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Spanking

September 05, 1985

Thank you for featuring Ben Sherwood's article on the illegality of spanking children in Sweden. Although I have long been disgusted with the way American parents abuse their children and get away with it by calling it necessary to parenting, it has never occurred to me that they were any different than parents anywhere. I have been aware of the occasional legal action taken by children against their abusive parents in California and have hoped that these precedents would send a message to those stupid people that they couldn't ignore.

When a parent slaps a child, he or she is committing a devastatingly destructive psychological act. Verbal assaults are even worse because they tend to be prolonged and repeated and are even more difficult to recognize as a form of violence, much less the truly vicious form they can be.

JOHN A. NILSEN MD

Los Angeles

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