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Goals Of Discipline

Cognitive developmental psychologists have emphasized moral internalization and autonomy as important goals. Moral internalization is the process whereby children adopt a set of values as their own. Autonomy refers to children's growing ability to act independently. Developmental psychologists thus focus more on optimal development, such as prosocial behavior, and see problems when children comply too much with parents (Kuczynski and Hildebrandt 1997).

The goals of parent trainers using the second perspective, in contrast, have been to improve child compliance from deviant to normal rates while decreasing problem behaviors such as antisocial aggression (Roberts and Powers 1990). Note that an intermediate level of compliance is considered optimal from both perspectives. Some have criticized behavioral clinicians for their emphasis on child compliance (Houlihan et al. 1992; Kuczynski and Hildebrandt 1997). Noncompliance, however, is the most frequent complaint about clinically referred children (Forehand and McMahon 1981). Defiant noncompliance is a major risk factor for poor moral internalization as well as increased aggression, delinquency, and academic underachievement (Kochanska and Aksan 1995; Loeber and Schmaling 1985; Patterson, Reid, and Dishion 1992).

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodDiscipline - Goals Of Discipline, Foundations For Discipline, Proactive Discipline, Discipline Responses, Conditional Sequence Of Responses