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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.

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Discussion Question: Obedience

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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:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200203/the-man-who-shocked-the-world

 

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?

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