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

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Wed Nov 27 03:53:00 CST 2002

On Tue, 26 Nov 2002, Chris Marsh wrote:

> > maybe there wouldn't be such a problem with dominant culture
> > if they weren't at war with their own children.
> 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,


I believe that that's fundamentally untrue. I very much believe that
discipline (ie an internally driven set of values and behaviours) is
*least* effectively developed by external punishment. However, the most
effective method involves a lot of time and effort, starting from a very
young age.

Remedial action involving physical punishment indicates a failure in the
adults involved to spend that time and effort, resulting in the
desparation methods of force, which only teach the lesson that might is

But the other problem is that the only effective way for parents to learn
how to develop their childrens' discipline without violence is for them to
have experienced it from the other end. Similarly, if you grew up in an
environment where violence is the normal method of teaching children, that
will colour your outlook on how to bring up children - even a norm for the
slightest of transgressions. The result being fearful children.

Example: in a 'know your enemy' exercise, Lucy and I read Chris Green's
"Toddler Taming", which is essentially a manual into breaking your child's
spirit and beating any initiative out of them. For the simple error of
wanting to be up in the evening with their parents, he recommends that a
child be (a) slapped and (b) locked in their room.

Now we have friends who take option (b) of this advice fairly seriously,
and morning after morning find their 3 year old son slumped asleep against
the inside of their (locked) bedroom door.

Exactly how does this develop self-discipline, self-respect/value, respect
for authority and communication with parents (and if you don't have this
at a young age, how on earth are you going to be able to talk to them as
teenagers about sex, drugs and other fun stuff?)


"Names, once they are in common use, quickly
 become mere sounds, their etymology being
 buried, like so many of the earth's marvels,
 beneath the dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie

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