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Thesis Statement On Child Psychology

The thesis statement is generally defined as one to two sentences near the beginning of a work that clearly states the main points to be argued or discussed. Exact preferences of a thesis statement, such as it being one or two sentences, or where it is placed in the paper, differs based on individual preferences- but the primary characteristics are the same. The thesis statement should assert only one concept or idea, be narrow and specific, and accurately represent the contents of the paper. Many beginning students, as well as experienced ones, find difficulty in properly constructing a thesis statement. Below are some common misunderstandings that students often encounter when formulating thesis statements.


Broad, general thesis statements: A major blunder to avoid is creating a thesis statement that is too broad or too vague to be reasonably accomplished within the confines of your paper. Broad or general statements are unrealistic and hard to satisfy. Likewise, by definition, something broad does not define-and your thesis statement should clearly define your main objective along with what you hope to accomplish in your paper.

An example of a broad thesis statement is; 'Children in Europe suffer from many psychological disorders.' This thesis statement does not provide enough information to properly formulate a paper regarding it. A better thesis statement would be; 'Children in Europe suffer from many psychological disorders due to the collapse of the two-parent household and troubling familial dynamics.'

*As you can see the actual thesis statement in the second example is a bit longer than the 'bad' example that came before it. This is because a thesis statement needs to be specific and easily measurable-the first one is not.


Writing a statement that is not arguable-most people would agree with it: One of the hallmarks of a proper thesis statement is that it is something than can be 'contested' or argued. Choosing a blanket, neutral statement that doesn't initiate any worthwhile discussions is another common error in essay and term paper writing. The objective of many papers is to argue a point, convince or persuade, or to inform and explain. These goals would be very hard to accomplish using neutral statements that fail to provoke a counter argument or at least considerable points to debate.

*Note that a thesis statement need not always hold a very strong opinion. As long as it is weighty enough to be thoroughly discussed and provide an intriguing or interesting argument; that should be sufficient.


Including several points, rather than one main point: Because of this common mistake some people may even feel that the definition of a thesis statement as 'one or two sentences' should be restricted to just one sentence. This is because it is very easy to go overboard and complicate your thesis statement by adding too many points of analysis. In general one sentence is usually more than enough to adequately illustrate your main argument and objective.

*Its okay for your one main idea to include a few subpoints or details as needed. With the above example regarding 'Educational psychology' it can be observed that the full thesis statement in fact conveyed one idea by providing two points of discussion; 'two-parent households and troubling familial dynamics.'


(a) Writing the thesis statement as a question: This simple mistake can be avoided by returning back to the term thesis statement! A statement is not a question-and though this is an obvious mistake many people still tend to fall into it. The problem often occurs when first formulating the research question. A narrow and well-structured research question will likely resemble a thesis statement in many respects. And because of this many people unfamiliar to writing research papers, for example, may end up marking their thesis statement as a question rather than a statement. This can also be better understood by knowing that the thesis statement should actually answer the research question rather than be the research question.

(b) Writing the thesis statement as a fact or observation: This concern is usually coupled with the previous one in that it goes back to the definition of a thesis statement and its intent. Since the thesis statement is an absolute and decisive one, it should clearly state a position rather than make an observation or state a fact. Many compelling observations surface throughout the course of research, as well as facts, and they all may seem like a good fit for a thesis statement. But the key thing to remember is that those statements will not accomplish the objective if they do not accurately represent what is being proven in the essay or paper.

*For example; 'Poor nutrition leads to obesity.' Whether this statement is true or not it doesn't satisfy the requirements of a thesis statement because it doesn't (a) argue a point (b) identify anything specific about the topic. A better sentence would be 'Poor nutrition as well as lack of exercise in school is the cause of obesity in American children.'

Some of the key differences in this statement is that it is very specific and can be debated or argued and can adequately be covered in a research paper. {*A counter argument perhaps would be that it is not the lack of exercise and nutrition in the schools that leads to obesity but rather its the lack of similar things in the home environment that contribute to this.}


Providing too much detail and cluttering up your statement: This mistake is the opposite of the first one. Perhaps in trying to avoid writing a very broad statement, students may fall into the other extreme and provide a lengthy, filled thesis statement. This contradicts another feature which is that the thesis statement should be short and concise. Because one of its main functions is to summarize the major points of your paper or essay and in doing so should really be limited to two lines or less.

*Remember that whatever you claim to prove or analyze must be satisfied by the proofs and evidences present in your paper-so avoid overburdening yourself by setting high expectations that must be met.

The last point is a crucial one. Many people use the thesis statement as a guide and a mini-outline for their papers and essays. For that reason its best to start off with a trial thesis statement that is reasonable in size and only looks at a one or two points. This will hopefully make the burden of meeting thesis statement expectations less and provide more room for the development of ideas.

By Geraldine Woods

You’ve got a subject (“human-bear interactions”) and a topic (“the relationship between Goldilocks and the three bears”). Now it’s time to come up with a thesis statement — the point that you want to make about Goldie and the furry guys. A couple of possibilities occur to you — “bears that hang around people end up eating porridge and sleeping in beds,” “both blonds and baby bears like medium-firm mattresses,” and “humans and bears share forest resources.” As you tease out a few more ideas, you search for the middle ground, avoiding a thesis statement that is too broad or too narrow. You want one that, like Goldilocks’s porridge, is “just right.”

As soon as you’ve got a chunk of research, a deck of index cards, or a few files on the computer, take a few moments to reread your material. Think about what you might prove with all those facts and quotations. A couple of techniques will help you decide.

Ask questions

As you review your notes, do any questions occur to you? Is your curiosity piqued by anything you’ve written? If not, check out the next sections, “If only,” “I recommend,” and “Relationships,” or go back to note taking and try again later.

Any questions that pop into your mind arise from issues that are relevant to your topic, and issues are the breeding ground for theses. For example, suppose you’re doing a psych paper on parental influence — specifically, how parental discipline affects children’s behavior. You’ve read a ton of studies that attempt to describe the relationship between parents’ actions and children’s reactions. As you review your notes, you may find yourself wondering:

  • Do children of very strict parents behave better?
  • Does a child’s reaction to strict parental rules change as the child grows older?
  • Does spanking affect children’s self-esteem?
  • Does inconsistent discipline have a negative effect on children’s behavior?

Not one of these questions is a thesis, but each is a possible starting point. Possible because you can’t cover them all in one paper. You have to choose. Right now, suppose that you select the second sample question.

If the question of age interests you the most, read your notes again with question two in mind. Look closely at every note concerned with discipline, age, and rules. Put little check marks next to information about children’s behavior — the behavior of those children identified as having trouble in school or with the law, perhaps. If necessary, go back to the library or the Internet for more research on the relationship between discipline techniques, age, and children’s behavior. If you can, do some statistical analysis to see which factors matter and which are simply coincidence.

After you’ve finished those tasks, you’re probably ready to take a stand. Express that stand in a single sentence, perhaps this one:

Children of very strict parents follow the rules diligently until adolescence, but not during the teen years.

Now you’ve got the basis for your paper: the thesis statement. (By the way, the preceding paragraphs are just an example, not necessarily a psychological truth!)

If only

Another way to hunt for a thesis is to consider the “if only” spots in your paper. This method is particularly helpful for history projects. Again, start by rereading your notes. Look for moments when the entire course of historical events might have changed, if only one decision or one detail had been different. For example, suppose you’re writing about a famous incident involving Humpty Dumpty. You’ve read eyewitness accounts, historians’ analysis of the events, and doctors’ descriptions of the injuries Mr. Dumpty suffered. Now you’re ready to make a thesis statement.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, here are the “facts” of the case:

Victim: Humpty Dumpty, male egg

Physical description: Round but delicate build, oval face, pale complexion

Age: Fresh
Date of incident: Nineteenth century

Place: King’s walled courtyard

Description of incident: Victim had a great fall from a wall approximately ten feet high. Bystanders called 911 immediately. King’s horses and king’s men arrived within ten minutes. Entire battalion of horses and men worked on the victim for 45 minutes, but could not put him back together again.

After reviewing all your material, you think

  • If only the top of the wall had been shaped like an egg crate, giving Humpty Dumpty more stability
  • If only Humpty Dumpty had eaten a calcium-rich, shell-strengthening diet
  • If only the king’s men had had more training in re-gluing than in military maneuvers

The last “if only” in the preceding list gives you an idea for a thesis, which you turn into a sentence:

The emphasis on militarism in the training of the king’s men led to the tragic demise of Humpty Dumpty.

I recommend

Depending upon your topic, another road to a thesis statement comes from the phrase “I recommend.” This road is especially helpful if you’re writing about science, social science, technology, or any area that looks toward the future. Review your notes and ask yourself what improvements you’d like to see in the situation or conditions. Then ask yourself what should be changed to bring about those improvements.

Here’s this method in action. Suppose you’re writing about fatal accidents. One of your sources is the Humpty Dumpty incident, described in the preceding section, “If only.” As you scan your notes, think about the improvements that you would like to see — perhaps the prevention of shattering injuries caused by falls. What should be changed to bring about that improvement? The addition of calcium supplements to the water supply, a change in the design of palace architecture, additional training in egg gluing for emergency medical personnel, or something else? One of those ideas becomes your thesis statement:

To prevent serious injury, architects should design safer walls.


Another thesis catcher is the relationship question, especially helpful when you’re writing about literature. As you’re poring over your notes, look for events or ideas that belong together in one of these ways: cause and effect, contrast, or similarity. For example, suppose you’re writing about the murder of the king in a modern drama, Macbeth Revisited (not a real play). You delve into English politics during the Thatcher era and decide that the factions portrayed in the play reflect the conflict between contemporary English political parties. Now you’ve got a “relationship” thesis.

The strife between the Googrubs and the McAgues in Macbeth Revisited mirrors the conflict between the Labor and Tory parties in the late twentieth century.

Or, suppose you’re writing about energy and pollution. You contrast fossil fuels with solar power, deciding on this thesis statement:

Solar energy is less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.

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