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Cruel Frightening Of Children
by [?]

The most acute suffering is that produced by FEAR, and those who suffer most acutely from fear are YOUNG children.

Who does not remember the intense agony in youth based upon the superstitious teachings of some foolish older person?

And how many children are made miserable through the hideous fear that comes from threats and from punishment postponed?

If a man should be whipped incessantly for three or four hours he would think his tormentor a monster of brutality.

Yet you say to a child:

“I will whip you for that to-morrow.”

You sentence that child to hours of the most acute mental suffering, and if the child be nervous and unusually sensitive, you may permanently injure its health. —-

Here is a scene unfortunately not rare in this country:

A thin, nervous little boy, perhaps ten years old, was walking along a suburban street. Suddenly, on turning a corner, he was confronted by a man, apparently his father.

The child stood trembling. The man, in a voice of cold, concentrated anger, said:

“Didn’t I tell you to come early. You go to the house and WAIT THERE TILL I COME BACK AND FIX YOU.”

The man walked on, to get the drink of beer or whiskey that should add to his natural cruelty, and the poor child, without a word, started for home to await the coming punishment.

No more cruel treatment was ever endured by any human being than the punishment inflicted by that thoughtless man on the nervous, helpless child placed in his power.

Later, of course, there followed the punishment; a huge, powerful man striking repeatedly the delicate body of the child, emphasizing the brutality of his blows with more brutal words, and feeling when it was over that he had gloriously done his duty as a typical American father.

Of course, the actual brutal beating was only a small part of the child’s ordeal.

The most horrible part was the waiting for the punishment. No man in the death cell ever suffered more than thousands of children suffer every day waiting for the brutality which is to exemplify our savage notions concerning the education of children.

If such a monstrous parody on a father should be met in some lonely wood by a huge gorilla and treated as that father treats his own son, he would complain bitterly of the gorilla’s ferocity. Yet it would not equal in any way his own brutal and less excusable cruelty. —-

If a parent says that he cannot bring up his children and control them without beating them, you may say to that parent:

You never struck a child in your life except when you were angry, and you would not have dared to strike it if it had been of your own size.

Children born of decent parents can be brought up, and ARE brought up, without beatings, and if yours are a different kind of children it is a reflection on YOU, and on your whole brood and family.

The poor, ignorant hen can teach its young ones to scratch and hunt worms, and acquire whatever education they need without hurting them, and a human being should be able to do for his own as much as a hen can do.