The Well-Timed Smack

On his radio show August 26 (third hour), Dennis Prager said: "I used to be opposed to it [smacking a kid]. I did not raise my kids with it. Over the course of time, watching children, talking to adults with different views, I have come to change my mind. I think the well-time, well-placed, loving but firm smack is a very good idea. The book of Proverbs says ‘Spoil the rod, spare the child.’ I’m prepared to differ with a Biblical verse but it turned out to be right. I don’t think you can reason with a four year-old, let alone a two-year old.

"I speak to so many adults who were whacked as kids and tell me they were better for it. Callers have changed my mind throughout my career.

"The thing that must be absent from such physical discipline is humiliation. That I do believe permanently injures a child. That’s a no-no — the humiliating of a child. It should always be done with the child closed.

"The well-timed smack is eloquent with a three year old. ‘You just don’t that.’ Smack."

Knowing the strong opposition to corporal punishment by Prager and his psychiatrist friend Dr. Stephen Marmer, I used to enjoy saying to them at Stephen S. Wise temple from 1994-1998, "I got smacked all the time and look at how I turned out."

They always got wry smiles on their faces.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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