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I found a review of Straus's book in alt.parenting.spanking. A few of the points (well, six actually) I have repeatedly tried to make here for several weeks are picked out of the book as worthy of mention by the reviewer, Martha Woodall: 1) Note the emphasis on 'internalizing' behavior: > And, he notes, the more a parent relies on striking to control a > child, the more likely the parent is to face escalating problems later > because spanking does not help a child to "develop an internalized > conscience" to regulate his own behavior and "leads to more physically > aggressive behavior by the child." 2) What happens when the threat of external punishment is not present: > According to research cited by Straus, the paddled child is also > more likely to try to get away with things when the parent isn't looking. 3) What kids really learn, by imitation, instead of the parents' intended lesson: > Straus reports that research convincingly shows a connection between > corporal punishment and sibling violence, as well as other acts of > physical aggression. By striking a child, he says, a parent unwittingly > is communicating that "when someone does something outrageous and won't > listen to reason, it is morally correct to physically attack the > offender." 4) Spanking isn't effective: > Actually, Straus says, spanking does not even work. 5) Most folks just use it cuz they were raised with it and don't know any better, not cuz they have bad intentions toward their kids: > Most adults spank, Straus says, because that is the way they were > reared and because they have been told that spanking is an effective > method of changing children's behavior. 6) Regardless of the immediate short term effects, spanking has can have unwanted negative effects in the long run: > ...the consequences are subtle and may not be visible > for years....Just as smokers have no way of seeing the harm they are doing to their > bodies, parents have no way of seeing the harm they are unknowingly doing > to their children." I guess I could say 'you heard it here first' but I won't (sneaky, huh?). I will just suggest you buy the book and see why Straus says these things. I haven't seen it yet myself, so I can't say what reasoning he gives for what he believes to be true according to the data he has examined, so I won't try to guess. I'll just pick up a copy and check it out for myself one of these days. Here is the whole review as posted by Chris: > _________________________________________________________ > The following review, written by Martha Woodall, appeared in the > January 8, 1995 issue of the National Inquirer. The book, by author Dr. > Murray Straus, is entitled "Beating The Devil Out Of Them: Corporal > Punishment In American Families." > __________________________________________________________ > For more than 22 years, Murray S. Straus, founder and director of > the University of New Hampshire's Family Research Lab, has waged a > sometimes lonely campaign against domestic violence. > His thesis is simple and provocative: The family itself is "the > cradle of violence" and "a reduction in the largely taken for granted > family violence called spanking is one of the most important steps we can > make toward achieving a less violent world." > With his latest work, "Beating The Devil Out of Them: Corporal > Punishment in American Families," Straus makes a passionate plea for the > end of spanking and extrapolates from a slender - but growing - body of > research to support his contention that corporal punishment is damaging > to children and is an ineffective method of disciplining them.