The word « discipline » conceals the abuse of power

The word « discipline » conceals the abuse of power
Saturday November 26, 2005

Dear Alice Miller

… It’s so good to know that you hate the word ‘discipline’, above all concerning children. 🙂

As I see it, sexual abuse is ranked at the top of what people see as abuse; everyone accept the fact that this is abuse. Then comes physical abuse, and then comes neglect and then probably emotional abuse. But at the bottom comes “Erziehung”. Almost no one looks at this as abusive, therefor the importance to stress this is great, as I see it.

What I meant in my previous mail was that in “For your own good” you stressed the point that you saw *all* “Erziehung” and pedagogy as poisouness in pure words. In later books I can’t find it as clearly expressed. My other point was the EPOCH link. Epoch *is* in favour of disciplining, and you link to them without commenting anything on it (for instance that you support their stand against corporal punishment, but are not in favour of disciplining).

I don’t know the discipline debate all around the world, but in Scandinavia for about the last 25 years or so it has been all about limitsetting (Sigsgaard & Varming 1997). “Am Anfang war Erziehung” was recognized from both sides as a strong “posting” into that debate. Your later books are not, exept for those already familiar with “Am Anfang…”, but only those ones who already are against limitsetting, since they interpret the meaning expressed so clearly in “Am Anfang…” into your newer books.

I love all your books, but for me it was “Am Anfang…” that really grabbed my hand and made me stand up for 15 years until I was able to find emphatic witnesses 🙂

To sum up:
My piont was the combination of seeing links to “discipline” web sites on your site and at the same time only being able to find solid arguments against *all kinds* of “Erziehung” and pedagogy in “Am anfang…”; this combination made me wonder of your stand today.

V. J.

AM: Dear V.,
I absolutely agree with you, the word « discipline » conceals the abuse of power that adults think to need towards children. As to the link to Epoch USA I know that Nadine Block fights against the cruel upbringing and I appreciate her efforts but I can’t expect from everybody to read my books and share my opinions when we decide to put a link on my website nor do I feel responsible for their vocabulary. Otherwise there would hardly be links at all. I can only hope that readers are free enough to make their own observations as you did. Thank you for having shared them with us and may be you could also write to Nadine Block on this matter.