Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Not so much ironic as outrageous

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  • Russell Brown,

    Russell Brown & others have probably never known what its like to be dealing with a child who has severe behavioural problems.

    I'm normally civil to people like you, but you're testing my patience pretty sorely.

    Yes, as it happens, I do know what it's like. Both my children are mildly autistic and our younger boy, who I dearly love, has been prone to occasional relatively violent, irrational meltdowns for much of his life. It is a major source of stress in our lives, but things are really getting better. They're not getting better because we hit him in some stupid act of retribution, but because we've learned ways of managing his stress and helping him mature.

    Russell exactly what would you have done if your own teenage son came swinging at you with a baseball bat?

    Defend myself, clearly. But would I then initiate retributive violence? No. That would be destructive and wrong. If I did that, it would be me in need of help.

    You and your fundy buddies are displaying a lamentable inability to own up to the fact that you have been the enablers of a pattern of abuse. The woman you all held up as a hero is in sore need of help, and you have spent so long telling her otherwise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Andrew - It is sad to see that with alleged experience there is neither insight nor empathy; something with which I am entirely familiar. I know exactly where you are coming from. A place as ill judged and unimaginative as your post.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    After all , Russell exactly what would you have done if your own teenage son came swinging at you with a baseball bat?

    I'd start to think about where I'd gone wrong over the past 15 years of being a parent. Children don't learn that behaviour in utero after all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I'd start to think about where I'd gone wrong over the past 15 years of being a parent. Children don't learn that behaviour in utero after all.

    Perhaps they don't 'learn it in utero' but I query the assumption that if a kid wigs out and gets violent it is all down to the parenting.

    We're all born with character strengths and character flaws. Yeah, parenting can make them better or worse - and can add some new ones as well.

    But none of us are born perfect. If we were we wouldn't be human.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mr. Clive:

    Here's a cranky idea: You're the ostensibly rational adult in this scenario. Behave accordingly.

    Anyway, a bit of Larkin to put things in perspective. :)

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "i dont see russell and others of the "woolly jumper brigade fraternity" jumping up & down about the very flawed "prison" , "bail" & "justice systems " we have in this country."

    Andrew this blog has quite a bit of discussion on that subject, just a diff view than yourself I suspect.

    I myself am very concerned at the excessive use of & Prison was designed as a civil alt to capital punishment then quickly turned as an instrument of empire building with open prisons of the Americas & Australia providing a bases for Brit world domination.

    We have a skills shortage in horticulture/dairy etc in NZ and a captive community to upskill .Not to mention literacy. Prion farms seem the logical next step.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Children don't learn that behaviour in utero after all.

    now that's an interesting thing.

    i apparently walk, talk, and act in a remarkably similar way to my father. but, he died when i was less than a year old.

    i wasn't involved with his nuclear family until i was in my early twenties, so couldn't have learned to move in the same way from them.

    so where did i learn the behaviour?

    </ignoring fundamentalist lunatics>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Perhaps they don't 'learn it in utero' but I query the assumption that if a kid wigs out and gets violent it is all down to the parenting.

    No. But my point is, you also shouldn't hold the parenting (or lack of it) completely blameless.

    Even in a situation, as Russell point out, where through some sort of mental or genetic or other issue, a kid does have more violent tendencies, if Russell had just let that occur and not made any attempt to manage it and help his kid deal with stress/anger/confusion/whatever in a better way, then we could still call that "not very good parenting".

    i apparently walk, talk, and act in a remarkably similar way to my father. but, he died when i was less than a year old.

    Well the way you walk, talk etc, is pretty different to your violent/nonviolent tendencies. There's a lot more genetic influence over how you look and sound, than your choice to pick up a baseball bat and try and hit someone with it. Violence, sexual and other forms of abuse, are largely learnt behaviours - violent foster homes are just as bad for kids' futures as violent birth homes.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Are you sure, Kyle? How we talk, in particular, seems prima facie to be massively influenced, by, like, our enviroment, like. I can't believe identical twins brought up in Brixton and Beunos Aires would sound alike.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    a lot more genetic influence over how you look and sound, than your choice to pick up a baseball bat

    well, i'm inclined to agree. but genetics do have a lot of influence over the way that socialisation plays out.

    being a tall skinny kid pretty soon resulted in my realising the fruitlessness of violence, no matter how angry i became... while i was bigger violence paid dividends, but as soon as the other guys bulked out it was no longer an option.

    and i was smacked by my parent.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Having two kids whose whole view of the world is determined by their non-standard neurophysiology, I've gained real insight into the ways we are all different, at the core.

    It's challenging, and sometimes amazing. But I do know that if an already disturbed 13 year-old loses the plot, the correct response is not to beat him with a riding crop. Bob McCoskrie (who seems to be edging towards an apology) said that was what "any reasonable parent" would do. It just isn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I can't believe identical twins brought up in Brixton and Beunos Aires would sound alike.

    I bet they're more likely to sound alike, than the possibility that they'll both end up axe murderers. Or attacking their foster parents with a baseball bat.

    being a tall skinny kid pretty soon resulted in my realising the fruitlessness of violence, no matter how angry i became...

    There's also a fair few smaller kids who get aggressive to compensate for lack of size. A young man at my ice hockey club must be about 5' 8", probably 75 kg at the most. He's always the first one to start a fight against someone 6 inches and 20kg bigger. Gets right pounded sometimes too.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I bet they're more likely to sound alike, than the possibility that they'll both end up axe murderers. Or attacking their foster parents with a baseball bat.

    Kyle, the Dunedin longitudinal study found what's been a pretty-widely publicised (and sensationalised) link between different alleles in a gene involved in MAOA processing, and the likelihood an individual will become violent when exposed to a stressful environment. Whether or not someone becomes violent is a combination of genes and environment - like everything else. That's why siblings exposed to exactly the same parenting have different responses.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Whether or not someone becomes violent is a combination of genes and environment - like everything else.

    Which doesn't change my point that this kid wasn't born destined to swing a baseball bat at his mother. He was taught it. Or more accurately, he was taught to deal with a particular situation by reacting in that sort of way.

    There is always more than one factor, but if Russell, and thousands of other parents can struggle through all sorts of complicating issues in this area with their kids, and produce kids that don't swing baseball bats at people, then it's not impossible to do. Harder and more work for some, but not impossible.

    And given that this person I understand has no problem using violence on her son, I'm going to come to the obvious conclusion that she (and her partner/s) bear some responsibility for him dealing with stress by violence. Because that's the model that she showed him, when she used violence on him. It's bad parenting and it should be called.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    It's challenging, and sometimes amazing. But I do know that if an already disturbed 13 year-old loses the plot, the correct response is not to beat him with a riding crop.

    So what *is* the correct response?

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Oh hai Mr McCroskie, an article in USA Today says that spanking may lead to sexual problems later:

    The analysis of four studies by Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire-Durham, suggests that children whose parents spanked, slapped, hit or threw objects at them may have a greater chance of physically or verbally coercing a sexual partner, engaging in risky sexual behavior or engaging in masochistic sex, including sexual arousal by spanking.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So what *is* the correct response?

    If necessary, restrain him. Then you have a range of options. Beating a disturbed teenager is not one of them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh hai Mr McCroskie, an article in USA Today says that spanking may lead to sexual problems later:

    And, seriously, the institution concerned is regarded as a highly-cited researcher. They're not crazy people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • andrew clive,

    that depends russell on the situation at hand, obviously your situation is very different from others who dont have children with autism...you should respect that fact and not let your own unique situation colour your view with regard to how other parents wish to physically discipline their own children ...their is no one "shoe size ' that fits all kids, they are all very different ..and what works for 1 child with regard to any kind of disciplining may not necessarily work for another..
    this is the problem with the "clark govt" we have, wishing to make everyone the same...no 2 people are exactly alike and i said before regardless of your minority view in respect of condoning bradfords bill , yours is just 1 view just like mine..but the greater view is against bradfords bill..and that is what the problem is today that people in this country dont hold respect for democracy..or respect for others views...
    and while we're on the subject of physical discipline i'd be all in favour of bringing back corporal punishment in schools...now you can all roll your eyes at that 1....only problem is most of the teachers these days are so "liberal minded" it wouldnt stand any chance of been reintroduced....how many people reading thsi column would support its reintroduction..i suspect none becos most contributors here are so called woolly academics

    auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • andrew clive,

    joanna for every report like that , their are countless others that tell the opposite...scientifically the report sounds flawed .....you could argue all sorts of erroneous facts to support anything u wanted these days ..the newspapers are full of it...veryday i read some silly report coming out that "vexes" me , like 1 i read the other day that said doing stretching exercises before a workout has no benefit at all..
    now you could argue since the abolition of corporal punishment in schools that the number of assaults on teachers has skyrocketed..& that would be true..& may be part of the reason why we have so many more assaults in schools than ever before..so there u go..bring back corporal punishment...!

    auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    how many people reading thsi column would support its reintroduction..i suspect none becos most contributors here are so called woolly academics

    I wouldn't, because I think it's wrong, not because I'm a woolly academic, whatever that is.

    that "vexes" me , like 1 i read the other day that said doing stretching exercises before a workout has no benefit at all..

    Did you read it thoroughly? There is some truth to it, depending on what you mean by stretching, and what kind of exercise you are doing, and what your aims are. Many people actually do themselves more harm than good in their pre-exercise stretches.

    now you could argue since the abolition of corporal punishment in schools that the number of assaults on teachers has skyrocketed..& that would be true

    You could also argue that before the abolition, there were dramatically more counts of assaults on schoolchildren by teachers. Usually with a weapon. But in the case of the assaults on teachers, the link to corporal punishment is a lot weaker. It may have to do with a lot of other factors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    russell has a perfect white picket fence family, so he can't possibly comment on the smacking thing.

    russell is letting his experience of the challenges of bringing up autistic children colour his world view, so he can't possibly comment on the smacking thing.

    ....you could argue all sorts of erroneous facts to support anything u wanted these days

    touche

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • andrew clive,

    You could also argue that before the abolition, there were dramatically more counts of assaults on schoolchildren by teachers

    yeah ben what comic book did that come from? i'm sorry pal but from your defence which primarily consists of twisting words or phrases into something very different you're showing your gold card membership credentials to the "wooly jumper brigade" i referred to earlier.. ..corporal punishment was not an assault neither is smacking a child when done for the purpose of correction & discipline....btw i remember getting the odd piece of chalk thrown at me by a teacher , deservedly . Are these the weapons Ben you refer to?If any teacher did that today they'd be charged with assault....more children these days are assaulted in schools by their own peers ...the social experiment of liberal softly softly approach has totally failed..
    How stupid society has become in it's totally overblown definition of what constitutes an assault ..2 cases read recently illustrate this well, firstly a guy gets charged with assault and taken to court for throwing a hedgehog at a 15 year old boy, secondly a woman is charged with assault for hosing down some protesters outside her home ..both cases happened in this country..No perspective!

    auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 37 posts Report Reply

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