This is a richly researched, acutely unsettling study of corporal punishment in the United States. It focuses on the "Christian" use of Biblical texts to justify corporal punishment and its destructive legacy in our culture. Greven's insightful scholarship traces rationales for parental brutality through generations of religious apocalyptic thinking. His forceful argument takes the issue of physical discipline from the realm of parental rights and tradition and makes finding an alternative a moral responsibility.
From Publishers Weekly
Greven marshalls a wealth of clinical evidence to show that beatings and spankings administered in childhood have long-lasting harmful consequences, including suppressed anger, self-hatred, recurring depressions, apathy, and stifling of compassion for oneself and others. A Rutgers history professor who teaches courses on the family, Greven maintains that the violence against children endemic in our society contributes to adults' unquestioning obedience to authority and to the oppression of women. He traces support for physical punishment to the Protestant belief that use of the rod is necessary to break the child's will; he also briefly outlines nonviolent alternatives to corporal punishment. Although this is more sociological treatise than childrearing guide, parents will benefit from this wise and liberating book.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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