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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 Origins of Physical Punishment

The Origins of Physical Punishment

An Ethological/Attachment Perspective on the Use of Physical Punishment by Human Parents

(p.73) 6 The Origins of Physical Punishment
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Patricia M. Crittenden

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the appropriateness of physical punishment of children, which has been periodically questioned despite it being widely accepted as a natural and unquestioned aspect of parenting behavior. This chapter explores the use of physical punishment from the perspective of evolved biases to human behavior as they affect the functioning of the parental caregiving system. This perspective places homo sapiens in the context of other social mammals and explores aspects of parental behavior that may reflect genetically biased and adaptive responses selected during our period of evolution. Their adaptiveness among humans today is then considered. Because the chapter's argument represents a blend of theory with empirical findings drawn from many species, its conclusions are tentative but may provide a basis for valuable empirical research.

Keywords:   appropriateness, physical punishment, parenting behavior, evolved biases, parental caregiving system

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