Sunday, November 19, 2017

3 Phases of Developing Attitudes About Cultural Groups

Attitudes about cultural groups develops in three phases. The first phase is from two and half to three years old. This is when children become aware of cultural differences. Phase two starts around age four and this is when children begin to notice the ways they are similar to others and have specific cultural related words and concepts. For example, this when children notice that they may be white but someone in their preschool class is a different color. This is when children start to use words such as black, white, christian or catholic to explain the difference in color of skin or religion.

Phase three begins around age seven when children begin to have attitudes towards various cultural groups. For example, a child may play with a child who is black but not Indian or may play with children who are white but not mixed. The development of attitudes is influenced by a child's age, cognitive development and social experiences. The last phase is important in discussing attitudes and belief development because it's during the middle childhood years that this phase occurs. During the third phase children become familiar with the various ways people within their family interact with others in the community. They begin to notice things like discrimination, violence, and prejudice. This is why it is important to make sure that our words and actions match and that we are the kind of people we want our children to be. It is also important at this age to make sure that we are teaching our children the importance of equality by treating our children with equality. Our example isn't something that can be fixed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2 Types of Attributions

Parents, siblings and caregivers are the people who infants and toddlers spend the majority of their day with and they have the biggest impact on their attitudes and values. Children who are exposed to encouraging, positive people are more likely to take on those attitudes as they grow up. It's because of developments in cognitive functioning those later attitudes and beliefs are formed.

The people children spend the  majority of their day with can intentionally or unintentionally teach infants and toddlers behaviors or beliefs about what they can or can't accomplish. For example, if a parent continues to feed their child after the age they should be able to feed themselves, they're teaching the child that feeding themselves is something they can't accomplish. If a parent lets a child feed themselves when they're developmentally ready, the child will learn that feeding themselves is something they can accomplish.

Attributions are explanations for one's performance or causes of events. External attributions happen when individuals place the blame for behavior or performance on someone or something other than themselves. For example, if a child throws a ball in the house and it breaks something, and the child says a sibling mad them do it, this is an external attribution. Internal attributions happen when individuals place the blame for behavior or performance on themselves. For example, if a child throws a ball in the house and it breaks something and the child says, I did it," this is an internal attribution. The infant and toddler years are the most important years of teaching attributions. The behaviors and beliefs taught at this age through these attributions will stick with the child their whole life.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Three Central Tasks of Parenting

Three Central tasks of parenting are to teach children values, behaviors and expectations of a society and culture. There are different approaches to educating children. One approach is to help children find safe activities. For example, during the summer parents can take children to museums and find summer sports for their children to participate in. There are swimming teams to be a part of and art classes and there are always programs to participate in at the local library.

Another approach to educating children is to provide children with a sense of empowerment and acceptable safe choices. Both a sense of empowerment and safe acceptable choices protects the child and fosters responsibility. For example, giving a child a task such as unloading the dishwasher gives a child a sense of empowerment because it's a task they can accomplish on their own. When a parent gives a child acceptable, safe choices such as you can either wear sunscreen or not go to the pool, this teaches a child about sun safety and protects a child from the harm of sunburn etc. that the sun can cause and it creates responsibility of sun safety.

There a variety of ways to reduce the amount of unnecessary guidance and discipline that can happen while raising a child. One is to make sure activities are developmentally appropriate. This can be accomplished by providing a variety of activities. Activities should be revised based on the unique learning needs of the child which involves observes learning styles, social interactions, and comfort with the activity. Environments need to be evaluated for safety hazards, lack of interesting and challenging opportunities and elements that can cause discipline problems as a result of design.

To address challenges the balanced approach to guidance helps children become socialized to the culture they grow up in. The balanced approach consists of respect for the child's emotional needs, respect for individual differences, respect for power of development and respect for self. A differentiated approach can also help children become socialized. The differentiated approach is where expectations, activities, tasks and outcomes are changed by the parent depending on the child's abilities, learning style, and overall development. Behaviorism is an important type of learning.  When the two categories of behaviorism- rewards and punishment- are used it becomes a guiding technique to help parents teach their children between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Ways to reduce potential discipline problems include  matching  learning activities and expectations with how children learn and being sensitive to individual learning styles, temperaments and pace of learning.

When parents use these techniques when disciplining their children it will help parents keep discipline use appropriate and from giving a consequence that may not go along with the offense.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Modeling Behavior

Albert Bandura is the theorist most associated with our understanding of modeling. According to Bandura modeling can teach new behaviors, increase the frequency of forbidden behaviors and increase the frequency of similar behaviors. For example, modeling  can teach a new behavior because if a child see a parent say thank you to the checkout clerk at a store every time they're out, the child will learn to say thank you to the checkout clerk every time they go to the store.

An example of increasing frequency of a forbidden behavior is when a parent yells at their spouse in front of the children so that a child yells at the parent as well whenever they talk to the parent. From a discipline perspective  modeling can teach and increase desired behaviors. Negative behaviors can increase through modeling as well. The exception to the rule is modeling. Modeling is both a cognitive and behavioral process of social learning because it's the process where a person observes the actions of others and copies them.

Modeling works when a child first observes the behavior of the model, and after the behavior of the model is reinforced, the child repeats the behavior. For example, a child may see a sibling set the table every day before their parents get home. One day, the sibling may not be home to do it, so the child who observed the sibling setting the table every day may set the table in the siblings absence.

The reinforcement of the models behavior is called vicarious reinforcement and is the behavioral part of modeling. The ability of the child to imitate the model's behavior and motivation to do so make up the cognitive part of modeling. Modeling both real and symbolic can effectively teach pro-social  behaviors.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Three Reasons Why Time Out May Not Work

Whether or not to use time out when raising your children is a question that every parent faces. Ronald Mah who specializes in dealing with difficult behavior, wrote a book called Difficult  Behavior in Early Childhood: Positive Discipline for Pre-K-3. In this book he suggests three common reasons why parents use time out and explains why it usually doesn't work.

The first reason why parents use  time out is that the theory behind time out is the child is being forced to sit away from other children which is upsetting to a child and will motivate the child to regret the bad behavior. The time out may not work because some children respond and change their behavior when given time to sit away from the activity they were removed from however, others don't get upset when removed and instead find creative ways to entertain themselves.

Another reason parents may use time out is to give time to sit in the chair and think about what the child has done and what they can do instead next time. Time outs where the child needs to think about what they have done and what they will do differently next time are generally ineffective because young children aren't developmentally ready to reflect on their behavior and instead find creative ways to entertain themselves while in time out which counteracts the intent of punishment.  Children need to think about their action, but need scaffolding from adults in order to do so. For example, a child needs the parent to explain why they were removed and why their behavior was inappropriate.

The third reason why parents use time out is they hope children will learn empathy for others if asked while in time out, "how would you feel if..." and this will change a child's behavior. This approach might not work though because young children developmentally aren't ready to put themselves in another person's shoes and need adult direction not a lonely time out to understand something they don't yet have the mental capacity to understand.

Time out does have positive uses. Steps to help time out be positive include: using time out to help children understand they can't hurt themselves and that interacting poorly with others may cause others to not like them. A second step to help time out be positive is to teach children they can't be allowed to harm others and that removing them from the group helps them understand this. A third reason time out can be positive is children need to understand they can't be allowed to harm the process of their group. Working in groups helps children learn how to work together and get along with others.

Regardless of a parents view of time out scaffolding is required to get to the root of inappropriate behavior. Whether time out is a used is a private family decision to make and depends on how the parents feel about using time out when raising their children.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Six Forms of Punishment Part 3

The last two of the six forms of punishment are verbal reprimands and time out. Verbal reprimands are more effective when they're immediate, brief and and accompanied by eye contact.  For example,  if a child hits a parent it's best for the parent to look the child in the eye, say, "No hitting mom, ouch!" and do it it immediately after the child hits them. Verbal reprimands are more effective when spoken quietly and close to the child not bringing attention to the child which can cause shame and guilt. For example, if a child and parent are in a store and a child says a curse word, it's best if the parent whispers in the child's ear, "We don't say that word. It's ugly," than if the parent brings attention to it by saying something out loud and reprimanding them publicly.

Verbal reprimands should provide encouraging statements indicating the parent knows the child can participate in appropriate behavior. For example, if a child is getting impatient  standing in line waiting to check out at a store a parent can say, "I know it's taking a long time to check out. We have two people in front of us and then it's our turn. I know you can wait until it's our turn." Then the parent can do something to distract them such as quietly sing a song or play a game such as finding letters on the cover of a magazine. It's also helpful for parents to carry toys with them that the child can play with when a situation like this occurs.

Time out is considered a punishment because the child is removed from a pleasurable and enjoyable activity due to their inappropriate behavior. Time out is different from time away in that time out is a general punishment for any kind of behavior problem, whereas as time away is removal of the child when the child's behavior results in the disruption of an activity. For example,  time out occurs when a child keeps interrupting parents while they're trying to talk. Time away happens when a child keeps grabbing all of the crayons and doesn't share with their siblings. With time away, the focus is on the child understanding the relationship between their behavior and the effect the disruption had on the activity. The focus is on putting the child in an environment that encourages and motivates a child to behave appropriately. In time out the child is removed to another room, corner etc. and screened off. A time out environment shouldn't be reinforcing such as a corridor, dark closet etc. Time out is short (minute per age). The key to time out is that when a child comes out of the environment is dependent on the child demonstrating appropriate behavior. Time out has been shown to be effective in reducing a variety of disruptive and inappropriate behavior. Time out doesn't give undue attention(reward) to the child.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Six Forms of Punishment Part 2

The next two forms of punishment we'll talk about are unrelated consequences and response cost. An unrelated consequence is the punishment of a child's inappropriate behavior with something that's totally unrelated to the behavior. For example, if a child doesn't take their shoes off as soon a they walk in the door, they have to do the dishes by themselves. The consequence isn't logically related to the behavior which makes the approach ineffective. It can also misfire because it may not bother the child that they have to do the dishes by themselves.

The form of punishment called response cost involves taking away something the child previously earned. The response cost approach is most effective when used with positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior and when a child doesn't lose everything they earned by a small offense. When a child loses everything they earned they come to not bother to earn anything. For example, if a child gets a star on their chore chart every time they do their chores, but a parent decides to not give them the star even though they did the chores they were responsible for doing and the parent takes the star away because the child forgot to put their dirty clothes away after taking their bath this is a response cost punishment.