Letter: Child's rights, or parent's duty to smack

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Sir: In the opening paragraph of your leading article you envisage a parent who finds his daughter near the main road she was forbidden to approach. The parent strikes the child, but this is no assault.

The authority of the parent over his child should be recognised. The greater experience of the parent gives him the right to demand that his children obey him, even if they don't understand why the command is given.

The parent, who dearly loves his daughter, must mix his relief at her safety with the righteous indignation that his informed command was ignored. It was his care for the girl which led him to give the instruction. A mild smack directs a child in the way he must go. Wanton abuse or heavy- handed "justice" from uncaring parents fall into a different category.

MARTIN GOMPERTZ

Nottingham

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