The Mistaken Notions of Adults with Children

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2009


Perhaps Dreikurs' most significant contribution to Individual Psychology was the formulation of the four goals for children's misbehavior (see Dreikurs, 1940; Dreikurs and Soltz, 1964/1990). The formulation of the four goals was originally developed for heuristic purposes; however, they have become the basis for effective assessments in familly therapy, problem behaviors within educational settings, and group counseling, to name a few. While children's mistaken goals always occur within an interactive context, the goals that motivate adult responses to children's misbehavior have yet to be fully delineated within an Adlerian framework. This article describes the teleology of adult patterned responses to children's misbehavior and provides a foundation for understanding the interactive processes in which children and adults engage.

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