January 10, 2018

"The government of Wales has a question for parents: Is it ever right to physically punish your children?"

"It began a 12-week consultation on the issue on Tuesday, with officials saying they hoped to join more than 50 countries that have adopted an outright ban on the practice.... Some opposition to a ban has already gathered. A group called Be Reasonable, named after an exemption in current assault laws for 'reasonable punishment' of children by parents, says it has more than 1,500 names on a petition against the proposal, in a nation of a little over 3 million people. 'A little gentle slap here and there is just a part of teaching discipline,' a Be Reasonable campaigner, Angie Robins, a mother of three from Newport, in southeast Wales, said in a telephone interview. 'It never did anyone any harm.'"

The NYT reports.

Speaking of punishment, what's the punishment for violating the proposed ban?

Is there really a problem with smacking children in Wales that requires a specific rule on this subject? And what will be the unintended consequences? Surely, some parents will slip and smack their kids reflexively over various infractions. Are you going to take children away from their parents for that? Put the parents in jail? That's going to hurt children too.

But apparently there are 50 countries that have already taken this step, and presumably, Wales feels pressure not to look like a laggard in the enlightened respect for children. But you don't have to just go along with the crowd. You can think for yourself and make better, subtler judgments. That's what good parents teach their children.

76 comments:

Kevin said...

Maybe the parents should dress in black to show disapproval of their children's behavior.

tcrosse said...

The Scots say you should never strike a child except in anger.

Gahrie said...

I hope Dr. Spock is burning in Hell.

Kevin said...

You can think for yourself and make better, subtler judgments. That's what good parents teach their children.

That's not something the state wants anyone teaching.

The state wants kids to know from a young age that adults are bound by what the state tells them they have to do.

jaydub said...

What Kevin said.

Robert Cook said...

"I hope Dr. Spock is burning in Hell."

Why?

rhhardin said...

It was hell, says former kid.

rhhardin said...

Limit the use of violence to nuns.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm afraid that if parents have to restrict themselves to using words, they'll engage in psychological abuse that's much more dangerous that transitory slapping or spanking.

Leland said...

Are modern young children more genetically gifted intellectually to understand reasoned debate to learn right from wrong?

I would assume young children are like most young creatures of the earth that learn better from physical touch than nuanced means of communication. You can tell them the stove is hot, but they won't understand what hot means until they get burned once.

I guess alternatively, parents can reward good behavior. You know, carry around bags of candy, and give them a treat whenever they do good. That should reinforce good behavior with only some long term health affects.

William said...

How else are you going to teach these kids to honor their gambling debts and promises.

Inga said...

Sounds like a can of worms.

Seeing Red said...

Sometimes a swat on the butt is needed to get their attention.

Sebastian said...

"You can think for yourself and make better, subtler judgments. That's what good parents teach their children."

What Kevin said.

You can't think for yourself. You must obey and make the better judgment of your betters. Good parents teach their children that the state knows best.

Creating the New Man is the essential left project.

Oso Negro said...

I don’t know why you would ever spank a child unless you were angry at them.

John Lynch said...

Sure. Will it be enforced on immigrants? Doubtful.

Fernandistein said...

"Spare the rod and spoil the child" said the child.

Pettifogger said...

Reasonable corporal punishment is beneficial. When my children threw temper tantrums and refused to cooperate, a quick swat on the rear typically changed their behavior immediately. Moments later, they would be sweet. So far, I've had to do that to my three-year-old grandson only once. The results were the same.

mockturtle said...

When one of my grandsons was two or three he kicked my daughter in the shin in anger at a family gathering.
Me: Are you going to let him get away with that?
She: What do you want me to do, hit him? [horrified look]
Me: That would seem appropriate.
[Dad wasn't there but he was anti-spanking, as well]
It was probably wrong of me to interfere but I was disgusted.

This grandson, who is mentally gifted and had every advantage growing up---save discipline!---is the prototypical mid-twenties male still living in his mother's basement. I had hoped he would enroll in college or at least join the military but both options would involve discipline, an alien and undesirable concept.

J. Farmer said...

Having worked in juvenile justice and child welfare for a decade and a half, I am generally opposed to corporal punishment. The problem is that it is most often used when parents are frustrated with their children and end up taking out that frustration through physical violence. That said, if a child is engaging in dangerous behavior or needs to be "shocked" back to reality, I am okay with a swat on the rear end with a palm can be a useful corrective. I am absolutely opposed to hitting children with objects (e.g. paddles, belts, switches, etc.).

Quaestor said...

“For Wales? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!”

JPS said...

One of my least favorite explanations for why we do something is, "Because that's the way we've always done it." However, quite often there is in fact a reason we've always done it that way.

Get a mischievous little kid who thinks it's funny to cause pain to someone else, and try reasoning him out of it, no hands!

Not saying it can't be done.

Quaestor said...

What rhhardin recalls less than perfectly.

Quaestor said...

Sounds like a can of worms.

Inga's morning Zen exercise.

It's like the sound of one hand clapping

Bob Boyd said...

What about insisting your child give you a good spanking now and again?

Asking for a friend.

n.n said...

Same rule for children and adults?

Quaestor said...

"Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired," wrote Jonathan Swift.

The same applies to a child, I should think.

CJinPA said...

No true Welshman would support this.

Infinite Monkeys said...

You agree to stop sending young children into the coal mines and the next thing you know, you're not allowed to spank them.

DanTheMan said...

I suppose the Welsh police will form a special squad to handle these cases.... the SWAT team.

Wilbur said...

Wilbur got yardsticked by his mama from about age three or four. I usually had it coming.

When she was forced to take me out shopping with her, she couldn't bring the yardstick along, so she carried a ruler in her purse. She knew I was smart enough to recognize the similarity to the yardstick, so all she had to do was just show it to me to procure compliance.

No hard feelings. She was doing the best she could.

Balfegor said...

Re: Althouse:

I'm afraid that if parents have to restrict themselves to using words, they'll engage in psychological abuse that's much more dangerous that transitory slapping or spanking.

Yes, a chopstick on the hand or a swat on the bum was actually pretty mild as these things go, and it gave us all something to commiserate about at school. The hysterical "Do you want me to kill myself?" (a line Korean parents sometimes employ strategically against their children) is a lot more traumatic.

That said, I hear some parents use the classic school punishment of making children kneel for extended periods with their hands up in the air. The wikipedia article I linked connects this with the Indian subcontinent. It's, ah, not unique to India. It's pretty common in Korea and Japan too.

Bob Boyd said...

Trump should propose spanking illegal aliens. Just throw it into the mix...as negotiating chip...and for the fun of watching the reaction.

mockturtle said...

"Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired," wrote Jonathan Swift.

Thank you, Quaestor! Excellent quote. From which of Swift's work?

Gahrie said...

"I hope Dr. Spock is burning in Hell."

Why?


Because he was the idiot who popularized the whole idea that spanking your child is child abuse. What makes it worse is that he apparently physically abused his own children.

Gahrie said...

I am generally opposed to corporal punishment.

Every animal that raises its young uses pain as a negative reinforcer.

Quaestor said...

A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately Enter’d Into Holy Orders by a Person of Quality, 1721

Freeman Hunt said...

"I'm afraid that if parents have to restrict themselves to using words, they'll engage in psychological abuse that's much more dangerous that transitory slapping or spanking."

I am too.

Additionally, imagine a hypothetical parent who gives mild swats as correctives to his young children every day. Probably not ideal. Say the ban goes into effect, and this man continues to give swats every day, so his children are removed from his home for child abuse. Yow! What is more damaging: the mild swats or being removed from one's parents? Obviously being removed from one's parents is an evil orders of magnitude larger than the other.

(See Citizen Kane for some thoughts on this.)

And let's call this what it is: an imposition of privileged people on less privileged people. Do I think spanking is the best means of discipline? No. But I certainly wouldn't impose my will on someone else by labeling it child abuse and attaching to it all of the dire consequences that go along with that.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is also dangerous to very young children. What if a little child tries to run into the street? Is the parent going to have a heart to heart with him? Trust a time out to keep him from doing something that could kill him?

Gahrie said...

Children are born as barbarians and need to be civilized. Attempting to reason with a barbarian is futile.

mockturtle said...

A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately Enter’d Into Holy Orders by a Person of Quality, 1721

Thank you, Quaestor! What a great line and yet obscure.

Amexpat said...

Corporal punishment is banned here in Norway and, on the whole, I think it's a good thing. You seldom see bratty kids acting up in public and when you do the parents often restrain them and give a long earnest lecture (I bet the kids wish the parents would just slap them and get it over with).

I agree that physiological abuse is worse than the occasional slap, but it's hard to legislate against that.

Vance said...

The problem with spanking is twofold: Usually it's done in anger and thus problem 2: usually too hard/too much/excessive.

When spanking is done in anger, it goes away from being discipline into punishment for punishment's sake... it's now for the parent's benefit instead of the child.

But when done properly, it's a valuable tool. So banning it? Bad idea. Some sort of training on how to control the parent's impulses so they don't punish but instead discipline is a lot better.

Not sure the state should be involved with that, though. In fact, they should be banned from it. Too many leftists who would demand you punish a child for praying or something--unless it's to Allah, naturally.

--Vance

DanTheMan said...

I’ve heard that quoted as “You can’t reason somebody out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into”

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

Every animal that raises its young uses pain as a negative reinforcer.

Every animal that sexually reproduces begins doing so after sexual maturation. Should humans do that, too?

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

A spank to capture and hold their attention. Then its words until they assimilate their meaning.

Are adults and children treated equally when they violate behavioral and societal norms?

Inga said...

I’ve swatted my four children when they were little, on the bottom occasionally when they were particularly naughty or acting in a dangerous manner and didn’t listen to my admonitions. I would never swat my grandkids though, it’s their parents place. Just as children in daycare or school should never be subjected to corporal punishment. I think the swat to get their attention is a useful tool as is the use of a swat to assert the authority of the parent as the alpha in the household when a particularity agressive kid forgets who is the child and who is the parent, during a child’s temper tantrum.

Two of my five grandkids were/are very very headstrong. In the case of my oldest granddaughter, now 17 (a wonderful young lady who will be off to college next September), my son in law spanked her once on her behind and never had to do it again. My daughter and son in law tried all sorts of different disciplining methods and she was so bold that she would strike out at my daughter and son in law when they put her in a time out. But that stopped after my daughter and son in law asserted their authority in a way that even a three year old can understand.

One of my grandsons, now age three is another very headstrong child. So far his parents, my youngest daughter and son in law haven’t yet found the way to let him know who are the alphas in the house. I love this little guy to pieces, but yikes what a handful. I’m hoping that like in the case of my oldest granddaughter, he too will eventually get the message.

Jessica said...

Absurd. A moderate spank with a hand on the bottom for direct defiance or disobedience, followed by apology, reconciliation, and a hug is good parenting, not abuse.

Gahrie said...

Every animal that sexually reproduces begins doing so after sexual maturation. Should humans do that, too?

When else should they do so? It would be kind of tough to do so before sexual maturation.

Bad Lieutenant said...

J. Farmer said...
@Gahrie:

Every animal that raises its young uses pain as a negative reinforcer.

Every animal that sexually reproduces begins doing so after sexual maturation. Should humans do that, too?

1/10/18, 10:09 AM

Well, you get quite irate at anyone who suggests that you would do it before. More to the point, everyone is better off, physically, when a woman has a child at 17, rather than at 37 or 47. So, not sure what you're driving at.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

When else should they do so? It would be kind of tough to do so before sexual maturation.

@Bad Lieutenant:

More to the point, everyone is better off, physically, when a woman has a child at 17, rather than at 37 or 47. So, not sure what you're driving at.

Granted, that was not worded the best. But to your point, "Every animal that raises its young uses pain as a negative reinforce," should 11 and 12 years old engage in sex and reproduce? As far as biology is concerned, it's perfectly natural. But I don't know many rational people who think it is a good idea. Your point also ignores the fact that "every animal" also does not have complex language.

Jessica said...

It also shows how completely secular Europe as become. Believing Jews and Christians believe physical punishment (moderate, not in anger, and followed up with teaching, reconciliation, and affection) is not only allowed, its called for by Scripture.

Gahrie said...

Your point also ignores the fact that "every animal" also does not have complex language.

According to Piaget and all the other "experts" that were crammed down my throat, children are not prepared for logic and reasoning until at least the age of 7.

As I said, Children are born barbarians...you cannot reason with a barbarian.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

According to Piaget and all the other "experts" that were crammed down my throat, children are not prepared for logic and reasoning until at least the age of 7.

As I said, Children are born barbarians...you cannot reason with a barbarian.


You don't think genetics has a role to play in, say, level of aggression or impulse control?

To get anecdotal, I have two older sisters, and my parents did not practice corporal punishment. I have numerous friends with children plus my own nieces and nephew. And they do not use corporal punishment. Yet their children are well behaved, well mannered, and well adjusted. How is this possible in your "you cannot reason with a barbarian" model? Plus, as I said, I have worked in juvenile delinquency and child welfare my entire adult career. Something approaching 100% of my clients received corporal punishment growing up. If corporal punishment is such an effective means of discipline, why do you think this is? Also, why do you think there is a correlation between corporal punishment and numerous maladjusted behaviors, such as aggression and antisocial behavior? See Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review, which you can read in its entirety here.

mockturtle said...

Farmer claims: Something approaching 100% of my clients received corporal punishment growing up.

More likely, Something approaching 100% of my clients claim to have received corporal punishment." These young sociopaths know exactly how to play the victim card.

Angel-Dyne said...

Inga @10:15 AM:

Good post. Children have different temperaments, and there is no one-size-fits-all best method of discipline. "Reasoning" with children who don't yet have the cognitive capacity for it is silly, and a good swat works with some kids where other methods don't. There are few things more pathetic than watching some well-meaning parent being "alpha'd" by their child. Miserable for the parent (and other people who have to put up with the kid), and makes for a miserable child, short- and long-term.

Also true that grandparent's in most circumstances should defer to parental disciplinary style - though that requires a great deal of forbearance in some cases!

Freeman Hunt said...

"Something approaching 100% of my clients received corporal punishment growing up. If corporal punishment is such an effective means of discipline, why do you think this is?"

In some instances, it could be that aggressive, impulsive children are more trying and, therefore, more likely to be spanked. It could also be that because the parents are genetically similar to the children, they, like their children, have problems with aggression and impulse control.

Bad Lieutenant said...

J. Farmer:... should 11 and 12 years old engage in sex and reproduce? As far as biology is concerned, it's perfectly natural. But I don't know many rational people who think it is a good idea.

That's just due to our social structure, which could change radically with the detonation of a single EMP. If there were universal daycare and all that bushwah, kids could indeed marry at 12 or so, knock off their childbearing duties, and perhaps be unencumbered by the time college calls. Contrariwise, if deer had to get their masters degrees, and do helicopter parenting, they might put off pregnancy too. Honestly, it seems kinda situational.


Your point also ignores the fact that "every animal" also does not have complex language.

? I got nuthin'. Oh, OK, I see. Punishment, then, is precisely for when words ain't getting it done.

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

More likely, Something approaching 100% of my clients claim to have received corporal punishment." These young sociopaths know exactly how to play the victim card.

First, not every juvenile involved in deliquency is a "sociopath." Second, they are not playing the "victim card," as they do not see themselves as victims and often believe that physical punihsment is a normal and expected response to misbehaving. Many of them support the use of corporal punishment themselves. Also, I am not sure if you understand how forensic evaluation is done, but it does not rely on just taking children at their word. We spend on average 20 hours doing our evaluatons, they involve not just interviews of the children but all of their primary caregivers and extended family involved in their care.

Angel-Dyne said...

J.Farmer: You don't think genetics has a role to play in, say, level of aggression or impulse control?

Absolutely. But wouldn't that suggest that different methods of discipline work for some kids and not for others?

To get anecdotal, I have two older sisters, and my parents did not practice corporal punishment. I have numerous friends with children plus my own nieces and nephew. And they do not use corporal punishment. Yet their children are well behaved, well mannered, and well adjusted. How is this possible in your "you cannot reason with a barbarian" model?

To get anecdotal, I never received any corporal punishment, either. Neither did one of my kids. Simply wasn't necessary. My brother and sister on either side of me in age, on the other hand...whoa, wild children! We all turned out just fine, but we sure weren't treated the same way. (I wouldn't say they were little "barbarians", though. More like chimpanzees with the power of speech, is the way I thought of them back in the day.)

Plus, as I said, I have worked in juvenile delinquency and child welfare my entire adult career. Something approaching 100% of my clients received corporal punishment growing up. If corporal punishment is such an effective means of discipline, why do you think this is?

How do you know they wouldn't have been even worse without it? I'm not being flippant. I have no doubt that some "corporal punishment" is just pathological parental behavior, and will screw up kids. (I don't think anybody is defending control-freak sadistic parents here.) But you don't have a random sample of children among your clients. Is it really that simple to tease out which way the causation goes? Does corporal punishment produce the pathologies, and all these kids would have turned out fine if they hadn't received any corporal punishment, or is the use of corporal punishment more common where a constellation of other less-than-ideal variables exist, some of them genetic?

Also, why do you think there is a correlation between corporal punishment and numerous maladjusted behaviors, such as aggression and antisocial behavior? See Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review, which you can read in its entirety here.

I'd be shocked if there weren't a correlation between corporal punishment and anti-social behavior. I'd be surprised if it were one-way causation, though.

Angel-Dyne said...

Or, what Freeman said much more succinctly, @11:41.

J. Farmer said...

@Bad Lieutenant:

Contrariwise, if deer had to get their masters degrees, and do helicopter parenting, they might put off pregnancy too. Honestly, it seems kinda situational.

Master degrees or helicopter parenting were not prevalent in 16th century England, where the average age of marriage for a woman was about 23 years.

That's just due to our social structure,..."

Precisely my point in why looking to the animal world for child-rearing tips probably is not the best strategy.

J. Farmer said...

@Angel-Dyne:

But wouldn't that suggest that different methods of discipline work for some kids and not for others?

Of course. What I said was that I was "generally opposed to corporal punishment." I also wrote, "That said, if a child is engaging in dangerous behavior or needs to be "shocked" back to reality, I am okay with a swat on the rear end with a palm can be a useful corrective."

I'd be surprised if it were one-way causation, though.

That is always going to be a difficulty in most psychological research, and it is discussed at length in the article I linked to earlier. Here is some other information:

"However, there is competing evidence from three longitudinal studies that children’s temperamental qualities do not elicit differential amounts of corporal punishment. One study found that infant irritability did not predict mothers’ use of corporal punishment when the children were 2 years old (Crockenberg, 1987). In a study of New York families. P. Cohen and Brook (1995) found that parents’ use of power-assertive punishment (including corporal punishment) predicted the extent to which their children were diagnosed with conduct disorder 8 and 10 years later, even after controlling for children’s early behavior problems, age, gender, and family SES. In cross-lagged analyses across a 6-year span, Kandel and Wu (1995) found that parents’ use of punitive punishment at Time 1 predicted children’s Time 2 control problems more strongly than children’s Time 1 control problems predicted parents’ Time 2 use of punitive punishment."
-Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review

Angel-Dyne said...

J.Farmer: Master degrees or helicopter parenting were not prevalent in 16th century England, where the average age of marriage for a woman was about 23 years.

Yup. Average age of marriage and beginning reproducing, in Western Europe, anyway, was nowhere near as early as "historical urban legend" suggests. Also, early teens isn't the ideal physical time for motherhood, either. Iirc, ~18-22 has lowest maternal/child morbidity.

Angel-Dyne said...

J.Farmer @12:45:

Thanks, J. Will take a look.

Kevin said...

No worries. In the future our children will go through life with a perpetual contact high - thanks big marijuana!

They'll be too stoned to do anything, let alone anything requiring them to be disciplined.

Fred Drinkwater said...

The original article was about law.
When my son was 8 or 9, he had some minor discipline problems in (private) school. Nothing hazardous to anyone - things like hiding out in the boy's restroom because he was embarrassed about slow progress on a writing assignment. I had a conversation with the school's counselor, during which we talked a bit about how we managed discipline at home. I mentioned that I sometimes got his attention with a tap on the cheek: two fingers slapped lightly on the cheekbone. I demonstrated this on myself.
Imagine my joy when I got a call from the county child protective service two days later. The counselor had reported me.
The CPS person seemed reasonable, and appeared to believe my description of the situation. I never heard from them or anyone else about this, afterward.
But note:
1) The school counselor was a Mandatory Reporter under California law (something I did not remember until after the event). There are many such persons - pediatric doctors are probably the best known example. They are given almost no discretion about what to report, and (as in my case) are going to err on the side of CYA.
2) My name is no doubt still on file somewhere in that county's records, as having been reported for possible child abuse.
3) I learned to never again be open or honest with doctors, school counselors, and the like.
Law is a blunt and rude tool.

Wilbur said...

"I learned to never again be open or honest with doctors, school counselors, and the like."

When doctors, counselors, etc. are mandated to report, people will clam up around them. Unintended or unforeseen consequences strike again.

TWW said...

Is it right?

You mean like is it right for Muslim fathers to stone their daughters to death for allowing themselves to be raped? Absolutely. It's just a matter of cultural distinction.

J. Farmer said...

@Fred Drinkwater:

Law is a blunt and rude tool.

True, but is there much of an alternative. I work in a field where mandatory reporting is a common concern since a good number of my clients are minors who have been adjudicated dependent, but any critique made against it can be made against the child protect services regime as a whole. Of course there are going to be overreactions and false reports. CPS investigators get CYA calls all the time, investigate, find nothing wrong, and close the case. As for your name being on "county's records," I would not worry too much about that (albeit I do not know California law), but CPS investigation records are kept quite confidential and would not be routinely accessible through any form of "background check." And of course, those same records would likely include the rationale from the investigator as to why no action was taken (i.e. it was an unfounded claim).

Leland said...

looking to the animal world for child-rearing tips probably is not the best strategy.

Should it be avoided because someone makes a bad analogy? How the brain learns and early child development is a bit different than sexual intercourse. Yet both animals and humans do learn and have sex in similar ways.

And an aside, if you think 12 and 13 year old kids don't naturally experiment with sex; you haven't been paying attention. But across the board bans to prevent exploitation of such experimentation has resulted in young children now being arrested and having to register as sex offenders. Perhaps across the board bans that overly criminalize natural behavior is not a great strategy either.

mockturtle said...

Animal parents teach their offspring how to survive on their own. That should probably be an important feature of child rearing.

J. Farmer said...

@Leland:

And an aside, if you think 12 and 13 year old kids don't naturally experiment with sex; you haven't been paying attention.

That is not what I said, and it has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. Another commenter wrote, "Every animal that raises its young uses pain as a negative reinforcer." If you found out that an 11- or 12-year-old girl was pregnant, do you think that would be a good thing? I don't, and the fact that other animals get pregnant soon after becoming sexually mature I don't think is a particularly good counterargument. Animals also routinely abandon sick or injured offspring. Does that mean it's advisable for humans to do the same?

Bad Lieutenant said...

J. Farmer said...
@Bad Lieutenant:

Contrariwise, if deer had to get their masters degrees, and do helicopter parenting, they might put off pregnancy too. Honestly, it seems kinda situational.

Master degrees or helicopter parenting were not prevalent in 16th century England, where the average age of marriage for a woman was about 23 years.


I'll repeat my teacher's words from high school observing that Romeo and Juliet were 15 and 13. I'll repeat from the above, "situational." Not everybody should be having children at 17, perhaps not most people. Not everybody should be having children at perimenopause, certainly not most people.

Put it this way, Einstein's wife, Einstein's girlfriends, Einstein's amorous conquests, whatever their ages, should have all started having children as soon as (+9 mo) Einstein got his schwanzstucker into them. Unless he was banging Marie Curie, none of those fine ladies probably had a higher mission in life, or a better use of their time, than to incubate the seed of Albert Einstein.


just due to our social structure,..."

Precisely my point in why looking to the animal world for child-rearing tips probably is not the best strategy.
1/10/18, 12:36 PM

Since social structures may be easier to alter than biology, you may have it precisely backwards. College can wait. Millions of men go to do their time in the service, then go to school later none the worse, often much the better for it.

...

But this is a digression, yes, from the original topic of corporal punishment? Not only should it be available as a tool for parents, ISTM very likely that it would lead to good outcomes as an alternative within the criminal justice system we now have.

Some will respond properly to it, some won't. Remember that Panacea was a figure in Greek mythology, not Greek history. Ultimately it's just another tool in the toolbox. You don't plane every day. But when there's planing to be done, boy, nothing planes like a plane. Chisels, saws, screwdrivers, sandpaper ain't in it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Also:

Animals also routinely abandon sick or injured offspring. Does that mean it's advisable for humans to do the same?


In a state of nature, absolutely, I should think. Again it's the artifice, the edifice of civilization, that allows NICU courses at a million a throw, and that justifies whatever it is you do, rather than bashing in your client's heads with a rock. Again: Land animals generally live above water level. Is it advisable to do otherwise? Sure, if you have dikes.