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Jason M. Fuller, author

According to a higher court criminal judge of Germany, such literature as this law review is neither distributed in the universities or even the courts of Germany. To counter such prejudice and narrow-mindedness, we make a link available to it here. Download and read this important 2010 Akron Law Review article (Volume 44, Issue 1, 2011).

Quote from the Introduction

“Since World War II, “serious assaults committed by juveniles” have increased by 700%. From the 1980s to the 1990s alone, juvenile arrests for violent offenses increased by over 50%, and the rate of homicide by youths increased by 168%. Now American teens murder about 2300 people every year.

“Violence is not the only change. “[S]tudy after study points to problems and inadequacies in today’s kids”—problems caused by “a vortex of new risks . . . almost unknown to their parents or grandparents.” Journalist Patricia Hersch tells of the “deluge of adolescent dysfunction sweeping the nation, manifesting itself in everything from drugs, sex, and underachievement to depression, suicide, and crime”; and it is being seen in younger and younger children…

“At the same time, it has become politically incorrect to criticize the “tremendous decrease” of spanking during the past fifty years. Growing academic, political, and media pressure has persuaded twenty countries to ban physical discipline—that is, to take children from their families because of spanking. Even where corporal punishment is not outlawed (like in the U.S.), those same pressures have made spanking the target of things like child welfare investigations, parenting education, and custody disputes.

“However, if youth violence and dysfunction is increasing at the same time that corporal punishment is decreasing, we should be open enough to consider whether the two trends are related. Maybe there is no connection. But maybe lawmakers and child welfare workers should pay more attention to the research suggesting that physical discipline can be helpful in certain contexts.”1

(Other citations omitted. There are hundreds of useful references in this valuable law review.)

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

…………………………………..6

II. Background: The Documented Problems with Spanking Bans

………………………………….11

A. Crime Statistics Where Corporal Punishment is Outlawed, and Where it is Prevalent

………………………………….15

B. Common Flaws with Anti-spanking Research

………………………………….20

III. Children Learn from the Concrete to the Abstract

………………………………….22

A. Kids Learn Behavior the Same as Math, Science, or Language—from Simple to Complex

………………………………….24

IV. Optimal Childrearing: Positive Attention and Negative Consequences—All in Stage-Appropriate Ways

………………………………….33

A. High Responsiveness and High Demands

………………………………….35

B. When the Most Successful Families Spank, it is Consistent with the Child’s Development Stage

………………………………….40

C. Successful Spanking Mirrors Concrete Thinking

………………………………….43

V. Why Spanking Can Be Helpful During the Primitive Stages

………………………………….46

A. Punishment Discourages Bad Behavior, While Rewards and Praise Encourage Good Behavior

………………………………….48

B. Not All Punishments are Painful

………………………………….52

C. Not All Punishments Deter Misbehavior

………………………………….55

VI. Conclusion

………………………………….62

 

Footnote

1 See, e.g., Robert E. Larzelere & Brett R. Kuhn, Comparing Child Outcomes of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A Meta-Analysis, 8 CLINICAL CHILD & FAM. PSYCHOL. R EV. 1, 32 (2005) [hereinafter Larzelere, Meta-Analysis] (finding, from all the studies analyzed, that physical discipline was generally more effective than other punishments); id. at 4 (saying “children had to average less than 13 years old at the time of the discipline” to be included in the study); id. at 20 tbl.IV, 22 tbl.V, 24 tbl.VI (showing spanking to be better at controlling aggression than mental punishments like timeout, reasoning, scolding, “non-contact” punishment, privilege removal, love withdrawal, or diverting. Also showing that calm and controlled spanking, and spanking in response to defiance, is uniformly more beneficial than other punishments); id. at 27 (saying “all types of physical punishment were associated with lower rates of antisocial behavior than were alternative disciplinary tactics.”) (emphasis in original);

Robert E. Larzelere, A Review of the Outcomes of Parental Use of Nonabusive or Customary Physical Punishment, 98 PEDIATRICS 824, 827 (1996) [hereinafter Larzelere, Review] (finding that, for young children, spanking was more beneficial than all seven alternative discipline responses—physical restraint, ignoring, love withdrawal, child-determined release from time out, reasoning without punishment, punishment without reasoning, and discipline other than punishment or reasoning. For older children, grounding was the only alternative discipline response that had more beneficial outcomes than did physical punishment. But even for older children, spanking had more beneficial effects than nonphysical punishment and verbal put-downs.);

Mark W. Roberts & S.W. Powers, Adjusting Chair Timeout Enforcement Procedures for Oppositional Children, 21 BEHAV. THERAPY 257 (1990) (showing spanking to be beneficial in enforcing timeout in oppositional 2- to 6-year-olds);

M. Chapman & C. Zahn-Waxler, Young Children’s Compliance and Noncompliance to Parental Discipline in a Natural Setting, 5 INT’L J. BEHAV. DEV. 81 (1982) (showing that for children between 10- and 29-months-old, physical coercion by their mother was more effective than reasoning or verbal prohibition at gaining immediate compliance);

Robert E. Larzelere, P.R. Sather, W.N. Schneider, D.B. Larson & P.L. Pike, Punishment Enhances Reasoning’s Effectiveness as a Disciplinary Response to Toddlers, 60 J. MARRIAGE & FAM. 388 (1998) [hereinafter Larzelere, Punishment] (finding that for 2- and 3-year-olds, spanking without reasoning as a primary discipline method was associated with substantially less disruptive behavior twenty months later than reasoning, and to a lesser extent than timeout, privilege removal, or reasoning plus physical discipline);

Robert E. Larzelere, P.R. Sather, W.N. Schneider, D.B. Larson & P.L. Pike, The Effects of Discipline Responses in Delaying Toddler Misbehavior Recurrences, 18 CHILD & FAM. BEHAV. THERAPY 35 (1996) (finding that for 2- and 3-year-olds the combination of spanking, nonphysical punishment, and reasoning was the most effective in delaying future fights);

H. Lytton, Correlates of Compliance and the Rudiments of Conscience in Two-year-old Boys, 9 CAN. J. BEHAV. SCI . 242 (1977) (showing that for 2-year-old boys, spanking by father and mother was more beneficial than verbal punishment, love withdrawal, or criticism to gain compliance or to positively affect the conscience);

David C. McClelland & D.A. Pilon, Sources of Adult Motives in Patterns of Parent Behavior in Early Childhood, 44 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL. 564 (1983) (finding that 5-years-old children who were spanked had substantially less “Need for Power” when interviewed again at 31-years-old, than those whose parents used reasoning, privilege removal, and love withdrawal);

Kathy L. Ritchie, Maternal Behaviors and Cognitions During Discipline Episodes, 35 DEV. PSYCHOL. 580 (1999) (showing that for ninety 3-year-old boys and girls, spanking was much more effective at reducing defiance than reasoning, offering alternatives, threatening, verbal power assertion, privilege removal, or ignoring, and to a somewhat lesser extent timeout or physical power assertion);

Robert R. Sears, Relation of Early Socialization Experiences to Aggression in Middle Childhood, 63 J. A BNORMAL & SOC. PSYCHOL. 466 (1961) (showing that, for a kindergarten sample of 160 children, even severe physical punishment was associated with less antisocial aggression when the children were 12-years-old, than privilege removal and love withdrawal);

Murray A. Straus & V.E. Mouradian, Impulsive Corporal Punishment by Mothers and Antisocial Behavior and Impulsiveness of Children, 16 BEHAV. SCI. & LAW 353 (1998) (revealing that, for a random sample of children 2- to 14-years-old, spanking and to a lesser extent severe, out-of-control corporal punishment (in which mothers said they “lost it” due to anger) was more beneficial during the six months studied than disciplinary reasoning, privilege removal, and timeout to deal with antisocial or impulsive behavior);

F.S. Tennant, R. Detels & V. Clark, Some Childhood Antecedents of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 102 AM. J. EPIDEMIOLOGY 377 (1975) (showing that, for a group of 5044 U.S. Army soldiers, being spanked when they were under 14-years-old was associated with less substance abuse than other punishments were);

D.G. Watson, Parenting Styles and Child Behavior, Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo, 50 DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS I NT’L 3181 (1989) (showing from a group of 2500 National Merit Scholarship finalists and average test-takers, that parent-reported spanking (and possibly timeout) before age 6 was more beneficial than privilege removal to improve antisocial behavior and reduce alcohol usage, and was associated with higher class rank and higher scores on the National Merit Scholarship Test);

MARIAN R. YARROW, J.D. CAMPBELL & R.V. BURTON, CHILD REARING (1968) (showing conditional spanking is more effective for 4-year-olds than reasoning, isolation, love withdrawal, diverting, or scolding to control a child’s aggression—rated by nursery school teachers two months later);

Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Marian Radke-Yarrow & Robert King, Prosocial Initiations Toward Victims of Distress, 50 CHILD DEV. 319 (1979) [hereinafter Zahn-Waxler, Prosocial] (showing that for children 15- to 24-months-old, even predominate physical punishment was more beneficial than verbal prohibition for developing prosocial behavior).