I was most interested to read the letter in your
November issue from the woman who cast a dissenting
vote on the subject of spanking teenage daughters.
I donít doubt that corporal punishment, if
carried to extremes, can cause possible psychiatric
damage to children. But my question is this ó how
can you hope to control healthy, spirited youngsters
if you donít occasionally resort to the oldest
form of domestic discipline?
Let me cite my own case. I am the mother of two
high school age daughters. Both are pretty, popular
and full of fun. But, frankly, they are both still
children in many ways. My husband and I are aware of
the temptations they face. There have been
altogether too many instances in our neighborhood
where girls have gotten into trouble simply because
they were allowed to run wild. My husband and I long
ago decided that this wasnít going to happen to
When the girls were younger I handled all matters
of discipline easily enough. Five or six swift swats
on the seat of the pants were generally enough to
put a naughty girl on an even keel. But by the time
they reached their teens this became a physical
impossibility. I was no longer strong enough to do
the job, and both girls resisted me freely, which
made the situation worse than ever. I felt they were
losing all respect for me, and for my husband
because he allowed the situation to go on.
The older girl, who was at the time I am
discussing fifteen, was especially a problem. She
was extremely popular with boys and I think this
popularity went to her head. Both her manners and
her school work began to suffer. Furthermore, she
was setting an example for her younger sister that I
We tried a number of forms of punishment ó
withdrawal of allowance, halting of dating, etc, but
found no improvement at all. Finally, my husband
drew the line. He called both girls together and
told them that they were either going to improve
their behavior or they could expect some thorough
I donít think the girls believed him. My
husband is a large, strong man but generally very
gentle and courteous.
Three nights later our older daughter attended a
school dance with a boy who is old enough to drive a
car. Before they left, my husband explained that he
expected Angela back no later than 11:30. She looked
at her father a little oddly and said that they
By midnight she still wasnít home and my
husband was both worried and very angry. He stormed
downstairs to the rumpus room and returned carrying
a ping pong paddle which he laid on the arm of his
It was well after 12:30 that we finally heard the
car pull up in the driveway. Without a word, my
husband rushed out of the house and soon returned
dragging a very flustered young lady behind him. I
donít think that she had ever imagined that her
father would ever carry out his threat. But in a
moment, party dress, high heels and all, she found
herself stretched out, face down, across his knees.
What followed was certainly a far more thorough
spanking than that young lady had ever experienced.
My husband delivered four or five good swats with
the paddle which set her to yelling and kicking. The
more she kicked, the angrier he got, and in a moment
he pulled up her skirt and really got to the seat of the
matter. There was no more kicking after that and
when I led the sobbing girl to bed she was a
thoroughly chastised young lady.
While we donít have a mantle piece in our home,
my daughter could certainly have used one that day.
She was certainly in no hurry to sit down on
anything. But on the whole, I donít think that the
pain she experienced was comparable to the
Since then there have been other spankings in our
house ó not many, but enough to do the job. My
younger daughter received a very thorough paddling
for being sent home from school because she was
smoking a cigarette.
What has been the effect on the girls? Marvelous.
Their behavior has improved immensely they are more
courteous and, I think, happier. Not, of course,
that they have developed into angels. But now they
think twice before they misbehave, because they know
the paddle is hanging right behind the pantry door
and they know that their father will apply it
whenever and wherever necessary.
Actually, I think they prefer a paddling to the
nagging kind of punishments that go on for days or
weeks afterward. A spanking is something thatís
over with soon and there are no lingering effects,
except for a temporary soreness.
While corporal punishment may not be the answer
in every home, it has done wonders in ours.
Mrs. A. E. New York