As The Sun reported ("Bill could ease some restrictions on spanking children in Kansas," Feb. 20), Kansas state Rep. Gail Finney introduced a bill that will "allow parents, caregivers, and school officials to hit children hard enough to leave redness or bruising." Ms. Finney said "some children are very defiant and they're not minding their parents, they're not minding school personnel." A better bill would teach parents and school personnel how to elicit children's cooperation instead of hitting them into submission.
Some children may learn from spankings, but many others do not learn what the hitter wants to teach. Instead of complying, some kids will learn that big people have the right to hit smaller people and bullying becomes their outlet. There is enough evidence now to show that hitting children lowers their ability to learn, can result in post-traumatic syndrome and diminish their sense of worth — hardly the path to good citizenship.
If parents and school personnel think they will get children's respect by hitting them, they are sorely mistaken. They may get the youngsters to comply, but it is out of fear, not respect. The only way to get children's respect is by respecting them.
Molly Brown Koch-
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