This is a shock: all these years, we thought only Michael Jackson’s father, Joseph, hit his kids. He’s talked about “beating” them as’a method of discipline many times.

But now the Family Court in Los Angeles, considering who gets custody of Michael’s three children, may be interested in reading Katherine Jackson’s 1990 autobiography, “My Family, the Jacksons.” What Katherine wrote with Richard Wiseman should be of some interest not only to the court, but to Debbie Rowe, mother of the two eldest children, as well.

“Nowadays when you spank a child a bit too much, the public calls it child abuse. However, I favor corporal punishment’even for a fifteen year old. God knows that when I misbehaved as a teenager, my mother didn’t hesitate to take me to the woodshed.”

This would be alarming enough considering that all three children’Prince, Paris, and Blanket’are all under the age’ of fifteen. But Katherine also writes, on page 40 of the paperback edition:

“I believe that children should be made to fear misbehaving, to think, If I do this, or don’t do this, I’m going to have to answer to my mother or father. (Italics from the original.)

Katherine concedes that she rarely spanked her children. “Usually they were good around me, and, since I have a mild temper anyway, it took blatant misbehavior to get me angry.”

However’and this may be vitally important to the Family Court’she continued:

“Joe, by contrast, was excitable. Occasionally I felt that he hit the kids too hard, or too long. In those circumstances I would ask him to ease up.”

Katherine recalls different instances of how Joe Jackson would terrorize his children. He actually made them drink Castor oil, and often put on Halloween masks and broke into their rooms through the window. “Each time the kids ran thought Joe was a burglar, and ran screaming into the living room.”

Joe Jackson’s actions against his kids isn’t pleasant, but it’s also not surprising. What is shocking, however, is Katherine Jackson’s attitude. “One thing I can’t stand, ” she wrote, “is a sassy child.”

For Paris, who’s 11 and clearly speaks her mind, Prince, who’s 12, and just hitting puberty, and Blanket, 7, and just realizing he’s an orphan, these certainly could be ominous words.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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