Term Paper: Raising Well-Socialized Children

Pages: 5 (1486 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Other studies have demonstrated that harsh parenting skills tend to be passed on from generation to generation within families (Conger, 2003) and that these entrenched family behaviors tend to contribute to antisocial, aggressive behavior in the children of those families.

Observation of interactions between adults and children demonstrate that a variety of methods exist to socialize our children. In the supermarket, the writer saw two children reaching for candy. One mother chose to distract the child by having him find the cereal they needed. Another yelled at the child, told him he knows he's not supposed to touch the candy, and slapped his hand. The first child happily looked among the boxes of cereal for the "Cheerios," while the other child cried but continued to try to get the candy. Both children were given the message that they cannot eat candy any time they want it, but one has had this communicated in a way that treated him as a competent person able to be of assistance, while the other was told that he's a bad boy who cannot follow parental rules.

This same difference in patterns was noted at a neighborhood park. It was close to dinnertime, and two different parents told their children it was time to leave. Both children resisted. The first parent engaged the child in conversation about what they would do when they came back to the park the next day while gently leading her away. The other said, "See? This is why I don't bring you to the park more often. You always make it a problem when it's time to leave! We won't be coming back until Saturday now (three days away). It seems reasonable to assume that the second child would learn to try not to leave the park, since she could not be sure when she could come back, while the other child learned that while parents make rules, her feelings and desires are taken into consideration. The first child might well be learning to be more selfish, to watch out for what she wants, because others may not, while the second might well be learning that cooperation with others gets her more of what she wants.

These dynamics can play out in the family as well. As a child, sometimes my parents punished, and sometimes they were more gentle. I did not always do my assigned chores. Sometimes I was sent to my room or lectured about how wrong that was, but one day my mother let it slide. She took the garbage out herself, fed the dog, and put the dishes away, all my jobs. She said she would just use some of her time to do my chores. I didn't think much of it at the time, but then 3PM came. She was supposed to drive me to a friend's home. She said, "I'm sorry, but I can't take you until 3:30PM. I have some things I need to finish, and I'm not done with them yet because I took time out to do your chores." I didn't always do my chores cheerfully or without protest after that, but I did gradually learn that I was an important member of the family and that what I did or didn't do affected others as well as myself. When I was punished it was easy for me to rationalize that it was no big deal, but when I saw my mother do them and then go on to her own, I had a new perspective on contributing to family life.

Raising well-socialized children can't be as simple as using natural consequences such as delaying a visit to a friend, but the research shows that adults such as teachers and youth leaders can soften the negative messages children may receive either from a harsh and uncaring home or from negative influences stemming from neighborhood or peer groups.

Bibliography

Conger, Rand D. 2003. "Angry and aggressive behavior across three generations: a prospective, longitudinal study of parents and children." Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, April.

Lorber, Michael F. 2003. "Mothers' overreactive discipline and their encoding and appraisals of toddler behavior." Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Oct.

Schiff, Miriam. 2003. "Urban youth disruptive behavioral difficulties: exploring association with parenting and gender." Family Process, Winter.

Scott, Stephen. 1998. "Aggressive behavior in childhood." British Medical Journal, Jan 17.

Ungar, Michael. 2004.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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