Columnist David Porter's [9/8/99] column about how wonderful it is to spank children troubles me.
First. lets get the facts straight. His mother whipped him with a belt, hard enough to knock him over. Although he called that a "spanking," Webster's Dictionary defines spanking as "hitting with the open hand, usually to the buttocks." Porter was whipped, beaten, on the arms, legs, hands back and buttocks by an enraged [his term, not mine] woman. Never in his column did he criticize any part of this. Is he afraid his mother would go after him again?
She even left welts on him, he says. Yet instead of praising the fact that today fewer than half of parents favor the use of corporal punishment on their children, he instead criticizes children's services workers for protecting children from this sort of abuse. Porter than goes on to say he turned out just fine. I don't think so. If he turned out just fine, he would have more compassion for children. You can't treat a dog or a farm animal in Florida the way his mother beat him without violating laws regarding cruelty to animals.
Just where does he think the boundaries of what constitutes child abuse begin? Physical punishment and discipline are not one and the same. Research shows that children brought up without physical punishment are more likely to stay out of jail, to graduate from high school, and to fight less with other children. Studies also have shown they have a higher I.Q. Mr. Porter reacts the way many abused children do -- they seek to minimize the horror of what has been done to them so as not to question the "love" of the parent. And the cycle often is repeated, just as Porter and his wife continue to hit their daughter.
Robert E. Fathman, Ph.D., Co-Chair
EPOCH-USA -- End Physical Punishment of Children
5805 Tarton Circle N.
Dublin, OH 43017
see our website: http://www.stophitting.com