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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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Parent-Offspring Conflict and Corporal Punishment in Primates

Parent-Offspring Conflict and Corporal Punishment in Primates

(p.21) 3 Parent-Offspring Conflict and Corporal Punishment in Primates
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Lynn A. Fairbanks

Michael T. Mcguire

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that corporal punishment is the result of an essential conflict between parent and offspring, as parents try to balance the competing demands of their lives. It begins with a brief overview of parental-investment theory, which predicts that parent-offspring conflict will occur as a consequence of the parents' attempts to maximize their reproductive success by distributing parental care across all of the offspring they can produce in their lifetime. Conflict of interest between parents and offspring produces attempts by the parents to limit offspring behavior, resistance by the offspring, and escalation to corporal punishment. Parent-offspring conflict theory is then used to explain variation in the form and frequency of punishment by primate mothers according to the age and sex of the offspring, the presence of siblings, and the mother's reproductive opportunities and socioeconomic circumstances.

Keywords:   parental-investment theory, parent-offspring conflict, reproductive success, parental care, reproductive opportunities, socioeconomic circumstances

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