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

Erika Meyer emeyer at lclark.edu
Tue Nov 26 15:21:00 CST 2002

Chris Mash wrote:

>If there was a chance that this tragedy would never have
>occurred had the two attackers been properly disciplined, and if one of
>the methods of discipline available to the parents, schools and
>authorities had been corporal in nature, can you really say that it
>would not have been a good thing that this method of discipline was

if and if...

it's the first "if" that I'm not so sure about.  I personally have
not seen evidence that punishment is effective in the long run in
terms of creating good citizens.  Any punishment.  What I see is that
those who are most punished are often the worst behaved.  Chicken or

Kidnap and murder... there's something more at work than your regular
behavior problems there, I think...

>There are many issues here. Why would your daughter's childminder feel
>that punishment of any kind is necessary?

Because she doesn't know how do it any other way.  It's how she was
raised.  She doesn't understand positive reenforcement.  (The
offenses in question are IMO very small -- breaking crayons, making
mistakes while practicing piano)

>Is your daughter being naughty?

She's being a child.

>If so, then perhaps your method of discipline is insufficient to
>prevent this. If not, then the childminder is simply abusing the
>child, and the issue is one of child abuse, not methods of punishment.

It is illegal to strike an adult; it should be illegal to strike a
child.  I call it abuse.

In terms of psychological abuse, which can be worse, it's harder to show.

>I have to say that if she genuinly feels that way over a little
>slap, then there is something profoundly wrong with her psyche.

she inherited it from me.  I was pretty suicidal by my early teens.
Of course, I was criticized and slapped around a lot during
childhood.  This led me to think of myself very negatively, as a bad
person.  I acted-in: self-destructive.

I know that you and I are probably thinking about different things.
I was punished while my parents were in fits of rage.  There was
nothing formalized about it, like you describe.  So I can't compare,
except to say when you open the door to violence against a child,
some people don't know how to shut it.

>  > the usual "mommy mommy I wish you could be a teacher at my
>>  school, I wish you had a different job so you could spend
>>  time with me, etc."  Her anger is apparent and increasing.
>>  Corporal punishment will not help with these problems.
>This is slightly unclear to me.

What I am saying is that dominant culture says we must work work work
and we should put our children in others' care all day long even
though they are crying to be with their mom, their dad...  and that
this causes behavior problems which  are not natural to children they
are the result of f'ed-up social mores and politics and poverty which
is what happens in this country should you be so stupid as to
reproduce without being wealthy.  And the solutions would be
complex... if anyone really cared about solutions or anything beyond
how well Dow Chemical is doing... you know what I mean... it is a
meat grinder to the human spirit just like on "The Wall."

To be fair, most kids in my daughter's class have lovely two-parent
households and a mommy to pick them up from school.

There is one other single mother I work with; her kids are also angry.

>It's a cold hard world out there, and I
>believe we do no favours to our children by coddling them and cossetting
>them against the pain of existence.

I had this discussion with her dad last week who wanted to watch
"Lethal Weapon II" for a bedtime movie.  She has nightmares and lots
of fears.  There's this attitude that they got to be "tough" in the
wild west...

What I say: childhood is a special time, it is a short time, and it
should be honored.  Children should not be forced to grow up before
they are ready; that hurts them and the hurt lasts a long time.  This
girl still believes in the tooth fairy and santa claus... how fast
you want me to force adulthood on her?

So she can start giving blow-jobs at 13 like "normal American girls"?

Fuck that.  I should move back to the rez where she's not just
another disadvantaged minority, where she has a family and a context
and a culture.

Sorry Chris, apparently a rant has been festering with me under the
surface.  I'm just f'ing pissed off today about all of this.  Society
tells you "just get into the work-force and everything will be fine
but it's a total lie.

>Well yes, but most adults sicerely think that they want to do the right
>thing. It doesn't mean that we don't need prisons.

if prisons work so well why do we keep needing more?  if it doesn't
work do more of the same?

>My heart bleeds for them, but I tend to lose my sympathy pretty rapidly
>when their behaviour starts to affect the lives of me and my family and
>there is not a single course of action open to me, legal or otherwise.

there are courses of action available, several.  I have taken a few
courses of action myself.

And it looks like I need to do more of it..




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