Child Behavior

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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I went to Bright-Light Park on a cold afternoon to watch the kids and note their behavior. When I approached, there we about three or four little kids all bundled up and playing on the Jungle Gym.

I noticed a small brown-haired boy about the age of three, who was running around without fear. I sat down to watch, and then I noticed that his dad was following him around, so that was probably why he didn't feel afraid to run around by himself.

The little boy would sometimes turn around to see if his dad was following him, and then run around a little faster. He would constantly call to his daddy for help to get up on objects, and he would not slide down the slide unless his dad was at the bottom waiting for him. This seems to me that the boy had put a lot of trust in his father, and felt that he was safe only if his parent was near.

Sometimes that boy would run a little too far away for his father's comfort, and so then his father would yell out his name several times. The boy did not seem to listen to his parent, but he did start to listen after the fourth of fifth stern name-calling.

Also, the boy would pick up certain things, like a rock for example, and show it to his father with a big smile on his face. The father would always say something like, "Wow!" or "Good Job!" This suggests that the boy needed reinforcement for his behavior, and liked to get a positive remark so that he could feel that he had indeed done a good job.

The way the boy behaved with other children was shown to me when he approached another little blonde boy who was playing in the sand. The blonde little boy was playing with a yellow Tonka truck, and the boy just walked right up to the blonde-haired boy, sat down, and grabbed the truck out of his hands. The blonde boy started crying loudly, and his mother ran up to him and talked to him in a calming voice. Meanwhile the brown-haired boy's father had already snatched the truck away from him, and apologized to the mother of the blonde boy. The brown-haired boy began to cry and sob, and his father was telling him, "No, that's not yours honey." I don't think that the boy new the real aspect of sharing yet, and probably didn't know what he had done wrong.

After he had finished crying the boy seemed to be all better, just like nothing had happened. He sat down in the sand, and started babbling something about a castle to himself. His father sat on a bench and watched him. When another child would come near him, the boy would yell, "NO!" as loud as he could in his little tiny voice. The other child would just walk away, and the boy began to talk to himself again. He seemed to be mimicking his parents' authoritarian tone whenever he said "no" to someone.

The next thing that surprised me was that the father got up and walked away to sit on a different bench close to his wife, and the boy didn't even notice. He just kept playing in the sand, and getting it all over the place too. When the boy did finally look up to where his father had been sitting, and he didn't see him there, he got a shocked look on his face. He looked around and saw his father sitting on another bench, got up and ran to within a three-foot vicinity of the bench, sat down in the sand, and started playing again. This really shows attachment to the parental unit, and also how he anchors to the father.

The overall behavior of the child during this experiment was very good-natured. While his father was following him around he would laugh and giggle, and say "daddy" a whole lot. He would also ask for his father's help and encouragement when he came to an obstacle. To me it seemed that the parents were doing an excellent job raising their son because he exhibited all of the natural behaviors of a three year old; happy and for the most part cooperative, he took direction well and talked a lot (to himself and his father), he responded very well to his environment and also got over his anger and disappointment rather quickly.