Game and Rituals - Child Psychology

Game and rituals

A special role in the development of the child E. Erickson assigned to the game. According to Erickson, children begin to play when they try to realize their place in life. In the course of the game, the children return to their experiences that arise when they collide with new mysterious objects of the environment. The game exists at every stage of development. For the position of Erickson relative to the game three things are characteristic.

1. The game is not limited only to the period of childhood and covers the entire life space of a person. The game reflects the main feature of a person: the modeling of situations in which the past, present and future are represented. The child plays when he builds out of cubes or plays with dolls, but the physicist who creates the model of the universe, or the army general who develops the strategy of battles, according to E. Erickson, also play. And for these adult games there are rules.

2. Although the goal of the game is to develop the individual's ability to control his own life, the game can not go on alone. From the point of view of E. Erikson, imaginary models arising in the game must be necessarily presented to others and evaluated positively by them. Therefore, children who grow up in isolation can not achieve self-identity. When a child with peers builds a model of a situation, it is not only accepted by other children, but also refined and refined in all understandable ways. Thus, a common vision of the situation arises.

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The development of the management of one's own life in the game, according to Erikson, can manifest itself in a peculiar behavior in the process of building out of cubes. Often the preschool child destroys a tall tower of cubes, which, overcoming the known difficulties, he built himself. Often adults see such behavior as a manifestation of child aggressiveness and destructive tendencies. However, E. Erikson stressed that this behavior is due precisely to the mastery of the surrounding world by the means that are available to the child. In other words, the cubes are at the mercy of the child - he can build from them, and then destroy his own building. The value for the child is not in the preservation of the building, but in the ability to dispose of, manage the surrounding objects.

3. Erik Erikson believed that the overall shared perception of the world, which we mentioned above, assumes a relatively permanent form: there are some sort of stable patterns of interaction that can be called rituals. People who participate in performing a particular ritual , believe that these are the most appropriate methods. To keep these methods, special social institutions are created, such as family, church, school, etc. Ritualized forms of behavior, indeed, arise early enough. The younger preschoolers clearly trace the rituals of putting to bed, dressing, eating, in which both the adult and the child are involved. For example, a child requires that a book be read to him before going to bed, and if this action is repeated every time when stacked, then it becomes a ritual. E. Erickson specifically describes the development of ritualization in childhood.

Rituals are widely used to normalize the sleep of preschoolers. The main task, which is put before the adult, is to organize the ritual of putting the bed properly. Behind this ritual is a psychological symbolic picture of a child's farewell to an adult at the time of sleep. Therefore, it is important to place the accents very accurately in the process of elaborating the ritual. The ritual consists of three phases: the initial, intermediate and final phases. The initial phase should unfold at the moment when the child really wants to sleep. The adult prepares the child for the ritual, noting his initial moment ("it's time to sleep"). However, the child can experience emotional tension, therefore, in order to remove it, an intermediate stage unfolds, accompanied by pleasant activities for the child, capable of appeasing him. Then comes the final part of the ritual, in which the semantic end of the whole action is put. It can be expressed in the fact that the mother, for example, kisses the child and says: "Well, all, good night!"

In infancy, a recognition ritual arises that is based on the child's basic trust in the mother, as well as the ritual of caring for the child. Fragments of the ritual are the touch of the mother, her smile, appeal to the child. The ritual develops as a mutual way of understanding each other and confirming the identity of its participants. This inner ritual becomes the basis for the development of subsequent rituals, such as the relationship between teacher and student, leader and group member, etc.

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In the period from one to three years there is a toilet ritual. Compliance with the ritual of the toilet makes it possible to distinguish a good child from bad, good from evil. The third ritual, characteristic for preschool age, is the story-role game. A feature of the story-role game, according to E. Erickson, is the presence of such an element as conflict and its resolution. In adults, this ritual is represented in various forms of creativity (for example, in dramatizations). In elementary school, action is ritualized - the basis of the social and labor role that the child will perform when becoming an adult. Therefore, in the process of teaching in primary school, it is necessary to achieve the correct fulfillment of the formal tasks proposed by the teacher.

Eric Erickson attached great importance to rituals, as they, in their opinion, bear stability and, consequently, guarantee the safety of people with whom ritual interaction is established. As a result, depending on how favorable the formation of rituals in childhood is, the person will be able to organize his family life, be a believer, make a verdict, work in the theater or on television, become a politician, etc.

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