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Raising Kids: A Horizon Guide

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Every parent wants the best for their child, but with so many different and often conflicting opinions, how can any parent possibly know what’s best? Over the years theories on bringing up children have altered dramatically, reflecting changes in the social and political climate as well as new research into child development. In this program from the BBC series Horizon, child psychologist Laverne Antrobus delves into the Horizon archives to discover how our understanding of children and their personalities and behavior has changed. A BBC Production. (52 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes


ISBN: 9781617533853

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned


Search for Science of Parenting (02:08)
Parents worry about how to do what is best for kids, a question that is increasingly a scientific focus. Horizon has charted the latest thinking on parenting.

Victorian-Influenced Parenting (02:12)
Post-WWII research transformed parenting, which had been harsh. We watch a 1971 episode which explains how sensitive mothers keep children's attachment behavior and curiosity in balance.

Experiment with Babies' Behavior (02:57)
Researchers go into homes to observe mothers' sensitivity, and place children in controlled settings to see how this sensitivity influences attachment behavior and exploration.

Love Decreases Dependence on Parents (01:03)
Research showed parental affection in a child's first three years brings increased confidence when facing a wider world, and less dependence, reversing the idea that love spoils.

Blaming Parents (01:45)
Attachment theory still forms the basis of thinking on early childhood, but led to the idea that parenting was responsible for children's problems such as autism. We watch an old episode on autism.

Testing Refrigerator Mother Theory (02:21)
To test the theory that autism results from parental coldness, researchers removed monkeys from mothers and gave them comfort blankets as surrogates.

Bruno Bettelheim (03:22)
Bruno Bettelheim traced many psychological problems to trauma, having observed in a concentration camp such effects. In a 1987 interview, he speaks about his life work with children and experiences.

Abuse and Psychological Damage (02:43)
Bettelheim's work increased awareness that trauma can start in the family; doctors came up with "shaken baby syndrome." We watch an old Horizon episode on intergenerational child abuse.

Cycle of Abuse (01:22)
Moms by the 1980s were more likely to be products of a broken home; abuse passed through generations. We watch a 1989 episode on the topic.

Group Therapy (02:34)
Through group therapy sessions with mothers from dysfunctional families, an organization helped them become better parents.

Behavioral Therapy (01:44)
In the 1970s and 80s, the rise in liberal ideas about discipline left parents struggling to control children. Behavioral therapy emerged as a reaction, using animal training techniques on children.

Disobedient Child (01:41)
An old episode features a single mother turning to behavioral therapy for her disobedient child.

Applying Behavioral Therapy (01:59)
A therapist explains to a mother how to apply behavioral therapy, telling her how to phrase orders. He coaches her in putting her child in time-out.

Success of Behavioral Therapy (01:18)
The featured child's behavior has improved. The mother thought behavioral therapy seemed too much like animal training, but saw it working quickly. Behavioral therapy has now won acceptance.

ADHD Diagnosis (02:46)
Researchers have increasingly focused on the brain, not just upbringing, to explain kids' misbehavior. In a past episode, two kids are diagnosed with ADHD. Tough discipline doesn't work.

ADHD Causes and Treatment (01:09)
Scientists believe lack of dopamine causes ADHD, and that there are genetic influences. Ritalin helps controls symptoms.

Learning Disorders (03:18)
Neurological makeup causes learning disorders in kids once labeled stupid. A man hooks himself up to a machine that alters his brain to show him what the learning disability dyscalculia.

Infant Learning (01:47)
Post-War Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget theorized that children are as intelligent as adults. We see an infant show the ability to form and test a hypothesis.

Stages of Learning (01:58)
Experiments suggesting young children's capabilities pushed parents to encourage learning early. Piaget talked to children to identify stages of learning; certain concepts cannot be explained until a child is ready.

Informal Classrooms (02:16)
Piaget's theories influenced primary education toward a child-centered approach. A 1976 episode shows an informal classroom. Classes are open to each other, and teachers work together.

Formal Classrooms (02:02)
In a contrast with the informal classroom, we visit a school where children are drilled to order and marched to class, and where learning is teacher-directed and structured.

Testing Progressive Education (01:50)
A team of educational psychologists test children and find that formal schools vastly outperformed progressive schools. The mainstream has now partly incorporated child-centered learning, seeking a balanced approach.

Cash Rewards for Students (03:35)
As progressive schooling has led to discipline problems, schools turn to behavioral techniques. A D.C. school uses money to reward kids. The Harvard professor who came up with the idea is interviewed.

Science and Practice of Parenting (01:24)
We have gone from strict Victorian parenting post-War, to a focus on love, and then a crackdown in response to the resulting behavior problems. Parents must learn they can both say no and listen to their children.

Credits: Raising Kids: A Horizon Guide (00:45)


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Raising Kids: A Horizon Guide



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