[thechat] The youth today... [WAS: santa question - quickie]

Tara Cleveland tara at taracleveland.com
Tue Nov 26 15:01:00 CST 2002

Chris Marsh wrote:

> Although my comment (quoted below) was facetious in nature, it reflects
> a serious belief in the viability of corporal punishment. The delinquent
> youth I was thinking of was that of the UK. There seems to be no method
> of punishment for minors in Britain, which really leaves it up to the
> individual to monitor their own actions. This seems insane to me, given
> that most minors are delinquent by nature, and need to learn values and
> ethics that will allow them to progress successfully through life. When
> I was a nipper, we were caned or slippered (depending on the crime) at
> school. Neither of these were ever delivered in anger, but in a measured
> manner designed to teach a lesson. You know what? It worked. There was
> discipline and respect; and whilst we all got up to high jinks, there
> was little to no serious bullying or selfish crimes against society.

I disagree. I went to school in England for a couple of years when there was
still "slippering" -- although I don't remember anyone being caned -- and I
don't remember discipline and respect but I remember that there *was* fear.

-- Incidentally, our Headmaster's name was Mr. Cross - which I thought was
an apt name for a Headmaster who "slippered" children and often seemed
rather cross with us. --

I think there is enough evidence that shows that corporal punishment has few
benefits and many harmful effects. It's also more difficult to draw the line
between serious cases of child abuse and corporal punishment especially when
caning is involved. Many jurisdictions prohibit corporal punishment using
implements or anything other than an open hand.

"[A study] found "strong associations" between corporal punishment and all
eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were
negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior.
The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and
increased immediate compliance on the part of the child."
 From a press release on the American Psychological Association web site.

I'm just not sure that there is *any* remotely convincing argument for
corporal punishment once a child has reached the age where they can make
rational decisions and understand the consequences of their actions in the
world (not the consequences as in "I shouldn't be bad or I'll get hit" but
"I shouldn't be bad because that's not the way people get along").

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents.


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