By John D. Sutherland, J.D. Sutherland, Sylvia Payne
A quantity of six public lectures given in 1956 as a part of the celebrations of the centenary of Freud's start, organised by way of the British Psycho-Analytical Society.
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Extra resources for Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought
Provided these needs are met, frustrations of other kinds matter little. Not that they are particularly good for him. Indeed, one of the arts of being a good parent lies in the ability to distinguish the avoidable frustrations from the unavoidable. An immense amount of friction and anger in small children and loss of temper on the part of their parents can be avoided by such simple procedures as presenting a legitimate plaything before we intervene to remove his mother's best china, or coaxing him to bed by tactful 'humouring instead of demanding prompt obedience, or permitting him to select his own diet and to eat it in his own way, including, if he likes it, having a feeding bottle until he is two years of age or over.
Freud not only insisted on the obvious fact that the roots of our emotional life lie in infancy and early childhood, but also sought to explore in a systematic way the connection between events of early years and the structure and function of later personality. Although, as we all know, Freud’s formulations have met with much opposition-as recently as 1950 eminent psychiatrists were telling us that there was no evidence that what happens in the early years is of relevance to mental health-today many of his basic propositions are taken for granted.
This does not mean that the modern methods are not better; it means that they are a part only of what matters and that human beings from infancy onwards are more sensitive to the emotional attitudes of those around them than to anything else. There is nothing mysterious in this; there is no need to invoke a sixth sense. * One very anxious mother whom I am treating has told me how she has discovered that her eighteen months old boy, who she complains is intensely whiny and clinging, responds quite differently according to the way in which she leaves the room.