Doubter’s Alert – Punishment

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Doubters Alert.”

          “What? What part of ‘punishment’ don’t you agree with?

          “Uh, the core concept, I guess.”

Does anybody else feel that this challenge crosses the line into some personal sort of trolling? This is the last day of summer vacation, I really should be outside – but, OK, if you wanna fight . . .


I’m choosing to imagine that a lot of us might have read this challenge that way, ‘five to ten thousand clicks bait,’ an unavoidable death match for people with a cause. OK then. On with it.

The truth I would challenge is that there is any sort of punishment of children that is not based in violence and not potentially damaging. My case amounts to a series of observations:

  • It’s been shown that abuse and corporal punishment increase the level and frequency of a suite of damages in victims, many of which are mental, psychological, emotional
  • Forms of punishment not intended to be ‘corporal’ can have all of the invisible effects above, mental, psychological, emotional problems, if the punishment includes those forms of penalties. If the penalty isn’t physical (i.e. not corporal punishment), then it’s non-physical, meaning mental, psychological, emotional, and therefore that’s the sort of hurt it causes
  • Forms of punishment not intended to be ‘corporal’ can and often do become physical fights regardless of the intended penalty’s ‘non-corporal’ nature, if they need to be forced, as well. In these cases, the penalty and the hurt have all the components, the physical and the invisible ones

So. Core concept, you say?

The definition of punishment, while it takes thousands of words in the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy, can be boiled down for our purposes, to something like this:

An authorized person doing something to someone because that person won’t like it in order to change something that person is doing, stop them doing something, or get them to do something.

People doing things to us that we don’t like – that is abuse. Punishing is abuse with a goal, usually a goal that is acceptable to the society or the family, so it rests on the old ‘ends justify the means’ idea, but here’s the thing: the second half of that thought does in no way change the first. To whatever degree abuse hurts, so too does punishment. There’s a real world out there, or at least we do better behaving as though there is, a real world where causes have effects, and the effects of our actions do not change if our actions don’t, if only our intentions differ.

If we mean to hurt, if we plan to abuse, say we pick a bogus fight with a kid and then beat him up for some sick kind of fun, that is horrible, and we might expect trauma, right? That’s clearly abuse.

But if we have a legitimate confrontation with a kid, over some behavioural issue of his, and feel the need to decree a punishment, grounding (house arrest and curfew), and the kid tries to leave, refusing the punishment, and we physically restrain him and he fights and we fight and win, we think of that differently, don’t we?

I don’t think we should. I think the two scenarios are too close to make that distinction, all the components are the same – except the adults’ intentions, the adults’ hopes, the adults’ wishes . . . and of course, if wishes were horses.

I think the fight against corporal punishment needs to morph into the fight against all punishment. I don’t see the distinction making any headway, corporal punishment isn’t going away, because the whole idea of it is a lie, that there are non-violent forms of punishing. Parents who buy into this lie learn the truth the first time their kid feels disagreeable, and so the entire gentler child-rearing movement fails. The core concept of punishing is brutal, “do this or else” – so there isn’t a harmless version, there can’t be, can there?

Sorry Folks, not my best, no art in it, I’m afraid.

But you asked!



Sept. 7, 2015

12 thoughts on “Doubter’s Alert – Punishment

  1. neighsayer September 7, 2015 / 1:33 pm

    Oh, hey – “Doubter’s Alert” – Christian group? I didn’t realize, I took the challenge as open and generic, I wasn’t knowing where I was. Just ignore me, carry on . . .



  2. theeditorsjournal September 15, 2015 / 7:03 am

    Hey there NS can I impose? I like to think of the people I communicate with regularly as a mutual community. One of those people is having a hard time right now with depression. If you get a minute can you pop over and say a few kind words?

    Her name is Deborah, the link to her last post is here:

    Stuck on what to say?
    ‘Hey Deborah I’m a regular at The Ed’s Journal and I heard you weren’t feeling great, just wanted to drop and line to say hang in there…’ anything like that would be great.

    Thanks in advance if you can and do, not a problem if you can’t and don’t. The Ed.

    Now, ‘I think the fight against corporal punishment needs to morph into the fight against all punishment….’ I’m not going there! 🙂


    • neighsayer September 15, 2015 / 7:16 am

      just got this on my way to work, EJ, but I can do that on a break sometime today, I sure will.


      • theeditorsjournal September 15, 2015 / 7:30 am

        Bless your little non punishment heart! Have a great one at work too!


  3. Dorothy Watrous December 20, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Hey there. Im from Anonymous. I am a doxxor.  I have doxxed the bloodlines of a group of families. I have traced them to 4400 BC and have detailed all of their plans, lineage, blood type, and many many other things.  No one has ever lived long enough to do this before. No one has ever released this much info, this detailed info. Please look at to see a sneak preview. Release on friday december 18…dont miss it! It will be up as long as I’m alive. 


    • neighsayer January 3, 2016 / 11:08 am

      save me time, what’s the upshot? These families still in charge and the rest of us their chattel, what else?


    • Jeff/neighsayer March 28, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      Good Lord! I’m not sure I wanna know their PLANS, but can I ask a specific question? That Jesus fellow had a gaggle of kids by two wives, right? His genes probably are out there, in many, many folks, right? Of course genes don’t mean anything, family, like race, is largely a social phenomenon. But Jesus has descendants like Ghengis Khan does, right?


  4. neighsayer January 3, 2016 / 11:11 am

    There are ways that Jesus can be said to seem to feel my way about this, the adultress he wouldn’t punish, the prodigal Son, other things . . . wasn’t that the change he brought, forgiveness over vengeance?


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