Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Odd Bits on Cognitive Development

I have very frequently been bowled over by the apparent emotional maturity of autonomously educated teens and the absence of problems reported by parents of these teens. Perhaps this article goes some way to explain this.

For example,

(from US, but probably applicable here),

"Laws restricting the behaviour of young people (under age 18) have grown rapidly in the past century, according to a survey by the author. He found that US teens have 10 times as many restrictions as adults, twice as many as active-duty U.S. marines and twice as many as incarcerated felons."

"As we learn in elementary statistics courses, correlation does not even imply causation. In that sense, no imaging study could possibly identify the brain as a causal agent, no matter what areas of the brain were being observed. "

The other recent relevation (courtesy of gentle prompting by DLD - so many profound thank yous are due), is that taking children seriously doesn't necessarily mean that one should immediately wade in with the most rational-seeming explanation at the earliest possible opportunity (a mistake that it is rather easy to make, I think). It can mean just listening, just reflecting back. This non-directive Rogerian-style support, rather than the more cognitive behavioural approach that would very obviously to fit with TCS theory, is not only frequently patently uncoercive, for example in the situation that a child simply wants to be listened to rather than advised, but can also lead to huge incremental, uncoerced learning on the part of the child as they are given the space to discover information in safety and in precisely their own time. (The reading that prompted this particular relevation: Dibs, In Search of Self by Virginia Axline.)


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this. Dibs is now one of my top books on relating to children - helpfully without coercion - and improving understanding.


Clare said...

I had Dibs on my reading list when I was training as a BFC - do you remember a mini-discussion on your blog a while back about counselling and how it's not about advice giving? Something I've written a lot about in essays while I was training was how amazingly the things I was reading about autonomy in childhood/TCS/non-coercion was matching up so perfectly with what I was reading about person-centred counselling. It's all one and the same - listen, reflect, listen some more, offer information and support if and when necessary, listen a bit more...


dottyspots said...

Wanted to comment on your next post, but it's not loading - will pop back later and try again :0)