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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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The Structure of Family Rules about Hitting

The Structure of Family Rules about Hitting

A Family-Systems Perspective

(p.287) 20 The Structure of Family Rules about Hitting
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Carlfred B. Broderick

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on a set of constructs central to the theory of corporal punishment: the hierarchical arrangement of family rules, more especially the hierarchical arrangement of family rules that lead to the decision in real time to hit or not to hit a particular child in a particular circumstance. Research has repeatedly shown that families are not very perceptive observers of their own rules of interaction. The rules that govern the actual, observed patterns of behavior may be referred to as the system rules. It is in the nature of such rules to be complexly organized, since they must take into account not only the provocation of the child and the beliefs, temperament, and reactivities of the parent but also the history of the relationship and the social and situational circumstances surrounding it.

Keywords:   hierarchical arrangement, family rules, rules of interaction, system rules, situational circumstances

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