[thechat] The youth today...

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Wed Nov 27 04:07:00 CST 2002

On Tue, 26 Nov 2002, Michele Wandrei wrote:

> What a great thread.  I teach parenting.  To recovering addicts.
> It seems that my mission in life has become teaching people that
> they don't have to hit their kids (or abuse them in other ways)
> in order to discipline them.  The word discipline comes from
> disciple -- to teach.  Discipline has nothing to do with hitting.


Useful reading: Michel Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" which has a
reasonably good exposition about the difference between internally centred
discipline - which is a self-imposed power over your own mind - and
punishment, imposed externally, which is essentially a power over the

Whether it's as simple as the power of imprisonment (yes, grounding a
child is imprisonment), or as extreme as some of the delightful tortures
invented by regimes over the ages, external punishment fails to instill
discipline beyond simple fear - quite the reverse in fact. Human nature
being what it is, it tends to build resistance.

> That is the biggest problem we're trying to combat.  As for not
> punishing in anger -- if you're going to take the time to calm
> down before you spank your child, take the extra time to think of
> a truly beneficial solution to the problem.  It's harder, but it
> works.

Yep. And to think "Why am I doing this?" as usually the answer is (a) to
make *me* feel better and (b) because I can't think of/be bothered to
implement a better solution.


"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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