Reader Responses to Beth Fenimore's
Open Letter to Roy Lessin:
Author of "Spanking:Why, When, How"

   "I think parents need to hear this and consider all the implications of yelling, spanking and corporal punishment before ever using it.  It's a great way for parents to fast forward 20-30 years and hear what their own children may say about how they were raised. It’s true that not all children are effected to the same extent but, personally this is not a risk I would ever take with my child."

   "Wow, it had to have taken a ton of courage for Beth Fenimore to be able to publicly post that letter; she has my deepest respect.  She also has my deepest sympathy since the pathology of her childhood has so damaged her life and health."

   "This is a stunning letter, well-written and so poignant. I, too, hope that others will come forward as she has. They are the most potent medicine to clear up this illness of "Christian" spanking.  I am sad for Beth and sad that there is yet another book advocating beating children with a "rod". What drives people to write such abusive trash is beyond me."

  "That is a very powerful letter. To think that we are enabling these type of parents to continue this abuse by giving the stamp of approval in our schools!  We must raise the bar, and hopefully this story will help the cause. I really admire Beth for her candor."

   "I just read Beth Fenimore's open letter on your web site and I am sitting here crying. She has just told my life story, including PTSD, IBS, sexual dysfunction. Everything. I'm attaching a drawing I did which has an essay attached. Please feel free to use it on your site."

      "I was moved by the open letter from Beth Fenimore.  From her photographs she seems to have been a delightful little girl.  In this country traditionally girls have been spanked less than boys, as they have always been perceived as less aggressive and willful and therefore less in need of it.   And yet the approach of Roy Lessin seems to have been genuine and well meaning if misguided. Their photograph depicts the Lessins as sweet people, in particular Char looks as though she doesn't have a cruel or unkind bone in her body.  The open letter indicates the damage that can be done by such an approach to discipline, although some might argue that the causal links have not been fully established between the treatment Beth had as a child and her subsequent symptoms."

  "I find the subject of spanking so strangely ambivalent. I think it is too ingrained in our culture for us to get away from it easily. As a child at school I like everybody else took caning for granted - it was simply part of the landscape - no one questioned it.  I suspect that it is like that for many people with regard to spanking in general - they wouldn't question it any more than they would question the sun coming up each day."

   "In her powerful and strongly affecting letter, Mrs Fenimore exposes the effects that the barbarity which goes under the unpleasant euphemism of 'spanking' can have on a child. She describes what it is like to be beaten in the manner that childcare 'experts' such as Roy Lessin recommend. She shows that fear and humiliation are the results of 'spanking', not the respect that the advocates of spanking claim. Only those with the hardest of hearts could possibly read her testimony without feeling the strongest revulsion at this violence in the name of discipline.
   "I would like to express my thanks to you for displaying this document. Thanks to Mrs Fenimore's letter, I am now more determined than ever to play my part in making sure that the practice of physical punishment is criminalised here in the United Kingdom.

   Thanks for having such a complete website on the issue of corporal punishment.  I especially liked the essay on Vanessa, and the recommendations for having cooperative children.  Also, thanks for posting Beth Fenimore's compelling letter.  Every time I see her picture, the one with the umbrella, I just want to hug her, you can see the anxiety in her eyes.  I completely understand why she wishes to remain childless, and while I'm sure my own experiences do not compare to hers, I too, left my parent's home with disgust towards 'child rearing' and everything childhood related, except for children.  I love children, I love talking to them, treating them nicely, I guess I just want to really be the way I wish someone had been towards me.  I have argued my point several times in online forums so I know how hard it is, and understand your 'How to argue like a prospanker' section.  Ironically enough, the first response I usually get is: 'If you don't have any children, don't speak.'  I wish I could be normal.  I wish I would yearn for a 'traditional family', I wish I'd dream of having babies like the other young women my age.  Anyway, I really appreciate what you and other people are doing in the quest for ending corporal punishment, or at least the legality of it.  I hope to start my own website sometime soon, along with a gentle discipline forum.

   I am so glad to have seen your website. I am a practicing Christian and feel that spanking children is wrong, counter productive and quite possibly against what Christ actually taught about children. 

   I was raised by my grandparents from birth, it was intended that I was to be returned to my biological mother (their youngest child) when she was able to care for me but due to her continuing health concerns I remained with them but had close contact with her until her death when I was age 16. I believe that most of the spankings that I received were from my grandmother's frustration at having to raise a child in her fifties after all of her children were raised and out of the house. I was a good child, did well in school and stayed out of
 trouble for the most part. I was spanked for getting my hair wet in the bathtub, schoolwork not done to parental standards as well as "disrespect" or "poor attitude" which were never explained fully enough for me to understand what I had done wrong. 

   I was often spanked with a belt, yardstick or paint stirring stick (which I actually believed as a child was given out by the paint store as a spanking device) as much as 5 times a week and several times a day. My grandmother would often stand behind me with the belt when I would practice the piano or do my
 homework so that if I made a mistake it was easier to hit me. Another time I was switched with a tree branch until there were welts that bled and scabbed over. 

   The worst spankings happened between the ages of about 8 and 11, which coincided with our attending an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. The IFBC is  known for strict adherence to Biblical teaching and children were to be spanked, wives obedient without question and that was the way it was. I also attended the
 school and children were spanked for such things as laughing in class, talking out of turn or failing to remember a Bible verse. Boys were spanked far more often than girls and had to drop their pants to receive a spanking while we girls did not. 

   After one particularly graphic sermon about disciplining your children, some children who had been quietly playing at the back of the church were taken out and beaten. I can still hear them screaming. I cried all the way home and cried myself to sleep that night. The next day I remember being called in from playing and told to slowly turn around. I saw a belt hanging from a nail in the den. I was taken on a tour of the house where I saw belts hanging from nails in several rooms of the house. I was then given a spanking, for what reason I do not
know, and told that things would be different from then on. 

   I do not know why we finally stopped attending that church. I think it was partially because of the late hours of the evening services, often lasting until 10 pm or longer. My grandfather would often be tired at work on Monday and Thursday after one of these sessions. Another reason for leaving was the constant visiting by the pastor, as well as the frightening subject matter of sermons. I was often wetting the bed and requesting to sleep with my parents after hearing some of this stuff. I also believe that my mother heard about the spankings and saw what a nervous and scared child that I had become. 

   Since I was about 10 when we left the church, the spanking gradually stopped but I began to become aggressive and often hit back when I was threatened. I was 5'6" and 130 pounds when I was 12 years old so I was very capable of hitting back. All I knew about dealing with your frustrations was to hit someone and nobody knew why this horrible girl was hitting her grandparents who were so wonderful to take her in when nobody else would.

   I was lucky in that I never had my pants pulled down for spankings but my grandmother often used the belt as a whip and beat me wherever the belt landed. I often had to make up stories as to why I was constantly bruised, not that anyone would have believed me anyway. 

   To this day my grandmother denies that she ever spanked me. I do not argue with her anymore because she is very old and in poor health but I remember feeling the belt against my back, the back of her hand against my mouth even her fist against the side of my head. I do not own a belt to this day, all belts that come with articles of clothing are thrown away immediately. Belts are for holding up pants, rulers are for measuring with and paint stirring sticks are for stirring paint. Children are NOT for hitting. 

   Sadly this sort of child abuse continues. I broke up with a fiance for talking about "busting" our future kids. He would say things like "If my parents have to bust them then they will get busted again when they get home" I could not allow this sort of thing to continue.

   Thanks for having such a website. 

   I went on line looking for information on Roy Lessin, as I thought his Just Think from DaySpring Blessings was just one of the most well written ideals of Christianity.  Imagine my horror to find the open letter from Beth Fenimore in regards to the Spanking book authored by Mr. Lessin.    My heart ached after reading Beth's letter, feeling the anguish and pain that she experienced in her childhood.  I will never purchase another item from DaySpring Blessings.  I sent the company an e-mail with a copy of your book review, and told them that Lessin should be removed from their web site.

   Thank you for continuing to provide insight on this horrible plight, that is construed as Christian action.

    I was shaking with rage and disgust when I read the letter from Beth Fenimore to Roy Lessin. Roy Lessin is exactly the kind of person I can't stand. "Beat your children. It will make them happy." Is the man blind??? "The seventh step is to continue spanking until the child yields a broken cry, which indicates a broken will" I felt ill reading that part..he wants to break the childs break his spirit.. "The eighth step is reconciliation. You recommend that parents comfort the child until sufficient time has passed, and then ask the child to stop crying. You recommend that parents spank a child who displays a "wrong attitude" by continuing to cry too long after a spanking. " That's just sick. crying isn't indicating a bad attitude. It's indicating that the child is hurt and humiliated.If you spank them a second time,they will be too terrified to cry again..and so will end up with alot of bottled up emotions and feelings. I hate it when people associate spanking with love..I really hate it. "hit them 'till they're begging you to stop,then hug them and tell them you love them" ... I think it's a little too late to tell your kid you love them! There is a huge list of reasons to not spank a child,yet some ignorant people just ignore the list as if the reasons aren't there. I think you should never touch a kid unless you're holding their hand,giving them a big hug,or a kiss.


Return to Beth Fenimore's 
Open Letter To Roy Lessin, Author of Spanking: Why, When, How

Read Chris Dugan's Review of Roy Lessin's "Spanking: Why, When, How"

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