One of the most remarkable things to think about is the different ways in which our children learn just by watching us on a daily basis. The next time you’re about to express your anger over a menial task going wrong verbally, think again.
According to a study done at MIT, children are incredibly adept at picking up on the way adults respond to challenging assignments. In the study, researchers split children and their guardians into three separate groups. In the first group, the adults would pretend to struggle with removing a keychain from a carabiner while they verbally expressed their frustrations until they ultimately succeeded in removing the keychain. The second group of adults fared much more efficiently, being allowed to remove the keychain without any difficulty. The final (control) group did not have any adults to watch at all. The following portion of the study directly involved the children to observe what they learned from watching the adults.
Researchers provided all of the children with music boxes equipped with a large button that purposefully did not function and a smaller one that did. The object of this portion was to see if the children could find the smaller hidden button that would enable the music box to work correctly. Researchers also observed if any of the behaviors demonstrated by the adults transferred into the way the children searched for the button.
The results did not directly correlate with what was expected. The children from the first group worked harder than the children in the other groups to find the button and make it work. By observing their caregivers struggle with a task but, later, ultimately succeed, the children from group one were able to be more persistent in achieving the goal of making the music box work. The most important thing to remember from this study is that it can be helpful to show children that even though we struggle with something if you persevere through it, you can succeed.
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