Each choice of activity is based on the scientific base demonstrating the purpose and their objectives as per studies in child development.
Children, Stress and Coping Mechanisms
Children possessing several coping techniques have better chance of adapting and functioning competently in the face of stress.
Resilience can be accessed with 3 key components:
1) Reflectiveness and positive responsiveness to others,
2) one caring adult capable of presence (i.e. a family member or a significant adult figure being consistently present) and
3) a caring external source of support.
Children tend to apply their coping strategies only in the situations in which stress develops. It is the role of adults to show children that their coping mechanisms is applicable in any other context as well to prevent stressful situation and to cope more in a preventive way.
Human Learning Process
Three fundamental aspect of human learning:
1) Disposition: the inclination or the tendency to do (or not do) something, which is an aspect of motivation.
2) Capability: the capacity to do something, implying having the necessary knowledge and skills.
Determining the interference of these two aspects of Human Learning are evaluated through the third characteristic of human learning process which is 3) Performance: the actual behavior where the interference that learning has occurred is typically based on observed changes in performance.
Most of the time, children as well as adolescents are not conscious of their coping strategies. They simply react without thinking, however, it is important to determine whether their coping mechanisms allow them to avoid stress or help them facing stress. (Ebata & Moos, 1994). Adaptation that acknowledge and accept the stress are usually believed to be more useful over the long term, which is a pillar of our program.
Children Coping Mechanisms & Resilience
Children usually adopt denial, regression, withdrawal or impulsive acting out to respond to stress and difficult situation.
->Denial: acting as if the stress does not exist by going on with normal activity “as if” everything is normal.
->Regression: Children might become more demanding and more dependent, attention-seeking and
demanding a lot of attention, requiring a lot more physical comforting and affection.
->Withdrawal is when children remove themselves either physically or mentally to the point they might seem to disappear, become quiet or even invisible. They might focus on a specific items or thing or fall into heavy daydreaming.
>Impulsivity acts occur when children act flamboyantly to avoid thinking of the past or present stressful situation or to the consequences of their current behavior. They conceal their pain by provoking others and drawing attention to themselves to find and reach quick solutions or relief. This mechanism in the long run is almost always self-destructive.
Healthy coping mechanisms are altruism, humor, suppression, anticipation, and sublimation
->Altruism: through compassion in observing and helping other (too far: lose their sense of being carefree and become too serious and take on responsibility leading to feeling of guilt)
->Humor: ability to joke about their difficulty, to express and evacuate anger and tension (too far: lose their ability to cry and reach out for help).
->Suppression: set aside from their tension temporarily, to forget their worries, yet without being afraid to go back to them (too far: Suppression to the point of denial).
->Anticipation: they are able to plan and foresee the next stressful episode and in a way “prepare” themselves and learn to face something they cannot avoid (too far: becoming too fearful of hypothetical events and act compulsively in a very controlling manner to know and plan rigidly)
->Sublimation: children discover ways to vent their anger, overcome their fear or express their sadness by becoming absorbed in games, hobbies, or sports. (Too far: becoming too engrossed in these activities and become somewhat obsessional about it to the point of ignoring other pleasures or family needs).
Children Cognitive Development
a.Motivation & Achievement
Two types of individuals where the achievement motivation (need for achievement) varies greatly. Studies show correlated achievement-related responses with different aspects in the individual’s experience and behavior. Main suggestions show that achievement-oriented individuals have a stronger hope for success than a fear of failure and moderate rather than high/low risk takers and persist in appropriate length of time to solve a problem.
Intrinsic motivation: internal desire to be competent
Extrinsic motivation: the influence of external stimuli (punishment, reward)
b.Performance Orientation & Reward
In some studies, external rewards can get in the way of motivation. A study showed children with a strong interest in art spending more time in a drawing activity when they expected no reward than their counterparts in the study who knew they would be rewarded (Lepper, Greene, & Nisbett. 1973).
c.Mastery vs Helplessness
When facing a difficult situation, there are two types of responses:
-Helpless Orientation: where the child seems trapped by the experience and attributes the difficulty to a lack of ability “I am not good enough” or “I am not very good”. Once they view their behavior as a failure, they often feel anxious and their performance worsens even further. As adults, they constantly seek and pursue training to become more skill instead of tackling the challenge and delivering.
-Mastery Orientation: are task oriented; instead of focusing on their ability, they are concerned about learning strategies and the process of achievement rather than the outcomes. They often instruct themselves to pay attention and frequently report feeling challenged and excited by difficult tasks rather than being threatened by them. (Fadlelmula, 2010) They report feeling challenged and excited by difficult tasks rather than being threatened by them.
This involves being concerned with the achievement outcome; winning is what matters, and happiness is thought to result from winning.
Children Socio-Emotional Development
Children today have to face issues such as discrimination, economic inequalities, affirmative action and comparable worth. From a social cognitive perspective, children who are maladjusted do not have adequate social cognitive skills to effectively interact with other and this causes dysfunction and maladaptive outcome among their interpersonal relations. Children’s friendship is a very important part of human development and serves 6 functions: companionship, stimulation, physical support, ego support, social comparison, and intimacy/affection.
Self-concept and self-esteem are two other important concepts, and this has been widely measured with two scales: the Self-Description Questionnaire 1 (SDQ1; Marsh 1992) and the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC; Harter 1985). Self-concept measures concern specific domains such as scholastic competences, athletic competences, social acceptance, physical appearance, and behavioral conduct where self-esteem is more global within the person.
The Self is often times related to group identity where the beliefs can be perceived as follow: “my group is good so I am good” or “my group is bad so I am bad”.
There are four ways children’s self-esteem can be improved:
1) identifying the causes of low self-esteem and the domain of competence important to the self,
2) emotional support and social approval,
3) achievement, and
Furthermore, there are five of the major social and emotional hurdles encountered by pre-adolescents and adolescents are how to establish their identity, establishing their autonomy, difficulties with intimacy, getting comfortable with their sexuality and success and competition.
Human Conditioning (Skinner's Model)
Several studies on conditioning have been conducted over time by renowned behaviorists scientists such as Russian Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) and later American John B. Watson (1878-1958). Our approach however stems from model developed by American psychologist and Harvard Professor, Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990).
Skinner is known to be the father of modern behaviorism and developed the philosophy of Radical Behaviorism. This concept implies the use of operant conditioning to strengthen behavior. While he still recognized the validity of Pavlov Classical Conditioning theory as well as Darwin’s Evolutionary theory, he asserted that our behavior, our disposition, our perceived capability and in fine, our performance can be influenced and modified through (positive) learning when a high probability of (positive) reinforcement will occur as a result from the operant.
-WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 (2013)
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