Since the rise of feminist movement in the 1960s, discipline has been on decline in the home. Many leading feminists also spread the idea that corporal punishment for children who misbehaved was cruel and would harm the child rather than help them. Some argued that by using so-called violent punishments to deal with unruly children, it would, in turn, make the child become more violent.
Due to this rise in anti-disciplinary ideas towards child rearing, a rebellious and entitled generation of young people grew up in the late sixties and seventies. These were the first visible effects of the lack of corporal punishment. During the sixties, young people began to declare that they had certain rights and stood up for what they felt they were entitled to. Many also turned to recreational drug use, and use of drugs like LSD snd marijuana became widespread. All of these problems stemmed from a lack of proper child-rearing in homes and schools.
It is this generation of people raised in the sixties and seventies who are now the parents and even grandparents of the children that are in the high schools today. While many of these parents did go to school in a time when schools still did allow corporal punishment, its use as a system of discipline was being greatly diminished. By the early 1990s, corporal punishment in public schools was illegal in most western European nations.
Between July and October of 2017, at least forty five teachers quit their jobs in the Harrisburg District of Public Schools in Pennsylvania. All of these teachers cited the same reason for leaving—classroom violence. In this particular incident, teachers and other students were being “hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at.” Some of these students even flipped over tables, desks, and chairs! This is happening in the first grade of the public school system in America! What are these children going to be like by the time they complete their education twelve years later! Andrew Miiller, writer for theTrumpet.com, said, “School violence is getting so bad because the moral fiber of America is breaking down.” These children need someone to tell them that they can’t do that, and if they disobey some form of discipline is inescapable. But this is not what happens in their homes. The temper tantrums of these children are simply tolerated by their parents. These children have not been taught that it is wrong and when they commit these atrocities their parents do not do anything about it.
As Garner Ted Armstrong wrote in his book, The Plain Truth About Child Rearing, “Most parents are inclined to make excuses for their children’s poor behaviour. Actually, they are excusing themselves, as the ones who are really to blame for the irresponsible actions of their children.” The parents are the ones to blame. It is their fault that they have not yet instilled these children with a simply sense of what is right and what is wrong. Garner Ted Armstrong continues, “But the real truth is very clear. This child comes from a poorly scheduled environment, from a poorly managed home. He is the product of a careless mother and father who, after making numerous mistakes in his care and training, merely make excuses for the obvious result of their carelessness.” These parents do not want to admit that the cause of their rowdy, obstreperous child is their own negligence in the way that they raised their child. By neglecting to correct their children, these parents actually show that they hate their children. Proverbs 13:24 states, He that spares the rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him betimes.
This crazy behaviour has led to a major increase in school deaths. In the 2013-2014 school year there were forty eight school children or staff that died violent deaths at school or travelling between school and home. In the same school year, sixty five percent of public schools reported at least one violent incident had occurred on school grounds. This amounts to about 757,000 crimes or fifteen crimes per 1000 students! This children are turning into criminals. Former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation J. Edgar Hoover said in his book, How Good a Parent are You?, “Criminals are made, not born.” He later goes on to show that it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that their child grows up to be an upstanding citizen, and that is the training that provide that ultimately determines whether they will be a criminal or not. All of these problems in schools could have been solved if only the parents taught and disciplined their children when they were younger. Proverbs 22:6 teaches that parents should, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. In his book, Garner Ted Armstrong said, “In ordinary cases, states one authority, corporal punishment is unnecessary after the younger years of childhood.” Children can be moulded and shaped; they are highly pliable while they are still young. As the Jesuit priest Ignatius of Loyola famously said, “Give me the child for the first seven years, and I will give you a Catholic for life.” They can be taught to understand what is right and what is wrong from a surprisingly young age. Too many parents just let the children do as they please and never give their children any form of rules.
This lawlessness and lack of rules that the children experience at home transfers to how they act when they enter a school setting. Many schools do not enforce any kind of corporal punishment, but do the other forms of discipline that the schools have replaced it with work? During the 2011-2012 school year, over six million students received some form of in-school detention or out of school suspensions. A few years later, in the 2014-15 school year, public schools in America took disciplinary action 1.3 million times because of incidents that related to alcohol, illicit drugs, violence, or possession of weapons on school grounds. However, seventy eight percent of these students were repeat offenders who the school had taken disciplinary action against before. Obviously, the current system of discipline is not working.
Some parents wanted to see a change in the level of discipline administered in schools. In a study reported by the BBC, fifty one percent of parents in the United Kingdom were in favour of reinstituting corporal punishment such as the cane in school. Ninety one percent of the parents and, perhaps surprisingly, sixty two percent of the students surveyed thought that teachers needed to be tougher in administering punishment when disorder arises in the classroom. Even though that study was conducted in 2011, nothing has changed.
For many years Britain still had an alternative to public schools—grammar schools. These grammar schools were publicly-funded, private boarding schools where students were able to enter on merit, and they were free unlike other private schools which costed thousands of pounds every year. They were single sex schools that were considered part of a different classification of schools, so while corporal punishment was banned from public schools in 1986, it was not prohibited in private and grammar schools until 1998. Generally, the children that went to this school came from more stable family situations because these were the children with the best test scores at the end of year six. The families that sent their children to grammar schools tended to be more supportive of the schools decisions to use disciplinary action and corporal punishment when their children needed it. These schools were known for producing the brightest minds because they allowed the students to study without distractions like the opposite sex and because all of these schools had a strict code of rules and discipline was administered immediately when these rules were broken. All of the students understood the rules and the consequences that would be meted out if the rules were broken. This is where the students are able to develop their own discipline. Developing personal discipline is what is really necessary for students to thrive once they enter the real world. That is why the students that graduated from the schools were much more successful. These schools still exist throughout the country today, and even though they are no longer able to practice corporal punishment, a strict order and discipline is maintained, so that the students know what is required of them, and these schools are still producing the some of the brightest pupils in the country.
When I attended Imperial Academy, I noticed that many of these same principles exist in the school. The students are expected to do their homework, talk respectfully to their teachers, and treat other students with respect. This is so different from other schools because the tremendous decline in the standard of education today. Unlike most public schools, the parents of Imperial Academy students support the work with and support the decisions of the school staff. This means that the children receive the same standards at school and at home. While I am not aware of corporal punishments every being used in Imperial Academy, due to the way the parents support the school administration any students that got themselves into trouble would be receiving corporal punishment when they returned home. Imperial Academy students also have seen exceptionally high test scores on standardised state testing when compared to other students of the same age.
On the contrary, students in the millennial generation ( born 1982-2000) have been shown to have much lower levels of academic achievement than their parents’ generation. A study published by the North American Journal of Psychology said the following: “Many of our public university colleagues believe there has been a downturn in the academic performance of their current students. Some are convinced that this generation is less knowledgeable and academically skilled than previous generations.” In their studies, they took into account the scores for the SAT, a standardised college entrance exam. In the verbal section, the average score from a 1020 in 1995 to a 910 in 2010. The one thing that they said was probably the main cause for this was, “[n]arcissistic attitudes and behaviors, perhaps especially problems that accompany entitled behaviour, may also be hampering this college generation’s academic performance.” They also said the impulsivity of the generation has increased, and that due to the increases in narcissism and impulsivity they prefer short-term pleasures rather than waiting for the long-term gains they could obtain in the future.
This generation, the millennials, also has very high unemployment rates. This can be pinned down to two things: lack of ambition and overconfidence. Some millennials have a sense of entitlement and need to obtain all of the things that their parents have now. What they don’t realise is that their parents worked for years to accumulate all of their things like a house, car, etc. They expect to be able to get the same kinds of jobs as their parents without even having any work experience yet. Larry Alton writing for Forbes magazine says, “many millennials find themselves with extraordinarily high expectations about what kind of jobs they can get. They want to start out with more responsibility and higher pay, even if they don’t have much experience. If they can’t find the “dream job” they’re looking for, they drop off or stop looking entirely. Those high expectations are crushing their potential.” Millennials also tend to be lazier and they don’t want to put the work in to finding a job as long as their parents keep letting them live in the basement. Twenty four percent of these young people (aged 25-34) are still living with their parents—double the eleven percent in 1980! They are also known for frittering away the time on their phones, social media, and video games. These are all issues that could be fixed if the parents would implement some discipline, kick them out of the house, and tell them that they need to go find a job.
This generation has become entitled, aggressive, lazy, and unambitious. Their standards morally and academically have been consistently dropping because they haven’t disciplined themselves to learn for themselves and to push themselves on to the great achievements and jobs that many of them believe are owed to them. By reintroducing greater forms of discipline, even capital punishment if necessary, in schools students will be prodded to keep in step or meet the whip if they fall back. If the students are receiving this guidance, love, instruction, and correction at home as well, they will begin to develop discipline for themselves and achieve more.