Friday, October 28, 2011

Child Guidance: Gordon's Theory

Lena Baron
Child Guidance 2610
GRADE: 10/10
COMMENTS: "Phenomenal paper! Excellent application of both models and I absolutely loved your conclusion."

Theoretical Application #3 Gordon

Define a problem (provide age and context).
Three-year-old son is whining a lot, bullying pets and younger siblings.  

How would Gordon define the problem? Thomas Gordon might define this particular problem as that of a child filled with pent up frustration and anger because of poor communication skills between the child and his parents. He might say that the child has been dictated to (belittled and corrected) so often that he is no longer willing to work to verbally communicate clearly with his family members. 

What solutions would Gordon suggest for solving the problem?
Gordon would most likely suggest that this child’s parents take the time to counsel with their child, using non-damaging communication skills. For example; when the child whines the parent might say, “I feel bad when you whine because I can’t understand what you are trying to say and I want to be able to understand you.” Instead of, “stop using your baby voice; use your big boy voice!” Also, when the child is bullying, the parent might take the time to go to the child calmly and say “I feel bad when you hit your sister, why are you hitting her?” Then the parent would listen and communicate with the child using the six steps to implementing Gordon’s No-Lose method (define, generate solutions, evaluate solutions, decide the best solution, work out ways to implement solution, and evaluate how it worked.)

How would Skinner define the problem? What solutions would Skinner suggest for solving the problem?
Skinner might define the problem of a whining, bullying child as that of a parent-child relationship that lacks clear guidelines, expectations, and follow-through. Skinner would most likely suggest that the parent redefine the guidelines and expectations for behavior within the home and then diligently follow through with what has been decided.

What advantages are there to Gordon's approach? Skinner's approach?
Gordon and Skinner’s approaches for the most part are opposite of each other. Gordon encourages the parents to use a more democratic psychotherapeutic approach where Skinner encourages a more, authoritarian, vaguely parent-owned problem (with the hope that the child will learn to own the problem) approach. The advantage of Gordon’s approach is that if done correctly the child will come out a well-adjusted emotionally literate child. One of the advantages of Skinner’s approach is that it tends to be a lot easier to follow for parents then Gordon’s approach. It also teaches the children to look for and reach for the goals within the challenge. It also teaches the child that there should be a reaction positive or negative (or consequence) to every action.

Which approach do you prefer? Why?
I would love to say that I follow Gordon’s approach to parenting. It just seems peacefully ideal. However, Skinner’s approach seems to be a lot more realistic and is still beneficial to all involved. With that said, I think that I lean towards Skinner most often and try to apply Gordon as often as my patience allows me to. Parenting is exhausting and stressful. It is also very time consuming. If you have more then one child, it is not always easy to stop and have a long drawn out conversation about every feeling, request, and frustration. In fact, I know this from experience. I applied Gordon’s approach with my first son for the first four years of his life, as he was an only child. It was wonderful! However, he is no longer an only child. And because he has been conditioned to discuss EVERYTHING there is often conflict. Skinner’s approach leaves little room for confusion. The guidelines and expectations are set. With that said, I prefer Gordon, but I use both Gordon and Skinner in my everyday parenting.

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