Ms. Couture is a volunteer member of the PTAVE Board of Directors.
Web site: http://www.ChildAdvocate.org
E-mail to Laurie A. Couture:
It's sad to see the abuse kids suffer today. It amazes me that this conception didn't come about years ago...(you know...back when they didn't need metal detectors in elementary schools...). I suppose it's just coincidence that back when children were spanked by parents who believed it was their RESPONSIBILITY to make them understand and even (dare I say it?) associate bad behavior with bad consequences, that kids didn't shoot their schoolmates and teachers to death. I'll of course grant that there IS a 'line' that no good parent should cross...but groups like yours have moved this line so far back that parents have become AFRAID to physically punish their kids, fearing the child will turn them in to authorities. The result is a culture in which children have adopted a 'victim mentality' and total lack of (what's that thing called...? Oh, yes...a conscience). The children who ARE NOT spanked are the real victims.
I sincerely hope that one sunny day, your kids take a bullet from some 'troubled young person' whose parents were afraid to spank him because of the very ideals that you promote. Tell me how you feel when you see your child in a coffin; the victim of a shooting by a 16 year old kid that would more likely possess a college scholarship than a handgun, had he been spanked 12 years earlier. Do any of you even HAVE kids?
I hope there's a few bullets with YOUR names on them too, you stupid motherfucking idiots. Congradulations on being one of the root causes of America's downfall. My God, are you insane...? You CAN'T be so stupid...
Laurie A. Couture's response:
It is truly amazing that the most violent, out of control, impolite and unprofessional e-mails that I and other child advocates receive are from those who no doubt received "good spankings" from their parents, as evidenced by their faith in such violence. Your aggressive letter and your belief that adults should assault children are perfect examples of the rage and violence that lives on in adults who were treated violently by their parents.
The children who you are referring to, school shooters, are very disturbed children who suffer from mental illness. The head of the Columbine shooting, Eric Harris, was taking a dangerous medication known to cause violent behavior in children, prescribed to him by a doctor. Almost all of the school shooters were harassed on a daily basis by cruel bullies at school who taunted them endlessly. All of them had access to guns, thanks to their family members. An interesting fact is that the majority of all of the school shootings occurred in states where teachers and principals still paddle kids. In fact, a couple of the school shooters were paddled by their teachers the day before the shooting. I guess violence begets violence, doesn't it?
Sarcastic, misbehaving, rude and aggressive children are the product of parents who spank, hit, slap, belt and beat their children or they are the product of neglectful, permissive parents who set no limits and do not enforce LOGICAL consequences. These children are the product of parents who have no time for their children. They are the product of poor attachments. These children are the products of prison-like school environments that look nothing like the democracy we live in and drive kids insane with the boredom and conditions that breed toxic peer cultures. These children are products of a society that treats and views children as property and as subhuman creatures. They are the product of a society obsessed with consumerism, TV, internet, video games, gadgets, money and power. These children are products of people like you who believe that violence, and overpowering those smaller and weaker than yourself is the way to help young people learn about life. I know this, because the most aggressive kids I work with are the ones who get hit at home.
It is clear from your letter that you believe that empathy, compassion and internal self discipline have no place in child rearing. It is clear that your rage at your parents is being displaced onto America's suffering, neglected children.
Yes, most of us in the child advocacy movement, including me, do have children. Our children are not hit, spanked, slapped, yelled at, put down or treated like lesser beings. They are some of the most intelligent, loving, compassionate and well behaved children I know. My son is homeschooled, has started his own business, has spoken publicly AGAINST spanking and plays non-aggressively with kids of all ages. Adults love him because he is so respectful. How did he become that way? By being hit? Screamed at? NO! By me treating him with love, respect and in a non-punitive manner! When he makes a poor choice, he makes restitution, and has a consequence logical to the misbehavior, he isn't assaulted! When is the last time your boss assaulted you for an error? How about your spouse or domestic partner? Why should children, who's brains and minds are still developing, be treated any less respectfully?
I seriously hope that you get some therapy for yourself and discuss the rage you no doubt feel towards parents who hurt you in childhood. Maybe you could ask yourself how effective their parenting was if you are writing letters to strangers telling them you hope that a school shooter has a bullet with their child's name on it? Wow. How are you any different than those shooters?
Laurie A. Couture, M.Ed, LMHC
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