* Re “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child,” Voices, July 25: Parents hitting children teaches a child the wrong lessons: that it is OK to hurt the ones we love, if we feel it will teach them something (spousal abuse); that violence is justified, if the hitter is bigger and more powerful (battery, road rage); that the motivation for “good” behavior is to avoid pain (do whatever you want, but don’t get caught).
I have three children, also honors students and model citizens (the oldest enters Wesleyan University in the fall), who were never spanked. As a family counselor, I have treated far more “problem children” who were “just spanked” than ones who never were. The ability to take responsibility for one’s behavior and to learn from mistakes can be taught in many ways that don’t include inflicting physical pain. People need to learn self-control; spanking becomes impractical at a pretty young age.
By the way, I don’t know that high achievement should be the final measure of one’s success as a parent; plenty of high achievers (spanked or not) are also very troubled human beings.