The first assumption is that children learn correct ways to behave from interaction with parents, “rough-house play with dads helps a child to learn self control”. Albert Bandura was a pioneer in the social learning theory that explains that children learn from observing the people around them and he claims that most human behaviour is learned observationally. Bandura, Ross and Ross (1961) conducted an experiment investigating whether children would imitate aggressive behaviour if they witnessed of adults exhibiting this type of behaviour. They exposed children to role models, which exhibited aggressive and non-aggressive behaviour.
In the aggressive condition, the role model was aggressive towards a blow-up doll, known as a ‘bobo doll’. In the non-aggressive condition, the role model sat quietly in the corner, assembling toys. The results showed that children exposed to the aggressive role model exhibited more aggressive behaviour towards the bobo doll, than the children exposed to the non-aggressive role model. This experiment indicates that children imitate behaviour exhibited by others, and hence suggests that behaviour, such as “self control”, can be learned through imitation.
An effective way of helping a child develop positively would be to give expecting parents lessons and guidance on the issue of observatory learning. That way the parents would know what impact their behaviour would have on the child, and attempt to help their child understand right and wrong, and learn the fundamental interpersonal skills with less confusion and ambiguousness. The second assumption is that children stopped from being aggressive could actually lead to more aggression due to build up of frustration. Therefore “children who are mollycoddled at home and discouraged from rough behaviour are much more likely to turn into bullies”.
Berkowitz suggests that aggression can be caused by frustration and frustration is caused by not achieving goals. Therefore if a child wishes to be aggressive and does not achieve this goal, they could get frustrated and in an attempt to vent this frustration, they may show further aggression and become bullies. Buss (1963) had college students experience one of three types of frustration; failure to win money, failure to earn a better grade, or failure on a task. All three groups showed more subsequent aggression than a control group that was not frustrated. Indicating that frustration can lead to aggression.
Berkowitz goes on to suggest that the reason behind frustration leading to aggression is that sub-consciously, we feel that acting aggressively will eliminate frustration. Therefore children who are frustrated when they are aggressively restricted may well take out their frustration on others and become bullies. So children that are “mollycoddled” at home and “discouraged from rough behaviour” are statistically more likely to develop into bullies is explained through frustration from being restricted on natural, rough play, leading to aggression, which can subsequently develop bullies.