They Learn Vicariously–Early childhood learning

Have you ever wondered why girls follow the trends of someone like Miley Cyrus…or the next in line to shock the senses of morality?

I’d like to introduce to you psychologist Albert Bandura (born in 1925) and his social learning theory.  In its simplicity, the theory concludes that people learn efficiently from observing the consequences of another person’s behavior.

Let’s think about that for a minute….consequences of another person’s behavior.

How many examples can you think of where the consequences of misbehaving is rewarded with fame?  i.e. attention, riches, parties (fun), friends, …etc.

Learning theory states that children learn by modeling—imitating the behavior of others. They learn vicariously—personalizing the experiences of others.

How many young women dress like their favorite starlet?  Is it really just playing?  Is it really just cute fun?

Bandura tells us Observational Learning has four phases:

The first step is Attention.  Children pay attention to role models who they find interesting, who are observed as receiving desired attention or rewards, perhaps the role model is powerful, fanciful or novel.

The second step is Retention.  Retention is the grounding of the observation and its consequences into the mind.  This is achieved through repetition and modeling of the behavior.

The third step is Reproduction.  Reproduction is the act of the child repeating the behavior on their own.

The final step is Motivation.  By reproducing the behavior the child receives the desired reward.  The reward can be one that is received immediately such as attention or a reward that is promised in the future.

Promised in the future…

Yes, children do dream about the future and are motivated by what can be.  But they do not have the maturity to understand that not all things are as they appear to be—that what is wish for may not yield the reward desired.

Think about these examples:

Everyone is always laughing and happy at parties with alcohol and drugs.

Girls who dress sexy are always popular.

Being a “mean girl” makes you powerful.

Wearing designer clothing makes you more important, more accepted.

Each of these examples has been taken from one or more (more) pop culture icons.

Our children are watching….and learning.  It starts at birth and continues throughout life.  The television shows, toys and games that children spend time with do influence their behavior…their future. That cute sexy fashion doll does not have to say one word to become your daughter’s teacher.  The lessons come built in.

RoleModelI created Via E and the Alexis O’Shay Dollfriend® to provide wholesome play for girls. The culture of educational fun surrounding Alexis’ is designed to teach about different places, people and cultures; to reinforce good values and showcase creative works and kind words.  Alexis is a safe role model built by a mom like you; a teacher with a dream and a friend who cares.

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