Listen up, assholes: if you want to beat your kids, do it yourself.
That’s the moral of this (un)godly tidbit from Southern California’s Inland Empire (yes, San Bernardino actually calls itself that) over the weekend. Some parents thought their 15-year-old son had been smoking. Punishable offense? Maybe. My kids don’t smoke. They’re still in preschool and such. So who I am I to judge parents of teenagers?
[Although, really, isn’t that kid going to be out of the house soon enough? At what point do you start planning for the day when they’re going to have to make their own decisions without the threat of your furies? Wouldn’t talking with the kid be just as effective, which is to say, as completely ineffective, as beating them? Because we are all born alone and will die alone and the years in between are infused with savage doses of free will that allow us to injure ourselves in the most spectacular ways anyhow.]
There is a HUGE difference, however, between “Beating Your Child” and “Having Your Child Beat”. From the AP article:
The parents asked Paul Kim, 39, to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, dropping the boy off at Kim’s Chino Hills home with permission for the beating, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.
Kim hit the child with a metal pole about a dozen times, causing severe bruising on his legs, according to Bachmann. The pole was about an inch in diameter, investigators said.
See? This is bullshit. Not just because you have a church acting as a sort of Craigslist for beaters—apparently other parishioners had relied on Mr. Kim for his child-beatings before. And not just because this goes way beyond corporal punishment and into mobsters-collecting-protection-money type violence. Rather, this is bullshit because it robs the parents of the only verifiable result of beating your kid: the smug sense of satisfaction mixed with vengeance.
Corporal punishment doesn’t actually help the kid, doesn’t straighten them out or toughen them up. It’s really mostly for the parent. They’re angry, they’ve been lied to or they feel inadequate. And hitting their child is a great release for them, at least for the moment. That’s why they do it: to answer their own dismal set of emotions. Sending some dude from your church to do it for you takes all that away, and your just left with an ineffective bit of brutality. And, thankfully in this case, a big fat criminal charge.