Newborn period - Child psychology

Neonatal period

As noted earlier, Vygotsky proceeded from the understanding of development as a step-by-step process. He singled out periods of gradual change and periods of rapid, critical development. The appearance of a child in the light appears as a process of rapid, i.e. critical changes caused by the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life. This transition period was called the period of newborns. All behavioral manifestations emphasize the transitional nature of childhood life immediately after birth. Indeed, if intrauterine nutrition was parasitic nutrition at the expense of the mother's organism, then external nutrition should be characterized by the use of any products delivered from the external environment. The child eats mother's milk, i.e. retains biological dependence on the mother. The peculiarity of this nutrition is that, being outside the mother, the child does not turn to the products of the external world, but continues to eat at the expense of the organism in which he developed, but not by the internal (parasitic) method, but by the external one. Intermediate nature of nutrition of this species is determined by the fact that, on the one hand, the child is outside the body, and on the other - continues to eat at the expense of the body. The dream of the newborn is also something between the wakefulness and the dream of the adult person: the child is not awake, and does not sleep, he is asleep. This feature is manifested, for example, in the process of feeding: the infant can suck the mother's breast without opening the eye. His sleep is not yet differentiated from waking. Over time, the drowsy state begins to be interrupted by periods of wakefulness and periods of sleep. Thus, the development of activity processes in the transition from the intrauterine to the extrauterine state is characterized by the following trend: sleep in the intrauterine state - nap during the newborn period - the separation of the sleep phase and active wakefulness in the subsequent development. The motor activity of the newborn is also transitional: although it can perform a series of movements of a reflex nature, it moves in space with the help of the mother, which is an intermediate variant between the movement of the fetus and the independent movement of more adult children. Describing the period of the newborn, Vygotsky notes that it represents a break with the old existence and at the same time the beginning of a new extrauterine life. Since such a transition takes place quickly, there is reason to consider the period of newbornness precisely as critical.

The central new growth of this stage is the individual psychic life of the child. Vygotsky emphasizes three points in it. First, the child is engulfed by undifferentiated experiences, representing a "fusion of attraction, affect and sensations". At this point, the behavior of the child is mainly due to the functioning of subcortical structures, which, apparently, determines the effectiveness of children's life at the first stage of age development. The second feature of the psyche of a newborn is characterized by the fact that it does not separate itself and its experiences from the surrounding world, does not distinguish between social and physical objects. This feature is manifested in the fact that even at a later age a child can bite his foot, taking it in his mouth, hurting himself, as if the leg was an extraneous object that does not belong to the child. The social life of the child in this period is absent. Thirdly, the perception of the world by children of this age is an undivided impression of the concrete situation as a whole. As observations show, even older children, long before they begin to isolate the individual properties of the situation, react to complex complex effects: the intonation of the voice, the face of the mother. Such impressions are affectively colored. The child experiences states rather than any objective content. Such, as Vygotsky says, instinctive life, like any new formation of the critical period, does not remain intact, but, being transformed, it is included in subsequent psychic structures, obeying them and losing its independence. It should be emphasized that although the individual psychic life that emerged by the end of the neonatal period is instinct-like, but it is directed towards the adult, ie. is inherently social. This circumstance makes it possible to determine the boundaries of the neonatal period. They are associated with the child's response to an adult. Such a reaction is typical for infants of the third month of life. The child smiles at the sight of an adult, buzzes, shows motor activity. This reaction, later called a revival complex, characterizes the transition to the next stage of mental development - infancy.

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