Calling All Moms

Lauren Christopher and Hannah Schug

Dear Moms,

Let us ask you a question—do you know what kind of parent you are? You probably know the rules in your house and the expectations you have for your kids, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily know what kind of parent you are. You might be asking yourself, why would I need to know what kind of parent I am? Isn’t that just a label? While the names associated with parenting style are just labels, the definitions associated with those labels are important for any parent to understand. Parents should know what it looks like to be an X parent or a Y parent and if those practices are positive or negative for their child’s development. Knowing your parenting style will help you best support your child’s development because you will know what you’re doing well, and what you’re doing that could be inhibiting your child’s developmental success. With all the media of the modern times negatively influencing your children without you even being aware of it, our best hope for having strong, self-respecting, smart individuals is to raise them right and teach them to have strong morals and values. Now I’m sure you want to know how you can find out what parent you are, right? Or maybe we’ve lost you and you’re asking your self ‘what are these parenting styles they keep talking about?’

Let us talk for just a minute about what exactly parenting styles are, because we would love to tell you a little more!

In 1973, Diana Baumrind developed definitions of parenting that divided examples of different parenting into four unique styles. While it may be safe to say that these four styles aren’t hard and fast and that any parent could find some overlap in the styles when considering their own, they nevertheless have validity and are worth understanding as a parent. The four styles are grounded in the theory that there are two main contributing factors to how an individual parents: 1) the level of responsiveness (i.e. warmth, communication, etc.) and 2) the level of demandingness. These two factors combine, in to form the 4 unique parenting sty  les:

  • 1) Authoritative

· These parents are high on responsiveness and high on demandingness.

· Authoritative parents invest in their children through encouraging high standards of academic and social success on the basis of solid communication and understanding that mistakes are okay, and are an opportunity or learning.

  • 2) Authoritarian

· These parents are high on demandingness, but low on responsiveness.

· Authoritarian parents expect academic and social success one hundred percent of the time.

· Children cannot fail to meet the expectations set by parents and are assumed to understand the rules set by parents and what those rules mean for children.

  • 3) Permissive

· These parents are high on responsiveness, but low on demandingness.

· Permissive parents are very loving parents, but they play more of the “friend” role in the parent-child relationship rather than being in a position of authority.

· While permissive parents do everything they do with the best intention, they do not necessarily encourage their students to be the best they can be by failing to set any rules or standards within the household that children are expected to uphold.

  • 4) Rejecting-Neglecting

· These parents are low on both responsiveness and demandingness.

· Rejecting-neglecting parents tend to be absent from the household and neither set academic and social expectations or standards for their children, nor provide support and warmth for their children.

· Children of rejecting-neglecting parents tend to be emotionally unstable, showing signs of depression, anxiety, etc. at higher rates, fail to have academic success, and are known for delinquency.

Now that you know some more about parenting styles, we’re going to give you the opportunity to take a quiz to learn about your learning style! This simple quiz can tell you, based on real life scenarios and questions, what kind of mom you are and what this means you for you and your child. The quiz puts the less tangible idea of a named parenting style into a real life perspective that is accessible (and not to mention fun!)

To take the quiz, simply click the link below and enjoy!

http://www.playbuzz.com/laurenchristopher10/what-kind-of-mom-are-you

References

Siegler, R., DeLoache, J., & Eisenberg, N. (2011). How children develop (3rd edt.) . New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

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Stress in Children: Prevention and Intervention

Lauren Martin

Stress is a common emotion or state that is experienced at difficult or threatening times. This is often not attributed to children, however, and can be even more detrimental to their mental and emotional state. High stress in children is both physically and psychologically harmful, which can affect behaviors and attitudes in the future. High stress can cause children to lag in academic settings and turn to detrimental social behaviors. This can even lead to heart disease, depression, and other serious complications later in life (Segal and Smith, 2014). Taking preventive measures or intervening early in childhood can greatly decrease these risk factors and consequences. High stress in children interacts with a variety of factors, including attachment style and biology of the developing brain. Based on the social learning theory, caregiver’s active role and community care programs are essential in the intervention and prevention of high stress in children.

Prevention and intervention of high stress in children is possible and necessary. There are many suggestions for parents on how to manage this. As mentioned above, the attachment style between the parent and child is crucial in how the child thinks and behaves. According to Dozier and Cicchetti, interventions should concentrate on attachment styles in order “to increase parental sensitivity, and responsiveness to foster more secure parent-child relationships and alter the child’s inner working models” (2003, 2005). This emphasizes the importance of a “secure base” for the child in order to be active in their environment but also feel comfortable and safe that they have someone to fall back on in times of stress or trauma (Book). It is also important to note that the caregiver is more likely to affect the attachment relationship than the child (Goodman, 2007).

Parenting style also affects the environment of the child, particularly on an emotional level. According to Baumrind’s theory on parenting styles, parents should be high in responsiveness and demandingness (1973). The social learning theory supports this and parents should be aware that they should “use clear, consistent, non-hostile guidance and discipline technique” (Fisher, Burraston, & Pears, 2005). A clear relationship has been seen with the responsiveness and attentiveness of a parent and the stress levels of a child. In a study done by Gunnar and Fisher, parents were tested for responsiveness and sensitivity to the child several times as the child aged. The children were later tested and found to have greater levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released in response to stress (2006). Another study showed the relation of parental responsiveness with right frontal EEG asymmetry, which responds to fear, sadness and anxiety. The results showed that mothers who were low in attention and response had children with greater activity in the right frontal EEG asymmetry (Hane and Fox). These studies emphasize the importance of the caregiver’s role and participation in influencing a child’s emotions and mental states.

There are also intervention programs outside of parenting that can aid in helping a child with high stress. Therapy, both individual and with the family, can be very effective in targeting issues that the child might be having and causing stress. One example of a program that has shown many benefits in both the child and family is “Child First.” David Bornstein in “Protecting Children From Toxic Stress” described the program, which targeted children of lower income families less than six years of age in order to act as a preventive measure (2013). Child First is successful “because it brings a mental health professional into the home alongside a care coordinator who helps the family gain access to basic services.” The team works with the child to address basic problems and how to solve them. They also help guide the caregivers in “reading the child’s cues and being emotionally available on a daily basis” (Bornstein, 2013). This guidance and the access to other care facilities is extremely beneficial in providing aid to diminish the stress of a child.

Works Cited

Baumrind, D. (1973). The development of instrument competence through socialization. In A.D. Pick (Ed.), Minnesota symposia on child psychology (Vol.7, pp.3-46). Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.

Bornstein, D. (2013, October 30). Protecting Children From Toxic Stress.The New York Times.

Cicchetti, D. (2005, August). Translating interdisciplinary research with high-risk families into preventive interventions. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

Dozier, M. (2003), Attachment-based treatment for vulnerable children. Attachment and Human Development, 5, 253–257.

Goodman, G. (2007), Attachment-Based Intervention with Prepubertal Children: The Impact of Parent, Child, and Therapist Mental Representations on Intervention Points of Entry. Journal of Psychiatry and Psychology 1.1 : n. pag. Web. <http://www.scientificjournals.org/journals2007/articles/1065.htm>.

Hane, A. A., & Fox, N. A. (in press). Natural variations in maternal caregiving of human infants influence stress reactivity. Psychological Science.

Siegler, R. S., DeLoache, J. S., & Eisenberg, N. (2011). How children develop (3rd ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

Smith, M., Segal, R., & Segal, J. (2014, April). Stress Symptoms, Signs, & Causes. HelpGuide. Retrieved , from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

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How do you affect your child?

Lucy Martin and Virginia Hite

You may not know it, but your day-to-day behavior, from the way you drive to the tone of your voice, is shaping the way your child will act for the rest of their life. Psychologists refer to this as the influence of parent socialization, the way children learn the behaviors and skills necessary to interact in their everyday lives. Parents influence their child’s social skills directly, indirectly and through management of their child’s activities. Parents are their children’s first teacher, and provide them with knowledge that is necessary for survival through direct instruction. They also influence them unintentionally through their own daily actions, such as conversing with other adults while their child is present. Children are very prone to imitate the actions of those around them, especially adults. This was made clear in the Bobo Doll experiment done by Bandura, in which children that saw adults beating up a Bobo Doll did the same things to the doll. Lastly, parents are in charge of their child’s experiences and social interactions, and thus the environment the child is exposed to, with the parent’s permission shapes their future behavior. Although all parents influence their children through similar avenues, the ultimate affect on the child differs on parenting style.

Parenting styles can differ significantly from one family to another. There are four main categories of parent child interactions, based on their level of demandingness and responsiveness. A parent who rates high in both demandingness and responsiveness is considered authoritative. This parenting style is defined by clear limits on the child’s behavior, and the ability to reason and communicate openly with their child. An example of this was when Virginia was five years old, she took a Barbie from her friend, which made the friend very upset. When her mother found out about the incident, she firmly explained to her daughter that taking other people’s toys was wrong, and she needed to apologize to her friend. Virginia was made to understand that her actions were wrong, but was not overly criticized for her behavior. Virginia’s mom was clearly an authoritative parent in this case. A more aggressive type of parent is referred to as authoritarian, which rates high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. An example of an authoritative parent would be one that demands that their kids get good grades, but do not support them or give them any recognition when they do well. An authoritarian parent would also expect their rules to be enforced without question, no matter the situation, and would employ severe consequences if they were not met. These two parenting styles are both characterized by high expectations, however authoritative is more willing to compromise and communicate with their kids.

The next two styles are defined as parents that neglect their children in different ways. Permissive parents are highly responsive to their children, but neglect the demanding side of parenting. These parents do not discipline their children much at all, but are responsive to all their desires and wishes. A parent that is very permissive would likely buy their children whatever they want, and allow them to stay out as late as they want. A more extreme version of this this would be parents that are completely disengaged in responsiveness and demandingness, and are considered rejecting-neglecting. These parents would be the ones that don’t show up to any school functions, ignore their children, and are totally focused on their own needs. Both of these parenting styles have very negative impacts on their children.

The type of household a child grows up in is strongly correlated with the behaviors exhibited throughout development. Children of authoritative parents are usually capable, self-assured, and popular in their social life. These children are more likely to have and incremental view of intelligence, where they associate effort with a positive outcome. Baumrind, a well renowned psychiatric researcher, says that when they reach adolescence, these kids are relatively high in academic performance and low in drug use and delinquent behavior. Authoritarian parents tend to have children that are unhappy and have low self-esteem, and keep to themselves. This is most likely a result of the intense pressure from their parents to be successful, and can often result in the opposite effect, with their children doing poorly in school. The children of permissive parents have the ability to do just about anything they want, so they tend to be impulsive and perform poorly in school. In addition, during their teenage years these children are more likely to experiment heavily with alcohol and drugs. Generally, these children have a disregard for rules, because their childhood was totally lacking in boundaries. Children of rejecting- neglecting parents also tend to perform poorly in school. They also have trouble forming peer relationships based on their fear of abandonment. As adolescents, they are more likely to experience depression, engage in risky sexual behavior, and misuse drugs and alcohol. The negative effects these children experience tend to worsen throughout their lifetime. Ultimately, parenting style has an extreme effect on child development, which lasts well into adolescence and adulthood.

It is very important to note that even though you might not think about your parenting style on a day-to-day basis, your parenting style has an enormous effect on your child. As stated above, authoritative parenting produces the best results in terms of social, academic and behavioral skills that prepare the child for their future. One way to implement a more authoritative environment in your home would be setting clear rules for your children, but also being open to conversation that is specific to different situations. An important part of authoritative parenting is bidirectional communication in which the parent listens to what the child thinks and adjusts their expectations, in addition to making their own rules. Another thing parents can do is monitor their children’s behavior, but also trust them to make the right decisions, and make them responsible for their actions. Ultimately the most important thing is to behave in a way that you would want your child to emulate, listen to your child’s needs, and set clear boundaries that are appropriate and helpful to the child. Every parent wants the best for their child and to help make this happen remember to be aware of how your actions impact them.

References

Saxon, Jill, and Robert S. Siegler. How Children Develop, 3rd Edition. New York: Worth, 2010. Print.

 

 

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Recognizing the Importance of Parental Influence in Social and Behavioral Development

Anna Sewell and Paxton Higgins

In this article, we will be exploring the various types of impacts that parents can have on their children and their children’s intellectual, social, and behavioral development.  Many parents believe that during pregnancy they are capable of influencing the child’s intellectual and social development later on in life through sensory stimulation.  Fetus’s sensory structures are undoubtedly present early on in prenatal development.  However, studies show that, despite the fact that some learned preferences in utero last for a small window of time after birth, these preferences are not enduring and will fade before making a lasting impact on the child.  Additionally, many mothers believe that that increased sensory stimulation, such as listening to music, during pregnancy will influence a child’s preferences and intellectual development later in life.  However, scientists have also concluded that this increased stimulation is unnecessary, and a normal amount of stimulation that a fetus will have just by having the mother live a normal life is more than enough.   In short, despite popular beliefs, various efforts from parents during pregnancy are deemed unnecessary and ineffective in manipulating a child’s intellectual or social development (aside from influence from teratogens, obviously).  However, after the birth of their child, parents have crucial roles in impacting different aspects of their child’s development in a variety of ways, especially regarding behavioral/social development.  Because of this, we would like to emphasize the influence parents can have on the behavioral/social development of their child and the importance or parents to utilize “authoritarian” parenting styles.

An Authoritative Parenting Style

As a parent, one of the greatest influences you can have on the development of your child is the parenting style that you employ when interacting with them.  Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind developed a classification of four parenting styles based on the behaviors and actions of parents and how they affect child development.  Many recognize the authoritative parenting style as the most suitable for proper parenting that generally yields positive results in behavioral development in children.

Authoritative parenting is defined by parents that are both demanding and supportive of their child.  Parents set known expectations for their child in a variety of arenas including academic achievement, social behavior, and familial relationships.  Along with these expectations, parents are also extremely supportive in the child’s various endeavors and express love and support regardless of a child’s success or failure.  Authoritative parents are responsive and accepting of their children, but also enforce a sense of control and authority over their children.

Enforcing control while still maintaining a sense of acceptance may seem like a difficult balance to sustain.  However, there are various methods you can use to do so.  First, it is important that your child maintains a consistently high sense of self-esteem throughout their lives, most importantly their childhood and adolescence.  Toddlers and little kids generally have few self-esteem issues, however, the beginning of school and adolescence brings about an onslaught of self-esteem issues stemming from the physical and social changes associated with puberty.  Kids begin to compare themselves to their peers in many aspects of life, which can lead to negative conceptions of the self.  Those with low self-esteem tend to dwell on their negative characteristics and failures, which can lead to larger issues of depression and anxiety.  To avoid this for your child during those tough teenage years, make sure to use a nurturing, democratic parenting style and constantly show affection and support.  While it may seem difficult at times, you want to avoid being too overprotective of your children and allow them to develop a sense of independence and accomplishment.

Psychologist Carol Dweck believes that an individual’s beliefs about their self will largely affect their motivation to achieve.  Parents who praise their children for working hard and expending solid effort will ultimately foster a growth mindset within their children.  This growth mindset is defined by an individual who believes that his or her outcomes are attributed to effort rather than innate abilities.  Additionally, these children enjoy challenges and persist despite failure.  Parents should avoid praising or criticizing children based on their individual traits, as this will encourage the development of a fixed mindset within children.  In this fixed mindset, children will base their sense of self worth on approval from others, and will ultimately seek out situations in which they cannot fail.  They believe that success or failure is attributed to aspects of the self, and that their intelligence is static and unable to develop further.  These ideas of growth and fixed mindset largely affect a child’s achievement motivation, and will ultimately either encourage or discourage them from high achievement later on in life.


Influencing Behavior and Social Development

As a parent, it is necessary to recognize the importance of the development of behaviors in children and how this can impact a child’s social development.  An important aspect of child behavior formation is operant conditioning, an idea popularized by B. F. Skinner.  Basically, operant conditioning focuses on the idea that learning certain behaviors involves learning the relationship between one’s own behavior and the reward or punishment that prevails.  As a parent, there are various ways one can influence the types of behaviors a child exhibits, such as reinforcement and punishment techniques.  In operant conditioning, learning depends on the temporal proximity of association.  Therefore, a response must occur soon after the action, especially in the case of infants, in order for the child to make the association between the consequence and action.

If a parent wants to increase the frequency of a certain behavior, they should respond with reinforcement.  One type of reinforcement is positive reinforcement, which is generally considered to be a physical or psychological reward that increases the likelihood that a behavior is repeated.  For example, if a child cleans their room one morning without being asked, a parent may praise the child and give the child a candy bar, ultimately increasing the probability that the behavior will manifest itself again.  Additionally, parent’s attention can also be a useful reinforcer.   However, parents must be careful to not reinforce negative behavior.  An example of this would be when a child throws a tantrum in a grocery store and a mother gives them a candy bar so they will be quiet.  This makes the child realize that he or she can still get rewards from bad behaviors and they will continue such behaviors.

All parents can agree that their children exhibit various behaviors that they would like to occur with less frequency, such as a child throwing a tantrum.  In these cases, punishment, both physical and psychological, can be effective in working to extinguish certain behaviors.  Punishment is a negative response or consequence that a parent can enforce as the result of a child’s action or behavior.  An example of a punishment may be grounding a child, putting them in time-out, or taking away certain privileges.

While punishment and reinforcement are effective tools in helping children to perform certain behaviors with greater or less frequency, they can ultimately only be effective if parents are consistent.  Therefore, parents must be sure to always reinforce positive behaviors and punish negative ones and must avoid intermittent reinforcement.  Intermittent reinforcement is defined as an inconsistent response to the behavior of another person, for example, oscillating between punishing an unacceptable behavior and rewarding it.  Intermittent reinforcement can be confusing for the child and is ultimately ineffective for the parents because it makes bad behaviors much harder to extinguish.  Furthermore, it is important for parents with multiple children to be consistent with all of them.  It is known that humans are imitators and will imitate the actions of others.  In Bandura’s “Bobo Doll” study, he found that imitation of observed actions depends upon observed consequences.  Therefore, if a sibling witnesses another sibling perform an unacceptable behavior that is not punished by the parent, that individual will be more likely to exhibit the same behavior because he did not see it punished.

In short, parents have an enormous influence over the behaviors that their child exhibits.  In fact, many learning theorists emphasize the role of external factors (such as reinforcement and punishment) in shaping personality and behavior.  Thus it is important for parents to always respond with either reinforcement or punishment, and to be consistent with these responses.

References

Saxon, Jill, and Robert S. Siegler. How Children Develop, 3rd Edition. New York: Worth, 2010. Print.

 

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Vitamins during Pregnancy: good or bad?

By Audrey Bemis and Delilah Bennett

Finding out that you are pregnant can be exciting; however, it comes with many responsibilities. Our daily lives place us in contact with a number of risks, which may not be harmful to a normal human being, but can be very dangerous to the fetus of women during pregnancy.  These factors are also known as teratogens, or substances that may interfere with the normal development of a fetus.  Many of these teratogens are well know in today’s society, such as smoking, alcohol, and caffeine.  However, a lesser known teratogen may be specific vitamins, according to recent studies.  The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you stick with one multivitamin at a time rather than multiple supplements, sticking to the one dose within the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Two studies performed within the last five years have placed a specific emphasis on Vitamin D, indicating that it can be either a beneficial or harmful substance for a developing fetus.  Limitations of these two studies also highlight the importance of critical periods in fetal development, where certain outside factors may have a greater effect than they would if they were exposed to the fetus at another time during development.

Common perceptions of Vitamin D effects:

In the past, Vitamin D has had a good reputation among prenatal vitamins for strengthening bones, protecting against infections, and attending to the nervous and muscular systems.  It is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” because the body produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.  In adults, deficiency of this vitamin has been shown to cause major health issues such as heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and some autoimmune disorders.

Is Vitamin D safe for your baby?

In 2010, a study was conducted by Bruce Hollis and his colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina, in which 500 women who were at least 12 weeks pregnant took either 400, 2,000, or 4,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day.  These women were within the second trimester of pregnancy and beyond. Currently, the guidelines for vitamin D intake for pregnant women are between 200 and 400 IU per day, which is typically the amount of vitamin D found in most prenatal vitamins. Experts have always been wary of allowing pregnant women to consume more than this amount, as they believe that it may cause birth defects. However, the results of this study showed no problems with pregnant women consuming over the current limit of vitamin D. In fact, doubling the amount of vitamin D that pregnant women are allowed to take was not only proven to be safe, but was also proven to reduce the risk of highly dangerous complications associated with childbirth, such as going into labor early, giving birth prematurely, or catching infections.  Therefore this study affirms the idea that vitamin D is safe for your baby, and it may even be beneficial to the childbirth process. Another study conducted in Germany, however, contradicts this idea.

In a study carried out by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, 622 mothers had Vitamin D levels in their blood and the cord blood of their fetuses tested in order to determine if these concentrations correlated with the prevalence of food allergies suffered by the infant in its first few years.  The researchers found that there was, in fact, a pattern because where expectant mothers had lower levels of Vitamin D in their blood, it was also rarer that their two-year old child later had food allergies.  They point at the fact that there are many other factors that could contribute to food allergies, but they found a definite correlation between Vitamin D levels and their later emergence.  They point to the higher levels of a specific immunoglobulin E to food allergens like eggs, milk, wheat, and soy.   Ultimately, the researchers in this study discourage pregnant mothers from taking Vitamin D supplements.

When considering these studies, it is important to realize the limitations of each, and point out that there is most likely a critical period during which overexposure to Vitamin D is most harmful to the growing fetus.  In the first study, the women were all in their second trimester or beyond, so there is not evidence as to whether or not Vitamin D is harmful or helpful earlier on in a pregnancy, when the fetus is developing its major organs.  The second study only measured the connection between Vitamin D and food allergies, which also have a number of contributing factors.  These allergies were measured via a questionnaire given to mothers during the child’s first two years of life, while some allergies develop later on in childhood or adolescence.  It is also significant to remember that Vitamin D levels outside of diet are often linked to sun exposure, so it is not just about what you consume.

Moving forward

Given this information, it is important as an expectant mother to be mindful of what you are giving your unborn baby with regards to vitamins and many other substances.  A fetus has many different stages of development in the womb, during which outside factors can cause health defects if not monitored carefully.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227085838.htm


http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/prenatalvittoomuch.htm


http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/30/vitamin.d.pregnancy/

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The Problem with Divorce and How to Handle It

by Elizabeth Shahnasarian and Tyler Rigsby


The following story is based on true events; the names have been changed to protect the subjects’ identities.


One night in early Spring in the Smith household, the family was beginning to gather from the separate corners of the house to convene at the dinner table for a typical meal of spaghetti. The two children Ryan, twelve, and Cody, eight, were seated across from one another as they had hundreds of times before, with their parents, Jack and Jill, at the heads of the table. As the meal began, seemingly like any other before, Jack told the boys that their mother had something that she wanted to tell them. Then the boys’ mother started a conversation that would end with their parents splitting up and eventually ending in the frequently more common fate of divorce.


According to the National Center for Health Statistics (2008), between 43% and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Divorce rates are the highest in America. In fact, 60% of all children will spend a part of their lives not living with their biological parents because of divorce. Clearly, divorce plays a prevalent role in American society. This blog article will explore the following questions: Does divorce affect child development? What factors affect how children cope with divorce? What steps can divorce parents take to minimize the undesired effects of divorce on their children?


Two extreme positions on the effects of divorce on child development exist. The first, believes that children of divorced parents suffer long term consequences that plague their mental health for the rest of their lives. These children are less likely to form intimate relationships and have less academic success (Glenn, 2001). In stark contrast, the opposing view holds that divorce has no measurable effect on child development (Harris, 1998). This view, however, conflicts hundreds of empirical studies. Children of divorce parents are twice as likely to be depressed and unhappy, have lower self-esteem, be less socially responsible and competent, have problems in school and act out. Boys are likely to become unruly and angry, while girls have a tendency to be demanding and engage in attention-seeking behavior. Most psychologists hold a belief in between the two extremes; they believe divorce does have some negative effects on children’s adjustments, but that those effects can be small (Lansford, 2009).


The most important factor that determines the quality of the child’s eventual adjustment to divorce is exposure to parental conflict. In fact, child outcome is more strongly associated with exposure to conflict than parental absence or economic stress. If a child receives some information as to why his parents are divorcing, he/she is less likely to blame himself/herself and adjusts more positively to the situation (Amato, 1996). Moreover, the child’s parenting style affects adjustment to divorce. Children of authoritative parents are likely to handle divorce better than children of other parenting styles. Authoritative parenting is a parenting style that is characterized as high demandingness and high responsiveness. Authoritative parents establish clear standards and limits for children, but also allow their children freedom within those limits (Lansford, 2009).


Another component of the child’s adjustment to the divorce is both the gender and the age of the child at the time of the divorce. Girls tend to adjust to divorce better than boys do, generally because the mother will get custody and girls relate to their mothers better than their fathers. As far as the age of the child goes, there are varying opinions, but generally it is regarded that younger children have trouble understanding the cause of the divorce and have higher risks of anxiety and are more likely to blame themselves. Conversely, if the child is old enough to understand the cause for divorce the transition can be more seamless, likewise if the child is too young to remember before the divorce.


Conclusion:


While the effects of divorce are inevitable, there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the effects on your child’s development.


1-    Use authoritative parenting style.

This is incredibly important in order to minimize confusion and developmental problems for the children in the divorce. The authoritative parenting style focuses on being both demanding and supportive, setting clear expectations but maintaining fluid, bidirectional communication. This ensures that the children have a consistent idea of what is expected of them at each house, as well as feeling a constant level of support.


2-    Give your child some information regarding the divorce.

The children need to know that they are not the cause for the divorce. The best way to convince them of this is to give them some insight as to the real reason. Excessive details are unnecessary, but having something to attribute the reason will help give them a peace of mind.


3-    Don’t put your child in the middle of the divorce.

One of the worst things for a child’s mental health during the divorce is to feel caught in the middle. The children should not be privy to any arguments or disagreements between the two parents, especially those concerning the children. This will only lead to increased anxiety and in the case of arguments about the children could make them blame themselves for the divorce.


4-    Have an amicable relationship with your spouse after the divorce.

This will help maintain the children’s mental stability throughout the divorce, because they will see that their parents do not dislike one another. Behaving this way will help the children better cope with the situation and ease the initial transition from one home to two.


References:

Amato, P.R. (1996). Explaining the intergenerational transmission of divorce. Journal of Marriage and the Family.


Glenn, N. (2001). Is the current concern about American marriage warranted? Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, 5–47.


Harris, J.R. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press.


Lansford, Jennifer E. (2011). Parental Divorce and Children’s Adjustment. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

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Dear Abby

Arashpreet Gill and Agnes Jo

Dear Abby,

My son is four years old. He recently has started acting in a very violent manner. He throws tantrums and hits the children he plays with when he does not get his way. I have tried everything to explain to him that violence is not the answer, but nothing is working. What should I do?

Exasperated Mom


Dear Exasperated Mom,

Boys can be hard to deal with sometimes- especially when they become what I like to call “angry young men”. There are a number of reasons that can lead to this and a number of solutions that you can try.

The idea of self emerges at about age three. With a development of the idea of self, children who accomplish a task feel proud of themselves. Cognitive skills help children better understand other people’s intentions. Your son may be too young to have developed enough cognitive skills to understand that it is not okay to get angry because the source of anger is misunderstood. This is due to something called hostile attribution bias. It is a method of problem solving in which people think that the intent of someone, even if it was an accident, was to hurt them. Preschoolers or other younger children like your four year old may get angry if he got hurt by someone else, regardless of intent. However, as he gets older, he will understand that having this bias only hurts him.

I have told you why; let me explain what you can do to help your son in fixing this. Some studies have shown that children become less emotionally intense and feel less negative emotions. (Guerin & Gottfried, 1994). However, there are methods of emotional regulation that can help your child better control his emotions. Let me start this off by saying that most children do not reach the ability of self-regulation of emotions until they are about 5 years old, so they rely on their parents’ capability of emotional regulation until then. The three most important things that you can do as a parent are being authoritative, being consistent, and being an open communicator.

An authoritative parent is a form of parenting in which parents are highly demanding and highly responsive. This means that you create clear and strict guidelines but you allow the kids to make their own choices within those boundaries. For example, if your child hits another child, that is the strict guideline of unacceptable, but the wiggle room comes in when you ask your child- is this acceptable behavior? Would you like it if someone did this to you? This helps your child realize what he is doing is wrong rather than you just telling him- a much more effective manner of learning right from wrong. However, do not forget the responsiveness. Try to understand what your son feels or wants to say and act appropriately. When a parent begins threatening with violence or some kind of extreme punishment, they become authoritarian parents. The children of authoritarian parents find it more difficult to establish a sense of independence or to think of violence as a rare or unwanted event.

When I say be consistent, I mean be consistent. Whether it is the rules you set or the form of punishment you give your child, consistency is key. The one time you let something go because he are throwing a tantrum is the one time after which your son will always think because he threw a tantrum and you gave in that one time you will do it again. However, if you never give in, he will understand his limits which are important when parents are regulating.

The concept of being an open communicator goes two ways. The first way is to communicate and pay attention to your child even when he is being good. Too often, we see children craving for attention and as a result they act out to garner that attention. That being said, another important part of punishment is that it should not get more attention than the good deeds themselves. The best way to achieve this is to deny them of attention using something like a time-out. A time-out is a form of punishment in which the child receives isolation and little to no attention. This is particularly effective because children do not like feeling alone.

The second part of being an open communicator is to be clear as to what the child should be feeling- referring back to guilt versus shame. Just to clarify, guilt means to feel bad for the people you have harmed and shame means to feel bad about you have done. If your child only experiences shame at doing the wrong things- he will never learn that his actions hurt others as well, but if he feels guilt, he will have a stronger indication that his actions hurt others and he may stop just by feeling and understanding that. It is important that he understands the essence of guilt more than shame.

More than likely, this just a phase and he will soon grow out of it as he begins to develop his own system of emotional regulation. As long as you help him build it to understand that violence is not the answer, he should be okay.

Works Cited:

Guerin DW, Gottfried AW. Developmental stability and change in parent reports of temperament: A ten-year longitudinal investigation from infancy through preadolescence. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. 1994;40: 334–355.

Siegler, Robert. (2011). “How Children Develop”. Worth Publishers, 392-396.

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Effect of Video Games on Child Development

Danielle Dai and Amanda Fry

Little bit o’ history

If you are a parent in this era of information and technology, chances are you have a child who has played, is playing, or will be playing video games. The video game industry is a rapid-growing market that went from having a market volume of $100 million in 1985 to $4 billion in 1990 (Gartner, 2013). How did this industry gain so much ground? Where did it start? Prior to the 1980’s, there were what we may consider rudimentary computer games, commercially sold coin-operated games, and home consoles. Shortly after the North-American Video Game Crash of 1983 –a massive recession that hit the industry– the Nintendo Entertainment System induced a resurgence in popularity that has only continued to grow (Cesarone, 2014). In the years since, the gaming world has expanded and subdivided into numerous categories. There are casual, serious and educational games in mediums ranging from console games to online RPG’s (role playing games) to the most recent and flourishing market of mobile games. In 2013, the worldwide market volume totaled $93 billion (Metrics 2.0, 2007).

So what does this mean for our kids today?

In America, 81% of youths play at least once a month, 8.5% of them are addicted and “the average 8- to 12 year-old now plays 13 hours of video games per week, while the average 13- to 18 year old plays 14 hours of video games per week” (Metrics 2.0, 2007). Because video games are so prominent in children’s lives, it is difficult to prevent them from playing video games entirely– but is that even necessary? With such a variety of game types out there, it is difficult to say if video games in general are good or bad. Luckily, there have been countless studies done on this and information on the pros and cons can be easily found.

Negatives of Video Games

There are various types of video games available in today’s industry. Video games are intended to target different aspects of a child’s life. These video games are comprised of a variety of educational, serious, and casual games, but in reality, what child is going to choose a game about learning versus a game where they can kill zombies or drive cars at unruly amounts of speed? A study from Buchman and Funk found that “violent games became consistently popular across grades for both boys and girls” (Cesarone, 1998). Educational games were more popular for some of the girls being asked, but throughout all the age groups, violent video games never lost their superior power in the gaming industry.

Studies have shown the negative effects violent video games have on the younger generation. Calvert and Tan did a study on young adults, where they compared the differences between playing versus observing violent video games. Studies found that “students who had played a violent virtual reality game had a higher heart rate, reported more dizziness and nausea, and exhibited more aggressive thoughts in a posttest than those who had played a nonviolent game” (Cesarone, 1998). Although these studies do not directly determine if aggression increases in their experimenters, they are able to observe behavioral changes that include more aggressive patterns.

Another negative aspect of video games is the fact that kids are spending too much time playing the games rather than physically playing outside. From the quote above, it is evident that kids involved with video games are spending 13 and 14 hours a week playing them rather than just an hour here and there. By spending so much time on their game console or on the computer, children are missing out on their social life. Children are less likely to go out and compete in extracurricular activities which inhibit them from meeting new people and making friends. Funk and Buchman did another study on the effects video games have on kids, but in this one, they were testing for self-competence. Results found that “for boys, but not for girls, a stronger preference for each of the three types of violent games was associated with lower self-competence scores in one or more developmentally important areas, including academic, interpersonal, and behavioral skills” (Cesarone, 1998). This finding factors into the idea of taking time away from doing other things for these boys because they are suffering in important factors in life that will allow them to succeed.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the obvious reason why video games are not beneficial to a child’s development, obesity. According to the CDC, in 2009-2010, 12.1 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are obese, 18 percent of 6 to 11 year olds are obese, and 18.4 percent of 12 to 19 year olds are obese. Now, this is only the percentages of obesity, and does not account for the amount of children who are overweight as well. What is causing this to occur? I can tell you, the amount of time children are now spending playing video games is a factor in that. By spending much of their free time on the computer or on their game console, kids are not going out and participating in activities that will keep them physically fit in healthy. Kids get the lazy mindset and would rather not go play outside.

Benefits of Playing Video Games

Research has shown that playing video games can be beneficial for a number of cognitive functions and may also contain social benefits. The first and foremost thing one discovers in a game is that following directions is of the utmost importance. In order to progress in games, one must first learn to follow the guidelines, restrictions and components of them. As the player confronts new challenges, he must use problem-solving to find solutions. This is true for educational games, mind games, and RPGs alike. The player cannot get through with what they already have or know and must find new combinations and incorporate old skills with new skills to overcome obstacles such as the level or quest (Gee, 2003). In relation to this, the player can also learn strategy and anticipation, management of resources (simulation games), mapping, pattern recognition, how to judge the situation and practice reading (with directions, dialogue, etc.) and quantitative calculations (through educational games, managing finances, buying and selling for profit, etc. (Tumbokon, 2014).

Gamers also get used to multitasking. As games become more intricate, players must juggle different objectives while keeping track of all the changing elements and connecting ideas. Games also induce quick thinking. According to cognitive scientist Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester, results of a study found that people who play video games become more attuned to their environment and able to keep visual tabs on friends in crowds, able to navigate better and better at everyday things like driving and reading small print. Playing games also “significantly reduced reaction times without sacrificing accuracy” beyond the context of the games ( Bavelier et al., 2009) and into making correct real-world decisions. Because of this effect on perceptual reaction times, even the U.S. military uses warfare simulation games in training and claims its benefits (Vargas, 2006).

Video games also increase hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning (Tumbokon, 2014). For example, in shooter games, the player keeps track of their position, direction, speed, aim, results and more. The brain processes all this information and then coordinates with the hands since all actions are done through the controller or keyboard. These skills can be applied to real world situations like surgical procedure (Florida Hospital, 2013).

Finally, gaming is stimulating, a learning experience and a social activity. The reason why people find it so enjoyable is that games are usually the right degree of challenging and the player takes an active role (unlike watching television) so there is an incentive to achieve (Gee, 2003). Let’s also not forget that many games, like “Rise of Nations” or “Age of Mythology” are educational and have a lot to offer in areas like science, politics, history and cultural studies and some games are practical, like pilot-training simulations. The gaming world is very popular. Thus, playing video games has become a social activity. In fact, nearly 60% of frequent gamers play with friends, 33% with siblings and 25% with a spouse or parents. Many games require cooperative play and logistics, comradeship and frequent interactions between team members.

Wrap-up

Like so many other issues these days, the concept of video games is controversial. The line between a healthy amount of gaming and an excessive amount is easily blurred and crossed– especially when video games are as addicting as studies claim. As parents, it is prudent to find moderation in all things. Banning games entirely may be good for some households, but others (depending on the prominence of gaming within the environment) will find that it may socially isolate their children, take away a source of joy and possibly cognitive development. However, opening the door to the good, will also allow access to the bad including exposing the children’s minds to the realm of violence, taking their free time away from doing other things, and putting them at risk for obesity. In the end, it is important that the parent monitors what kinds of games children are playing and being exposed to. Part of this job is to know the descriptors and the genres they represent. The Entertainment Software Rating Board has ratings that provide concerned parents information about the content of the games (ESRB, 2014). Efficient use of these ratings can help parents to make more informed choices for their children.

References:

Cesarone, Bernard. “Video Games and Children – Child & Adolescent Development: Overview.” Gracepoint. Gracepoint. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. http://www.gracepointwellness.org/28-child-adolescent-development-overview/article/1949-video-games-and-children

Cesarone, Bernard. “Video Games: Research, Ratings, Recommendations. ERIC Digest.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education Champaign, IL. November 1998. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED424038.pdf

“Gartner Says Worldwide Video Game Market to Total $93 Billion in 2013.”Gartner Says Worldwide Video Game Market to Total $93 Billion in 2013. Gartner, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2614915

“Video Game Addiction: 81% of American Youth Play; 8.5% Are Addicted.”Metrics 2.0: Business and Market Intelligence. Metrics 2.0, Jan. 2007. http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/04/04/video_game_addiction_81_of_american_youth_play_85.html

JAMES PAUL GEE. “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.” ACM Computers in Entertainment. Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2003. http://studentweb.niu.edu/3/~Z1629863/tportfolio/games.pdf

Tumbokon, Chacha. “The Positive and Negative Effects of Video Games.”Raise Smart Kid. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games

Matthew W.G. Dye, C. Shawn Green, and Daphne Bavelier. “Increasing Speed of Processing With Action Video Games.” A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Vol. 18 No. 6 (2009) : 321-326. http://psych.wisc.edu/CSGreen/dye_CDiPS09.pdf

Vargas, Jose Antonio. “Virtual Reality Prepares Soldiers for Real War.” Washington Post 14 February, 2006. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/13/AR2006021302437.html

“Video Games Help Doctors Improve Surgical Skills.” Florida Hospital. Florida Hospital, 9 Oct. 2013. https://www.floridahospital.com/news/video-games-help-doctors-improve-surgical-skills

“ESRB Ratings Guide.” Rating Categories, Content Descriptors, and Interactive Elements from ESRB. Entertainment Software Rating Board. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp

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A Note to High School Seniors

By Yasmina Haddad and Lauren Heyano

Some days are good days for school; you get out of bed and you’re more than ready to take on whatever high school has in store for you. Pop quiz in Calculus? Bring it. In-class essay in English? Piece of cake. Lab write-up in Biology? Finished that yesterday. In high school, it is easy to take life one day at a time, but pretty soon you’ll have to face a decision that will impact, at the very least, your next four years. Your future looms over every minute of your senior year. It proves to be both physically and emotionally stressful in ways you never thought possible. In the throes of it all, you just want to say, “Forget it! I’m not going to college.” Well, have you ever thought about rewording those sentences? Have you ever thought to maybe say, “I’m not going to college yet . . . and that is okay.” Read on to see if, maybe, an alternative to college is what you are looking for.

Gap years take advantage of the natural “gap” in time between high school and college to travel and see the world, to explore different career options through work or volunteerism, to pursue passions or potential passions, and much more. Some might call this soul-searching, but we prefer to think of a gap years as path toward understanding your identity. Some gap year students might immerse themselves in a different culture for a year; others might stay at home and explore their identities through opportunities in their own back yards. Truly, a gap year is what you make of it, and all can offer ways to explore whom you are. But how do you know if a gap year is right for you? As college first-years ourselves, we are aware of the fact that gap years are not for everyone, but we also acknowledge the benefit of knowing your options and planning accordingly.

To understand if a gap year is right for you, it is important to be cognizant of what identity is and what it consists of. When one says identity, the first thing that may come to your mind is an ID – passport, learner’s permit, driver’s license, school key card. While these serve as very basic forms of identification, the type of identification we are speaking of is deeper than that. This identity is what you think of when you think of “a conceptual system made up of [your] thoughts and attitudes about [your]self” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 437). Some examples are as follows:

· “Physical being,”

· “‘Spiritual’” being,

· “Social characteristics” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 437).

The way you understand yourself in terms of these concepts affects self-competence (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 437).

James Marcia (1980) believes that as individuals we can go through four possible stages of identity (as cited in Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). When you have explored many different possibilities of who you might be and made an informed decision about who you are, you have accomplished what’s known as identity achievement (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 445). Identity achievement should be the ultimate goal of recent graduates, because after matriculating from high school you enter a transition phase in your life in which you are pondering many aspects of your identity (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 442). Deciding on an identity before exploring your options can result in identity foreclosure status, whereas failing to decide on an identity at all can result in identity-diffusion status (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444).

The Conflict of Identity Confusion, and Identity Diffusion Status

http://www3.jjc.edu/ftp/wdc11/provi4/goth2.jpg

First, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to a time when no one understood you or your feelings, a time where no one seemed to care about the things you cared about, a time called middle school (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 441). Erik Erikson (1968) calls this conf lict identity confusion, “an incomplete and sometimes incoherent sense of self” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 443), while Marcia (1980) might have called this identity-diffusion status (as cited in Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). Somewhere in middle adolescence we begin wrestling with the fact that we act differently around different people and in different situations (Siegler et al., 2011, pp. 441-442). Both middle school and high school are times in our lives that can muddle our thoughts about who we are. We begin feeling genuinely unique in our emotions, and then even when we realize that our feelings are universal, we still feel isolated in the sense that we have multiple identities that are particular to our surroundings (Siegler et al., 2011, pp. 441-442). These are very difficult circumstances under which to form an identity. These feelings can lead to depression and isolation, which could potentially be the root of the “goth” or “emo” stereotypical teen (Siegler et al., 2011, pp. 443-444).

Moratorium Status

Early and middle adolescence, as discussed, are not ideal times for soul searching. Rather, by late adolescence we are more equipped to resolve who we are in our entirety, no matter whom we are surrounded by (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 442). We begin to feel more at ease with that person and can spend more time with her and discover her strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities (Siegler et al., 2011, pp. 442-443). Now you find yourself in a more mature and, quite possibly, an even more stressful state. This is called a moratorium status where you are both figuratively and literally “exploring various occupational and ideological choices” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 445). Psychosocial moratoriums might be less or more accepted by your friends and family depending on your culture (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). Sometimes older adolescents in certain cultures are forced to explore through this time in a very structured manner. For example in Colombia, where Mina’s mother was born, you decide the educational path you will take at the age of 14. Then, as you proceed through school, you must continue your education until you receive your degree after which you must enter the workforce; this is what is socially acceptable.


Foreclosure Status

If you make long-term decisions at an early age, you may actually be in foreclosure status, a time when you are “not engaged in any identity experimentation and [have] established a vocational or ideological identity based on the choices or values of others” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). Gap years may help decrease the risk of foreclosure situations in which you choose an identity prematurely and discover that the identity does not suit you (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). Moratorium status allows for exploration and experimentation that will help you discover an identity, or ensure that you are on the right identity path (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444).

Identity Achievement Status

The end goal for us, as growing adults, is identity-achievement status. Identity-achievement status is the stage in which you “tend to be more socially mature, higher in achievement motivation, and more likely to be involved in [your career]” (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 445). In order to achieve this state, the moratorium stage will likely need to be experienced.

Often our biggest fear as young adults is that we will never find ourselves. We propose that each of us has great potential to find ourselves, and that it is okay to spend some time exploring who you are, even if you are confused for a while. The true fear of our generation should not be fear of confusion, but fear of entering into foreclosure status – a place where you have resigned to your future and to what society and your family want you to do with your life (Siegler et al., 2011, p. 444). Foreclosure status may be caused by an incomplete exploration or total skipping of moratorium status (Berzonsky & Adams, 1999; Meeus, Iedema, Helsen, & Vollebergh, 1999, as cited in Siegler et al., 2011, p. 445).

What we are proposing as a third opinion, one that is coming from an unbiased standpoint, is that you take the time to seriously consider taking a constructive gap year. To help you in this process, consider clicking the link below and seeing where you are on your identity journey. Once you find out, consider your options.

 

http://www.playbuzz.com/mina11/which-identity-status-are-you-residing-in

References

Siegler, R., DeLoache, J., & Eisenberg, N. (2011) . How children develop. New York: Worth

Publishers.

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Parenting Tips for Raising Happy Children

Abby Trott & Lindley Round

How can parents best influence development of their children? Parents constantly seek to raise children who will grow to be happy and healthy, but are not often aware of the pertinent psychology that influences human development. While parenting differs cross-culturally and there is not one perfect style, psychological studies have proven that there are a variety of methods parents can employ that most effectively promote the healthy development of children.

First of all, parents want to guide their children so they flourish into successful, happy young adults. Parents can teach their kids through socialization. Socialization allows children to obtain values, standards, skills, knowledge, and appropriate behaviors. There are at least three main mechanisms of parent socialization. The first one is direct socialization. This is when the parent teaches their children by directly giving them rules, skills, and strategies.  The next strategy is indirect socialization. This is the parents ability to guide their children by modeling good behaviors and attitudes. Finally, parents can shape their kids through social management. This is when a parent guides their child through making choices about their social environment. For example, parents can enroll their kid in multiple activities. For instance, many parents sign their kids up for sports like ballet and soccer.

Typically, the most well-adjusted children are raised by authoritative parents who employ specific techniques in behavior modification. Baumrind’s ‘Parenting Style’ that is generally considered the most effective in Western cultures is authoritative. An authoritative parent is highly demanding of their children, setting clear rules and guidelines. While their children are held accountable for their actions, the parents are also emotionally responsive. That is, they are attentive to the needs of their children, provide support, and are willing to engage in open communication. When their children fall short of their expectations, they are nurturing and understanding, but are quick to address the poor behavior. Children who are raised by authoritative parents typically perform well academically, are less likely to experiment with substances, and grow up to be confident and independent adults.

The method of behavior modification that should be employed by an authoritative parent is reinforcement. Typically considered more effective than is punishment, reinforcement a a technique used with the goal of increasing the frequency of a behavior, whereas punishment is an act that is committed with the intention of reducing a behavior. An example of positive reinforcement would be if a parent wanted their child to make their bed, so they rewarded the child when he or she did so. On the other hand, parents often want to decrease the frequency of a child’s behavior. For example, a parent might want their child to stop screaming while at the grocery store. Through negative reinforcement, the parent would discourage this behavior by rewarding the child when he or she went to the grocery store and did not scream. On the other hand, a parent could use punishment to discourage this behavior,for instance, taking his toy away. According to  The National Association of School Psychologists, the use of punishment is less effective than negative reinforcement, thus punishment is not advised (Thompson, 2014). Additionally, parental authority should be exerted through behavioral control rather than psychological control. A study conducted by David Manzeske (2009) reveals the dangers of psychological control. This study examined the maternal parenting styles of behavioral control, and psychological control. Participants included 246 young adults from a large Midwestern university, as well as their mothers. Higher levels of maternal  psychological control were related to lower levels of young adults’ emotion regulation (Manzeske, 2009). Furthermore, behavioral control leads children to feel a responsibility towards others, psychological control leads to feelings of shame and can cause low self-esteem.

When parents respond to successes or shortcomings by their children, they should consider Dweck’s Theory of Self-Attributions and Achievement Motivation because the simple wording of a parent’s praise or criticism can have a major influence on how their child views himself. According to this theory, children will develop one of two orientations, mastery or helpless. From a young age, the way in which children are treated by their caregivers influences which orientation they will adopt. To promote a mastery orientation, parents should attribute an outcome to effort on the part of the child. In adapting this orientation, the child will believe himself capable of improvement and will seek challenges. Conversely, children will develop a helpless orientation if their parents attribute success or failure to enduring traits in their child. A child who obtains this view will be likely to give up in the face of failure and base their sense of self worth on others approval.

All in all, being a parent easy. However, it is important that these tips are taken into consideration. Try your best to be a balanced parent by incorporating an authoritative parenting style and implementing techniques to promote a mastery orientation. Also, remember that if you want to reduce a behavior, use negative reinforcement rather than punishment!

 

Sources

Manzeske, D. P., & Stright, A. D. (2009). Parenting styles and emotion regulation: The role of behavioral and psychological control during young adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 16(4), 223-229. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10804-009-9068-9

Siegler, Robert S., Judy S. DeLoache, and Nancy Eisenberg. How Children Develop. New York: Worth, 2006. Print.

Thompson, Van. “Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment in Elementary Schools.” Everyday Life. Global Post, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

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