Posted: July 22nd, 2016
Children who misbehave are actually just seeking attention from their parents. Parents do things every day just to get their kids to listen a little better. Often with the use of a small reward can guide children towards a small act of obedience. However, with this act of reward children learn to outsmart parents by misbehaving on purpose to receive a treat. Parents that lack to be more informative when enforcing rules are missing out on the bigger picture. Children going through a learning process of understanding the fundamentals of rules cannot be restituted so easily for a temporary good behavior. That is why children who constantly break the rules are actually seeking some form of encouragement from their parental figures in their life. Not only will children misbehave to gather that small amount of attention from their parents, they perpetuate their misconduct to see how much more the parents are willing to give.
Parents who give the wrong attention could also be galvanizing children’s misconduct. For instance telling a child what they cannot do does not inform the child or what they should be doing. To see a someone misbehave and tell them what they are doing wrong is easier and takes less time than to tell someone what the right thing to do is. Through rewarding and less time giving explanation we observe a salience of surface similarities as well as a mental set. The salience of surface similarities can be observed in a parents basic reward function by using one reward such as ice cream after a child breaks several different rules. The mental set here is that a parent is fixating on one solution which they know works rather than contemplating other forms of discipline.
The I tried to use the term mental set to describe how brief the concern is for the parent. Sometimes the most reliable answer is the easiest thing and also the quickest. I used confirmation bias and belief perseverance by using one major concept and embellishing. The mental shortcut I used was the availability heuristic. Parents saying, “You don’t stop acting up you’re not going to get any ice cream” is something I hear too often. I correlated bad behavior and lack of attention from parents directly without any other factors. So we’ve got a little correlation vs. causation problem here. By also stating that there are other reasons for children misbehaving such as school environment, or watching television constantly, then we would have cleared the air of some biases. If someone else presented this argument to me I would try to give more clear explanations of why heuristics apply here. Though heuristics and biases are similar there is a difference between them. Heuristics are almost like an equation, something that can be deduced while a bias is something we develop from within us and our own perceptions. So I think using heuristics would better support this argument.
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