As a result of the quarantine, new studies are starting to come out showing that being online all day can affect your health, make you anxious, give you headaches, affect your vision, and affect your sleep. Long before we were sheltering in place, Melissa Pandika in “The Unexpected Effects of all that Screen Time,” reported on symptoms shown by children, tweens, teens and adults as a result of too much screen time. Although the internet can allow for community building and connection, Pandika, quoting Delaney Ruston, a physician and documentary filmmaker who produced Screenagers, warns that social development can be … Continue reading 5 Things to Do Under Quarantine
It’s a challenging time for working parents with young children. If they are considered essential workers and must leave their homes, they may struggle with childcare needs that are difficult to meet. If they are fortunate enough to continue their jobs by working from home, they may struggle with the competing agendas of work while homeschooling and entertaining their children. Interestingly, with the cancelation of nearly all of children’s organized activities, children are being forced to occupy themselves, to learn to play independently without being directed by an adult. In the New York Times, Kate Rope, author of Strong as … Continue reading Play Under Quarantine
I want to say a few things about the effects of trauma and what you can do to help yourselves and your children through this difficult time. Children take their cues from parents, so it is vitally important that you take care of yourselves so that you can be optimally available, emotionally, to your children. In a Youtube video addressing COVID-19, Bessel van der Kolk, trauma expert and author of the book The Body Keeps the Score, says, Being in a situation where you cannot do what you always do, where you are basically rendered helpless, that’s the definition of … Continue reading For Parents During COVID-19
A 7 year old I know just told me that she got her first cell phone. She’s proud and happy, but the reality of a 7 year old with a phone gives me pause. I find myself wondering what she will be doing on this phone. Who will she text or call? What games will she be playing? How much will this phone take her away from direct contact with her friends?
I walk with my dog around a pond in my town. Sometimes I see kids there. They used to be fishing in the pond, skipping rocks, or just walking around and talking with one another. Now, I see 3 boys, probably around 12, sitting on a bench. Each is looking at his phone. They are not talking. They are not skipping rocks. They are not even looking at the beautiful pond or noticing the blue heron standing in the shallows on the far end. My dog sees all these things, even the boys on their phone. But the boys are watching their screens. Continue reading “A 7-Year Old I know Just Got Her First Cell Phone”
Mentalization is the uniquely human (or so we think) ability to know one’s own mind and also the minds of others. The ability to mentalize develops in early childhood, consolidating at around 5 to 7 years old. It is the faculty of mind that allows us to understand that we have intentions, wishes, desires, feelings, hopes, knowledge, and plans, that others do as well. Moreover, once we have achieved mentalization, we also know that minds are opaque; in other words, we can guess what’s in someone else’s mind, but we can’t know it for sure unless we ask. The theory of … Continue reading Mindreading and Mindblindness
Selma Fraiberg, social worker and psychoanalyst, would have been 100 on March 8. I still give her book, The Magic Years, to new parents as it remains, even after nearly 60 years, a rich and thoughtful exploration of the inner lives of infants and young children. Based in a deep understanding of child development rooted in psychoanalytic theory, Fraiberg, always empathic with the experience of parents, uncovers the meaning of early childhood behavior and offers parents a framework for civilizing their children in healthy and nourishing ways. Fraiberg is also remembered for her seminal article, “Ghosts in the Nursery,” which has been … Continue reading Selma Fraiberg, born March 8, 1918
Beatrice Beebe has been observing mothers and infants for many years. She reveals much of what she has learned in language appropriate for parents, teachers, and clinicians alike in her 2016 book, The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book. Beebe has analyzed hours of split screen video in which mothers interact with their 4 month old infants. One of the most astonishing findings from the microanalysis of these videos is: These parent-infant communication patterns predict infant attachment patterns at one year, a key milestone in the infant’s development…An infant’s attachment pattern at one year predicts many aspects of the child’s development, including school … Continue reading Thoughts on The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book
Between 1943 and 1962, D. W. Winnicott gave over 50 talks broadcast by the BBC. In these talks, given for parents (actually, primarily for mothers), Winnicott discusses what he has observed between mothers and infants and elaborates his theory of human development. Continue reading “Listen to Winnicott”
In an article in The East Hampton Star, professor of psychology William Crain observes that increased use of cell phones by parents is depriving infants and children of much needed attention and opportunities for attachment. Continue reading “Parents’ Playing on Mobile Devices”
In an earlier post, I wrote about the contradictions we in modern society have about play. On one hand, we trivialize play and see it as a waste of time, only appropriate for children, not for adults who should be attending to more serious matters. On the other, we express nostalgia for an era when there was more time for undirected play.
The work of psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe offers a framework for understanding this ambivalence and our split views about play. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play? Part 2”