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Posted in Parenting and Spanking on 2019-10-08 18:22:30

Fathers had similar authority in medieval Italy. From "A History of Private Life II: Revelations of the Medieval World":

In Italian tradition power belonged uncontestably to the husband. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries his authority, identified with that of the king, continued to grow in the eyes of the jurists, especially those at Bologna. The general view was summed up in the popular thirteenth-century adage, "Every man is king in his own castle" (Quilibet, in domo sua, dictur rex). The father exercised his authority, called the patria potestas, over his children. It was his alone; as the jurist Azzo explained, "neither mothers nor maternal grandparents have power (potestas) over the children." The father's power extended to all his descendants, in particular his grandchildren, no matter how old he was, even over sixty (etiam sexagenarius), and no matter how old his children were. This doctrine was not confined to jurists' manuals. Worked out in response to vital questions, it had an impact on everyday life, in part through statutes and customs adopted by cities in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to regulate private life, among other things. Through these statutes the jurists' thinking impressed itself on people's minds.


The father was master not only of the family property but also of all family members. His wife and children were subject to his potestas and obliged to show him obedience and respect. ... Communal statutes like those of Gello in Tuscany (1373) authorized men "to punish their children, their younger brothers, and also their wives." Legal texts, laws, and moralistic writings accorded a father even greater authority over his children, who were obliged to treat him with respect and total reverence, as though he were sacrosanct. Whatever public responsibilities a son might have, they vanished in private. The father's authority and priority were total (Palmieri). Any failure to respect one's father. any rebellious behavior insult, or neglect (of an elderly father) could lawfully be punished by either the father himself or the public authorities. As late as 1415 a Florentine statute authorized fathers or grandfathers to have wayward offspring thrown into prison. ...

Law and policy reflect custom, and the known facts about Tuscan family life confirm various aspects of the precepts and doctrines reviewed above. The statute allowing fathers to imprison sons was applied in Florence as late as 1463. ...

Obedience and respect please the master; rebelliousness and arrogance provoke his anger. Legislation gave him the right to punish members of his family. His use of this right, particularly with regard to his wife, met with general approval. ... As for children, the motto was spare the rod and spoil the child, and Giovanni Dominici pointed out that "punishment, frequent but not furious, is of great benefit to them."

Posted in How bad were you at school? on 2019-10-05 18:50:38

The following story was published in the June 28, 2019 issue of The Week magazine. I thought the first part, about how a boy was accused of sexual harassment because he laughed at something his friend said and a girl overheard them and reported them, was relevant to this poll. It shows how school discipline has changed since I was in school. In my day a boy might possibly have been punished for making a girl uncomfortable but it would have been over and done with and not be blown up into a major incident.

How my son joined the alt-right

My teen got sucked into an internet wormhole of angry propaganda aimed at disaffected males, said a mother, writing anonymously in Washingtonian magazine. It took our empathy and a stranger's courage to get him out.

When my son Sam [Sam is a pseudonym to protect the author's child] asked me to take him to the Mother of All Rallies in September 2017, I said no. The pro-Trump event was billed as a demonstration to preserve "traditional American culture," and white supremacists were expected to show up in force. At Charlottesville's Unite the Right rally only a month earlier, a neo-Nazi had killed counterprotester Heather Heyer.

How had we gotten here? The problems had started when Sam was 13, barely a month into eighth grade. In the taxonomy of our local public school, his close group of friends was tagged edgy and liberal: Their group-text chain pulsed 24/7 with observations about alternative music and the robotic conformity of other classmates. Standard stuff for sensitive middle schoolers.

One morning during first period, a male friend of Sam's mentioned a meme whose suggestive name was an inside joke between the two of them. Sam laughed. A girl at the table overheard their private conversation, misconstrued it as a sexual reference, and reported it as sexual harassment. Before long, Sam was in the office of a male administrator who informed him that the exchange was "illegal," hinting that the police were coming, and delivered him into the custody of the school's resource officer. At the administration's instruction, that man ushered Sam into an empty room, handed him a blank sheet of paper, and instructed him to write a "statement of guilt."

At a meeting two days later with my husband, Sam, and me, the administrator piled more accusations on top of the harassment charge - even implying, with undisguised hostility, that Sam and his friend were gay. He waved in front of us a statement from the girl at the table and insisted that Sam would need to defend himself against her claims if he wanted to prove his innocence. He declared that it was his primary duty, as a school official and as a father of daughters, to believe and protect the girls under his care.

Our son sat pale and trembling as he made his case. I wanted to reach out and hold his hand, but he was at the other end of the large conference table - a raft, it seemed to me, floating unprotected in a stormy sea.

Sam agreed, reluctantly, to write a letter of apology to the girl who'd reported him so that the debacle would come to an end. But no hoped-for resolution materialized. Instead, Sam's sweet earnestness, his teenage overconfidence, even his tremulous determination in the face of unjust authority, drained away, replaced by... nothing. He lost all affect. He couldn't concentrate, turned in no homework, and didn't even pick up a pen when it was time to take a test. He didn't say much to us, but it seemed obvious enough that he felt betrayed by the adults he'd trusted.

My husband and I felt betrayed, too. We agreed that if we'd lost confidence in the administrators in charge, withdrawing Sam was our only option. But the transfer, midyear, to a new school - after he'd been wrongly accused, unfairly treated, then unceremoniously dropped by his friends - shattered Sam. He felt totally alone. I counseled patience, naively unprepared for what came next: when he found people to talk to on Reddit and 4chan.

These online pals were happy to explain that all girls lie - especially about rape. And they had lots more knowledge to impart. They told Sam that Islam is an inherently violent religion and that Jews run global financial networks. (We're Jewish and don't know anyone who runs anything, but I guess the evidence was convincing.) They insisted that the wage gap is a fallacy, that feminazis are destroying families, that people need guns to protect themselves from government incursions onto private property.


Posted in Sarah Palin's personal life on 2019-09-11 20:22:24

Sarah Palin's husband files for divorce after 31 years of marriage

Washington (CNN) -- Todd Palin has filed for divorce from Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, after 31 years of marriage.

In a document filed Friday in Anchorage, Alaska, Superior Court, Todd Palin cites an "incompatibility of temperament" in his marriage to Sarah Palin "such that they find it impossible to continue to live together as husband and wife." The divorce filing and court records use only initials to refer to the pair, with Todd Mitchell Palin listed as TMP and Sarah Louise Palin only identified as SLP.

Neither Sarah Palin nor Todd Palin or his lawyer has returned CNN's requests for comment. The divorce filing was first reported by Alaska blogger Craig Medred.

Friday's filing includes a child custody jurisdiction affidavit for the family's youngest child, who is 11. The affidavit is a standard form in divorces in Alaska involving minor children that includes information about children who will be involved in custody proceedings.

Palin served as governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009 and shot into national prominence in the summer of 2008, when the late Sen. John McCain picked her to be his running mate in the presidential race, which he would eventually lose to Barack Obama.

The Palin family has faced notable -- and at times unflattering -- attention in the years since. Bristol Palin was featured in MTV's "Teen Mom OG" last year -- she was pregnant during her mother's vice presidential campaign when she was 17 -- but announced her exit from the show in April, saying, "It took away my peace."

In 2018, the Palins' oldest child, 30-year-old Track Palin, was arrested on domestic violence charges, to which he pleaded not guilty. That case is ongoing. He had earlier pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing in a dwelling after being accused of breaking into his parents' home and assaulting Todd Palin.

Sarah Palin's time since serving as governor has been largely marked by a continuous stream of book releases and cable news appearances. She said in 2015 that she was "seriously interested" in running for president but ultimately decided against a White House bid.


Posted in Boys wearing short uniform pants to school on 2019-08-23 18:51:29

In Rhodesia in the 1970s boys wore shorts through Form 4, age 15-16. We switched to long flannels the next year, in Lower 6th. We didn't have a choice about whether to wear short pants or long. Wearing shorts in the winter wasn't much a problem since we were in the tropics, but it did get a little chilly sometimes because of the elevation.

Posted in Punishment on 2019-01-31 15:19:07

Hi Analee,

I don't think embarrassment should be used as punishment, or that children should be spanked naked. To me, it's abusive. Maybe we can agree to disagree about this. Our different opinions might be a result of the way we were brought up. Although my parents sometimes spanked us it was always over our clothes. Although I don't have children my siblings all do, and as far as I know none of them have spanked their kids.

Although at times I've babysat my siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces I've never been told that I had permission to spank them, especially not the way your cousin spanked you. In one early example, when I was 10 years old, I was left in charge when my parents had to leave for a while. They told me that if the other kids misbehaved while they were gone I should make a report when they got back. According to a family letter, when they got back I told them that one of my younger brothers had earned 38 spankings! At stated in the letter, "Sentence was commuted."

I do think spanking women on their bare bottoms can be sexy, but at some level it needs to be consensual. As you put it, the woman gifts herself to a lover. Where I see a problem is when what is essentially a sexual act is applied to children. Your cousin took advantage of his position of authority over you for his own gratification.