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Kris, E. (1962). Decline and Recovery in the Life of a Three-Year-Old or Data in Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Mother-Child Relationship—(Alternately Subtitle as Major Title.). Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:175-215.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:175-215

Decline and Recovery in the Life of a Three-Year-Old or Data in Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Mother-Child Relationship—(Alternately Subtitle as Major Title.)

Ernst Kris, Ph.D.

[Part 1]

I. INTRODUCTION

A. The Problem

It is late in Spring, close to the end of the school year, and the nursery school group is playing in the yard. The morning is well advanced, and the first of the parents come to take their children home. They have been expected. The ten three-year-olds who form the group have been together since September, twice a week for three morning hours, which seemed long at first and have become shorter as the months progressed. The children have formed something more than fleeting attachments among each other and distinct relationships to the teachers, and to the psychiatrists acting as helpers in the group, each of whom had devoted special attention to one of the children throughout the school year. And yet leaving the group comes easily. The call of the home has not lost its unique power. There are few who display their pleasure; most seem proud to have been found in the midst of some activity, which the parent is supposed to watch for a moment or two before the child surrenders the world (of his own) in which he had been living for the past few hours. This is the average picture that mirrors the conflict of the age between growing independence and old attachment. Even in this

Editor's Note.Ernst Kris started writing this essay in 1956. It was unfinished at the time of his sudden death in February of the following year.

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