Literacy is the key

This last post will be a discussion on the process of child-rearing. After discussing different learning theories, it is evident that these theories can offer some insight into the development of the young child. More importantly, it offers parents guidance into the stages of development their child may be at in their lives and how parents can foster this growth in a positive way. Theorist Lev Vygotsky and Sigmund Freud have theories that are interesting and helpful in understanding children’s behaviours. Research conducted by Smith (2004) found that,

“Discipline is the process of teaching children the values and normative behaviours of their society. It is the guidance of children’s moral, emotional and physical development, enabling them to take responsibility for themselves when they are older. It helps children become aware of the boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, what is right and wrong, and how to relate to the world around them. Discipline emphasizes teaching and the consequences of actions. Positive discipline normally involves helping children to understand why certain behaviours are unacceptable and other behaviours are acceptable.”

Parents have strong feelings and beliefs about the issue of family discipline, which is why research can be so helpful for

Early Childhood Educators

families. Smith (2004) states that “there are many other factors influencing their parenting.” People who work closely with families, such as early childhood educators, also have their own ideas and values about family discipline. Early childhood educators can offer families help just as learning theories can be helpful to families. They can provide supportive context for parents when they are struggling with teaching their young children the rules about how to interact with the people, places and things in their social and physical worlds (Smith, 2004). Along with learning theorists, teachers and early childhood educators can have a positive impact on children and it is important for families and other adults working with children to know the difference between positive and negative discipline.  I have explained positive discipline but parents can be confused as to whether their methods of discipline are considered negative. For an article on some helpful tips on positive child discipline click here. Smith (2004) describes negative discipline as discipline that “focuses on obedience and the avoidance of punishment. Power assertive disciplinary methods involve application of aversive consequences such as physical punishment, threats or withdrawal of privileges with little justification.” Being aware of the differences in disciplinary methods could help a parent to choose better ways of dealing with behavioural issues with their child or negative behaviours their child might be displaying. Other parents simply just do not realize that they may be choosing negative forms of discipline and that there are better ways of handling their child’s negative behaviours or actions. The importance of early childhood education can be seen in this clip below.

Children meet parents’ needs for closeness, a sense of accomplishment, and maturity in life (Brooks, 2011). Parents are responsible for providing children with the tools they will need to grow and mature into a successful adult and a contributing member of society. Families are an influential part of a child’s development, especially during early childhood years and by researching child rearing techniques and learning theories, parents can have a better sense of what they can do to foster positive growth in their young child.

These next clips are for your enjoyment as you followed my blog, through readings, research and videos. Thank you for following along and I hope you enjoyed it! Check out these cute clips of brilliant children, doing what they do best. Learning, talking, growing and just being so adorable!

Brooks, J. (2011) The Process of Parenting (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Smith, A. B. (2004). How do Infants and Toddlers Learn the Rules? Family Discipline and Young Children. International Journal of Early Childhood, 36 (2), 27-41. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from the JSTOR database.

Oral Stage

After discussing Lev Vygotsky’s theory, I decided it was important to discuss another theorist, the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The reason being is that his research “revolutionized the way we think about children’s experiences in early childhood” (Brooks, 2011). Freud believed that many adult symptoms to anxieties, were rooted in childhood experiences (Brooks, 2011).

In other words, a child’s development would directly influence how one behaves as an adult. An adults actions may directly correlate to something occurring in their childhood, especially when it comes to fear and anxiety (Brooks, 2011). This is a reason as to why Freud’s

Infant and his mother

theory is helpful to parents and families. Children have “internal needs that drive behaviour and neither they nor parent have complete control” (Brooks, 2011). Parents are “authoritative guides and supporters on the path to maturity, not generals commanding the course of growth” (Brooks, 2011).





Before going any further, check out this video about Sigmund Freud. It describes his life and several of his theories.

This video clip discusses Freud’s psychosexual development. Warning, the information is interesting but the video clip is made to be “entertaining” and somewhat humorous, but it is a good introduction to Freud’s theory. 

A parent should be supportive in their child’s growth and development, and what better way to do so then by having the knowledge surrounding their child’s behaviour from birth to adolescences. Freud divided childhood into five psychosexual stages from birth to adolescence, all based around his theory that children were viewed as “pleasures seeking creatures” (Brooks, 2011). Click here for an example of Freud’s stages of psychosexual development. “Freud’s psychoanalytic theory deals with a sexual system composed of drives or instincts. He posited that the Oedipus complex is universal and derives from the fantasies the child has about his parents” (Latchaw, 2010). It includes concepts of rivalry with the same-sexed parent and the introjection of parent values (Latchaw, 2010). For more on the Oedipus complex and Freud’s psychoanalytic theory click here. As you can see, some people may find this controversial while other families may use these models in interpreting their child’s behaviour. For a humorous take of Freud’s theories see the clip below.

Brooks, J. (2011) The Process of Parenting (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Latchaw, A. (2010). The relationship between attachment style and degree of unresolved oedipal conflicts . ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 1-178. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from the ProQuest database.

First, I will discuss Lev Vygotsky’s theory in childhood development. Vygotsky, a Russian “psychologist born in the late nineteenth century, gives parents a central role in supporting children’s growth” (Brooks, 2011). His research teaches

Families who play together, stay together

families that every culture is unique in their worldview as are their ways of solving problems (Brooks, 2011).

Father and Son

The emphasis Vygotsky places on parents as partners in their child’s life is crucial as he believed that everything a child learns is through the interactions with “knowledgeable partners” (Brooks, 2011). As we know, a child spends most of their time with their parent(s) during their early development, therefore emphasizing the importance of modeling positive behaviour for the child. Vygotsky’s theory includes an important theory called the “zone of proximal development” which looks at the range of actions a child can perform alone and how a person with a better understanding of the world such as a parent or teacher, can guide and prompt what the child already knows; helping the child to learn more about the world around himself/herself (Brooks, 2011). He also stresses the importance of language in mental development. “Language develops in social interaction…it influences others behaviours…and serves as a guide as to what to do” (Brooks, 2011). In other words, language is something children hear from others around them. By speaking aloud a child is able to direct themselves as to whether an action is positive and should be copied or negative and should not be copied. For further reading on Lev Vygotsky click here. The importance of play and dramatic play for child development is seen in this next video clip. Dramatic play is an example of children using and repeating the language they hear in everyday life from adults and their parents.

The contemporary family can use this theory by understanding the importance of speaking to their children. Different families have different cultural views of the world and how to live in it, but by speaking to their children they can teach their child cultural values. Talking to a child can help guide him or her in a positive direction when the child is first exploring the world. Below is a clip of Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory.

A study conducted by Roth and Lee (2007) examines another branch of Vygotsky’s theory knows as the cultural-historical activity theory. In their research they found that this theory was somewhat neglected but was very interesting for further research involving language, language learning and literacy. More than seven decades ago, “Lev S. Vygotsky noted that (educational) psychology was in a state of crisis because of the ‘atomistic and functional modes of analysis’ … [that] treated psychic processes in isolation” (Roth & Lee, 2007). In this study, Vygotsky’s student began to research more into the activity theory, especially its relationship to schools and learning (Roth & Lee, 2007). It is evident that Vygotsky’s theories are continuously being researched and there are always new findings that can be helpful to parents of young children. As research continues, the information for parents will only increase and it is in a parent’s best interest to do their own research in order to be better equipped role models.

This last video is a great example of how Vygotsky’s theories have been beneficial in the classroom for teachers and children over the years.

Brooks, J. (2011) The Process of Parenting (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Roth, W., & Lee, Y. (2007). “Vygotsky’s Neglected Legacy”: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. Review of Educational Research, 77(2), 186-232. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from the JSTOR database.

Before discussing a few learning theories and the theorists behind them, I would like to look at the definition of parenting. “Parenting is a process of action and interaction between parent and child; it is a process in which both parties change each other as children grow to adulthood. Society…provides supports and stresses for parents and children and can change in response to the needs and actions of parents and children” (Brooks, 2011). For some real parent blogs on different topics parents face and the concerns parents have every day click “goose eggs and bad parenting” and click “warrior mom.”

Parenting, just like running a country?

Parents are also required to have an ongoing relationship with their child and provide material resources such as food, clothing and shelter (Brooks, 2011). “Intellectual and moral education, responsible discipline, avoiding injurious and cruel criticism and harmful physical punishment” (Brooks, 2011) are large parts of parenting. In Children’s Conceptualisation(s) of Their Well-Being, researchers found that “adequate physical shelter and home environments that are stable reference points are important to children’s well-being. Some children described how physical environments made them feel happy” (Fattore, Mason, & Watson, 2007). Having a sense of home was crucial to children’s ideas and feelings of well-being. Fattore et al. (2007) describe the importance of family and home as,

“Home has several characteristics – it is a place defined through family; it is a place you receive basic care; it is a place where you can relax and be yourself; it is a place where you have your possessions and hopefully a place where you can have fun; ideally it is a place where you have space to do internal work and feel secure. The relationship context is crucial in whether activities lead to a sense of well-being. For example, some children discussed the importance of supportive adults for helping them learn new things and ‘develop’. Supportive adults are described as managing appropriate exposure to risk, creating a balance between the child feeling secure in learning something new/taking the risk and being able to exert agency within secure parameters.” This next clip shows children giving their own personal definition of what home means to them.

Strong relationships with adults provided children with a sense of security giving them a sense of confidence to exert agency (Fattore et al., 2007). Families and parents are so extremely influential on the lives on their young child and as we can see, children rely on their sense of family and love as it gives them a sense of well-being and security.

Brooks, J. (2011) The Process of Parenting (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Fattore, T., Mason, J., & Watson, E. (2007). Children’s Conceptualisation(s) of Their Well-Being. Social Indicators Research, 80 (1), 5-29. Retrieved January 22, 2013, from the JSTOR database.

Kids Playing

Learning theories are helpful for parents because they allow them to understand the developmental stages of their children’s lives. Families can learn from the various theories and theorists. Young children are constantly “engaged in exploration and discovery of the world around them, within which they learn to understand that there are boundaries. They are acquiring the meanings of their language, and that other people have different perspectives on the world” (Smith, 2004).  This blog will discuss a variety of theories including those of Lev Vygotsky’s and Sigmund Freud. These theories can help families to guide their children towards becoming successful adults. Learning theories are valuable to families and parents and help parents understand

“1) Their important role in modeling appropriate behaviours for children and structuring the consequences that teach children new behaviours 2) Children copy parents whether parents are carrying out approved or disapproved behaviours 3) Children want parental attention and will seek it by negative means if they do not get it for positive behaviours and 4) the conditions under which children learn best” (Brooks, 2011).


This blog will also discuss positive child rearing and how the theorists can help families to choose positive methods of child rearing leading to positive growth and development in the young child. According to the law, parents must provide “acceptable forms of discipline for behaviours” (Brooks, 2011) and this blog will discuss the negative and positive forms of discipline. Families have a lifelong effect on their children’s well-being and learning, and their influence is particularly potent during the early childhood years, particularly from birth to three years (Smith, 2004). All children have different temperaments and a child’s behaviour is very much influenced by their families and their parents.

Brooks, J. (2011) The Process of Parenting (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Smith, A. B. (2004). How do Infants and Toddlers Learn the Rules? Family Discipline and Young Children. International Journal of Early Childhood, 36 (2), 27-41. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from the JSTOR database.


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