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 MesajScris: Vin Iun 27, 2008 9:03 am        Subiectul mesajului: Bruno Bettelheim 
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Membru din: Vin Ian 18, 2008 11:25 am
Mesaje: 8177 ... ttelhe.pdf

Bettelheim continued with the family theme in his 1987 book, A Good Enough Parent.
He described typical impediments to productive parent/child relationships, autobiographically borrowing from his own upbringing, and deftly advancing selected psychoanalytic principles he hoped would harmonize parent/child interactions. Among other themes, he chose to write about the important theme for modern American parents, namely, the difference between discipline and punishment. (An excerpt of this section of his book was published in 1987 in The Atlantic, entitled ‘Discipline Versus Punishment’.) His view of discipline was based, in part, on the dictionary definition that reveals the word’s origin in disciple, meaning student. Bettelheim wrote that proper discipline educates the child and sets his energies free to develop productively on his own. This, then, has the happy effect of bettering parent/child relationships. Punishment, on the other hand, ‘doesn’t work,’ according to Bettelheim. ‘There is a world of difference between acquiring discipline by identification with those one admires [the parents] and having regimentation imposed on one—or sometimes painfully inflicted [...]
As for punishment, it may restrain the child, but it doesn’t teach him self-discipline [...]’.

He observed that children cannot be fooled, and that they pay attention to our behavio as much as, or more than our words. He wrote that the punitive parent who is carried away by emotions rather than choosing to educate the child, fools only himself/herself and not the child.
The meaning of play is a second important theme discussed by Bettelheim (1967) in his parenting book. Like Piaget (1962, 1969), Bettelheim viewed the playing child as attempting to bridge his inner reality and the world around him. In early childhood, play is the primary modality within which children develop themselves and communicate with others. Quoting Montaigne, Bettelheim wrote, "Children’s play should be regarded as their most serious actions." Play is an outlet for emotional expression, but it also serves to resolve conflicts and enables the child to cope better with the world. While Piaget documented the intellectual aspects of playing, Bettelheim’s psychoanalytic perspective focussed on the emotional and
social benefits of play, especially those that accrue to a healthy parent/child relationship. He viewed the child’s play as nothing less than the route to identity. Drawing on Freud’s insights, Bettelheim wrote that play is the means by which ‘the child accomplishes his first great
cultural and psychological achievements [...] This is true even for an infant whose play consists of nothing more than smiling at his mother as she smiles at him.’
Bettelheim, who had been immersed in the history of ideas at least since adolescence, welcomed the idea that a child’s spontaneous, playful activity was analogous to the great cultural achievements of our time. He enjoyed, rightly so, elevating the minutiae of the child’s behavior to the heights it deserved.

"One mother who came to me for advice was quite exasperated by the unreasonable behaviour of her little boy ... once, for example, he had suddenly started to scream and refused to budge, just as they were about to cross a busy street ...
"I suggested that she try to imagine—difficult as it is to do so, she being a mature, well-organized adult—what could make her suddenly scream, or at least feel like screaming, in the same circumstances. It only took an instant for her to realize that she might react this way if she saw something like a serious traffic accident. In a flash she understood that her son must have been terrified by something he saw or imagined. And as she pondered this, she surprised herself by remembering that when she had been about her son's age, she sometimes had been terrified that she might get lost and be unable to find her way back home.... I suggested further that her son might have feared not just for himself but for her too ..."

 MesajScris: Vin Iun 27, 2008 9:11 am        Subiectul mesajului:  
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Membru din: Vin Ian 18, 2008 11:25 am
Mesaje: 8177 ... tBody;col1

Bettelheim's book, A Good Enough Parent (1987), does not offer advice on what to do in certain situations, but recommends what is necessary for parents to aid in mental health. Rearing emotionally stable children who will compose a moral society is what makes parents "good enough," a title he derived from developmental psychologist D.W. Winnicott. Bettelheim wrote that although there is no perfect parent, there is an imperative to be "good enough," to raise one's child well. He criticized the "how to" approach taught in many of the "canned" parenting programs. These often see the child as a piece of machinery that can be "fixed" with the right instructions. The "good enough parent" does not try to mold the child as he wishes him to be. Dependency on rules for parenting prevents one from having to think through for oneself the best solution to a problem situation, and it disregards the uniqueness of each child.


The problem that Bettelheim pointed out is that many have misconstrued what discipline really is. Discipline is not the control that keeps an individual "in line" because of fear of punishment, but rather the instruction or training that develops a self-controlled way of being. Bettelheim argued that punishment has been a weak deterrent to people who know they will not get caught. They just learn to hide their actions. The more harsh and severe the punishment, the more devious they will become. Children do not become convinced that something is wrong just because people in authority say so, unless the children have a sincere respect for the authoritarian figures and wish to please them. The children learn that the best way to be loved and to be happy is to become like those persons they admire; so the children identify with them and their values.

Discipline is, according to Bettelheim, "instruction to be imparted to disciples." He pointed to the example of Christ's disciples, those who loved him, emulated him, and followed him. They were moved by their love and respect for their master and his love for them to incorporate his values. Discipleship is the learning of skills and ideas from someone whom one admires. The best way to master a discipline is to learn it from someone who has already mastered it. A discipline cannot be forced on someone. It can only be acquired by someone who wants it (A Good Enough Parent 1987). Discipline is not just learning about something, but a learning of something, a taking in of something, a making something one's own. The children become a disciple of their parents, teachers, and other adults by their own choice. Perhaps this view is relevant for parenting education in religious institutions. Rather than being about how to deal with a "problem child," parenting programs and teacher education might be more effectively about becoming better role models and being worthy of our children's discipleship. One might infer that education for morality occurs in religious education as faith is developed, both faith in God and vicariously in one's teachers.

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