Letter about spanking to Galveston County Daily News
By Jordan Riak
March 30, 2003

Dear Editor:

No credible argument has ever been raised that anything other than harm is achieved by hitting children. The familiar claim by spankers and their apologists that they are acting in the best interests of the child is self-serving and self-deceiving. Caring and violence are mutually exclusive. The spanker "cares" about the spanked child exactly as the wife-beater "cares" about his beaten wife.
See The Spanking Judge of Galvestone County
which appeared in Galvestone County Daily News,
March 30, 2003

Pediatrician and Clinical Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Morris Wessel, has written: "Beaten and battered children are more likely to become adults who have inadequate control of their aggressive feelings, who therefore strike out mercilessly against children, spouses, friends and sometimes even other members of society. The violence inflicted on children by their closest relatives and caretakers has a long-lasting and horrifying effect. These children grow up with the idea that, when another person's behavior is displeasing to them, violent acts against that person are appropriate ways to deal with feelings of displeasure. In short, members of each adult generation tend to reproduce in their interpersonal relationships the violence which they experienced in their childhood."

The noted anthropologist, Ashley Montagu has written: "Any form of corporal punishment or 'spanking' is a violent attack upon another human being's integrity. The effect remains with the victim forever and becomes an unforgiving part of his or her personality - a massive frustration resulting in hostility which will seek expression in later life in violent acts towards others. The sooner we understand that love and gentleness are the only kinds of called-for behavior towards children, the better. The child, especially, learns to become the kind of human being that he or she has experienced. This should be fully understood by all caregivers."

Philip Greven, Professor of History, Rutgers University has written, “Corporal punishment trains children to accept and tolerate aggression. It always figures prominently in the roots of adolescent and adult aggressiveness, especially in those manifestations that take an antisocial form such as delinquency and criminality.”

Adults in positions of authority over children must first set the highest possible standard for themselves before they have the moral right to demand it of others. Hitting children sets the worst possible example. It is behavior that befits a bully. All it achieves is temporary compliance, but at the cost of long-lasting resentment and distrust. Later, when the children become grown, some will feign gratitude for the mistreatment they received as children. When they do that, you can be certain they're fishing for alibi for their own bad behavior toward their own children.

It's time children received the same legal protection against assault and battery that is enjoyed by convicts, soldiers, laborers, wives, the mentally ill, the disabled and the elderly - by every class of citizen except one. Without this, all other social reforms are hollow. For surely we will fail to foster in future citizens a respect for the rights of others if, in their formative years, we permit their rights to be trampled.


Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE), P.O. Box 1033, Alamo CA 94507-7033, Tel.: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914. Web Site: "Project NoSpank" at www.nospank.net.

See The spanking judge of Galveston County.

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