Saturday, 13 April 2013

"I'm off to the shops Daddy"

Ever since she could talk and walk, my now two-and-a-half year old has been telling me that she is heading off to the shops.  She flings her little handbag over her shoulder bulging with tissues, unused nappies, her wallet filled with thoroughly washed foreign coins (a collection from my wife and I when travelling was something simple and easy) and her Nokia 33-something cell phone minus its battery and sim card.  So why is she so obsessed with going shopping?  We never sat her down and explained to her that when one goes shopping, one's wallet, phone and handbag (if you're inclined to carry one gents) goes along with you.  This behaviour is based on a rather simple concept called Social Learning Theory.  It was developed by psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1960's, who predominantly focused on imitation of aggression in young children.  This theory extends way beyond acts of aggression and can explain so many developmental behaviours in children purely based on observation.  Children observe the behaviour of others and then imitate / model that behaviour.  Bandura talks about paying attention to the behaviour of others, consciously retaining that behaviour and then when motivated to do so, reproduce the particular behaviour.  This theory is currently used to explain the dangers of violent video-games, where participants play an active role in decision making via a controller as opposed to television which is more passive; but that is another area of exploration all together, which, based on the purpose of my blog, I am not going to explore.  This means that "do what I say and not as I do" has very little standing.  So, next time your little one is going to the shops, wish them well, kiss them goodbye and listen to the sweet sound of their feet skipping down the passage (to where the "shops" are).

More on Albert Bandura:     

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