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Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective$
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Michael Donnelly and Murray Straus

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085471

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085471.001.0001

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Unintended Consequences of Punishment

Unintended Consequences of Punishment

(p.165) 11 Unintended Consequences of Punishment
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Joan Mccord

Yale University Press

This chapter presents arguments that contend that the use of punishment is counterproductive. Because punishments are intended to control children's behavior, many people assume that the major—and perhaps the sole—consequence of punishment is teaching children how they ought to behave. However, the use of punishment has additional unintended consequences, and this chapter aims to demonstrate what those unanticipated consequences are and how children perceive punishments. Punishments give pain and therefore teach children that, at least under some conditions, it is all right to give pain to others. The law of the excluded middle asserts that things must be either of one class or not of that class. Even very young children come to understand this fundamental law and can therefore reason that parents are either good or not good.

Keywords:   counterproductive, children's behavior, unintended consequences, excluded middle, pain

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