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Letter: Loving parents spare the child

Sir: Martin Gompertz (Letters, 13 September) writes: "The parent strikes the child, but this is no assault." A parent striking a child in many cultures which we would consider primitive or undeveloped would be regarded as an act of insanity.

The most effective way of teaching a child to be reasonably obedient (and heaven preserve us from the totally obedient robot) is to withdraw the outward signs of approval. The child experiences this as a withdrawal of what sustains it - parental love. Of course, if the parent regards the child as an object to be controlled, then it is unlikely that this natural discipline will work, because the child will have experienced little love, and will have formulated its own strategies for survival. Co-operation is unlikely to be one of them.


Ely, Cambridgeshire