Let look at the statement that Michal's father was mean... Back in the day, parents especially black parents did not put up with talking back, did not except any disobediences. You obeyed whatever was ask and there was no back talk or complaining. There was no such thing as "time out", or "go to your room and think about your actions". You would get your butt whipped and that was all there was to it.
I think a lot of us have experienced or know parents like that. So, when Michael looks back on his childhood life; he may feel that his father was mean.
Today, many parents have moved to the other end of the spectrum. They are too lenient.
Example... a former neighbor who a child sociologist was coming out of his home with his son. His son did not want to leave home and he was screaming at the top of his lungs how he hated his father, how his father made him sick. The father kept saying, "son, now son you don't mean that." Which was like pouring gas on a fire, because his son only got worse.
Children need discipline and that does not mean a spanking every time they mess up. But, sometimes a pop on their bottom will get their attention. Discipline can be done through talking and explaining how certain actions will not be tolerated and the warnings of the consequences for their actions. Parent/s need to pick their battles... but once the battle is selected they have to follow through with discipline; if those warnings are ignored. My son would rather get a pop on his bottom than to stay in his room.... So, what was his punishment when he disobeyed after being warned a couple of times.... in his room he would go.
Proverbs 22:15... A rod does not have to be used for hitting, it can be used for guiding.