Societal violence and the treatment of children

I’m still taking notes from Peter Gray’s Free to Learn:

“…recently, research involving many types of societies has shown systematic relationships between a society’s structure and its treatment of children. In one study, Carol and Melvin Ember analyzed massive amounts of data for approximately two hundred different societies, to determine which societal traits correlated most strongly with the use of corporal punishment to discipline children. Not surprisingly, they found that the more violent a society was overall, the more likely it was that parents used corporal punishment. The beating of children correlated positively with frequencies of wife beating, harsh punishment of criminals, wars, and other indices of societal violence. But independently of that, it also correlated strongly with the degree of social stratification in the society. The greater the differentiation in power among people in a society, the more frequent the use of corporal punishment by parents. The researchers suggested, from this finding, that parents use corporal punishment ultimately to teach their children to respect the hierarchy of power. Some people are more powerful than others and must be obeyed, no questions asked.” (p.49)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Peter Gray (c2013) Free to LearnWhy unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life. Basic Books: New York

Reference is to: Ember, CR and Ember M (2005) Explaining corporal punishment of children: a cross-cultural study. American Anthropologist, 107, 609-619


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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