Thankfully, I have yet to actually see a scenario that standup comedians often describe: a child (usually a white one) telling his or her parents to go fuck themselves. What I’m seeing an alarming increase in, however, are children telling their parents what they will or will not do. For this, and many other reasons, children need to fucking die.
As time marches on, you can see the crumbling of American personal character on a macro scale pretty much everyday. Nobody believes there should be real consequences for breaking the rules (ask Florida and Michigan). Married couples are getting divorced at the first sign of trouble. Moral relativism is steeply on the rise. NIMBY applies to virtually everyone. People think that stupid ass ‘going green’ campaigns that really don’t inconvenience them in any way is going to head off global warming. MTV is allowed to exist.
All of this can be attributed to the fact that we don’t give our children enough discipline. By ‘discipline’, I don’t mean ‘beatings’ – I mean ‘persistent psychological trauma.’
Figure 1: Character Building
I don’t think you necessarily need to beat your kids to get them in line or to help them build character. You’ll see many proponents of ‘old-school’ parenting bragging about the frequency and severity of the beatings they received as a child, and how it shaped them into a functioning adult. While I’m not against laying the corporal smackdown on a small child, I do believe that its effectiveness is limited. Children eventually get used to beatings. Their pain tolerances increase. They learn to meditate the pain away like Shaolin Monks. Eventually, the beatings go from being a source of genuine fear to merely being a nuisance.
But you can use a beating to kickstart a lifelong program of emotional terror. Here’s an example from my life:
In all the years of my childhood, I was officially beaten* only one time. It happened when I was five or six years old as a result of me mouthing off to my mother in front of her friends. My ass was beaten until the slur ‘redskin’ could applied to me literally. I think I remember my mother laughing the whole time. The memory of my one and only beating is so seared into my memory that I can recall the pattern on the bed spread (yellow background with orange stenciled butterflies), the time of day (near high noon), and the fact that the curtains in the room were drawn shut.
It wasn’t until years later that I understood the reason my mother whooped my ass so severely: it was to make me fear my father for the rest of my life. My mother was a relatively small woman during my youth at 5′ 8″ and weighing about 115 lbs, with small wrists, thin fingers, thin neck, etc. My father, on the other hand, was a monster to me. As a boy I wasn’t really sure what God’s plan was for my dad, but with him towering at 6′ 2″ and weighing well over 200lbs, I was pretty sure it involved smashing things. So if my mother could kick my ass, then I could only imagine what would happen if my father was turned loose on me:
Figure 2: Actually, I could imagine exactly what would happen
From that point on, my parents kept me in line with a two-part disciplinary strategy. One part was a combination of verbal threats and groundings for minor offenses**. I never committed any major offenses** because of the second part of the strategy – an ever-increasing fear of my father. Over the years, my father would send me subtle hints about his power. He made me aware that there were guns in the house and he knew how to use them. He convinced me that he could look at my tongue to determine if I’d been playing with matches. He would often relate his hunting stories to me, so I knew he was capable of killing things bigger than people. He would ‘playfully’ pluck me in the back of the head (this hurt like fucking hell) with one finger…making me implicitly afraid of the pain he could inflict with an entire arm.
So you see, you don’t actually need to beat your children to keep them in line – you just have to constantly scare the living shit out of them. This is a good thing for two reasons: 1.) it removes the threat of children calling child services (kids can’t substantiate claims of terror if they can’t prove you’re beating them), and 2.) scaring children is fun.
Terror is the best medicine for raising children, which leads me to believe that Osama Bin Laden is (if he has kids) the greatest dad since Abraham:
Figure 3: Parenting techniques, as recommended by God Himself
*a beating is only ‘official’ if the parent interrupts what they are doing to beat you for the distinct and sole purpose of beating you. In other words, the beating is an event in and of itself with a clear beginning, middle, and end. This is different than, say, the casual swat a parent will give to calm a child that’s acting like an asshole in a grocery store.
**the difference between a major offense and a minoroffense involved whether or not what I did embarrassed my parents publicly