About

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.’

Jeff,

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.

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45 thoughts on “About

  1. writingthebody February 5, 2014 / 11:38 pm

    You are right….physical punishment is just utterly unnecessary and wrong….

    Like

  2. Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 4:52 pm

    Just a note, you need to add some widgets to your blog for previous posts and for subscriptions, talk to Zaphod, I did his :p

    Like

      • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 5:24 pm

        sixof9.wordpress.com that’s his blog.

        Like

          • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 9:07 pm

            That’s what I said but its about poker, he says.

            Like

    • neighsayer February 10, 2014 / 5:05 pm

      Oh, no, never mind, YOU helped HIM, I see now. OK – what’s a widget?

      Like

      • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 5:19 pm

        He gave me his log in, I went and added them. A widget is a functionality that you add to your blog. if you go Dashboard/appearance/widgets – you drag them to your side menu then configure them as you want. (Hahahaha old people 😛 )

        Like

        • neighsayer February 10, 2014 / 5:23 pm

          OK, that was a partial “how,” but not much of a “what . . . ”

          ?

          Like

          • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 5:29 pm

            Ok if you look at the side of my blog it has the following widgets:
            People I follow: Which encourages people to follow you
            Email subscribe (which is better because they get emails delivered to their in box)
            Twitter feed: Some people prefer to be notified by twitter or facebook
            Gravitar profile: a full profile
            Recent comments: So visitors can see what’s active
            Archive: So people can easily find older blogs
            Search: So they can frisk me 🙂

            Like

            • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 5:32 pm

              And an RSS feed

              Like

              • neighsayer February 10, 2014 / 5:41 pm

                Ahh . . . OK, thanks, I’ll play with that . . .

                Like

                • Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 5:42 pm

                  You should, it’ll help, the other think i can recommend is to network, this place is like thoughts in that respect.

                  Like

                  • neighsayer February 10, 2014 / 8:06 pm

                    OK, Scarlet, I think I should be trying harder to get seen. The point is to get some viewers that one can tell a publisher about, right?

                    But I gotta say, I don’t find managing this site exactly intuitive. You’re right, I’m old, I’m lost. Maybe I’ll ask you to fix me up. But first, some questions ;

                    1. What is the relationship, if any of blog to page? I’m starting to get that a blog is a daily journal sort of thing, and if it doesn’t get seen soon, it never will, is that right? And the page says it’s more permanent? Am I starting over from scratch when I start using the page function?

                    2. I thought I’d connect with Google+ and Linkedin, both of which I’ve got accounts for, and I’ve been connecting to Twitter already – I’m assuming Twitter followers is the Holy Grail, if anyone follows you there, things get busier?

                    3. So I’ve started a page, how does that get seen, I guess I have to connect it to my domain name, or is it already connected to the blog . . .? Help an old guy out here?

                    Like

  3. Scarlet February 10, 2014 / 9:06 pm

    Yes I think so, if you have a decent following people pay some attention, but bare in mind publishers don’t want anything that’s been in the public domain, they are quite adamant about that.

    WP takes a while to learn, it took me weeks to get what I wanted out of it, but its less a pain than blogger, you’re used to the bare basic options of thoughts, which is more a social media site than a blogging one. Explore, if something buggers up you can usually fix it. I tend to have one tab with the dashboard open and another with the page on preview so I can see what’s happening.

    Think of blogs as articles, they are indexed by time, a page is a static thing, you use them to put something permanent up. For example the ‘about’ is a page, I am doing one for awards – er I have been for months, I just prefer to write. 🙂 Use the blog function people tend to look at those more, plus they are submitted to Reader and will be read more often. I ignore pages. IF you make a page connect it to your menu, not sure how to do that but it’s a logical place to anchor it.

    Facebook gets the most traffic I am told, twitter – mine gets a fair amount from that because I have a few followers, if you don’t have followers on that well, you won’t get many. Twitter is social media it takes networking and time to make up a decent following. Linkedin I don’t know about its not like I’d put my job history there 😛 Google+ is ok but its the poor cousin of facebook.

    Tags, your tags are important, some people search WP to read via tags and so make them consistent, punishment would be a good one to have in all your blogs. WP will automatically make a list of all of your commonly used tags you can see that on the side bar in ‘compose’.

    Scarlet. Ps the comments on this template are too difficult to have a long chat on 😛

    Like

    • neighsayer February 11, 2014 / 3:52 pm

      Hey, so it’s to late, obviously, to try to claw it back, like I say half my book is in this blog, but I thought I’d look at this abysmal blunder as a good thing, an opportunity. I’m going to hate having to re-word EVERY damn idea in the book when I write it all again, but I’m sort of happy that I’ve accidentally forced my own hand with something. Now I want to finish the job, and just put the book online, in its entirety, for free. Do you think that is possible as a post or a page, 60,000 words? Or, do you think the public domain slip might not stop me self-publishing it as an ebook? Maybe I’ll ask some self-publishing person that one . . . just wondering what you think . . .

      Like

      • Scarlet February 11, 2014 / 7:16 pm

        Its not a blunder, don’t look at it that way. Use it to market. 500 word bites, use thought provokers and that sort of thing to get people talking.

        You post a 60k no one will read it, do an ebook or a formatted pdf if you want to give it away and people to actually read it 🙂

        Like

        • neighsayer February 11, 2014 / 7:30 pm

          Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking, the second thing. Self-publish an eBook, and offer it as a free download with every blog post, like that. I’m gonna get a price and some help for that . . .

          Much of the book is stuff that won’t make for grabby 500 word bites, right? So this might be the way. It’s a “cause” for me anyhow. Giving it away like that will feel good. If someone reads it, if it helps anyone, great. If it draws the attention of someone who wants a book, also good.

          Like

          • Scarlet February 11, 2014 / 7:40 pm

            What I would do is introduce a topic, but thats me, you’re about educating I’m more cheeky entertainment 😉

            Flashy cover, snappy title and nice font and you’ll do well with a book. there are lost of self publishers on WP and I think some tools for distributing too but that’s well beyond my knowledge.

            Like

            • neighsayer February 11, 2014 / 7:56 pm

              Yeah, I’m looking at “WP for Beginners” – this thing goes on forever, apparently.

              Thing is, it’s 60,000 words and all one topic. 😉

              Like

              • Scarlet February 11, 2014 / 7:57 pm

                I hope it has chapters :p

                Like

                  • Scarlet February 11, 2014 / 8:01 pm

                    I’ll give you a call when I go insane and decide to have babies 🙂

                    Like

                    • neighsayer February 11, 2014 / 8:42 pm

                      starting new again . . .

                      Like

                    • Scarlet February 12, 2014 / 5:15 pm

                      Lol!

                      Like

  4. neighsayer February 10, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    Oh, Jesus, half my book’s out there already! Fuck!
    Oh, well, it ain’t happening, or I’ll just write another one. The first one usually sucks anyway.

    Yes, I noticed the template is bad for that . . .

    K, Scarlet, thanks. I’ll try to work through it. Eventually. Maybe. I hope . . .

    Like

  5. neighsayer February 11, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    Scarlet – surely you’re an auntie? No friends with spawn?
    Alice Miller famously said that one enlightened adult in a child’s life can make all the difference . . . 😉

    Like

    • neighsayer March 26, 2014 / 11:47 am

      What!!???!?!? No, don’t do that! I don’t know 10 other bloggers to mention!

      Like

  6. Don October 23, 2014 / 5:34 am

    But why would you not lay blame and responsibility on parents who blatantly destroy their children’s lives?

    If we blame the system, then this absolves any sort of responsibility on the part of parents right?

    Like

    • neighsayer October 23, 2014 / 7:15 am

      I’ve just found I never get anywhere like that, and if I blame one parent, then they dodge it by citing their own childhoods. One, I’m just trying to deal with that excuse before it starts, and two, I’m trying to take it out of the realm of the personal and individual. These problems are not one-offs, and not rare.

      Like

      • Don October 23, 2014 / 9:17 pm

        Mmm…

        Alright, well I see what you’re saying that parents will then say that they themselves had a bad childhood. But even then they should be responsible for the damage they do to their children.

        I feel that parents enjoy enough protection and lack of responsibility for how badly they treat their children, even in this day and age.

        So I’d say that I would encourage a person to lay the blame and responsibility where it rightfully should be, if such bad things happened to them.

        A lot of survivors of childhood mistreatment, do precisely the opposite their whole life most of the times, they lay all the guilt and blame on themselves for how badly their parents treated them. And they try to constantly change themselves in order to finally feel the love that they missed out on from childhood.

        This also doesn’t necessarily have to happen with real parents, but also with the “introjected” ones too, which have much more influence.

        Like

        • neighsayer October 23, 2014 / 10:39 pm

          I can’t argue with you, you’re right about that, I’ve even said it many times, ‘forgiveness is totally overrated,’ and ‘not blaming the other guy (your parents in these cases) means blaming yourself,’ I agree with you there. It’s just this other thing, that concentrating on the personal aspect, making it about something just these two parents did, just my violent dad, or your alcoholic mom, that is sort of like divide and conquer, like we’re all on our own, battling our own particular brand of abuse, and

          one, there are plenty of people doing that, talking about that already, and

          two, it’s the common denominator I think I’ve identified. Everyone has problems, so I’m looking for a common cause of it, something that has happened to everyone.

          I totally see your point, and I can’t disagree, it’s just that I have this stupid, grandiose need to feel like I have something unique to say, or at least more unique.

          Plus I really think there’s something in that ‘divide and conquer idea. If you like, search my blog, I think it’s the “Murderous Madmen” one, that talks about the divide and conquer thing . . . .

          great talk, keep it coming.

          Like

          • Don October 23, 2014 / 11:01 pm

            Hi man,

            I see that you are trying to sort of “rally up” everyone so that they could be on the same page.
            I think that’s a good thing.
            I personally wish I could create a forum for people to freely talk about their childhoods and try to resolve their repression. I already know Barbara Rogers has such a forum, but I don’t think it’s enough, and it doesn’t have that much traffic.

            I think Stefan Molyneux’s “freedomain radio” is the closest thing to that.
            I will make my own forum or website in the future if possible.
            But society desperately needs more “enlightened witnesses”, I think this is the major reason why there has been such slow progress and change, even though the science of the importance of emotions and childhood is there.

            I mean of course we don’t live in the 60’s or something when we worshiped beating the hell out of kids, but there are still a majority of people who are still in this mindset, precisely because this happened to themselves.
            At least the corporal punishment debate is being taken more and more seriously around the world. And I think that’s the first step to doing anything about this.

            I’d say Jordan Riak’s projact no spank is an excellent resource for info about this at http://www.nospank.net/

            As well as the Global Campaign to End CP at
            http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/

            Like

            • neighsayer October 23, 2014 / 11:09 pm

              fighting corporal punishment is good, but doomed to failure, I’m sorry, i have to direct you to other posts of mine – i’m not just doing it for the views, I promise! – there’s a few fairly recent ones with “Corporal Punishment” in the titles that lay out my points about that. There really is no “non-corporal” punishment, and suggesting there is is death to the movement.

              Like

              • Don October 23, 2014 / 11:15 pm

                Hi,

                I know you have written several posts about CP, but could you refer me to one specific, single post where I should continue talking about this?

                Also I’m quite surprised that you say that fighting CP is doomed to failure.

                I believe we should always keep trying to do anything about it, and that a lot of things have changed a lot since the “era’s of corporal punishment” where it was as normal as breathing, that’s why I mentioned the 60’s for example, and even earlier.

                Again, I’d say Jordan Riak has a huge amount of information and research about this.

                Like

                • neighsayer October 24, 2014 / 6:48 am

                  I think this is the one that lays out why fighting corporal punishment isn’t the right focus:

                  https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/09/18/corporal-punishment-is-not-the-whole-story/

                  and on this post:

                  http://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/is-smacking-a-child-acceptable/comment-page-1/#comments

                  I had a conversation with someone who advocates the “nospank” site and this comment of mine tells why the movement fails:

                  Dustin, I wrote this below for anybody, but I want to make sure you see this:
                  I just want to put this out there for anyone reading, probably more the folks on the “no” side of the debate, that “physical” punishment is the wrong question for society and parents. The info is in about physical abuse and corporal punishment, and the educated answer is no – but that answer isn’t enough. The info has been there for decades now, and the problem isn’t going away, as many people still spank as ever, pretty much, as you can see from the ratio of spankers VS non-spankers on this post. It’s still more than 80% of Americans – and those are the ones who admit it.
                  The problem is that “don’t hit” isn’t enough.
                  It doesn’t address the underlying things, parental expectations that parents need to win every conflict with their kids, that kids are expected never to have a negative effect on the parents plans. With these expectations, nothing else is going to “work.”
                  I’m not saying there are non-physical methods that “work,” there aren’t, and that’s part of the problem, the parenting “experts” are letting us think that we can have it all our way, that the parents never have to lose a conflict with their kids, and that this can somehow be done nicely, non-physically. This is bullshit. And this is why most folks still do it the old-fashioned way, because the parenting gurus have spread this stupid, useless lie, and every parent who tries just “not hitting” finds out on their first day what a crock it is.
                  The thing is, it’s not just about “corporal” punishment, it’s about ALL punishment, it’s about expectations that the kids will never do anything not “in the program” and that the parents must always have it their way. The key to not hitting and not punishing, is that we have to allow the kids to misbehave, and teach them, by talking only, explaining things to them, and let the world teach them when they don’t listen. Let them touch the light bulb if they don’t listen when you only TELL them not to, they’ll learn something. I mean, hold on to your little ones near the road, but if it’s not life-threatening, let the kids win, let them learn things the hard way.
                  That is the ONLY way not to hit, we would have to decide not to win every little thing. At my house, things got broken, things got dirty, but by the time the kids could talk and listen, they did, we always had interaction, conversation. That open communication has always been there because we never committed the betrayal of unilaterally having everything our way and forcing the issue, whether it be hitting, timeouts, or anything else.
                  Long and short, if you are committed to having everything your way, of making sure your kids lose every transaction – go ahead and hit them. There is no other way for that result.
                  If you really don’t want to hit them – then be willing to lose most transactions until they’re old enough to reason with. That’s the only way.
                  You know what was a wonderful surprise for us – we didn’t know how it would work out – after the toddler years?
                  That it just got easier every year.
                  When your friends grow bigger and smarter, as kids do, life gets better.
                  If life gets worse when the people around us grow and learn, that is our clue that we have made enemies of the people around us.

                  Cheers.

                  Like

                  • Don October 24, 2014 / 1:06 pm

                    Hi,

                    I will take a few days to read your blog posts and comment on them.

                    But for the comment you posted on your reply.
                    Well you want to abolish all punishment right?

                    I can agree to a certain extent, I believe that the line between discipline and abuse is very, very thin.
                    Discipline is a form of punishment in itself, and prevents us from understanding WHY our children misbehave. So I agree with you and Alice Miller on this one.

                    Like AM said, would you discipline your friend and give them time out in a corner for making you angry? Of course not, so why do we do this to our sensitive, dependent and defenseless children?

                    I believe the only way people would realize this, is when they themselves start explore their feelings, and understand how their parents “discipline” affected them. Otherwise, most people will say it was “for their own good”

                    Other than that, I still believe that outlawing corporal punishment is hugely important to change the attention and importance needed on the emotional dynamics of childhood, repression and just plain humans man. It’s messed up how so many people are still ruled and gripped by their repression, without them even understanding their own behavior.

                    But yeah to keep it short, I agree with what Alice Miller wrote about this, and I also with Jordan Riak’s views about the importance of banning CP.

                    But yeah I will rad those two blogs and I will comment on just one, to keep it tidy.

                    Also I’m curious, would you say that we also should get rid of punishment for criminals for example?
                    I believe that we should detain criminals, but more importantly, make them get in touch with their repressed emotions and history so that they can finally understand why they commit crime.

                    Currently we only keep punishing criminals, without really addressing the root cause of it. We just keep punishing and punishing, without really changing anything really…

                    Like

                    • neighsayer October 24, 2014 / 1:26 pm

                      Yes, I think punishing – hurting – criminals doesn’t help anything, only makes them meaner. I think we have to lock up the stubborn ones who insist on hurting folks, bit it doesn’t have to be painful. I envision a secure Holiday Inn, soft bed, TV – and yes, therapy.

                      Like

                    • neighsayer October 24, 2014 / 7:34 pm

                      Don, to be clear, “discipline,” “consequences,” it’s all punishment to me. When we raised our girls, we never imposed any sort of anything on them. We whined, we complained, we reasoned, we begged – but they could always just tell us to piss off and walk away. When they got older we started to judge them for it and call them assholes and whatnot if they insisted on being assholes, but they always had the option. We never escalated to any sort of force, never “pulled rank” on them. And that’s what I advise.

                      Like

            • neighsayer October 23, 2014 / 11:11 pm

              And I looked at the last one I sent you too, it’s not what I thought, barely touches on it, sorry.

              Like

              • Don October 23, 2014 / 11:19 pm

                Yeah the “Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment”

                Is less about the psychological and emotional dynamics, and more about laws and legislation really.

                I would recommend Jordan Riak’s website over it personally.

                Like

    • neighsayer October 23, 2014 / 3:42 pm

      I’m sure you have a point too, though . . .

      Like

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