mother children Children, Adolescents

 & the Family

Some Topics

Good and Bad Behavior

An idealized view of a child portrays a delightfully innocent creature who responds favorably to kind words and wise direction. While children are not “little adults” with well-practiced vices, they do come complete with a mix bag of good and bad tendencies. Children are often guilty of bad behavior. They disobey parental rules and they lie to protect themselves from punishment. Most children and adolescents commit minor felonies at home and in the community.

Human populations display a range of characteristics. In any group, you can find nice people and you can find bad people at all ages. All human characteristics are present in each human as a variable mix that changes over time. We recognize that one individual will move through different states and may display contradictory behaviors and express contradictory ideas.

We also recognize that humans young and old are competitive and strategic and that everyone will sometimes lie, cheat and many break laws routinely. We recognize that the tendencies of predators remain in the deepest layers of the human mind and are expressed spontaneously by children in their play and in their day to day behavior towards others. 

The exploration and explanation of bad human behavior is not as simple at it might seem. You could argue that bad people are distinctly different from good people and can be identified by a combination of biography and diagnostic tests. Good people, however, sometimes display bad behaviors and, if your sample their behavior at the wrong moment, you will come to the wrong conclusion.

Children are especially vulnerable to overly harsh judgments when they make mistakes and break rules. Children are in the process of learning how to behave in an acceptable manner and must make mistakes to learn. The learn the wrong lessons from angry parents who punish them often and excessively.

Empathy is an important ability of good children who gradually become skilled in sensing and appreciating the needs and feelings of others.  Empathy is, however, selective and unstable. Children and adults tend to follow group rules; a normally empathetic child may be callous toward a child who has been rejected by his or her friends.

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  • Children and the Family by Stephen Gislason MD examines the intense interactions of parents and children. From Dr. G's preface:" Parents receive a lot of advice from many people. Popular magazines and books offer a continuous stream of conflicting advice. Professionals have a variety of opinions about child-rearing that range from helpful suggestions to misleading and even bizarre ideas. Child psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas, miscellaneous observations, opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. Confusion prevails in education about what children should learn and how they should learn it. If psychologists, physicians, and educators are confused, what about parents? Parenting is difficult and long-term relationships sometimes fail. The best parents are pragmatic and not theorists. They stay involved with their children, follow some basic guidelines they learned and tend to do whatever works. Good parents improvise childcare with a combination of innate generosity, common sense, love and concessions to the demands of modern life."

    You can order Children and the Family as an eBook for Download 

    Additional recommended reading includes the books Intelligence & Learning,  Language and Thinking  Feeding Children and the Alpha Nutrition Program

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    Human Nature
    The Good Person
    The Puzzle
    The Sound of Music
    Surviving Human Nature
    Language and Thinking
    I and Thou
    Emotions and Feelings
    Neuroscience Notes
    Human Brain
    Children and Family
    Religion, 21st Century

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