Corporal Punishment, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and the Creation of Violent and Broken People

One of the most popular articles published on this blog also happened to be rife with pseudo-controversy.

I was arguing against the mainstream philosophy that “Kids are out of control these days because we’re too soft on them. My parents beat respect into me.” I made two arguments against this:

  • 90% of parents admit to hitting their children, so shouldn’t we have a society full of amazingly respectful people?
  • The black community uses corporal punishment to a larger degree than any other culture while their violent crime rate far exceeds all others.

The context of that argument is quite clear. The heading (quoted above) and the following statement (which preceded the arguments) create the context: “There’s no evidence that hitting people builds respect…”

The argument was quickly taken out of context and misrepresented by dozens of people who chose to resort to ad hominem attacks and race-baiting. They refused to accept my argument for what it was — an argument *against* the efficacy of corporal punishment, not *for* the *cause* of violence in the black community.

How that was so blatantly misinterpreted, I’m not sure. Dozens of people ganged up on me and insisted that I was arguing that conventional discipline–corporal punishment–was the *cause* of violence in the black community. And I’m “racist” for arguing this.

In the comments, I directly stated–without being prompted–that violence in the black community is multi-factorial. Much of it is linked to tragically unfair societal constructs that are almost wholly driven by government power.

Regardless of how much I’m against conventional parenting practices and corporal punishment, I would never make the argument that they’re the sole cause of violence in any community. Furthermore, I deeply understand the destruction of the black community at the hands of government and desperately want to see the black community recover, sooner rather than later.

But if you do want to talk about corporal punishment and violence, let’s do it, because it’s absolutely a factor. It’s a factor in the black community, the white community, and the hispanic community. If we had people who lived on Mars, it would be a factor there. It’s a factor among Christians and Muslims alike. If people were purple, it would still be a factor.

And truly, it goes well beyond corporal punishment. It has to do with the quality of attachment to the mother from birth, the general environment the child is raised in, the way a child is talked to and interacted with, and so on. Many things considered “acceptable” by conventional parenting standards is quite damaging.

Rather than rehash the dozens of books, research papers, and interviews on this topic, I want to point you to a presentation series by Stefan Molyneux called “The Bomb in The Brain.” It does the best job of hitting on the critical nature of treating children respectfully and creating a nurturing environment for them to grow up in and how negative childhood experiences not only create violent outcomes, but negative physical and mental health outcomes across the board.

I’ve linked to the series below, but I also want to link you to a presentation he gave on the series, which is a more concise overview. If you’re time sensitive, you’ll probably want to watch this shortened version.

The series requires a moderate time investment. It’s worth it. It’s information that everyone needs to hear.

Part One: The True Roots of Human Violence

Part Three: The Biology of Violence

Part Four: The Death of Reason (must listen)

I didn’t post part two because it’s not actually part of the presentation. It’s an interview with the creator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study. I consider it a bonus listen. You can find it here.

The way we’re mistreating children as a society is a significant contributing factor–if not the most significant–to the violence and negativity we’re experiencing in the world today. You can help to change this by spreading this message and the message of peaceful parenting as far and as wide as possible.

Thanks for your help.

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Corporal Punishment, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and the …

by Kevin Geary time to read: 3 min
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