In our culture it is fairly normal to see a parent socialize their children to obey authority figures without question. We teach them that because they are a child if they question the authority figures in their life that they are being disrespectful and often punish them for this kind of questioning.
Discussion Question: Obedience
Now consider the outcome of Milgram’s research into obedience in which many participants followed the request of a perceived authority figure and administering shocks up to 450 volts to a person who simply got the answers wrong. Read the following article by Thomas Blass about Milgram and his research:
Additionally read the article at http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=1297922 about the prank call at McDonalds that lead to the false imprisonment and sexual assault of a young employee all because the assistant manager blindly followed the instructions of a man on the phone.
- Discuss, in general, why children are socialized to obey authority figures.
- Does the way we socialize our children set them on a possible path toward this kind of obedience?
- What benefits come from our children blindly following the authority figures in their life?
- What negative consequences can come from this kind of socialization?
- Is there a better option in the way we socialize our children? If so, what would be a better strategy?
- Should this strategy change as the child ages? If so, how would it be different for older children versus younger children?