Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SWK 5223)

A course at the University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work taught by Carrie Jankowski, MSSW, LCSW


Commitment to Evolve

Thoroughly reading  the following week’s assignment one thing I will do in order to enhance my learning experience. By being adequately versed in the upcoming assignment, I will be able to optimize my contribution to class discussions, and be a stronger support for my peers.

I feel my success in the class thus far has come from study strategies and approaches that I have tailored to meet my time-constrained work / school schedule. Sharing these tips and tricks with my classmates could be useful to some of my fellow students. In order to do this, I will need to reach out and communicate with my neighbors.

BP7 Gender Messages

Messages of gender expectations permeate throughout our media  and enter into the minds of individuals. Cultural messages like “boys will be boys” can encourage segregation of genders. Boys only spending time with boys can lead to “social dosage effect”, the increased masculinization or feminization caused by only same sex socialization. “Ladylike” or “act like a lady” can be restrictive and reductive to a young girl coming of age. The notion of one correct way of acting, looking, and being is what constitutes a proper women, restricts the free formation of identity.

There are positive gender messages in the zeitgeist as well. Modern commercials for universities and Votech schools show images of women and men portrayed as students taking various career paths. T.V. Shows like Like Law and Order or Bones offer role models of both sexes doing the same job, and doing it well. The message that a woman or a man can be a strong investigator, judge, president, athlete, a scientist, etc, despite there gender, broadens the scope of what a young mind can reference in forming their own concept of self.

BP6 In Real Life (off screen childhood)

Referencing the text, name 2 positive outcomes and 2 negative outcomes that come from visual electronic media use in childhood. Also referencing the text/research, if you were working with a parent who needed guidance on screen use for children, what information might you share?

Visual content, social media, and entertainment programming can be a double edged sword for developing children. Development of self-concept can be strengthened or diversified when children have access, through media, to cultures and identities outside their community. Another positive outcome of visual media learning is a broader expression of social norms, otherwise inaccessible to a child isolated in a fixed environment. Inversely, social interactions are the learning point which a child begins to develop a sense of their actions as they relate to others. A individual interacting with a screen representation of another person, may hinder the growth of self recognition and perspective taking ability. Morality is formed through human interactions and is fostered face to face, away from the screen.

For parents who rely heavily on the screen to guide their children, I would refer them to education on moral development and the importance of human relationships, daily interaction, and responsive role models.


BP5 Parenting Styles

Examining the 4 parenting styles as highlighted in the chapter, name one character from today’s pop culture/society that depicts a specific parenting style and describe/cite 4 identifying characteristics as referenced in the text to support your selection.

Neglectful parents endanger their child by being unavailable and unresponsive to a child’s needs. Charlie Brown of Peanuts comic strip fame is a classic case of uninvolved parents. Charlie constantly expressed feelings of self loathing and depression, yet we never saw hide nor hare of his caregivers. He was left to navigate the world alone, often being parented by his peers and his dog, Snoopy.

Authoritarian parents are akin to drill instructors, demanding orders be followed without concern for individual goals or desires of the children, often using harsh discipline to excersize control. Momma Lift in the classic film Throw Mama from the Train, belittled her son Owen [Danny Davito at every turn]. Even as an adult, the character was under the thumb of Mama Lift.

Bob of Bob’s Burgers is a great example of a permissive parent. Their is a clear love for the children, however they rarely are punishments enforced and often the children call their own shots. Even pranks and blatant obtuse behavior against their father does not garner any structured disciplinary action.

Most classic sitcoms feature authoritative parents. The Dunphy clan on the hit show Modern Family are loving, caring, but use a firm hand when needed. Phil and Claire allow autonomy for their children, but keep a close eye on the boundaries they have set for their brood.

Different Traits

The New York Longitudinal Study revealed various traits in infants, breaking them into three umbrella temperaments: Easy, Difficult, and Slow to Warm. “Easy” children may be allowed more autonomy in order to foster creativity, due to a reduced need for rigid scheduling and routine. A “difficult” baby may respond and flourish more with set eating and sleeping routines and close monitoring of daily activity regimens by the care giver, in order to target adjustment challenges. A “Slow to Warm” child should be introduced to new stimuli or activities in steps, easing them in to new challenges.

BP3 Less Play Doesn’t Work

Decreasing playtime for students has an adverse effect on children’s development. Children interacting with one another through play is a fundamental manner in which they develop language and cognitive abilities. According to Lev Vygotsky’s Social Cultural Theory, there is a master-teacher and student relationship in which scaffolding for cognitive growth is put into place. By watching, learning, interacting, and repeating, children develop new skills, functions, and understanding. By limiting school playtime in exchange for individual academic activities, we are limiting there opportunities for basic mental and emotional growth.

Children’s development of social skills, empathy and understanding human relations is enhanced through playtime with peers and adults. The seemingly unstructured leisure activities involved in play is where children establish a sense of cause and effect outcomes within human interactions. The comprehension of actions and behaviors resulting in consequences is constructed and reinforced on the playground.

Testing and outcome scores have become the focus of elementary schools nationwide. This tunnel vision approach to development deprives our children of cognitive, emotional, social, and linguistic growth which is fostered during exploratory time interacting with one another.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén