Parental behavior and its influence and the nature vs. nurture debate have long been of interest to the field of Psychology in determining the behaviors and development of socialization skills in children. There have been numerous studies confirming a relationship exists between parental behaviors and child development. The logical next step is to design a study examining effects of educating primary caregivers as to effective communication techniques with their children. To examine this relationship, a longitudinal observation of behaviors in conjunction with self report surveys would help to determine if the participants in an experimental group display more positive behaviors than those in a control group. If previous research findings regarding parent child relationships are in fact valid, it is the author’s belief that findings of a study such as the one mentioned will show a relationship between primary caregiver’s degree of positive interaction with the child and the child’s degree of healthy emotional and social behavior.
The time has come for a change in policy; for a change in how juvenile crime is ratified. Elliott Currie proposed that crime needs to be addressed with social change as opposed to using behavioral consequence; focusing on the cause rather than the affect (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis, 2007). This theory was introduced over twenty years ago and has largely been ignored.
There have been multiple programs developed to address juvenile delinquency and deviant behavior; after school programs, head start programs, curfews, neighborhood watch programs and mentorships however, the effectiveness of these programs remains in question.
The problem of deviant behavior needs to be examined from looking at the family dynamic; specifically the parent child relationship. Previous studies have shown parent child relationships have impacted children’s coping and social skills.These findings also suggested there is an increased risk for early-onset, persistent antisocial behavior in children when parents fail to provide the positive social and environmental settings that foster healthy emotional, social and behavior regulation in their children (Snyder, Et al., 2003).A second study showing that antisocial unhealthy behaviors develop in children prior to the age of 3 was presented by Mulvaney & Mebert, in the Journal of Family Psychology. The study also showed that “MRO in toddlerhood predicted children’s conscience at preschool age and again in early school age” (Kochanska, 2002).
A fourth study presented showing the development of early behavioral difficulties found that higher levels of depressed symptoms in both mothers and fathers were significantly related to and ran parallel with higher levels of children’s noncompliance at age two lending further support to the view that children’s internal and external behavioral difficulties begin at very early ages.The effects of parental state of mind, namely stress levels, on the behavior of children was further presented in a study by Assel, Landry, Swank, Steelman, Miller-Loncar, & Smith. Study showed that children, who’s mother’s had higher levels of emotional stress and consequently displayed less warmth and flexibility in their interactions, displayed fewer bids for adults’ attention.This study also suggested that negative effects of poor parenting can be carried across generations as mothers who reported more negative childrearing histories displayed more negative parental styles.
studies predicting future aggression and criminal behavior based upon early childhood behavioral issues have shown that children with early onset unhealthy or antisocial behavior are most at risk to continue this behavior into adulthood (Leschied, Chiodo, Nowicki, & Rodger, 2008). “Of particular interest is the finding that parents who believed strongly in punishing transgressions (harshly or not harshly) had boys who were more at risk for criminality (number of arrests and seriousness of violent arrests) compared with equally aggressive boys without such parents” (Leschied, Chiodo, Nowicki, & Rodger, 2008) supporting the need to teach discipline tactics that do not involve physical or corporal punishment.
The studies discussed address relationships between parenting and children’s behavior from birth to adulthood and strongly suggest that parent’s who display positive feelings toward their children, provide positive non violent, discipline have children who have healthier behaviors and are at less of a risk for developing delinquent behaviors. The education should include healthy behaviors and communication styles which would afford their future children the best chance for developing resiliency and healthy socially acceptable behaviors.
Our society has transformed from a community setting with extended family and support, into a society of individualistic and self centered citizens. Learning how to raise a healthy child has now largely been left up to trial and error where in the past, new parents had the support and guidance of experienced family and community members. It is our responsibility to replace the source for learning successful parenting since our societies evolution is also responsible for this knowledge being lost.
Our children are our greatest resource however there are no prerequisites to met or instructions required before entering parenthood.
Parents need to be properly equiped to raise healthy children.
Equipped Parents Promote Healthier Children<br />Advanced General PsychologyEducating Future Parents on Positive Communication Techniques Promotes Positive Emotional Responses and Healthy Socialization Skills in Children. Caroline Scholte October 24, 2009<br />
Parental Education = Prevention<br />Juvenile crime is on the rise after a 12 year decline both on the federal and state levels (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009). The American culture is individualistic by nature and as such, rather than look for ways to prevent or correct the causes of juvenile crime on a macro level, our systems and policies focus on the micro level; the individual.<br />
Existing Programs<br />No Child Left Behind: Enacted in January 2002 under President George W. Bush (US Dep. Of Ed.)<br />Head Start : Introduced on 1965, amended and reauthorized 2007 (DHHS)<br />Neighborhood Watch : Created in 1972 by the National Sherriff's Association (The National Office of Citizen Corps – FEMA )<br />Mentorships: Big Brother/Big Sister – Early 1900’s (BBBS)<br />Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts – 1910/1912<br />Work Study Programs<br />
Supporting Studies<br /><ul><li>Snyder, Stoolmiller, Wilson & Yamamoto, (2003, July) found that harsh parenting tactics and parental anger had the most negative impacted on children who already displayed relatively high levels of antisocial behavior at age 5.
Mulvaney & Mebert, (2007, September) presented evidence that parental corporal punishment contributes to unhealthy behavior in children as early as age 3 thru 1st grade, with the more noticeable effects in younger children who have already been classified as having difficult temperaments.
Kochanska, (2002), found that the degree to which the parent and infant were focused on the same task (MRO) predicted the degree of conscious development at age two.The history of MRO in the first two years of a child experience will predict the child’s conscience by age 5.</li></li></ul><li>Supporting Studies cont.<br />Gross, Shaw, Moilanen, Dishion, & Wilson, (2008) and Malik, Boris, Heller, Harden, Squires, Chazan-Cohen, et al. (2007) focused on the parental state of being rather than parental behavior, namely the depressive state of the parent, as having a relationship to the child’s development of negative behavior.<br />Assel, Landry, Swank, Steelman, Miller-Loncar, & Smith, (2002) found that a mothers’ degree of emotional stress had a direct influence on their child’s social and attention problems and suggested that a relationship exists between the unhealthy state of mind of the parent and parental negative behaviors to the development of unhealthy behaviors in their children.<br />Knafo, A., & Plomin, R. (2006) and Roelofs, Meesters, Huurne, Bamelis, & Muris, (2006): negative effects of poor parenting can be carried across generations further supporting the importance and necessity of teaching healthy parenting skills<br />
Supporting Studies cont.<br />Leschied, Chiodo, Nowicki, & Rodger, (2008): Children with early onset unhealthy or antisocial behavior are most at risk to continue this behavior into adulthood.<br />Huesmann, Eron, & Dubow, 2002; Leschied, Chiodo, Nowicki, & Rodger, 2008; Miller, McKay, & Baptiste, 2007; Knafo, & Plomin, 2006: Childhood factors that have been associated with early prediction of later criminal conduct include social withdrawal, disruptive behavior, aggression, temperament, poor parenting practices, physical punishment, low supervision, neglect and poor communication as well as gender. ***<br />***It is important to state that the studies mentioned utilized self report surveys which could have contained several reporting errors. Bias in the form of random participant error, subject bias, social desirability and demand characteristics are all possible weaknesses. The study disproportionally focused primarily on European white families, the mother and males which implies that the generalizibility of these studies cannot be guaranteed across cultures.<br />
The Next Logical Step<br />Early identification, prevention, and intervention with young children at risk for emotional or behavioral problems may begin with educating our teenagers before they become parents on healthy child rearing techniques.<br />Changing parental behavior in an experimental group through education of healthy parenting skills may provide evidence of a causal relationship, which has not as of yet been proven, between parenting skills and a child’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors further supporting the need of a curriculum teaching healthy parenting to be implemented in our national school system.<br />
Our Responsibility <br /> It is not enough as human beings for us to simply exist in life and accept what is. We were given the ability to examine, learn, grow, and change each other and our environment for better. <br />
Our Greatest Resources and Our Greatest Gifts<br />
References<br />Assel, M., Landry, S., Swank, P., Steelman, L., Miller-Loncar, C., & Smith, K. (2002). How do mothers’ childrearing histories, stress and parenting affect children's behavioural outcomes?Child: Care, Health & Development, 28(5), 359-368. Retrieved July 10, 2009, doi:10.1046/j.1365-2214.2002.00285.x<br />Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (2008) About Us. Retrieved on October 22, 2009 from http://www.bbbs.org/<br />Brown, S.E., Esbensen, F & Geis, G. (2007). Criminology: Explaining Crime and Its Context, (6th ed.). Matthew Bender, & Co. Cincinnati, OH<br />Department of Health and Human Services (2009) Head Start Act. Retrieved on October 22, 2009 from: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov<br />Gross, H., Shaw, D., Moilanen, K., Dishion, T., & Wilson, M. (2008, October). Reciprocal models of child behavior and depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers in a sample of children at risk for early conduct problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(5), 742-751. Retrieved September 8, 2009, doi:10.1037/a0013514<br />Huesmann, L., Eron, L., & Dubow, E. (2002, September). Childhood predictors of adult criminality: are all risk factors reflected in childhood aggressiveness?.Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 12(3), 185. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.<br />Knafo, A., & Plomin, R. (2006, January). Parental discipline and affection and children's prosocial behavior: Genetic and environmental links. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(1), 147-164. Retrieved September 8, 2009, doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.11<br />Kochanska, G. (2002, December). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: A context for the early development of conscience.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(6), 191-195. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.<br />
References<br />Leschied, A., Chiodo, D., Nowicki, E., & Rodger, S. (2008, July). Childhood predictors of adult criminality: A meta-analysis drawn from the prospective longitudinal literature.Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 50(4), 435. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Malik, N., Boris, N., Heller, S., Harden, B., Squires, J., Chazan-Cohen, R., et al. (2007, March). Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in early head start families: A test of ecological models.Infant Mental Health Journal, 28(2), 171-191. Retrieved September 8, 2009, doi:10.1002/imhj.20128<br />Miller, S., McKay, M., & Baptiste, D. (2007, March). Social support for African American low-income parents: The influence of preadolescents' risk behavior and support role on parental monitoring and child outcomes. Social Work in Mental Health, 5(1/2), 121. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Mulvaney, M., & Mebert, C. (2007, September). Parental corporal punishment predicts behavior problems in early childhood.Journal of Family Psychology, 21(3), 389-397. Retrieved September 8, 2009, doi:10.1037/0893-318.104.22.1689<br />The National Office of Citizen Corps - FEMA Community Preparedness Division (2009) Neighborhood Watch Program. Retrieved on October 22, 2009 from: http://www.citizencorps.gov/programs/watch.shtm<br />Roelofs, J., Meesters, C., Huurne, M., Bamelis, L., & Muris, P. (2006, June). On the links between attachment style, parental rearing behaviors, and internalizing and externalizing problems in non-clinical children. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 15(3), 319. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Snyder, J., Stoolmiller, M., Wilson, M., & Yamamoto, M. (2003, July). Child anger regulation, parental responses to children's anger displays, and early child antisocial behavior.Social Development, 12(3), 335-360. Retrieved September 8, 2009, doi:10.1111/1467-9507.00237<br /> U.S. Department of Education (2009) ED Priorities and Initiatives. Retrieved on October 22, 2009 from: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml<br />