Susan Schiltz, St. Joseph
Dennis Dalman’s recent column in favor of spanking the “cookie-aisle screecher” wrongly implies the “no-spank doctrine” was limited to Dr. Spock followers of the 1950s. In fact, the present-day American Academy of Pediatrics and other respected health organizations advocate against corporal punishment of children under any circumstances. Here’s why: decades of research have shown that not only is spanking ineffective in producing lasting behavioral change but also runs a serious risk of harming the parent-child relationship and modeling aggression as a problem-solving strategy. After all, how do you explain to your 3-year-old that it’s OK for you to hit him, but it is not OK for him to hit his sister? Fortunately, there are far more effective methods of enforcing limits than spanking. While children definitely need to hear the word “no” on a regular basis, it does not need to be accompanied by a swat on the behind. The next time you see a parent with a screeching child in the cookie aisle, try to adopt an attitude of empathy rather than “disgust.” The parent who can remain calm in the midst of a tantrum without yelling, spanking or giving in deserves an award.