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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Corporal punishment: Use ‘third way’ to discipline children

Leonard Pitts’ column in last Sunday’s Seattle Times was very upsetting [“What is and is not child abuse,” Opinion, Sept. 21].

Pitts should take a look at the readily available photographs of the bloody wounds all over the body of Adrian Peterson’s son before blithely writing, “I have no idea of the severity of the punishment he gave his child.”

The flaw in Pitts’ logic is the assumption that there are only two ways to discipline children: permissive or corporal. Sure, whacking kids works in the short-term, but is it helping kids learn to monitor their own behavior or just to be afraid of adults and try to stay out of their way? Is it building trust and love, or fear and anger? What are the odds these children will beat their children?

To say that this spanking isn’t done in anger is disingenuous.

As Pitts is, I am also appalled by some parents inability to control their children. However, I believe the solution is not spanking, but firm, fair and logical consequences for unacceptable behavior.

Regarding his example of the out-of-control child in the ice cream aisle, this child should have been picked up and removed from the store while saying firmly, “You have lost the privilege of having ice cream. You will spend time in your room by yourself when we get home. Maybe we will try the store again tomorrow.”

I have been helping parents and teachers learn ”positive discipline” for the past 40 years at my Montessori school and I can tell you that it absolutely works. It is a third way to discipline children, and I believe it is by far the best way.

Laurie Wick, Bellevue

Comments | More in Children | Topics: Adrian Peterson, child discipline, Corporal punishment

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