There is a revolution occurring in infant and child development. Three issues have converged recently to help us understand much better the world of early childhood and how we can help our children get off to a good start in life.
Issues & Advice
"Self-esteem" is one of the most discussed issues among parents and infant and child developmentalists. Psychologically, self-esteem can become quite complicated, but let's stick to the basics and see if we can shed some light on it
"We labor under a sort of superstition that the child has nothing to learn during the first five years of life. On the contrary the fact is that the child never learns [afterwards] what it does in its first five years." ---Mahatma Gandhi, 1925
In the May Newsletter, we discussed the benefit of listening to our children, especially to their feelings. Now let's focus now on how useful it can be to discover what our children are interested in.
"As soon as I could talk, I was ordered to listen" - Cat Stevens
Sometimes turning things on their heads - turning things upside down - allows us to see issues differently and make important changes. Such is the case with two areas in child development. The question at stake involves the importance of learning about the inner world of the child.
Video games stir up more controversy between kids and parents than almost anything else. Kids love 'em - and parents, well, at best have mixed feelings about them.
There is a terrific recent book which addresses many of the issues surrounding video games. The title is Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents (iUniverse, 2008). It was written by Kourosh Dini, MD.
I would suggest there is nothing more important to the preservation and advancement of human beings than understanding infant and child development.
Recently I ran across the work of two esteemed child analysts and fellow members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, who are sharing their wonderful ideas about parenting. Kerry Kelly Novick is an author and child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Don Rosenblitt is the Clinical and Executive Director of the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood in Cary, North Carolina.
There are many dictionary definitions of the word translation: to change from one state or form to another; to turn into another language; to transfer from one language into another. The synonyms are interesting too. They include: transfer; transform; paraphrase; explain; convert. Most or all of these relate to the process we are considering: the back and forth translation between feelings and words.
"But in fact language is a double-edged sword... It drives a wedge between two simultaneous forms of interpersonal experience: as it is lived and as it is verbally represented... Language, then, causes a split in the experience of the self" — Daniel Stern, 1985
"Through his powers of intellect, articulate language has been evolved; and on this his wonderful advancement has mainly depended" — Charles Darwin, 1874
Between about 1 and 3 years, children change how they give life to their feelings. The facial expressions they used so actively as infants, while still there, are joined by early words. These words are very often primitive, raw and intense: Hate, no like, me, want, go away, shut up.