This Week in Family
When a Maryland police officer found out that his daughter had become addicted to opioids, he resorted to the same solution he had for other drug addicts: throwing her in jail. Nick Varner had spent decades incarcerating people for drug possession, though he soon learned that locking his own daughter up wouldn’t cure her addiction—in fact, he now worries it may have led to her eventual death from overdose. The Atlantic video producer Jeremy Raff documented the family’s story and wrote about the difficult lessons Varner learned by watching his daughter struggle with opioids.
Even though parents are less likely to spank their children today than they were in the past, researchers have estimated that 80 percent of children in the U.S. are spanked at least once by the time they reach fifth grade. Scholars and doctors are in agreement that the practice doesn’t help children—in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced on Monday that it is taking a strong stance against spanking. Physical punishment doesn’t change kids’ behavior, says the Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker—yet the practice still persists.
In this past election cycle, the Atlantic assistant editor Saahil Desai noticed an unusual trend: a spate of Americans denouncing their political-candidate relatives in op-eds or TV ads. He spoke with people who chose to publicly condemn their kin despite the risk of tattered family ties.