Parenting and Fatherhood: Causal Attributions and Disciplinary Responses for Child Misbehaviour

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School of Psychology, Massey University
Changing gender roles and a different emphasis on what it means to be a father in New Zealand have contributed to fathers being required to play a new, more involved role in their children’s lives. For many fathers today, contributing to decisions and application of discipline for bad behaviour is an important part of their parenting role. Research suggests that children benefit from consistent disciplinary routines. However, the attitude in New Zealand is that harsh discipline, particularly of a physical nature, is undesirable and needs to be discouraged. An important area for investigation is ways parenting decisions can be influenced in a positive direction, using simple psychological techniques that are easy to apply in the real world. Positive affective priming involves exposing people to stimuli, or primes, in order to influence their thoughts, emotions and behaviours in a specified direction. A potential practical application of positive affective priming may be in clinical use with fathers to influence their disciplinary choices in response to a child’s bad behaviour, in a positive (less harsh) direction. This paper considers the literature relevant to the use of positive affective priming for this purpose.
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Positive affective priming, Fathers, Disciplinary choices, Discipline, Fathering, Parenting