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Pensimus, K. (1935). A Rejected Child. Psychoanal Q., 4:37-49.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4:37-49

A Rejected Child

K. Pensimus

Robert came into my kindergarten group at the beginning of September. He gave the impression of a shy, anxious child, of poor physical development for his four and a half years. The first two weeks passed without any noteworthy events. We were still spending most of our time in the garden. Every morning Robert would slink to his place, shuffling along in the gravel, with his head hanging, completely passive in his attitude, and taking no notice of me whatsoever. He had a staring, far-away look in his eyes and paid no attention to the other children. When one of them invited him to play or asked him a question, Robert pushed him roughly away. A little friend who had entered the kindergarten at the same time deserted him after the second day. If Robert came out of his passive state at all, it was only to disturb the other children. This he did with his feet. His hands hung lifeless at his side, his head was bent over, his lips were protruded as he kicked over the children's sand works or knocked over a chair that was being used as a locomotive. At such times he would say nothing, nor would he give any answer to an invitation to join in the play, but I had the feeling that this aggressive behavior could be interpreted as an effort to approach the children.

During the third week he started to come out of his state of abstraction and began screaming. While the children were enjoying themselves, he would let out a scream so shrill and disagreeable that everyone instantly stopped still. If I looked at him in astonishment, he would drop his head and soon again stare absently into space. As a result of this unsocial behavior the other children avoided him. It was only because I maintained a consistently friendly attitude towards him that the older children in my group felt they must do likewise.

One day, when Robert returned to school after a brief illness, we offered him special food.

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