Dear Ann: You were way off base with your comments about spanking. How come it was standard practice until the 1960s, but now, it is inappropriate? I believe spanking has its place.
Sometimes, it is impossible to reason with a child under the age of 6. When that is the case, a swat on the behind is called for. The fact that a spanking could leave a mark means nothing. Some children are more fair-skinned than others and sustain red marks when no harm was done. I am raising five daughters alone, and one has such fair skin that a very light swat leaves a red mark.
Teachers need to mind their own business and stay out of family lives. They have no way of knowing all the details. I agree that parents should not beat their children, but a swat or two on the behind is not a "beating." Today's parents deserve more credit for common sense than you are giving them. A Single Dad in Alaska.
Dear Dad: A man who is raising five children alone deserves a lot of support, and my hat is off to you. But it is not necessary to hit your children. Please stop it. Depriving them of something they want can be just as effective. Parents who hit their children teach them that violence is acceptable. Here's more on the subject:
From Oneco, Fla.: I grew up with a mother who spanked me very hard when she was angry. While I don't think it was right, it did not cause me any permanent damage. I spank my own child, and she now understands there are immediate consequences to inappropriate behavior. Too many parents let their kids run the household because they won't spank them. Spankings are meant to cause discomfort, not injury. It is basic discipline, not abuse.
Pueblo, Colo.: I am an adult survivor of child abuse. I realize my parents did what they thought was best, but I suffered years of torment because people who were supposed to protect me failed to do so. I appeared to be well-behaved, but I was extremely angry at my parents, and couldn't wait to get away from them. After years of therapy, I am still having problems because of that abuse.
Shreveport, La.: I was spanked plenty as a child, and never thought once about shooting up a school or killing anybody. I knew my mother would have let me have it good if I even considered such a thing. Rewards, punishments and timeouts are baloney. Nobody disciplines kids properly anymore. Children today are spoiled rotten and have no respect for anything or anybody. In my opinion, a child who is rude or unruly deserves a good, hard kick in the butt.
Norfolk, Va.: As a single mother trying to raise a little boy in a world filled with violence, sometimes a spanking is the only way to get my message across. Other forms of discipline simply don't work. I've tried them. My son makes me angry three or four times a day. If I take away privileges or give him a timeout, he still refuses to listen to me and do what he's told. There is nothing wrong with giving a child a spanking when other forms of discipline fail.
Sonora, Calif.: My mother rarely spanked me when I was young. She usually talked and reasoned with me. Years later, I was blessed with a child of my own. When he was 3, I asked him if there was anything he would like me to do for him. He said, "Stop hitting me, Daddy." I feel ashamed whenever I think about it. I decided that day never to spank him again. The "old school" that advocates spanking is wrong, wrong, wrong. Spanking is a gut response to anger. It has nothing to do with discipline. All it does is teach children violence.
Dear Sonora: Your last three sentences won the debate, hands down. Thank you.