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Discovering & Discussing

Author: Scott Patrick

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  1.      The various philosophies concerning behavior management can differ as drastically as the children affected by them. For many years, teachers and parents have had differing styles of discipline, but they have almost always fallen into the same four categories: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Constructivist. While styles like Authoritative and Constructivist are good techniques and greatly benefit the child, they lack an all-encompassing philosophy. These philosophies, although sometimes effective, are antiquated. Most importantly, they fail to recognize the second right answer. Knowledge Based Parenting takes the best of these techniques and adds to them the idea of the second right answer, meaning that there is no “good” or “bad” behavior. All behavior is a form of communication, and there is no ready-made response to a child’s behavior. Here, we will be discussing the similarities and differences between Common Techniques (CT) and Knowledge Based Parenting (KBP).

                One of the largest differences between CT and KBP is that KBP recognizes that all behavior is a form of communication, while CT sees all behavior as just “good” or “bad.” When a child is throwing a temper tantrum, KBP will try to relax the child and try to find the root of the problem and address that, rather than the tantrum itself. KBP is a preventative technique. On the other hand, teacher or parents who are using the CT will generally scold, yell at, or physically try to stop the child without ever trying to understand what caused that behavior. Often times the adult will try to punish the child in mid-tantrum, threating to send them to “time out” or withholding something the child enjoys, such as a particular toy or watching a television show. This will almost always escalate the behavior, and in the end it hurts both the child and the parent or teacher. CT is a reactionary technique. Addressing a child who is behaving difficultly can be a hard task, but some techniques that are clearly better than others. It is much more important to learn why the child is behaving in the manner they are rather than trying to devise a punishment for their behavior. KBP looks at why a child did what they did, and CT tries to find a reaction to what the child did.

               KBP and CT are similar in that they both respond to behavior and try to correct, or manage, the behavior. CT and KBP can both stop an inappropriate behavior, but CT can only stop it in the short term. The root cause of the behavior is never addressed. The majority of parents and teachers use CT on their children and students. The majority of today’s adults experienced extrinsic rewards and cookie-cutter punishments through childhood and adolescence and most of them are functioning people today. But if they had experienced KBP during their formative years, who knows how much more effective they’d be in today’s world. Using KBP cannot hurt a child; it can only attempt to make them a better person who understands their emotions and how to appropriately express them. The most rewarding idea behind KBP is that it can teach a child invaluable skills for the rest of their life, such as how to understand their emotions and how to express them in a non-aggressive way. Often times an adult will treat children like how they were treated in their childhood. If we can raise a generation with the philosophy of KBP, chances are they will practice the technique as adults because they will remember how it made them feel and how effective it was.

                Common Techniques are used on a daily basis by teacher and parents. It is an antiquated disciplinary system that children have never responded well too. Knowledge Based Parenting understands the value of a child’s emotions, and sees all behavior as a form of communication. CT sees behavior in black or white, good or bad. KBP is a preventative and caring style of behavior management, while CT is a reactionary, one-size-fits-all style of punishment.

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