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what is 'behaviourism9;?

(7 Posts)
babyphat Tue 09-Jun-09 22:09:27

have seen it referred to in a few threads, particularly in relation to sleep training. i can hazard a guess, but would be interested if anyone could tell me more. i am wondering if it may provide useful ammo against people who disapprove of me co-sleeping, and just interested in general really.

thank you oh wise ones

Othersideofthechannel Wed 10-Jun-09 06:14:15

IIRC Moondog is writing a paper on this.

I hope I'm not wrong in saying it is about training your child to do whatever by using praise, rewards etc a bit like Pavlov's dog

Eg sticker chart for using potty
or time out when they hit

hettie Wed 10-Jun-09 09:40:12

ok well I guess there are two answers.
'behaviourism' as it is actually defined is/was a psychological movement or philosophy if you will. At it's core 'behaviourism' and it's believers think that the psychological can and should only be explained by observable behaviour so Y happens animal/baby does X. Famous behaviourist types would be Pavlov and his dogs and Skinner and his rats. For these people learning happens through responses to stimuli, this occurs in a number of ways; habituation (baby gets bored with side of cot, baby is motivated to turn head to see new view, baby learns that it can turn head) classical conditioning (toddler sees a bunny but every time he sees the bunny he also hears a frightening noise, pretty soon he is frightened just by the appearance of the bunny), instrumental conditioning (behaviours that are rewarded occur more frequently, and behaviours that do not lead to a reward become less frequent), plus a few more (an important one would be social learning but it’s a whole other post!).
The on another level 'behaviourism' and the ideas within it have been appropriated into training and parenting ideas. This manifests itself in the cause and effect approach to parenting- and is mostly about instrumental conditioning. Reward the good behaviour and ignore the bad..... supernanny and the naughty step etc.
As for co-sleeping and behaviourism mmme, well not sure there is much of a philosophical fit but in terms of instrumental conditioning you could say that your lo’s ‘good behaviour’ (ie sleeping) is being rewarded by being in the nice warm place with mummy and daddy- that assumes being in with mummy and daddy is a reward and that ‘sleeping’ is a ‘good behaviour’ and one that we can ‘train’ in a behaviourist way......

Arewenearlythereyet2009 Wed 10-Jun-09 14:53:56

From what I understand of it, it is employing the principles from the behaviorist movement in pscyhology. The basic principles are that all behaviour is learned and we can use this/ apply it to parenting. i.e we reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour so the child learns through a process of conditioning. i.e good behaviour leads to reward so they repeat the good behaviour until it becomes automatic and the good behaviour no longer needs reinforcing! Hope thats a help x

babyphat Wed 10-Jun-09 17:24:55

thanks everyone! wrt the co-sleeping, i guess i was thinking the reverse ie 'i am not slack i am just not training her like a puppy'

but actually having read an excellent blog someone linked to on another thread i am over trying to justify things and henceforth will crack open a serene smile and let any criticism wash over me like water off a duck's back

Elliemama Wed 10-Jun-09 18:24:46

Babyphat I often find myself justifying co-sleeping and other non 'baby training' decisions... What was the thread/blog you found? - I too would like to learn to smile serenely in the face of the 'know it all' / 'you're making a rod for your own back' critics!!! ;)

babyphat Wed 10-Jun-09 23:59:07

was posted on another thread about whether parenting gets less controversial once past the baby stage

i think at 9 months i am emerging from a baby bubble and now actually believe all the stuff i have been reassuring myself with since dd was born - ie that whatever works, do, and it will all come out in the wash! hth!

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