Jordan B. Peterson’s Support of Corporal Punishment for Children: A Critique


Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan B. Peterson rose to fame in late 2016 for his opposition to bill C-16, a proposed bill (now passed) purportedly designed to protect “gender identity” and “gender expression.” Since then, Peterson has gone on to amass a YouTube following of over 2.5 million subscribers, create a Patreon account earning tens of thousands of dollars per month (before deleting it last year), and publish his multi-million copy bestseller, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.1 The book has remained on Amazon’s top 20 most read list for 118 weeks, ever since it was first published in January 2018.

According to its Amazon synopsis, 12 Rules for Life “uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research” in order to answer the question “What does everyone in the modern world need to know?” Given his impressive academic credentials and global following, Peterson certainly appears qualified to author such a book. So, let’s take a look at his revelatory research.

“Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them”

The focus of this article is Rule 5 of Peterson’s 12 Rules: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. In this chapter, Peterson (himself a father of two adult children) makes some reasonable statements about parenting such as that “Clear rules make for secure children and calm, rational parents.” The controversy arises when he claims that, in order to adhere to Rule 5, parents should be willing to physically punish their children. In other words, hitting your children will help to ensure you like them (or at least remain neutral towards them?). However, Peterson takes issue with the use of the term “hitting”:

And what about the idea that hitting a child merely teaches them to hit? First: No. Wrong. Too simple. For starters, “hitting” is a very unsophisticated word to describe the disciplinary act of an effective parent.

Already, Peterson is implying that physical punishment can be part of an “effective” parent’s parental toolkit. This assumption is evaluated below, but first, more from Peterson:

If “hitting” accurately described the entire range of physical force, then there would be no difference between rain droplets and atom bombs. Magnitude matters—and so does context, if we’re not being wilfully blind and naïve about the issue. Every child knows the difference between being bitten by a mean, unprovoked dog and being nipped by his own pet when he tries playfully but too carelessly to take its bone. How hard someone is hit, and why they are hit, cannot merely be ignored when speaking of hitting. Timing, part of context, is also of crucial importance. If you flick your two-year-old with your finger just after he smacks the baby on the head with a wooden block, he will get the connection, and be at least somewhat less willing to smack her again in the future. That seems like a good outcome.

Here, Peterson argues that physical punishment, in this case flicking an infant, reduces the likelihood that the infant will misbehave in the future. Contrary to claims of “cutting-edge research,” Peterson does so without citing a single study to support his view. In fact, this entire section of the book is bereft of any reference to any research supporting the effectiveness of corporal punishment.

For the child who is pushing the limits in a spectacularly inspired way, a swat across the backside can indicate requisite seriousness on the part of a responsible adult. There are some situations in which even that will not suffice, partly because some children are very determined, exploratory, and tough, or because the offending behaviour is truly severe.

In addition to flicking, Peterson also supports more aggressive forms of physical punishment. Despite urging parents to use “minimum necessary force” he states that in some situations, even a “swat” may not suffice. He enumerates several reasons for this, which revolve around attributes (e.g. “determined,” “tough”) of the child. Noticeably absent from his list of reasons why a “swat” may be insufficient is the idea that physical punishment is simply not an effective form of behaviour modification.

Since Peterson does not cite any research to support the use of corporal punishment, let’s look at what the evidence actually suggests.

Research on Corporal Punishment

A 1997 study involving a national sample of 807 mothers of children 6-9 years of age concluded the following:

When parents use corporal punishment to reduce ASB [antisocial behaviour], the long-term effect tends to be the opposite. The findings suggest that if parents replace corporal punishment by nonviolent modes of discipline, it could reduce the risk of ASB among children and reduce the level of violence in American society.2

Results from another study examining the impact of corporal punishment on child behaviour problems indicated that “parental CP [corporal punishment] uniquely contributes to negative behavioral adjustment in children at both 36 months and at 1st grade, with the effects at the earlier age more pronounced in children with difficult temperaments.”3

The researchers also stated:

Most available research indicates that there are few, if any, positive developmental outcomes associated with CP beyond immediate compliance with a parent’s directive (Gershoff, 2002). In fact, a growing body of research suggests there may be unintended negative consequences, including increasing children’s aggressive behaviour and their likelihood of becoming delinquent and contributing to poorer psychological and cognitive functioning. (e.g. Gershoff, 2002; Smith & Brooks-Gunn, 1997).

Based on 20 years of research, authors of a 2012 literature review stated: “no study has found physical punishment to have a long-term positive effect, and most studies have found negative effects.”4

Recent meta-analyses conducted by Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor found that:

Spanking was associated with more aggression, more antisocial behavior, more externalizing problems, more internalizing problems, more mental health problems, and more negative relationships with parents. Spanking was also significantly associated with lower moral internalization, lower cognitive ability, and lower self-esteem. The largest effect size was for physical abuse; the more children are spanked, the greater the risk that they will be physically abused by their parents.5

The researchers also reported that even after removing studies relying on abusive methods (hitting with fist or object), spanking was associated with detrimental child outcomes. They concluded: “there is no evidence that spanking does any good for children and all evidence points to the risk of it doing harm.”

Finally, in spite of Peterson’s attempt to provide a nuanced interpretation of hitting, research has demonstrated notable disparities in how parents and children experience physical punishment. For example, Dobbs and Duncan found that parents often describe corporal punishment as “a gentle tap or loving slap,” whilst most children in the study used the words “hard hit” or “very hard hit” to describe it.6

“Do as I say, not as I do”

The most absurd aspect of Peterson’s support for corporal punishment is not its complete lack of empirical backing, but rather, it’s that just a few pages earlier, he suggests a list of rules to give children—the first of which, is “Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defence.”

So if a child were to apply this rule consistently, he would have no choice but to fight back when physically “disciplined” by his parents. It’s hard to believe a clinical psychologist and former Harvard professor could publish something so blatantly self-contradictory.

Widespread Condemnation

If Peterson’s lack of evidence and lack of consistency were not bad enough, he also fails to mention that 58 states have already banned corporal punishment7 and that, as noted by Elizabeth Gershoff in 2013, the United Nations condemns the use of corporal punishment:

The United Nations has said unequivocally that “corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment are forms of violence” (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2006, para. 18); that corporal punishment violates Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects children from “all forms of physical or mental violence” (United Nations, 1989, Article 19, para. 1); and that it should be banned in all contexts (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2006).8

Universal prohibition and elimination of all corporal punishment is also supported by UNICEF, UNESCO, and many other national and international organisations.9 And in Peterson’s home country of Canada, more than 400 organizations have endorsed the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, which states that:

On the basis of the clear and compelling evidence—that the physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development—parents should be strongly encouraged to develop alternative and positive approaches to discipline.10

The Moral Case

This article has focused on the question of whether corporal punishment is an effective form of behaviour modification. The evidence suggests that it isn’t. But even if it were, it would not justify the use of violence against a defenceless minor—whether construed as “spanking,” “swatting,” “slapping,” or any other euphemism:

Although most Americans do not like to call it so, spanking is hitting and hitting is violence. By using the euphemistic term spanking, parents feel justified in hitting their children while not acknowledging that they are, in fact, hitting. We as a society have agreed that hitting is not an effective or acceptable way for adults to resolve their differences, so it should not be a surprise that hitting children, like hitting adults, causes more problems than it solves. It is time to stop hitting our children in the name of discipline.11

There are sections of 12 Rules that hint at agreement with Gershoff. For example, when Peterson writes that parenting involves helping children learn that “hitting others is a sub-optimal social strategy,” and that:

Violence…is no mystery. It’s peace that’s the mystery. Violence is the default. It’s easy. It’s peace that is difficult: learned, inculcated, earned.

Yet, by the end of the chapter, he remains committed to the idea that a parent’s reliance on the “default” is justified (and in certain instances, perhaps even required) when directed at a child.

But Wait… There’s More!

In early 2019, Peterson announced he was working on a sequel to 12 Rules tentatively titled Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. But despite plans to release the book in January of this year, it remains unpublished. This is likely because, according to his daughter, Peterson, who had been taking prescribed antidepressants and clonazepam, “stopped cold turkey in the summer [of 2019] after talking with a psychiatrist…and experienced horrific physical withdrawal and anxiety.” Consequently, he has been undergoing treatment to combat his withdrawal symptoms, which include akathisia.

The adverse reactions that can occur following the use of psychiatric drugs have been well-documented by other MIA contributors. Suffice it to say, assuming Peterson is able to recover and finish his planned-for sequel, perhaps by then he will have re-evaluated his stance on the issue of violence against children, reflecting the global decline in approval for corporal punishment that began decades ago.12

Regardless of Peterson’s current (and potential future) parental recommendations, here’s hoping that decline continues.

Show 12 footnotes

  1. Peterson, J. B. (2018). 12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos. Toronto: Random House Canada.
  2. Straus, A, M., Sugarman, D. B., & Giles-Sims, J. (1997). Spanking by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior of children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 151, 761-767, p. 761.
  3. Mulvaney, M. K., & Mebert, C. J. (2007). Parental corporal punishment predicts behavior problems in early childhood. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(3), 389-397, p. 389.
  4. Durrant, J., & Ensom, R. (2012). Physical punishment of children: lessons from 20 years of research. CMAJ, 184(12), 1373-1377, p. 1375
  5. Gershoff, E. T., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of Family Psychology, 1-17, p. 12.
  6. Dobbs et al., 2004, p. 376, in Vittrup, B., & Holden, G. W. (2010). Children’s assessments of corporal punishment and other disciplinary practices: the role of age, race, SES, and exposure to spanking. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 211-220.
  7. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. (2019). Global report 2019. Author. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from
  8. Gershoff, E. T. (2013). Spanking and child development: We know enough now to stop hitting our children. Child Development Perspectives, 7(3), 133-137, p. 136.
  9. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. (2017). Ending legalised violence against children: global progress to December 2017. Author. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from
  10. Durrant, J. E., Ensom, R., & Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth. (2004). Joint statement on physical punishment of children and youth. Ottawa: Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, p. v.
  11. Gershoff, 2013, p. 136.
  12. Pinker, S. (2011). Chapter 7 – The rights of revolutions: Children’s rights and the decline of infanticide, spanking, child abuse, and bullying. In S. Pinker, The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Viking.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. “Regardless of Peterson’s current (and potential future) parental recommendations, here’s hoping that decline continues.”

    I don’t understand. Are you hoping Peterson’s decline in health continues?

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      • Sorry, Sedarati, but i think you’re over-intellectualizing, and misunderstanding Peterson’s words and philosophical perspective. Peterson is the father of 2 adult children. You, Sederati, have NO children, correct? So you can ONLY IMAGINE the real, lived experience which forms the basis of Petersons views. Not all gestural redirection and physical correction of misbehavior is the same as “corporal punishment” .

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        • I agree.

          I respect the bravery and awareness it takes to put an opinion on child rearing forward. I don’t agree with spanking but am certain there is much more to this story. No one who shakes a baby ever plans it. Only self-awareness can prevent it. Public shaming Jordan Peterson for his honesty won’t make parents who abuse their children stop, but it may silence sincere people who do things they deeply regret in overwhelm when they need us most.

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        • Sorry Bradford, but “over-intellectualizing” and “misunderstanding” aren’t arguments. Neither is playing the parent card. Being a parent has no bearing on the empirical and ethical cases against corporal punishment outlined in my article. By your logic, only psychiatrists should be permitted to write about psychiatry, for only they have the “real, lived experience” associated with the diagnosis and treatment of people deemed “mentally ill.”

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          • That’s not a very good logical comparison. Psychiatrists, on the whole, have no emotional bond with their patients. They are more invested in keeping their “patients” ill than anything else. It’s all about the $.

            The same would apply to most education. On the whole, teachers aren’t trained to help you develop critical thinking skills, just that you memorize what they teach.

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          • Jon: If one has not published, but experienced a parent’s form of punishment of anger out of control, bruises to other siblings, forced decisions that undermine one’s own ability to make decisions, then how can you embrace an academy that has its own gatekeepers? Even the autonomous nature of this technology begins to shape one’s thinking when to really be more intuitive about the Art of LIFE requires an awareness that just may not surface from empiricism.

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          • I like the courage that it took to call out Peterson’s position on corporal punishment given how many fanboys/fangirls he has. Anti-psychiatrist psychiatrist William Glasser made the point long ago that external control ((with carrots (punishment in another form) and sticks)) of internally controlled human-animals is (socially-correct) craziness that interferes with the target’s own internal control dynamics. Brilliant horse whisperers like Monty Roberts (online) have also shown that understanding and respecting even the most troublesome horse is a far easier, faster, safer, and more effective way to get a saddle and a rider on that horse for the first time thank is the bucking bronco ‘breaking’ approach. That said, any time one is calling out a paradigm as old is as breaking the will of children or horses with reward or punishment, one can plan on the usual attacks from True Believers who largely ignore logic and evidence.

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  2. I tend to agree, corporal punishment is not a mature and respectful manner in which to treat one’s children. Generally, I found giving my children ‘time outs’ worked fairly well. I must admit, however, I did once spank my three year old son because I was terrified he was going to hurt his newborn sister, since I had yet to teach him how careful one has to be with a newborn’s neck.

    I did quickly apologize to him, and explain to him why I was so scared. But that was the only time I ever spanked either of my children. And I will say I never had anything but praise from teachers, about how well behaved and respectful my children were. And my son did go on to graduate from university Phi Beta Kappa, so that one little spanking didn’t likely do too much harm.

    I will also say I believe yelling at children is not a mature and respectful manner in which to treat children either. I actually had a teacher once apologize to me because she had improperly yelled at my daughter (she yelled at the wrong Ellie), and my daughter broke out crying. I told her that neither my husband nor I ever yelled at our children, so my daughter was likely just shocked at such disrespectful maltreatment.

    A good rule of thumb in parenting, “treat others as you would like to be treated,” and that includes children.

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    • Kudos to you for apologising to your child and explaining what happened.

      I like the Golden Rule, too, but after reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Skin in the Game,” I think I like the Silver Rule even better:

      The Golden Rule wants you to Treat others the way you would like them to treat you. The more robust Silver Rule says Do not treat others the way you would not like them to treat you. More robust? How? Why is the Silver Rule more robust?
      First, it tells you to mind your own business and not decide what is “good” for others. We know with much more clarity what is bad than what is good. The Silver Rule can be seen as the Negative Golden Rule, and as I am shown by my Calabrese (and Calabrese-speaking) barber every three weeks, via negativa (acting by removing) is more powerful and less error-prone than via positiva (acting by addition)…
      Nobody embodies the notion of symmetry better than Isocrates, who lived more than a century and made significant contributions when he was in his nineties. He even managed a rare dynamic version of the Golden Rule: “Conduct yourself toward your parents as you would have your children conduct themselves toward you.” We had to wait for the great baseball coach Yogi Berra to get another such dynamic rule for symmetric relations: “I go to other people’s funerals so they come to mine.”
      More effective, of course, is the reverse direction, to treat one’s children the way one wished to be treated by one’s parents.

      Taleb, N. N. (2018). Skin in the game: Hidden asymmetries in daily life. London: Allen Lane.

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      • Have you read the Jimmy Piersall Story? To watch the film? To understand the difference between being in or out of the game? Learning how and why that typing is not the same as speaking? Thinking about thinking with reflexivity? The degree and extent this page is held in place by some form of thermodynamics as theory applied through sophisticated levels of engineering and government agencies? How and why can one ask questions here but be denied enrollment in educational programs “for asking too many questions?”

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  3. I tried to get access to a set of ‘punishment books’ held in our State archives. I was interested in what was documented about the public floggings I was subjected to in school as an 8 year old boy. I know it would be easy to say that I was young and my interpretation of these things is possibly disorted etc, and even that such beatings were part of the ‘master servant relationship’ that existed between teacher and student.

    What I do remember though is that us boys (it was never the girls) were made to bend over and touch our toes and were beaten on the legs with a black board rules (a 1 meter piece of wood swung baseball bat style). In my instance this left me black and blue from my butt to my ankles. My parents did, when I finally showed them the bruising, took me to the school and asked that it be stopped. The teacher claimed it was as a result of me being such an ‘annoying child’ and asking a lot of questions etc.

    What I can say, and I’m sure this will not make me popular (but i’ll say it anyway) is that I was only ever beaten by females. It was they who taught me about doing violence to others. Had my father ever taken to me I wouldn’t be writing this now. I note in the above article there is no mention of the gender basis of the violence done to children. Perhaps things have changed since I was a child?

    Perhaps lets start with who is actually doing the ‘punishing’ rather than the vague term ‘parents’? And who is the target of this violence? And does that result in boys becoming more violent in the future. I did as I said try to get access to these punishment books to do some reseach into this but …..access denied. My hypothesis was that the kids who were beaten sensless at school by teachers were more likely to have ended up in prison as a result of crimes of violence.

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    • I’m sorry to hear about the violence you experienced as a child. I’m glad your parents eventually intervened.

      I think you raise an interesting question, regarding whether children are more likely to be hit by women versus men. I am not aware of research addressing this question. If anyone is, feel free to share it. That said, if it were found that mothers are more likely to hit their children compared to fathers, it may be simply due to the fact that mothers are more likely to be the primary caregiver and thus, have more time spent with their children.

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      • It was nothing compared to the ‘violence’ I have experienced from people who claim to be ‘medical people’ who subjected me to 7 hours of torture, kidnapped me and then sent fraudulent documents to the Mental Health Law Centre and attempted to have me overdosed in an Emergency Dept (check before assuming illness, the removal of documents showing I was ‘spiked’ done to enable the slanderous conduct of labelling someone speaking the truth as paranoid. I assume people of science would understand the effects of such vile conduct). I guess that ‘annoying child’ simply never went away, kept asking questions and still needs to be beaten to death according to those who see themselves as being “master’.

        I agree that spending more time with children may be the reason mothers may be more likely to strike children (though we are still speculating rather than working with established facts), much like those ‘touched’ by psychiatry are 44 times more likely to commit suicide. My anecdotal evidence all I have to work on though.

        And isn’t it the case that if it were found that women were more likely to be striking children then the advertising campaigns should be targeted towards those who perpetrate this aggression towards children rather than making the assumption that the only violence done in our community is done by males? I loved my child and gandchildren that I haven’t seen for 10 years now, and have never once found a need to hit them. Though I guess mental health services through their negligence fraud and slander have made sure I will never get the opportunity to do so. Especially now the current Minister for Health is in on the slandering to conceal the human rights abuses for his ‘colleagues’.

        I know I understand completely how these acts of violence are overlooked by my community. I mean I have here a set of documents showing that not only was I tortured and kidnapped, but that the hospital concerned distributed fraudulent documents to conceal those human rights abuses and crimes, and not a soul will step forward and assist me with that fact (including police who have found means to neglect their duty openly and in writing. They refuse to accept the documented facts and have stated they will arrest me for having the proof of the torture, though I think their involvement in the interrogation while I was drugged without knowledge may be influencing their negligence and concealment of criminal acts). They prefer the false narrative and simply ignore the truth, even those who claim to be ‘advocates’ for the ‘mentally ill’ sit on their hands despite the bold claims of ‘good people’.

        And they look at the body count and tut tut and make calls for reform? Well, after they sort out their pay increases for all the good work they are doing, throwing victims of psychiatry under the bus for doctors and organised criminals with influence. Excuse me while I get a bucket …….

        Anyway, interesting article. It took Finland a 100 years to see the results of banning beating children but the results can be seen in their culture I believe. I have a freind who came from their as a child who could not believe the way Aboriginal boys were treated by teachers in this country at what we call schools. I guess it prepared thm for the way they were to be treated later in life by ‘authorities’, very badly.

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  4. This guy is really a mixed bag. I had been hoping he would come out of his recent antidepressant horror story as an anti-psychiatry ally, but this is pretty bizarre. Though I’m sure the state often goes overboard when separating parents & children for disproportionate offenses.

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    • Yes, when the WHO says “corporal punishment of children is *always* bad” I’m inclined to question.

      I have heard of tales of Americans in Scandanavian countries who spanked their children, and ended up with their children removed from their custody into foster care. Surely this, too, is an extreme?

      I can see why Peterson probably takes umbrance with this worldwide policy, as he is at the sharp end of the liberal stick at times.

      What he states in his book is nuanced. It is VITALLY important for children to have clarity and consistency, because it is the child’s job to test the boundaries at all times. If the boundary is in the same place, consistently, and there are consequences for crossing that boundary – to their level of understanding – then they will learn better. Especially if this is done from the support of love. “I love you, not this behaviour, but I love you.”

      It is the parents who sometimes say it’s okay for a child to throw a tantrum and then give them a lolly to shut them up, and then the next tantrum smacks them – that raises a confused and wild – and surely – abusive antisocial child. I’ve seen this more often than I can count.

      As for Peterson, it is my fond hope that his Dark Night of the Soul with his benzo / antidepressant withdrawal will help his great mind (and he does have an excellent, if rigid, mind) to transform and he will be able to drop his labels.

      One of his psychologist’s skills is to label everything. Diag-nonsense labels. “post-Marxist” “neoliberal” labels.

      It is my fond hope that – not that I wish anyone to suffer – his suffering will soften his heart and integrate his mind much more fully into opening.

      Perhaps, even, he is getting Iboga, or some other psychedelic treatment to facilitate this process.

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      • I think there is a big difference between saying, “Corporal punishment won’t destroy kids’ psyches in and of itself” and “It’s really no problem for parents to use corporal punishment.” It’s one of those things where the truth sometimes hurts, and it feels like a criticism of the person who has used spanking, but it’s still the truth. I think it’s fine to say, “You don’t have to worry that you’ve destroyed your kids’ lives just because you spanked them now and then,” and certainly removing kids to foster care for spanking is massive overkill (given the incredible damage done by the very act of foster care placement), but I think it is important to be honest and say that spanking has been shown to be ineffective and potentially damaging, and that there are more child-friendly ways that work better in accomplishing the same goals.

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  5. I would judge the psychiatric drugging of children for any reason to be many times more harmful than corporal punishment of children.

    But I don’t think corporal punishment is in any way justifiable as effective, it’s more to do with adult satisfaction in physical abuse.

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    • I’d certainly rather be flicked with awareness then taken to another child psychiatrist!!! The punishment I was escaping was nothing like electroshock +++.

      It’s an important discussion. Children who are difficult to control get drugged and worse. We do need to talk about this.
      What do parents do when the whole society is looking out for signs of illness in children? Even video game use can be a symptom now. If you know all the facts of psych treatment and you believe in a harm reduction approach? I don’t know what I would do to keep my kid safe. Mothers fleeing SS officers have smothered babies by accident to protect them. We cannot know what we will do until we are tested. I’m glad it’s not me raising kids.

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      • Don’t spank children. Psychiatry has the answer to “unruly behaviour”. Psychiatry would NEVER use a rod of wood. They have rods of electricity in the form of chemicals and ETC.
        And don’t forget, once the child is getting “treated”, the whole dang “disfunctional family” gets chatted about in the most serious and cultish discussions.

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  6. Jordan Peterson: a man good with words and bereft if ideas (or any that have any internal consistency at any rate). The charlatans charlatan: he charms those easily taken in with fake intellectualism and comes across as a stern Daddy, telling us all off for not reaching his rather high and impossible standards while looking credible by taking pot shots at the bogey men of political correctness (don’t hit children for example) while ignoring the real issues of inequality and injustice (the evidence that hitting children harms and is not an effective way to discipline children).

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  7. JBP what a Horror story .. So sad there are those who choose not to learn some kind of naraku 7circles hell story really stuck forever in an endless cycle of crap I truly pity him and his entire family tragedy of the highest order

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  8. Jordan Peterson is prone to depression….. While that on it’s own tells us little combine that with his harsh parental manner towards many things and his promoting physical punishment of children and I, in my putting two and two together to make five, see him as having a harsh conscience that he wants to project on the world while fighting the bogeymen of censorship driven by rebellion against his own harsh parenting.

    Unfortunately as yet I have no proof of my theory.

    As some of you may have realised he has riled me. I have a friend who acts like he is her cult leader where as I see a charlatan.

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    • I tend to think the same about his motives and actions. Hes problems stems from his childhood, but he wants to save people by implementing the same rules that he lived thru. He thinks tha they still are saving him. Hence the constant struggle.

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  9. “But wait, there’s more …”

    You go on to describe Peterson’s unfortunate encounter with clonazepam. I was expecting more evidence and empirical data to support your theory … but it seems you are arguing that his (traumatic) experience could change his view on hitting children.

    The logic here would be to get undisciplined children hooked on benzodiazepines and see if their behavior improves once they are in withdrawal. Technically, it’s not corporal punishment. It’s psychological.

    Having said that, I don’t pay much attention to J. Peterson.

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    • “‘But wait, there’s more …’

      You go on to describe Peterson’s unfortunate encounter with clonazepam. I was expecting more evidence and empirical data to support your theory … but it seems you are arguing that his (traumatic) experience could change his view on hitting children.”

      To clarify, the sub-heading “But Wait… There’s More!” is a reference to Peterson’s planned-for sequel, tentatively titled “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.” His adverse reaction to psychiatric drugs was merely mentioned to help explain why his new book has been delayed, not because I expect this experience to change his views on parenting.

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  10. “Do not let your children do anything which makes you dislike them.”

    Oh, gross.

    Who reads a hot mess of a line like that and thinks, ‘Oh, perfect, this is the guy I want to take parenting advice from!’?

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    • This is the guy I would definitely vouch for in the parenting department. I tell my sons not to put anything on Facebook that would offend their grandparents. They’ve stuck to that advice, and I sure hope it will inform their own childrearing practices.

      I would tweak Peterson’s advice to “do not do anything to your children which makes others dislike them.” (I think he’s written that, too.) Perfect example: A child hear’s his parents uttering profanities and takes this mouth to school, telling teachers and others in no uncertain terms where to go. Or, they encourage the kid to be a picky eater and the kid is never invited to a neighbor’s house again to eat. For some odd reason, these little monsters are defended by their parents. Nobody else likes them. The weird thing is, these parents always have an excuse for the bad behavior of their child, on top of which they claim that they bring up their children to respect others. I can only imagine that these same parents hold adult to adult conversations in front of their children, where they routinely trash people and policies that they don’t agree with. The child has no filter, and should not be present in the room.

      What I make of this article is that it is a form of sealioning.

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        • Online:

          “Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity. It may take the form of “incessant, bad-faith invitations to engage in debate.”

          NOT. This article is well reasoned, based on the research, and one that took considerable courage. It’s obviously not about bad behavior by a child but about how to control or correct the child’s bad behavior without becoming even more bad as a conscious adult when doing so.

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      • I’m just gonna be over here laughing nervously in “queer-kid-who-grew-up-in-a-conservative-christian-culture” over this ‘not letting kids do things which other people dislike them for’ stuff.

        And as to ‘picky eaters,’ isn’t forcing kids to eat food they dislike another one of those things which is being linked to not-great outcomes?

        Either way, I would argue that not forcing people to eat foods which make them feel nauseated IS “respecting others.”

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      • Agreed and how utterly hypocritical of Mad in America to focus on Peterson’s “support of corporal punishment” and ignore the fact that the man was nearly killed by the profession and drugs this site is supposed to advocate against. I searched the MIA website for news on Jordan Peterson’s journey to hell and back thinking it would be such a huge boost to the movement to have his story only to find this, yes sealioning, article and a link to Peterson’s daughter’s older update on an obscure news site.

        To focus on Peterson’s supposed support for capital punishment taken totally out of context and ignoring the rest of his work while leaving out the daily truly horrible child abuse which comes from the media, the food industry and stress from parents in broken family systems who are overworked and underpaid in a society, North America, which has an exploiting rate of mental illness on a site which supposedly advocates against psychiatric abuse is more than sealioning, it is despicable and I detect more than a shade of schadenfreude in the tone of the article. I personally know a clinical case of a narcissist whose pathological behavior has sent her daughter into psychiatric hospitals and made her granddaughter a sociopathic little horror while she took “care” of her but yet decries any sort of corporal punishment is. The damage she has done to those girls far outweighs what Jordan Peterson says is should be used as the very last resort, and that would be, as he says, a slap on the bottom.

        The author is making the man out to look like he advocates whipping children whereas anyone with any knowledge of Peterson’s work or elaboration on this topic would know that the man an immense amount of compassion and in fact, until his tragic experience with benzodiazepines he maintained his practice as a clinical psychologist in addition to his college duties.

        If you want to pick on Peterson’s parenting advice, you should have picked on what he said about rewarding good behavior with gifts, but whatever his real or perceived faults the focus by Mad in America should be to highlight this man’s experience as a posterchild for the movement MIA supposedly represents. He and his daughter made a recent podcast FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE and it is nowhere to be seen on this website. What a total failure of advocacy this is by Mad in America.

        For those interested Peterson warning everyone about benzodiazepines:

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  11. Dehumanising the victim makes things simpler, it’s like breathing with a respirator.

    It eases the conscience of even the most conscious and calculating violator,

    words can reduce a person to an object, something more easy to hate than an animate entity, (Schizo, Borderline?)

    completely disposable, no problem to obliterate.

    The first day of school (prison) is always the hardest….

    The Language of Violence.

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    • I guess in many ways this dehumanising explains the ease with which police brutalise ‘patients’. Their consciences eased by the fact the person is not actually human, and of course the ease with which they were going to ‘despatch’ me for nothing more than complaining about being tortured and kidnapped shocked me…… at first. Then I realised how much death is part of the business, and knocking a few inconvenient truths in the ED would simply be a matter of positioning oneself and corrupting specific people. And who better to corrupt than a psychiatrist? I wonder if the total lack of accountability was achieved easily or if they had to threaten peoples families to achieve it?

      On one hand we have a Prime Minister stating Australians are a people who value a rule of law, and then we have Police and the Chief Psychiatrist simply ignoring the protections afforded the public by the law with no means of holding them to account. The Chief Psychiatrist literally rewriting the law, and police authorising the use of torture methods by acquiescing their duty.

      Well, at least thats the way that it appears to be. Perhaps a spanking by Ms Lash on the taxpayers credit card on a Friday night is considered ‘discipline’ by the Minister? lol

      I have of course heard the term “fixed delusion’. Though as what I have suggested would seem to be rather important to check, dismissing my claims as being delusional would seem to be a dangerous path to take. What if they ARE killing people in the ED to conceal their serious criminal conduct? I mean I’m sure a lot of people make such claims and investigation of the matters proves to be false (ir is they are ‘patients’ it may feel like torture and kidnapping, but undet the cover of “inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction” they can be kidnapped and tortured and it isn’t kidnapping and torturing but medicine. However, as I have stated on numerous occassions I have the documened proof (which police failed to retreive for the hospital) proving the torture and kidnapping. Now would that be motive enough for someone who thought police might do their job to attempt to ‘dispose’ of the victim given their is no accountability mechanism other than cover ups available to the State? It does make me wonder given the fact that police in the first instance accept evidence planted on someone who was drugged with benzos without their knowledge, and in the second won’t even look because they know they won’t like what they see. And in the meantime criminals within the hospital arrange a killing.

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      • Must have shocked a few folk when they did look, and now they can’t even speak the truth because they are so busy covering their negligence at not listening to the ‘mental patient’ making noise about being tortured and kidnapped when he was tortured and kidnapped and the Operations Manager did a ‘nasty’ with the Law Centre to conceal their human rights abuses.

        I once again draw attention to the fact I have the fraudulent set of documents sent to the Law Centre, and the real set showing the torture and kidnapping if anyone cares to look. Or do y’all prefer to ignore the truth because its one of those situations where …..,eheemm doctor knows best. Must have kidnapped and tortured him for some reason right? Yep, the reasons are sort of documented under the ‘verballing’. Fairly easy to understand in half an hour. I go from being the person who “tried to sort it out with the family” to psychotic drug abusing wife beater in two sheets of paper filled out by the same person who needed to justify his actions and kidnap me to conceal his crimes in his locked ward. A fraud and slanderer, in fact a serious criminal who has no doubt harmed a lot of other people due to being enabled by the State.

        I don’t know how many people are aware of the knee jerk reaction of these public officials in these situtaions, and the consequences of them. Police come across something they’re not sure of how to deal with it, make a referral to mental health for a chemical koshing and cover up. How many kids raped by priests found themselves referred to mental health services? And from that point on people like Gerald Ridsdale go about raping 300 plus more because police are making referrals to a ‘friendly’ doctor who thinks he can drug the pain of the rape away? Of course 40 years on that’s all forgotten about, most of the victims are dead, so I understand why it’s taken me 10 years of wasted time not seeing my family because these negligent public officers need to conceal their own misconduct, and not just the kidnapping and torture. I’m sure they can justify their conduct with a ‘verbal’ or some further “editing” of the documents. If nothing else they can up the ante with the slander as well, which I note is the preferred modus operandii of our current Minister for Health.

        And I listen to the calls for change within the system, and yet when the opportunity to hold these people to account for their vicious attack on a person, and make changes, they all mumble into their hands and turn away. “oh isn’t it just terrible what they are doing to those people at Belsen, but of course there’s nothing we can do apart from not vote for that guy with the funny moustache next election”. Shows how much of a ‘democracy’ we live in when people are afraid to stand up and even speak the truth. They all want to hide their actions in secret meetings with no other aim than avoiding doing the right thing. Why? No one is holding them to account anyway.

        I mean I get it, “these things tend to get out of hand” and I can’t blame the psyhiatrist not wanting his wife to go to prison. But killing people to conceal her criminal conduct? Yeah, it sure does tend to get out of hand. Still, at least it was only my family ‘fuking destroyed’. Or was it?

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      • “The Chief Psychiatrist literally rewriting the law”

        I met with a politician asking for government to take over policing psychiatry in the province. Dr. Swan recommended I only ask for 1 thing. He was friendly, but honest. He couldn’t because psychiatrists would get upset. We could get a Eugenics monument more quickly. So I asked instead for one small change to the MHA allowing a patient to name an advocate giving that person the same access rights as a lawyer, because the eugenics monument is like buying a bandaide for a corpse. He said it would take at least two years. (if at all) After too much trying all the way up to the Prime Minister, I quit hoping the Canadian government would help. They barely heard, the minister of health never answered. The prime minister’s office sent a polite placating form letter.

        What value are psych patients as people to a country or a community? You can’t sell us by the barrel. We only have secure long term wage and grant possibility broken. I have huge value broken. The same has repeated in the movement too. You have to prove there is something to fix and a way to fix it in order to be paid. Research. The system is working as designed.

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        • Hi O.O.

          Our laws as they are written contain what is a standard in many laws callled a burden of proof. There are basically three, suspect on reasonable grounds, on the balance of probabilities, and beyond a reasonable doubt (from lowest to highest). In order for a Community Nurse to remove a persons right to liberty they must meet the burden of “suspect on reasonable grounds” which is set out in s. 26 of the MH Act, critera of who should be an involuntary patient. Four criteria MUST be met for the detention and referral to be lawful. I won’t list them here but what I can say is I DID NOT MEET THESE CRITERIA. But I was dragged away by police anyway, and released after being tortured for 7 hours..

          The Chief Psychiatrist has as his duty the protection of consumers, carers and the community (ie ensuring the law is followed). He provides “expert legal advice to the Minister” on matters relating to the Mental Health Act.

          I have a letter from him stating that the burden of proof written in s.29 “referring for examination by a psychiatrist” does NOT state that the referrer must “suspect on reasonable grounds that the person requires an examination by a psychiatrist”, but that the referrer need only suspect on grounds they believe to be reasonable that the person requires an examination by a psychiatrist. Think about that difference.

          If this were true then there is no need for s.26 Criteria because the referrer simply defines what is “reasonable” and that can not be questioned or tested by the law. Now let me say I would expect that any student of law who did not know what a burden of proof is, or how it operates in law, should receive a FAIL, and need to repeat the class. And yet here we have a Chief Psychiatrist expert in law stating that the law allows arbitrary detentions because he has removed the very protections of the law put in place by our politicians to protect the public. Referrers no longer need to suspect on reasonable grounds, the reasonable grounds are defined by them and they could literally knock on anyones door and refer them because they want to.

          Of course I can’t find a lawyer who understands what a burden of proof is to approach the Chief Psychiatrist and correct him on his negligence, and ignorance of the law which is allowiong arbitrary detentions (kidnappings) and the use of known torture methods. I guess these lawyers find themselves in fear for their families given they would know that the law is no protection at all when the person who is responsible for the protections doesn’t know or recognise what those protections are.

          So they remove “reasonable grounds” for detention (suspect on reasonable grounds become suspect), and what is a standard objective test under law, becomes a subjective opinion which can not be tested under law. Then they drug fuk anyone who complains because no one is holding them to account because they have rewritten the law to allow them carte blanche and zero accountability. Any problems send police out to snatch them from their homes (referral by telephone) and we can ‘treat’ them for illnesses we make up on the spot when they are delivered to the hospital. This is a fact when you think through what I am saying regarding the Chief Psychiatrists claim.

          Not a soul prepared to even look at this letter for the C.P.. I did debate the matter with the Law Centre but the just kept sending me more bizarre statements like arbitrary detentions of citizens are under the “spirit of the Act’. What??? from supposed Human Rights lawyers? They don’t recognose the protections of the law either? The ‘spirit of the Act’ is to allow anyone to be snatched of the street and force drugged because a Community Nurse wants it done?

          Madness. Lawlessness, Criminality?

          Certainly the ‘verballed’ Form 1 creating the appearance of lawfullness is criminal fraud (signing a statutory declaration known to be “false or misleading as to the truth”) ,but in my case I think the ‘spiking’ and planting of a knife reveals a lot more regarding conspiring to stupefy and commit an indictable offence, namely kidnapping. It also reveals that the Community Nurse knows more about the law than the Chief Psychiatrist, because he has devised ways to get around the legal protections and has his colleagues prepared to commit serious criminal offences for him. ie the fraudulent documents sent to the Mental Health Law Centre concealing his criminal conduct. Maybe the Chief Psychiatrist could get this Community Nurse to give talks on how to torture citizens and conceal the truth from the public? Because if someone like me (mental patient) can figure it out, surely these smarty pants’ can?

          Though would these incompetent lawyers even recognise his crimes? I guess the hospital was concerend they would. So they sent a set that concealed and released some other medical records that created a slander they could use against me. All fully supported by my State government who provides funding for the Mental Health Law Centre to operate (or throw victims of torture under the bus for the State should they seek legal representation) So you suggestion of providing legal assistance may not be such a good idea after all when they become part of the abuse system. For example, when I didn’t agree to something, they simply appointed someone who would agree as my ‘carer’ and then they no longer needed to discuss anything with me. This would normally be called conspiring, but change the status to ‘patient’ and you can gaslight the target to suicide easily.

          The laws are there to protect, but the people who have a duty to enforce them have been corrupted. Their negligence, fraud and slanders provide them with carte blanche and zero accountability, and not a soul prepared to stand up. Meh, it worked for the National Socilaists for a few years, so I assume these guys haven’t got long either.

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    • “words can reduce a person to an object, something more easy to hate than an animate entity, (Schizo, Borderline?)”

      You are bang on about this.

      It is interesting to me how closely a LOT of people resemble the names they call out. Especially in those units. I guess it’s a much easier to hide. Many professions are convenient hiding spots, and you can be a super nasty person and completely get away with it.

      Of course I have my opinions about them too, but I lack the credentials to make the name stick.

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  12. I agree, that in keeping with most of what he became famous for, Jordon’s position on Corporal Punishment for Children, is ill advised and not remotely “evidence based” for whatever that’s worth.

    Peterson pushed the serotonin chemical imbalance theory using lobster studies
    and supported psych drug use, proudly proclaiming his entire family was on SSRI drugs for decades

    Later having discovered they were actually suffering from autoimmune disease (like the vast majority of those wrongly accused of being “mentally ill”, they were cured by Dr. Paul Saladino’s all meat cure.

    Paul Saladino, Psychiatrist
    Diet and Mental Health carnivore nutrition
    @20:00 inflammation
    @24:00 People DIE when stopping beno’s
    @25:00 cause diabetes
    @31:00 depression, suicide related to diet
    @34:00 L-carnitine and depression
    @42:00 a lot of psychiatric is autoimmune being caused by plants/lectins
    @43:00 Jordon Peterson (continues to push serotonin when he claims to have cured himself with an all meat diet)
    @51:00 test for long term deficiencies Vit A, folate (liver egg yokes), biotin and copper/zinc (B-12 def) (selenium)

    Having found himself severely struggling with ‘paradoxical affects” of serotonin and/or neuroleptic malignant syndrome to near death (as I did) on these dangerous neurotoxins, is ironic.
    I look forward to seeing how Jordon spins himself out of the proverbial tangled webs he’s weaved.

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    • I wrote above Jordan Peterson’s stance on corporal punishment is not nearly as bad as it is made out to be, and had wanted to mention that the family’s diet before the (to me as drastic as the Russian coma induced benzodiazepine detox) carnivore diet probably had much to do with his own depression and his daughter’s immune problems. His wife also got cancer, perhaps also related. If they had been doing a ketogenic based diet and had not been on SSRIs I don’t think they would have gotten to this place. I was not aware he had been pushing them, and that shows just how powerful the industry is to fool even the greatest minds. Indeed many psychiatrists are on these poisons, killing themselves as they have no clue as to how dangerous they are.

      To his credit, Peterson has said in the last several years he thought now depression had something to do with gut bacteria.

      Thank you for posting. This is another thing Mad in America should be addressing in addition to his near death by benzodiazepines.

      The Peterson family has seen the light on psychiatric medications. Let’s hope their lesson is a lesson for all.

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      • No, they have seen the light on benzodiazapenes. AFAIK, he is still on SSRI’s, and on some sort of anticonvulsant post benzo. From a Surviving Antidepressants perspective, he still has a lot of tapering to do before he is free.

        The “Lobster” chapter of his book is about as bio-bio-bio as they come. He has a lot of adjustment to do before he accepts the nature of trauma…Daniel Mackler made a good video about this topic:

        I’m working on a letter to him (and/or Mikhaila) about the dangers of SSRIs, that they can produce the SAME SYMPTOMS that the benzos caused…

        It would help if I’m not the only voice from MIA doing so. If he sees the light, we could have a powerful, popular ally. He’s not afraid to be excoriated (as evidenced by his stance on making certain pronouns required by law) – he would be an excellent ally for anti-psychiatry – IF he can let go of everything he’s ever learned.

        And I’m not sure he can, but – he believes that learning (from his 12 Rules book) is a little death, and that by letting go of the old, you are cast into chaos, and it is up to you to build a new Order.

        he has definitely been through the Chaos (I believe his chaos / order model is very black/white simplicity, but – he does have a good mind) and it is my fond hope that he can see through the lies.

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        • As I wrote I think Jordan Peterson’s experience (and stance on trauma) says far more about the power of the industry and how he was educated as a psychologist than it does him. Many professionals, even psychiatrists themselves take these neurotoxins. Also he was ionized by the right wing of a sick spectrum and it is difficult in that kind of environment to see the aspects of affects like trauma or even the society he seems to think is great but which has the highest rate of mental illness in the world world. I think Daniel Mackler is correct on trauma, but he tends to remain too focused on that and he doesn’t address societal influences either.

          His daughter was given lorazepam and she says how awful that was. Did you watch their video? She listed references
          for the dangers of benzos.

          I plan to write them too but the chances of getting through are nil. This is exactly why Mad in America should contact him. What an opportunity which is going to be totally waisted and which is unforgivable if not taken! The man has a huge, global following. This is something that could shake the psychiatric industry yet MIA picks on his fanny slapping?! If Mad in America doesn’t take advantage of this I can only surmise that the movement isn’t serious.

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  13. In case it helps… I was raised in the same small northern community in Canada as Jordan Peterson. Some of Jordan Peterson’s manner, that is read as angry and cold, may be his accent. Or a regional dialect/mannerism. No round about or undue pleasantries. It is a culture of saying your truth directly. “If I want to give you the finger, I will do it to your face!” to quote my brother. In my mind I am showing respect by being open and honest and direct. I expect the same respect in return, but am learning on this global platform that where I am from things are very different.

    I don’t know a lot about J Peterson’s views. He will change and evolve like all of us. I just want everyone to consider regional differences in communication style when we listen to each other. What is kindness for you may be abuse for another. We are not all from Western Mass and California.

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