The XX Factor

Glenn Beck’s Parenting Advice: Push Your Kids “Up Against the Wall”

Glenn Beck worked himself into a tirade on his talk show Wednesday, telling his large and worshipful audience to push their children into walls. 

Beck was ruminating on an imaginary debate that the Christian right thinks it is having with liberals over the question of where rights “come from.” Beck was deeply upset about liberals he’s made up in his head, who are trying to end the Bill of Rights because they’re anti-religion or something—it’s hard to follow—and somehow this morphed into a lecture on child-rearing. Marshaling every ounce of his trademark tool-ish intensity, Beck railed: 

Ask your kids tonight at dinner, “What gives you the right?” Challenge them. Get in their face.

You talk about, “I’ve got rights, you know.” Really? Who issues them? Teach ‘em a lesson. Push ‘em! Well, they’re gonna cry, it’s gonna hurt their feelings. Well, push ‘em!

Because if you don’t do it now, it’s going to be much worse when they’re pushed and they’re shoved and they’re shot. Push them! Teach them! The need to know the truth and they need to be pushed up against the wall once in awhile so they know they can defend themselves. They know they can survive! They don’t run around like little girls crying at the drop of a hat! Push ‘em!

If I bolded for emphasis, the whole quote would be bold.

The ostensible purpose of Beck’s rant is religious instruction, to teach your kids that rights come from God. How kids will learn that from being physically intimidated and screamed at by a parent is hard to understand. (Presumably by the same mechanism where screaming at kids until they cry teaches them not to cry.)

Only Beck knows if he is instructing us to push our kids emotionally and intellectually, or actually, you know, push them. “They need to be pushed up against the wall once in awhile so they know they can defend themselves” could, I suppose, be a metaphor. It also might not be. The more important question is: How will the audience read it? And either way, Beck is still recommending that you pick fights with your children over obscure points of religious right dogma and holler at them until they cry and, most likely, agree with whatever the hell you’re yelling about in a desperate attempt to get you to stop yelling at them. Even if you don’t lay a hand on your child, that’s abuse.