Missy Danneberg, child care director

to please. A response to this view is: Just because children can do something doesn’t mean that they ought to.

When children are pushed to engage in rote learning or to perform for adults, their initiative can be squashed. Their need to please the powerful others in their lives conflicts with their own inner motivation. The need to please often wins out, and children take to heart the message that adult- directed learning is more valuable than child-directed activity.

SUMMARY This chapter focused on the preschool-age child, and started by showing an exam- ple of what initiative looks like in a four-year-old. That example was followed by an analysis of the child and her behaviors. The next section looked at the same child in terms of Erik Erikson’s theory and gave examples of the development conflict that this child had already come to terms with. She now has the task of developing a sense of initiative without being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt when faced with social restrictions. We examined how adults provide for initiative in children by set- ting up an appropriate environment and by their own actions. We also looked at shy and aggressive children and explored the roots of these behaviors as well as ways to respond to them. A major part of this chapter concerned how to work with parents in a partnership around the behaviors that come with the stage of initiative. The chapter ended with teaching problem-solving skills and an examination of personal power and how to encourage it in children.

QUIZ Click here to check your understanding of Chapter 4, “Sharing Views of Initiative with Families.”

Check Your Understanding 4.3

Click here to check your understanding of how adults contribute to children’s initiative.

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FOR DISCUSSION 1. The chapter gives the perspective of a culture that values independence, initia-

tive, and individuality. What might be the perspective of a culture that instead puts a priority on interdependence, obedience, and putting the group before one’s own needs, urges, wishes, and desires?

2. Consider Briana. Remember how she pretends to spank a boy. If you were the teacher, how would you know that it was just “pretend”? Would you stop that behavior? How would you describe a child who had a high level of initiative but was different from Briana?

3. How do you react to the idea of an “internal government”? Do you believe it is better for children to always have someone in authority watching them and taking charge of their behavior?

4. Analyze the environment you’re in right now in terms of the five dimen- sions named by Elizabeth Jones and Elizabeth Prescott. Is it an appropriate environment for three- to six-year-old children to play in? Why or why not?

5. What is your opinion of the expectations that the street musicians (“Perspec- tives on Child Rearing”) have of their daughter? Are the parents’ expectations hampering her development? How much play time do children need? Does it harm them to put the good of the parents over their own urges to play and run around all the time? Remember, these are cultural questions. Different perspec- tives give different answers. If you talk with someone who disagrees with you, try to create a dialogue instead of a debate or argument.

6. How easy would it be for you to talk to parents about the subjects dealt with in this chapter? To what do you attribute your level of comfort or discomfort?

Afraid to Ask This site contains information related to ADHD signs and symptoms, treatment, and common questions, with addi- tional resources listed.

Center for Parent Information Resources The Center for Parent Information Resources has informa- tion and products to train and support families of children with disabilities.

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) The National Association for Family Child Care is devoted to promoting quality and professionalism in family child care homes. The website has resources for families and ac- creditation information for providers.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Their website provides a great deal of information, includ- ing research on health and mental health issues.

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) The NIEER website has information about research to support high quality, effective early childhood education. The institute offers research-based advice and technical assistance to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and educators.

Ounce of Prevention Fund The Ounce of Prevention Fund has the goal that all American children, particularly those born into poverty, have quality early childhood experiences in the first five years.

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