Margaret Mead's 'Discipline-To What End?'

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Margaret Mead and Rhonda Metraux discuss the varying effects of discipline in “Discipline- To What End?”, specifically when they state that, “There are… forms of discipline that may be self-defeating.” I understand this quote to mean discipline can lead to the opposite of the desired effect when improperly used. This can result from both over disciplining and using the wrong kind of regulation for a specific behavior. The possible outcomes from the wrong kind of discipline may lead to the child having problems with decision making and development of character, which may severely stunt his or her ability to function in the future. I agree that discipline can be psychologically contradictory to the intended goal as a result of either inappropriate…show more content…
There is a theory in psychology centered around the adverse effects of excessive rewarding called overjustification. It states that when a child is over rewarded for a specific action, he or she will be less inclined to continue performing it. This is an effect that causes the child to lose interest in an activity that he or she already found enjoyable and then is given many other outside rewards. If, for example, a child was very interested in baseball, but was rewarded at the completion of each game, they might lose their internal passion for the game and subsequently lose interest in it. This of course would defeat the purpose of the reward and provide the opposite of the desired outcome. Destroying a child’s intrinsic desires discourages them not only from pursuing their current interests, but makes it difficult for them to find future interests and set personal goals. Discipline, when used incorrectly, can damage a child and yield the opposite of the desired outcome. Whether it is through too many limitations or overjustification, the child may be permanently and severely impacted by improper discipline. The psychological influence may cause the child to have low self esteem, lose interest in preferred activities, and even rebel by engaging in self destructive acts. This provides evidence that discipline can contradict its goal and be self-defeating when it is poorly
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