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'Spare the Rod' Plea Sparks Responses

November 17, 1989

In reference to "Spare the Rod" in the Life section of The Times by Mike Spencer (Nov. 2), just where do you think the violence by younger people starts? I'd say in the home where they are raised. If they are allowed to act as they wish in the home, it's a cinch they will act that way the rest of their lives, with no respect for authority or law.

Children have different personalities. Sometimes they can be corrected with words, and sometimes they need the "hand" or "belt," depending on age. And it has to hurt. They have to remember, and it all starts even before they start to walk, when they are old enough to understand. They need discipline. Usually by age 10 to 11, talking and restrictions alone will work. . . .

You cannot compete with their peers when it comes to bad words and acts. But you can make sure they don't do it when they are at home or around your friends. If you do not spank them and restrict their TV, friends, etc., and they call you names, even tell you to go to hell and leave anyway or commit vandalism, what are you going to do? You cannot stay with them 100% of the time.

If I sound angry, it's because I am. When I see kids walk by my house shouting obscenities, destroying front yards, starting fights, I can imagine they are your kids, Mike Spencer. Look at all the criminals, addicts, troublemakers. In fact, I bet you don't even have any kids. If you do, do your friends seem to be overjoyed when they see you coming with them?

I know that by spanking a child, the punishment is not over. I'm 60 years old and had a son 32 years old when he was killed in a freeway accident in 1985. But let me tell you, they were never delinquent, addicts or discourteous. I spent all the time I could with my kids, and think they enjoyed it as much as I did. They moved out when they were 19 years old on their own. But both came back and stayed for lengths of time. In fact, my son was living at my home when he was killed and had been for more than a year.

I bet you took notice of your teachers and coaches, didn't you? Corporal punishment is all you understood. When my grandkids are at my house, they mind me. I swatted my oldest grandson a couple of times when he was 5, but I can talk to him now (10 years old). They can run wild when they are at home, but not at my house.

Leon Chaney, Westminster

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