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16 - Now we are Two, Going on Three: Triadic Thinking and its Link with Development in the Context of Young Child Observations

Simonetta MG Adamo Karnac Books ePub

Anna Burhouse

One of the most striking features of many Young Child Observations is the wealth of oedipal material in which the child is seen to grapple with the difficulties and rewards of triangular relationships. This material often highlights the varied ways in which the young child experiences what it can feel like to be included, excluded, a participant or an observer in the general hubbub of family life. Such highly charged and at times passionate encounters require underlying cognitive and emotional skills which support the child to recognize, think, and reflect upon their own position within the family. These skills include an ability to think “triadically” about the inter-relatedness of objects.

In this chapter I intend to illustrate how fundamentally important the ability to make links and to “think triadically” is to the young child. To begin with, I will describe how the ability to think triadically emerges from preceding dyadic infant/caregiver relationships formed in the first nine months of life. Next, I will demonstrate how triadic thinking is linked to both the Oedipus complex and the Kleinian concept of the depressive position and how the experience of inclusion and later exclusion help to promote a capacity for abstract and three-dimensional thought. I will illustrate some of these triangular dynamics with material from a Young Child Observation. Finally, I will attempt to show how the observer is helped to retain an ability to think triadically about their own position within the observation by the containment and reflective capacities offered by the seminar group and training organization.

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5 - An Observation of a Young Asian Child with Feeding Difficulties, Conceived Via Assisted Reproductive Technology

Simonetta MG Adamo Karnac Books ePub

Anjali Grier

In this chapter I discuss my observation of a 3-year-old boy, whom I shall call Suraj. He is the second child of Asian parents and has a 7-year-old sister. His parents are both immigrants, having arrived in this country in their early adulthood, and appear to be in their early forties.

Both Suraj and his sister were conceived with the help of fertility treatments after their parents endured several years of painful disappointment at being unable to conceive naturally. His sister was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), and Suraj was described as being a GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) child. At our first meeting his mother poignantly described the great difficulty with which Suraj was conceived: the repeated disappointments of unsuccessful IVF treatments over three years, and their decision finally to accept the alternative of a GIFT baby—implying that the “gift” was possibly both the donation of an egg, as well as the miracle of their much-wanted second child, for whom they were deeply grateful.

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9 Parenting a new institution

Jonathan Bradley Karnac Books ePub

Simonetta M. G. Adamo, Serenella Adamo Serpieri, Paola Giusti, &Rita Tamajo Contarini

The Chance Project is an initiative whose main purpose is the educational and social re-integration of a group of teenage drop-outs, aged between 14 and 16. It aims to enable these adolescents to obtain a school diploma by combining academic education, focused on the achievement of literacy, with the learning of social and practical skills. The range of activities is designed to re-instil a fundamental motivation to learn through an educational programme that is wide-ranging and personally meaningful, and through opportunities for developing cooperative skills.

Chance consists of three centres set up within schools in deprived areas of Naples—the historical centre and two outlying districts. Each centre has a coordinator, and there are also two head teachers, one of whom holds responsibility for the legal and administrative aspects, while the other coordinates the educational activities. Each year 80–90 children are involved, so over the nine-year period over 700 have passed through the project.

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6. What Ibsen knew

Margaret Rustin Karnac Books ePub

Ibsen and Freud

Henrik Ibsen—”our northern Henry”, as Henry James called him—was bom 28 years before Freud, in 1828. He completed his last play in 1900, and he died in 1906, six years after the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams. Whatever Ibsen knew, therefore, he discovered before Freud’s writings were available to inform him.

Freud admired Ibsen. He saw in Rosmersholm a classical representation of the dynamics of the Oedipus complex, as Rebecca West is unconsciously compelled to repeat in the household of Rosmer and Beate the configuration that she had experienced in the home of her stepfather.1 But Freud had many reasons for admiring the great Norwegian playwright. Ibsen, like Freud, had to struggle against conventional authority—he lived virtually in exile in Italy and Bavaria for 27 years of his life. He was, like Freud, inspired by the south, in particular in Ibsen’s case by its apparent freedom and sensuality, compared with the cold and authoritarian qualities of the north. Ibsen, like Freud, saw himself engaged in a lifelong struggle for enlightenment and progress, and he transformed dramatic form as deeply as Freud transformed the science of psychology. But the deepest affinity between the two men was in their commitment to self-understanding as the core of their life-work.

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5. The Maternal Capacities of a Small Boy: The Indian in the Cupboard

Margaret Rustin Karnac Books ePub

The subject of our previous chapter, the ‘doll stories’ of Rumer Godden, concerned the relationship between the imaginative play and the emotional development mainly of small girls. Rumer Godden’s work thus mostly falls on one side of a conventional distinction between fiction mainly written for girls, which often takes themes of fantasy and make-believe centred around relationships within the family, and fiction written for boys, which is more often about physical and outdoor adventure.

Lynne Reid Banks’s The Indian in the Cupboard (published as recently as 1980 but in our view of a quality to stand with the very best classic children’s books) cuts across those genre boundaries. It is about boys, and it features an Indian and a cowboy, only the Indian and the cowboy are little plastic toys come to life. The intense relationship of the children in the story, Omri and Patrick, to their made-alive toys, is thus similar to the relationship of Rumer Godden’s little girl characters to their dolls, while the preoccupations of the children in each case are nevertheless typically defined by their gender. The conventional classifications of gender and genre are also crossed in another way. One of the main underlying themes of The Indian in the Cupboard (we will abbreviate this to The Indian from now on) is the relationship of its main character, Omri, to his mother - not so much on the surface, which is warm and undisturbed, but in memory and phantasy. The story is able to explore, through a boy’s relationship with toys which are conventionally masculine, the more feminine aspects of his character.

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