Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Child Guidance: Skinner's Theory

Lena Baron
FCHD 2610                
GRADE 10/10
COMMENTS: "Lena good job on your paper. I especially liked how you pointed out how application of Skinners model would look different for a 2 year old v.s a 12 year old. Great job."

Theoretical Application #2 Skinner’s Theory

Scenerio:Your 12 year old daughter has begun to speak to you rudely and to do her chores sloppily.

What are some common solutions to the problem?
Working with pre-teenagers is a tough job all around. They are testing their limits and you’re trying to figure out what the limits are supposed to be at this new stage in childhood, not to mention the fear of the teenage years looming ahead in the no longer distant future. Often times the most common solution for a rude and sloppy child is arguing and nagging. Unfortunately, another common “solution” is threatening the child that their behavior will result in the loss of a privilege. However, the threats aren’t carried out. On the other hand, often times Skinner’s behavior modification theory does come in to play for the caregivers who are willing to take the time and effort to follow through and grounding or loss of privileges for the lack of good behavior is often the tool used. 

How do the common solutions you have mentioned fit into Skinner's framework (i.e. positive reinforcement, punishment, etc.)?
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph Skinner’s reinforcement theory has become very much a part of the traditional “positive parenting” life style of today. And for those caregivers who go against Skinners theory and fail to follow through with the right type of reinforcement when working with children are often considered lacking in their care giving skills. For example, if a parent has a rude and sloppy teenager according to Skinner the parent should not reinforce that behavior by completely ignoring that behavior. Especially if any boundaries, rules, or expectation for positive behavior has been previously discussed. A parent must follow through immediately by giving consequences a.k.a reinforcement to positive and negative behaviors. I do want to make it clear that working with a 12 year old is different then working with a 2 year old. Skinner has indicated that ignoring a 2 year olds temper tantrum might be considered the proper reinforcement. However, ignoring a 12 year olds sassy mouth is most likely not the reinforcement that Skinner would suggest.

What solutions would Skinner suggest for solving the problems (define with his terms)?
 When working with a rude and sloppy teenager Skinner would most likely suggest the (RUP) Rules- Reward-Punishment system. He would make sure that the rules for positive behavior are clear as well as the consequences to negative behavior. RUP then requires that the caregiver be vigilant in their follow-through/reinforcement according to the child’s behavior. The Token Economy is another suggestion that Skinner might give. Using tangible tokens along with praising words can be a helpful reinforcer for older children. And finally, Catch em’ Being Good might be a suggestion Skinner gives as a spontaneous extra token/reinforcer of their positive behavior.

What advantages are there to Skinner's approach?
Skinner’s approach gives the child accountability. It also gives clear boundaries and expectation for the child and the parent. This cuts down on the conflict and arguments, especially when there is consistency in the reinforcement.

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