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Wisdom, J.O. (1976). Jealousy in a Twelve-Month Old Boy. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:365-368.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:365-368

Jealousy in a Twelve-Month Old Boy

J. O. Wisdom

It is difficult to get observations of the very young that bear closely on hypotheses about nightmares, aggression and sense of guilt. Those that follow are of such a kind and are significant also for their bearing on observational enquiry. They centre on a baby boy, and I have the details from his father who recorded them at the time.

The boy, eldest of a family, was one year and eleven days old when a younger brother was born; he was shown the baby next morning. By way of preparation for this, during the preceding couple of weeks a baby was brought to see him on two occasions; also opportunities were taken to make him aware of his mother's tummy; and the method of introduction of the two brothers was to remove the baby to a little distance, bring in the elder, put him in his mother's arms, and then approach with the baby. It had been noticeable over the preceding month or so that his behaviour in certain small respects was not quite what it had been. He was a little inclined to object to being left alone for a few moments, though this was indeed slight; and he seemed to want his mother a little more than usual, and one had the impression that when she could no longer lift him he already felt he was missing something.

When he was shown the baby, the effect was quite remarkable. His face lit up with delight, he was really thrilled. Within a matter of a few seconds he looked equally dismayed, sad and bewildered. Quickly he became delighted again and an oscillation between the two was noticeable.

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