The role of the parent... To produce a child is simply a matter of biology. To “parent” a child is a difficult role to fulfill. Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a Pyramid of Human Needs, an hierarchy of needs critical to survival. • It is the parent’s job to help meet these needs of their child: • The child has physical needs of food, water, shelter • The child must feel and be safe from harm • The child must feel love, a sense of belonging; acceptance • The child must feel a sense of self-worth • The child must strive to be “all that they can be” (fulfillment/ self-actualization)) In order to help the child satisfactorily meet these needs throughout their lifetime, the parent must provide guidelines for behavior…discipline.
Definition of discipline... One of the most challenging aspect’s of the parent’s job is discipline. Discipline is “the task of helping children learn to behave in acceptable ways…within the family and within society”. The term discipline does not mean punishment; it means “guidance” or “direction”. Punishment is only one small part of guidance. With excellent guidance, children gradually begin to understand why certain actions are right or wrong…developing a conscience! The ultimate goal of discipline is to help children achieve self-discipline… the ability to control one’s own behavior. Human beings possess the ability to use logic. They “choose” to behave in certain ways, and with every choice comes a consequence. The role of the parent is not to shield children from bad consequences, but to guide children in learning to make good choices that have good consequences.
The parent-child bond is important... An adult can discipline a child without having an “attachment” to that child, but a strong bond between the parent and child is very effective… making the process of disciplining easier. Continue “attachment parenting” after infancy: • Communicate your love to your child in word and deed each and every day. • Listen and respond to your child’s feelings as well as their words. • Show respect for your child's unique ideas and opinions. • Discuss mutual goals, plans, and responsibilities with your child frequently. This includes the short-term daily plans, goals, and responsibilities as well as the long-term ones. • Your child should know where you are and how to reach you, but should not need to make frequent contact throughout the day. • Continue to touch your child affectionately with hugs, pats on the back, sitting together to read, etc. • Model and teach courtesy, patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, loyalty, responsibility, fairness, and forgiveness. • Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities at home. This solidifies their sense of worth in a measurable way. • Recognize, acknowledge, and praise your child when he makes an effort to do something good -good school papers, obeying parents, helping at home. Make a big deal out of it! • Avoid destructive expressions of anger such as insulting, sarcasm, shaming. Try to discipline with dignity. Never threaten to withhold or stop loving your child.
Be a parent, not a friend... While parents can be friendly, they should not be a friend. Children have lots of friends who tell them what they want to hear. They don't need you to be another friend. They need you to be an authority figure who lets them know where the boundaries of acceptable behavior are. Trying to be his or her friend will only undermine your authority as a parent. Friends often come and go; friends do not love unconditionally. A child, especially a teenager, might tell you that he/she wants you to be their friend. Parents that try this are doing an injustice to their child. Children cannot always assess or verbally define their needs.
The psychology of discipline... Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born March 20, 1904, in a small Pennsylvania town. Burrhus received his BA in English from Hamilton College in upstate New York. He didn’t fit in very well. He wanted to be a writer and did try, with poetry and short stories. After some traveling, he decided to go back to school, this time at Harvard. He got his masters in psychology in 1930 and his doctorate in 1931, and stayed there to do research until 1936. Also in that year, he moved to Minneapolis to teach at the University of Minnesota. There he met and soon married Yvonne Blue. They had two daughters. In 1945, he became the chairman of the psychology department at Indiana University. In 1948, he was invited to come to Harvard, where he remained for the rest of his life. While not successful as a writer of fiction and poetry, he became one of the best psychology writers, including the book Walden II, which is a fictional account of a community run by his behaviorist principles. August 18, 1990, B. F. Skinner died of leukemia after becoming perhaps the most celebrated psychologist since Sigmund Freud. He was renowned for his theories on human behavior... the basis of many of today’s discipline methods. B. F. Skinner 1904-1990
Operant conditioning... B. F. Skinner’s entire system is based on operant conditioning. The organism is in the process of “operating” on the environment, which in ordinary terms means it is bouncing around its’ world, doing what it does. During this “operating,” the organism encounters a special kind of stimulus, called a reinforcing stimulus, or simply a reinforcer. This special stimulus has the effect of increasing the operant -- that is, the behavior occurring just before the reinforcer. This is operant conditioning: “the behavior is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms tendency to repeat the behavior in the future.” Imagine a rat in a cage. This is a special cage (called, in fact, a “Skinner box”) that has a bar or pedal on one wall that, when pressed, causes a little mechanism to release a food pellet into the cage. The rat is bouncing around the cage, doing whatever it is rats do, when he accidentally presses the bar and -- presto! -- a food pellet falls into the cage! The operant is the behavior (pressing the bar) just prior to the reinforcer (the food pellet). In no time at all, the rat is furiously peddling away at the bar, hoarding his pile of pellets in the corner of the cage. A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future.
Behavior extinction... What if you don’t give the rat any more pellets? Apparently, he’s no fool, and after a few futile attempts, he stops his bar-pressing behavior. This is called extinction of the operant behavior. A behavior no longer followed by the reinforcing stimulus results in a decreased probability of that behavior occurring in the future. Skinner discovered, however, that if you re-introduced the reinforcer again, the operant behavior resumed more quickly than it had originally been developed.
Schedules of reinforcement... At one point in his experiments, Skinner decided to reduce the number of reinforcements he gave his rats for whatever behavior he was trying to condition (in other words, he didn’t always give the rat a food pellet even when they did the desired behavior), and lo and behold, the rats kept up their operant behaviors, and at a stable rate. This is how Skinner discoveredschedules of reinforcement! To encourage or produce a specific behavior, continuous reinforcement must be used initially. Once the pattern of behavior-followed-by-reinforcement appears quite well established, the reinforcement does not always have to be used. The desired behavior will continue with only intermittent or variable reinforcements. Can you explain how schedules of reinforcement are used by teachers when they use gold stars, grades, or comments on student’s papers.
An aversive stimulus is the opposite of a reinforcing stimulus, something we might find unpleasant or painful. An aversive stimulus is commonly referred to as punishment. A behavior followed by an aversive stimulus results in a decreased probability of the behavior occurring in the future. Punishment... If you shock a rat for touching the wooden cube placed in the Skinner box, then the rat will stop touching the wooden cube (maybe). If you spank Johnny for throwing his toys he will throw his toys less and less (maybe). Statistics show that behaviors change more quickly with the use of punishment than with the use of reinforcers, BUT more permanently with the use of reinforcers rather than punishment.
Negative reinforcement... The reinforcements we have referred to in previous slides are “positive reinforcements”… in rats this might be a food pellet; in children it might be a desired stimulus such as praise, a gold star, a special candy treat, rewarded with a special activity such as a picnic, getting a longer recess, a hug. There are also “negative reinforcements”. These are not necessarily the same as punishment. The child’s behavior changes in order to stop an existing punishment or aversive stimulus. • Example: • 1. The child does not like the parent to nag them about taking out the garbage. • The child takes out the garbage. • The parent stops nagging.
Shaping is a method of successive approximations. Basically, it involves first reinforcing a behavior only vaguely similar to the one desired. Once that is established, you look out for variations that come a little closer to what you want, and so on, until you have the child performing a behavior that would never show up in ordinary life. Shaping behaviors... Example: A little boy was about four years old, and was afraid to go down a particular slide. So I picked him up, put him at the end of the slide, asked if he was okay and if he could jump down. He did, of course, and I showered him with praise. I then picked him up and put him a foot or so up the slide, asked him if he was okay, and asked him to slide down and jump off. He did. I repeated this again and again, each time moving him a little up the slide, and backing off if he got nervous. Eventually, I could put him at the top of the slide and he could slide all the way down and jump off. His behavior was “shaped”. Application: I want my child to be quiet and sit relatively still during an entire 20 minute sermon every Sunday at church. What steps might I take to “shape this behavior”?
Behavior modification... Behavior modification is the therapy technique. Simply, you extinguish an undesirable behavior by removing the reinforcer, and replace it with a desirable behavior by using a reinforcer. It has been used on all sorts of psychological problems such as addictions, neuroses, shyness, autism, schizophrenia, obsessive/compulsive tendencies -- and works particularly well with children. • Example: • Undesirable behavior – Susy bites her nails • Remove the reinforcer – cover her hands with gloves or paint the nails with bad-tasting liquid • Catch Susy in the act of NOT BITING her nails • Offer Susy praise or a gold star or her choice of polish color for not biting her nails
Token economy... Token economy is a method of discipline used primarily in institutions such as psychiatric hospitals, juvenile halls, and prisons. Certain rules are made explicit in the institution, and behaving yourself appropriately is rewarded with tokens -- poker chips, tickets, funny money, recorded notes, etc. Certain poor behavior is also often followed by a withdrawal of these tokens. The tokens can be traded in for desirable things such as candy, cigarettes, games, movies, time out of the institution, and so on. This has been found to be very effective in maintaining order in these often difficult institutions. In normal situations, is it like buying good behavior? • Example: • Get a smiley face beside your name for every day that goes by without a physical fight • A grumpy face sticker gets pasted over a smiley face when you start or join in a fight • When you get 5 smiley face stickers showing, I’ll rent the movie of your choice for you
Classical conditioning... Also known as “respondent learning” or “Pavlovian conditioning”. A behavior occurs that is a learned response to a stimulus that was not originally capable of producing the response. • Based on the theory of Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1946)… • 1. A bell rings, and means nothing to the dog • The bell rings and food becomes visible; the dog starts salivating • Upon salivating, the dog gets the food • Repeated often enough, the dog will start salivating at the sound of the bell • Application: • The teacher flicks the light switch in the room on and off; it means nothing to the noisy students • The light flickers, and the teacher says “shhhh” and gets very quiet; the children get quiet • When the children get quiet, the teacher smiles, praises them, and continues with the lesson • Repeated often enough, the children will get very quiet as soon as they see the lights flicker
5 steps to discipline... STEP 1: Be committed and consistent. It's crucial that your child knows that you're going to do what you say you will. If you explain what a punishment will be, and then don't act on it, you will have less credibility the next time. Make a commitment to your child's discipline, and be consistent in your behavior toward them. Don’t say “no” unless you mean “no”. Don’t give in to begging. It’s better to be wrong than to be wishy-washy in your decision. Don’t offer children a choice unless you can live with their decision. (Example: “Would you pick up your toys now, please?”)
5 steps to discipline... STEP 2: Be realistic in your expectations of the child. Don't ask your child to do anything he/she cannot do. Make sure that what you are asking of your child is a behavior within his or her reach — if it's not, your child will get frustrated and be less likely to listen to you in the future. Expectations will change over time as the child ages. “I am your mother, and I told you to pick up all those blocks and sort them by size and put them back on the shelf in the right spot!” Would this request be a realistic expectation for the child at the right?
5 steps to discipline... STEP 3: Find out what the child values. Identify the things your child likes or values. it could be a toy, a particular activity, or even a privilege like getting to stay awake to a particular hour. If you control these things, then you control the behavior those things depend on. Once you understand what your child values, you can withdraw positive things (taking away the toy) or introduce negative things (making them take a time-out from an activity) as a form of discipline. What your child values will change over time, as they age. While taking away a toy might work for a 3 year old, taking away TV might work for an 8 year old, and taking away the car keys might work for a 17 year old.
5 steps to discipline... STEP 4: Give the children predictable consequences. It's important for your child to understand that the same result will come from the same behavior. Make your child feel like he/she has control over their life: If your child behaves in "Way A," they need to be sure that they will always get "Consequence B." If he/she can count on the rules staying the same, they're more likely to abide by them. I’m sorry you’re mad, but you heard your teacher. Every time you try to cheat while playing this game, you’re going to have to spend another timeout on the bleachers!
5 steps to discipline... STEP 5: Use child-level logic. Explain your values in terms your child can understand. Take the time to explain the reasons behind why you are asking he/she to behave in certain ways — if your child understands the kinds of behavior you'd like them to avoid, they're more likely to apply that reasoning to different situations, instead of learning to stop one behavior at a time. When I broke my truck, Dad said “toys cost a lot of money” and I should “take good care of them”. I think he meant this toy tractor, too!
The corporal punishment debate... By definition, punishment in the form of physical contact is called corporal punishment. This would include punching, shaking, striking (with hand or object), biting, pinching, and/or spanking. Licensed caregivers and public school teachers in the state of Nebraska are prohibited from using corporal punishment. Much of the world—including Asia, the Middle East, the U.S., the U.K., Canada and New Zealand—leaves the spanking issue up to parents. But 11 nations—Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Iceland, Latvia, Norway and Sweden—have laws prohibiting corporal punishment of children by caregivers or parents. Sanctions range from fines to possible imprisonment. Parents traveling with children should be aware of these laws regarding corporal punishment. The debate: Is corporal punishment a form of discipline or a form of abuse? What does corporal punishment teach…improved behavior or violence?
The corporal punishment debate... PROS: Spanking can be immediately effective on a short-term basis in getting children to change the negative behaviors that prompted the spanking. Spanking has been shown to be most effective in 2- to 6-year-olds when used in conjunction with milder disciplinary methods, such as reasoning and time-outs. In a study, parents who combined reasoning with negative consequences such as spanking had the most success in changing negative behaviors…more so than other forms of discipline such as time outs. CONS: Long-term consequences of spanking can include increased aggressiveness, antisocial behavior, and delinquency. Spanking without reasoning may fail to teach the child right from wrong. The child may simply avoid the undesirable behaviors in the presence of the parent. Physical punishment can send mixed messages to a child and reinforce aggressive behavior. When parents model aggressive behaviors by spanking, they reinforce the idea that physical aggression is the way to get what you want. It is suggested that frequently spanking children weakens the closeness of the parent/child relationship.
Spanking... If you decide that spanking is an appropriate form of punishment for your child, and you have already given a warning, then proceed by following these rules: • The two places you can spank a child are on the hands, or on his/her bottom. • If spanking on the child’s bottom, their bottom should be clothed. • Use your hand to spank…NEVER use an object. • You may be angry, but you MUST be in control enough to explain exactly HOW you’re going to spank them and WHY... BEFORE YOU START TO SPANK! If you are too angry to do that…you are too angry to spank a child, because you are “out of control”. • Follow through with the spanking exactly as you have explained. “I told you not to throw that toy in the house or you’d get a spanking. Throwing toys in the house is dangerous. You threw the toy anyway, so now I am going to spank you. I’m going to bend you over my knee and spank you 3 times.”
Time out... If you decide that time out is an appropriate form of punishment for your child between the ages of 2 and 12, follow these rules for best effectiveness: • The time-out area should be easily accessible, and in such a location that the child can be easily monitored while in time-out. • Place the child in time out; tell them why they are being placed on time out; have no further discussion. • Set a timer with an audible bell to signal the end of timeout; the timeout period should last 1 minute for each year of age • While in time-out, the child should not be permitted to talk, and the parent should not communicate with the child in any way. The child also should not make noises, or be allowed to play with any toy, listen to the radio or stereo, watch television, or bang on the furniture. Any violation of time-out should result in automatic resetting of the clock for another time-out period. • Timeout only works if the child is willing to serve the time out period. Select an activity or object you can take away until the child serves the timeout.
Ignoring misbehavior... Sometimes children display temper tantrums in an attempt to get what they want, but in fact, these tantrums cannot work unless there is an audience. Kicking, screaming, pounding fists, stomping feet, disruptions to a group activity, and even holding their breath to the point of passing out may be typical of a child’s tantrum behaviors. In these events, the best form of discipline may actually be no discipline at all. The tantrum is “performed” for attention (good or bad), and when absolutely no attention is given the tantrum is no longer effective. In other words, you might choose to ignore misbehavior.
Do not spoil your child... Indulgence means “over-gratification”, “yielding to a wish”, “a tolerant attitude”. To “spoil” a child means over-indulgence. Spoiled children have a very difficult time growing up and living life successfully. As a parent, you must adhere to some difficult rules and some form of discipline in order to keep from spoiling your child: Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don't always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you've experienced it as a child.Children, like adults, do not need to be happy all of the time. It is not a parent’s job to make their child “happy”. If your parent/child relationship is based on material goods, your child won't have the chance to experience unconditional love.Be a good role model. A parent is not the only influence in their child’s life, so they’d better be the best one!
Redefine what taking care of your children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren't teaching them that emotions can be healed by buying material things. Make sure your children aren't defining their happiness and their status in the world as a function of what they wear or drive.Sit down with them and have a one-on-one conversation about what really defines their worth — their intelligence, their creativity, their caring, their giving, their work ethic, etc. If you spent equal time sitting down and talking to them about what really mattered as you do shopping, you might be able counterbalance the countless images they see telling them otherwise. Understand "intrinsic" versus "extrinsic" motivation. If you are always rewarding your child with material things, he/she will never learn how to motivate themselves with internal rewards like pride. Make sure your child understands the value of hard work.
In order to succeed, you have to do things you don’t really want to do; things other people don’t want to, but things that need to be done.Who does your child idolize? Who is their hero? Discuss this with your child…is this idol truly worthy of this hero status? Is this a good role model for your child?Help your child set goals. Teach her that striving to own nice things is fine if she understands how much hard work it takes to afford that, and then doesn't base her self-worth around what she buys. Your child does not have to like you every minute of every day. He'll get over the disappointment of having been told "no." But he won't get over the effects of being spoiled.
Licensed child care regulations... Child care providers must operate under entirely different restrictions than the parent. The center shall ensure that no child is left alone, pinched, punched, shaken, struck with any object, bitten, or spanked by staff…no corporal punishment! The staff cannot discipline: By denial of food By forced napping For toileting accidents By making any sort of derogatory remarks about them or their family By using abusive or profane language, yelling or screaming, or threats of physical punishment A brief, supervised separation from the group may be used… time out.
DISCIPLINE THE END