Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

Anyone who says “if you cross a red line” you better be prepared to keep your word or suffer the consequences. President Obama had stated to President Assad of Syria that the use of chemical weapons on his people would not be tolerated by the USA. It appeared President Assad crossed the red line on many occasions but nothing happened. This has caused America to lose its credibility as a super power in the eyes of the international community.  Currently foreign nations are testing our resolve to stand strong.

Parents also become a joke to their children when they say they are going to do something but they do not follow through. They also lose their credibility. The most common consequences that a parent uses when extremely frustrated is “you do that one more time and I will spank you.”  It never happens. The children learns to let the parent’s threats go in one ear and out the other, pushing the limits.

The lack of enforcing consequences not only at home, but at school and with law enforcement has emboldened teenagers to arbitrarily and viciously knock out innocent people for entertainment. It is called “the Knockout Game” but it is anything but a “game”. It is a vicious assault than has been fatal. This is spreading in our urban centers throughout the nation. It indicates these youngsters have never been taught to employ a moral compass.

These acting out youngsters have crossed the “red line” again and again until they believe they are entitled to do whatever they want. The lack of parental backbone is not only creating self absorbed, sociopathic youngsters but is undermining the stability of our schools, communities and our nation.

Modern parents go back to the old standbys instead of following up on their word. Time out, negotiating, ignoring, lecturing, appeasing, are easier for modern parents to attempt. These strategies are supposed to be performed without any emotional reactions. “Experts” preach that children should not experience a parent who resorts to corporal punishment. Any spanking even reasonable and moderate spanking is now believed by the majority of modern parents to be traumatic to the child, even though that has been shown by numerous studies not to be true.

The ignoring of poor choices in school leads to destructive behavior in other settings. Not listening to a parent or teacher mushrooms into other negative behaviors. The passive- aggressive, inattentiveness can morph into physical acting out on another. It often spreads to acting out in the community. If no other authority has stepped in to impact the child,  it ends with the criminal justice system finally meting out incarceration.

Children begin the journey of becoming out-of-control when parents are unwilling to follow through on what they say they are going to do. Being a parent is a sacred position that should not be ignored.

When parents abdicate their duty of molding their offspring's moral compass, it creates a ticking time bomb, which can impact any one of us. Knowing right and wrong should be established as early as possible in a child's life.

As my father would say, "it is easier to keep a straight tree straight then to straighten a crooked one." Moderate spanking at an early age quickly establishes a child's respect for the parent’s word and authority. The longer a parent waits to start the process of teaching the child wrong from right, the greater the punishment and the greater the frustration and the possibility of unnecessary collateral damage. There is a point in a youngster’s life, around 6 years-old, when spanking becomes ineffective and possibly abusive.

Just like a nation's foreign policy, the more quickly you make a firm statement of where the "Red Line" is and back it up with action if it is crossed, in the long run the better the outcome. A child testing the family's parameters reacts the same way to a reasonable punishment. They learn to listen. Just follow up a command that is broken with a swift spank on the behind and watch your young child learn to listen before he acts. This gift will encourage the child to think before acting impulsively, a major ingredient of self-discipline. Do it for the sake of your loved one.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at

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