Medium 9781912567331

Thinking about Infants and Young Children

Views: 25
Ratings: (0)

This book describes some of the important aspects of the development of infants and young children from birth to school age. It is illustrated by vignettes of scenes between parents and children and it touches on many of the questions and feelings evoked by the intense emotional relationship between parents and children.

List price: $24.99

Your Price: $19.99

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

10 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1: Parenthood

ePub

Becoming a parent

Becoming a parent in one sense happens overnight, but in another it is a role which one has to grow into through experience and through making many mistakes. Our childhood experience with our own parents provides the basic reservoir from which we draw unconsciously; our own children can also be of the greatest help in letting us know when we are helping them to thrive. But children differ enormously in this respect, in their capacity to love and to enjoy life and to appreciate the parents who gave them life.

Because of his individual quality, we have to be prepared to learn with every new child how to understand him, and to interpret his needs aright. This is one of the great pleasures in bringing up children and in working with children; to enjoy it we must, however busy we may be, allow a little time, a little space, to be attentive to and to communicate with the individual child.

A closer look at the way in which any child grows up within his family makes one realise that none does this without conflicts with parents, and brothers and sisters, but that these struggles with the outer world can help him to face the conflicts within himself. From being able to struggle with the problems posed at every stage in life comes the confidence that enables us to enjoy it.

 

Chapter 2: The New Baby's Point of View

ePub

Uniqueness of your new-born baby

Your baby will be unique, different from anyone else's baby and different from any other baby you have had, or will have; just as, whatever is essential and constant in your own personality, you are bound to be a slightly different mother to each of your children.

Relationships grow through the ability of both parties to experience and to adjust to each other's natures. Just as your baby needs to have food and comfort and space to grow, he needs to have the security of a loving relationship within which he can express himself, be known and learn to know himself and the whole range of his own feelings. Through your response to his physical and emotional needs he learns to know you, to build up some trust in a caring, helping person, and through your appropriate interpretation of his messages he learns to know himself also.

For instance, if he has a pain in his tummy, he won't have the faintest idea of what this is, he won't know how or what to ask for to put it right. And as his mother, in the beginning, you sometimes won't have the faintest idea either. You may interpret his cries, his writhings, as expressions of hunger, and you may then feed him. You may be right and the baby will have his pain taken away, his need satisfied and also an experience of being understood.

 

Chapter 3: Coming up to Six Months

ePub

Discovering the world and himself

By the middle of the first year or earlier many babies, who may have started off rather fretful and colicky, have settled into a more comfortable routine. Mothers of first babies have learned a good deal about being mothers and have usually recovered from the tendency to feel depressed and oppressed by the responsibility that motherhood brings.

The baby has now become more alive to and interested in the world outside him. His horizon is expanding. His increasingly varied social responses, his welcoming, his recognition, his interest – all his forward movements and changes reassure the mother that he is thriving and that she is really able to look after him.

This interest, this wondering about the world, bringing things together, can initiate for us, as mothers, a fascinating period of re-discovering the world through the baby's eyes, if we can only make the time and the necessary mental space available from our other commitments.

 

Chapter 4: Weaning

ePub

Starting to wean

For babies who are being breast-fed, the weaning period usually comes sometime in the second half of the first year, as the mother's milk grows a little less, and as the baby, who has become used to eating and enjoying a variety of other foods, is ready to give up a major dependence on the food that he gets from his mother.

The child who has not been breast-fed goes through something similar in connection with the bottle, although there may sometimes be a tendency to cling longer to the bottle, which is not attached to the mother and is more within his control. But weaning is a psychological as well as a physical process.

For the mother who has been breastfeeding her baby, weaning is a change that affects her intimately. Breastfeeding has usually been an enjoyable experience for her, giving her the opportunity to satisfy and promote the growth of her baby in a uniquely intimate way and to identify with the baby's satisfaction. Weaning, therefore, is very much a giving-up process, a facing of separation for her too however much she may consciously wish to initiate it. It involves a little mourning, for her as well as for the baby, but one that is easier if the experience has been satisfying and has not excluded other relationships.

 

Chapter 5: The Toddler Stage

ePub

Teaching obedience

Before your baby is a toddler, there will already have been many a time when he has said “no’” to you in actions, if not in words. The first word that some babies utter is “no”. They do need to be able to say it and to have it respected sometimes. It is first of all an expression of their need to protect themselves from what they feel at that moment to be an alien force, a hostile incursion.

You may feel otherwise; that it's all in the best interest of your baby for instance, that he should eat up his spinach, or what have you, without any further fuss. If you don't take his “no” into account sometimes, you're likely to force him to be either an over-conformer (who may break out violently some day when he has gathered up the strength) or unduly obstinate and not to be relied upon when it is really important that he should do as he is told.

In order to obey us willingly, a child must learn to trust us. He must come to learn gradually that although he may not understand sometimes why he is told to do this, or forbidden to do that, there is likely to be some rationale behind our commands. Later on, he may want to argue about the reason and sometimes he may even be right. Should we not be hoping to bring our infant up to be an adolescent who thinks and questions and then becomes an adult with a mind of his own rather than a replica of ourselves, however fine we may feel ourselves to be?

 

Chapter 6: Encouraging Growth

ePub

Letting the child become himself

Already in the first year of our child's life, we begin to ask the question which we shall face in different circumstances over and over again throughout his childhood and adolescent days: to what extent can we ask and expect our child to cope with frustration and anxiety himself, and when do we need to step in, to cradle him and take over responsibility?

We need to give the growing infant a chance to test his resources and his capacities. Trying these out on his own, within a secure framework with mother, father, or a caring person to help when really necessary, gives him a chance to feel that he is learning, getting bigger and stronger.

We do not always have the time to let him try his experiments, and often we do not have the patience to let him make mistakes when it would be much quicker for us to do things for him. It may be quicker, for instance, to shovel food into the mouth of your one-year-old than to let him feed himself, to undo your three-year-old's tight buttons when he wants to struggle with them himself. No doubt there are times when it's so urgent to get a move on that you have to do these things for him, even when he's wanting to try.

 

Chapter 7: Brothers and Sisters

ePub

Preparing your child for the arrival of a new baby

There is first of all the question of when to tell the child about the new baby, then how to tell him. Then we have to try to understand what he makes of it, and how he is thinking about it, especially if he isn't yet at the stage of using many words himself. But, as most mothers know, infants understand a great deal before they are able to talk themselves, but they understand in their own way. So if you tell your toddler that you are going to have another baby, “Won't that be lovely?”, he'll go through phases of imagining and interpreting in different ways what this means as far as he is concerned.

The important thing is not necessarily that we should be able to formulate or even understand everything that goes on in his mind about it from the time that he is told till the arrival of the baby and after. What matters is that we should recognise and, to some extent, be in tune with his conflicting emotions about the whole affair. We need to make it possible, by showing our interest, for him to ask questions when he is able to formulate them, and to try to answer them as simply and as truthfully as possible.

 

Chapter 8: The Young Child's Education

ePub

Parental instruction

Ours is the responsibility, now and for some time to come, for making most of the major decisions which will affect our children's lives. They need to trust us to know better than they do in many matters, and often, for convenience’ sake, they have to do as they are told without going into the whys and wherefores. However, that does not mean to say that, if they have any perception, we can pull the wool over their eyes to hide our imperfections and our mistakes in handling them. It's a basically very uncertain parent who always has to be right. “Do this because I tell you to” is all right for the moment when other things are clamouring for attention, and on those occasions when it's clear that an argument isn't going to get anyone anywhere. But from a very early age, that varies from one child to another, children's interest in the connections between things leads them to want to know why we tell them to do this, forbid them to do that. Sometimes it's possible to explain, to enlist their reasoned co-operation.

 

Chapter 9: Various Questions

ePub

In this chapter I've selected just a few of the difficult questions one may have to face in bringing up young children.

The threesome relationship

We all know the story of Oedipus. Whether seen as history or myth, one can profit from Freud's genius in viewing it as the realization in adult life of the unconscious wishes every little boy has towards his mother and which necessitate that he in fantasy eliminates his father. The little girl has similar wishes towards her father that necessitate doing away with mother. Then, to make it more complicated, there are the so-called “inverted” Oedipus and Electra complexes, when the boy's attachment is to is father and the little girl's is to her mother.

Indeed, most children fluctuate from time to time in the preschool years in manifest and overtly possessive attachment to each parent in turn; however, the little girl tends ordinarily to settle most definitely for marrying daddy and making him the model of her future husband, and the little boy similarly chooses his mother. Eventually, in late adolescence and adult life, one is likely to find that the child who has grown up in reasonable harmony and with respect for his parents, unconsciously seeks a partner who possesses some of the admired qualities of both parents.

 

Chapter 10: Further thoughts about Marriage and Becoming a Parent

ePub

Further thoughts about marriage and becoming a parent

A family begins with the coming together of two people. The home into which the baby is born is determined by the nature of the bond between these two which is revealed, tested and developed by the preparation for and then by the continuing event of the baby's presence.

Couples come together, stay together, or part for very complicated reasons. When you are in love you may feel that you know exactly why your particular partner fits you for life and forever. You may not bother to think, but drift or rush into marriage without feeling that you are making a deliberate choice. The state of being in love is not necessarily the same as that of loving. If we are lucky we may be able to combine being in love with a more secure and developing capacity to love our partner through getting to know each other, through sharing common experiences, finding similarities, tolerating and learning from differences.

Falling in love is an inexplicable given. Continuing to love and learning to accept one another despite moments of dislike, disagreement, criticism, moments of wounded vanity and betrayed trust: this involves work. It's a help if some of this is done before the baby comes along. More of it will be called for when he does appear and the two who perhaps hanker still after the honeymoon period of being at one and “happy ever after”, have to adjust to the interruptions of privacy, the demands made by being three.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000269770
Isbn
9781912567348
File size
1.72 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata