A Spanking Debate
July 22, 2000
Mike D.'s first letter to Project NoSpank

July 20, 2000
6:59 PM

Your information and articles seem to focus on extreme cases. I am not opposed to spanking, provided it is practised only as hand-to-bottom contact, by the parent or guardian responsible for the child, 1 or a few slaps, when the child is between (approx.) the ages of 2 and 5. Anybody who believes that a two-year old can be 'reasoned with' probably lacks real-life experience.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, and don't tamper with the parental tool kit.

Mike D.

Mike D.'s second letter to Project NoSpank

July 20, 2000
7:05 PM

Dear people,

I had composed an elaborate well-worded email regarding the case for spanking in some circumstances. After examining your site, however, I noticed that my decent little composition would have been lumped in with your 'hostile mail'. My approach, and that of several others, has not been hostile. We are pleading with you to listen and appreciate that there is a time and a place for physical discipline.

Your extremism is dangerous, and I really hope that your organization stays where it is, in relevant(sic) obscurity.

Mike D.
Hands-on Father

Jordan's reply

July 22, 2000

Dear Mike,

I suspect your defense of spanking, like most of the ones I've heard (and I've heard many), is aimed at vindicating a particular spanker--in this case, yourself, apparently. But as often as not, spankers rise to the defense of their parents, grandparents and even certain teachers. Their arguments, like yours, typically contain precise descriptions of the correct method for spanking based on personal experience, i.e., what was done to them when they were little and/or what they are now doing to others. Careful, dispassionate attention to detail is evident--at least to certain details.

The astonishing thing to me about spanking recipes as a class is that, while every one is presented as authoritative, no two are alike. Ask ten spankers the right way to do it, and you'll get ten different, conflicting descriptions. The more closely you listen to them, the more confused the picture becomes.

What is the earliest age at which a child (infant) may be spanked? What is the oldest age at which a spanking is appropriate? Should a spanking be applied to the bare bottom or clothed (diapered) bottom? Should it be done only in private, or immediately upon commission of the punishable offense? Should the spanker use the hand so as to get "instant feedback", or never use the hand, but rather a "neutral" object, e.g., a pastry spatula, hair brush, belt? Should spanking leave marks? How long should the marks last? Should a spanking be prolonged until the child cries? Should a child be spanked for crying? Should girls be spanked differently than boys? Should boyfriends of single moms be authorized to spank cranky infants? Should stepfathers have free reign to spank teenage stepdaughters? It seems that the only common ground among spankers is the solemn belief by each that what he or she does is correct, and that no one has a right to tell them to stop doing it.

I would like to see some order imposed on this chaos. I recommend a temporary moratorium on spanking pending the outcome of multilateral negotiations between spankers. The assembled spankers would be sworn to keep at their discussions until every one agrees to endorse a kind of Unified Theory of Spanking. I am confident the process would keep them deadlocked for eternity. That would render this whole issue moot and usher in a brighter, healthier, happier era for generations to follow.

Jordan Riak

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