A strong and loving bond between family members becomes its own moral discipline
By James Warren
Federal Way, Washington, April 9, 2011

Alice Miller – the renown advocate of parental love whose books and articles openly explore the use of violence against children – once wrote that "humiliations, spankings and beatings, slaps in the face, betrayal, sexual exploitation, derision, neglect, etc. are ALL forms of mistreatment, because they injure the integrity and dignity of a child, even if their consequences are not visible right away."

Even after they become adults, most abused children will be physically or emotionally wounded and will subsequently wound others. Or else will stand by while others are wounded. The stark truth is that unless adults become aware of their own childhood pain and anguish, the cycle of abuse continues and will be mindlessly passed on to their own children or to others.

A careful reading of history tells us that the violence and shame suffered in childhood can produce the brutal authoritarianism of a Hitler or a Saddam Hussein. Cruel adults have cruel backgrounds who not only unknowingly transfer their own childhood humiliations and beatings onto others, but sometimes even onto other groups or onto other nations.

And science definitely shows that children who are mistreated by those they love and depend on spend the rest of their lives dealing with what they endured.

Too often many of today's adults appear to almost "glorify" their own childhood punishments. They feel perfectly content to unwittingly pass their own history down to their children or to others. They begin to convince themselves the narrative that they were actually beaten out of LOVE! People that routinely spank their children actually often feel GRATEFUL to their own parents who mistreated them when they were small and helpless.

How many times have we heard adults say "I deserved it" or "I had it coming"? It is these same adults who permit their own children to be hit or humiliated, all because they themselves once suffered and learned violence when they were too young to question it.

This is why society largely remains ignorant of the very real effects of hitting a child. Every generation learns that pain and destruction are normal, or even "good." Mercy gets trampled by "justice" – which in turn has become nothing more than REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE. This is the sort of violence which somehow "redeems us" or "makes us better" and so abusing, destroying or even killing the scapegoat is accepted as a divinely-inspired action.

And we all tolerate it because we all ignore it. And we all ignore it because we learn to be unconscious of it.

The first three years of human life is a time when children are beginning to walk and to touch and to explore objects in the wider world around them. And all this growth takes place at the same time our hearts open us up to the reality of truthfulness, kindness and love.

The first place we all learn cruelty, domination of others and lying comes from one place and one place alone: the family and the behavior of the parent. It is no accident that Jesus of Nazareth made relentless attacks on the family values of his day and did so over and over again.

A strong and loving bond between family members becomes its own moral discipline – something the growing child can always relate to, even in the midst of the outer world's cruelty. But as long as parents feel "forced" to spank and abuse – whether by their own emotions or by society at large – they will remain helplessly unaware of any other alternatives to teach, nurture and raise the world's children.

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