Discipline and Internalization

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Abstract

J. E. Grusec and J. J. Goodnow (1994) made interesting suggestions about discipline variables that may affect internalization. Unfortunately, (a) their ideas are not integrated into a theory; (b) their definition of internalization is limited because parent–child similarity may result from children's attributing their values to parents; and (c) their ideas seem too heavily cognitive (e.g., the importance assigned to level of generality of parental reprimands, children's understanding of meta-rules, and children's viewing parental interventions as fair and reasonable). A theory linking discipline and internalization must encompass children's capacity for empathy and their feelings of anxiety, fear, and resentment at being interrupted by parents. In this article, I summarize my own theory of internalization and children's affective and cognitive responses in discipline encounters and note some of its shortcomings.

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