Dear Mr. King,
We were very saddened to learn of your paper's support of physical abuse of children. Children need to be protected from physical abuse, just like all other members of society. Spanking does not solve discipline problems, even though it appears to work in the short-term. It is WELL-DOCUMENTED that hurting children causes them psychological damage such as psychopathy, lack of empathy with others, depression, relationship problems, as well as occasional permanent physical damage. All of these problems persist for a lifetime.
You may not know this, but ALL violent criminals were physically hurt by adults when the criminals were children. Doing away with corporal punishment of children, such as many European countries have done with child protection laws, would go a long way to making our very violent society more peaceful and safe for everyone.
The many children who suffer physical abuse who do not perpetuate crimes on others nevertheless carry their mental suffering with them all their lives. And they typically perpetuate abuse on their own children.
For the reasons we have listed, physical abuse, no matter if it is called "spanking" "smacking" "whipping" "slapping" is damaging to children, and to society as a whole.
We do not want our daughter around children who have been spanked or hit in other ways; these children act out their anger on other children. We want the world safer for our daughter, for all of us, and to do away with needless suffering.
Our daughter has never been hit in any way. Yet, she is kind, helpful and obedient. She cooperates because she loves and trusts us. We treat her like a human being who deserves to be respected, and she responds in kind.
Spanking is never necessary. It is harmful to children and society.
May you discover and realize the truth, and seek peace rather than violence and hatred in 2003.
Stephen and Susan Lawrence