The Vaccination Debate

 Posted by on 21 February 2015 at 10:00 am  Ethics, Medicine, Parenting, Politics, Rights
Feb 212015

I’ve been slightly appalled by the way that the debate over vaccination has proceeded of late — particularly in the belligerent peddling of misinformation and calls for government controls. (I’ve seen that on all sides, unfortunately.) Alas, that’s to be expected when sick kids are involved. In any case, because I’m answering a question on Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio about whether people have an obligation to vaccinate purely for the sake of herd immunity, I thought that I’d compile some links for reading in advance.

A word of warning, first. As you’ll see, these links are from a variety of perspectives, and I’m not vouching for them. You shouldn’t assume that I agree with them. They’re just to help inform you about the debate.

Also, I answered a question about compulsory vaccination on the 3 August 2014 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you should listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast before Sunday’s broadcast. It’s here:

For more details, check out the question’s archive page.

And with that… see you on Sunday!

Should You Punish Your Kids?

 Posted by on 23 September 2014 at 10:00 am  Ethics, Parenting, Rights
Sep 232014

Why Do People Hit Their Kids? Failure, that’s why:

Now, this is the part where I point out that study after study after study has proven that corporal punishment—even a light spanking—does not work. At all. Corporal punishment makes kids sullen, violent, and angry. I know this because I have dabbled in corporal punishment with my own children, particularly my oldest kid. (Poor first children are always the beta kids: The kids parents fuck up with the most before applying better techniques to their younger siblings.) I have tried spanking the kid, and giving the kid a light smack on the head, and threatening the kid. My dad spanked me once or twice as a child. That’s it. I don’t even remember it, really. And yet I’ve probably tried more ways of physically correcting my child than he ever did. And the reason I tried all of these methods is because I am a failure.

That’s what corporal punishment is. It’s a failure. It’s a complete breakdown of communication between parent and child. Children are unpredictable, reckless, and occasionally violent. They can drive otherwise rational humans into fits of rage. And I have had moments—many moments, certainly—where I have felt that rage after exhausting every last possible idea to get them to behave: bribery, timeouts, the silent treatment, walking away (they follow you!), distraction, throwing the kids outside (they end up ringing the doorbell a lot), you name it. So I have tried corporal punishment as a final resort, a desperate last stab at closure. That’s an easy way for parents to justify it: You forced me to do this, child. Spanking the kid did nothing for me. It only made me realize what a fucking failure I was. Oh, and the kid still kept yelling.

Spanking and beating your kid teaches your kid to talk with violence. It validates hitting as a legitimate form of communication. Everything is modeled. I have yelled at my kids, and then seen them yell. I have smacked my kid, and then watched her smack someone else. They don’t learn to be good from any of it. They don’t learn to sit still and practice piano sonatas. All they learn is, Hey, this works! And then they go practice what you just preached. Beating a kid creates an atmosphere of toxicity in a house that lingers forever: One beating leads to the next, and to the next, and to the next, until parents don’t even know why they’re beating the kid anymore. They just do. Once it is normalized, it takes root. Parents begin to like the habit. Those pictures of Peterson’s kid? The violence can get worse … much worse … so much worse it’s astonishing.

Go read the whole thing. The honesty of the piece is refreshing, to say the least.

As it happens, I answered a question about corporal punishment of kids on the 24 June 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast here:

For more details, check out the question’s archive page.

Then, if you’re one of those parents wonder what the heck you should do if you can’t physically discipline your kids, check out my interview with Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore about “Parenting without Punishment” on the 27 June 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the podcast here:

For more details, check out the episode’s archive page.

Parenting by Belay

 Posted by on 18 July 2014 at 10:00 am  Children, Ethics, Etiquette, Parenting
Jul 182014

This is a good explanation of the principles of “positive discipline” parenting from The Libertarian Homeschooler:

On Belay

Do you punish your sons?

How do they learn?
I let them experience the consequences of their actions.

Isn’t that the same thing?
No. In one instance, I’m meting it out. In the other, I’m not.

What does that look like?
I say, “This will end badly.” When they were little I would say, “That will hurt you.” They either stop and wait for help or it ends badly or it hurts them.

Does that work?
You bet it does.

What if they’re headed for catastrophic injury?
I step in, just as I would for anyone else. I am on belay but the climb is theirs.

When they were little didn’t you spend a lot of time running after them since they weren’t trained?
We baby proofed so they could explore in relative safety. They still banged into things and got hurt.

Did they pay attention to what you told them?
They figured it out pretty quickly. When I said, “That will hurt you,” pain was coming. But pain wasn’t associated with me. Consequences would still happen even if I wasn’t there. That’s key. I do not cause consequences. Even if I’m not here, there are consequences. A lot of children clearly don’t understand that and they behave differently when their parents aren’t looking.

Were both boys the same?
YS needs to learn from experience. Sometimes more than once. BA will hang back and avoid pain and injury.

Did you ever administer and emotionally or physically painful consequence instead of letting nature take its course?

How did that go?

What do you mean it went poorly?
It put emotional distance between me and my child. I broke trust with him. Administering calm, collected punishments made him disdainful. He saw it as a control issue.

So you would not do it again?
If I could undo it, I would. It was an expensive lesson for me in terms of my son’s respect. He has little patience for someone who will encroach upon him or will try to control him and it is his nature to remember long.

What caused the most strife in your home when your children were little?
Parental failure. Lack of self discipline on my part.

What do you attribute that to?
Perfectionism. Impatience. Pride. Fear. Exhaustion. Boundary issues.

Do your children have those flaws?
There are family characteristics. My parents had them. They modeled them for me. I’m changing things and our sons will change things more. They share good qualities as well. We’ll keep those.

What’s an example of a parental fail?
Getting angry because they weren’t doing an adult thing. At three.

You did that?
I still do, sometimes.

Can’t you get that under control?
I do what I can. I own the mistakes I make. That’s the best I can do.

Do you think your children ever did anything wrong?
They were being children. They were learning. Being a child isn’t wrong. It is wrong to expect a child to behave like an adult and then label it bad behavior.

Do they pay attention to what you say now?
The less counsel you give, the more they want it. They pay more attention all the time.

Does it bother you when they ignore your advice and make mistakes?
We’re separate people. They make their own decisions. That’s healthy. I’m glad they can disagree with me. I want them to be able to say no. This is good.

Do you ever freak out?

How does that work?
Badly. I lose their respect. That’s a consequence of my actions.

Do you freak out often?
Less all the time.

Because they’re growing up?
Because I’m growing up. Children do that to a person.

What if they’re disrespectful?
They lose my good will. That’s a consequence of their actions.

Who is in control in your house?
I’m in control of myself. They’re in control of themselves.

What would you say is your bottom line on relationship with your children?
I am me. You are you. We are individuals. I will love you. I will defend you. I will provide for you. If you like, I will advise you. I will acknowledge your decisions are yours and I will not take credit or blame for them.

Is it really that simple?

Is it easy to do?

Is it hard to get here?
I’m barely here, myself. But it’s worth it.

Positive discipline rejects punishments and rewards. Instead, children are taught by natural consequences, setting limits, and more — while restraining them as necessary to keep themselves and others safe. I know a number of kids parented by this method, and they’re not perfect (no child is) but they’re all remarkably reasonable, polite, and easy to live with.

If you want to know more, I interviewed Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore on this very topic on the 27 June 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the podcast here:

For more details, check out the episode’s archive page.

The Honest Truth about Breastfeeding

 Posted by on 7 July 2014 at 11:00 am  Children, Funny, Parenting
Jul 072014

This — How to Breastfeed Appropriately — is hysterical. Here’s a tidbit:

Tip #1: Use a cover. Every time. There are many fancy ones on the market. Damask. Lace-trimmed. Or how about a swaddling cloth (if it’s good enough to warm the baby Jesus, it’s good enough for your kid)? Statistics show that human beings love being in confined spaces. Babies are on their way to becoming full humans, so this applies to them as well. I personally eat many of my meals under a loosely draped fitted sheet in my bedroom and find it quite enjoyable.

Please do not use summer as an excuse to flash your flesh-toned milk bags. Just last week I ate an entire Italian sub under a handmade quilt in 90 degree weather skin-to-skin with a close friend to simulate summer breastfeeding. Were we hot? Yes. Were we uncomfortable? Yes. Did one of us briefly lose consciousness? Yes. Did we subject anyone to seeing nipples? NO.


Tip #2: Use a bathroom. Who doesn’t love a public restroom? They’re full of exotic scents and sounds! The next time your needy baby starts fussing for a taste of chest drippings, run to the nearest stall or city outhouse.

Nursing standing up while trying to avoid bacteria and holding a wriggling child has the added benefit of strengthening your core muscles. That postpartum tummy will be gone before you know it, making you more attractive to the general public. It’s summer, after all — bikini season!

I should have recognized the author as The Honest Toddler from the first paragraph!

On a more serious note, I answered a question about public breastfeeding on the 8 April 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast here:

For more details, check out the question’s archive page. The full episode – where I answered questions on cultivating good luck, public breastfeeding, national identification card, mulling over memories, and more – is available as a podcast too.

Jun 122014

Bodies of 800 babies, long-dead, found in septic tank at former Irish home for unwed mothers:

In a town in western Ireland, where castle ruins pepper green landscapes, there’s a six-foot stone wall that once surrounded a place called the Home. Between 1925 and 1961, thousands of “fallen women” and their “illegitimate” children passed through the Home, run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam.

Many of the women, after paying a penance of indentured servitude for their out-of-wedlock pregnancy, left the Home for work and lives in other parts of Ireland and beyond. Some of their children were not so fortunate.

More than five decades after the Home was closed and destroyed — where a housing development and children’s playground now stands — what happened to nearly 800 of those abandoned children has now emerged: Their bodies were piled into a massive septic tank sitting in the back of the structure and forgotten, with neither gravestones nor coffins.

That — and the abuse, neglect, and ostracism suffered by these children detailed in the article — is a painful reminder of the evil of stigmatizing children born out of wedlock. Speaking generally, raising children is difficult and demanding work — mentally, emotionally, and financially. I see the value of bearing and raising children within the stability and support of a family — particularly in less wealthy cultures where women don’t have the resources or capacity to raise and support a child on their own. Yet that’s a far cry from demanding that any pregnant woman marry her sperm donor, regardless of his suitability as a husband. And it’s light years away from subjecting innocent children to the torture of abandonment, neglect, abuse, ostracism, and perhaps death because their life is the result of religious sin.

This is one of the many ways in which western culture is so much better than it was, even just 100 years ago. I don’t want to go back!

Update: The burial location wasn’t a septic tank, as this Forbes article explains, but instead a kind of mass grave:

Today the Irish Times has published a reader’s letter that has further undercut the story. Finbar McCormick, a professor of geography at Queen’s University Belfast, sharply admonished the media for describing the children’s last resting place as a septic tank. He added: “The structure as described is much more likely to be a shaft burial vault, a common method of burial used in the recent past and still used today in many part of Europe.

“In the 19th century, deep brick-lined shafts were constructed and covered with a large slab which often doubled as a flatly laid headstone. These were common in 19th-century urban cemeteries…..Such tombs are still used extensively in Mediterranean countries. I recently saw such structures being constructed in a churchyard in Croatia. The shaft was made of concrete blocks, plastered internally and roofed with large concrete slabs.

That’s all well and good, but not really essential to the point that I’m making about the story. Honestly, I don’t care too much about how the dead bodies were treated: I care about how living people — pregnant girls, mothers, and children — were treated. That’s not under dispute.


On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I’ll answer a question on how a disabled person can overcome a toxic childhood. The question that I’ll read on the show is pretty lengthy, but the questioner provided even more details in an email that she’s graciously allowed me to repost here. I have much to say about this, so be sure to join us on Sunday morning for the live show — or listen to the podcast later.

What insights does Objectivism provide on the best way for to overcome the consequences of improper, toxic rearing, and to gain — or, if possible, retain from the beginning– a proper sense of life despite it all?

I am a fifty-one-year-old woman with several neurological disabilities, and I would have liked to have been reared as a human being. Instead, I was frequently informed (usually by my mother) that I was a “retarded, subhuman spectacle” — a “vegetable,” a “handicapped monstrosity,” a “travesty of a human being.” It was daily made plain to me that I was being reared purely out of my parents’ sense of duty, so as not to burden other people with my existence. It was likewise continually made clear to me that, whenever anyone played with me or tried to become acquainted with me, they did this purely out of an imposed sense of a duty to do so: for instance, because they were following a parent’s or teacher’s commands in order to avoid being punished for avoiding me,

My disabilities (dyspraxia, dysgraphia, and severe Asperger’s among some others) are not physically visible. However, their effects on my behavior led to my being perceived as retarded despite a tested IQ above 150. (This tested overall IQ, in turn, was although scores on three of the subtests were in the 80-90 range.) By that standard, at least — the objective standard of lacking some reasoning power — I am a handicapped human being. As you know, Ayn Rand points out that no child ought to be exposed to “the tragic spectacle of a handicapped human being.” How should this principle have been carried out with regard to me, as a child? Further, how best can I undo the damage that has been done to my sense of life by my situation itself (being a handicapped human being, and recognizing this) and by how I was reared (which was at least partly a consequence of what I was and am)?

A complicating factor in my childhood — and contributory to much of the abuse I received — was that my parents had decided to send me to a school whose philosophy (insofar as they bothered to inform themselves about it) was one that they themselves deeply opposed and would not tolerate even having discussed in our house. Specifically: my parents, and for the most part my grandparents, were what is known as “non-religious Jews” — even, in most regards, anti-religious Jews — who nonetheless decided to send me to a religious Jewish private school. At home, though, my parents forbade even mentioning religion or anything that had to do with it — which meant that I could be, and was, punished and told I was a bad girl whenever I fully and truthfully answered my mother’s or father’s question: “What did you learn in school today?” (This question was asked of me whenever I came home from school. Silence, incomplete answers, and answered suspected of being incomplete, were punished equally with answers which gave the details for whose existence and mention I’d be punished and told I was lying “because nobody could believe anything so absurd was taught or practiced by anyone.”

Although my parents did at times break their own rules about what never to discuss, their exceptions to their own rules were so unpredictable and unstable that I could never discover what principle governed them. There may well have been no principle, just simple caprice, because my mother was very angry that I should ever want to find an explanation or a principle, let alone even have to look for an explanatory principle when — as she never tired of telling me — other people could simply absorb from the environment, subconsciously and automatically, whatever they needed to know about each other. She thought it was wrong and vicious and unnatural of me to need and want a way to make sense of things, and to have to seek this out, instead of just understanding naturally and automatically and wordlessly exactly when, and in what ever-changing context, when a family rule either could be broken, or must be broken, or might be broken by the adults although it remained binding on the children. For example, it was all right for my mother or father to ask me to describe a particular belief or practice that I was being taught at school, but it was all wrong for me to answer the question, or to answer it partially (because that was talking about a forbidden subject), or to not answer (because that was disobedience).

My parents had chosen this school because the local public school was well known to encourage violence and other damage against anyone who was either smarter or duller than the average … and, as explained above, I am simultaneously BOTH. Further, the administrators of the available private schools had made known that they did not believe their schools to be the right places for children with problems.

In any case, they sent me to a religious school (the only school left) without fully understanding that this WAS a religious school, because they were only incompletely aware that Judaism is, well, a RELIGION (among other things). They had assumed, given their own upbringing and acquaintanceships, that the “religion side” of Judaism must be pretty well extinct by now, and that it had left behind only a handful of “harmless cultural stuff” that they themselves knew a very little about: thinking that the “cultural stuff” was all there was.

So they were very angry at me for answering — correctly — their inquiries on what I had learned in school that day. They swore I was making it all up. So when I persisted in my “lies and idiocies” (as they called my description of what I was being taught) instead of falsely agreeing under pressure that I had “obviously concocted all this craziness” on my own, they sent me to a therapist (the first of many) who had never heard of any of this stuff either.

His job was to cure me of believing that I was being taught such things, although indeed I was being taught them — as I tried to document for him and for my parents, from my schoolbooks and other class materials, which they flatly refused to look at. For instance, my homework assignments in first grade included such tasks as persuading my parents to study and follow the rules of Judaism. (I was five-and-a-half at the time. I wasn’t good at getting my parents to change their way of life just because my teacher said so. For this failure, my teachers and classmates abused me, just as severely as my parents abused me for the mere attempt. This was in addition to my getting a low grade on such assignments, and then being punished at home for the crime of getting less than an “A” grade in anything.)

So after two years, my parents took me from that school and enrolled me in one which had been set up for gifted children, and which was (at least in theory) willing to ignore psychological or other problems if the child scored sufficiently high on the IQ test required for admission.

The guiding principle of THIS private school, though — insofar as it can be called a “principle” — was that nothing is to be considered definitely right or definitely wrong, or definite in any way, ever. (And they were quite definite on that! They were certainly definite on the “fact” that I was a “problem behavior case” for pointing out that contradiction!)

This school (where I was until the end of the ninth grade) was also a place where physical assaults on the persons and property of children were actively encouraged by the teachers, just as long as the attacker was considered (by the teacher or by a majority of classmates) to be a more welcome, likeable, or socially adept person than the target. When fights broke out in the classroom, the teacher would give the attacker some helpful tips on how to win, and the target would be punished far worse than the attacker: punished for fleeing, and also punished for defending him-or herself, and also for being suspected of having wanted to.

I was, in every class I attended at both of these schools, the designated target or one of a few designated targets — as if it were an official title. In the second school, and to some extent in the previous school, the teacherly justifications for accepting and encouraging this included assertions that I was ideally fitted to be a target and to thereby raise the self-esteem and leadership motivation of my schoolmates: that I should be happy to provide this service to the majority, and that I was being inconsiderate if I disliked or tried to evade my opportunities to do so.

For instance: When, very rarely, I managed to do something RIGHT in gym class, there was disappointment all around — because nobody had planned for this, and because it was called “unkind” of me to put the others in a position where they might have to go through the bother of finding and establishing a new target when the old one had been performing that function so very well already. That was the school where I stayed the longest, and it was also the worst school — so there is no particular reason to discuss the others.

The consequences for me, of growing up in this way, can be imagined by anyone with a shred of intelligence. They include an immense fear of other people, and a feeling (which I have been unable to change or vanquish) that I am indeed subhuman and should be rejected by anyone I admire, anyone worth dealing with. This feeling persists despite what I rationally consider to be productive adult achievement in the personal and professional realms. (For instance, although I was unable to write legibly by hand until age 24 when I was in graduate school, at that age I designed and pursued a course of self-remediation which allowed my handwriting to become very legible and rapid — soon thereafter, I founded a handwriting instruction/remediation business which has clients worldwide. Yet, with all that, I have been unable to revise or extinguish the feelings that I felt as a schoolgirl when my mother shouted that I was a disgusting specimen of botched humanity, and when my teachers informed the class that I must be cheating instead of actually trying to learn, because “nobody who writes like that could really have the least spark of” the intelligence or motivation” that I “merely seemed to show” in other ways. (The teacher decided that I must have somehow cheated during the class spelling bee, because nobody who “scribbles like an ape in human form” could possibly have been smart enough to remember how to spell any of the words given, let alone all of them. Therefore, at the suggestion of several of the better-liked children who’d done almost as well, the points I had earned by winning the bee — one point per word — were removed from my record and distributed among those “better-performing” children who’d made the suggestion and had come in second, third, and fourth.)

I am certain that events like this — the mindless hell of my childhood — have irremediably excised or stunted a great many of my own potential capacities (such as they are, or ever were). However, I hope I can be proven wrong.

And therefore I wonder — and here again, I hope I can be proven wrong — whether indeed, as a result of surviving all this, I have thereby become a mental and emotional monstrosity despite my best efforts to grow into anything else.

Have the mental and emotional circumstances described above — the conditions of my existence, when I was growing up — been indeed enough to make me truly what my mother so often called me falsely in her anger: a blot on humankind? A missing link? A failed, degraded not-quite-human?

If I was none of those things when I was treated as being all of them — have I unwittingly become those things, against the best of my will and effort, because of such treatment? I was, after all, incompetent to vanquish or prevent such treatment and its consequences — that is likely to say something about me.

A better, stronger person could have come out of this better.

If I had been more intelligent and otherwise competent, I would simply have succeeded with one or more of my childhood attempts to sneak out of a damaging home or school and locate and enter a non-toxic environment on my own — sneaking into it, and taking whatever consequences came my way.

Or, if indeed no better home or school could be found and entered, it is nobody’s fault but my own that I lacked whatever intelligence and other competence would have been adequate to at least persuading my parents, teachers, and other people to treat me at least somewhat more rationally.

Since I could not even manage that, if I were indeed an intelligent and adequate human the very least that I should have managed — if not then, then certainly now in adulthood after literally decades of trying — would have been to get my emotions in line with what I know to be true. Since I have signally failed to get my feelings (of intrinsic inferiority, inadequacy, being subhuman, and so forth) into line with the factual data and reasoning which demonstrate that (and how) such feelings are based on errors — that failure itself is adequate proof of my inadequacy. An adequate, competent, intelligent person WOULD have succeeded by now: not merely in refusing to act on feelings which the facts contradict (which is all I have managed so far), but in correcting the erroneous feelings themselves.

So — How can I “undamage” myself? And what should I have done (as a child) to prevent being damaged by the actions and events described above?

One addendum: “When you do blog it, please make sure to include the statement that Mom has renounced her earlier beliefs about me — but this was just a few years ago, so it does not magically undo what she did on the basis of those beliefs. Even her sincerely held commitment to do better — which she is doing her best to act on — does not remove the effects of her past actions.”

Apr 032014

I was pretty well-amused by this funny column: 10 Things to Never Say to Women Who Don’t Want Kids. Here’s the one that I’ve heard most often:

7. “You’ll change your mind.”

Maybe I will change my mind about having kids, but I’ll never change my mind about you being tacky as hell. If you find yourself about to say this to a childless woman, please punch yourself in the face and then go home and watch Gigli five times as punishment.

It’s wildly rude to second-guess people’s life-choices in this way… and just imagine the uproar if childless people said that — or worse: “you’ll regret that someday” — to people with kids.

Here’s my basic perspective on the decision to have kids or not:

Because Paul and I chose not to have kids, I’ve been able to do tons of awesome things that wouldn’t be possible with kids, including graduate school, my career, and riding horses seriously. However… if we’d had kids, I’d be doing tons of different but still awesome things that are only possible with kids, like homeschooling or teaching my kids to ride horses.

“Should we have kids or not?” is major fork in the road of life. You might have a strong preference one way or the other, but please, recognize that not everyone feels the same way — and that life offers all kinds of fabulous joys, whichever path a person takes!

How Not to Advise a Disgruntled Teenager

 Posted by on 25 March 2014 at 2:00 pm  Ethics, Law, Parenting
Mar 252014

You remember that story of the teenager who sued her parents for support? Happily, the lawsuit was recently withdrawn, and she’s back at home. But here’s the kicker… her lawsuit was facilitated — and surely encouraged — by the father of a friend of hers.

“Canning had been living in Rockaway Township with the family of her best friend. The friend’s father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, was paying for the lawsuit.”

This father-of-a-friend deserves a bitchslap or two, particularly given that the girl has become such a public spectacle. What a mess.

Don’t Let the Kiddos Win Easy!

 Posted by on 20 January 2014 at 1:00 pm  Children, Competition, Ethics, Honesty, Parenting
Jan 202014

I hate the practice of allowing kids to win games, although I’ve never really considered the alternatives.

Two weeks ago, when Paul and I were in Los Angeles visiting his family, I played Connect Four with my five year old nephew, Jeremy, and I hit on a strategy that I really like.

Basically, I played all my best moves, but throughout the game, I gave him hints about his moves and strategy, as well as explained what I was doing and why. I enjoyed that, he enjoyed that, and he learned how to play better. That felt so much better — and more honest — than pretending to be slow and dumb.

As a result, I checkmated him in the first game, but then I lost the second game to him, because I got too excited about the move that I’d make next, and I forgot to block him. Doh!

Another option is to handicap games. That’s fair, since the adult knows so much more. The goal, after all, is to play an enjoyable and competitive game!

Good times!

Kid Shaming: Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong

 Posted by on 14 January 2014 at 10:00 am  Children, Ethics, Justice, Parenting
Jan 142014

Dog shaming is funny: it’s a harmless way for dog owners to amuse themselves (or blow off steam) about the naughty behavior of their dogs. It’s harmless because the dogs don’t know that they’re being publicly shamed and mocked. (They can’t read, after all.)

Kid shaming is another matter entirely. Here’s one example and here’s another. Such public shaming teaches the worst possible moral lessons — particularly that you can’t trust people who claim to love you and that life will be good so long as you conceal your mistakes and wrongs from the authorities. It’s a betrayal of a child’s trust in a parent, not to mention an unconscionable abuse of parental authority. To see how and why, read this article: Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time.

Just imagine if your boss publicly shamed you at the office — or the whole wide world — for your mistakes and wrongs. Really, just imagine that for a moment. Think of your last screw-up, whether large or small. I bet that you’d learn one of the following lessons from the article, just like kids do:

  • Bully your kids and they will learn to fear you. As in be afraid of you. Cringing in your presence and hiding their lives from you.
  • Publicly shame your kids and they will learn the only important character development is to be found in a good public persona and the fool’s gold of value based solely upon outward perception and public approval
  • Mock your children as they struggle and they will learn to never share their struggles with you.
  • Share their weaknesses with the world and they will find the world to be cruel and will put you in the role of the cruelest of all.
  • They will think they are a joke, not to be taken seriously. Their pain the only commodity to sell.
  • They will treat you as you have treated them.

Parents, you can do better!

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha