SHAPING YOUR CHILD'S PERSONALITY by B. R. Hergenhahn

SHAPING YOUR CHILD'S PERSONALITY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

After reading this book ""You can now consider yourself a behavioral engineer,"" says Dr. Hergenhahn, a psych professor at Hamline U: ""You Are Now an Expert."" Simplistic overstatements like these -- not written in jest, by the way -- are consistent with the prevailing tone of this manual for playing quarterback with your child's personality -- a game with more options than the wishbone. Hergenhahn maintains that parents can readily shape and control child behavior by understanding and acting on the premises that toddling personalities are developed only through the learning process (forget about genes, other confusions), and learning occurs only when motivated by positive rewards (punishment and rote never work -- he provides selective data). It's really quite simple once you get the hang of it: ""If parents are concerned because their little Fritz is beginning to habitually steal things, they should arrange the environment so that stealing is not rewarded."" Much of the text is devoted to those learning influences -- books, TV, games, toys, home environment -- which parents can effectively manipulate; don't, for instance, let Fritz play with guns if you want to encourage pacifistic attitudes (though earlier, when discussing violence in books, Hergenhahn says, sure, give the kid Bang, Bang, You're Dead because ""Fighting and blood are as much part of the world as intercourse and masturbation""). But contradictions don't seem to bother Hergenhahn -- he's too busy Skinnering the child alive.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1972
Publisher: Prentice-Hall