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.
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?