Berg & Harsh Punishment

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Reply Tue 7 Mar, 2006 08:54 am
Berg & Harsh Punishment
Craven: I've looked at ML's off and on over the past few months to determine how much Berg advocated harsh punishment.

First of all, the MLs available at Exfamily have largely been sanitized, so that words like "beat" and "whip" have been edited out. Also, whole paragraphs of Bergian bombast are missing.

Second, Berg actually counseled a certain amount of balance in some of his writings. He clearly believed "spare the rod and spoil the child," but he also advocated a surprising level of moderation. E.g., "More Childcare Jewels":

38. POINTERS ON SPANKING: My mother used to go out in the garden & pick a switch, a long thin one that really hurt when you got spanked with it! I used to use a belt or a fly swatter sometimes on my own kids when they were older. But never use a hairbrush or something that's going to actually break the skin & hurt them.--Or never hit in a place that's going to possibly injure them, such as across the knuckles or on the head near the ear, eyes, nose or mouth.

It may be that as Berg got older, more depraved and out of control, he advocated harsher forms of physical discipline, but I tend to think that his followers came up with the more brutal forms of physical discipline in response to their own frustrations and fear.

Finally: One of the worst MLs along the line of harsh discipline is "Rotten Apples." This letter talks about disciplining a child with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities, and it is positively ignorant and barbaric. It would be good to get an unpurged version of this letter. Berg had some very backward and uncompassionate ideas about people with disabilities.
Reply Tue 7 Mar, 2006 10:31 am
Research Caution
BlackElkk, from my childhood experience I think that what you are referring to was Berg's policy for "normal" Family kids. When it came to kids that did not fit the mold so well, he was brutal. Have you seen letters like "Teen Terrors"?

I also would caution that one needs to look at the dates of letters. Not only may Berg have gotten more out of control as a function of his age, but even more I think it had to do with the fact that as the first wave of children grew into adolescence, there were new problems associated with young persons starting to think for themselves and question things that as a dependent younger child there was no alternative to.
Reply Tue 7 Mar, 2006 01:18 pm
Context is everything
Yes, I have read Teen Terrors. I just took another look at it. This would be another ML that would be good to have available to read in its unpurged form.

If the young people described in Teen Terrors were Systemites in the U.S., they would have been reported to law enforcement authorities and handled through the Juvi Court system. I suspect that the major reason Berg blew a gasket is that the vandalism these kids engaged in probably brought their parents & homes under the scruitiny of local authorities. Can't have the System looking into things, now can we? Assuming the vandalism and other anti-social behavior described in the ML actually took place, adolescents who act out in this manner are often thought to be seeking outside help for their dysfunctional families.

What upset me the most about this particular ML is the following:
If that father can't control his children any better than that, forget it! If that mother can't control her children any better than that, she ought to quit & get out or get rid of'm, either one! Send them back to their relatives in the States! Their God-damned Godless anti-Christ relatives would be happy to have them! Send them back to the devils they belong with if they're going to act like devils & behave like Satan! Send'm back to Hell--the Hell of America where they came from!

Excuse me? The "G-D Godless anti-Christ relatives" didn't bring these kids into the world, and it's irresponsible to think they'd be willing to take care of them now that they're having difficulties. The suggestion that parents can just dump their children on someone else and walk away is ludicrous.

It would help to know a little more about kids raised in TF who didn't fit the mold. Obviously, kids with handicaps fall in that group. Kids who didn't totally submit with unquestioning obedience also fall into that group. It seems that more research in the MLs along this line would involve finding out whether Berg gave explicit instructions on how to draw the line on behavior that wasn't submissive obedience. For example, who came up with punishing kids for having a "silly" spirit? Silly children = healthy children. Was this something Berg dreamed up or something that came down from other leadership?
Reply Tue 7 Mar, 2006 02:50 pm
These kids are the product of Berg & Zerby's child care policies.
Perry 1
Reply Fri 31 Mar, 2006 04:12 pm
Ward on physical ill-treatment of children in TF
Black Elk, your comments about the origins of harsh punishment in TF reminded me of something Ward said in his judgement. Here’s an excerpt from the article I’m working on:

“Concerning the physical ill-treatment of children, Ward noted that “… in recent years, children in the absence of their parents have been harshly beaten and at times left bleeding and bruised by indiscriminate, over-zealous applications of Family discipline.â€
Perry 1
Reply Fri 31 Mar, 2006 04:17 pm
Ward also said regarding excessive punishment...
"He [the child in question] suffers real risk of harm from excessive punishment. The tendency is for parents to surrender their responsibility to the Child Care Team and there are too many recent examples of excess for me not to regard this risk as a real one not withstanding the new guidance from World Services."
Reply Fri 31 Mar, 2006 05:16 pm
On Black Elk's Comments
"If the young people described in Teen Terrors were Systemites in the U.S., they would have been reported to law enforcement authorities and handled through the Juvi Court system."

And their pedophile guardians would be locked up expeditiously!

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