Letter: Nothing wrong with a smack

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The Independent Online
I HAVE always been an avid supporter of Penelope Leach, and often refer to her book, Baby and Child, for advice and support in rearing my two daughters, aged two and a half, and nine months.

I was, however, horrified to read her advice that a parent should threaten 'if you don't stop, I'll scream' as a deterrent to continued waywardness in a child ('Be cruel to your little boy?', Review, 31 October).

My eldest child would be horrified by this apparent lack of control and would, I am sure, eventually be traumatised by the experience of her mother indulging in such melodrama.

I was apparently smacked as a child and I have no recollection of this at all. Is this not evidence that a gentle, well- timed smack - with a firm explanation - to remind and not to harm, is by far the best treatment for an inquisitive toddler with a metal spoon and electricity socket?

My occasional smacks are not a result of a lack of control or anger on my part. I am merely concerned for the safety of my child.

Lastly, I would not like to be seen screaming in a busy superstore in order to prevent my child from wandering off in search of the sweet counter for the umpteenth time. Horrified onlookers would be sure to notify my health visitor immediately.

Katherine Pearson

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria