To the Editorial Director:
I find it ironic that, four months after publishing an issue on child abuse [PEDIATRIC ANNALS, March, 1976], you would print, and by implication endorse, the actions recommended by your book reviewer in the July issue [Guiding the Psychological and Educational Growth of Children, reviewed by Michael A. Brescia, M.D.]. For a physician to admit that "I gave him a whack that stung my hand" is incredible.
Violence against children is reprehensible whether it occurs in homes, on the streets, or in physicians' offices and clinics. Moreover, it is unnecessary. At the prompting of the Committee on Infant and Preschool Child, the forthcoming edition of the Academy of Pediatrics Standards of Child Health Care will have a section that addresses the management of children who must have painful procedures done to them. I recommend it to your readers, and especially to Dr. Brescia.
Rowland L. Mindlin,
issile on Child Abuse;
Chairman, Committee on Infant
and Preschool Child, American
Academy of Pediatrics
We agree fully with Dr. Mindlin in his attitude towards spanking and personally advise spanking only when a child does something that would endanger his life - such as running into the street, playing with fire, or turning on the gas.
The opinions expressed by book reviewers are their own and do not necessarily express the attitude or feeling of this magazine. Dr. Brescia, the reviewer, was discussing a method of punishment suggested in the book, that of giving the child a "brief electric shock each time undesirable behavior occurs." Rather than using this sophisticated and painful method of routine punishment, he stated that "I believe that a well-placed slap [on the buttocks] at the right time - not done in anger - is an appropriate measure . . . but it must not be overdone."
By the way, we certainly consider it out of place for a pediatrician to spank one of his patients.
- M. I. L.