ERIC Number: ED196149
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Nov-14
Reference Count: 0
The Belt Theory of Discipline and Delinquency. Critical Issues Presentation.
Welsh, Ralph S.
Parental discipline appears to play a major role in the development of delinquent and aggressive behavior. The belt theory predicts that parents who have used corporal punishment are likely to produce children who exhibit delinquent behavior. A striking factor is that all delinquent youths see corporal punishment as necessary in child rearing and most are convinced that the beatings they received prevented them from committing homicide. The intensity level of violent parental discipline can be equated to the child's level of exhibited aggression. Thus, normal parents can expect to have aggressive children in proportion to the degree they discipline their children. The use of the belt appears to work because it produces enough fear to terminate temporarily the unwanted behavior. However, as the fear dissipates, aggression remains. The two basic responses to the threat of pain are fight and flight: females tend to run away while males are more apt to commit aggressive crimes. Cross-cultural studies relating severe parenting to aggression support this theory. The roots of violence are in the home: we cannot work with an aggressive child without focusing on the family. (Author/JK)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Education Association (Atlantic City, NJ, November 14, 1980).