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Fries, M.E. (1954). On the Bringing up of Children: By Susan Isaacs, Melanie Klein, Merell P. Middlemore, Nina Searl, and Ella Freeman Sharpe. Edited by John Rickman. New York: Robert Brunner, 1952. 243 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:441-442.
(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:441-442
On the Bringing up of Children: By Susan Isaacs, Melanie Klein, Merell P. Middlemore, Nina Searl, and Ella Freeman Sharpe. Edited by John Rickman. New York: Robert Brunner, 1952. 243 pp.
Review by: Margaret E. Fries
This little book draws upon psychoanalytic psychology and findings from the psychoanalysis of adults and children. It is unique in that it puts such great emphasis on the infant's and child's point of view in child rearing, taking into consideration the fact that the child makes much greater use of the primary process in its thinking than do adults, that it suffers from feelings of helplessness, and that it passes through a succession of psychosexual stages.
Each of the five authors emphasizes that one difficulty in growing up is due to the fact that the child's fantasy life and emotional responses are based on archaic thinking. Another difficulty is that adults function mainly according to the reality principle, while children function according to the pleasure principle. The two generations, therefore, are essentially speaking different languages without realizing it.
Ella Sharpe refers to the unconscious motivations of parents, pointing out, in the chapter on Planning for Stability, the importance of the adult's acceptance of his own possible unconscious hostility to his child. She warns that parents, before insisting that their children conform implicitly to their demands, need to be aware of their own unconscious motivations. This implies that the parent has accepted the idea of an unconscious, and makes one ask which parents and professionals will best profit by this book.
The chapter on Habit, by Susan Isaacs, illustrates clearly the emphasis throughout the book on the fact that any process of rearing children must have several determinants, for it must take into account the physical and psychological maturation of the child, the significance of bodily processes for the child, and the attitude of the parent.
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