Nov 1, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

Thank you for writing such incisive explorations of a deeply disturbing phenomenon/culture/industry.

All of these notions of how to raise children are so short-termist. The idea that a child could be damaged for decades, by this overlapping of parental love and physical attack, never even enters the equation. Only shutting them up right in that moment matters. A mindset that treats children as problems to be solved - that devalues their quality of life, that renders life itself a soulless ritual.

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Nov 1, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

I hope you're being supported as you're working on this series. It sounds like your inbox has been really intense recently. Thank you for your writing

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Nov 1, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

I'm sitting here reading this next to my two young kids and it makes me both ill and disappointed in humanity. Both my kids are polite and respectful and listen when it matters, and we've never even thought of hitting them to achieve that. There's a better way, people.

The religious aspect is terrifying. We've gone back and forth on how to raise our kids on that front and the older I get, the more I want to keep religion out of their lives. It feels like it's used as justification for awful things more than it's a positive experience.

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Well since judism believed in animal sacrifice to atone for sins and Christianity believes that’s the blood of Christ atones for sins- it would make sense that they would want to reinforce this with their children. Showing how the rod could take away the child’s sin.

This could be awful with an angry parent and still confusing with a mild good natured parent.

When we quit thinking god needs for us to atone for our sins the world will be a better place.

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

The actress Anna Lynne McCord touches on some of these themes in an essay for Cosmopolitan in 2014.

*** My parents believed in strict "discipline," as they called it — I would call it abuse. The punishments were painful and ritualistic. We would have to bend over the bed, sometimes with our pants down, arms outstretched, and get spanked — with a ruler in our younger years and later with a paddle that my parents bought when they thought the ruler wasn't strong enough.

I found it all very confusing. I knew my mom and dad loved me, and I loved them too. I still do. My dad always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But at the same time, my parents hurt me, which told me they hated me. I know they were doing what they thought was right to discipline their kids. But it really messed me up. One day, I would suffer a punishment, and the next, my family would have a lovely day at the beach and I would tell myself, *Maybe it's not so bad*.


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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

Marla Morris

Thanks so much for deep diving into the horror. I grew up around this kind of thing; seeing the results of religious and secular aspects of this abuse are terrible. Pick out a switch was very popular 30 or so years ago where I grew up, and kids I grew up with who got hit believe they're doing right by the kids sending them out to the yard to do the same. I'm not very articulate, but you're doing a good job!

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I truly think there is a book here. A book that needs to be written. Very timely subject and not nearly discussed enough.

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Talia Lavin

Part two is just as brilliantly written and that weird combination of freeing and painful to read as part one. For years I tucked the abuse away as deep as I could because my parents were angry if I brought it up. "We apologized a long time ago," my Mom would say. (Their idea of apology is - "Sometimes the spankings went a little too far, but you don't remember it right and besides we were doing the best we knew how.")

The trouble with tucking that abuse away, is you can never fully heal from it. The last few years I've been letting it out. It hurts, but it's empowering, too. Sending in some pieces of my own story and reading this series is yet another step in coming to terms with it all. Thank you, Talia.

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There’s this school of gentle parenting with a lot of proponents laying out the philosophy on popular Instagram accounts. One recently did a whole post on spanking, and the comments of people who support it or don’t question (happened to me, I turned out fine; kids today are too spoiled/coddled) it vs people who question why hitting an adult is assault but hitting a child is discipline. It was an eye-opening conversation. There are also issues of race, class, and as you’ve covered here, religion (https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3OTQ2NzIxOTM5NjAzNDc2?story_media_id=2691007444176685597&utm_medium=copy_link)

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I don’t know if you’ve watched The Way Down on HBO but the last episode discusses this and how it impacted the children of the Remnant Fellowship church members. Horrifying. I worry that people will think “oh, this only happens in cults.” When it’s much more insidious than that.

Thank you for writing this series. I know you’re probably going to catch even more heat for this installment, but just know many of us are grateful.

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Thank you Ms Levin. Are you familiar with the work of Alice Miller "Thou Shalt Not Be

Aware"? This came to mind as I was reading about the way parents demand that kids not show pain or sadness after being hit. All children will be frustrated by the process of socialization, even where there is no corporal punishment, but damage occurs or is more profound when parents deny the children emotional expressions of the pain caused.

Dr. Miller took up this topic in her more well-known "The Drama of the Gifted Child", where she posits that ordinary dynamics of child rearing lead to recognition at a very early age of their parents' needs and of their adaptation to these needs. In the process, they learn to repress rather than to acknowledge their own intense feelings because they are unacceptable to the parents. With the addition of physical pain, and the repression of feelings by more corporal punishment, Dr. Miller sees an etiology of psychopathology.

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Thank you. I find it appalling that the only people I am allowed to hit without fear of arrest are my children, provided they are between 2 and 12, and assuming I use only my bare hand. The resistance to outlawing corporal punishment seems to be evidence of our collective trauma and tendencies toward authoritarianism.

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Thank you so much for writing about this. I grew up in a strict evangelical church called the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I was chemically balded at Billings West High School in 1998-99 after coming forward about my childhood sexual abuse. The LCMS uses psychological tactics as well as lifetime maiming tactics to silence children who speak out about its internal abuse.


I can say they inflict far worse than this on children in the LCMS:
























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