needy critters and more like people.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge. Underlying psychological mechanisms don't alter at all as one progresses from child to adult

What?
posted by CKmtl at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2009


or don't...
posted by Blasdelb at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2009


We should try to stop them reaching that stage by treating them as equals.

Drive yourself to get your vaccination!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:36 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think if a child exhibits bad behaviour it is because they have been allowed to reach the stage where they see that as their best option.

Not necessarily. Misbehaving often involves something fun, like walking out the door alone, or tossing the toilet roll in the bowl to see it expand. Kids will definitely exhibit bad behavior -- all kids, at some points. Accepting that is part of parenting.

I also disagree with your point that reasoning is the best way of showing respect to children. That's not always so. In fact, with small children -- 4 and under -- they are often far more calmed by your repeating what they want, over and over, than your explaining why they can't have/do it. "You want the teddy bear, I know, you want it, you want the teddy bear, I know, you want it," ad infinitum. It's not even usually that helpful or necessary to add "but your sister has it right now." They perceive more respect in being heard and understood than in being reasoned with. They're not just small people; they have different needs and desires than adults.
posted by palliser at 2:37 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


And as miniature people we should allow children to be part of all discussions and decisions, and never try to coerce them without proper involvement.

Someone just said this. No, they did.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:38 PM on November 7, 2009


We negotiate with our kids using well prepared legal briefs 1. Luckily, they are unable to afford proper counsel and must represent themselves, so we typically prevail. What they really hate is when we counter sue for treble costs and damages.

1 The love is in the footnotes.
posted by mosk at 2:41 PM on November 7, 2009 [26 favorites]


All four of the kids in my family were spanked. We were well behaved overall.

But none of us regularly spanks our kids, because none of us wants our kids to have those memories.

I have lost control, I will admit, and spanked my kid a few times; and it really didn't help, to be honest, any better than time-outs did. With the added problem that it felt really really wrong to hit my child. I don't think there is any such thing as "spanking while not mad" because when you're not mad...you don't want to hit your child. So by definition, you're pretty much out of control, and that's a bad place to be in as a parent.

I want my kid to think for himself. I do not want him to be afraid of me, as I was often afraid of my dad. Even though I loved him. I want him to respect me, yes, but that requires a lot more than just putting fear into him. So I know that to other adults, I often look foolish and over-explainey because I do let my kid ask challenging questions, I do even let him persuade me (if he has a real reason, not whining) to change my mind, I do try to be patient in the face of arguing and engage him as a person instead of demanding respectful silent obedience. I don't tolerate any violence from him towards myself or others, and more and more I feel I can't expect that if I'm practicing violence on him myself.

Check back w/ me in 15 years or so, and I can tell you if this worked. I can tell you, it's probably more demanding than what my parents did. But, I have hopes that he and I will like and respect each other more when he reaches adulthood.
posted by emjaybee at 2:41 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


My dad was fond of ironic punishment. One example that comes to mind was when my sister was exhibiting poor table manners by putting her mouth on the edge of her plate and scraping her food into her mouth. My dad told her to eat the rest of her dinner that way.

A friend of mine told me that when he and his sister got into fights, their dad would make them go out in the back yard and carry heavy rocks back and forth for a while.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:52 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obviously, you should reason and negotiate with children, because they spring from the womb with their rational facilities fully intact.

Exactly, that's why you need to start spanking them on DAY ONE. Don't bother trying to reason with them until they can speak and read.

I was spanked, I am not a spanker. I don't think people who spank are monsters, but I don't think it's a good idea either.

Maybe I just have a docile kid (although I don't think so) but if you get to the point where literally hitting your kid is the best you can do you I think you missed your turn-off a few miles back.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


What you should never do is humiliate anyone.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:00 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Spanking should be a last result, and never ruled out completely for young children. When I was spanked as a child I had done something to deserve it. My parents weren't angry drunks or anything, and I think that unfortunately factors in - whether the parents are responsible enough to know when to dish out the hurtin and when to send a kid to time out or whatever the appropriate punishment was. Later it switched from spanking to grounding/removal of TV and Super Nintendo from my room into my parents closet where I couldn't touch it.
posted by SirOmega at 3:09 PM on November 7, 2009


Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge.

LOL whut

Try reading up on child development, educational psychology, etc. You are utterly, completely, 100% wrong. You think adults have a lack of object permanence? Or an inability to understand that other people are not thinking the same things they are thinking? Don't understand that nodding while on the phone won't communicate "yes" to the person on the other end of the line? Have no metacognition?

The wildly wrong assumptions states as fact--they burn.
posted by tzikeh at 3:15 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


^stated as fact
posted by tzikeh at 3:17 PM on November 7, 2009


I would say both, but not simultaneously
posted by knoyers at 3:31 PM on November 7, 2009


"you get a job by sundown, or I'm shipping you off to military school like that Finklestein Shit Kid!"
posted by Balisong at 3:37 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Children are nothing else than miniature people.
salo

I try not to get on people, but your entire comment is so entirely wrong and ignorant and divorced from reality it's astounding. Apparently not only do you not have children and never been around them, you have never even seen one and never were one yourself. It's as if you are some sort of philosophical zombie, but instead of not being able to experience qualia you lack any conception of what "child" is.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:39 PM on November 7, 2009


salo: "Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge. "

I think we just got trolled. As in full on, fake people out, no HAMBURGER trolled. I'd whine for an admin, but the damage has been done, and all I can do is cry about how good Metafilter was pre-this-trolling.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2009


Reading that article reminded me of the disciplinary differences between my parents. My father's discipline was self-regarding: we were beaten for behavior he found inconvenient to him (including crying when we were beated) while my mother's discipline was over behavior she found to be antisocial (use of the word "stupid" was high on the list). Fortunately, I think her discipline dominated.

TLP points out that it's not really the method of discipline that matters, it is the purpose of the discipline. If you are disciplining your children to keep them out of your hair, you will produce sneaky bastards who get ahead in life. If you are disciplining your children to teach them moral standards, you will get moral adults who will struggle with the problems of leading a moral life.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


@tzikeh: you seem to be describing autism, not childhood.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2009


Perhaps we need to instead offer option 3: Medication. It's called baby Benadryl.

Personally, as a young adult who doesn't intend to have children for at least 5-10 years, allow me to exercise my hipster pedophobia: I think younguns should be kept in an age-appropriate crate carrier when outside the home if they are not appropriately sedated pre-excursion. I think water fluoridation doesn't go far enough for sedating the masses.

(PS: If you want to lose faith in the current generation, check out the Water Fluoridation link. Apparently the kids are down with preserving their Purity of Essence.)
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:09 PM on November 7, 2009


Man I don't care what any of y'all's kids do up to the point that it comes randomly running at me in the supermarket, screaming and wearing a sandbucket on its head, because then I'm sorry but I am going to knee it in the face and you ought to invest in a child leash. And if dangerous dogs need to be muzzled when out in public, then your obnoxious screaming mini-me could use a gag.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Spillin' the milk on the floor? That's a paddlin'.
Calling children miniature people? Ohh, you better BELIEVE that's a paddlin'!
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:16 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm a big fan of the Baba Yaga / Boogeyman / we are going to sell the bad kid to the Chinese Circus implied menace sort of discipline.

I'll never forget the only time my Dad hit me out of anger instead of a sense of discipline. Not that I liked either one as a child mind you, but with discipline, you get the sense you can avoid it. A friend and his brother had a dad that hit them whenever they acted out + his back pain was flaring up. They knew punishment as an arbitrary thing, and were predictably wild children.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:38 PM on November 7, 2009


Children are nothing else than miniature people.

Please tell us this is sarcasm. It's a very rare child who develops foresight of the consequence of their actions before they are at least a teenager. I see rare glimpses of this kind of emotional maturity in only two out of my nine nieces and nephews, and not ever in the ones who were raised as if they were 'miniature people'.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:50 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have not and will not read this, but you should abuse your kids because it's "real??"

In the words of Chris Rock, "keepin' it real - real dumb."
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:38 PM on November 7, 2009


How about just not having a stupid kid in the first place?
posted by livingdots at 5:45 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


What children need is consistency. Even consistent beating is better than inconsistency: at least with a consistent beating, you can build a framework around which to minimize the beatings.

A child that is never sure whether or not it's going to get what it wants (awarded) is a child that is going to be very persistent in using any behaviours that might lead to that award. If those behaviours are misbehaviours, well, so be it: whatever works.

The best thing of all, of course, is to ensure consistency without resorting to beating. And you do that by being very consistent in dealing with the misbehaviours: to wit, the misbehaviours never lead to reward. That doesn't necessarily mean they lead to a beating. It means they don't get what the misbehaviour is intended to get them.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:04 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The great Philosopher Calvin* once said "If you can't win by reason, go for volume."

Yeah, there's no reason to yell at kids. Or spank them. Neither works.

Though I do confess that I've had situations where I've had to yell a really sharp "NO!" at times to get a kid's attention and whenever this happens in public, I cringe because I can hear the mental voices of every parent around me chiding me for being That Nanny who yells at the kids. It's always only to grab attention in situations where a quiet "Please stop that" won't work and the action MUST be stopped, STAT. Other than that? Your volume is only going to freak kids out, not actually teach them anything. But that seems to be pretty common sense to anyone who has ever been yelled at by anyone ever - it doesn't make you take them seriously, it just makes you feel defensive.

*human companion of Hobbes

Children are nothing else than miniature people. Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge.

As a childcare professional, I respectfully disagree. Children aren't even aware of their own autonomy until about age 2, and aren't truly able to feel empathy until 5. This may or may not be true for every kid ever, but it's generally accepted in terms of developmental psychology. I agree that children should be treated with respect, but it's a mistake to believe that their thought processes work the same way as those of adults.

Also: a toddler isn't going to wander off and stick his arm in the toilet because he thinks that's his "best option" but because MAN! That thing has a drain! What's gonna happen if I try to stick my hand in it! Same goes for turning off the answering machine, climbing on top of the table, opening and closing all of the cabinets, taking all of the recycling out of the bins and throwing it into the bushes...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:25 PM on November 7, 2009


Having experienced both to some degree as a child and as an adolescent, I would definitely say that being humiliated verbally can be more abusive and damaging than spanking or other moderate physical punishment.
posted by knoyers at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2009


I have not and will not read this, but you should abuse your kids because it's "real??"

Not what the article says at all. It says that most discipline comes out of the parent's own self-involvement, rather than out of a concern for what's good for the child, and that's bad, no matter what the particular method being used is.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:00 PM on November 7, 2009


I'm amazed at how much umbrage is being taken at salo's position that children are people. Of course they aren't adults, but they are still people, and should be treated with the same respect as anyone else. If you don't respect them, then you teach them that people don't deserve respect.

I suppose if you weren't treated with respect as a child, then you learned not to respect others, and so the idea of treating anyone, including children, with respect seems ridiculous.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:05 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shanking and spouting.
posted by ...possums at 7:08 PM on November 7, 2009


Children aren't miniature people.... they're people.

They have differences in thinking style from adults, and limitations on their knowledge and experience, but some adults have differences in thinking style from other adults, and some adults' knowledge is limited in one way or another compared to other adults.

Children are human beings and should be treated as such.

What you're willing to do to a child is what you're willing to do to a human being. Including "hit them or shame them or berate them if they disobey you," if that's what you'll do to a child.

Worth keeping in mind.
posted by edheil at 7:12 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


(that is, I agree with what I think Salo was getting at, and I don't think it even needed the qualification "miniature" or the justification "exactly the same thought processes".... disagreeing here with the letter and vehemently agreeing with the spirit.)
posted by edheil at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2009


but some adults have differences in thinking style from other adults

The adults who think like children seem to often get thrown in prison.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:18 PM on November 7, 2009


Wow, it's a Win-Win!
posted by Scoo at 7:28 PM on November 7, 2009


In discussions like this, someone will inevitably say something to the effect that domestic punishment of children would be crime (i.e. assault, imprisonment, theft) if done to other adults, as if revealing a shocking and terrible instance of class discrimination. And it's always funny.
posted by knoyers at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2009


@Jimmy Havok - since you clearly have no knowledge of the development of human acuity of mind and critical faculties as one matures from infancy to adolescence, allow me to politely ask you to refrain from comparing the natural progression of self-concept and self-awareness to a social/neural disorder.

Perhaps a little research into either social and mental growth, or autism, is in order.

shorter me: what
posted by tzikeh at 7:42 PM on November 7, 2009


Woah, woah, woah. If we start calling children people, pretty soon you won't be able to eat an Irish baby without the PC police harassing you.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:47 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


@Jimmy Havok's other comment: I'm amazed at how much umbrage is being taken at salo's position that children are people.

Nobody's taken umbrage at the idea that children are people, but that's not what salo said. He said children's thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults and are exactly as sophisticated, which is provably incorrect in any number of ways, from infancy up through teenage years (and sometimes beyond).

Please show me where anyone in this thread said, in seriousness, that children aren't people.
posted by tzikeh at 7:49 PM on November 7, 2009


Around our house, you misbehaved and you were ignored. It's not better or worse than anything else, except suddenly you were made invisible, and not in a good way.
posted by datawrangler at 8:10 PM on November 7, 2009


I like to take away my childrens' favorite toys, and when they cry, I lick the tears from their faces like Cartman did to the boy who ate his parents. Sooooo delicious.
posted by fungible at 8:11 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Their thought processes are exactly akin to those of adults, and are exactly as sophisticated, even if they have less experience/knowledge. Underlying psychological mechanisms don't alter at all as one progresses from child to adult, the only things which change are responsibilities, pressures, and expectations. Adults do not somehow acquire some amazing wisdom, they don't know any better than kids do most of the time.



I was going to comment on this, but I'm sorry, that's just retarded.
posted by c13 at 8:33 PM on November 7, 2009


You've all been dancing around this and coming close, just not quite there.

The complete answer is: Shouting out legal briefs with dead, soul-less eyes at miniature people while spanking with Lawrence Welk's whiskey bottle.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:38 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Havok: tzikeh: you seem to be describing autism, not childhood.

It may sound like autism, but it's actually normal childhood. Normal children will fail all those sorts tests at certain stages of development.

If a baby ever pops out of the womb already equipped with object permanence, a working theory of mind, etc., we should all be Very Scared. The kid is in all likelihood the Antichrist.
posted by CKmtl at 8:44 PM on November 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


If you're super rich, you just say in a cold, calm voice that you're taking away their trust fund.

Ouch!
posted by bwg at 11:13 PM on November 7, 2009


The article made plenty of sense to me, but then I actually read it, so I would say that.

My parents were full-of-shit fucking idiots, and I have tried to understand what happened to me when I was a child. The article rang true, jibed with, what I've managed to work out so far.

I feel I was experimented on as a boy, by a mad scientist who was always getting angry about complete bullshit. Can't complain though, it's made me the article reading man I am today, a man who reads an article before stating his opinion.

As for the title being misleading: who cares?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 1:44 AM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Time outs. Time outs in a small, dimly-lit room filled with dead-eyed clown dolls and ventriloquist dummies.
posted by rifflesby at 2:35 AM on November 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


As using fear as a useful tool in rearing kids, I'm going with Gary Larson's tactics.
posted by chambers at 10:14 AM on November 8, 2009


Children are nothing else than miniature people.

I see this as an observation that many delude themselves into believing they are 'mature', while when we get down to basics we're all just gibbering apes in this tree.
posted by mikelieman at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2009


That might be true, but most adults won't drink anti-freeze or try and stick their tongues in electrical sockets.
posted by chunking express at 10:29 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


while when we get down to basics we're all just gibbering apes in this tree.

We're also all just bags of cells swimming through this world of goo.

But that doesn't mean that nematodes, apes, and humans all have the same cognitive faculties.
posted by CKmtl at 11:33 AM on November 8, 2009


most adults won't drink anti-freeze or try and stick their tongues in electrical sockets.

Ha! Obviously not people!
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:21 PM on November 8, 2009


Spanking. Always.
posted by jock@law at 3:23 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Forever. Your Greatest Love.
posted by palliser at 3:57 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine told me that when he and his sister got into fights, their dad would make them go out in the back yard and carry heavy rocks back and forth for a while.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:52 PM on November 7


My grandfather used to make my Mom and her siblings run around the house a bunch of times. I think the idea is, a tired child can be sent to bed early.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2009


If Bernie Mac were alive today, and your child needed it, he would hit your child in the forehead with a hammer or bust they heads 'til the white meat shows. I miss his insights.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Having experienced both to some degree as a child and as an adolescent, I would definitely say that being humiliated verbally can be more abusive and damaging than spanking or other moderate physical punishment.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Every child knows this is false; most of the time it's simply a blow off. The true verse runs:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words? Words are forever."

-----

There's one great comment in that blog post that I'm copying for those that skipped them:

I grew up with two great parents, but they were also therapists. That meant that they thought about emotions at a very high level. Far beyond what I could understand. They basically tried to "game" things for maximum developmental impact. But it came at the expense of being real. I would get "I think it's important for someone your age to hear 'No'" after a perfectly reasonable request. The request would have been fine except this is when Dr. Spock said to say "No."

My point is that most parents act on a script. They aren't real. They don't see the kid in front of them or identify the real reasons for their feelings. Look at how many parents today have a guru. There's the pro-Leapfrog and the anti-Leapfrog groups. some parents pride themselves on being "progressive" while others talk about being "old-school." It's parenting by identity. The parenting is about the parent, not the kid.

No wonder kids are confused. Nobody talks to them. They talk about them, to them. "What you've done is not good..." instead of "You've done something wrong." The kids are left not knowing where they stand.

It's like the scene in Office Space where Jennifer Aniston and Mike Judge are discussing "flair." Judge wants her to wear more, but won't say it. Instead he says, "You're only wearing the minimum, do you want to be known as someone who only does the minimum?" Aniston, wanting to do the right thing, asks "Oh okay, so I should wear more." Judge, looking disappointed, goes "It's not about wearing more. It's about expressing yourself."


I think the point that the Last Psychiatrist wanted to make could have been done better by putting it in the context of the double bind. That's what the quoted comment above brings out despite the author not using that phrase. I certainly don't believe that there is any link between schizophrenia and being placed in double binds, but the frustration and confusion that is felt when one is in one of the four types of double binds is very real. The Last Psychiatrist's post is about children being placed in the second type of double bind, being attacked for holding a valid view of one's environment, i.e. the child is expected to believe that the parents are enforcing a consistent moral code in their rewards and punishments when the evidence is that the parents (at least the parents that he is talking about) are motivated more by their self image.
posted by BigSky at 9:09 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This Last Psychiatrist? One of us? From his article on Jay-Z's Blueprint:

"It's alright, you're allowed to like it, you don't have to be metafilter smug all the time."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:43 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]




What you should never do is humiliate anyone.

This. Because really, if you want to damage your kid emotionally, it doesn't really matter whether you choose to spank him or yell at him.

What matters most is that you do it in the middle of the goddamn shopping mall.
posted by rokusan at 3:26 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fleebnork: My dad was fond of ironic punishment. One example that comes to mind was when my sister was exhibiting poor table manners by putting her mouth on the edge of her plate and scraping her food into her mouth. My dad told her to eat the rest of her dinner that way.

Ex-friend of mine used to do stuff like that with her stepkids. Fighting with your brother at the store? Ok, you have to hold hands with each other (they're at an age where that is just OMG APPALLING). 9 year old is acting like a baby? She'd pick him up like a baby and carry him around and go strap him into his seatbelt as if he actually were. Actually, these techniques seemed to work, they were pretty well behaved, all things considered.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2009


http://www.metafilter.com/user/46425

So did we shout at him, or did we spank him?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:02 AM on November 9, 2009


Fighting with your brother at the store? Ok, you have to hold hands with each other (they're at an age where that is just OMG APPALLING). 9 year old is acting like a baby? She'd pick him up like a baby and carry him around and go strap him into his seatbelt as if he actually were.

Isn't that pretty much purposeful humiliation? I find those methods pretty ick, personally.
posted by palliser at 12:01 PM on November 9, 2009


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