Egopsychology and child upbringing
Special merit in the study of child development from the psychoanalytic position belongs to the daughter of Freud. Freud, which laid the foundation for ego psychology (a psychoanalytic trend that emphasizes the importance of the development of the human ego). She stressed that children at the age of three or four years are not yet able to relate the pleasure principle (according to which the id exists) and the reality principle (according to which the ego exists). As a consequence, children often violate public norms and are punished. She also said that the Superego of a child is not developed enough, so an adult should act as a carrier of rules and norms. For an adult it is important to accept the child as he is, with his unconscious inclinations; and at the same time show the existence of socially acceptable ways of satisfying desires.
From early childhood, a natural situation is formed in which the child's E id gives rise to various desires, and their satisfaction depends on the will of the adult. For a baby and a young child, this situation is normal - an adult provides his food, safety and love needs. But the older the child becomes, the more dependent on others in the fulfillment of one's own desires leads to the development of a passive attitude toward the world and infantilism. According to A. Freud, an adult should organize a situation of interaction with the child in such a way that the child not only wished for something, but also participated in the process of providing the conditions for the realization of one's desire. Similar (albeit partial) control over the process of satisfying desires allows the child to become more familiar with the principle of reality and strengthen his Ego.
Anna Freud in her work paid much attention to the problem of aggressive and antisocial behavior of children. At first glance the problem of aggressive behavior at an early age from the point of view of psychoanalysis is explained by the fact that the child acts on the principle of pleasure and does not distinguish socially acceptable and destructive ways of achieving the desired. However, Freud points out that the transition to the principle of reality associated with the development of the child's Ego does not provide a cure for antisocial behavior. Thus, a number of studies have shown that young criminals and street children attain a very high level of development of the reality principle, but at the same time are absolutely not socialized. Hence, in parallel with the development of the Ego, it is necessary to strengthen the Superego of the child. But the strengthening of the Superego (which, as we remember, contains social prescriptions, demands and prohibitions broadcast by parents and society) should not occur at the expense of stricter requirements, but through creating a situation in which the child not only obeys the environment, but also acts in the role of one of the members of society, dictating these requirements. At different ages, the child achieves a sense of such involvement in different ways - first through imitation of the parents, then through the conscious acceptance of these rules and norms and the pleasure associated with following these prescriptions and obtaining approval. However, the internal authority (Superego), which is responsible for the socialization of the child, is very weak for a long time and requires constant support and support from a significant adult for the child (parents, educators). Negative examples for imitation, non-observance by adults of the principles of life that he inspires the child, have a negative impact on his development, causing disappointment in the adult and in the requirements that he translates.
Anna Freud believed that a child's misunderstanding of the adult is a consequence of their differences. Often parents and teachers organize situations to create, from their point of view, the most suitable conditions for development, but children perceive them differently. For example, a mother sends a child to a hospital for medical procedures necessary to maintain health. The child refers to such a situation as to expulsion from the house and aggression towards his body. In the course of the analysis, Freud singled out four types of situations in which the child does not understand adults.
The first type is connected with the fact that the child perceives the external world on the basis of his feelings and experiences and at the same time ignores the feelings of other people. Freud gives the following example: "The children from my kindergarten were with the tutor for a walk, and when they approached the building of the kindergarten, the teacher suggested that they run to the entrance to the entrance. But when they ran, one new girl pulled her hand and said: "Tell that boy that he does not run so fast. I want to be first! ". From this example it is clear that the girl did not take into account the feelings of the boy, who also wanted to come first. This feature of the child's perception, as a rule, is not taken into account by adults, which leads to conflicts in interaction.
The second type of situation is related to the difference in the rational and irrational features of the child's and adult's thinking. It would seem that a child understands very well and can even explain the reasons for doing certain actions (for example, the need to cross the road only with an adult). Nevertheless, if the preschooler sees his mother on the other side of the street, he will forget about everything and run across the road. Similarly, if the teacher tells the children something interesting, they will listen to him, but as soon as they become uninteresting, they will depart from him and begin to engage in an attractive business for themselves. These types of actions are often treated by adults as the desire of children to act contrary to the requirements, which is the source of conflicts. The discrepancy between rational and irrational forms of thinking is also associated with promising situations (for example, when an adult says: "I'll tell you this tomorrow" or "Wait until you grow"), Freud emphasizes that such phrases are absolutely empty for the child, because the adult proceeds from rational logic, and the child - from emotional experience.
The third type of situations is associated with a sense of time experienced by an adult and a child in different ways. When parents tell a child about their own departure for several days, they do not take into account the fact that for a preschooler this time can last very long, because the child is in a state of heightened anxiety and expectation of the parents' arrival. A similar situation occurs when a child is left in a kindergarten and is told of the alleged return of the mother. Waiting for the mother's return is just as long for the child, although objectively the time of absence is small. Taking into account the peculiarities of the child's response to the time, A. Freud proposed to change the order of feeding in preschool institutions. If before the teachers said: "Children, now we will go eat" and went to cover on the table, while the preschoolers were in the state of waiting for dinner, the teachers were asked to first set the table and then invite the children.
The fourth type of situations is related to the difference in speech between an adult and a child, especially in matters of gender. A. Freud showed that children translate the real facts of gender differences into their own language, which, in the opinion of adults, is cruel and rude. They are fairly straightforward (which is not accepted among adults) discussing the physiological structure of their own body, arguing about where they came from, and so on. A. Freud gives an example when listening to explanations about how a child is born and the mention that it only occurs if the father loves the mother and the mother loves the father, the children in the game tried to reproduce the relationship between the mother and the father . As a result, everything ended in a fight and crying. That is, children in their own way understand the feelings experienced by adults, and translate them into a system of concepts accessible to their minds, which seems inadequate to adults. And this applies not only to physiology, but also to the psychology of relations between the sexes.
Anna Freud stressed that similarly there are stages in the intellectual and social development of children. She singled out four stages of this direction of development. The first stage is characterized by the unity of the mother and the child. In this case, if another child comes to the mother and wants to climb to her knees, then he is banished, because he is perceived as interfering, superfluous. That is, the child himself behaves towards the peer asocially and selfishly. Then, at the age of one and a half to two years, the second stage begins, at which the other child becomes interesting, true, only as an object. The child may be interested in peer hair, his toys or clothes, etc. In other words, a peer is perceived as a living toy. Usually, when a child interacts with a toy, he can throw it, not expecting resistance from her side, however a peer can resist such treatment, which causes surprise in children. In the next stage (about two and a half years), children begin to be interested in the same toys. At the same time, their actions are not yet coordinated and are of an isolated nature. The fourth stage is characterized by the fact that preschoolers begin to cooperate on some goals, for example, buildings. But with the achievement of the goal, such interaction may end. In the future, from cooperative interaction, children move to interaction on the basis of friendly feelings. According to A. Freud, since the age of three, stable pairs of children can be formed based on the sympathy of preschool children to each other. When they are separated, such children may experience "genuine grief". It should be borne in mind that a child who is in the second stage (when other children are only interesting objects for him), it is impossible to make him behave like children in the third or fourth stage.
As already noted, A. Freud paid much attention to the analysis of the child's ego development, which gave impetus to a series of further studies devoted to this issue. Of particular interest in this respect are the works of D. Levinger. She singled out several stages that pass the child's Ego, related to the development of the ability to reflect reality in its objective manifestations.
The first stage of development of the Ego is defined as pre-social. The child who is on it can not yet distinguish itself from the environment. When he acquires this ability, he passes to the symbiotic stage , the task of which is to distinguish himself from the mother. In the next stage of development, which is called impulsive, I am a child. The child is not yet able to control his own actions, but his individuality is manifested in the fact that he can say "no."
Then comes the stage of self-defense, which is characterized by the presence of self-control. The task of controlling one's own actions is connected in this case only with the desire to avoid punishment. Thus the child willingly uses others to satisfy his needs, i.e. resorts to manipulation. Although the child acquires self-control, he does not yet have reflexivity (that is, awareness of his actions from the position of morality). At the next stage - the stages of conformism - the child learns the group norms. He has confidence in the peer group. Following group rules, the child begins to distinguish between good and bad and, as a consequence, he has a stereotype of behavior.
Jane Levinger noted that the level of development of the ego in preschool children is different, which is clearly manifested in their games. Children who are in the impulsive stage of the development of the ego are prone to verbal aggression and try to use punishment to establish their own authority in the game. Children who undergo a conformal stage adhere to established rules and try to find a leader who would ask them the direction of their behavior. From this point of view, for example, it becomes clear the fact of uniting children into stable pairs, where one child submits to the other and executes his instructions in the process of playing.
The higher the level of the child's ego development, the less the child is inclined to obey, to display conformism and the more he is ready for independent judgments and actions. Dependence on the opinions of others can manifest itself even in the evaluation of magnitude. If a child of preschool age shows two equal segments and say that one of them, in the opinion of other children, is less than another, then children with an insufficiently developed ego will easily agree with this, while children with a more developed ego will be able to defend their point of view .
As we have already noted, each stage in the development of the ego corresponds to characteristic personality traits, which disappear and replace each other in the transition to the next stage. For example, children's lies are characteristic of the impulsive stage and the stage of self-defense. Very often in a kindergarten there is a situation where one child complains to the educator about another child that he offended him. If an adult tries to ask the guilty child about his misconduct, he should keep in mind that, due to the main motive for avoiding punishment (characteristic of the above stages), the child will deny everything, and the adult's actions will be unproductive (and, in fact, the adult will force the child defend themselves with lies). It is also wrong to appeal to the feelings of the guilty child, drawing his attention to how the other child is going through, because the child's ego does not yet allow him to adequately perceive such actions of an adult. It is much better in this situation to offer the child to play alone to calm down. Therefore, the main task of an adult, according to D. Levinger, is to show patience and maintain adequate social norms.
Anna Freud also developed psychoanalytic pedagogy. She singled out a number of aspects that the educator should take into account in his work with the child:
1) realize the presence of the unconscious in childhood;
2) look at yourself as a carrier of social norms and rules;
3) give opportunities for children to emotionally respond to their internal conflicts;
4) organize situations for various types of children's games;
5) create conditions for redirecting accumulated energy in children in socially acceptable activities;
6) support the initiative of the child in the study of reality;
7) establish emotional contact with the child.
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