Protective mechanisms - Child psychology

Protective mechanisms

Nevertheless, the ego has a special role in the behavior of the child, since all conflicts are "on its territory". If a person has a strong enough ego, then he can honestly acknowledge both the content of instinctual motives and the demands of the Superego. He openly proposes intelligent methods of solutions that would satisfy all three systems of his psyche. However, if the ego of a person is not mature enough (which is especially characteristic of a child), then it is difficult for him to resist, on the one hand, the requirements of instinctual desires, and on the other - to keep an answer to Superego for violating social norms. In this case, the child seeks to get rid of the need to overcome conflicts. To this end, he uses the so-called protective mechanisms and techniques.

One of these techniques has already been described at the beginning of the chapter. It has been termed "displacement" (or "suppression") of unpleasant experiences. It is an automatic unconscious process, consisting in the fact that a traumatic experience is pushed out of the consciousness to the unconscious. Consciousness is cleansed of anxiety, and a depressed experience is preserved in the unconscious and, as the accumulation of other experiences, creates painful neurotic symptoms that Z. Freud encountered in his medical practice.

Another protective mechanism is sublimation. This protective mechanism is the realization of the Eid energy in a socially acceptable way (for example, through various types of creative activity). So, the child can express an excess of tension by breaking or damaging the toy or by picking up clay and molding out something from it. In both cases, the energy found an outlet and the tension was removed, but in one case the child used a destructive model of behavior, and in the second - socially acceptable.

Another special type of behavior of children, called regression, is considered as a protective mechanism. Regression is the child's treatment of the forms of behavior observed in his earlier stages of development. As an example, such actions of children as sucking a finger or a corner of a handkerchief can be cited. This form of behavior from the psychoanalytic position is interpreted as a return to positive forms of experience that were characteristic of an earlier age when the child sought solace.

Of particular note is the mechanism of projection. If a child experiences the existence of motives that cause him shame or fear, he can prevent such desires in his own consciousness, and attribute them to other people. For example, a child who manifests aggressive forms of behavior toward children may accuse them of being aggressive towards themselves. In this case, the psychoanalytic position presupposes a special approach to the complaints of the child. If a child complains to an adult about the undesirable behavior of other children, then it is necessary to understand whether his own desire to act similarly to other people is behind this.

In the psychoanalytic position, another type of defense mechanism is distinguished, called compensation. The compensation mechanism is that when a child faces a failure in one situation, he seeks to compensate for success in another. The action of the compensation mechanism can be observed in the process of eating, when a child speaks to an adult: "True, I eat well!" In this situation, the child wants to show that he is doing a valuable action for an adult, and at the same time tries to compensate for his failures in other activities.

One of the most common defense mechanisms is avoidance. Avoidance is manifested in the fact that the child leaves the situation that causes him discomfort. Avoidance can be physical (for example, a child leaves one room for another) or psychological (the child begins to distract or imagine something when performing a difficult task).

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