The following text is an introductory note and preface to Beatrice Reinhart’s 1937 book Back To Common Sense, a child training manual emphatically advocating the practice of spanking, and going into great detail as to how it should be done. As stated in our special report into the book’s background, it owes a great deal to a 1920s predecessor, Correction That Corrects by Mariam Fredrick.
In the author’s search for material which might be useful in the preparation of her manuscript on child discipline she found a volume entitled Correction That Corrects. Investigation showed that owing to financial reverses the work never circulated beyond the author’s edition, less than one hundred copies. A young woman highly interested in child welfare bought the copyright with the intention of revising the volume in question. However, not having had an extensive experience in the field of child training, she felt that it would be unfair to attempt a revision of a work from an author who had a wide experience of a most practical nature. Knowing that I was practicing and intended to write on a form of correction advocated in aforesaid work, she who had bought the copyright generously surrendered all legal rights to me.
While Back To Common Sense would have come out had I never read the ideas, experiences, and advice of the other author, I do feel that the perusal of her book assisted me in compilation. Therefore, gladly do I give credit to Correction That Corrects for some ideas and examples found in this, the published results of my humble efforts.
The originality found in my book is not, of course in the specific form of discipline described and advised. It is rather in the system and details vital to such form if satisfactory results are to be obtained.
Also with gratitude I wish to acknowledge the whole-hearted assistance of a child psychologist, worthy of the name, a man with a deep knowledge of juvenile problems, and the kind cooperation of a dear girl friend and of a few sensible young mothers.
Nor as a competitor but practically alone in its field comes this little book on child discipline.
At the outset the author wishes it understood that she speaks from full conviction, as one with PRACTICAL experience in the field of child culture. She considers unfair to children, and unjust to parents and governesses, the publication and broadcasting of advice on juvenile problems by those whose experience has not taken them extensively into the field of that intricate work – cultivating little ones.
The attempt to sell ideas which have not as their origin the conviction of a conscientious mind is criminal. Sad to say we have before the microphone men and women who have never been sold on the ideas they broadcast. They cater to those parents who seek excuses rather than caustic remedies for naughtiness in babies and misbehaviour in older children. It is time for something constructive to offset the trite, though innumerable apologetic excuses such as, “They are young but once”, “She is only a child”, “He is all boy”, and “As youngsters we were no better.” Of course, I realize that an infallible means for becoming unpopular is to leave aside flattery and tell young parents the truth about the conduct of their offspring. However, the author believes that we still have thousands of parents who actually hunger for sensible advice as to how to control and correct babies, who after all are just little human animals; parents who are disheartened with the innumerable “don’ts” ringing in their ears and staring at them from nearly all modern publications on child training.
I am asking from earnest young women, mothers, governesses and marriageable girls, who have or who anticipate having the sacred duty of cultivating “God’s choicest flowers”, an unbiased consideration of the matter of my little book, matter quite different from that so prevalent during the last decade.
While the specific form of discipline explained herein is recommended primarily for the correction of very young children, the author has in several instances used it in correcting older children.
Although the underlying principle is old fashioned, the author is a typical modern girl, educated in our public schools and having the contacts common to young Americans. Careful study, consideration, and PRACTICAL experience, have prompted her to publish her ideas on discipline.
Dedicated to brave mothers and governesses, fearlessly comes
Back To Common Sense
Mother’s Day, 1937