December 12, 2001
Dear Mr. Riak:
I had four children and I believed in spanking them if they needed it. To this day I regret what I did. I did not spank often, nor did I spank very hard most of the time. Although, now I know that any kind of hitting cannot be justified. My husband was really abusive though, and I never stepped in to stop him from punishing our children except on very rare occasions.
On one rare occasion, my husband and I were working in a store with our four children, and my three year old daughter stepped on his freshly waxed floor. He started chasing her to spank her, and she came running to me, screaming for me to save her. She was so terrified and I felt so sorry for her (yet I was terrified because he was abusive to me also), but I knew that if I didn't stop him from beating her that I would regret it later. So, I pushed her behind me and told him that he'd have to go through me first. So I took the punishment for her. If she hadn't screamed for me to save her, I probably wouldn't have stepped in. To this day, she remembers me saving her, in fact; she has it written in a book of memories as the time that Mommy saved her life.
One particular event made me start wondering if spanking children could be wrong. My husband was shoving and slapping me down a hallway, and suddenly, one of my daughters started screaming because she was scared for me. Afterward, I thought about how she hurt for me when I was being punished, but when she was being punished I always stood by and let it happen. Of course, I always hurt for my children when they got punished, but I thought it was my husband's right as a father to punish them for doing wrong. As a good wife, I thought it would be wrong for me to interfere, unless it got way out of control. I know now that I was thinking irrationally.
My son used to stay up all night crying with me sometimes. He always told me that if he had known that daddy was hurting me that he would have beat him up. Of course, he always knew when I was being punished, and of course, he was too little to do anything about it. My son was punished a lot by his father while he was growing up, and 99% of the time I did nothing to stop it.
I divorced my husband about ten years ago, but it wasn't an easy thing to do. My husband ran off with three of our four children during this time. During the divorce, he won custody of the three that he ran off with. I later won them in court, but it took me five years to get them back. My children were totally out of control and difficult to live with. Anyway, it's a long story and I won't go into it.
To this day, all my children have emotional problems. My oldest daughter and only son are very violent. My other two children are depressed a lot. My second daughter (the one that was left with me) has a three-year-old child. We do not believe in spanking her. I wrote to you about my granddaughter, Mihco, the other day. We are trying to keep her other grandparents from spanking her. I also wrote to you a long time ago and told you about my father. He believes in beating children to death if a parent feels it is necessary. My mother was, and still is, a very violent person, also.
I feel a lot of guilt about my children, and I wish that I could go back and change the past, but I know that it's not possible.
December 13, 2001
Dear Mr. Riak:
You can add my letter to your site if you want to. You can use my full name if you wish.
I do regret the way my children were raised, but I do not regret learning the truth about spanking. Although, learning the truth does hurt, because I now know how unfeeling (mean and unprotecting) I was toward my own children. I didn't mean to be though. I was blinded by crazy religious beliefs and my own childhood upbringing. I can't change the past, but I can change the future for my grandchildren and their descendants.
Yes, I would like for you to send me about five copies of "Plain Talk About Spanking". My address is as follows:
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