Developmental Psychology Notes

Raising a Moral Child (NYTimes)

  • On dealing with good behavior: Praising character is more effective than action (you’re a generous person vs what you did was generous) at convincing children to continue doing a behavior age 8, presumably because that’s when a child is forming a strong sense of identity.  However, at age 10, both forms of praise are equally effective.  At age 5, the praise went unnoticed, presumably because they were too young.
  • On dealing with bad behavior: Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, guilt is the feeling that I did something wrong. In an experiment, children were tricked into breaking a doll, and it is believed that those who avoided the researcher felt shame, while those who tried to fix it and apologized to the reacher felt guilt.  According to this study’s definitions, guilt should be taught, not shame.

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