Beating the Devil Out
Corporal Punishment in American Families and Its Effect on Children
by Murray A. Straus, Denise A. Donnelly
Transaction Publishers; 2nd edition (September
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|Dr. Murray Straus and coauthor Denise
Donnelly have updated their 1994 _tour de force_ with new studies and data
in a highly readable format for the general public. Professor Straus, of
the University of New Hampshire, is one of the world's foremost researchers
in the field of family violence, and it was his research on wife-beating
in the 60's and 70's which led him to recognize the connectedness of all
subtypes of family violence, including the "virtuous violence" against
children euphemistically known as "spanking."
Spanking appears to "work" in the short
run because the child stops doing whatever provoked the
As more family violence data accumulates, more evidence accumulates in support of Straus's view of normative forms of violence "spilling over" into criminal forms. Parents who spank their children are significantly more likely to also physically abuse them than parents who don't. Parents who spank their children are more likely to physically abuse each other. And physically abused children are even more likely to grow up to commit crimes against nonfamily members than spanked children, who are in turn more likely to do so than nonspanked children.
The mounting tide of research on spanking
resembles the growth of research on the harmful effects
The parallels between smoking and spanking
extend beyond the similarity of research study designs. Both are addictive
practices justified by their practicioners in similar ways. "I've smoked
for fifty years and I feel great!" "I was spanked and it never did ME any
harm!" Bit by bit, the mounting evidence linking smoking with cancer eroded
much of the cultural denial. Straus's book is at once a
Every new parent who is planning to
spank their child simply because that is how they were raised
Just because you don't resent
your parents for spanking you doesn't mean your children won't.
-Christopher Dugan, M.A.
Return to Chris's Antispanking Page