Understanding Children: Behavior, Motives, and Thought

Understanding Children: Behavior, Motives, and Thought

Understanding Children: Behavior, Motives, and Thought

Understanding Children: Behavior, Motives, and Thought

Excerpt

These two essays contain the reflections of a psychologist who is concerned with the frontier where psychology, education, and the art of child-rearing meet. They are an attempt to translate current psychological knowledge about children into practical suggestions for those adults most involved in the child's welfare. Although the book is intended primarily as a supplement for courses in developmental and educational psychology, it is hoped that its message will reach the larger community of in-service teachers, parents, and other adults who are interested in and puzzled by the young.

The book stresses motivation and thought, because the changing profile of the child's desires and assumptions tells us the most about him. Unfortunately, these two processes are among the most puzzling to psychologists and consequently generate honest and often heated controversy. Moreover, scientific attempts to learn more about psychological growth have been hampered by the nineteenth-century prejudice that man is a simple sum of his actions, feelings, and thoughts -- a view that allowed several generations of psychologists to rationalize their efforts to understand only one of these components of man. This book argues that each person's beliefs form the axis around which his motives, emotions, and behaviors are organized and function as the binding force in his personality.

The central theme of the first essay is that the need to know is insatiable and is continually forcing the child to rearrange his ideas into the most reasonable pattern. He wants information about tomorrow's challenges, the logic of his conclusions, and the fit between his behavioral strivings and his conception of the goals those . . .

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