Spare the Rod?
"What that kid needs is a good crack in the teeth."
How literally do parents take such phrases? For centuries our society has provided parents with the right and even the mandate to use hitting, slapping, spanking, and other physical force against children.
Parents have been "beating the devil" out of junior since colonial times. Jokes about being taken behind the woodshed or having one's backside warmed by father's razor strap have been around almost as long.
Early colonists, in fact, developed a most effective method of dealing with the unruly child. Many communities enacted "stubborn child laws," which gave parents the right to kill children who were beyond their ability to control.
Our culture is full of reminders of the right of parents to employ violence against their children. Fairy tales, folklore, and nursery rhymes are full of violence against children. Hansel and Gretel's parents, for instance, abandoned their offspring to starve in the forest when money got scarce. The wicked queen told her huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and cut