You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Textbook’ category.

Research speaks about how children and adolescents “map out” the likelihood of interactions becoming violent.  In response to their mental maps, children and adolescents respond appropriately to the perceived likelihood of threat.  According to their research, childrens’ early experiences and witnessing violence in others are two major determinants to future violent behavior.  A question the reader is left with after reading Hudley is regarding the specifics of the “age appropriate interventions” they suggest.  Although they do mention neighborhood beautification and developing local leaders as tacks to change the mental maps of adolescents (Hudley 2007), the vicarious learning that children experience that teaches them that violence is the natural and expected outgrowth of certain behaviors, would seem to intuitively suggest that the learning to change those maps would also need to be in-vivo.  Given that intuitive expectation, what would be effective and ethical ways to teach, in-vivo, that confrontation doesn’t necessarily lead to violence?

Another important insight gleaned from the article is that the combination of aggressive behavior and rejection by peers is particularly potent when it comes to the etiology of children who grow up to fall through the cracks.  It makes intuitive sense that removing a child who already demonstrates negative coping (violent behaviors, antagonizing peers, internalizing behaviors) would lead to an increase in negative coping skills, because it removes them from their peers normative and socializing influence (Hudley, 2007).  Although social consequences for anti-social behaviors is a natural and logical consequence, how can practitioners help children and adolescents who demonstrate rule-breaking and disregard for the rights of others re-engage with their social milieu?  What role can or should practitioners play in manipulating the social environment to make it more fertile for reconciliation?  The question regarding the “should” of reconciliation is a more complicated one than just one of forgiving individuals who make mistakes.  By utilizing natural and logical consequences within a structured setting, practitioners empower victims to advocate for themselves and offenders to take ownership for their behaviors, and thusly, ownership for the ability to change them.  What is appropriate given the structure of the setting?  When do violent behaviors become anti-social?  Is it useful to delineate a difference?  It may be useful to consider brain development, yet again, when considering the timeliness of various interventions.

It is during early adolescence, approximately 9-14 years of age that the adolescent brain is involved intensely in the process of pruning.  During childhood, the brain “soaks up” knowledge and builds as many connections as they have experiences.  The pruning process is the process of trimming away the underutilized connections to strengthen those most commonly used (Santrock 2007).  It may be during this period that external attempts to change behavioral patterns may be most effective.  It is important to remember, however, that the brain maintains some plasticity throughout the rest of development.  The expression, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is just that, an expression.  It is certainly not a statement of biological fact.

Hudley, C. & Novak, A. (2007) Environmental influences, the developing brain, and aggressive behavior.  Theory into Practice. 46(2).  121-129

Santrock, J. (2007). Adolescence. 12th ed.  McGraw-Hill: New York, NY

Grab a piece of paper and a pen.  This quiz has three sections measuring cohesion, flexibility and communication.  For descriptions of what each of those mean within this context, check out my post on Family Dynamics.  Please note that this quiz is not meant to be any sort of a final say on where your family or couple system lies.  Contact a professional if you have concerns about your family system.  I am not a professional.  Have fun!

Section I: Cohesion.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-4, where 1 represents “Never True” and 4 represents “Always True”

  1. No matter what, spending time with the family is the number one priority.
  2. We always spend time together.
  3. I always feel very close to my family.
  4. The family is more important than work or friend obligations.
  5. We always have fun together.
  6. I always know what is going on with each of my family members.

Average your total.

Section II: Flexibility
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-4, where 1 represents “Never True” and 4 represents “Always True”

  1. I never know who the leader is in my family.
  2. Discipline is/was never used in my family.
  3. It is very difficult for my family to make a decision.
  4. Day to day, each person in my family always has different obligations.
  5. Day to day, the rules are never the same in my family.
  6. My family doesn’t react emotionally to change.

Average your total.

Section III: Communication
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-4, where 1 represents “Never True” and 4 represents “Always True”

  1. My family and I have very good listening skills.
  2. My family and I do not struggle to communicate orally.
  3. It is safe to tell my family my secrets.
  4. My family is forthright and direct.
  5. When my family communicates, we stay on topic.
  6. Respect and regard are highly valued and used in my family.

Average your total.

Now, I would like for you to take a look at the table from my post on Family Dynamics again. Your cohesion score can go into the chart on the X axis, and the Flexibility score can go into the chart on the Y axis. The only difference from this chart and a normal graph is that the Y axis is organized from the top down, instead of from the bottom up. Your cohesion average is represented by “CA” and your flexibility score is represented by “FA”.

CA=1 CA=2 CA=3 CA=4
FA=1 Rigid, Disengaged Rigid, Connected Rigid, Cohesive Rigid, Enmeshed
FA=2 Structured, Disengaged Structured, Connected Structured, Cohesive Structured, Enmeshed
FA=3 Flexible, Disengaged Flexible, Connected Flexible, Cohesive Flexible, Enmeshed
FA=4 Chaotic, Disengaged Chaotic, Connected Chaotic, Cohesive Chaotic, Enmeshed

Your communication score is ranked from 1, poor communication, to 4, very good communication.  The higher your score on communcation the easier it is for your family to change it’s placement on this chart depending on the situational needs.

This quiz taken from Marriages and Families: Intimacy, Diversity, and Strengths 5th ed. by David H Olson and John Defrain, Appendix A.

Every family or couple can be charted in terms of Flexibility and Cohesion.  Cohesion is a feeling of emotional closeness.  Flexibility is the amount of change that happens in leadership, roles and rules.  Healthy families are typically balanced between flexibility and cohesion. In the following chart, green means balanced. Orange means that one area is out of balance. Red means both flexibility and cohesion are out of balance.

Rigid, Disengaged Rigid, Connected Rigid, Cohesive Rigid, Enmeshed
Structured, Disengaged Structured, Connected Structured, Cohesive Structured, Enmeshed
Flexible, Disengaged Flexible, Connected Flexible, Cohesive Flexible, Enmeshed
Chaotic, Disengaged Chaotic, Connected Chaotic, Cohesive Chaotic, Enmeshed

Where do you think that your family lies?  Later on, I will post a quiz detailing where your family lies on this chart.

April 2017
S M T W T F S
« Jan    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Twitter