Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Care of children

Clarence Parker, MD is a good Southern analyst. He is fond of the South except in one respect, the practice of letting babies cry themselves to sleep. One of the perhaps unappreciated problems in psychology and mental health is rank ordering a principle. For instance, the principle of critical periods is pretty basic which also means of perhaps the highest rank order. It's also pretty obvious in part. The idea of critical periods is that there is a developmental task attendant to a certain age. This applies to growth from infancy to adulthood in a decrescendo fashion with earlier deficits impacting later challenges. I say it's obvious because clearly a baby must gain muscular control in stages, ability to eat in stages. The idea that there may be a process of maturation psychologically then wouldn't seem so odd in this context; yet the possibility seems denied. What isn't obvious is that achieving 'object constancy' is the task of the infant. 'Object constancy' means that mother, father exist, will reappear and are, mostly, supportive. Holding the baby when it cries, finding empathy, helps the infant achieve that object constancy. This should be achieved by 2 years old and then the child might be more left to cry. Other principles and how they are characterized if disputed might be less central and shouldn't lead, as seems to happen, to just throwing out the whole psychology project.

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