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Friday, 24 May 2013

Difference Between Discipline and Punishment

I'm thinking about how I used to get beat up by my parents whenever they couldn't get their way, or they were just in a bad mood. Choked, hit with belts, smashed by a computer chair, made to kneel for an hour facing the wall... That last one makes no sense and I think it's an Asian thing. When I confronted my parents years later, after I was buff as hell from working out and studying combat sports, they just said "it was discipline. You needed it." It's funny how I can even confront them in the first place now. It's almost like they only attack those weaker than them, then justify it with their rationalizations, aka "good parenting."

I think till this day, they believe they did me a favor. Too bad the only thing their punishment did was scar me for life. They have never disciplined me once, and only beat the crap out of me without explaining anything. Unless you count "I'm your parent and an adult so know your place" as a valid explanation for anything. I grew wiser in spite of their abuse, not because of.

Like my parents, most authority figures fail to differentiate between discipline and punishment. The former is self-control instilled through maturity, knowledge, or enlightenment. The latter is beating a child until they're too dead inside to fight back. The difference here is that a disciplined person is strong and wise, while the punished is only docile because they're afraid of consequence. A punished person may be obedient, but they lack the knowledge of why they shouldn't sin. This makes all the difference to me - the difference between a sage and a whipped horse.

If one positive thing has come out of this, it's that I know how to treat any children I may have. Child abuse has also become one of my berserk buttons. Hurt a kid in front of me and I don't care what "well-intentioned" excuses one may have, it gives me flashbacks to some weak cowards beating up a five-year-old kid. Cowards like this need to be wiped off this planet, or at least be locked in a cage with someone who fights back.

I thought pain and punishment was supposed to make docile, upstanding citizens? I've become quite the opposite.

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