Update, early spring on the west coast of Canada, 2017:
I’ve fallen on hard times in these last few years, and all that bragging below about my family has blown up in my face. We’re all in a terrible state right now for reasons that we are not in agreement about, and I’m not going to stoop to telling a bunch of strangers my “side” of this fight. I hope in some few years I can write here that we got through it, but presently I am not with them, so my entire life and philosophy are not looking good. Not that many were listening to me anyway.
The stuff from 2014 and 2015 is for parents, new parents, it says, “don’t punish, in any way, at all,” citing damage and hard feelings as unwanted consequences. This year’s stuff says, “uh, no, the damage and hard feelings are in fact the unconscious but wanted consequences,” and so re-defines the problem of punishment. I still don’t advocate for the punishment of children, I’ve just come to understand it’s not a rational, debating sort of a thing. If those are still unwanted consequences in your conscious mind, then read on, it’s all still true, as far as I can see.
Late in 2015 I found biology, and now I am no longer a wannabe parenting expert. Now I am a wannabe evolutionary psychology theorist. It’s an upgrade in content, but it’s different. Parents argue, vehemently. Biologists just ignore you! To be fair, though, I’m not in that field, I mean not just me, my theory isn’t all biology, and maybe it’s not even a hybrid with psychology. I like to think of AST, antisocialization theory, as something that fills the spaces between the two, or something that connects several disciplines. It’s not a full definition, but I think I haven’t quite got the final wording yet, so here’s maybe the thing unsaid about it to date in my blogs.
AST, antisocialization theory is the idea that the primary evolved function of the punishment of children and/or abuse is not that we learn our conscious, human technical lessons, but that we are antisocialized generally, creating ourselves as a more violent and warlike creature than we might be. The mechanism of this function will be epigenetic, and not so much about the presence of gene traits in an external environment, as that we create adverse environments for our children and so operate a suite of epigenetic levers ourselves, almost consciously, with our disciplinary tactics. The function is subject to a social meme about it, that’s why ‘almost conscious.’
April 30, 2017
This blog concerns the ubiquitous practice of punishment in our societies, mostly in terms of child-rearing, although it will include some talk of adult punishment, the criminal justice system and prison.
Full disclosure – I am a tradesman, I am no sort of professional in the psychology, criminal justice, or social work fields. This is a hobby for me, or rather an interest somewhere on the spectrum between a hobby and an obsession.
I have pretty much given up the dream I had of selling a book of my thoughts on this narrow subject – punishment, punishment of children as a source of much harm in the world – having found this concept to be singularly unpopular through this and other blogging adventures, as well as through many interactions with friends and family in my personal life. Many of those conversations were fairly traumatic. This is a very difficult topic, fraught with strong emotion.
I am over 50 years old, with a beautiful wife as well as two beautiful daughters, who as of this date, September 21st., 2014, are both in their late teens. My daughters were raised without any sort of punishment whatsoever, and I’m happy to say they have turned out to be brilliant, moral, and sober young women. They have normal, teen ways of being in terms of shopping, anything that can happen on their smartphones, and in some sloth and messiness, but that is the worst of it. We saw no teen rebellion.
I would like to say, for any readers, as well as for all those in my own life who have felt hurt by my inquiry into and my opinions on this subject, punishment in child-rearing, that I don’t hold blame against any parents, that I feel it is a system that I’m opposing. Any parents who feel hurt when they read or hear my opposition to the most commonly held practices of child-rearing may hopefully see that when I appear to side with their children and against them, that I also take the side of children in every generation, that I side with the children that they once were, as well as with the children that their own parents and grandparents once were.
It’s the system. It’s not personal.
Enjoy, brave reader! And thank you for visiting.