Short Writing Assignments

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Please note that question #13 is required for all students. In addition, please select six additional questions from the options listed below, and write a 1-2-page typed summary for each topic. Responses to the questions should be included in one document, and turned in via the drop box by 11:59 Tuesday November 17t.h. Each response should be a minimum of one page and maximum of two, without inclusion of the questions (please identify the question numbers for each). Responses should also be written in paragraph form, typed in 12-point, double spaced font and saved as a Word document. Citations of work are not required unless specifically noted. Late assignments will not be accepted.

  1. Interview three mothers of varying ages and backgrounds about their birth experiences.

Questions might include the following topics: how did labor begin, did the mother take any birthing classes prior to giving birth, what was the approximate duration of labor, who was present for the birth, where did it take place, were any medications administered, thoughts on the quality of care, any special accommodations or circumstances,(e.g. natural childbirth or c-section, home birth, water birth, use of a doula, length of the hospital stay, etc.), length of hospital stay if applicable. Compare and contrast the three accounts, and conclude with your thoughts. What did you take away from the interviews?

  1. Parents discipline their children in a variety of ways, including time-out, withdrawal of privileges, grounding, stern lectures, and physical punishment (spanking). Ask two parents or two sets of parents about their philosophy on child discipline and punishment. What disciplinary methods did their parents use, and how do they currently discipline their own children? What method seems to be most effective?

How are their disciplinary techniques influenced by the ages of the children, temperament, seriousness of the behaviors being addressed, and possibly birth order?

Conclude with your own philosophy and thoughts on child discipline. Do you think spanking is ever appropriate (why or why not)? Under what circumstances?

  1. Diana Baumrind identified 3 parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive (Chapter 10). Subsequently, researchers added a fourth style: neglectful/uninvolved. In contrast, ‘helicopter parenting’ is a style in which parents micromanage and may over-protect their children. What primary parenting style did your parents use? Give examples to support your selection, and conclude with your thoughts on the effectiveness/outcome. What style do you think you will use if/when you have children of your own? Why?
  1. Interview three parents of primary school children (elementary K-6). Thinking back to pre-Covid days when children were taught in schools, what do they think are the best and worst aspects of their children’s education? Ask specific questions about testing, homework, communication with teachers, grading procedures, discipline, bullying, etc., and summarize the results. In addition, given the changes in education due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you might also inquire about how they handled the quarantine situation (e.g. juggling their own work responsibilities and teaching their children) and how it positively and/or negatively affected their children’s ability to learn.
  1. Hypothetically, describe how your childhood might have been different if your family structure had been different (e.g. if you had or had not lived with your grandparents; if your parents had or had not divorced; if you had or had not been adopted; if you had or had not been raised in a step-family). Conclude with comments on how family structure may influence children.
  1. Interview at least two parents, in different family types: e g. a two-parent family, single-parent family, reconstituted (step) family. Ask them about the advantages and disadvantages of their family structure. Include their thoughts about specifics (housework, rules, schedules, meals, disciplining children, etc.). Analyze the results, including quotations from your interviews. What did you learn?
  1. Books and essays have been written about the ‘disappearance of childhood’ –suggesting that children in our culture are forced to grow up too fast. If you agree with this position, what evidence (specific examples, trends, etc.) do you see in American culture?

What are the possible consequences of this ‘developmental compression?’

  1. (Please answer the following question without consideration of Covid-19.) Are children today under more or less stress than previous generations? Some would argue that children in our culture have many more stressors to deal with than their own parents had growing up. Others contend that stress levels for children remain much the same– however children are not taught adequate coping skills to deal with stress. Choose one of these positions and support it with examples, evidence, and personal observations.
  1. Covid-19: Five years or a decade from now when we look back on the year 2020 (specifically the quarantine and pandemic), how do you think children might be affected in the long term? Consider their physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development—what might be the positive and negative outcomes? Think specifically about the closing of schools, remote learning with working parents at home, the cancellation of many ‘normal ‘activities (e.g. social and sports), the temporary closure of parks, playgrounds, libraries, and restaurants, and encouragement to stay home, wear masks, socially distance, and wash hands. The pandemic and its effects are ongoing, but given what you know now, what are your thoughts?
  1. Interview someone who became a parent as a teenager. Were there any particular difficulties with the pregnancy, birth, or the first years of parenthood? What level of family support did they receive, and how did it affect the experience? How did it affect their relationship with the baby’s father? Friendships and other social relationships?

Academic plans? Looking back, what was the best and most difficult aspect of being a teen parent?

  1. Changes in adolescent thought: ‘Egocentrism’ means ‘self at the center. It is a characteristic of young children, who are incapable of taking on the perspective of another person, and it makes an appearance in adolescence. Please review the section in Chapter 15 on adolescent egocentrism, as well as the Chapter 15 power point slides.

Pay particular attention to egocentrism, the imaginary audience, the personal fable (uniqueness fable), and danger invulnerability (also known as ‘the invincibility fable.’)

Psychologist David Elkind also identifies four characteristics of adolescent thinking: (1) increased argumentativeness, (2) finding fault with authority figures (e.g. parents, teachers, and coaches),(3) indecisiveness (where should I go to college, what should I manor in, what movie should we see?), and (4) apparent hypocrisy. Thinking back on your own adolescence, as well as your friends and siblings, give specific examples of the characteristics listed above that resonate with you.

  1. Cell phones and social media have greatly impacted our culture, particularly for adolescents. Describe the positive and negative aspects of texting, and social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat). In your opinion, were teenagers better off before the widespread availability of smart phones and social media, or do the benefits outweigh the negative consequences? Be as specific as possible with your response.
  1. *According to Erikson, the crisis of adolescence is ‘identity vs. identity confusion,’ and the question to be addressed: ‘who am I?’ James Marcia described four specific ways young people cope with the identity crisis: role confusion or diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium, and identity achievement (refer to Chapter 16 of your text). Please watch the Youtube clip by Kim Eaton, ‘James Marcia’s Adolescent Identity Development’ (7:24) as she clearly explains the four identity statuses.

Describe your own path to identity achievement, and where you see yourself in this process. Include the four arenas of identify formation: religious, political, vocational, and gender identity. What factors contributed to or hindered your identity formation?

  1. There are many issues related to children and adolescents in the news (e.g. gender and transgender issues, government-funded universal preschool, childhood obesity, ‘freerange parenting,’ changing school schedules to accommodate the sleep needs of adolescents, increased anxiety, depression, and suicide rates at younger ages). Create your own question or topic of interest (not used previously as your presentation topic), and address it in a 1-2-page paper.

Last Updated on November 16, 2020 by EssayPro